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Google Now gives iPhone users a taste of AndroidGoogle's personal assistant app is available for Apple devices, chat apps overtake traditional text messages, and Square Register updates with new tools for restaurants.
-It's time for iPhone users to get a taste of Android. I'm Bridget Carey and this is your CNET Update. One of the killer features of Android can now be found on Apple devices. It's called Google Now and it's part of the Google Search app in iTunes. Google Now is a service that aims to be your personal assistant. Using location, it learns about your daily commute and alerts you to traffic issues on the way home or it could tell you the best way to get to the next appointment on your Google calendar. It also keeps track of your flights and other interests such as the sports teams you follow. There's lots that can notify you about, but for Apple users, you have to keep going into the Google Search app to get use out of it unlike Android where notifications pop up. There's also a voice search option similar to asking Apple Siri a question. So, you can ask Google Now if you need a jacket today or where's the nearest Italian restaurant. It will be interesting to see how many Apple users flock to using Google Now. Although Google will grow its user base by offering it to Apple devices, it also means that Google Now is no longer an exclusive feature for Android. It also could upset long-time Android users since the majority of Android phones still cannot try it. Only Android phones with the latest 4.1 Jelly Bean operating system can use Google Now. Apps have become the more popular way to text on a phone. There are more people sending instant messages using a special smartphone chat app rather than sending a text message the standard way through SMS on the phone. The Financial Times commissioned to report by research firm, Informa, which found that more people were using popular chat apps such as WhatsApp, BlackBerry Messenger, and Apple's iMessage. In total, these apps sent and received about 19 billion messages a day compared to only 17.6 billion SMS text messages. And that study didn't even count people who use Facebook to send messages. For some users, sending a message over an app is better because it doesn't count against text message use and using a messaging app can let you send more than just a text. Take for example the app Couple. It's a private chat for two people in love. And aside from typing, you can send drawings, audio messages, and even maps of your location. Also using an app to text or video chat is a way to connect on the cheap to your international friends. You may have seen small businesses use the Square credit card swiper to process transactions through phones or tablets, but you could start seeing more quick service restaurants using Square. The Square Register service app has been updated to help restaurant managers with new tools that can make notes if a customer wants a special order and it could be printed out on a ticket sent to the kitchen. That's your tech news update. You'll find more details on these stories at CNET.com/update or you could follow along on Twitter. From our studios in New York, I'm Bridget Carey.