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[Guide] Google Now: Setup and Usage Tips

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By craigavonite, Junior Member on 3rd August 2012, 06:13 AM
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I’ve noticed that in most development threads there are users complaining about not being able to get Google Now working correctly. I thought I’d share the steps I’ve taken to setup Google Now, and it’s been working perfectly for me.

Before we begin there are two things to clear up. Firstly, in order for Google Now to work properly you are going to need to be OK with easing off on several privacy settings. You will need to enable Web History and Location Sharing; so if you are uncomfortable with this or are a bit of a privacy nut (nothing wrong with that!) then Google Now is not for you, and will never work as intended.

Secondly, Google Now takes time to gather information about you before it will start working as you expect. This means you need to use it! Anytime you are doing a Google search from your phone, use Google Now; when you’re waiting for a bus, open Google Now, etc. After a few hours/days (depending on how much you use it) it will begin to display your Now Cards correctly.

1.A Jelly Bean custom ROM (e.g. TeamNDVRu CM10)
2.Google Now enabled (obviously)
3.Google Maps installed
4.At present Google Now will only work correctly when using English as the default language (US/UK both work)

Before using Google Now

Enable Web History:

1.We need to enable ‘Web History’ for our Google searches. From your desktop/laptop go to your Google Account settings (click your username/email address on the Google homepage and go to Account).
2.Select ‘Products’ then scroll down and select ‘Web History’. Ensure this is enabled, if paused click ‘Resume’. Web History is now enabled

Enable Location Sharing:

1.Open Latitude (found in your app drawer). Go to settings.
2.Make sure ‘Location Reporting’ is set to ‘Your location is reported automatically’
3.Make sure ‘Enable Location History’ is ticked. You can set the ‘Check In’ options as you wish, I don’t use this feature myself.
4.Open Google Maps. You should see your Latitude location centred on the screen. Click your avatar (the square pic pointing out your location). Select your name. Select ‘Location Settings from the pop-up menu.
5.Press the menu key and select ‘Change home location’ – enter your home address. Then press the menu key again and select ‘Change work location’ – enter your work location (this can also be your School/University if you want)
6.Location Sharing is now set up for Google Now

Google Now Setup:

1.Open Google Now and follow the on-screen instructions. Select ‘Yes I’m in’ when prompted.
2.Press the menu key, select ‘Settings’
3.Select ‘Now Cards’ – you can set this up as you wish, depending on what features you want to use and how you want to use them. It’s pretty self explanatory.
4.Go back and select ‘Voice’. Set language to ‘English UK’ or ‘English US’ (At present only English as default will work).
5.Select ‘Download offline speech recognition’. Go to the download tab and download ‘English UK’ language if you want to use it (US is default). – it’s a small download
6.Go back and select ‘Privacy and accounts’. Make sure ‘Location and Google Search’ + ‘Show recent searches’ + Search on’ are all ticked.
7.Go back and select ‘Phone search’ – set this as you wish, if you don’t want Google Now to search your contacts for instance, then un-tick it.
8.Google Now is now setup properly, start using it!


-If you use Google Apps for Business you will need to perform an extra step. Login and go to Settings, scroll down and select Mobile. There will be a checkbox ‘Use Google Now’, make sure this is ticked.

-To have the Calendar card work properly you will need to set times and locations for your appointments/reminders. E.g. you’re doing an early shift in work, so set your appointment location to your work address, then set the times to the shift start/end times rather than ‘All Day’. The card will popup a few hours before your shift and should bring the Traffic card along with it to tell you how long it might take you t o travel/when to leave to arrive on time.

-Depending on where you live the Public Transport card may not behave as you would expect. In the area of London I live for instance, the Now Card will only show when I’m near major stations/bus stops and will not show for every single one. This may vary around the world, or even in different areas of the same city.

-Some Now Cards may never show, they are all situational (you can set the Weather to always show, but it’s the only one). It depends entirely on how you use Google Now. E.g. if you never search for your football teams results or fixtures, then the Sport Card is never going to show.

-When out and about, turn GPS/WiFi on to get a better fix on your location, helps with the Public Transport card especially.

Hopefully this gets some of you going with Google Now. Some of the steps may be superfluous but, again, this is just what worked for me after many frustrating hours of trying to figure it out!

To do: Add screenshots
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12th September 2012, 10:55 PM |#2  
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Nice write up Man...Have you had any trouble with GNow adding unwanted sports teams to your cards? I can't seem to shake the LA Galaxy soccer club. I don't like soccer, much less the Galaxy.
13th September 2012, 03:31 AM |#3  
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Thanks for this mate, its awesome. I know this question may seem like I'm noob, which is because I am. I have had a little search but not sure if there is a way to get Google Now working on a sense rom on 4.0.4 such as ARHD?

Don't hate, just asking a noob question

13th September 2012, 04:48 AM |#4  
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I can't read black on dark grey, there's not enough contrast. If you're going to set the font colour (please don't) to something, can you also set the background colour so there is some contrast? Cheers.
4th October 2012, 11:40 PM |#5  
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Perhaps I'm just missing something, but I followed these instructions to the letter and regardless, every time I open up the Google Now settings the top right on/off "switch" has defaulted back to off. Anybody having similar problems?
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5th October 2012, 02:53 AM |#6  
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Good write up, thank you! Installed the new Maximus ROM last night, got a cool Google Now surprise this morning.

Looked up the web sites of two computer stores and a restaurant menu on my desktop computer. Then picked up my phone, and cards had popped up showing directions to the stores and restaurant, with travel time estimates and traffic updates. Pretty cool!

Good selection of sports teams on there now, I'll be stoked when they expand the service with more offerings.
6th October 2012, 02:03 AM |#7  
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Just installed the Maximus ROM too and used your guide to set mine up. This thing is something else. LOL. Very impressive
14th December 2012, 10:53 AM |#8  
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Is anyone having issues with sports fixtures displaying the wrong time zone on GN? I have a card for my team, but when I press the card and am directed to Google the fixture times are in US Eastern Time even though the team and I are in the UK
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14th January 2013, 02:30 PM |#9  
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getting a removed card returned
I accidentally removed a package tracking card and can't seem to get it back. Any suggestions?
17th January 2013, 12:20 PM |#10  
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Originally Posted by ruoppster

I accidentally removed a package tracking card and can't seem to get it back. Any suggestions?


you probably swiped away the card, for that moment the card is gone, but somehow it will turn up once you open up Google Now again. if not, sometimes, a reboot of your phone will show up the card afterwards., at least, for me this helps!

Good luck mate!

---------- Post added at 12:20 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:17 PM ----------

Nice thread!

Just have a minor question, hope somebody can help me with that. I was wondering if Google Now needs Auto Sync been turned on permanently. It does save me alot of battery and data usage if I can leave it off. I think personally that Google will collect information anyway wih Now because I have my location settings turned on.

Can somebody tell me??

Thanks and I wil def follow this Thread!
17th January 2013, 02:41 PM |#11  
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My tip is to disable the useless POS. All it does is rinse your battery with constant wakelocks!

Until they improve it and make it vaguely useful it will be switched off.
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