Some users signed up to the Google app beta channel have been receiving an unusual "alpha" release of v6.13 update. It's not entirely clear if this was meant to find its way into the wild, and judging by many inoperable and buggy issues, I suspect it wasn't. All the same, it's out and contains some pretty interesting things. To begin with, this version enables some features that had previously been seen in testing like a page of recent search topics and lite mode. There is also a process to add payment information for use with Google Assistant. Diving into a teardown brings back some previously seen features and adds a couple of new ones to the list. Read More
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. Read More
Google hasn't been shy about ingratiating itself and its services with the people of India and similarly data-constrained markets – and it should take a bow because some competitors certainly aren't trying very hard to keep up. Last month Google announced a number of initiatives for the Indian market designed to cut down on unnecessary data costs. Among the announcements was a change to the News & Weather app adding a so-called "Lite Mode" that intelligently reduces the amount of text and images that ultimately reaches a phone. Now it looks like the Google app itself will be sporting the same options. Read More
Google News & Weather has an interesting history. After years of being included on Android devices with almost no changes, it moved to the Play Store and received a Material Design facelift in 2014. Now Google has added a 'Lite mode' to the application, designed to save bandwidth for users in India and other regions where data is at a premium.
As indicated in the screenshot, you can set Lite mode to activate automatically, or force it on or off. When Lite mode is on, the application won't load as many images on the main screen. More importantly, opening a link in Lite mode causes an optimized version of the page to load instead of the full content. Read More
If you were starting to wonder why Google was suddenly making a lot of India-centric announcements, it turns out that the reason is that Google For India, the company's second official event aimed at the Indian market, was taking place today.
In it, Google has announced YouTube Go, a new India-first data-conscious app that makes YouTube more ready for offline and lesser data use, and plenty of worldwide improvements to Google Chrome with a focus on data saving and offline use as well.
Now, the company has released a more comprehensive list of all the enhancements and features it's bringing to the Indian market. Read More