The midterm elections are fast approaching in the United States, and you know what that means: horrible commercials interrupting all of your football games. But it also means that citizens should sincerely evaluate candidates for local and national posts and make informed decisions while performing their civic duty. And if you'd like to do that without taking a few hours off of work in November, you can register to vote early in most states.
We first got an indication that Google Now would begin to include election-based content in late September, thanks to the handy UnleashTheGoogle root tool. Now it looks like the "Election Information" cards are appearing for users based in the United States, where the midterm elections will be held next month. (For international readers: those are the ones that elect all the members of the House of Representatives, some members of the Senate, and various state and local offices, but not the President.)
Like most of the content that appears on the Google Now page, you can activate the Election Information card just by searching for relevant pages via the Google Search application.
[Heads up: to use this application you'll need root permissions on your phone or tablet. If you don't have them, you can stop reading here. Now, we continue with our regularly scheduled blog post.] Yesterday we found out about a new Google Now card that can show you changes in the prices of airfare based on recent searches. At least one developer isn't interested in waiting for Google to rollout new Now cards, and found a way to switch them on manually - even the ones that aren't public just yet.
Google Now is constantly gaining new abilities that are generally awesome, if a little bit creepy. One such feature, brought to our attention today, is the ability to keep track of flight prices.
This is another automatic feature whereby Google infers your intention and presents useful info on that basis. In this case, if you are eyeing a flight or itinerary through Google Flights (it does not appear that this works with other travel booking sites right now), Google will make a note of that and drop a helpful card into your Google Now screen to let you know when the price of that flight changes.
Google Now is only as good as the cards it tosses up for users to play around with. Since launch, TV cards and the ability to customize them has been a luxury exclusively available to people in the US. Now it looks like the feature is trickling out to residents of the UK as well.
A couple of readers on that side of the Atlantic Ocean sent us these screenshots of the feature in action.
Just days after the Explorer Edition of Google's first wearable device made its way onto the US Play Store, the Glass development team is starting to roll out yet another in a long history of updates. This time we're looking at XE21.0, which appears to be on the smaller side based on the changelog. Only two noteworthy details made it onto the list: faster updates for Google Now cards and accident indicators during Navigation, provided by Waze.
"OK Google" is a phrase that gets spoken around my house several times a day. So much, in fact, it's the first thing my two year old says when he picks up a phone. He looks at it, holds it close to his mouth, and out it comes...even if it's an iPhone. He makes me proud.
But I digress, this is about Google's new ads. I personally have grown to rely on Google Now and voice recognition for most things, and Google is trying to get everyone else on that train, as well (come on in guys, there's plenty of room).
When you perform a Google search and an answer appears alongside the list of results, this tidbit of goodness comes thanks to the company's Knowledge Graph. It provides much of the brainpower for Google Now, pulling down information from a variety of sources such as the CIA World Factbook and Wikipedia. The thing is, Google thinks it's still too dumb, so the search giant has already started working on something better.
Google's Niantic Labs operates as a semi-autonomous company within Google that works on projects like Ingress and the travel app Field Trip. Ingress gets most of the attention, but now Field Trip might become a bigger part of all Android users' lives. Data from Field Trip is about to be integrated with Google Now to make sure you know what cool stuff is around when you're away from home.