A new heart icon has been spotted in Google Discover (née Feed), replacing the previous button that triggered the familiar more/less slider for tuning its content to better match your tastes. This isn't just a visual change in iconography, either, as tapping the new heart button doesn't open any menu, apparently and simply indicating to Google that you liked a given piece of content. So far, the change seems to be in limited testing.
The Pixel 4 and Android 10 brought us a new approach to biometric unlocks in the form of face recognition. To implement that technology, Google had to introduce a biometrics API that isn't compatible with the fingerprint interface of old. That's why all apps that have previously supported biometric fingerprint authentication have to be updated to work with the new API, which seems to be a painfully slow process. The latest app to add biometric face unlock is Discover's banking app.
Google's apps and services are among the most-used in the world, so it's no wonder that people turn to the company when they want to find out more about the coronavirus pandemic. In order to suppress misinformation and help its users find trustworthy sources, Google took a lot of measures, including a COVID-19 website created in cooperation with the WHO and the CDC and many editorialized search results in all products. While it's pretty easy to spot all of this information yourself while you're using Google apps, we'd still like to give you a broad overview of some of the measures.
If you own an Android phone running a largely stock experience or use a launcher that mimics it, the chances are you have the Google Discover feed to the left of your home screen. The artist formally known as Google Now/Feed is now just a selection of articles (and, more recently, ads) from around the web according to what Google thinks you're into. Aside from the controls on each post, there's also a place in the Google app's settings to customize your content. It's been given a makeover and also a new name — Interests.
If you're still lamenting the loss of the original Google Now, this news won't help with anything but twist the knife in the wound a little further. The new Discover feed, after adding regular news articles, doodles, and even ads, is now surfacing restaurant recommendations among the different cards.
Google's recommended articles already exist in the Google app, the far left page of most app launchers, the New Tab page in Chrome for Android, and on the mobile google.com homepage. In case you need yet another place to find your favorite clickbait articles or mildly-relevant news, you might soon see them in Chrome for Android's tab switcher.
Google started testing ads in the Google app's Discover feed — then the Google Feed — around this time last year, with advertisements mixed in with non-sponsored content. The test wasn't popular; the proximity of the feed to many phones' home screens made the ads feel especially obtrusive. But it was apparently a hit with advertisers, as Google has announced that those ads will be the norm this year.
Discover, a rebranding for the familiar content list formerly known as "Feed," seems to be rolling out to a wider audience this week. The rename-associated redesign landed all the way back in October shortly after the announcement, updated dark theme and all. With more people experiencing it, I'm curious to know how many of you make Discover/Feed a regular part of your day.
Google probably has an internal logic for rollouts that makes all the sense in the world to the developers running things. However, the process can seem bizarre and illogical on our end. Case in point: Google started turning the Feed into Discover back in October, but accounts on the Google beta app never got the update. Well, now they have.