Google Now, a contextual application that pops up useful information where and when you need it, gains seven new or updated information sources. The software, which uses easy-to-read cards to provide information, is part of the Google Search app for Android 4.1 or better devices, and is available as an upgrade in the Google Play store.
So what new cards can you expect to see after the upgrade?
- Car rentals. Google Now can read your reservation details from email confirmations and show that information, along with directions to the car rental facility, when appropriate during travel.
- Concert tickets. Head to the concert venue and Google Now pops up your event ticket along with additional, related information.
- Public transit. Google Now already had a card for this, but it gains improvements. Expect information about the last train or bus on your route home early enough so that you don’t miss it.
- Commute sharing. This new card can help you notify the family that you’ve left work and on the way home. You can pick and choose who sees your departure and arrival time.
- Search reminders. When searching for people related to music, film and TV shows, a new “remind me” button will appear. Tap it and Google Now will surface a reminder when new content from those people is available.
- TV card. Google Now could already identify a live TV show simply by listening to it. With the update, it can now share more information about mentioned news and music playing in TV shows.
- NCAA Football. Search for your favorite NCAA football team and Google Now will start showing real-time scores during the games.
Google didn’t mention that the iOS version of Google Now will have these updates, but I’d expect them to follow in the near future.
As someone who typically uses Android devices, I’m finding that Google Now is a solid step forward to more contextual computing. It’s a big time saver and has on occasion saved me from being late to an appointment: Thanks to real-time traffic data, Google Now can tell you to leave early for appointments, for example.
The latest cards and improvements will only make the experience better and I’m wondering how Google Now could fit into any plans for a Google smartwatch. This type of information at a glance — when you need it, as well — seems a perfect fit for a wrist. Or for your eyes, which is why Google Now fits nicely in Google Glass as well.