Google revealed its new line of Nexus devices today, and along with that it revealed Android 4.2, which is deemed “a new flavor of Jelly Bean”. Part of the new Jelly Bean is an improved version of Google Now, which was launched earlier this year as part of the “old” Jelly Bean.
“We designed Google Now to make life simpler by giving you the right information at just the right time in easy to read cards, before you even ask,” says Google SVP, Mobile and Digital Content, Andy Rubin. “And the feedback has been awesome. So today we’re adding more cards that we hope you’ll find useful. Flight information, restaurant reservations, hotel confirmations and shipping details—how often have you found yourself wading through your email to get this information at the last moment? So next time you book a table for dinner, you’ll get a reminder with all the details without ever having to lift a finger. You’ll also get cards for nearby attractions, interesting photo spots, movies times at nearby theaters or concerts by your favorite artists.”
If you look at this Google Now landing page, the following cards are listed as new: Flights, Hotels, Restaurant Reservations, Events, Packages, Movies, Concerts, Stocks, Developing Story & Breaking News, Nearby Attractions, and Nearby Photo Spots.
Flights gives you real-time flight status and traffic info to the airport. Hotels gives you one-touch navigation to your hotel when you arrive in a new city. Restaurant Reservations reminds you to leave for a restaurant based on live traffic info. Events gives you reminders about events you have purchased a ticket for. Packages shows you when your online orders ship. Each of these requires you to have Gmail Cards enabled. For Flights, it will also work if you have web history enabled. Restaurant Reservations also requires location services to be enabled.
Movies will show you showtimes and ratings for what’s playing in nearby theaters, and will notify you when a movie you’re interested in arrives at theaters. Concerts shows you when your favorite artists have concerts at nearby venues. These are shown based on your Google data like Web History, and if location services are enabled.
Stocks shows you real-time info about stocks you track, with data shown based on web history and your Google Finance portfolio.
Developing Story & Breaking News shows you breaking news and developing stories you may be interested in based on your web history.
Nearby attractions is pretty self-explanatory. It will only be shown if location services are enabled. Likewise for Nearby Photo Spots.
Clearly Google isn’t stopping its progress of using data from its various services in its other services, regardless of privacy concerns expressed in Europe. Perhaps it will help Google’s argument if the company can clearly demonstrate the ways in which the policy is enabling it to make its products better for users.
The Flights card seems like an extension of the Flights feature that accompanies the Gmail in web search results feature Google recently launched in field trial (particularly since it requires Gmail cards to be enabled [or web history]).
The Developing Story & Breaking News card is particularly interesting in terms of news consumption. Is it possible that as more people get access to this feature, and Google improves upon it, Google can change how people consume news yet again? It certainly can’t hurt Google as it loses publishers in Google News and gives people more reason to turn to Twitter for their news.
Here’s a look at all that’s new in the latest version of Android.