Flaw in Google Now keeps GPS active

That’s one way to drain to the battery of the iPad.

  • Sabotage?

  • I’m not sure how this is any different than the geofencing. It just needs to know where you are all the time for certain features to work. Just like background downloading in something like Instapaper. Yes, I suppose they could be more upfront about what and why, but seems far from a flaw or bug.

    • gjgustav

      Some of us don’t want it on all the time.

      • But again, that’s not a “flaw” (or bug) per se. You have the option to turn it off. A real flaw/bug doesn’t typically have a user accessible option.

  • TobyS95

    It isn’t a bug, it is bringing the Android experience to iOS. I also own a Nexus S with ICS and have experience with power issues and the overrated Google Now.

    • Carlos

      overrated Exactly my thoughts. Why the tech press talk about Google Now like it’s a big thing? In it’s current form it’s just a convenience, nothing revolutionary about it. Maybe it will evolve to something more useful, but at this moment it’s just a weather widget with map directions.

      And people keep comparing it to Siri. They are very different.

      • Mother Hydra

        I disagree. Now is what Siri was meant to be, especially in an alternate universe where Google and Apple are still positively aligned (a la 2007). OR in a universe where Apple got services. Have you worked with the cards or really had a deep dive with the Now service on an android handset? LIGHT YEARS above Siri in terms of daily usefulness. Aside from some random wolfram stuff Siri excels at one thing: pissing me off. I try to use her each day but can’t stand the rigid semantic structure you must adhere to to to extract useful info. Google Now culls sources and provides useful data such as accurate commute info and a weather forecast side-by-side with your daily tasks. “Looks like it will rain right after my meeting, better bring an umbrella.” Later after the meeting “Oh and a nasty wreck just happened on the freeway, good thing I just had an alternate route shown to me automagically so I can get to that Pink Floyd concert on time.” Google Now currently offers this, and Siri does not. For all the moves Apple has been making with Siri development how are they not headed in the same direction Your position is hard to understand.

        • Carlos

          I use Siri almost daily. I use it to annotate things, search past notes, create reminders, look at Real Madrid standings in La Liga, read reviews of movies, or call somebody without searching him in Contacts. Never had a problem, and “she” knows my voice well enough already that mistakes in voice recognition are rare nowadays. I don’t know where all this criticism of Siri comes from.

        • I use Siri several times a day. The things I use “her” for Google Now just can’t do. It’s not Google’s fault, mind you, but still.

          Her recognition is pretty good.

          Google Now, on the other hand? The only use I find for it is seeing what works. And so far, the answer is nothing.

  • Carlos

    I think it’s not a bug. You can’t keep the GPS active on iOS, the system doesn’t allow an app to do that. But the app can use a feature of the OS to activate the app when big location changes occur, i.e. every 500 meters or more, with a minimum time interval of 5 minutes between updates. The location indicator could be indicating that. iOS is smart enough to forbid apps from getting constant location updates that could drain the battery.

  • Adam

    I’m not so sure it’s a bug, but rather a (very intrusive) new feature. I noticed it as well, and promptly figured out how to turn off location tracking within the app.

  • janakj

    In addition to what everyone else has said, I left it running, and it hasn’t had a noticeable impact on battery on my iPhone 5. I think it’s the geofencing-style GPS periodic ping.

    • Kirk

      It isn’t geofencing. An app using geofencing will show an outlined location icon. This is showing the full purple icon which means that it is using the actual location service (same as an active GPS app). Deleting he Google app fixed it for me on both the ipad and iPhone.

      • janakj

        Right, which is why I said “geofencing-style,” though that’s probably the wrong term. I was just trying to say it doesn’t constantly have your GPS radio on, draining battery. I had it active the entire day yesterday, and my iPhone 5’s battery was pretty much its usual self, with the device staying cool.

        • Kirk

          Odd. On both my devices it was showing as constantly active. Is the location services icon showing active on your iPhone 5?

          • janakj

            Yep, it’s always on. But that doesn’t automatically translate to a battery life impact.

          • Kirk

            Really strange. I definitely noticed a battery life improvement on both my iPad 3 & iPhone 5 after deleting it. Hope they get something figured out soon as I really like some of the Google Now features.

  • Mother Hydra

    Have they not learned from the wayward weather apps released unto hundreds (thousands?) of unsuspecting souls by way of the app store? Busch-league el Goog.

    This is not to say I hate Google Now, quite the opposite. I just wish these show stoppers could be caught before being deployed via an update. Google Now, on its merits, is incredible in every way Siri disappoints.

  • Luděk Roleček

    After installing Google Now and enabling location services my iPhone drains battery at about 25% / hour rate. After disabling Location Services in Google Now settings it’s immediately back to its normal ~3% / hour rate.

    If you don’t need super fresh traffic information I suggest turning it off. Traffic info still works, it’s just that there are no alerts for high traffic and traffic card might have slightly older data.

    • The White Tiger

      I think you have a greater issue than Now. My iPhone 5 was draining at about 5% per hour. Perhaps you’re in an area where the phone has difficulty syncing up with GPS?

      • Luděk Roleček

        Location Services don’t use GPS exclusively. Google itself claims that their app uses cell towers and wifi networks as a low-power alternative to pinpoint your location.

  • DanPierce

    This is not a new flaw. I noticed it happening with the Google search app for a while; way before they added Google Now. I had to shut off location services just for the Google app.