Google's new logo is just the beginning. Naturally, given how many of the company's apps populate most of our Android devices, the change affects the experience we'll have on our smartphones and tablets. Google's new branding will obviously appear when you access the search engine in a mobile browser, but that's just the beginning. The changes are also finding their way into Android's dedicated Search app and Google Now cards. Read More
Version 4.9 of the Google app began rolling out late yesterday, but it's not sporting a lot of obvious additions. The only immediately visible changes appear under Settings -> Now cards, where a new toggle has been added to enable or disable lock screen notifications based on cards. Some updated text also appears below the new toggle, if you care about that sort of thing.
Left: old version. Right: new version.
The existing Notifications toggle gave users the option to determine whether cards from Google Now could occupy space in the notification shade. The new toggle brings a little more control by allowing notifications to appear in the shade without being shown on the lock screen where they could potentially overwhelm more important notifications. Read More
Anyone who's used the Internet for a few days knows that Google (and all the other search engines at this point) will suggest alternative search terms if the algorithm determines that you've made a typo or a mistake. At least one user is now seeing this behaviour on the Android app version of Google Search, and seeing it before you would expect to: right in the drop-down search results that appear before you actually press Enter.
What the hell are firms of endearment?
This is interesting not because it's a previously unseen feature of Google Search on Android, but because it also isn't present on Google Search on the web and in Chrome. Read More
Most of the app updates this week were relatively quiet, with the notable exception of Play Music with its new ad-supported radio feature. That doesn't have to mean some of the updates don't have something new to offer. The Google app (formerly "Search") was bumped up to v4.8 yesterday, but it doesn't seem to have any noticeable changes right now. However, a look under the hood reveals some pretty interesting features on the horizon.
Disclaimer: Teardowns are necessarily speculative and usually based on incomplete evidence. It's possible that the guesses made here are totally and completely wrong. There is always a chance that details may change or plans may be cancelled prior to the launch of a new feature discovered in a teardown.
There are a lot of choices for weather apps on Android - you can see the best in Rita El Khoury's roundup from yesterday. But if you prefer to have as few apps on your phone as possible (because Windows RAM-saving behavior dies hard), Google has just improved the built-in weather function of its mobile search. Specifically, the Knowledge Graph function that shows you weather for a specific location now extends for ten days.
It's not a huge change, but it makes it easier to figure out the long-range forecast at a glance. The Search function even allows you to break down the day-by-day forecast by hour with a handy slider. Read More
Google's search engine first attracted users because it was a fast and useful way to find the information. The faster you send users away, the faster they come back, the thinking went. These days Google has no shortage of services to keep us from ever leaving its servers. But some new features keep that original vibe of Google-y awesomeness. This latest addition to Search is one such feature.
Now when you search for a local restaurant, Google will show the option to place an order. Hitting this button will ask for your preferred delivery service and then pull up the appropriate website.
This feature is only available in the US, and for now it's limited to six partners: BeyondMenu, Delivery.com, Eat24, Grubhub, MyPizza.com, and Seamless. Read More
Over the past few days, we have learned of two new ways that Google has been integrating its desktop Search with Android devices: finding your phone and sending directions to yourself. The Google Operating Systems blog (not associated with Google) found that other similar "searches" now make it possible to set an alarm or send a note to your phone as well.
To send a note to yourself, you simply search for "note to self," or "send a note." A card appears with a text field to write the content of the note and a device picker so you can choose which phone or tablet to send it to. Read More
I'm sure you've already heard, but today there are changes coming of biblical proportions. Wait, you didn't hear about Mobilegeddon? This is indeed the term being applied to a Google search algorithm update being applied today that will rank mobile-optimized sites higher in searches from phones. The big drama about this is that, well, Google is very powerful and changes to their ranking systems have a habit of being destructive to affected sites. Mobilegeddon gets a name due in large part to the fact that it's the rare algorithm change that Google has detailed and warned about in advance of its rollout, having set a date back in February. Read More