After opening up Google Now to a limited trial in January, which saw third party apps given access to display cards in users Google Now stream, it seems like Google is going to open access up even further.
At South-by-SouthWest (SXSW), Aparna Chennapragada, Director of Product Management for Google Now has spoken about how Google is currently working on a plant to offer an open API for Google Now in the future, meaning that any developer could build the function into their apps.
Combined with the existing limited trial, this is seen as a big move forward for Google who has been quite protective of the Google Now stream since it was introduced back in 2012. But it’s one fraught with possible danger, with many people worried that opening up access will mean a flood of useless cards in their stream, which has so far been quite an excellent source of contextually useful information.
When asked how Google intended to handle showing data from rival apps, Chennapragada advised ‘individual user app usage patterns would help guide which data should be shown’.
As well as discussing the API, Chennapragada also spoke about how Google Now developed the almost psychic ability to present the correct card to users at the correct time. Chennapragada said that this was initially done by guessing what would be useful, but was later refined through the use of surveys and focus groups who advised multiple times per day what information would be useful.
Also discussed was future Google Now functionality, functions such as the ability to get information on theme park ride queue times. The Google Now team is also working on more easter eggs such as ‘Flip a coin’.