Google’s Ingenious Plan to Make Apps Obsolete

Aparna Chennapragada, director at Google Now, speaks during the Google I/O 2015 keynote presentation in San Francisco, Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Aparna Chennapragada, director at Google Now, speaks during the Google I/O 2015 keynote presentation in San Francisco, Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Aparna Chennapragada, director at Google Now, speaks during the Google I/O 2015 keynote presentation in San Francisco, Thursday, May 28, 2015. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

(Wired) – Google showed off any number of potentially revolutionary technologies at its I/O developer conference keynote Thursday. There was Jump, a platform for generating 3D virtual reality content, and Brillo, Google’s latest entrant into the smart-home horse race. But the company’s most important announcement was the evolution of a technology that’s nearly three years old. It laid out a course for making apps obsolete and getting users back onto the web, where Google is master. And that course is paved by Google Now.

Getting To Now

Google Now project manager Aparna Chennapragada presented a vision for Now in which it not only provides all the information you could possibly need, but also knows when you need it and in what form. That’s always been the logical path forward for Android’s digital assistant. But Now was limited by its ability to draw info primarily from Google services like Gmail and Maps. No longer. Last month, the company announced new integrations with 70 services; at I/O, Chennapragada confirmed the number now tops 100.

More impressive, though, might be Google Now’s contextual awareness, its ability to know where you are and what you might need there. “We understand more than 100 million places,” Chennapragada said during her presentation. “Not just their physical layout and geometry, but also interesting things like when are they busy, when are they open, and what are you likely to need when you’re there.”

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