Airbnb, Lyft and other 38 apps are getting their own cards in Google Now, so that Android users have all the info they need, exactly when they need it. This is particularly useful for owners of Android Wear smartwatches.
Third-party apps as Google Now cards are really not a surprise, as the Mountain View company has been planning to add this feature for quite some time now. What is a surprise, however, is the impact this new update has the Android Wear platform, where the Google Now cards represent an essential element of the UI. Think of it this way: the latest Google Now update makes Android Wear smartwatches even smarter, and that’s not something you get to see everyday. After all, the wearables already have all the hardware they need for performing well for years to come (after all, you’re planning to play FPS games on your smartwatch, are you?) so it’s now the duty of app developers to make these devices better.
The 40 3rd-party apps that are getting support for Google Now (which you can see in the above and below pictures), have been cherry-picked, to ensure that Android Wear users (as well as the ones of the smartphone variety) are getting a lot of added value. Everything seems to be covered, from fitness tracking and language learning to online shopping, traveling and even flight searching.
Until now, Google Now has been keeping things fairly tidy, with its minimalistic design and relatively small number of cards. In this context, some fear that the app could get a little bit too crowded, but chances are that people use only a few of these 40 apps at a given time. Besides, even if you’re using all of them, you can choose which cards should be displayed. One thing I’m certain of is that this is only the beginning, and more 3rd-party apps will get their own cards.
Cortana will soon join the Personal Assistant fight, and by the looks of it, Siri will end up on the third place. S-Voice and other PA apps made by smartphone manufacturers in an attempt to put an original touch on their own devices didn’t have a chance to begin with, so the real battle is between the three giants. Considering how often Google Now is getting useful updates, it will be impossible for the other two to dethrone it.