Google is revamping the Google Assistant app to make it a better day planner.
A new feature called ‘Visual Overview’ takes all the information that Google knows about you and tries its best to present that information when it thinks it’s relevant.
It’s a “visual snapshot [that] provides curated, helpful information based on the time of day, location, and your recent interactions with the Assistant,” reads a description from Google’s blog.
Depending on what time it is and where you are, the app will display contextual information. If it’s 5:00 PM the app might show you the fastest way to get home or remind you to pick up some milk after work. At 1:30 PM, the feature could recommend totally different things, like notable stocks, the weather and your next meeting.
If the user employs all of Google’s apps, like Calendar, Gmail and Maps, then their recommendations can even include things like upcoming flights, meetings, packages in transit and future bills.
To try out the new feature, open the Assistant app on iOS or Android and tap on the small icon in the top right-hand corner — the icon is a small pocket shape with three lines popping off of it, and it’s right beside the explore icon that looks like a compass.
Google is planning on adding even more features to the Visual Overview in the future too.
In the future, Google plans to integrate note taking and to-do list apps, as well as the ability to track where you parked your car and music recommendations.
There’s no timeline for when these advanced features may start rolling out, but to get the most out of what is already available make sure your Google Assistant app has permission to send notifications.
With this update, Google Assistant is becoming more of a hub for the company’s contextual user data. A lot of the new functionalities are already available in the company’s other apps. For example, Google Maps already tells me where I parked my car sometimes and it also recommends the best route home at 5:15 PM.
Whether Google can make these apps coexist without doubling up on attention-grabbing notifications is yet to be seen. The company is known for ecosystem fragmentation, often releasing the same feature across multiple apps.
This new app could help bring a lot of user information and useful features into one place, therefore getting rid of some fragmentation — but there’s almost as big of a chance that it will simply overlap with what the old Google apps do, instead of replacing them or complementing them.