Ever since Google Now became a thing, Search has been the go-to voice command hub for all of Android. There has been one nagging issue, however: when using a Bluetooth headset, a long-press of the action button would bring up the tired old Voice Dialer, which is essentially useless for anything other than making a call. What if I just have to know how tall Joakim Noah is while out cycling.
You've got to give it to Google: the company has its finger on the pulse of the world's search habits. Take the upcoming Sochi Olympics - while Russia itself seems poised for an international embarrassment of epic proportions, Google has already tuned up its search engine with Sochi information for desktop and mobile searches. Most searches with "olympics" and an event will return a quick schedule and/or results card in the Knowledge Graph area.
An update to Chrome beta a few weeks ago came with the bizarre side effect that hotword detection no longer worked in the Google search app or in the Google Now Launcher (GNL). The next version of Chrome beta didn't do anything to fix it, either. Well, Google Search to the rescue – yesterday's big search update seems to have fixed hotword detection.
We've been pawing through today's Google Search update and one item in particular deserves a little more attention. Some of the cards in Google Now are getting an interesting tweak – they're bundled and have a cool animation when opened.
Google has pushed out an update to the Google Search app, which now means there's also an update to the Google Experience Launcher. We've got the APK for you to install below, and this is looking like a substantial update – it looks like the new (and probably official) name for the Google Experience Launcher is Google Now Launcher.
Heads up, Android users: there's a Google Search update that just landed in the Play Store. Google's tendency for staged rollouts means that some of you might not get an automatic update for a few days, but as usual, we've got the APK download below. There are a few noticeable visible changes in the integrated Google Experience Launcher, but that's about it as far as new features go. This is an incremental update after the massive 3.1.8 update from last month.
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.
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.
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?