Google Now cards are about to get a whole lot more useful. Not that they weren't useful before, mind you, but Google recently opened Now card integration to another 70 third-party (and almost third-party) apps.
With the new updates you can get reminders for Zipcar reservations, news alerts from ABC News and Circa, and workout reminders from Runkeeper.
If you don't use any of the apps above, there are more than enough popular apps included in the Google Now update to suit most users, including Open Table, Spotify, TuneIn Radio, and YouTube. You can find a complete list of Now card-enabled apps on the Google Now site.
To take advantage of the new Google Now feature you'll need the latest version of the Google app, as well as updates to all participating third-party apps. The second part may take some time, however, as not all of the third-party apps are ready to go. Google Now card support from these apps will roll out over the coming weeks.
The impact on you at home: The great thing about Google Now is it puts timely alerts in one place when you need them. If the new third-party app expansion works well, we could soon see even better Now cards than we do now. The best situation would be if some of those cards end up replacing notifications. Workout reminders and news updates are nice, but non-critical notifications like that can often be an annoyance. Google Now cards are a happy medium between an app programmed to be useful and overloading your attention.
This is the second time Google has opened up Now cards to third-party apps. The first round in January added a little over 30 apps to the mix including Airbnb, Lyft, and Pandora.
With the latest update Google Now continues to become more useful.
If you find Google Now just isn't giving you what you need check out our primer on how to train Google Now to show you better cards.