Google Now is the search giant’s newest attempt to make the smart phone smarter. The intelligence layer running within the Google mobile app saves users the trouble of looking for desired apps themselves. Instead, Google Now searches for you and surfaces with the right app at just the right time.
The program is going to get even smarter, as it will soon start pulling in data from third-party apps to show even more information.
Calling out the change on their blog, Google wrote:
“In the morning, catch up on news of the day with cards from The Guardian. On your commute, Pandora can give you recommendations for music to play, based on what you like, or you can be reminded to complete your daily French lesson on Duolingo. During your downtime, you can take care of the groceries, with a card from Instacart reminding you to stock up on the things you often order. If you’re planning a trip and looked up places to stay on your Airbnb app but couldn’t make up your mind, you’ll see Now cards from Airbnb for the location and dates you’ve researched. And when you land at an airport, you’ll see a card to order a Lyft.”
More than 40 new third-party apps will now integrate directly with Google Now. Notable additions include Airbnb, Instacart, Lyft, Pandora, Shazam, eBay and Belly. Snippets of relevant info from these apps will appear in the form of “cards” or pop-ups that appear on the home screen of Android smartphones.
Before, Google Now cards used to show updates on things like traffic, weather, sports teams, TV shows and upcoming reservations. The programs knew to send the updates based on previous account activity.
For example, in the past a Google Now card might pop up asking you if you’d like to make a reservation if you were away from your home location and searching Airbnb. Now a reservation reminder will come directly from room-sharing app itself, albeit in the form of a Google Now card.
Google Now is available as a software opt-in for any smartphone running Android 4.1 or later, or about half the Android phones that are out there today. While often compared with Apple’s Siri, the two takes on “virtual personal assistant” are quite different in what they do.