This morning at an oddly mysterious* event in Mountain View, Google announced a minor, but not insignificant, update to their Google Search app for iOS: Push Notifications.
[* “Mysterious” in the sense that Google told us to meet them at their Mountain View campus, then quickly shuffled us onto a bus and got on the freeway without telling us much about where we were headed. I was pretty sure I was about to be assimilated into the Android army. Turns out, they were taking us to a garage that Larry and Sergey rented from Google’s now senior VP Susan Wojcicki a few years into their Googlequest.]
So, what does all that mean for you? Mostly, that Google Now for iOS will be able to alert you of things it’s noticed without you having to enter the app. If the traffic is jammed on your route to work, for example, it can throw an alert directly to your lock screen.
If you’re an Android user, that feature might seem a bit old-hat. As Google Now can run constantly in the background on Android, it’s been able to do such things for a while now. On iOS, however, most apps are shuffled into a state of hibernation, requiring developers to use Apple’s push notification system to send background alerts to the user. Until now, Google Now for iOS hadn’t made use of these notifications.