A few weeks ago, Google briefly made a “Google Now” topics page available on the web and then took it down again. The page showed a list of topics Google believed you were interested in, based on your search history. Now this feature is back, but it’s a bit different from the leaked page. A few days ago, it seems, the company quietly (re-)launched this feature with the latest Google Now update. The leaked page was also visible on the desktop, but it looks like Google has plugged this hole the cards are now only available on Android – and only by going through Google Now‘s research cards.
On this page, you can still see many (but not all) of the topics that Google thinks you are interested in. The feature will now pop up at the bottom of Google’s research cards, which often appear after Google realizes that you’ve been researching a certain topic in depth. One of the reasons for this card to pop up, for example, would be when Google detects you are planning a trip.
To see this information, Google Now offers a link will appear underneath these cards (“Explore now,” then look for the “More of your topics” links in the top right) that allows you to delve a bit deeper into the topics you recently looked for and to get a different view of your search history. Indeed, besides powering the research cards, they mostly offer you a richer view of your search history.
Unlike Google’s search history page, however, this feature shows you an aggregate view of what Google believes you are interested in, not just a list of all of your searches.
In my case, for example, Google knew that I was looking for a hotel last weekend and had been looking at hotels in New York a few weeks ago, too. It also knows that I was looking for restaurants in Portland, did some research on web browsers, smartphones and Sim City.
For now, this feature is only available on Android, as the Google Now research cards haven’t launched on iOS yet (where they would be available trough the Google Search app).
Sadly, there doesn’t seem to be a way to just surf to this page without having a research card available through Google Now.
Google Now has always been about anticipating your needs and performing searches for you before you. The research cards clearly fit into this pattern and so does the ability to delve a little bit deeper into what Google thinks it knows about you.
This, of course, shows you how much Google really knows about you – which is either really cool or creepy, depending on your overall thoughts about Google and privacy.
When Google mistakenly leaked the topics page earlier this year, it looked like this would be another step in bringing Google Now to the desktop. Sadly, it looks like that isn’t quite the case and that we’ll still have to wait a bit before Now makes it debut on Chrome for the desktop, but with the new notifications system and a flag to enable Now in Chrome, it’s just a matter of time before Google will launch this feature.