Google details new ‘Purchases on Google’ buy button for mobile ads

Google confirmed at a conference in May that a “buy” button was planned for products in its search results, and today the company elaborated on those plans at a press event in NYC. The new feature called “Purchases on Google” will allow consumers to purchase products directly from ads in Google Search results. Featuring a buy button in ads when searching for products should make purchasing those products more seamless for consumers and boost the value of ads for merchants. Read more

Evidence of offline ‘OK, Google,’ other features found in Google app version 4.8

Ok-Google-Voice-Search

The Google app — previously known as “Search” — was updated to version 4.8 last week, and now a new teardown has revealed some interesting new details about some features that might be coming in future versions. Most notably, it looks like offline support for “OK, Google” is likely to be on the way, letting you give your device some voice commands without having a connection to the Internet… Read more

Google’s new search carousel skims more content from sites like Pinterest and Houzz

pinterest (1)

Google is known for historically having a goal with search to get people to the information they want as quickly as possible. Search engines by design are intended to get you what you’re looking for on the first try, so it makes total sense that Google optimizes ruthlessly in hopes that you don’t have to click the next page link. But ever since the company introduced search cards it’s been evident that it wants to be the host of the information you’re looking for whenever possible. A new small change today adds on that.

Read more

Chrome ‘OK Google’ hotwording extension sparks new privacy concerns, confusion (Update: Chromium team backpeddals)

Ok-Google-Voice-Search

Update: What’s that? Oh, just the smell of change. After initially standing firm on its implementation of the hotwording module and proprietary Google extension being automatically downloaded in new installations of the Chromium open source browser, a wave of criticism has led to the team pulling it out of Chromium 45 and onwards. The module that manages whether the hotword listening extension is enabled will be “disabled by default” and the proprietary technology that actually listens for “Ok Google” will not download. A member of the team says simply:

In light of this issue, we have decided to remove the hotwording component entirely from Chromium. As it is not open source, it does not belong in the open source browser.

The original story continues below.

It all started with a blinking LED light. Ofer Zelig wrote on his blog today about an odd case where the LED light on his computer, that turns on whenever the microphone or camera is activated, seemed to blink every few seconds or so while he was working on his PC. He investigated in the Windows Task Manager to look for any process that might be to blame – no dice. He shut down some suspicious processes that might have been causing it and says he didn’t have any malware installed, but still to no avail. Turns out, the culprit was none other than Google’s Chrome browser…

Read more

EU says few people are appealing ‘right to be forgotten’ rulings, most denials justified

right-to-be-forgotten1

Google controls most of the search engine market in Europe, and as a result receives most ‘right to be forgotten’ requests, those things where individuals can request the de-listing of links to sensitive information about themselves that are deemed out-dated or irrelevant. But more than half of requests are denied, and of those that are appealed, most of those are too denied – which the European Union says is just fine.

Read more

Pro-tip: you can set alarms for your Android phone using desktop Google search

setalarm

If you’re anything like me, at some point during your day you’ll consciously think to yourself about what time you’d like to get up the next day. You’ll think about it, but then just forget to set an alarm on your phone before you go to sleep and end up waking at a different time than you’d like. Well, there’s a neat card in Google search that can be evoked with a simply query that may help you with this problem.

Read more

DuckDuckGo has grown 600% since 2013 due to its privacy-focused search & NSA revelations

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 16.33.39

Speaking in an interview with CNBC, DuckDuckGo CEO Gabe Weinberg said that the company’s traffic has grown 600 percent over the past two years. A variety of factors likely played a role in this explosion of growth, but it is mainly attributable to the NSA’s surveillance program, which was revealed two years ago. It has been reported in the past that the NSA tapped into Google servers and accessed the data of millions of users.

Read more

Google’s new location-aware voice search would have been great to debut at I/O

Quietly, Google introduced some new location-aware search functions in voice search over the last couple of weeks. The feature lets you perform several searches based on your location, with Google looking at its Maps data to figure out what you’re talking about. For example, you can voice search “how tall is this?” and looking at your location, Google can tell you the height of the building that you’re looking at. Read more

Google is developing tech that counts calories from your food pics

Android lawn statues

How many calories does all that Android have?

Google showed off its new photo storage service at I/O last week with features including unlimited backup and searching for images by keywords, but the company has another image-related technology in development. Google can already recognize images of food when you search your photo library, but its currently developing technology that goes a step further by actually counting the calories in your meal based on your food shots. This could make dieting and calorie counting much more convenient in the future if it works well enough… Read more

Google ditches the Google+ link on its many web properties, hides it in the app menu

 

Google 2015-06-01 11-19-45Cue the “Google+ is dead” jokes, and the following “was Google+ ever alive?” remarks.

Google has today removed the link to users’ Google+ profile from the top its many web properties, most notably its front search page and Gmail web app. Previously, names appeared with a plus in front like “+Stephen” and would link to your Google+ profile. From today, it looks like Google is making the name label no longer a link, and moving the “+Stephen” Google+ link to the app drop-down menu… Read more