One of the main downsides to using a custom launcher was that you couldn't have an easily-accessible Google Now pane. While your feed is just a swipe away on the Google Now and Pixel Launchers, other applications were barred from using it due to API restrictions. That is, until the developer of Nova Launcher found a way around it by creating the 'Nova Google Companion.' Read More
Last year Google announced an update to the Google app that would bring an additional tab to Google Now. The new interface was meant to separate general items in your feed from more personal data, by partitioning the latter into a new "Upcoming" section. Well, it's been six months since it was announced, and it seems as if almost no one has the feature. Read More
Google Now was a big deal when it debuted years back, but now Google is all about Assistant. The Google Now pane got its last redesign in 2015, but Google appears to be testing something more radical currently. Some users are starting to see a transparent Google Now pane. Read More
Google regularly conducts server-side tests - showing new features and UI changes to only a handful of users at a time. Unfortunately, sometimes these have adverse affects on users. In this case, Google has broken the Play Store and Google Now for some users, as a result of two independent server-side tests. Read More
The Google app feed (formerly known as Google Now) includes relevant bits of data from around the web and culled from your own data. One card we almost all have is weather, and Google looks to be experimenting with a new version of that one. Rather than the large card with the forecast, the new one is a single line with a few bits of relevant information. Read More
Always-listening voice assistants, like Google Now/Assistant or Alexa, can't really tell the difference between you talking and someone else (unless you have Trusted Voice enabled on Android). Maybe you've watched a few tech videos where someone said "Ok Google," and your phone started talking back. Read More
Back at Google I/O 2016, we got a first look at Google Assistant. It was designed to be a conversational assistant, as opposed to the search-based Google Now. Then when Allo was released in September, it shipped with a beta version of Assistant. Finally when the Google Pixel phones were released in October, Assistant was a major selling point.
Google has a tendency to rush products out the door without fully finishing them, and Assistant was no exception. So now that about four months have passed since the official introduction of Google Assistant (roughly five months if you count the Allo beta), has anything changed? Read More
When Google Assistant was first unveiled at Google I/O last year, it promised to be a more natural voice assistant - similar to Siri, Alexa, Cortana, etc. It also serves as an Alexa competitor, with Google positioning Assistant for use with third-party devices and services. Right now, Google Assistant is officially available on Google's Pixel phones, the Google Home, Google's Allo chat application, and soon Android TV. Read More
There's always a Google A/B test going on in the background to figure out what could get users to better discover options or take them to what they're looking for faster. One of these tests was a series of search shortcuts that had a very distinct circle design in the Google Now (now known as Feed) page right below the search bar. That interface didn't spread to a wider user base, but it appears that Google is still toying with the idea, albeit in a different look.
Below are a couple of screenshots from two different users who are seeing these shortcuts or hints below the search bar. Read More