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google search

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Google Search will better answer voter registration questions for the upcoming US election

In case you missed it, there's a national election approaching here in the US. I know, it's understandable if you mistook the nonstop campaigning for our idea of good TV. It might as well be. But one way or another, years of campaigning are about to come to an end... for a few days before starting back up again.

Despite holding elections every year or so for hundreds of years, the process is still a messy one. Each state has its own requirements and rules for registering to vote. I majored in political science, and I have to search to figure out some of this stuff.

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[5 Minutes at the gym] Google will start telling you how long people usually spend at a location

Google Search, not Google Maps, is adding a new feature when you search for a place. You'll get the usual card with the photo, location, open hours, description, reviews, and more, but there will be a new section there called Plan your trip with the duration people typically spend at this location.

This information won't show up for every single place you might look at. It will most likely be limited to popular touristic and historical locations with lots of foot traffic where Google can aggregate data from different visits and figure out how long people usually stay there.

This, along with the Popular times graph that was added last year to Maps (and Google Places) should help you plan your visits to different destinations more effectively, especially when you're on holiday or traveling.

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Google app tests notifying you when search results are ready in background

Most of us probably use the Google app for searching on our phones, rather than through Chrome or - *gasp* - another search engine. I've often found that on slow connections, the Google app can take ages to bring up results - think 2G or even 3G mobile networks. To combat this, it appears that Google is either testing or rolling out a notification to tell you when the app has completed searching and showing results.

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Three Google Search notifications. Note: this is MIUI, which is why it looks a bit... iOS-y.

This may not be used only for slow connections, but will probably come in handy the most on a network where speed is hard to come by.

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Google Search in India now lets you flip between English and Hindi results

Those of us who live in countries where multiple languages are spoken have to always walk the thin line between them, choose which one is the default on their phone, find a keyboard that handles several languages well, and continuously pick their preferred language in Google search results.

If you live in India, you're probably used to the torture that is having to find search results in English or Hindi, depending on the situation you're in. But your life is about to get just a lil' bit easier with this new feature. Google is rolling out a tab to switch between English and Hindi search results with a simple click.

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Google and M-Lab are testing a new internet speed test directly in Search

Google wants as many people to use the web as possible, because at this point it can reliably count on more or less every internet user earning the company revenue. Having a decent connection is a big part of that, and while there are plenty of adequate speed tests available, apparently Google wants one right in the search interface. To that end, they're testing an integrated speed test created with the help of Measurement Lab.

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Google Is Testing Quick Contact Shortcuts In The Main Search Interface

You may have noticed that if you search for someone you know in the main Google Search app on Android, their name will automatically appear if they're already in your Google Contacts. Those search results might get a bit more useful soon: at least one user spotted some advanced quick shortcuts added to his contacts in the Search bar. As shared on Google+, James Scott Jr. saw links to call, text, or email some of his contacts right there in the search results.

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Android Users Can Access Google Now On Tap Without Enabling Google Now Cards

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.

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Now On Tap Can 'See' Selected Text, Images, And Real-Time Camera Output For More Refined Contextual Search Results

The Now On Tap portion of Google Search, still limited to Marshmallow and the Android N developer preview, is getting some new bells and whistles. A few readers tipped us off about the ability to select text in any app, activate the Now On Tap gesture, and get results only about the selected text. It's a great way to narrow the text recognition portion of the tool (which bowed earlier this year) down to only what you want. As we were preparing to report on the new feature, Google went ahead and announced it in a blog post, along with some other neat additions.

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Google Assistant Will Mash All Of Google's Search Tools Together For A Powerful Conversational AI

One of the more exciting revelations at the opening keynote of Google I/O 2016 is "Assistant," Google's upcoming expansion of its search tools. Explaining exactly what Assistant is and isn't is a bit tricky, because it both integrates a lot of existing Google technology and spills over into other upcoming services, like Google Home and Allo. Essentially, it's a new way to interact with Google Search, with the intention being that you "speak" with it in a more human fashion.

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Google Search Results Will Soon Display Live TV Listings

Years back, pressing the guide button on your remote and browse through TV listings was a luxury. It meant being able to see what was playing without channel surfing or purchasing a physical TV guide. But these days, the idea of scanning through even a digital guide strikes many of us as downright tedious.

We search online instead. And pretty soon, Google will start displaying live TV listings at the top of search results when you look for a show.

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