Most of the app updates this week were relatively quiet, with the notable exception of Play Music with its new ad-supported radio feature. That doesn't have to mean some of the updates don't have something new to offer. The Google app (formerly "Search") was bumped up to v4.8 yesterday, but it doesn't seem to have any noticeable changes right now. However, a look under the hood reveals some pretty interesting features on the horizon. Read More
There are a lot of choices for weather apps on Android - you can see the best in Rita El Khoury's roundup from yesterday. But if you prefer to have as few apps on your phone as possible (because Windows RAM-saving behavior dies hard), Google has just improved the built-in weather function of its mobile search. Specifically, the Knowledge Graph function that shows you weather for a specific location now extends for ten days. Read More
Google's search engine first attracted users because it was a fast and useful way to find the information. The faster you send users away, the faster they come back, the thinking went. These days Google has no shortage of services to keep us from ever leaving its servers. But some new features keep that original vibe of Google-y awesomeness. This latest addition to Search is one such feature.
Now when you search for a local restaurant, Google will show the option to place an order. Read More
Over the past few days, we have learned of two new ways that Google has been integrating its desktop Search with Android devices: finding your phone and sending directions to yourself. The Google Operating Systems blog (not associated with Google) found that other similar "searches" now make it possible to set an alarm or send a note to your phone as well.
To send a note to yourself, you simply search for "note to self," or "send a note." A card appears with a text field to write the content of the note and a device picker so you can choose which phone or tablet to send it to. Read More
I'm sure you've already heard, but today there are changes coming of biblical proportions. Wait, you didn't hear about Mobilegeddon? This is indeed the term being applied to a Google search algorithm update being applied today that will rank mobile-optimized sites higher in searches from phones. The big drama about this is that, well, Google is very powerful and changes to their ranking systems have a habit of being destructive to affected sites. Read More
Take a look at your phone. Open up the Google Experience launcher (the default one on Nexus devices), or if you're using Android 5.0 or later, tap the "Recents" button. Alternately, add the good old-fashioned Google search bar widget to your third-party homescreen. Now, take a look at the left side of the bar: do you see a Google logo? Is it grey, so as not to call attention to itself, or does it look like a spoonful of Froot Loops, like the Google web logo? Read More
When Google searching on a small screen, the part of the result that shows you a page URL isn't always very helpful. Anything but the top-level domain will probably be truncated. Especially within familiar sites, the mixture of page title and shortened URL may leave you unclear what part of the website you will navigate to once you click. Google is making a subtle change to clear things up. Let's jump straight to the example images:
Left: old way, right: new way
If you're not seeing it, look at the green text below the large blue text. Read More
I understand if you don't remember anything about app indexing. It's not a particularly sexy topic. Here's all you need to know for this post—developers who implement app indexing can have their apps show up when users perform relevant Google searches. Say, you're looking for a recipe, and you have an app installed that contains that recipe. Google will point you in that direction.
Before, this only worked with apps that you already had on your device. Read More