Discovery tools, applications that help individuals find, explore and learn, are one of the key battle grounds in the technology sector as Apple discovered to its cost when it ditched Google Maps in favour of its own inferior software.
There is a lot of information out there that can help you plan and enjoy your day, it’s just fiendishly difficult to get to grips with it all. A well designed discovery app should pull everything you want to know about your location, the weather, transport, news, local restaurants, your diary etc. into one easy to use app. For example, if you give it access to your diary, it should be able to tell you that the flight you’re about to take is delayed. As an additional challenge, it needs to achieve a high level of personalisation in a way that doesn’t seem too Big Brother.
Google Now (#GoogleNow) seems to have pulled this off; the feedback to date is overwhelmingly positive. Consumers have grown increasingly reluctant to share personal data with big companies but Google Now seems to offer enough in the way of useful information to make this trade-off worthwhile. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s relatively quiet launch in 2012 gives Google the edge over its rivals in 2013.