Google is reportedly testing a new Google Now feature that lets users receive up-to-the-minute information on almost any topic they want.
As reported by Android Police, which recently published screenshots from a user involved in a beta test, the "Explore Interests" function is the Web giant's latest Google Now tweak.
The company is not debuting the function to all Android users just yet, nor is there any guarantee that it will make it past a test (or even look anything like the current iteration, for those lucky enough to play around with the new feature).
The "Explore Interests" section within Google Now allows users do just that—scroll through different topics they might find compelling. Within each topic are specific interests that users can elect to follow: Game of Thrones (found in the TV category), for example.
Whatever you subscribe to will then appear as a new card within Google Now whenever there's news to report about the particular item. Sound familiar? It's a bit like Google Alerts, but prettier.
You can also elect to receive updates about topics that are relevant to your particular geographic area. That's useful if you want to see the kind of topics that are trending in your location, but it doesn't appear as if the feature will let you just subscribe to any news updates about your hometown.
What we don't yet know is how users might be able to adjust the frequency of these updates. If you like a particular politician running for the 2016 election, for instance, you're probably going to be inundated with Google Now updates. It is unclear just how Google plans to filter these, including whether it might only surface the most interesting and relevant news so you don't have a new card notification popping up every hour or so.
Google hasn't made an official announcement about the feature, but a representative did confirm to TechCrunch that the company is currently testing Explore Interests.
There is no word on how users were selected for the test, how many are participating, or what timeline Google is considering for a larger rollout of the feature. Regardless, we're certainly intrigued. Assuming folks can resist the urge to overpopulate their cards, quick news updates about favorite topics could be a great way for Google to keep more people engaged with Google Now.