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Google Search Android App Learns How To Stream Content From Other Apps

Google does things—a lot of things. For two years now, the company has been indexing the content inside of apps. This way it can point you to other Android apps when they can better provide answers to your query than a general website. Google says 40% of searches done on Android bring up app content.

But there remained two issues with this approach. One, Google could only display information from apps that had matching content available on the web. Two, opening results required installing said app if you hadn't done so already.

Now Google will begin showing content that exists only in apps, and it will start offering you the option to stream apps that you don't have installed.

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The Google Search App Can Now Answer More Complex Questions

You never needed to phrase a search as a question in order for Google to provide an answer, but that didn't stop many of us from doing so anyway. And this was before smartphones and tablets started prompting us to ask questions using our voice. Fortunately, the habit hasn't stopped Google from telling us what we want to know, and now the search engine is becoming smart enough to understand some of our more complicated questions.

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Google App v5.6 Beta Adds New Google Now Card To Android Wear, Prepares For Continuous Queries And Eyes-Free TTS [APK Teardown + Download]

Things are heating up for Android Wear lately. Earlier this week, a new version of the Android Wear companion app began rolling out to make preparations for the next OS update. There's now an update to the Google app in the Beta channel which follows up with some interesting changes of its own: a new Wear-specific app that places the Google Now stream into a distinct card on watches. A teardown also shows some interesting new experiments for continuous queries and text-to-speech. There's even a small tweak for the Google Now Launcher.

What's New

The Google Now Card


Views of the new Google Now card and the first page to the right.

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Google Rolls Out Holiday Hours For Businesses On Maps And Search

It's nice to stop every once in a while and realize just how much Google search has improved over the years. For quite a while, Google didn't really prioritize time-sensitive content versus regular content when it crawled the web. This meant breaking news stories were cached about as frequently as Wikipedia entries on the history of the Roman Empire. That didn't really change until the events of September 11, when Google realized people who were searching for news on the attacks were instead being greeted with tourist information for the World Trade Center.

All these small improvements are hard to notice individually, but they really add up over time.

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Tip: Tapping The G Icon In The Google Search App Creates A New Search And Leaves The Previous One Accessible Using The Recents Button


Tip: Long-Press The App Drawer In Google Now Launcher To Immediately Search Installed Apps

One of our readers spotted this neat trick in the latest update to the Google Now Launcher (which is part of the primary Google app). A single tap on the app drawer icon will open the app drawer as usual, but a long-press will open it and immediately highlight the app search field. It will also automatically open your default virtual keyboard, quickly and easily allowing you to type and search for apps.

This is especially handy for those users who keep dozens (or hundreds) of apps on their phones. Check out the animation below to see it in action:

home gif

The long-press function is only available in the latest versions of the Google App.

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Google App v4.9 Adds Toggle For Lockscreen Notifications, May Also Offer Toggle For App Suggestions [APK Download + Mini-Teardown]

Version 4.9 of the Google app began rolling out late yesterday, but it's not sporting a lot of obvious additions. The only immediately visible changes appear under Settings -> Now cards, where a new toggle has been added to enable or disable lock screen notifications based on cards. Some updated text also appears below the new toggle, if you care about that sort of thing.


Left: old version. Right: new version.

The existing Notifications toggle gave users the option to determine whether cards from Google Now could occupy space in the notification shade. The new toggle brings a little more control by allowing notifications to appear in the shade without being shown on the lock screen where they could potentially overwhelm more important notifications.

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Some Android Users Are Seeing 'Did You Mean...' Corrections In Google Search Suggestions

Anyone who's used the Internet for a few days knows that Google (and all the other search engines at this point) will suggest alternative search terms if the algorithm determines that you've made a typo or a mistake. At least one user is now seeing this behaviour on the Android app version of Google Search, and seeing it before you would expect to: right in the drop-down search results that appear before you actually press Enter.


What the hell are firms of endearment?

This is interesting not because it's a previously unseen feature of Google Search on Android, but because it also isn't present on Google Search on the web and in Chrome.

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