Google brought its intelligent Google Now service to iOS earlier this week with an update to the Google Search app, and for many, the feature works very well. For a lot of others, however, Google Now appears to be causing a significantly negative impact on battery life — as we reported on Wednesday.
Google has since responded to these reports, calling them “incorrect” and insisting that Google Now does not have a battery drain issue.
Following my article on Wednesday, a Google spokesperson sent us a statement that reads:
Reports that Google Now on iOS drains battery life are incorrect. We understand people’s concern about seeing the Location Services icon stay on when they use Google Now. Many apps that keep the icon on actually do drain the phone’s battery because they require very accurate location. (For example, some apps have to run your GPS all the time during navigation to keep you from missing your turn.) This update to the Google Search app is built very differently: it uses cell towers and wifi hot spots for much lower battery impact.
We extensively tested Google Now on iOS for months and didn’t see reports of significant battery impact — we would encourage you to try it in the Google Search app for a few days and we don’t expect you to see significant impact on your battery. If you are seeing a problem, please do tell us (just tap feedback in the app settings). We take user feedback very seriously.
This statements reiterates the notice Google included in its release notes with the latest Google Search update. The company is clearly adamant that Google Now does not affect battery life on iOS devices, and that the feature works differently to other apps that constantly search for your location.
Maybe it’s a psychological thing, then. Maybe we see that location icon in our status bar and simply assume that it’s eating our battery life, when in actual fact it’s not really having much impact at all, and we’re just noticing battery drain much more than we usually would.
However, if you are one of those users who is concerned about the impact of Google Now, be sure to submit your feedback as Google mentions in its statement.
Provide as much detail as you can — such as how long your battery lasted before using Google Now and how long it lasts now — and hopefully it’ll help Google iron out any issues that may not have been discovered in pre-release testing.