Google is doing a big upgrade to Play Music this week, enabling a smarter and more contextually aware recommendation engine, an easier to use interface, and a more streamlined caching system for offline playback. You'll notice some big changes to the look of the Play Music home screen on both the web and mobile devices, and hopefully some better music suggestions.
As I have moved on from sharing my every move via Facebook, one of the most useful things I do on the platform nowadays is take advantage of the expertise of my friends. Finding a place to get lunch, identifying a dentist covered by my employer's insurance, and all manner of similar problems can be solved in part by soliciting suggestions from my social network. Facebook is now rolling out a feature called Recommendations that helps you make sense of your friends' input.
Google has long offered related searches at the bottom of search results, but this is a bit different. The above widget, which now appears for some users when you tap on a search result and then go back, shows relevant searches to whatever page you tapped on.
As opposed to the related search results at the bottom of each results page, this appears directly under whatever link you picked. Considering the vast amount of searches I do on my phone don't require me to scroll all the way down to the bottom, it makes sense to add recommendations directly into results. Additionally, the results seem to be tailored to the link itself, as opposed to being based on your query.
A pair of fresh updates of the Play Movies & TV app rolled out to both Android TV and regular devices yesterday. Like many other recent updates, there's not a lot of new functionality to see on the surface, particularly for the Android TV version. Phones and tablets gained a new toggle to control notifications about expiring rewards, but that's about it. However, a teardown shows a few improvements scheduled for future updates, including 4K support, a special channel for watching trailers, and recommendations for similar TV shows. Read on for details or skip to the bottom for download links.
SoundCloud is filled with music, but how do you find stuff that you like? You can search around on your own, pull up stuff other people recommend, filter by genre, or stick with what's popular. All of these methods may or may not produce content that you actually want to listen to.
To address this, SoundCloud will now recommend tracks based on your listening history.
Depending on which apps you install, your notification shade can feel like a warzone. Check this email. Read this text. Water your crops in this game. Your tank is full, so switch to another game and race.
Pocket wants to be your reading home on the web and mobile. Whether it's the stories that you run across while browsing or checking social media, those that your friends share with you, or those that it thinks are interesting to you, Pocket serves them to you in their purest form, stripped of the superfluous ads, widgets, and stuff that you find on any web page. And now Pocket's recommendations, which it introduced in version 6, are getting more customizable and personal.
Instead of Pocket guessing what you might want to read, you can help it by following known story curators and friends.
When you open up your Pocket, what do you see? If you haven't been running the beta version for the past few weeks, you've seen all the articles you've gathered from across the web. Now you will also see recommendations, content Pocket thinks you'll be interested in alongside the stuff you've saved.
To determine which articles to recommend to people, Pocket looks at what content users with similar reading habits saved to their accounts. It also considers how many of these users actually read or eventually shared each story. The company is quick to point out that over two billion items have been saved to Pocket, so there's plenty of information to work with.
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. Now Google is expanding this feature to push you in the direction of non-installed apps as well. So if you search for something and an app that isn't on your phone can provide the answers you're looking for, your results will let you know.
There comes a time in the evolution of every tech company where things just need a refresh. For Foursquare, that time is now. Last month the company branched its core app into two separate offerings, with the friends-hanging-out portion taking the name of Swarm. Now the mainline app's refresh has arrived, and it's all about delivering personalized recommendations. Think more Yelp and less Twitter.
The new Foursquare wants you to find places, food, and things that turn you on. It does this by asking for as many specific keywords as you can come up with, at which point it will take it from there, tossing up suggestions and learning from the ones you like.