Some might find it unsettling that a $265 billion tech company in California knows them so intimately, but Google is working hard to use that data to deliver more personalized products, not just targeted ads.On Monday, Google’s predictive search feature Google Now finally rolls out for iPhone and iPad users as an update to the existing Google Search app. The tool, which has been available for Android devices since last summer, uses the wealth of data Google has about an individual to serve up information it thinks he or she will find useful at the moment it’s most needed.
On a typical weekday morning, Google Now might automatically show the weather where you live, the traffic for your morning commute and the final Giants score from the night before. If you have a trip planned, it can display your flight status, when you need to leave to get to the airport, relevant currency conversions, directions to the hotel and nearby landmarks to visit at your destination.
Each nugget of information displayed is called a card, and the types of cards a person sees depends on what Google services he or she chooses to tie into the app. Your search history tells Google Now what you’re interested in, including what sports teams you follow, music you listen to, stocks you own and the news you are most likely to follow. You can train Google Now over time by swiping away any cards that you don’t want…
Google tracking everyone and now also owning YouTube may explain some of the odd “Recommended for You” videos that pop up when you are logged in. Sometimes I’m obviously getting someone else’s targeted ads, for example.