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    The Pixel-exclusive rebirth of a beloved Android feature

    Friends, rabbits, internet-persons, lend me your ears (bunny-shaped or in any other case). Today, we have to take a titillating journey again in time — ‘trigger a pivotal a part of our Android-flavored previous is about to poke its manner into the current.So rewind with me for a sec, will not ya? The 12 months was 2012 — the identical actual numbers as our present second on this earth, solely with a flickety-flick of these remaining two digits. The Android model of the period was Android 4.1, higher generally known as candy, juicy Jelly Bean. Google’s Pixel telephones did not but exist; quite, the Samsung-made Galaxy Nexus served because the flagship of the platform that summer season, whereas the LG-birthed Nexus 4 was on its manner out of the digital womb and into the world.And at that exact second in time, lemme inform ya: We have been getting a glimpse of the long run.That future was a groundbreaking Google service referred to as Google Now. Remember it? Google Now launched as a part of Android 4.1 and confirmed us simply how good Google’s present intelligence may very well be when it was woven collectively in intelligent new methods and remodeled into a complete new complete.

    Google Now was Google’s golden ticket — its key to a future no different firm may unlock. The service mixed bits of innocuous-seeming information solely Google may know to create a predictive private portfolio, which then conjured up what you needed earlier than you even requested for it and served it to you robotically at precisely the fitting time.[Psst: Got a Pixel? Check out my free Pixel Academy e-course to uncover all sorts of advanced intelligence lurking within your phone!]It. Was. Incredible. And then, in typical Google style: It. Was. Abandoned.Well, my Google-gawking gaggle, have I bought excellent news for you. Google Now is getting ready to an explosive comeback — however this time, it is not being referred to as Google Now. It is not being made accessible throughout all of Android, both — just for us Pixel-carryin’ folks, no less than as of this second. And in typical style, Google does not appear to be doing a lot of something to market it or make common phone-owning schmoes conscious of its existence.Blink, the truth is, and also you would possibly miss it completely — or fail to acknowledge its familiarity and the step-saving brilliance it may possibly deliver into your life. Believe you me, although: You would not need to try this.Google Now 2.0: From Jelly Bean to PixelEarlier than we will get to the current, we now have to compensate for the previous.Google Now, in case you were not round in these days or perhaps simply ingested a number of too many memory-blurring substances within the years since, was a panel that’d pop up as a part of the primary Android house display. At one level, there was even a standalone Google Now Launcher that anybody may set up to deliver the totally Googlefied house display setup onto any Android telephone, regardless of who made it. (Google, naturally, killed that off ultimately, too.)So what kind of stuff would Google Now provide you with in that pre-Pixel interval? Well, let’s examine:If you looked for a flight in your laptop, it’d have a card ready for you in your telephone with the newest standing of that flight and a one-tap choice to navigate to the suitable airport when the time arrived. As the flight’s standing developed, Google Now would proceed to maintain you up to date.
    If you looked for a enterprise on any gadget the place you have been signed in, Google Now would pull up a card in your telephone with a map to that enterprise, an estimate of how lengthy it’d take you to get there, and a one-tap choice to navigate any ol’ manner your coronary heart desired.
    The service would monitor your Google Calendar for you and allow you to know if you wanted to go away for an upcoming appointment with a view to make it on time, based mostly on each your present location and the newest visitors situations.
    It’d robotically pop up visitors and whole journey time information everytime you have been more likely to be headed to work, too, or every other continuously visited vacation spot (the sandwich store, your native platypus sprucing skilled, and many others).
    And all of that was simply the beginning. Google Now would advocate eating places or bars if you have been in new areas, provide to translate textual content or convert forex if you have been in overseas cities, and supply all types of different proactive items of information precisely if you wanted ’em — earlier than you ever needed to ask.That’s why Google Now was heralded on the time as “the predictive future of search.” It introduced the numerous tidbits Google is aware of about our lives and our world collectively in a fantastically helpful new manner — a manner, once more, that no firm aside from Google may actually handle.

    And then, Google did its Google factor and gave up on the idea earlier than it had the possibility to totally develop. The firm noticed one other squirrel, mainly — the traffic-driving information feeds its extra socially minded opponents have been creating — and scurried off to chase that, abandoning all of Now’s originality and intelligence and morphing it into Yet Another Indistinguishable Stream™ of scrolling tales.As a dashing and unusually observant author noticed on the peak of Now’s deconstruction, Google’s once-groundbreaking house for predictive intelligence had devolved into “a clumsily constructed shell of its former self”:
    Five years in the past, Google Now felt like the long run. Today, the Google feed feels just like the previous — like a mildly completely different spin on a ubiquitous idea and a step backwards from what Google achieved when it put the total energy of its sources entrance and middle. It comes throughout as extra determined than daring. And for these of us on Android specifically, the place predictive intelligence was as soon as an thrilling marquee ingredient of the working system, that is a rattling disgrace to see.
    Sniff. All proper — now that we have all shed a tear or two over the previous, let’s transport ourselves again to the current and assume forward to Google Now’s Pixel-centric reinvention and the context-enriched future it is as soon as once more promising.The Google Now Pixel rebirthPixels are firstly Google telephones. That a lot is apparent, proper? And since shortly after their arrival in 2016, Google’s self-made Pixels have featured an particularly Googley widget on their house screens referred to as At a Glance. The widget can floor an assortment of helpful information all all through your day, together with all the pieces from the climate to calendar reminders, visitors and commute alerts, and even travel-related alerts pulled programmatically from itineraries in your Gmail-stored emails.Now, a brand new evaluation of under-development Google software program makes it appear like that very piece of the Pixel expertise is poised to get a meaty improve that’ll make it virtually eerily acquainted for anybody who’s been paying consideration.Specifically, the shrewd crew from 9to5Google found some code that implies Google will quickly join the Pixel’s At a Glance ingredient to Assistant and reframe its objective thusly:
    Your Assistant exhibits you what you want, proper if you want it, on your own home display and lock display.
    Ringing a bell but? Just wait.In addition to its present capabilities, the Pixel’s At a Glance space will quickly achieve the next options, in line with the data unearthed by our pleasant neighborhood code spelunkers:At a retailer: Shopping lists and Google Pay rewards playing cards if you’re in supported shops
    Bedtime: Your upcoming bedtime from the Clock app
    Connected gadgets: Connection standing and battery information to your Bluetooth gadgets
    Doorbell: Show who’s on the door when your doorbell rings
    Fitness: Activity information out of your health app
    Flashlight: Reminder when flashlight is on
    Safety test: Safety test countdown from the Personal Safety app
    Timer & stopwatch: Timer and stopwatch information from the Clock app
    Combine that with the Pixel-based At a Glance options proven off at Google’s I/O convention earlier this 12 months — together with expanded journey plan information, contextual auto-summoning of scannable boarding passes, and a newly scrollable interface that permits you to swipe by means of the varied updates — and what do we now have, my Android-adoring amigo?Yep, you’d higher imagine it: It’s Google Now.The function’s been up to date to incorporate some extra modern parts like all of the connected-tech stuff, and it is in a barely completely different shell that matches in additional naturally with Google’s present Pixel interface — however beneath the floor, by golly, it is the identical bones, the identical idea, the identical mild mixing of proactive, contextual information from a number of completely different Google-associated sources.And identical to with Google Now, mixing all these elements collectively has the potential to create a wildly spectacular new complete — one which’ll exhibit the ability of predictive expertise and make our lives a complete lot simpler.Now, let’s not beat across the bush: It is completely hilarious that Google’s pulling yet one more 360-degree flip-flop and coming again to the idea it offered us on after which deserted years earlier. On the opposite hand, we are the ones who’ll profit in the long run — so, heck, we’ll take it.The actual query now’s if this go-round might be adopted by one other platform-wide enlargement effort, à la the Google Now Launcher, or if it will stay a Pixel unique perk and be accessible solely to these of us who carry Google’s self-made Android gadgets.In 2012, platform-wide availability throughout your entire Android ecosystem appeared like the plain manner for Google to go. In 2021, it is powerful to not marvel if Google Now’s newest incarnation will finally turn into one other level on the Pixel’s listing of “helpful and intelligent” factors of differentiation.In some ways, we have certain come full circle with this complete contextual intelligence theme. But whereas the expertise on the middle of this story is nearly shockingly acquainted to the stuff we noticed again within the Android 4 period, all the pieces on the surface is about as completely different as could be — and so, too, it will appear, is Google’s motivation for making all of this occur.Don’t let your self miss an oz. of Pixel magic. Sign up for my free Pixel Academy e-course and uncover tons of hidden options and time-saving methods to your favourite Pixel telephone.

    Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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