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.
- 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.
- For some companies such as Ford, a Google Now partnership is a great marketing vehicle.
- 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).
- 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.
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.