Google’s Now On Tap Consumes Your Apps’ Data Via Low Level Android Access In The Name of Relevance

Google Now is Google being explicit about the personal data it collects on you so that it can create (hopefully) highly relevant info within your personal context. Google’s “Now On Tap” wants to know even more about you in the hopes that it can become even more relevant for you, like a personal assistant knowing all your comings and goings and can gently nag you accordingly.

And how can it consume even more personal, timely data?

From every Android app you use. Programmable Web’s David Berlind (@dberlind) digs deeper into Google’s Now On Tap at Google I/O:

In the world of Android development, a view is the most basic of building blocks for an app’s user interface. For example, a full screen in an Android app (one view) is often broken down into smaller, separately controlled rectangles (each of which is also a view), all of which can be broken down into more views and so on. Thus, a hierarchy. To the extent that these views are responsible for all screen drawing, event handling, buttons, text fields, etc., having access to the view hierarchy is like having the keys to the kingdom — exactly what Now On Tap apparently needs to mine personal context out of the apps you use. – David Berlind

I naively thought of mobile apps as little silos of your personal data passed between you and the app maker (and any third parties the app maker chooses to use like analytics services or third parties like IFTT or Zapier that the end user chooses to set up to pass data between services).

But it looks like Google is trying to break that over-simplified logic down and make personal and non-personal third party app data as easy for it to consume as it currently consumes third party website data or tracks your online web activities throughout third party properties.

The mad dash to consume all your data marches on…

Chat me up about it on Twitter: @natguy.

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