If you haven’t paid much attention to Google Now in the past, you may wish to give it a closer look. Launched in 2012, Google Now is basically a search tool built in to Android phones, Android Wear Smartwatches and the Chrome web browser that provides information in anticipation of the user’s needs. For example, it will give you traffic updates for your commute, keep you informed about your favorite sports team, track packages from your online purchases and remind you about appointments.
The information Google Now provided was previously taken from users’ Google accounts, based on their search queries, as well as information taken from their Gmail accounts.
The updated app is set to provide the user with even more information. Optional third party apps have been integrated, which will feed data into Google Now cards. As long as permission to do so has been granted by the user, that is.
There have been over 30 third party apps added so far, some of which are really useful. Lyft, ebay, Pandora, Kayak, Mint and Airbnb are a few of the big names who’ve been integrated.
How it works is that if you have the updated Google app and if you’ve downloaded the Kayak app, as an example, Kayak will feed its data about you into Google Now. The information will show up as a Now card, providing updated information on any flights you’ve been investigating, for instance.
Other examples: the Lyft card would be helpful if you’re away from home and need a ride. It will tell you how far away the closest driver is, and what the charge would be to drive you home. The Ebay card will update you about the items you have bids on; The Economist can send you links to stories you’re interested in.
Google has a list of all the new apps that Google Now supports. There’s also a long list of websites that can also have their information integrated into Google Now. And if you want to read more about the type of information you can get from Google Now, here’s a link to their example page.
These new apps are only specific for the Android version of Google Now. If you’re on iOS you’ll have to be patient. Hopefully Google Now will become a part of your life in the near future!