Sunday, February 1, 2015

Google Now for Android can now work with third-party apps


Google Now has probably been one of the best features the company brought to Android over the last few years, and today it's getting a big update. The company just announced that it will now allow third-party apps to generate cards in Google Now, which means the service has the potential to be a more comprehensive home what's happening in your life than ever before.
Google Now has probably been one of the best features the company brought to Android over the last few years...

A whole list of the 40 different apps that Google Now currently supports can be found here, but some of the most noteworthy inclusions are Airbnb, Pandora, The Guardian, Lyft, Ebay, Waze, and Ford. You'll only see information from these third-party services if you have the app installed, and for now this third-party app integration will only work on Android — you'll be able to get the new features when the updated Google app hits the Play Store soon.

Google gives a few examples of how these integrations might work — for example, you'll see news stories from The Guardian app showing up as cards, or you'll see Pandora recommendations on music to play. Perhaps the most fleshed-out integration Google mentioned was with the Airbnb app — if you've been searching for a place in a particular location and timeframe, the Google Now cards will show you suggestions of other options you might not have seen yet.

While it's a little early to say exactly how will this will work in practice, it's a big step forward for Google Now and the concept of having a one-stop digital assistant that has a view into all of the things you're doing and are interested in. Of course, there's the question of just how much of your personal information you'll give away with this new feature, as well. Using Google Now previously just meant that Google had a better view into all the info across all of its services, but now it's analyzing your third-party info, as well. Still, given how useful Google Now has proven thus far, it might be worth opening up some third-party apps if you're heavily reliant on the service.