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

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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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Now you can set Google Now reminders in the desktop Google searchbar

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Setting Google Now reminders by voice is all very well when you’re walking down the street, but you can feel just a little self-conscious doing it in an open-plan office or coffee-shop. Google now allows you to add reminders by typing them directly into the searchbar on your laptop, reveals the Google Blog.

You don’t have to use the mobile Google Search app to add reminders. Just search Google for add reminder or create reminder, enter a name, a date or a place. You can also enter specific queries like: add reminder to buy milk tomorrow or create reminder to buy sandwich when I am in Chicago. Just click “remind me on Google Now” …

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Microsoft appears to be blocking Google as default search option on select Lumia devices

 

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Microsoft is reportedly blocking Google as a search engine option on some of Nokia’s new Lumia handsets. Windows Phone devices ship with Bing as their default search engine without an option to change platforms. Prior to Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s phone making division, the Finnish company provided users with an option to change a Lumia’s search engine via its web browser, but this appears to be gone from some devices.

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Step-by-step instructions now appear in Google’s Knowledge Graph

Google, over the past year, has gradually been ramping up the features of which its Knowledge Graph is capable . For those unfamiliar, the Knowledge Graph is the box that appears in search results, either at the top or on the right, with information about your search query. Over the past few days, Google has gradually started integrating step-by-step directions into the Knowledge.

To try this feature out, simply type in a “how-to” search into Google and the steps will appear at the top of the search results page. As you can see in the images above, Google will sometime present you with the materials need to perform your task, while in other instances it will give you step-by-step directions. For shorter tasks, all of the steps will be listed in the Knowledge Graph, while tasks with longer processes require you to click through to the publisher’s website.

Google pulls in the steps from a variety sources. Publishers would obviously prefer that readers have to click through to see all of the steps, but Google doesn’t seem to care. Try it out for yourself now.

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Google reportedly plans to notify people when European users request a link removal

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A recent ruling by the European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) determined that people had “the right to be forgotten” and mandated that Google remove outdated, unflattering information about them from search queries if requested by an individual. In response to the court’s ruling Mountain View created an online form for people to formally file requests to have old links removed from web searches.

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