Though it is relatively new, Google Now is already shaping up to be an important part of Google’s Android experience. The service may even be evolving into the next level of search, whereby Google provides you the information that you need without you even needing to ask for it.
Naturally, though, this comes at a price. In order for Google Now to be useful, you must allow Google to collect quite a bit of information about you. At the very least, you must enable search history and location history in order to get the most out of Google Now, both things which I would not do if Google Now weren’t so useful.
Not everyone wants to give up this sort of information to Google, but the card interface and information delivery features are certainly something that many users would like to have. For these users, the CyanogenMod team has started working on what could be a mostly Google-less data and notification center of their own.
Obviously at least inspired cosmetically by Google Now, CM Home has been added to the latest CyanogenMod nightly builds and is accessed by swiping left to right from the homescreen exactly like Google Now.
Even so, the CM team claims that the feature is not designed to compete with or replace Google Now (despite the fact that you can only enable one of the services at a time), and is instead a “place for data from many sources.”
Currently, it appears that the app shows only basic notifications, such as those for text messages, emails, upcoming alarms, calendar events, and CM Updates. There is, however, quite a bit of potential here. The team is currently working on an API to allow developers to utilize the interface, and the service already uses the popular DashClock extensions to display data.
Clearly in the early stages of development, the application could easily evolve in a direction that those outside of the CM team are not expecting. Still, it is difficult to ignore the clear resemblance to Google’s information-providing service. The intent of the feature may not be the same, but with further development especially by third parties, I would not be surprised to see CM Home duplicate many of the features of Google Now. Perhaps it won’t be a direct replacement, but it seems possible that the app/service will become quite useful in its own way sometime soon.[Android Beat]