Google is on a testing spree with server-side changes in the main Search app. Based on feedback from several readers, it looks like there might be changes afoot to the side menu, introducing a new feature and improving on ones we've seen before but that haven't been widely implemented yet.
Recent search tab
Whenever you perform a search within the Google app or widget, you have a couple of ways to access it again: you either remember the exact words you used and try the same search, or you access your Google activity dashboard, or you use the trick of tapping the Google icon to open a consequent search as a separate page to leave the previous one lurking. Read More
For those of you who have used OK Google in regular Google Search before, then got a Pixel and a Google Home, the inconsistencies in what each of these can and can't do should be baffling. There are so many actions that Assistant struggles with on either the Pixel and Home that good'ol Google Search never had trouble with, and even within Assistant, there's a disconnect between what can be done from the Pixels or from Google Home.
One of the latter inconsistencies is that changing your Nest thermostat's temperature was possible with Google Search before and works with Assistant on Google Home, but for some odd reason, was not interpreted by the Pixel's Assistant. Read More
For months a small subset of Android users have been seeing a new dual-tabbed interface in the official Google search app's UI. The second tab, initially labelled "Dashboard" and then changed to an icon-only "Upcoming," is now official. Google announced the big change on its Keyword search blog, revealing that the feature should roll out to all Android users starting now, with the iOS version of the Search app following suit later. Read More
Last April the European Commission, the EU's executive body, issued a statement criticizing Google's management of Android. The Commission accused Google of facilitating monopolistic practices, specifically by tying the Play Store, the Android version of Chrome, and other common Google apps to Google's Search services among licensed Android manufacturers. Keeping manufacturers from releasing forks of Android as a condition of participating in the Google ecosystem - a process which Google calls "anti-fragmentation" - was also an issue. It took a while, but Google has finally published a full response to the Commission. Read More
There's always a Google A/B test going on in the background to figure out what could get users to better discover options or take them to what they're looking for faster. One of these tests was a series of search shortcuts that had a very distinct circle design in the Google Now (now known as Feed) page right below the search bar. That interface didn't spread to a wider user base, but it appears that Google is still toying with the idea, albeit in a different look.
Below are a couple of screenshots from two different users who are seeing these shortcuts or hints below the search bar. Read More
There's a new Harry Potter spinoff hitting movie theaters soon, in case you haven't turned on a television, surfed the web, or looked at a billboard in the last few months. And because Warner Bros. isn't interested in making a new movie without the potential for yet another billion-dollar set of sequels, they're pulling out all of the stops for the marketing for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. That includes some new Easter eggs (do wizards celebrate Easter? Maybe chocolate frogs or something) in Google Search, Maps, and the upcoming Daydream VR platform. Read More
Google Screen Search, formally known as Google Now on Tap, is a feature I don't use often - but it's incredibly helpful when I need it. If you're unfamiliar, it provides information to you based on the text on your screen, and works on any Android 6.0+ device with the Google app. For example, a few days ago I received a text message confirming an appointment, and Screen Search created a calendar event from the message contents. Read More
It's no secret that Android is heavily integrated with Google search. Google Now (soon to be Google Assistant) is the primary voice assistant, and Google search is included on every device with the Google Play Store. According to Reuters, Google also pays device manufacturers to keep Google as the only search application on Android devices, and the European Union isn't thrilled.
EU antitrust regulators are ordering Google's parent company, Alphabet, to cease providing incentives to keep Google search installed exclusively on Android devices. A 150+ page EU document outlines the issue, stating that Google "cannot punish or threaten" manufacturers for not complying with its conditions. Read More