Google is expected to announce its latest smartphones on October 4. While the names have yet to be specifically confirmed, it is largely understood that these new smartphones will be the Pixel and the Pixel XL. As well as the name change, it seems likely they will be marketed differently from previous Google-affiliated smartphones as they won’t come with carrier branding and instead will likely adopt a ‘made by Google’ moniker. Although there will also be other changes as well like the inclusion of a tweaked user experience of Android 7.0 (Nougat) in the form of the Pixel launcher and also better integration with the highly-anticipated Google Assistant.
Speaking of which, if you are wondering what will happen to Google Now with the arrival of Google Assistant (as they do essentially offer similar functionality), it now seems as though we might be getting the first signs coming through. The beta version of the Google app was updated last night and as part of that update, it seems most of the referencing to ‘Now’ has been removed. Clear examples of this can be found in the settings which previously used to list ‘Now cards’ and ‘Now on Tap’. Both of which are now gone and have been replaced by the simpler and less Now-associated ‘Feed’ and ‘Screen search’. You can see the difference between the old and the new Google app settings pages in the image down below. There are still some references being noted though. For instance, when clicking on a card's three dot menu ‘Customize Google Now’ still remains intact. So they have not all gone, yet.
While this does not necessarily indicate that Now as a branded feature is over (and especially as this is only showing up at in the beta app for now), it does seem to be a clear indication that going forward Google Assistant will adopt the primary role that Google Now used to adopt. Which makes sense as it is considered to be the next step in Now’s evolution. Of course, in spite of any name change which might happen with Google Now in the near future, the actual features on offer do seem to be remaining, albeit in a less Now-like fashion. You can grab a copy of the latest Google app (for Android versions 5.0 and up) by heading through the links below.