A couple of days ago, Google dropped a pretty sweet but surprising late-night update to Google Search with version 2.7.9. You can read about the announced features and download the APK here, if you haven't yet. After the dust settled, I jumped right into the multitude of under-the-hood changes and was able to uncover quite a few things not included in the changelog - both ones that are coming in the future and ones that are already here.
Google Now is quickly becoming an excellent aggregator for all the information that most users need on a regular basis – be it weather, that day's schedule, tracking shipments, and so much more. Aside from its already-useful functionality, though, Google has been working towards making most actions voice-searchable. For example, you can tell Now to set a reminder, play a particular artist in Music, and more. Today's Search update brings more voice actions to existing functions, making it even easier get quick access to important information:
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.