Today, beta testers received version 6.5 of the Google app via the Play Store, and to their surprise, it appears that the company has brought the death of Google Now with it. But how can we tell? Well, take a look at the screenshots below. You’ll figure it out.
As you can see, found within the settings section of the Google app v6.5 is no trace of Google Now. Now Cards have been renamed to the “Feed”, while Now on Tap is simply called “Screen search”. Of course, both these new names are more straight forward and easier to understand, but it nevertheless means we’re experiencing the death of one of Android’s standout features. in fact, the feature stands out so much that iOS users have also had access to Google Now (not Now on Tap, obviously), but at this point it seems this feature’s riding off into the sunset.
Some of you may be asking why this is so since Google Now is such a major part of Google. While we don’t know for sure, our guess is due to Google eventually replacing the software with Google Assistant, a voice and AI assistant first debuted at I/O 2016. We haven’t seen this feature launch yet, however it’s expected to hit the market within the coming weeks with the launch of the new Pixel phones just around the corner. It’s been expected for a while that Now would eventually be replaced by Assistant with the former just dying off, and now it seems this speculation is coming true. And while we don’t know for sure that this is going on, we feel confident that this will be the result in the end when we all start using Assistant.
Besides the death of Google Now, also found in the new beta of the Google app is a section called “In Apps”. This feature was debuted by Google a little while ago, however it never made it’s way to Android phones or tablets in this form or fashion until now. If you navigate to the settings pane in the app, you’ll have a dedicated area where you can add a shortcut to In Apps right to your current home screen. The feature allows users to search their entire device alongside within apps like Contacts, Google Play, and Twitter. Since there’s such a wide variety of apps supported by the feature, users also have the the option of turning on or off In Apps search for certain applications. Obviously, many users will take advantage of this level of control, especially if there’s one app that keeps bugging them from within the In Apps interface.
All in all, a worthy update is in store for anyone testing out v6.5 of the Google app. Of course, these changes won’t meet the pleasure of every tester, so what’s your opinion? Should Google get rid of Now and replace it with Assistant? Let me know in the comments!