Google made a relatively quiet announcement today regarding how it’s pushing the developer ecosystem forward around Google Now, its intelligent personal assistant for Android devices. The company has begun extending mark up tools for emails from select partners, which help highlight flight schedules, hotel bookings and various types of reservations, to make sure that Gmail can spot that information and use it to auto-generate helpful reminders in Google Now.
The extension of the platform tools available to Now partners was announced by Google’s Baris Gultekin, who was one of the creators of Google Now, which sprung out of a project he came up with in his so-called “20 percent time.” He spoke with Google’s Louis Gray on the Developer Live video stream which ran throughout the I/O conference this year.
Gultekin was talking about ways in which Google is working to improve the quality and relevancy of the recommendations and data it surfaces. The project sounds like it’s fairly limited for now, but asking for help from the input sources of data seems like a smart way to supplement Google’s own data detection algorithms that are working to flag interesting data for Now’s use on their own data center side. Doing all the heavy lifting themselves might be more impressive, but if reaching out to partners can help improve user experience, then there’s no reason not to extend that hand.
No word yet on whether Google will eventually make those mark up tools available for different types of data or open them up for public use, but it’s easy to imagine a scenario where that happens, allowing developers and startups to provide the option of delivering all kinds of relevant information to users from their apps and services on Android. Then again, that has the potential to become overwhelming for users, so we might see a more metered, gradual approach.