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google now

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Google Now's contextual icon searches rolling out to more users

We've spotted some new icon-based interface changes in Google Now over the last few months, first with a few circles, then with more contextual multicolored icons. The latest shift seems to be all in on the latter: multiple Android Police users have told us that they've seen the new icon-focused UI in their copy of the app, complete with more icons than ever before. As an intentional way to direct users to Google's various utility searches, it seems to be fairly functional.

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Two months after the Google Home's release, it still can't perform many basic tasks

When Google Assistant was first unveiled at Google I/O last year, it promised to be a more natural voice assistant - similar to Siri, Alexa, Cortana, etc. It also serves as an Alexa competitor, with Google positioning Assistant for use with third-party devices and services. Right now, Google Assistant is officially available on Google's Pixel phones, the Google Home, Google's Allo chat application, and soon Android TV.

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Google is testing a new layout for hints and search shortcuts

There's always a Google A/B test going on in the background to figure out what could get users to better discover options or take them to what they're looking for faster. One of these tests was a series of search shortcuts that had a very distinct circle design in the Google Now (now known as Feed) page right below the search bar. That interface didn't spread to a wider user base, but it appears that Google is still toying with the idea, albeit in a different look.

Below are a couple of screenshots from two different users who are seeing these shortcuts or hints below the search bar.

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The Google app's second Dashboard tab gets renamed to "Upcoming," starts showing up for more users

Back in August, Google started testing out a second tab in the Google app and Google Now (RIP), dividing content between the main feed and a secondary one called Dashboard.

Over the past couple of weeks though, Google has been undergoing more tests with this tab and it seems that the team has now settled on a name and look and idea behind it. It's called "Upcoming" and the icon looks a little better than the previous one with the antenna.

There's a new blue overlay in the app to catch your attention toward the upcoming tab and once you open it, you'll see a few cards detailing what content will show up there.

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[Update: It's back] Screenshot button gone from Now on Tap/Screen Search

Google Screen Search, formally known as Google Now on Tap, is a feature I don't use often - but it's incredibly helpful when I need it. If you're unfamiliar, it provides information to you based on the text on your screen, and works on any Android 6.0+ device with the Google app. For example, a few days ago I received a text message confirming an appointment, and Screen Search created a calendar event from the message contents.

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Chatting with Google: The many ways Assistant replaces or augments OK Google, Google Now, and Now on Tap

Hi Google, it's me Rita. I believe we've met before. Somewhere between Gmail, Google Photos, and Chrome, you must know a lot about me. Things I might not want others to discover, so hushhhh. (There are thousands of people reading us, let's not tell them about my love for Winnie The Pooh.) But our relationship doesn't feel equal; I barely have any information about you. Your new guy, this Assistant you've sent here to talk to me, I'd like to get to know him better. He looks a lot like the other guys you've sent before, Now and On Tap, but he seems special.

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Google Now is dead: Latest beta of Search app erases references to Google Now

Version 6.5.26 of the beta Google Search app rolled out last night, and while at first the changes seemed minimal, we're seeing one thing this morning that is of particular interest: all references to Google Now have been removed. Google Now cards have been renamed to "Feed," and Now On Tap (as some of you told us) is now referred to as "Screen search." Given Google assistant's forthcoming launch, this isn't exactly surprising.

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JBL updates its latest generation of speakers with Google Now voice integration

JBL makes some killer portable speakers and I'm a big fan of its affordable, stylish, and stellar sounding product lineup. This morning, JBL announced that its latest generation of products is getting even a little better. As of today, JBL's current gen speakers will support Google Now voice integration.

The Flip 3, Charge 3, Xtreme, and Pulse 2 are all compatible with the new update (sorry Clip 2 owners, no support for you). To add the feature, all you need to do is download or update the JBL Connect app on your Android device. Once updated, simply long press the play/pause button on your speaker, wait for the ping, and then state your command.

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Google Now is testing search shortcuts in a new circletastic UI

Google is always trying something new with its different apps. Our personal nightmare is YouTube — ask Cody, trying to monitor the dozens of tips we get each week about a new YouTube UI are his personal nightmare. But Google Now might be an exception. The app's stream of cards has looked the same for a while and it's rather consistent between users. Not anymore.

The server-side switch plague has claimed another victim. Some users are seeing a series of blue circle icons on top of their Google Now stream for weather, dining, movies, and shopping. Others, like me, are not.

google-now-circles-search-hints-1 google-now-circles-search-hints-2

The icons don't do anything beside launch a search — and thus trigger smart cards and results — for their respective purposes. They're basically glorified search shortcuts, or maybe big hints for those who don't know what exactly you can search for on Google Now.

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PSA: You can control YouTube playback with OK Google voice commands

Google Now has a tendency to add voice commands without most people noticing. Besides the few listed in-app, Google hides most of its commands, perhaps the most useful ones. For example, Google's voice actions have been integrated and implemented within YouTube, so you can control video playback with your mi... wait, no that's the next update.

To get started, just start playing any video in the YouTube app. Then you can use any of these voice commands, triggered by the "OK Google" keyword, provided you have enabled its detection from any screen:

  • "Pause" - Pauses the video.
  • "Play" - Resumes the video.
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