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.
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. Read More
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.
Google makes frequent changes to the New Tab Page in Chrome, and they show up first in Chrome Dev. It looks like Google is toying with a New Tab Page powered by Google Now, and you can take a look at it right now in Chrome Dev. You might need to toggle a flag, but it seems to be live for everyone. It also works a little bit in Chrome Beta, but not at all in stable. Read More
With Google Assistant not that far off, it seems Google is really amping up the changes to Google Now. After the 'Explore Interests' card and autocomplete improvements, plus laying the groundwork for Assistant, the next new thing is a bottom row of tabs, with 'Home' and 'Dashboard' occupying it.
While the Home tab is the expected Google Now homepage, Dashboard is new and therefore interesting. From the tips we've had on this it's pretty clear it's not really working properly yet, but what we can gather is this: it seems to only work with the Nexus Launcher, at least at the moment, and collects data from across the different Google services and pools them all in the tab. Read More
Google Now continues to get better and better (hands up if you're looking forward to Google Assistant) so it's only natural yet more features and improvements are being added for the predictive search facilities. A tipster has sent us four screenshots showing 'Explore Interests,' which appears to be a new way to add things you're interested in for Google to track and update you on. Read More
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