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The Bing App's New 'Snapshots' Feature Is Like Google Now On-Tap But Different

One of Google's big innovations in Android Marshmallow is Now On-Tap, a contextual search service that uses the content on your screen to perform searches and find relevant information. It's only going to work on Android 6.0, but Microsoft has just updated the Bing app with a similar feature called Snapshots that will work on any device.

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Google Search Will Now Show You The Busiest Time Of Day For That Place You're Going To

Do you like to frequent places when they're at their busiest or do you prefer to slip in when no one else is around? No matter. Google Search will now help you do both. When you search for certain establishments, Google will show you which times of the day are the most popular.

Just search for a place's name and click on its card in the search results. Underneath the address and phone number you might see a scrollable chart showing when folks tend to stop by.

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Results will vary. I had success when trying Blue Bottle Williamsburg, the coffee shop in Google's example.

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Google Has Started Suggesting Voice Searches Inside The Google App For Some Users

Google really wants you to know that voice searches are a thing, so it's taken to rolling suggestions out to some users in the home screen search bar. We covered that the other day, but since then we've gotten a few tips that similar messages are appearing inside the Google app itself. See for yourself.

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Google's Homescreen Search Bar Displays Sample 'OK Google' Commands For Some Users

Over the past few weeks and months, it seems Google has been testing out a minor tweak to the search bar that appears on the home screen above your apps. Instead of simply showing Say "OK Google," some of our readers are seeing search recommendations such as "OK Google 15% of 80" and "OK Google... Movies nearby."

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The former shows that you can use Google to do math. The latter nudges people to use Search to find what movie theaters are currently playing nearby. Many of us may already be accustomed to this functionality, but these recommendations serve as a way to subtly inform a broader audience of all the things Google Search can do.

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PSA: WhatsApp Now Lets You Search All Of Your Conversations At Once

We're not sure when this behavior changed in WhatsApp — I was able to track it down as far back as version 2.12.134 but it might have been there before — but it's worth pointing out nonetheless, if only for its boost in convenience. It used to be that whenever you wanted to look for specific words in your WhatsApp chats, you first had to select the conversation where that word occurred and then perform the search. That was useful, but only to a limited extent, because if you were looking for that restaurant recommendation from a few months ago, you might have forgotten which friend mentioned it to you.

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Google Mobile Search Adds Ten-Day Weather Forecasts

There are a lot of choices for weather apps on Android - you can see the best in Rita El Khoury's roundup from yesterday. But if you prefer to have as few apps on your phone as possible (because Windows RAM-saving behavior dies hard), Google has just improved the built-in weather function of its mobile search. Specifically, the Knowledge Graph function that shows you weather for a specific location now extends for ten days.

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It's not a huge change, but it makes it easier to figure out the long-range forecast at a glance. The Search function even allows you to break down the day-by-day forecast by hour with a handy slider.

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SoundHound Has Developed Its Own Voice Assistant 'Hound' To Take On Google Now, Currently Available As An Invite Only Beta

Google isn't the only word that can follow OK. SoundHound has developed a voice assistant of its own, and while the project is still in invite-only beta, the newly available app is clearly going after Google Now. From the moment you utter the words OK Hound, you know you're in for something similar, but different.

SoundHound thinks Hound is special due to its ability to better understand speech. The assistant responds to naturally phrased questions and can handle detailed inquiries. The example in the provided screenshots shows Hound responding to: "Show me hotels in miami with availability monday staying three nights between one hundred fifty to two hundred fifty dollars that have a pool and are pet friendly."

The provided results, if accurate, are more informative than the general search Google dishes out.

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[I/O 2015] Google Is Working On Smarter Play Store Search

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.

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[I/O 2015] Google Now On Tap For Android M Will Help You Get Quick Contextual Information Anywhere On The Phone

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.

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