Google Inc. is doing all it can to keep its number one ranking on the search market, and this Friday, it launches a new way to do just that. The firm turned to more than 40 third-party companies, such as Airbnb, eBay, Lift, to allow them to share information directly into Google Now.
Google Now is a rather recent service (it was launched in 2012), a predictive search app designed for Android phones and Wear smartwatches, and also for the Chrome web browser. Ever since its release, Google Now is said to have opened a new door in the future of search technology, allowing Google to provide quick information to its users, even before they request it.
Are you wondering how? Based on most frequent searches they did using Google: traffic news for the commute, sport matches scores, assisting on flight and accommodation reservations, event planning, tracking packages, sharing trending news stories, and, most frequently, the weather. Until this Friday, Google Now’s sole source was the user’s Google account – information combined from each Google.com search and relevant bits from the Gmail account.
The layout of Google Now used a system called “cards”—electronic cards sized as to contain the quick bit of information searched by the user (the weather, a news headline), presented in the form of a feed of instant information.
However, today Google Now is officially inviting more than 35 apps to partake in sharing information for the Now cards. All the non-Google apps on the phone will sync with Google Now, sharing relevant data for the user.
For example, if you have the updated Google app (currently available only to Android users) and, let’s say, the Airbnb app on your smartphone or tablet, Google Now will sync them and allow Airbnb to feed the information on the properties you’re looking to book, everything fitted in the shape of a Now card, reminding the user a few days before the rental dates about their interest in a certain property.
Google representatives have stated that even though as much as 40 new cards are being made available to users, no information about the person using Google Now would be shared with those third-party apps in the process. Your stock interests and favorite sport teams remain safe and protected.
The update will allow some of the new linked apps to trigger fresh Now cards based on your location, but this does not mean that Google will share your geographical position with that app. However, when the user taps on the Now card shared by a third-part app, the said app will launch, and their data collection process begins, exactly like it would if accessed in a normal, outside-of-Google-Now way.
The main strategy behind inviting third party apps to Google Now is the desire of making it more useful and, at the same time, more popular among old and new users. However, it is also a time for Google Now to spend money, because, at least for now, it will not charge any fees for providing opportunities for the third-party companies to be more accessible.
If you want a glimpse of what will happen inside Google Now after the update, here’s a quick peek. Car-pooling company Lift will send a Now card to people arriving at an airport, expecting them to be searching for a ride. EBay will be prompting cards with items you’re currently bidding on. Kayak will let you know about flights you’ve searched before, whose prices have gone down. Most of the new Now cards have moved a step forward from predicting search – they are now facilitating purchases on so many domains.
Google Now will also implement formal media apps, such as The Economist, which will push Now card linking to new posts. In the same manner, The Guardian will send you links for recipes. On the music front, Shazam, the app which helps you to identify the music playing around you, will gently remind you of music you discovered recently through their app.
But you don’t have to worry. If you do not want the third-party integration for your Google Now account, you can deny permission from using external data by accessing Google Now’s “Web & App Activity” settings. But if you do want it, all you need is non-Google apps on your phone, and Google Now will absorb them into its feed.
Larry Page, Google’s CEO and co-founder, presented an interesting take on the future of Google search. He spoke at a summer conference last year about the vision of bringing Google to the stage where users don’t even have to access the search box. Their unasked questions will already have their answers in Google Now.
Image Source: Life Hacker
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