Enable Google Now with Google Apps for Business account

19 Dec

I recently got my brand new Nexus 4 and it totally changed my opinion about Android (for the better).

I couldn’t emphasize more how Samsung ruins the Jelly Bean experience with what it does to it on the S3 – but that’s a totally different story. In short: I start to fall in love with Android since I own the Nexus 4.

One quirk that bothered me: I was unable to use Google Now. When swiping from bottom to top, no Google Now cards showed up. Also the Settings for the Google Search app had no option to turn on Google Now.

Turns out, if you’re setting up your Android phone with a Google Apps for Business account – not a vanilla Gmail one – Google Now has to be enabled by your Google Apps administrator.

Unfortunately, the settings to do so have been burdened in the Google Apps control panel to a level, where I wonder whether Google does not want us to find those or their usability engineer called in sick the day they got added.

If you came here, you might be as desperate as I was, so here is the path to enabling Google Now:

  • Launch your Google Apps control panel by going to http://google.com/a/<your custom domain>.
  • Click Organization & Users.
  • Click Services.
  • Scroll all the way down until you reach Google+.
  • Click on the Configure premium features link.
  • In the left pane select Mobile.
  • Scroll all the way down to Android settings.
  • Check the boxes for Enable Google Now and the optional Enable Lock Screen Widgets.
  • Do not forget to hit Save.

The next time you launch the Google Search app on your Android phone, Google Now will prompt you whether you want to activate the service. In case you’ve got multiple Gmail / Google Apps for Business accounts, you can select the one used for Google Now.

Below are some screenshots in case you’re still lost. If you found this helpful, you might want to add me on Google+ and Twitter.

Enabling Google Now for Google Apps for Business customers Enabling Google Now for Google Apps for Business customers

Tags: , ,
10 replies
  1. Dork says:

    You could have simply just clicked on Settings tab and then on Mobile.

  2. KennyMac says:

    Thanks for that – couldn’t find it anywhere!!
    Hasn’t started to work on my phone (Galaxy Note 2 running 4.1.1) but I’m sure it will come through eventually.

  3. Gareth Conner says:

    Thanks so much. I have been hunting for that setting for months!

  4. Dave Davis says:

    Thanks a million! They really don’t make it easy to find!
    Working perfectly (well… as perfectly as expected) now.

    Thanks Ralf!

  5. James Brown says:

    Wonderful! Perfect article. Just updated my phone and this is what I needed to enable the service. Thank you.

  6. Formation google apps says:

    Thanks for the information, very very very interesting post !

  7. Colin says:

    Thanks for this. Couldn’t find anything else on how to enable it!

  8. David says:

    That was really helpful. Thank you for the taking the time to pass on the information. Note that the procedure has changed slightly as noted in a post above. The important part is that you got us to the hidden control panel that I never knew existed!

  9. zayed says:

    I went to the link but it says ‘request cannot be helped right now’. What can I do to start Google Now. I have been wanting to activate this for a long time. Help me out man!

  10. Sabine says:

    Where can I find this “custom domain” you refer to in the first step? I am confused. I only registered a email for my Nexus 10 and 4


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Copyright 2017 by Ralf Rottmann.