Google testing new direct-to-business chat platform powered by Hangouts

Matt Gibstein on Twitter: %22Super interesting: @Google search now offering the ability to chat with local businesses (a la @Path Talk). http:::t.co:eksoBhZ6wk%22 2015-02-24 16-08-49

Google is testing an interesting new feature in search, as spotted by one Matt Gibstein on Twitter. As you can see in the above screenshot, there’s a small “Chat” icon next to the phone number of a business called “Dizengoff” in Philadelphia—and it looks like clicking it will launch you into a chat session directly with that business via Hangouts.  Read more

Judge dismisses class-action anti-trust suit against Google over Android & Search practices

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Last May, Google was hit with an class-action anti-trust lawsuit over several of its Android and Search practices. The case centered around the idea that Google was forcing Android handset manufacturers to make its search engine the default on all their devices, as well as pre-load apps such as YouTube. These practices, in turn, drove up the price of Android devices. Reuters reports this evening, however, that a federal judge has dismissed the lawsuit due to a lack of evidence from the plaintiffs.

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Google adding fact-checked health information to Knowledge Graph

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Google’s Knowledge Graph–which highlights fact-checked info at the top of certain types of search results–is being expanded to include health-related searches. So next time you want to check whether you have the common cold or a rare strain of Ebola, Google should provide the necessary reassurance.

Starting in the next few days, when you ask Google about common health conditions, you’ll start getting relevant medical facts right up front from the Knowledge Graph. We’ll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is—whether it’s critical, if it’s contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you’ll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators.

Google says that the information is pulled from “high-quality medical sources across the web” and then checked by both its own doctors and others from the Mayo Clinic …  Read more

Twitter reaches new deal w/ Google to have tweets appear instantly in search results

Twitter Logo

Google and Twitter have allegedly come to an agreement for tweets to appear in search results, according to a report out of Bloomberg. During the first half of this year, tweets will begin to be visible in Google search results as soon as they are posted. As part of this deal, Bloomberg reports that Twitter is giving Google access to the entire stream of data posted and shared by its 284 million users. Previously, Google had to crawl Twitter’s site for information.

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Google trying to regain search marketshare from Yahoo w/ new messages for Firefox users

Late last year, Mozilla announced a joint five-year partnership with Yahoo that saw the default search engine in Firefox change from Google to Yahoo. It seemed unlikely at the time that Google would notice too big of a loss from that deal, but following contrary reports from earlier this month, Search Engine Land has also noticed that the company has started trying to convince Firefox users to switch to Google Search.

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Google now offering fast access to ticket purchases when searching bands and venues

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Performer search left, venue search right

 

If you search for a band or live venue, there’s a high chance it’s because you want to buy tickets for an upcoming show. Google is now making that easier by displaying upcoming events in the search results, with a direct link to purchase tickets.

It may take a few days to start seeing these results, as Google has just explained to webmasters for bands and venues the steps they need to take to ensure the information shows up in searches. They can either add a little HTML to their webpages, or install a widget that does it for them …  Read more

Google’s share of US search market at lowest level since 2008 as Mozilla/Yahoo partnership bites

google-yahoo-market-share

Google’s share of the US search market has fallen to its lowest level since at least 2008 following the deal in which Mozilla switched the default Firefox search engine from Google to Yahoo in November. Yahoo saw its share increase from 8.6% to 10.4% in the one month since the deal was signed.

The figure was revealed by StatCounter, who said that Firefox users represented just over 12% of US Internet users as of last month …  Read more

New Years Google doodle features Ice Bucket Challenge, Flappy Bird, other homages to 2014

 

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Google has updated its homepage today with a cute little doodle for New Years Eve, and is paying homage to a slew of notable trending topics and human achievements from 2014. Of the most interesting things that happened this year (according to Google trends at least) were the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Flappy Bird, landing on an comet, amongst many others. Read more

Google adds song lyrics to Knowledge Graph search results

magic lyrics - Google Search 2014-12-22 11-30-32

Every once in a while, we get a new feature added to Google’s Knowledge Graph (the smart results that appear at the top of the search page). Today, Google has added the handy ability to see results for song lyrics right on the search page (via TechCrunch), meaning that websites focusing solely on providing lyrics and fighting for the top of Google’s results in this category might see a bit of a downturn in traffic…

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Google adds new stats, examples of government requests in latest Transparency Report

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Google released the latest version of its Transparency Report today, revealing data about government requests the company received between June and December of 2013. According to the report, Google received 3,105 requests to remove 14,637 pieces of content within that time period, which brings the total number of requests received by the Mountain View corporation up to 6,591 for the entirety of 2013, a figure that’s about 60% higher than the previous calendar year.

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Google iOS app updated w/ Material Design, Street View integration, more

Google is rolling out a completely redesigned version of its iPhone and iPad app with its Material Design look and feel right down to the app icon.

The latest version of the search app now presents a bottom navigation bar (which can slide out of view) that presents a persistent Google button for searching for new information. The navigation bar also offers a button for quickly accessing recent search pages, something that feels similar to multitasking between apps on Android.

Also notable as part of the redesign is the optimization searching for photos has received. In the latest version of Google’s iOS app, image results now take on a full-screen, mosaic look for presenting larger results. The update also packs in deep Google Maps integration for location searches including support for Google Street View right in the app for iPhone users. You can read the full change log below: Read more

Google reveals plans for kid-friendly versions of Chrome, YouTube, Search, and more

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Earlier this year, a report emerged claiming that Google was hard at work making its services more appropriate and accessible for children. The report noted that the company wanted to overhaul its online products to allow children to legally use them. USA Today has now published a new report, confirming the rumors earlier this year regarding specific services catered to young kids. Google VP of Engineering Pavni Diwanji told the news outlet that Google is currently working on versions of its most popular products, such as Search and YouTube, for kids aged 12 and under.

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