Google Now is flinging open the doors to developers, teasing plans for giving any app permission to play nicely with Android's digital assistant.
Aparna Chennapragada, the director of product management for Google Now, detailed some of the plans for making this happen during a talk at SXSW Monday. It's not the first time third-party apps have been granted access to Google Now, as there's already a pilot program for 40 larger services like Airbnb, Pandora, and Duolingo.
For example, if you perform a search on Airbnb for a place to stay in New York, a Google Now card may pop up with more recommendations. With the new developer tools other apps will be able to build in similar functionality, using your preferences and usage patterns to try and be helpful.
Chennapragada also said Google is working on more suggestions based on your location, like notifying you of wait times for theme park rides, inspired by a recent trip to Disneyland.
For now, Google Now is restricted to information from your Google account and the apps on the "in" list. Google Now details the weather, traffic alerts, recommends TV shows, and updates you on your favorite sports teams. It's also a rather good travel assistant.
The impact on you: Google Now is one of the best features of Android, putting a lot of key information right on your home screen if you use the Google Now Launcher. It speeds up tasks like checking the weather and traffic because you don't need to leap into a series of different apps. However, machine learning always has its quirks, as evidenced by this Google Now misadventure with Sir Mix-A-Lot.