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How to use Google Now cards: 7 tips for managing what they show you, when and why

Ben Patterson | June 9, 2015
Google Now and its "cards"--those bite-sized alerts, reminders, and personalized recommendations--are so prescient, they're positively spooky. One such card might tell you that today's the birthday of a close friend, while another might point out a news article that it somehow knew you'd want to click.

3. You can dismiss a card with a swipe

Once you're done with a specific Google Now card, just swipe it off the screen, a gesture that essentially marks a card as "read" and clears the clutter from your Google Now screen.

4. You can tell Google Now about your interests

Say you're an otherwise proud San Franciscan who (when it comes to football, anyway) is bleeding green. There's an easy way to tell Google Now that your favorite NFL team is, in fact, the Philadelphia Eagles, and not the Niners.

For Android devices:

Tap the three-line menu button in the top-left corner of the main Google Now screen, tap Customize > Sports, then Add a team.

While you're at it, you can also add stock tickers, specify your home and work addresses (handy for helping Google Now serve up cards about your commute), your cable company, and your favorite streaming-video services.

A final category labeled "Everything else" lists a hodge-podge of details that'll help tailor your other Google Now cards, including questions you may have answered after tapping the three-dot menu button for a specific card.

For iOS:

The iOS version of Google Now offers many more options for customizing your Now cards. Tap the three-dot button in the top-right corner of the screen, tap Settings, then scroll down to the Cards section. From there, you can tweak the settings for more than a dozen categories, from birthdays and flights to travel and weather.

5. You can tee up a Google Now reminder card

Typically, Google Now doles out your daily cards automatically, with a bare minimum of effort on your part. One notable exception, though, is reminders.

Tap the three-line menu button in the top-left corner of the main Google Now interface (or, if you're on iOS, tap the three-dot button in the top-right corner of the screen), tap Reminder, then create a reminder for yourself.

Once you do, Google Now will deal a reminder card when the time is right, or when you're approaching a specific place (if you set a "geofence" in your reminder rather than a time).

Bonus tip: Rather than going to the trouble of tapping out a reminder, just tap the microphone in the Google search box and tell Google Now to remind you of something.

6. Google Now reminders can set off Android or iOS notifications (or not, if you'd prefer)

Whether you've got a dinner reservation coming up, a sunny day in your future, or (gulp) a flash flood headed your way, you might see Google Now card alerts popping up in your Android or iOS notification window.

If you don't want Now cards cluttering your notifications, there's an easy fix.

 

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