Google is on a roll with the app-less updates this week. After trialing a new homescreen weather shortcut for a small amount of users a few days ago, users have been noticing that there is a new feature in Google Now to block any site from showing up in the 'Stories to read' section. Therefore, if you see a card you'd rather not see, it can now be banished and will go back to whence it came.
Blocking sites in Now has been around for a while, but only for select cards; namely the ones that specifically show up for sites you've visited before. As of the update, likely to be a server-side rollout, the blocking ability has been upgraded to apply to any card. Read More
Google Now's purpose is to give you useful information before you even think to ask, and additions continue to roll out that make the service better at its job.
A reader has reached out to us with a screenshot of a Refueling options card in Google Now. It shows the names of individual stations, how far away they are, and how long they're open. Interestingly, as mentioned at the bottom of the card, this information is appearing because the recipient has to return a rental car to the area. It's also worth noting that the reader was using Google to manage his travel itinerary. Read More
A late-night update to the Google app turned up last night, bringing the current version up to v5.11. The changes in this release are pretty subtle, but there are a few good things to see if you know where to look. (And some commenters definitely knew where to look this morning.) There are UI and functional updates hidden in a few spots, particularly on the app drawer, but also in text selection and probably some other corners of the app. As always, there's a download link at the bottom.
App Drawer Changes
Left: previous version. Right: latest version.
The most visually distinct modification was made to the app drawer. Read More
Google has released a new app in the Play Store, but before you get too excited, it's not technically a new app. It's just new to the store. It's the Android TV Backdrop Daydream app. If you've got an Android TV device, it already has this app installed, but now that it's in the Play Store you should get automatic updates. Read More
The desktop version of Google+ is still under development. Those of you who jumped onto the preview version early on may have forgotten that, yes, what you're using is more or less a beta. It's not what people see when they sign into Google+ for the first time.
So, you adventurous Google+ users, here's what the developers want you to know they've been working on. Read More
We've received word that Google is doing another limited rollout test, this time surrounding weather, one of their favourite topics to trial with users. Searching "weather" might show you a card asking if you'd like to "Access weather instantly from your Home screen." If you tap add, a shortcut will show up on the homescreen. It appears to work almost exactly like Chrome's Add to homescreen function, except this opens the native Search and not a browser.
This may seem a little superfluous, as Google has weather available through Google Now, and possibly in your notifications too. That might be why they're testing it. Read More
It feels like Google is always adding new cards to Search, and it's just quietly released another one: a metronome. Simply search for 'metronome,' and a card will pop up showing a beats-per-minute slider and a play button. Press play and you get a clicking noise. Voila, a metronome.
The beats-per-minute value is set at 120 by default, but can be changed to any number between 40 and 208. When you tweak the value, the color changes from blue to orange, and when you press play, the button animates, pulsating according to the selected value. The card works with both desktop and mobile search, so you can play the piano and have a beat without needing a computer. Read More
Everyone knows someone who has made the switch from iPhone to Android. This latest convert will surprise you though. It’s GoogleBot – the all-important web crawler used by Google.
GoogleBot is a vital cog in the Google search engine. In its most simplified form, it works by going from website to website and sucking up as much information as it possibly can. The data is then passed to other Google algorithms, where it is processed, ranked, and transformed into search results.
In order for GoogleBot to get all perspectives of a website, it masquerades as different types of devices – a desktop browser, a feature-phone browser, and a smartphone browser. Read More
At GDC, Google announced a few new game-focused tools for developers that should make launching, promoting, and monetizing titles easier. There's now a full blog post on the changes, and they look like a big deal for developers, especially those who consider themselves "indie." Read More
A couple of days ago, Google revamped the Android Wear website to make it more interactive and today it's rolling out an update to another website: Android Auto. This time though, it's not the whole site that's getting completely overhauled, just the section at the bottom for supported manufacturers.
Previously, that only listed car and head unit manufacturers with links to their websites' landing pages - not even a specific Android Auto section on their site. Now, that list has been moved to the second Brands tab, with a new Models tab taking the first place. This has a list of all manufacturers with the exact models of cars and head units that support Auto. Read More