Google’s all new search tools: Talking to Chrome, Google+, Google Now and more
If there is one thing that Google understands, it’s searching. The company has built a media and electronics empire on the mathematical calculations that create our modern-day research methods.
At the I/O conference this afternoon, Google unveiled new search tools. Overall the new services are another step in Google’s ultimate plan to predict, react and discover all the content and information that users need at a moment’s notice. When asking Google a query it will still show you responses, but now it will dig deeper, assuming other information that you may require based on that question; and responding before you have to follow-up with Google a second time. Ask Google who the 9th president was, and it could tell you the 10th and 8th as well for example.
Another great service that Google has implemented is Google Now. This has also received an update this afternoon. Traffic, Weather, music and YouTube videos are collected by the service and delivered to you based on the information that Google has collected over the time you have spent using the application. Google has put a lot of effort into prediction in the past. It’s easily one of the key factors in Google’s ongoing quest for speed and accuracy. Google announced today that it would be adding entertainment, music and reminders to the service. If Google knows your grocery store, it could locate know when you physically enter it, reminding you to buy bread, just like you asked it to earlier in the day.
The Chrome browser got a very interesting feature today as well, “O.K. Google” is now the phrase you say when you want Google to search or do tasks. The focus of Google is to better understand the user without having to be so concrete in your sentence structure. When a user tells Google “here” for example, Google should know that the user is referring to his or her exact location. When you ask Google Chrome “Where are Coffee Shops around here?” it knows that you want the closest coffee-shops to your area. When you say “Email John” it should know that John is a friend and should be in your contacts.
A rundown of today’s top features by Google:
Android & Google Play: In addition to new developer tools, we unveiled Google Play All Access, a monthly music subscription service with access to millions of songs that joins our music store and locker; and the Google Play game services with real-time multiplayer and leaderboards. Also, coming next month to Google Play is a special Samsung Galaxy S4, which brings together cutting edge hardware from Samsung with Google’s latest software and services—including the user experience that ships with our popular Nexus devices.
Chrome: With over 750 million active users on Chrome, we’re now focused on bringing to mobile the speed, simplicity and security improvements that we’ve seen on the desktop. To that end, today we previewed next-generation video codec VP9 for faster video-streaming performance; the requestAutocomplete API for faster payments; and Chrome Experiments such as “A Journey Through Middle Earth” and Racer to demonstrate the ability to create immersive mobile experiences not possible in years past.
Google+: We unveiled the newly designed Google+, which helps you easily explore content as well dramatically improve your online photo experience to give you crisp, beautiful photos—without the work! We also upgraded Google+ Hangouts—our popular group video application—to help bring all of your real-life conversations online, across any device or platform, and with groups of up to 10 friends.
Search: Search has evolved considerably in recent years: it can now have a real conversation with you, and even make your day a bit smoother by predicting information you might need. Today we added the ability to set reminders by voice and we previewed “spoken answers” on laptops and desktops in Chrome—meaning you can ask Google a question and it will speak the answer back to you.
Maps: Today we previewed the next generation of Google Maps, which gets rid of any clutter in order to put your individual experience and exploration front and center. Each time you click or search, our technology draws you a tailored map that highlights the information you need. From design to directions, the new Google Maps is smarter and more useful.
Google+ was update this afternoon as well with over 40 new features. Not all of them are standouts but many of them are noticeable. Senior Vice President Vic Gundotra revealed most of them at the I/O 2013 conference. If you use an iPad or Android tablet than the new design should seem familiar. The interface uses a three column-wide grid of “cards” instead of just a long list like Facebook or Twitter (but more like Pintrest now). High-resolution photos or videos get top billing and offer a full screen width to really make your Google+ page come alive. Animations are key to the design as well, including allowing the cards to flip-over, scroll gently and other simple UI features in social-sharing that really make Google+ stand out. Hashtags are a big change for Google+, these will be automatically added to links (disabling them is possible) but the great part is that the tags will adds you to a broader conversation. Allowing you to find new people that share your interest, and those people to find you.
Google Hangouts will now have a stand alone app, this will bring text-messages, contacts, video-chat and more all to one place. You can even invite others to a quick conversation “hangout” and they will receive a notification on their device and easily join you. You can leave the hangouts to get information then jump back in, you can easily call and videochat straight from the application as well.