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

The EU reportedly wants Google to separate search from the rest of its business

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Google’s ongoing battle with the European Union may have just taken a nasty turn. A new draft motion from the European Parliament is looking to separate the outfit’s search business from the rest of its operations. This comes after years of accusations against the company claiming that it exercises adverse practices, showcasing its own products while burying its competition.

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Google Search for Android updated with Material Design makeover, improved reminders and more

Google Search Material Design

With the release of Android Lollipop for a wider lineup of Nexus devices expected to occur any day now, the official Google Search app has been updated with a brand new design and several new features that make searching for everything from the best sushi in Chicago to Van Gogh research for a school project that much better of an experience.

First and foremost, the Google Search app has been revamped with a Material Design user interface and that includes bold colors, fluid animations and simplified layouts. Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Samsung Galaxy Note 4 users also benefit from being able to activate “Ok, Google” searches even when the smartphone is unplugged and the display is off.

The latest version Google’s official app is more effective at organizing your day-to-day life by automatically pulling events that it feels you might want to follow up on, like catching up with Chris over dinner or getting drinks with Susan. Normally, these small events would be buried in your inbox and you might forget to follow up on them later. Read more

Google updates search platform to decrease visibility of pirated media

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Google recently rolled out an update for its web search algorithm that makes it harder for people to find pirated media through torrent sites like Pirate Bay and Isohunt. This new software push comes soon after News Corp. chief executive Robert Thomson issued a letter blasting the search giant, referring to it as a “platform for piracy” and requesting that the EU enforce stricter policies against the company.

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Celebrity attorney threatening Google with $100 million lawsuit over links to leaked pictures

googlel right to be forgotten

A recent scandal that involved countless private pictures of several high-profile female celebrities being published online was initially linked to Apple’s iCloud, however such claims were never validated and the Cupertino software company has publicly denied such allegations. After taking aim at Apple, some of the outraged celebrities are now targeting Google, threatening to sue the company behind its web search results linking to their leaked photos.

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Google no longer displaying news article excerpts in German search results

After receiving a lot of pressure from a group German publishers, Google is changing the way its search engine handles news articles. The company is now removing excerpts and image thumbnails from its web search results for sites like bild.de, bunte.de or hoerzu.de and replacing them with headlines and story links.

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Google Play Music updated w/ new ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ widget, other interface tweaks

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Google this afternoon, as part of its Update Wednesday regiment, started rolling out an update to the Play Music app on Android. The update bumps the app to version 5.6.1616 and includes several interface tweaks and new features. For one, the update adds a newly-skinned 4×1 widget, as well as a new 1×1 widget that allows you to instantly listen “I’m Feeling Lucky” radio. For those unfamiliar, the “I’m Feeling Lucky” feature provides an infinite stream of music that Google thinks you will like.

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Google discusses child porn detection policies after recent sex offender arrest

Google recently helped police in Houston, Texas catch a sex offender after tipping the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that it had located explicit pictures of children in a man’s email. Although the search giant’s efforts helped catch a criminal, they’ve also made some people wonder if the company regularly monitors its subscribers’ email accounts.

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Google is developing an interactive timeline search feature powered by data from Wikipedia

Google-Timeline

Despite having its hand in things like wearables and robotics, web search is arguably still Google’s mainstay and it looks like the company is working on a new tool that will help people point and click their way through historical events. Discovered by code tinkerer Florian Kiersch, Mountain View appears to be working on a new Knowledge Graph tool that pulls data from Wikipedia to create interactive timelines based on the item being searched.

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Google is working on multiple language translation support for voice search

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Google is working on a new feature for its voice search that will allow the software to understand multiple languages at a time. Currently, the company’s voice search only listens to your default language settings for your Google profile. This can be changed within your account’s settings, but Mountain View is trying to make things easier for multilingual individuals.

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