Google Now is dead, long live… the feed. Not Google Feed, just the feed, or smart feed, or a special new way to “feed your need to know” straight from your go-to Google app on Android and iOS devices.
Technically unveiled back in December, and slowly rolled out to mobile users in select markets starting with the US ever since, the machine learning-powered search aggregator is finally starting to look attractive, practical and intuitive.
The main focus and core functionality are largely unchanged, but it’s now a lot easier to fine-tune exactly what pops up in your personal, unique feed. A simple tap of a new follow button guarantees you’ll see updates on movies, sports teams, music artists and famous people you actually, definitely care about, not just those that Google thinks you might be interested in.
Second on a list of meaningful changes and add-ons is the ability to deliver “broader context and deeper exploration.” Basically, the fake news problem is a thing of the past as news stories come from “multiple viewpoints” and a “variety of sources”, with plenty of related links provided for controversial topics to ensure you get the full, unbiased picture.
Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about an issue, place or person featured in your feed, every card comes with a header allowing you to perform a quick one-tap search. But perhaps most importantly, Google vows to comply with your “interest level for various topics”, giving priority to domains you’re more concerned about than casual hobbies and curiosities.
As always, these are great ideas and goals on paper, but their utility depends on the real-world execution. Alas, the “international” rollout of Google’s improved feed is only slated for the “next couple of weeks”, with a US launch taking place as we speak.