Ever since Google Now became a thing, Search has been the go-to voice command hub for all of Android. There has been one nagging issue, however: when using a Bluetooth headset, a long-press of the action button would bring up the tired old Voice Dialer, which is essentially useless for anything other than making a call. What if I just have to know how tall Joakim Noah is while out cycling.
You've got to give it to Google: the company has its finger on the pulse of the world's search habits. Take the upcoming Sochi Olympics - while Russia itself seems poised for an international embarrassment of epic proportions, Google has already tuned up its search engine with Sochi information for desktop and mobile searches. Most searches with "olympics" and an event will return a quick schedule and/or results card in the Knowledge Graph area.
An update to Chrome beta a few weeks ago came with the bizarre side effect that hotword detection no longer worked in the Google search app or in the Google Now Launcher (GNL). The next version of Chrome beta didn't do anything to fix it, either. Well, Google Search to the rescue – yesterday's big search update seems to have fixed hotword detection.
There was a time not so long ago when entering keywords into a search engine and getting back a list of relevant URLs was convenient enough, but these days, long after the novelty of search engines has worn off, sifting through pages of blue and purple links can feel quite tedious. So Google is continuing to do more to make using its primary service easier. Starting today, when you click on the name next to a website's link in your search results, you will get served a small window providing a little bit more information than what's provided on the page.
One of the most powerful, albeit underused, features of Android is the ability to get search results directly from within the apps installed on our devices. While there has been a bit of conflict over the so-called Unified Search patent, the fact is, that functionality is alive and well. Ok, it's actually not doing all that great on Android 4.4 - which is to say, it's only working with a few of the many apps that should be searchable.
Heads up, Android users: there's a Google Search update that just landed in the Play Store. Google's tendency for staged rollouts means that some of you might not get an automatic update for a few days, but as usual, we've got the APK download below. There are a few noticeable visible changes in the integrated Google Experience Launcher, but that's about it as far as new features go. This is an incremental update after the massive 3.1.8 update from last month.
Google's voice search function is undeniably cool, and it's only getting better since the company has expanded the capabilities of the Android Search/Google Now app. However, there's one tragic flaw in the execution of voice actions: they can't make popcorn. But if you add some of Android's most powerful root-enabled tools, namely Tasker, the Xposed Framework, and the previously-featured AutoVoice, the sky's the limit. With the right hardware and tinkering, you can start living your Starfleet dreams in jig time.
So you're trying to choose between a new Altima and a Civic for your next car. Naturally you Google them both to check out their specifications and features. But it turns out that you can get most of the important numbers without clicking on a single link. Today Google pulled the wraps off of a new addition to Search's Knowledge Graph both on the web and on mobile: car stats.