Google has added a half-dozen new travel and entertainment features to its personalized search service Google Now. With the additions, the company is aiming to capture the attention of the real-world consumer, such as a sports fan watching an NCAA football game, or the recently landed tourist trying to find their rental car.
Like Twitter, Google is drawing on a lot of evidence that indicates people are increasingly consuming entertainment — TV or otherwise — while tapping away on mobile devices to get more information and connect with other viewers. The new features include:
- New cards for car rentals, concert tickets, and commute sharing.
- Improved cards for public transit and TV, which now aurally identifies music and program information.
- The ability to set search reminders for new media releases, as well as receive real-time NCAA football scores.
Google Now pulls information from all of your Google services in a bid to provide relevant information depending on your time and location. So for travelers, the car rentals card, which complements the boarding pass and hotel reservation cards, directs them to the rental centre; the concert ticket card will bring up the ticket once the user arrives at the venue; and the commute-sharing card informs users’ loved ones that they have just left work and are heading home.
However, Google’s America-specific focus has irked users around the world.
On the company’s blog post announcing the features, international users have complained about the lack of local support from Google. “Google now is very US centric. I wish Google concentrated more on providing local content on a global basis,” wrote Google+ user Kumarjit Sen.
The Google Now update is for Android 4.1+. There is no word on whether the iOS version, which has been largely neglected, will get the new features anytime soon.