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Tuesday, November 05, 2013, 10:58 am PT (01:58 pm ET)

Google Now for iOS updated with notifications, reminders, improved voice search

Google on Tuesday pushed an update to the Google Search app, bringing formerly Android-only features like handsfree "OK, Google" voice search to the iOS variant of the company's Google Now digital life assistant.



Notifications receive top billing in the update and add a welcome boost to Google Now's utility on Apple's platform. Rather than being forced to manually retrieve information, Google says users will be automatically notified with important, contextually-relevant updates about events and appointments.

Users can also take advantage of Google Now's Siri-like reminders functionality, though with a slightly more structured approach. Using what is functionally equivalent to dynamic saved searches, Google Now can remind users about events that are not necessarily scheduled based on a time or place, like new album releases from a favorite musician.

Handsfree support has been added via Google's now-familiar "OK, Google" voice prompt. The Google Search app constantly listens for the phrase when the app is open, and saying it will immediately initiate an interactive voice session.

Also included in the update are tweaks to the user interface, including a simplified homepage layout, as well as new information card types for boarding passes, tickets, car rental reservations, and local events. Additionally, users who have other Google apps on their iOS device can take advantage of a new single sign-on option.

The update bumps the version number to 3.1.0 and is available now as a free, 32.7-megabyte download from the App Store.