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google now

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[Update: Regional availability] Music recognition in Google Assistant no longer exclusive to Pixel 2, now works on more devices

Just about a month ago, the "what's this song" music identification functionality started to roll out to Assistant on both of the new Pixel 2 phones. Google's voice search (for instance, via "Google Now") had this functionality for a long time, but for whatever reason, the transition to the new Assistant stripped that feature away. Although it was back for the Pixel 2, it appears that music recognition in the Assistant is now rolling out to non-Google devices as well. 

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[Update: There's an easier way] Tip: You can edit the shortcuts at the top of the Google Feed, sort of

Google has been toying with changes to the Google Feed in its eponymous app all year, seemingly settling on a translucent look when you swipe right from your launcher home screen, or the three-tab interface in the full app. Google may still be testing different options, so yours may not be the same as mine, but I find it a lot worse than what I had before, especially as I can't swipe away cards to dismiss them anymore.

Another fairly recent introduction, in both views, are the shortcuts at the top of the feed (see above image). By default, four of them are on display: current weather, Eat & Drink, Translate, and Solitaire.

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Google is rolling out the tabbed Google app interface to more users

It's been a long road, getting from there to here. Google announced at the end of 2016 that it would start rolling out a tabbed interface in the Google app - one tab for your feed (previously known as Google Now), and the other for reminders/emails/etc. But then Google only enabled it for a small amount of users, and left it at that for a few months. Then a third tab was added, and even more users received the changed interface.

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[Update: Rolling to more users] Google is testing a new three tab interface for the Google app

If you're one of those who has yet to even see the two-tab interface, you'll be surprised to hear that Google is already testing out a third tab. Reports indicate that the new button performs a search. The tab might be a bit redundant, given the search bar already present at the top of the page, but perhaps scrolling to the top was a bit too inconvenient for some.

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Google Feed now displays Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) links

Back in February of last year, Google unveiled Accelerated Mobile Pages - or AMP, for short. In a nutshell, sites can choose to generate AMP versions of their pages (with an automated tool or site plugin), which load extremely quick compared to normal sites. This is due to various restrictions, compression on the included images/video, and caching by Google's own servers.

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Google is testing a translucent Google Feed page on the Pixel Launcher

Google has been tweaking the Google Feed (previously known as Google Now) page quite a bit recently. They started rolling out a dual-tabbed interface in December, but seemingly stopped shortly after. Last month, a new transparent Google Now pane appeared for one user, and now a modified version has showed up.

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[Update: 5.3 released as stable] Exclusive: Nova Launcher finally gets Google Now integration [APK Download]

Nova Launcher is the go-to launcher for so many not just for the sheer amount of customization it offers, but also the speed and frequency at which the team instills new features. However, one feature that people have constantly clamored for has always been left out: Google Now integration. It just couldn't be added due to constraints that Google had put in place. But today, Nova Launcher is finally receiving this long-awaited functionality.

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Nova Launcher's Google Now integration works on Lollipop too

One of the main downsides to using a custom launcher was that you couldn't have an easily-accessible Google Now pane. While your feed is just a swipe away on the Google Now and Pixel Launchers, other applications were barred from using it due to API restrictions. That is, until the developer of Nova Launcher found a way around it by creating the 'Nova Google Companion.'

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What ever happened to Google's dual-tab "Feed and Upcoming" update?

Last year Google announced an update to the Google app that would bring an additional tab to Google Now. The new interface was meant to separate general items in your feed from more personal data, by partitioning the latter into a new "Upcoming" section. Well, it's been six months since it was announced, and it seems as if almost no one has the feature.

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Google is testing a wild new transparent Google Now pane

Google Now was a big deal when it debuted years back, but now Google is all about Assistant. The Google Now pane got its last redesign in 2015, but Google appears to be testing something more radical currently. Some users are starting to see a transparent Google Now pane.

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