Google’s minimalist and vastly used Android launcher and search engine, “Google Now” is about to get even more useful thanks to new support for third-party apps. According to the official Google Search blog, you’ll soon see cards in Google Now from Airbnb, Lyft, and “several dozen,” other apps.
Starting today, the Google app on Android can help you keep up with all the good stuff in 40 different apps at a glance—it’ll bring you Now cards to help you out with your day-to-day life, giving you information that’s helpful to you, right when you need it.
For example, if a person has both the Google Now update (it’s rolling out to Android users first, starting today) and the Airbnb app downloaded on their phone or tablet, Airbnb will feed into Google Now the listings a person has searched for and what dates they were looking at booking a property. The information will show up as a Now card asking the user if they want to book the place they were looking at, a few days before the potential rental dates. Your information is automatically organized into simple cards that appear just when they’re needed. Now cards are ready whenever you are so you can spend less time digging and more time living.
The changes will result in more than 40 new cards being available to users, and that no user data from Google Now itself (such as what stock or sports teams a user follows) will be shared with third-parties in the process.
According to the Wall Street Journal, no user data from Google Now will be shared with third parties and though some Now cards will be triggered by location, your location itself won’t be shared. If you do tap on that third-party Now card though, it’ll launch that particular third-party app and it would get your data as it would normally. So far, third-party integration will only work with Android and only if you have those third-party apps installed.
Some companies that plan to integrate their services with Google Now will have to balance the desire to reach those users with concerns about what data may be too private to share with Google, according to a person at one company that works closely with Google.
Google is rolling out over this new feature within the next few weeks. Google had planned to integrate cards with more apps and expand this feature over time. Until then, make sure to update to the latest version of the Google app and your other favorite apps, and be on the lookout for handy Now cards to help you with tasks big and small.
Android has always been able to receive notifications from third party apps. Now you can receive app information from Google Now making it an even more centralized place to receive the information you want when you want it. We’re looking forward to seeing the complete listing of apps that will play nice with Google Now. But we are also concerned with the card aspect; what is limiting this from becoming another notification area and overloaded with cards from every application you download. If this case happens then that’s definitely a weak spot—but in general, we think it’s a pretty solid service.