Hidden code embedded in Google Now suggests the app could soon be welcoming third-party services into the fold as well as providing voice notifications on the go. If you’re a fan of the digital assistant built into Android and the Google Search app on iOS, then it looks like you’ve got plenty of new features to look forward to in 2015.
The potential upgrades were discovered thanks to some careful digging from the team at Android Police. A new ‘3rd Party Welcome’ section, together with icons covering topics such as health, eating and music, suggests that Google Now is going to eventually feature some select partners alongside the official Google apps. Still, it’s early days, and Android Police warns users not to expect too much too soon.
The voice notification features look more likely to be introduced in the near future. Voice input and output already plays a key role in the Android platform and Google’s apps, but the new framework would allow notifications to be read aloud as they arrive, no interaction required (when driving for example). Again, this might be just an experimental move on the part of Google, but it shows which way its engineers are thinking.
A new set of icons suggest that voice-activated sharing to social networks could be on the cards, while there are also signs of closer integration between Chrome and Android in the pipeline. Android Police also spotted some extra code related to desktop-to-phone sharing, but this potential feature has already been in the Google Search/Google Now app for some time.
Google Now remains an essential part of Google’s strategy — which is why it’s available on iOS as well as Android — and with Siri and Cortana nipping at its heels, the Mountain View company will be keen to keep pushing development forward as quickly as possible. This year’s Google I/O conference would be a good bet for hearing some official announcements, but there’s a few months to wait yet.