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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Mobile Apps

​Google app becomes a destination, not just a search tool

An update shows the net giant wants you to rely on its mobile app to gather and present all kinds of information Google expects will be useful.

Google's mobile app is growing farther beyond just search.​

Google's mobile app is growing farther beyond just search.

Google

The Google app is taking a new step away from its original purpose -- search -- toward giving you information the company thinks you might want.

The app offers a search bar above a stack of "cards" that present information tailored for you, such as weather forecasts, news headlines and a map showing where Google thinks you parked your car. With an update that arrives on Android-powered phones Tuesday and on Apple iPhones "soon," Google said, the app is getting a new look coming.

The new Google mobile app splits those cards into two sections, "feed" and "upcoming," you can reach by tapping a button at the bottom of the screen. Feed is for updates like sports scores and news headlines about musicians you like. Upcoming is for personal information Google thinks you'll want to know like package delivery details and traffic jam warnings.

In other words, the new app is more of a destination unto itself, not just a search box leading somewhere else. The new app is emblematic of Google's effort transform into digital assistant for anything in your life.

The Google app for Android splits cards into two sections, a feed (at left) and personal upcoming information.

The more you're willing to let Google pry into your life -- retrieving airplane flight details and package shipment details by reading your email, for example -- the more helpful the app can be.

You can actively tell Google what you're interested in, too. The settings menu offers a customization option, and for people in the US, a special card will appear that lets you tell Google what you're interested in.