Google Now for Android Full of APIs

Adam DuVander
Jun. 27 2012, 12:48PM EDT

At Google I/O, the developer conference in San Francisco taking place this week, the search giant announced a Siri-like service, Google Now. Users can ask questions and get answers directly in what they call "smart cards." Those cards, with flight delays and sports scores, update automatically. And you'd better believe that within each of these cards is an API call.

Among the features of Google Now:

  • Tells you how long your commute will take, with an option for alternate routes. (Google Directions API)
  • Those that commute by train or bus can see the next arrivals. (Google Directions API)
  • When traveling, see nearby places and get local recommendations. (Google Places API, Zagat)
  • See your next appointment and see when to leave. (Google Calendar API, Google Directions API)
  • If you have an upcoming flight, see the terminal, gate and its status. (Likely an external source, such as Flight Stats API)
  • Updates you on favorite sports teams in real-time with the score. (Likely one of the 3 sports data APIs)
  • While traveling, automatically gives you translation, currency conversion and the time back home. (Google Translate API, Unofficial Google Currency Converter)

Of course, we don't know for sure that Google is using the same APIs that anyone can access. There are clearly some private APIs involved here. Still, Google Now shows how APIs can bring the right information at the right time.

Photo by PJ Rosenberg via Abraham Williams

Adam DuVander -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.

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