Earlier this year, I wrote a post on how Google Search for iOS (which includes Google Now features) ran Location Services constantly, even when the app wasn’t running. My fellow bloggers took to the Internet in droves to protest. Google fired back that it wasn’t an issue and wasn’t greatly impacting battery life. Legions of us (myself included) uninstalled the app.
Well, we may have overreacted a bit.
A few days ago, tired of the constant nagging to “Download the Google Search app” when I ran searches in Dolphin or Safari, I finally gave in and downloaded the darned app again. This time I was greeted with this message:
Note: You may notice the Location Services icon in your status bar after you start using Google Now. It appears because Google Search sometimes reports your location even when you’re not actively using the app. Google Now uses these reports to give you traffic alerts and other updates. Updates don’t require use of the the GPS; they’re optimized to use Wi-Fi and cell towers. So, you should be able to get all of the Google Now features without compromising your battery life.
Based on my experience, they look to be correct. I haven’t noticed a significant impact on my battery life since I downloaded the app. I’ve given it full Location Services permissions. The icon is visible much of the time on my phone. I use the app several times a day (I do love swiping those cards), and all is well on the battery front. I still charge it about every other day, as I had been. When I charge it daily, it’s because I’ve fielded lots of calls.
So either they adjusted how the app works in response to all the coverage, or we overreacted. If you’ve got an iOS device and want to have fun with Google. Now cards, go ahead. It doesn’t look like you’ll destroy your battery life.