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

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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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Google Search updated with ability to remember where you parked

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Update: It turns out Google Search/Now on Android is also getting a ton of other new features in addition to the ability to find a parked vehicle (via SearchEngineLand):

  • Offline support: Google Now cards will remain loaded when users lose their internet or mobile connections
  • Indoor maps: in “some malls” Google Now will offer a searchable directory of stores (US + Japan) and then take users to an indoor map of that mall. We don’t know which particular malls but probably the ones available on the US and Japan lists here. In addition Google has individual store maps (probably coming later) for some retailers such as Best Buy, Home Depot, Ikea and others. It doesn’t have everyone store in those chains however.
  • Product search reminders: If you’ve done a previous search for a product online or on a mobile device and you happen to be near a store that carries that product, Google will show you a Now card (kind of like a reminder/notification) about the product.

Google this afternoon has updated its Search app on Android with several new features. The update bumps the app to version 3.4 and has some pretty useful features within it. First off, it adds a Google Now card that offers the ability to automatically detect where you’ve parked and help you find that spot later, a feature that was rumored earlier this month.

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Google reportedly considering boosting search rankings of websites with encryption

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Google is considering giving higher search rankings to websites that use security encryption, according to The Wall Street Journal. If true, this could force more websites to adopt a secure setup, possibly making it harder for cyber criminals to spy on web users. This new idea was recently mentioned at a conference by Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team. Still under consideration, if Google decides to move forward with this process, a change reportedly won’t happen for quite a while. 

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