Google testing enhanced ‘Flight Explorer’ flight search service

Google-flight-explorer

As noticed by TNW, Google appears to be testing a new flight search service that differs from its Google Flights offering launched in September of last year. In our tests, the service, dubbed “Flight Explorer”, is fully accessible through http://www.google.com/flights/explorer, indicating this might be an upcoming refresh of the Google Flights service. Upon navigating to the Flight Explorer page, Google automatically detects your location for the “From” category and selects what appears to be the next closest country in the “To” section.

The service also provides some improvements over Google’s old flights search, allowing users to select the trip length with a slider under their destination, as well as a number of filters along the top, including: Stops, Airline, Duration, Outbound time, and Return Time. While the service appears to be ready to go, clicking links for any flights that show up in the results takes you to a familiar Google Flights page currently. We expect to hear more about Google’s new Flight Explorer service soon.

Google launches Sound Search widget for easy song identification, now available on Google Play for all devices

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Previously available for only its Nexus line, Google launched a new Sound Search widget for all Android devices that allows users to identify a song playing and purchase it from Google Play. Services like Shazam and SoundHound also serve a similar purpose, but Google bragged its solution syncs across all devices to make purchasing easier from another device. Additionally, users running Android 4.2 can add the widget directly to their lockscreen to catch the song easier. Do you find yourself constantly scouring Google Play for music? This might not be such a bad thing to download from the source link below.

Source: Google Play

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Google Currents for Android updated with scannable categories, breaking news section, more

Google Currents

Google has announced an update for its Google Currents for Android app this afternoon, adding a slew of features that will make it easier for users to consume news. Currents will now group similar publications into specific categories, like Sports and Lifestyle, so users can easily view headlines with just a swipe of their finger. The categories will be accessible via the sidebar, and editions (a.k.a. publications) can be organized into each category. Much like specific categories, users can also swipe their finger horizontally through a specific edition, like 9to5Google, to read the latest headlines and find a story of interest. The last update included a new breaking news section that uses Google Search technologies to deliver the hottest, most relevant news that is happening in the world. Grab the update from the source link below.

Source: Google Currents, Google Play Read more

Latest Chromium build testing search box right on new tab page

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The Chrome team has announced a new addition to the Chromium (beta version of Chrome) browser this afternoon, changing the way many users will search for content online via Google and other search engines. Google is testing/experimenting with an added search box to the new tab page, a page that has historically just listed recently viewed websites, and the new search box will not only include Google search but will also be accompanied by Yahoo, Bing and others. Google said the reasoning behind the change is: “we’ve found that many people still navigate to their search engine’s home page to initiate a search instead.”

Google is also allowing search engines to display what a user has searched for right in the omnibox, potentially doing away with a second search box on the actual search page. Additionally, Google has made a new Embedded Search API available so other search engines can implement what’s new. The features outlined today are available for testing from the Chrome Developer Channel that includes a select few Chrome OS and Windows users (Mac will be coming soon). Sadly, Mountain View gave no word on when the features will hit an official build.

Source: Chromium Blog

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Eric Schmidt talks all-things Google with The Economist (Video)

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt sat down with The Economist’s Daniel Franklin on Dec. 6, as part of the executive’s ongoing media tour, to discuss everything from driverless cars and the mobile landscape to user data and “magical journalism devices.”

One of the more notable tidbits (at 25:40) regards why Marissa Mayer and other Googlers really left Google to become CEOs of Yahoo and other competing companies such AOL and Facebook. Schmidt suggested they were unable to move up the corporate ladder so they ultimately moved on:

“Well, in each case, they became—let’s see—CEOs of important and powerful companies. And that position has been occupied by Larry and myself, so I think perhaps they wanted a career path that wasn’t in front of them. Each of them is fantastic. And if you look, each of them sort of trained at Google —independently strong, they’ll make a good showing.”

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Android passes iOS for the first time in Australia with 44 percent of smartphone users

Android has passed Apple’s iOS for the first time in Australia, according to a new research report from Telsyte (via TheSydneyMorningHerald). Telsyte reported 44 percent of smartphones in Australia are now running on Android—just slightly edging out Apple with 43 percent of the market running iOS. Telsyte Research Director Foad Fadaghi attributed Android’s growth to a wider range of handsets, faster product cycles, and carrier support has helped Android close the gap:

“Our new research shows that the lower prices, faster product cycles and carrier support has helped Android become the leading platform,” Fadaghi says.

While Apple and Android dominate the market with 87 percent of smartphones in the country, Fadaghi noted Apple has “the highest repeat purchase intention amongst consumers, with iPhone upgrades significantly driving re-contracting with carriers.”

You can read the full results of the Telsyte report here.