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Google's Virtual Assistant Will Pull In Data From Airbnb, Lyft and Others

Okay, Google. Show me the goods.

Google Now, the search giant’s intelligence layer that runs within the Google mobile app and smartly pulls up info for the user, will soon start pulling in data from third-party apps to show even more information.

More than 40 apps will now integrate directly with Google Now, including Airbnb, Instacart, Lyft, Pandora, Shazam, eBay and Belly. Snippets of relevant info from these apps will appear in the form of “cards,” or pop-ups that appear on the home screen of Android smartphones.

Previously, the Google Now cards would show updates on things like traffic, weather, sports team, TV shows and upcoming reservations, but based on user account data and activity. For example, a Google Now card might pop up asking you if you’d like to make a reservation, based on your location and your searches on Airbnb. Now, a reservation reminder will come directly from the Airbnb app, in the form of a Google Now card.

Aparna Chennapragada, Google’s director of product management, said in a blog post that the aim is to improve accessibility to information, since users now only see the info they need if they get an app notification, or take the time to open up the app themselves.

Google hasn’t said how many people are using Google Now, but it’s available as a software opt-in for any smartphone running Android 4.1 or later, which makes up over half of all Android devices. It is often compared with Apple’s Siri, in the sense that both are mobile virtual assistants, but they are notably different in the way they operate.

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