Google Now adds boarding pass support, mirroring Apple Passbook


Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is updating its Search for Android application and accompanying Google Now predictive search tool, introducing a series of new features designed to streamline holiday travel.

google now passbook

Google Now now offers airline boarding passes.

Google Now, introduced this summer with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, presents a series of cards containing information on local weather, traffic, events and nightlife, each automatically generated in relation to a user's location and the time of day. Chief among the latest Google Now improvements is support for airline boarding passes, also a key component in archrival Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) new Passbook virtual wallet for iOS. The Google Now feature--launching shortly for United Airlines and expanding soon after to other airlines--automatically pulls up an Android device owner's boarding pass from their Gmail account upon entering the airport, complete with a unique QR code designed for scanning by airport staff.

Google Now also alerts travelers to weather conditions at their destination both prior to and upon arrival. It also recommends nearby events as well as websites to help users explore local sites and attractions. "All of this builds on top of some of the other cards designed for travel, like the currency conversion, translation and flight status cards," explains Google Product Management Director Baris Gultekin.

Beyond Google Now, Search for Android is adding improved Voice Search capabilities, allowing users to identify a piece of music by asking "What's this song?" Consumers can also find product info via the voice command "Scan this barcode" and post spoken updates to the Google+ social network.

Google Search is among the top five most regularly accessed applications across all U.S. smartphones, Nielsen reports. Services like search and advertising generate the vast majority of Google's mobile revenues: Mobile devices are on pace to account for 25 percent of all paid search ad clicks across the Google network by the end of 2012, according to a report issued earlier this year by Marin Software.

For more:
- read this Android Official Blog entry

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