Besides new family-friendly and kid-friendly efforts on search and discovery in the Play Store, Google announced during its keynote today that Play Store search will be getting smarter overall.
Specifically, Google wants to more effectively surface apps when users search for vague or topical queries. The example given in the screenshot above shows the user searching for "shopping" apps. The Play Store then returns, of course, shopping apps. But those apps are then categorized intelligently into different sub-genres like Fashion and Coupons.
This may seem like a small tweak to most users, but - if Google is right - it will help introduce users to the right app when the user is not sure exactly what they're looking for, which is a good step in helping along discoverability in the Play Store as a whole.
Google Now is based on getting you data that matches your context—your location, time of day, what you've been searching for, and so on. A new feature of Google Now in Android M called "On Tap" will take that a step further by using the context of what you're doing on the phone to find answers.
You might remember way back in August of 2014 there was a cool addition to Chrome for Android that places possible answers to your queries in the Omnibar suggestions. It's been active this whole time, but only if you toggle the flag. Now it appears to be live for everyone.
If you're looking for a nearby place to eat and want directions on how to get there, open Google Maps first. If you try using the Google Search app or the web, you probably won't get the results you want.
You see, Search is currently having a hard time giving out directions. If you tap the icon underneath a restaurant, it will open up Google Maps, but after that... nothing.
Yup, as you can see, I'm somewhere in Virginia. As for the nearest pizza place, it's presumably somewhere along the East Coast.
This bug is pretty easy to replicate. Search for something nearby in the Google Search app or the web.
Google is no stranger to testing new features or design tweaks on its live products, and search has been receiving quite a bit of attention lately. It doesn't necessarily come as a surprise, then, to see new design tweaks appearing for some users in Google's image search results.
The new design, which so far appears to be in very limited testing, offers a brighter layout for individual images - the background is a light #eeeeee as opposed to the solid black seen in its current iteration, and there's a relocated "close" button along with a new way to show image details.
In the current layout (as you'll see below), details are behind an overflow button.
Nova Launcher is easily the top pick for conventional Android home screen replacements, and a "daily driver" for a good chunk of Android Police's staff. The latest update added a Material Design user interface, but there are other goodies hiding just below the surface. For example, version 4.0 includes a simple app search function hidden in the app drawer. It's especially handy if you've got hundreds of installed apps (like Artem) or just don't like organizing your apps into folders (like everyone else).
To activate the search bar, just drag down from anywhere in the app drawer. It's the same gesture used to refresh the page or service in some Google apps.
Google and Twitter have rekindled their relationship, and that means users can now view tweets inside the Google Search app. Messages appear among results in a carousel, similar to images. The feature is live today for people searching in English across the US on Android, iOS, or the web. Desktop compatibility is still in the works, along with support for other countries.
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. Hitting this button will ask for your preferred delivery service and then pull up the appropriate website.
This feature is only available in the US, and for now it's limited to six partners: BeyondMenu, Delivery.com, Eat24, Grubhub, MyPizza.com, and Seamless.
Google is turning app developers loose on Google Now, but search data is still finding its way into the feed in new ways as well. If you haven't already, you'll soon start to see cards that tell you when a product you've searched for goes on sale. Google previously did this with flight data, but now it seems to work with all kinds of stuff.