Earlier this year, Google announced Now cards that provide third-party app data within the Google app. The initial release limited third-party app integration to around 30 apps for a total of 40 Now cards. Closed API integration with the 30 apps enabled the integration and allows Google to keep a close watch on the sharing and use of data. Now, Google has expanded its partner base by 70, which greatly increases the Now card offering.
The goal of Now cards remains the same: "Now cards in the [Google] app proactively bring you information at the right time without you even having to ask," according to a Google blog post. With an app partner base more than twice the size of the original base, the potential of Google understanding the data a user wants to see greatly increases. How does Google "proactively" provide data a user might want? Google provided a couple of use cases in its blog announcement:
For example, if you book a Zipcar out for a day hike, you can keep track of your return time and get directions to the drop-off location with Now cards — checking them is as easy as a simple tap on the Google app.
Or need a good playlist on a Friday night? Now cards can recommend playlists and stations from Spotify, TuneIn or YouTube based on your preferences.
Similar to the original announcement, Google withheld any API integration specifics with the third-party apps. For now, we can only assume that the API remains closed to the partner companies, and Google provided no guidance on the potential to open the API to the broader app community. The only technical aspect of the announcement was limited to the need for users to update to the latest version of both the Google app and the partner apps in order to enjoy the new Now cards. Google hinted that more apps remain on the road map.