Olympic Games. Rio de Janeiro. 2016. Right, now that we've hit all of the ridiculous trademarks claimed by the International Olympic Committee and the cease-and-desist letters are already on their way, we can talk about Google's latest Doodles. As explained on the official Search blog, the company's latest fanciful logo reinterpretations hide a selection of minigames, all of which are rather vaguely themed after the upcoming events in Rio. Read More
We all had high hopes for Google Now on Tap, but the reality of actually using it didn't live up to the hype. There are too many instances where Google Now on Tap simply misses key words or phrases, or just brings up that sad "nothing on tap right now" card. Google is testing a new feature of Now on Tap that might make it vastly more useful. Some users are seeing standard Google Now cards in Now on Tap. Read More
An update to Action Launcher 3 is currently rolling out with the usual assortment of improvements, feature tweaks, and fixes... but there's more going on here. This isn't just any update—the latest version of Action Launcher 3 moves to a Marshmallow launcher code base and adds (root-only) Google Now integration. Read More
Google Now's new weather card was spotted at the beginning of January then officially announced later that month. Ever since, it has been going on and off when you tapped on the weather card or did any weather search inside Google Now, and mostly never made it onto the regular Google Search results inside the browser (mobile and desktop - think when you open Chrome and do a normal weather search there, not through the Google app).
Long and tumultuous history aside, the modern weather card with the blue background, detailed forecasts, and funky frog, has gotten slightly better over the past month. Read More
Sony isn't making the most compelling Android phones these days, but it does at least try to put out good software. It's one of the most developer-friendly OEMs and it was even the first to release the N preview on non-Nexus hardware. Now, Sony has the distinction of being the first to do something else. The latest version of the Xperia Home beta has a Google Now pane just like the Google Now Launcher—no other OEM has done this on its custom launcher. Read More
Have you ever wondered just how many things 'OK Google' voice commands can do? Wonder no more (or at least wonder less) - a new site called ok-google.io has set about documenting over 150 voice commands for Google on your Android device. Examples include:
- Open [webpage]
- Increase/decrease brightness
- Take a picture
- Show me my messages
- What's my next appointment?
- When is my next alarm?
- Set the volume to full.
And so on and so forth. The site overs a total of over 1000 example permutations for these commands, too. I didn't even know the "increase brightness" one was a thing, or "set volume to full" (max also works). Read More
One of the handier voice commands that users can give to Google Now is "remind me to [whatever]," which will automatically start a function that adds a reminder and alarm to the cards. Follow that up with a specific time or day, and it will make the necessary adjustments to your command. Now it's even faster: the dialogue used to create a short countdown in the form of a blue line. But if you try the same command today, it will create a card instantly. Read More
Whoa. It's not easy for me to be impressed by a keyboard. I have been a staunch Google Keyboard user on all of my devices from the day it was released as a standalone app on the Play Store many moons ago. Every other keyboard I have tried — and I've tried plenty — fails to even register within the usable spectrum for me: lags and/or lack of precision have killed many revered third-party options.
I confess, I'd never tried Chrooma before today, mainly because I'd given up on finding any third-party keyboard, regardless of how many cool options it has, that lets me type as efficiently and comfortably as Google Keyboard has. Read More
Google Now On Tap has been, to put it gently, less than totally useful to most people. While the high-minded concepts behind Now On Tap were quite impressive, Google has had a harder time than I think many of us thought it would actually making it into a consistently helpful and intuitive product. It appears that in the last couple of days Google has been rolling out an all-new set of features to Now On Tap that honestly make it a bit more of a virtual assistant than a contextual search engine.
What you see in the hero image above are two new card streams, one for nearby places, the other for common tasks you might ask of your phone. Read More
One might assume that anyone who's enthusiastic enough to enable Google Now On Tap, the contextual search engine that uses screenshots and optical character recognition, would also want access to Google Now cards, which depend more on location, time, and search history. But you know what they say about making assumptions. Previously Now On Tap did indeed depend on the more vanilla Google Now, or at least was linked to it, but the latest version of the Google search app for Android seems to have reduced the interdependency of these two tools. Read More