Google Now update adds real-time package tracking

An update to the predictive search feature allows people to monitor the progress of packages slated to be delivered once a tracking number arrives in their in-box.

Google Now, built into the Android 4.1 aka Jelly Bean, presents a search interface atop a stack of "cards" of information Google thinks will be relevant to people.
Google Now, built into the Android 4.1 aka Jelly Bean, presents a search interface atop a stack of "Cards" of information Google thinks will be relevant to people. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET

Google Now, the predictive search feature for the latest version of Android, rolled out an update today that includes the ability to track packages in real time.

Triggered by swiping from the bottom of the screen, Google Now draws on calendar, location, and search history to automatically present information that a device thinks its user needs to know. The update, which is available to users of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean at the Google Play store, allows people to monitor the progress of packages slated to be delivered to them from select carriers once a tracking number has arrived in their in-box.

The revision also purportedly includes improved Cards, the custom-tailored presentation of items it anticipates users need to know before typing in a query. Google said it has made its search results faster as well.

Since its introduction at last year's Google I/O show, the feature has been getting a steady diet of updates. Last December, new features were added that aim to make traveling easier, including destination weather information and the ability to pull up boarding passes on arrival at the airport.

The app has been a bone of contention between Google and Apple, which currently doesn't offer an equivalent iOS app. A war of words erupted after Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt suggested that Apple was holding up the app in its App Store approval process, although it was soon revealed that the app had never submitted to the Apple App Store.

 

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