13
Nov
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Besides fixing Google Experience Launcher on tablets and adding some new cards, the new Google Search update has another trick up its sleeve - it will now hold a conversation with you to perform certain functions, and talks to you in a new way.

Basically, you can now start with very general voice commands like "send a message." The microphone will then turn into a white speaker on a blue circle, indicating that Search is responding to you.

13
Nov
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A huge Google Search update started rolling out earlier today. It is absolutely massive on many levels:

  • It officially brings Search version 3 (3.1.8 to be exact) that shipped in KitKat to all devices running 4.1+. This includes an updated UI, new refresh animation, among other things.
  • Because Search houses the Google Experience Launcher (GEL) inside, this update also brings GEL to all devices running Android 4.1+. All you need to do after installing Search 3.1.8 is install the launcher app from here, and voila - GEL for all, not just KitKat devices.
13
Nov
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Now that the KitKat update has started rolling out to various Nexus devices, we're, unfortunately, seeing no traces of the Google Experience Launcher, which confirms an earlier report stating as much. No GEL means no transparency in the default and a pretty barebones boring AOSP launcher. It also means no Google Now integration and no "Ok Google" hotword support while on any home screen.

Screenshot_2013-11-13-01-21-11 Screenshot_2013-11-13-01-20-48

Boring Nexus 7 launcher

However, not all is lost.

04
Nov
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Google finally unveiled KitKat last week, but you may have noticed something was missing. Yes, there was no news on the so-called Google Experience Launcher. Earlier leaks led us to suspect that Google's homescreen experience was coming to more Android devices, but the big day came and went with no mention. Recent revelations about how the Android 4.4 homescreen works breathe new life into the possibility of a more Googley experience for all.

01
Nov
phone ico

Google is finally paying attention to the phone app in Android 4.4 by adding smart organization of contacts, enhanced search, and a new card-based UI. However, there might be something more dastardly hiding in the dialer code. Google might be preparing to roll out ads of some sort to the Android dialer.

dial-pad

31
Oct
Search-Thumb

The Google Search app is already the quickest way to retrieve information on your Android device. With just a few words, users can search the web, open apps, and pull up directions. The problem is that some information opens up in a web browser that would be better suited for an app. If you already have the IMDb app installed, why should a search result shoot you out to the browser?

15
Oct
books

On Tuesday night, surprisingly ahead of the usual update-all-the-things-Wednesday, Google released a major revision of the Play Books app for Android, updating it from v2 (2.9.21) to v3 (3.0.15). The changelog, which was shockingly present from the get-go (thank you!), confused me a bit but after digging around, I finally figured out what it means. Oh, and I found another fix that wasn't mentioned.

What's New?

The official changelog is as follows:

  • Added the ability to search the text of original-pages books.

11
Oct
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Search the Play Store for "tip calculator" and you'll probably find over nine thousand different ways to cut up gratuity. But now you don't need them: Google has added a tip calculator to its ubiquitous search engine on the mobile app and the web. Just search for "what's the tip for forty dollars" (or any amount you'd care to name) and Google will return the default 15% tip.

Google tips calculator Shortened

Want to be a little more generous?

07
Oct
shoppinglogo

Maybe you've never really noticed the sponsored shopping results that pop up in Google searches, but Google is aiming to change that by making those ads more relevant to your physical location. The search giant is rolling out local shopping results that guide users to nearby brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, you may already have them in your search results.

aw shop 10-7-13 1

The shopping results that appear on both mobile and desktop searches may now open a dedicated local storefront when clicked.

03
Oct
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A few weeks back we pointed out a neat little trick in the Chrome Beta for Android. By toggling the NTP flag, you could get a spiffy new tab page with a search box and scrollable list of recent sites. The last update to the app seems to have killed it, but now we know why – Chrome 31 will make that UI the default in Android.

chrome_beta_ntp_android

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