Google Now hands-on

This week Google has introduced a new component to their search and location-aware ecosystem in the mobile realm called Google Now. This system sits at the heart of Android, with your ability to access it sitting right in your lock screen. Google Now is effectively an add-on to the Google Search experience, adding a selection of "cards" that show you where you are, how you'll be getting to the next place you're going, and where you might very well want to go.

To access Google Now, you've only to access it from your lockscreen or to tap on the Google Search widget or app icon. From here you'll find that you've got a lovely and super simple search bar at the top that's ready to accept all typed or spoken voice commands as well as search terms. The real magic of course is in the cards that sit below the search bar before you do your search.

Above you'll see the Nexus 7 connecting to this service via the lockscreen – in the hands-on video below you'll see the Galaxy Nexus working with Google Now.

These cards include Weather, Public Transit, Places, Traffic, Flights, Sports, Appointments, Translation, Currency, and Time Back Home. The last item on this list is something you'll have to program, it simply needing to know when you'll want to see a map back home – and it'll need you to mark where your home is, but just once. Appointments are connected to your Google Calendar, Translation and Currency appear when you go to a foreign country, and Sports show the scores of your favorite teams.

Flights is a card that's able to track your flight information, how late you'll be, and how long it'll take you to get where you're going. The same is true of Traffic and Public Transit, these connecting to Google Maps and Navigation to bring you the information you need, while Weather and Places are the most common cards as they'll almost always be active to bring you information on the place you're physically at.

Once you're done with the info these cards can bring you, you can head straight back up to the search bar where results will spill over the cards to bring you deeper into the web.

Stick around as we continue to bring on the heat via our I/O 2012 and Android portals all week!