Once upon a time, the screen to the left of the homescreen on Google's Nexus phones and tablets was called Google Now, and it was a genuinely useful feed full of contextual information about things like your commute, upcoming calendar appointments, package deliveries, and so on. This eventually went away as the screen, now Google Discover, was turned into a news feed. There's now a way to get it back, but it's unfortunately limited to those using Xposed on a rooted device.
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.
At one time in history, most people could only know celebrities through their appearances on stage, screen, or radio. In time, they became slightly more accessible as newspapers and magazines detailed their lives and activities, sometimes through a creepy and somewhat unwanted lens. Now celebrities are turning things around as they actively engage with fans over the Internet. We can find the likes of Taylor Swift and Chrissy Teigen responding to fans on Twitter or Andrew Rae (of Binging with Babish) doing a live Q&A and cook-along on YouTube. Google is now bringing its Cameos app to Android so celebrities can communicate with fans by posting short video responses to popular questions.
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 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.
Everyone is trying to crack the curated news segment. From Google News to Apple News to Facebook and Twitter's algorithmic feeds, some of the biggest companies out there are doing their best to find the news you want to read, but if I'm being honest, few of them manage to do it. They get close, but I often find articles in my feeds that I have no interest to check. Microsoft is throwing its hat in the ring with a new app, Hummingbird, and my first-run experience with it has left me with the same mixed feelings.
Google began rolling out the traditional friday night update to the beta channel. Like so many other updates, this one brings with it minor tweaks to the interface. Of more interest are the topics for a teardown, which includes changes to Voice Match, migration of more settings for the home screen, and a bit more about KITT.
The latest Google app update is rolling out to the beta channel, but as usual, you're probably not going to see much in the way of changes after installing it. The version number lept from 8.27 to 8.33, which looks odd, but I assure you, it makes total sense if you think about it. Today we'll be talking about a new page for home screen settings, more about linking services to notes and lists, personalized news settings, and more.