This is a “heads up” about a new feature that Google announced last week during their developers conference.  The new feature is called “Google Now” and it will be coming out as part of the upcoming update to Google’s mobile operating system.  “Google Now” will provide  automated “personal assistant” capacities for Android phone users.  Jennna Wortham in the New York Times had an excellent article on this on June 29th.

What will this “personal assistant” do and how will it do it?  As we know, Google has a tremendous volume of information about its users.  It will now be able to use that data to do a variety of tasks that a human personal assistant might perform.  For example, let’s say you’ve got a lunch or doctor appointment scheduled.  An automatic reminder will come up on your Android phone reminding you about the appointment; telling you who it’s with; and giving you the best route to get to the appointment based on the then current traffic patterns.  It might also remind you, based on your prior Google searches, about flight information updates and even sports scores.

You might find this kind of automated “personal assistant” a real help in keeping your daily life organized.  You might, however, not like it and think that this is just one step too far in aggregating a good deal of your personal data.  You’d be right in thinking that many of the features of “Google Now” are already available from other 3rd party mobile apps and services.  But it’s really more the idea of Google automatically pulling this all together  in the envisioned way that will give some of us pause.  Are we really okay with Google knowing what we like, where we’re going and so many aspects of our personal lives?

There’s no right or wrong answer — only what makes you comfortable.  And, as with most of these issues, the key to that could rest in how much control Google provides Android users over the information — how it’s used and when.