Google Now becomes a more robust platform with 70 new partner apps

Google Now -- and by extension, Android Wear -- becomes a little more useful thanks to new third-party integrations that provide highly valuable information at a glance.
Written by Kevin Tofel, Contributor

Back in January, Google announced 40 partner apps that work with Google Now, those contextual cards with tidbits of useful information. Now, the company is adding more breadth to Google Now with news of 70 additional partners.

Google Now cards from third-party partners

Here are just a handful of the new third-party app integrations Google announced on Tuesday through its official Search blog:

  • Get breaking news about the aftermath of the Nepal earthquake from ABC News, Circa, or Feedly
  • Know when your pad thai is about to arrive with reminders from Eat24 that the food you ordered will soon be on your doorstep, or get inspired with the recipe of the day from Allrecipes
  • Keep your fitness goals front and center with gentle nudges from Runkeeper, Jawbone, or Adidas
  • And if you're out to dinner, simply tap on a Now card to pay your bill with OpenTable

I've long been a fan of Google Now because of the way the service surfaces useful information at the time you need it the most. If there's heavy traffic between you and your next meeting or your ride home from work, Google Now calculates the delay and reminds you to leave that much earlier, for example, with a popup message on your phone.

Google Now isn't just for phones though. The company's smartwatch platform, Android Wear, is built heavily around such contextual information. And it's that type of information that can be consumed at a glance: Ideal for a watch.

Interestingly, the main competition to Android Wear takes an app-centric view, which is very different. I noted just last week how there were so many Apple Watch apps at launch compared to those available for Android Wear, which has been around since last June. There are already 3,500 Apple Watch apps according to the company's CEO, Tim Cook, speaking to investors just yesterday.

Google can't seem to get the same high profile apps on its watch, but with the continued expansion of Google Now partners, maybe it doesn't need to. By integrating existing phone apps with Google Now, the most useful information can still be found on an Android Wear watch.

It's a markedly different approach between the two companies and if Google wants it to work, it needs to keep expanding Google Now app partners and start educating the masses on how Google Now isn't just a bunch of pop-cards: It's a platform that provides valuable information at a glance -- on your phone or your watch.

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