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Google Search improves searching for special characters in programming languages

If you've ever tried to search the meaning of specific operations and characters in programming languages, you know how frustrating it can be. You'll often have to append the name of the language to the search, or try surrounding it in quotes to only show exact matches.

Now Google has vastly improved searching for special characters and operations in programming languages.

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Google search on Android can now search through Google Drive files

Hidden all the way at the right end of the Google search app's tabs is 'In Apps' search. As you might guess from the name, it allows you to search within the apps installed on your phone. Now Google has added Firebase App Indexing to the Drive Android app, allowing you to find your documents straight from the Google search app.

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Google Search is testing new Recent tab, Offline and Lite search modes

Google is on a testing spree with server-side changes in the main Search app. Based on feedback from several readers, it looks like there might be changes afoot to the side menu, introducing a new feature and improving on ones we've seen before but that haven't been widely implemented yet.

Recent search tab

Whenever you perform a search within the Google app or widget, you have a couple of ways to access it again: you either remember the exact words you used and try the same search, or you access your Google activity dashboard, or you use the trick of tapping the Google icon to open a consequent search as a separate page to leave the previous one lurking.

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Google Search on the web adds movie and TV ratings from users

The movie-going public owes a great debt to Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert. The "thumbs up, thumbs down" system breaks down a complex opinion into a simple yes/no question, "did you like it or not?" Its effects can still be seen on Reddit and even in the comments section of this very article - now all we need is some digital implementation of The Wagging Finger of Shame. Google's on board with the thumb system of movie and TV reviews, and has lately implemented it on its search pages in the Knowledge Graph section.

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Search recommendations now appear inside Google search results

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.

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Google Search now has a RGB/Hex color converter

Google has been working to bring more and more functionality directly into search results, without the user having to visit a separate site. You can now find your IP address, run a speed test, convert units, and more all from Search. Following that trend, now Google has added an RGB to Hex converter.

If you're unfamiliar, RGB and Hex are both color spaces used to identify colors. For example, #000000 in Hex and (0,0,0) in RGB both refer to Black. Searching 'RGB to Hex' brings up a simple color picker that shows results in RGB and Hex. You can search any Hex or RGB value, and it will show the color in both formats.

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Data from the US Department of Education's College Scorecard is now available in Google Search

If you're a student, you've probably used Google to look up information about colleges and universities. You've also likely noticed that most, if not all, schools have their own personalized cards with figures such as acceptance rate, tuition, total enrollment, and endowment. Now, Google is partnering with the US Department of Education to integrate statistics from the College Scorecard into Google Search.

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Google Search may soon show live popular business times for locations

There's a Chick-Fil-A location on Powers Boulevard in Colorado Springs. It's there. It sells chicken sandwiches. It's the only one on that side of the city. The store is technically open from 6AM to 10PM every day, but I don't think I've ever been there before nine at night. Because as good as Chick-Fil-A sandwiches are, they're not worth waiting 40 minutes in a drive-through line that wraps around the building twice.

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Google search on mobile rolling out AMP optimized pages for all supported results

If you have never heard of Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, it's exactly what it sounds like. AMP documents are minimal web pages, with the same basic HTML syntax, designed to load as quickly as possible (even at the cost of some functionality). Web developers can create AMP versions of their webpages, with Google mirroring every page on its own servers for the quickest load times possible. For example, here is the AMP version (left) and normal mobile site (right) from Forbes:

screenshot_20160920-141039 screenshot_20160920-142411

What you can't see is that the AMP page loaded in under a second, and the Forbes page took about 20 seconds.

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Google now allows any site to contribute reviews to Google Search

Google Search has shown reviews of places, movies, TV shows, and more for a while now. The reviews displayed in Search results were always limited to a few select websites, but no longer. Google will now aggregate reviews from up to three sites for any given place (and movies/TV shows/books/etc), as long as the sites implement Google's snippet markup and follow its guidelines. Reviews can either be from the site itself, or from user-created reviews submitted to the site (like Facebook).

In addition to normal reviews, qualifying publishers can also add their critic reviews to Search results. As seen in the right screenshot above, these are larger cards with an embedded summary. Critic reviews are supported for local businesses, movies, as well as books.

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