​Google Now and third party apps: One interesting dance

For some third party apps, a partnership with Google Now will be a mobile boon. Others won't be so lucky. Time will tell.

Google Now has added more than 40 cards---snazzy data delivery services that make Android worth the price of admission---courtesy of data from third party apps.

The move is interesting for multiple reasons, but here are the highlights.

  1. Google's relying on third party data indicates that maybe it doesn't have all the information that's useful to you. And silly me thought they knew everything.
  2. For some companies such as Ford, a Google Now partnership is a great marketing vehicle.
  3. For other companies, the partnership is a risk because Google can step between you and your customer (yeah that's you Airbnb and The Guardian).
  4. Google needs to index apps if it's going to remain relevant in search. Throwing third party apps some love is a nice way to index them too.

Add it up and there's a nice dance to watch going forward. Google Now has been largely a Google-driven vehicle. Google Now cards are ridiculously helpful at times---so much so they freak you out.

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Third party apps makers will see a Google Now partnership as either a boon or a deal with the Borg. I seriously doubt there's much in between.

Android users probably won't care about the dance between Google and its app partners. But it's worth watching what partners get a lift from Google Now and what ones get absorbed. Hint: Ford and Walgreens can benefit. Lyft, TripAdvisor and The Economist may have a few issues.

We'll see. In the meantime, hang back and watch the Google Now platform unfold.

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