Google Now offers entertainment content alerts, location sharing

LG's new smartphone, the G2, on display during a launch event in New York. The G2 is among new phones featuring Google Now, an all-knowing personalized information app.
(Emmanuel Dunand / AFP/Getty Images)

Google Now, the omniscient notification app in newer Android smartphones and tablets, added a feature this week that could be beneficial for the entertainment industry.

“When searching for music artists, movie actors, filmmakers and TV shows on Google, you’ll see a new ‘remind me’ button on the panel by the search results,” Google’s Android team said in a Google+ post.

If a user clicks on the reminder button, the Google Now app will display an alert for related “new albums, book releases or upcoming TV episodes.” Google could then link to places where consumers could buy that content -- such as the Google Play store.


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The new-content reminder is one of several new types of “cards,” or alerts, coming to Google Now through the Google Search app for Android devices.

The others include scores for college football games, a note about when the last crucial train or bus departs for public transit riders and information about the news or music playing on smart televisions if it’s connected to the same Wi-Fi network as the mobile device.

The other stand-out feature appears to be based on the recently shut-down Google Latitude location-sharing app.

The new commute-sharing feature automatically notifies a user’s chosen friends from the Google+ social network when that user leaves work, how far away he or she is and when he or she arrives. The user’s boss and colleagues could track the journey.

The user’s friends receive the notifications through Google Now and have the option to decline to receive them.

The feature could be useful to cut down on texting while driving and could help Google entice more people to figure out how Google+ works. Latitude had been folded into Google+, but neither app has been a wild success. The feature also rivals one in Waze, the driving directions app that Google recently bought.

Location appears to be a growing emphasis for Google. The Google Keep note-taking app now gives users the option to be reminded via Google Now about a note when they arrive at a preselected location. For example, a user could type a note before going to bed about needing to double-check a file at the office the next day. Arrive at the office and Google Now will display the reminder.

Google Now already scans users’ Gmail messages to give them alerts about flight and hotel reservations. This week’s update adds car rental reservations and concert tickets into the fold. Alongside the concert ticket information will be links to “relevant” local websites.

If you haven’t already seen an update for Google Now, it should be coming shortly.


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