Google Glass Explorers are in for a treat today as the monthly update to Google's wearable computer is starting to rollout right now. This update continues the trend of incremental improvements to the device, but Google is at least responding to some user requests with XE8.
Google Now has evolved into a surprisingly great contextual search and information system, but it still relies on user information for most of its content. According to a recent interview with Google's VP of search and assist Johanna Wright, that may be changing. QZ.com spoke to Wright, who let a few details on the possible addition of a local news card for Now.
Google Search was just updated to version 2.6, which means it's teardown time! As usual with Google Search, it's impossible to bring up the new stuff "at will." Cards pop up entirely based on a bunch of crazy inputs that I can't easily replicate (emails, location, etc) so there's no way for me to check if new code is functional or not. So, I'll just cover everything that's not in the change log, and if you manage to see a live, working version of something, just send in a screenshot.
If your device has Android 4.1 or higher, a new Google Search update is rolling out in the Play Store that brings a handful of new and useful features, which includes a couple of additional voice actions:
What's in this version:
For Android 4.1+ (Jelly Bean):
- Information about shows you're watching on your internet-connected TV (US only)*
- Saved offers when nearby a redemption location
- New voice action: play music from your phone or the Play Store
- Voice actions tips
* Requires phone/tablet to be on the same network as your TV
The most notable new features here are of course TV show information and voice actions to play music.
Sometimes, updates break things. That seems to be the case for some HTC owners who, upon receiving a silent update to the newest version of Google Play Services, are having trouble using apps that rely on location data. According to HTC phone users in this support thread, Google Now continually asks to turn Location Services on, location-dependent applications like Foursquare and WeatherBug don't function properly, and Maps is unable to lock onto a location.
At the end of last year, a Google Search update came out that added a "Search with Camera" feature. With Google Search, you could fire up your camera, snap a picture of something, and it would do an image search - it was basically Google Goggles integration. Besides the usual Goggles stuff, it was also really useful for scanning QR codes.
But, a few days ago, when the Search 2.5 update hit, "Search With Camera" got kicked to the curb.
You forgot Mother's Day. Again. With Father's Day coming up wouldn't it be nice to have a reminder among your often-used Google Now cards, in addition to the ones you've set in Google Calendar, Google Keep, and the sea of sticky notes attached to your monitor? It's possible to set holiday and movie reminders within Google Now on your device, but now you've got another alternative: setting reminders via a Knowledge Graph search on your desktop.
Google's official Search app (aka Google Now) for Android has been updated with a few new features, though they're pretty awesome ones. First, voice reminders are finally live - you can now say, for example, "remind me to buy milk this evening" or "remind me to take out the trash when I get home." I think we can all agree that's kind of amazing.
The second new feature is suggested content, in the form of upcoming books, music, TV, and video games you might be interested in.
Listen up, Android users. If you're using Google Now, don't go to its Settings -> My Stuff and try to modify sports teams or stocks right now, as doing so completely borks the whole app. As soon as you go back to the main screen or click into Search, you will experience a force close. Repeated attempts to restart it will result in a crash as well:
The only thing that works is clearing out Google Search's data in Settings -> Applications, after which you need to re-enroll into Google Now.
Newly appointed head of Google's Android division Sundar Pichai - who perhaps not-so-incidentally also leads the Chrome OS team - recently sat down with Wired for his first interview since Andy Rubin's departure. Though he didn't speak to specifics about any mysterious Motorola smartphone or Chromebook Pixel follow-up, Pichai did shed some light on the state of Android, Google's open-source philosophy, and future projects.
When asked if separate operating systems - Chrome OS and Android, for instance - confuse users, Pichai said the OS is less important than the apps, ecosystem, and backend people rely on.