First came Google Assistant, the, well, personal assistant that Google hopes will give it a leg up against Amazon’s all-knowing Alexa and keep Apple’s witty Siri on toes. The arrival of Google Assistant meant that Google Now got pushed further into oblivion in Google’s maze. To access Google Now was no longer possible directly from a device’s home screen by double tapping or holding down the home button. One either needed to start typing into the Google search widget or open the Google app in order to gain access to Google Now.
Suffice to say, even gaining access to Google Now on Tap, the evolution of Google Now that brought the feature to the entire device where it would pop up to provide context and additional information, also became hard. One needed to make a choice between Assistant, which now permanently occupied the home button long-press, and Now on Tap. It’s not hard to visualize who won that contest.
As if that wasn’t enough, Google has, since last December been testing a new (Facebook) news feed-style feed that, effectively, means that Google Now is, well, dead. Sad to say but it is what it is. Google Now has been confined to a corner and it may never matter again.
According to the Verge, “With the introduction of the feed, the Google Now brand is going away, and the updates it used to contain are moving to a secondary tab called “updates.” The main space underneath the search bar will now contain a stream of cards related to your interests.”
The feed is Google Now but better and with a swanky new name that reflects Google’s new ambitions. The question is, will users, who may already be used to recommendations by their friends on Facebook on what is making the news, swap that for a machine?
That’s pretty much it. The new feed that Google is rolling to users around the world over the next few days will let users know news-related and other content directly from the Google app, instead of the updates they were used to seeing courtesy of Now. Of course, like Google Now, the new feed’s content curation is informed by one’s declared interests and those that it automatically determines, thanks to machine learning.
In order to make sure users are always up to date, something important in this era of fake news and more so when Google’s competitors like Facebook have invested heavily in banking on news content, items appearing in the feed will be heavily pegged on any trending news items in one’s locality.
That’s not all, though. So that the feed is very relevant, users will see a “follow” button every time they search for something on the Google app so that they can be informed on any related content or updates, in the feed.
Before everyone says it, rest in peace, Google Now, it was nice knowing you.