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Google Destinations Is Your New Travel Agency: Itineraries, Flights, Hotels, Weather, And Everything But Packing Your Suitcase

Two years ago, I had to plan a vacation trip to London and all I remember was spending countless hours online checking airline ticket prices, hotel prices, and switching back and forth between different dates to see which combination resulted in the most affordable trip for me. That's not to mention the days of extensive research into London's theatre scene, events, restaurants, tourist attractions, and more, to find the places I knew I'd enjoy most. If I was to plan that same trip now, I'd have a much better way of doing it through Google's new Destinations.

Google is integrating its almighty knowledge of places with its Google Flight, Hotel search, weather history, itineraries, and more to become the travel agent you always wanted to have and that you can always pester for questions and new details.

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Google App v5.10 Adds Option To Open Links In Chrome Custom Tabs

The Google App's version 5.10 update rolled out to the beta channel yesterday with a new waiting animation, but one change that was lurking behind is the option to open links from search results and Now cards in Chrome Custom Tabs instead of redirecting to the full Chrome browser (or your other default browser).

The option was first discovered by Cody in the APK teardown of version 5.5, but it appears to have just been activated now in the app. But, as with all things Google, there are a few asterisks attached to when it does and doesn't work. I have a Nexus 5X (Marshmallow 6.0.1) and an LG G4 (Lollipop 5.1), both running the Google App 5.10.23 and an old version of Play Services 8.4.89.

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Google Makes AMP Launch Official, Prepare For Fast-Loading News Stories In Mobile Searches

We first spotted the rollout yesterday, but today Google made it official that its AMP initiative will be enjoying a wide launch effective immediately. AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, is a new feature to Google's search interface on mobile browsers that will load an optimized version of news articles far more efficiently than the conventional way of navigating to a separate webpage. While Google emphasizes that there is much more to be done, it is going to be prioritizing compatible news and displaying the AMP wording and lightning bolt logo in mobile search by default.

The program involves an open-source, HTML-based format for web developers to use in order to function correctly.

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[Bonza] Google Introduces Its Beaut New Australian Text-To-Speech Voice With A Synthesized Version Of 'I've Been Everywhere'

If you're an American and you've heard the tongue-twisting country music ballad "I've Been Everywhere," odds are that you've heard the most popular version from Johnny Cash, or perhaps the earlier version by the unequaled Hank Snow. There have been dozens of adaptations of the song, for everywhere from Texas to Singapore. But the original was written by Geoff Mack way back in 1959 and popularized by Lucky Starr, and the first set of lyrics was exclusively tailored to cities, towns, and regions in Australia. The song featured such multi-syllabic municipalities as Megalong, Tamborine, Woodenbong, and Grong Grong.

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[Update: Normalization Is Gone] Google App v5.8 Beta Brings Back Launcher Auto Rotation On Phones And Now Normalizes Icon Sizes For A Bit Of Consistency [APK Download]

Following the big improvements to Maps on Monday night, Google is hitting us again with another update that is sure to make quite a few users happy, at least for those that use the Google Now Launcher (a.k.a. GEL). Support for a rotating launcher screen on phones is back, and if that's not enough, there's also a nifty new rendering feature that resizes app icons so most of them will look more consistent on your home screen. This update appears to have come out of Google's beta channel, but we've got download links at the bottom if you want to jump on it right away.

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Searching "Bubble Level" In Google On Your Phone Gives You An Interactive Bubble Indicator

Of the many cool goodies in Google Search, this must be one of the most interesting and useful ones. Simply open Google Now or Google Search in Chrome and look for "bubble level," and you'll get a, well, bubble level. Quite expectedly.

The level appears as the top search card and is interactive. It adapts to whether you're holding your phone in portrait or landscape, or laying it flat on a table. While you may not use this for some very precise work, it is super cool and could come handy if you want to hang a poster or painting and just need an average way to know it's not completely crooked without installing a third-party app.

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Google Search On Android Gets A Few New Contextual Bells And Whistles For Movies, TV Shows, Music, And More

Google is continuing to refine what data you can access without ever leaving its browser-based search interface. A few of the more complex options for searching popular culture have now made their way from the desktop to Android, and they've also been given some impressive layout adjustments. According to Google's own search blog, contextual information for music, movies, and television shows will now appear in a dedicated sub-section of Google Search. Some of this was already available, but some of it's definitely new.

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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

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

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