Google updates Google Now, makes it more prominent on phones
The fourth update puts the Google Now app front and center on users' smartphones
IDG News Service - Google is rolling out some enhancements to Google Now, a mobile app that gives Android users personalized information on the fly. The changes could help make the tool a bigger part of people's daily lives.
The updates put the app front and center on mobile devices. Previously, users had to swipe upward on their smartphone screen to access Google Now, which works like a personal assistant by automatically generating "cards" with information based on a user's location and activities.
The update brings those cards to the device's home or lock screen so users don't have to open the app to see them, making Google Now function like a "widget," Google said.
The cards give people in-the-moment information, related to whatever they might be doing at the time. That might include updated driving directions based on traffic conditions, or information about a flight delay or the latest score in a football game.
The update puts three Google Now cards on the device's home screen, and people can assign different levels of importance to different cards. So a change in traffic patterns might trump, say, a rise in a company's stock price, pushing that information to the top of a person's phone while hiding the stock quote.
Google Now was last updated in December to scan people's Gmail inbox for boarding passes and suggest places to visit while traveling, among other changes. Those new functions were seen as rivals to the Passbook program in Apple's iOS, which pulls boarding documents and other passes together into one place on the iPhone.
But the Google Now update, available for devices running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean or higher, is meant to give users even "more of the information you need, at just the right time," Google product management director Baris Gultekin said Wednesday in a blog post.
"Today, we're making Google Now even more useful by integrating new partners and making all your information even easier to access," he said. The new partners include movie sites Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango, and the Zillow real estate database.
With Fandango, for instance, the widget could remind a person when to leave for a movie theater, and pull up their tickets on arrival, Google said. And with Zillow, Google Now can bring up nearby real estate listings from its database and give additional information about the listing when the person is inside, say, the kitchen at the open house, the blog post said.
Wednesday's changes are the fourth update to Google Now since it launched last June, the company said.
"When Google Now first launched last summer, we promised it was just the beginning, and it would continue to get better at delivering you more of the information you need, before you even ask," Google's Gultekin said in the blog post.
- Yahoo can't stall Bing rollout in Taiwan, Hong Kong
- Google keeps Bing, Yahoo at bay in search business
- Google updates Google Now, makes it more prominent on phones
- Yahoo to focus on search -- and Google
- Microsoft's Bing counters Google with Yelp partnership
- Mozilla dumps Yandex as default search for Russian Firefox
- Google aims to make search smarter, easier
- Microsoft Bing goes social in search war with Google
- Facebook tries to out-Google Google with new search tool
- Google, Microsoft each seek search 'game changer'
- Data on the Move = Business on the Move; How Strategic Secure Managed File Transfer Adds Value and Drives Business This whitepaper describes the formal and informal file-sharing methods business employees use to perform their daily functions and explains that, from sending small...
- Path Selection Infographic Path Selection Infographic
- Hyperconvergence Infographic A wide range of observers agree that data centers are now entering an era of "hyperconvergence" that will raise network traffic levels faster...
- Preparing Your Infrastructure for the Hyperconvergence Era From cloud computing and virtualization to mobility and unified communications, an array of innovative technologies is transforming today's data centers.
- Supercharge Your Web and Mobile App Development with High-Productivity Hybrid Cloud Webinar: Hear from industry experts about the amazing power at the intersection of next-generation web and mobile application development and cloud platforms.
- Cloud Knowledge Vault Learn how your organization can benefit from the scalability, flexibility, and performance that the cloud offers through the short videos and other resources... All Internet White Papers | Webcasts
Our new weekly Consumerization of IT newsletter covers a wide range of trends including BYOD, smartphones, tablets, MDM, cloud, social and what it all means for IT. Subscribe now and stay up to date!