Google regularly conducts server-side tests - showing new features and UI changes to only a handful of users at a time. Unfortunately, sometimes these have adverse affects on users. In this case, Google has broken the Play Store and Google Now for some users, as a result of two independent server-side tests. Read More
The Google app feed (formerly known as Google Now) includes relevant bits of data from around the web and culled from your own data. One card we almost all have is weather, and Google looks to be experimenting with a new version of that one. Rather than the large card with the forecast, the new one is a single line with a few bits of relevant information. Read More
Always-listening voice assistants, like Google Now/Assistant or Alexa, can't really tell the difference between you talking and someone else (unless you have Trusted Voice enabled on Android). Maybe you've watched a few tech videos where someone said "Ok Google," and your phone started talking back. Read More
Back at Google I/O 2016, we got a first look at Google Assistant. It was designed to be a conversational assistant, as opposed to the search-based Google Now. Then when Allo was released in September, it shipped with a beta version of Assistant. Finally when the Google Pixel phones were released in October, Assistant was a major selling point.
Google has a tendency to rush products out the door without fully finishing them, and Assistant was no exception. So now that about four months have passed since the official introduction of Google Assistant (roughly five months if you count the Allo beta), has anything changed? Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More
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. Read More