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google search

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Google's response to the European Commission's antitrust allegations leaves a lot to be desired

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.

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Google is testing a new layout for hints and search shortcuts

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.

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Google and Warner Bros. let muggles hunt for Fantastic Beasts in Search, Maps, Daydream, and Allo

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.

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[Update: It's back] Screenshot button gone from Now on Tap/Screen Search

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.

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EU may fine Alphabet, Google's parent company, for anti-competitive practices on Android

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.

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Data from the US Department of Education's College Scorecard is now available in Google Search

If you're a student, you've probably used Google to look up information about colleges and universities. You've also likely noticed that most, if not all, schools have their own personalized cards with figures such as acceptance rate, tuition, total enrollment, and endowment. Now, Google is partnering with the US Department of Education to integrate statistics from the College Scorecard into Google Search.

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Google Search may soon show live popular business times for locations

There's a Chick-Fil-A location on Powers Boulevard in Colorado Springs. It's there. It sells chicken sandwiches. It's the only one on that side of the city. The store is technically open from 6AM to 10PM every day, but I don't think I've ever been there before nine at night. Because as good as Chick-Fil-A sandwiches are, they're not worth waiting 40 minutes in a drive-through line that wraps around the building twice.

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Google Now is dead: Latest beta of Search app erases references to Google Now

Version 6.5.26 of the beta Google Search app rolled out last night, and while at first the changes seemed minimal, we're seeing one thing this morning that is of particular interest: all references to Google Now have been removed. Google Now cards have been renamed to "Feed," and Now On Tap (as some of you told us) is now referred to as "Screen search." Given Google assistant's forthcoming launch, this isn't exactly surprising.

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Google now allows any site to contribute reviews to Google Search

Google Search has shown reviews of places, movies, TV shows, and more for a while now. The reviews displayed in Search results were always limited to a few select websites, but no longer. Google will now aggregate reviews from up to three sites for any given place (and movies/TV shows/books/etc), as long as the sites implement Google's snippet markup and follow its guidelines. Reviews can either be from the site itself, or from user-created reviews submitted to the site (like Facebook).

In addition to normal reviews, qualifying publishers can also add their critic reviews to Search results. As seen in the right screenshot above, these are larger cards with an embedded summary. Critic reviews are supported for local businesses, movies, as well as books.

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Google announces Search In Apps, a new way to search for personal content

Android's always been pretty good at search - it's developed by the world's biggest search company, so you'd hope so - but one thing that it's always struggled with is searching content on your device, having removed it in Ice Cream Sandwich because the API was not up to scratch. Google is attempting to fix that today with the launch of the new 'Search In Apps' feature, which Cody uncovered part of during a recent Google app teardown.

InAppsSearch LgV20InApps

In Apps is basically an extension to the Google search bar. When searching something that's 'personal' such as a name or place, scroll to the end of list of available searches - the one with 'Web,' 'Images,' 'Shopping,' 'Maps,' and more on it.

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