A Google Now open API is in the works… and support for theme park ride queue times

A Google Now open API is in the works… and support for theme park ride queue times

Google Now will one day be able to work with information from all of the apps you use. Expanding on the current pilot program that works with 40 third-party services, the plan is to offer an open API in the future, that anyone can build into their apps.

Aparna Chennapragada, Director of Product Management for Google Now gave an interesting insight into ‘behind the scenes’ of the internet giant’s personalized predictive data service to Marketing Land’s Danny Sullivan in a session at SXSW today.

When asked by an attendee how Google Now would handle competing data from rival apps, Chennapragada said individual user app usage patterns would help guide which data should be shown.

In addition to mentioning the plan for an open API, Chennapragada explained how Google decides what information to include in Google Now cards.

The company started out by simply guessing what would be useful, but then surveyed a panel of users by providing them with an app that asked them several times a day what information they would find helpful at that particular moment. Google surveyed thousands of users at a time, over several rounds of surveys. This identified trends that guided the product’s development.

Chennapragada still also uses personal experiences to influence Google Now. A visit to Disneyland inspired her to get the team working on future support for theme park ride queue times. There was no word on when this might become available though.

Actionable, relevant, timely data

Chennapragada also said that while some types of notification are applicable to everyone, Google Now could do more to identify and respond to personal tollerances, such as how long before a flight people like to arrive at the airport. The focus for the Google Now team over the next few six-to-twelve months is to marry Google’s understanding of the world with personal circumstances.

Another fun insight was that the Google Now team is working on ‘Easter eggs’, similar to Google Search’s ‘flip a coin‘. Maybe something to look out for on April Fools Day?

Sadly, the session was briefly interrupted by a false alert fire alarm – Google Now couldn’t have predicted that.

Read next: The secret to insane productivity? Will power