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Hound launches on iOS as a formidable personal assistant competitor to Siri

Hound (Featured Image)

Hound, a voice search application from the creators behind SoundHound, has been released today for iOS. Hound’s application focuses on bringing users quick, accurate voice driven search results in a way I only wish Siri could. Implementing Google Now-style cards, Hound’s interface is direct and to the point. Users are presented with a list of similar topics they can search for, and even given examples of the complex queries Hound can handle.



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Google begins rolling out App Indexing to its iOS apps

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Google’s App Indexing technology isn’t exactly the most exciting thing to discuss, but so long as the majority of the company’s revenue still comes from search (it does), it is imperative that they figure out how to make their main business work on mobile where the eyeballs are going. So the company announced that today App Indexing is coming to iOS apps, starting with Chrome and Google Search.



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Google adds real-time tweets to mobile web and iOS app search results

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Following up on Google’s agreement with Twitter to instantly add tweets to web search results, the duo announced today that users on mobile devices will start seeing real-time Twitter results as well. The feature is available in the Google app on iOS or Google’s mobile website, and is expected to make its way to the desktop soon.



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Google iOS app updated w/ Material Design, Street View integration, more

Google is rolling out a completely redesigned version of its iPhone and iPad app with its Material Design look and feel right down to the app icon.

The latest version of the search app now presents a bottom navigation bar (which can slide out of view) that presents a persistent Google button for searching for new information. The navigation bar also offers a button for quickly accessing recent search pages, something that feels similar to multitasking between apps on Android.

Also notable as part of the redesign is the optimization searching for photos has received. In the latest version of Google’s iOS app, image results now take on a full-screen, mosaic look for presenting larger results. The update also packs in deep Google Maps integration for location searches including support for Google Street View right in the app for iPhone users. You can read the full change log below:

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Google Search iOS app renamed ‘Google’, adds Chromecast integration, new Now cards

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Google just updated its Google Search app for iOS and in the process renamed it to simply “Google”, which seems to make a bit more sense considering the app integrates Google Now features and much beyond just search. Also in today’s update: new features for Chromecast and additional Google Now cards.

For Chromecast users, the app now allows users to ask “What’s on Chromecast?” and jump right into the Chromecast app to begin casting content to a TV. The update also includes new Google Now cards that Google says offer “personalized TV recommendations and traffic information.”

Version 4.2.0 of the Google app is available on the App Store now.

What’s New in Version 4.2.0

This update includes new Google Now cards for personalized TV recommendations and traffic information. Chromecast users can now ask Google “what’s on Chromecast?” to open the Chromecast app and start casting. We’ve also made improvements to speed up your browsing experience.

Sign in to the Google app and enable Now cards to take full advantage of these new features.

Reddit launches official Ask Me Anything iOS app to view its popular Q&A sessions

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Reddit has today launched an official Ask Me Anything iOS app, providing a convenient way to view both real-time and archived AMAs. Reddit’s SVP of mobile Ellen Pao said that move was to address the fact that a third of site visits are made on mobile devices, a number that is growing all the time.

We’ve found in the last year or so a huge uptick in people accessing Reddit from the mobile web, and we want to give those folks a great experience …



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Google Maps for iOS adds mapped search results and Gmail appointments, more

Google today updated its Maps application for iPhone and iPad to version 3.2 introducing new features and improvements.

The latest version of Google Maps now supports viewing search results with descriptions directly on the map view. Gmail users will notice appointments and reservations with addresses will now appear the map view as well. The update supports changing between the map view of results and the list view of results and features an explore view for discovering new locations to try out.

Google Maps 3.2 for iPhone and iPad is out today on the App Store.

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Google Search app can now fix its voice recognition mishaps with a quick command

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If you’ve ever been using any form of Google voice recognition and gotten frustrated that the friendly female on the other side just can’t understand you, you may be happy to know that a quick command can now fix misheard words. Previously, you would have to start the query over completely, but the Google Search app can now fix its blunders on the fly using a natural corrective voice command.

For instance, if you’re trying to search for the nearest bars, you might say “find me the nearest bars.” Whether it’s your fault or a problem in Google’s voice processing, there’s a chance that the app might interpret your query as “find me the nearest cars.” Using the command “no I said” in a new search will let you replace just that one word. To fix the search, say “no I said bars” and chances are that Google will fix it right up.

Ultimately this is a great and useful update because it makes our interactions with the voice assistant much more natural. Every update that comes to both Google Now and Apple’s Siri seem to make these virtual helpers more and more human like, which in turn make them much more useable. This new feature works in both the iOS and Android versions of the official Google Search app.

 

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Google Search iOS app adds World Cup Google Now cards ahead of event

Google-Now-World-CupGoogle has been adding StreetView, Maps, and new search features specifically for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup, and today it brings new Google Now cards to the Google Search app for iOS. The new cards for the Google Now feature in the app will present the latest on World Cup news including “scorers, match statistics, group standings and more.”

Also new for this year’s tournament, you don’t even have to search to get updates on your favorite teams—just open Google Now. You’ll be given an option to start seeing cards with stats about each match that you can tap for more detail… Make sure you are signed in to Google, and have your Google Now turned on in your settings. Swipe up to see your Google Now cards and follow your favorite team!

The updated Google Search app for iOS is available on the App Store now.

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Vote for American Idol with your iPhone or iPad through Google Search

Planning to watch American Idol tonight and vote on your favorite performers? Google is making voting through its Search apps possible through a partnership with FOX. As the live finalist performance shows debut, American Idol is allowing viewers to vote through Google.com and Google’s iOS and Android Search apps.

Voting through Google allows you to cast up to 50 votes for each contestant as the new voting system is piloted. Simply search american idol or idol during voting hours and cast your votes!

Google Search for iOS is available for free from the App Store.

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Google updates Search apps on iOS & Android w/ voice support for German, Japanese, and French

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Google this afternoon announced an update to its Search apps on both Android and iOS that includes voice search support for three addition languages. In a blog post, the company announced that the app can now understand French, German, and Japanese. In addition to being able understand the new languages and give text results, the Search app can also now give spoken answers back in those languages.

To try it out, simply tap the microphone in the search box and ask for anything you’re looking for. If you need some coffee in Munich, just say “Wo bekomme ich Kaffee in München?” to get a list of local options. Wondering what the height of the Eiffel tower is? Get a quick answer by asking, “Quelle est la hauteur de la Tour Eiffel?”. Maybe you need to know who invented the transistor ? Try asking in Japanese for “トランジスタを発明したのはだれ?”

Google says it will continue to work on adding even more languages to its Search app and that this is just the beginning of its efforts.

The Google Search app update is available for free in both the iOS App Store and on Google Play

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Google Maps for iOS adds real-time incident reporting from Waze

Real-time-waze-reporting-google-mapsGoogle announced today on its Google Maps blog that it’s finally tapping into the talent and technology it picked up with its acquisition of Waze back in June by integrating real time incident reports from Waze into Google Maps. The new integration means that when Waze users report incidents for everything from accidents to road closures, Google Maps users on both iOS and Android will now be able to benefit:

Users of Google Maps for Mobile will now benefit from real time incident reports from Waze users. This means when Wazers report accidents, construction, road closures and more on Waze, the updates will also appear on the Google Maps app for Android and iOS.

The features will initially be limited to users in certain locations, including: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Germany, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Switzerland, UK and the US. In addition, as Google first hinted back in June, the company will also be integrating Google Search into the Waze apps on iOS and Android, while the Waze Map Editor now has access to Google Street View imagery:

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Google denies reports of Google Now battery drain issues on iOS

Google-Now-Google-Search-screenshot-01In the days following the launch of Google’s predictive ‘Now’ feature now baked into its Google Search iOS app, some users complained of experiencing noticeable battery drain due the app’s process of accessing location data. Today, Google has weighed in with an official response to LifeHacker calling reports of battery drain “incorrect”:

Reports that Google Now drains battery life are incorrect. We understand people’s concern about seeing the Location Services icon stay on when they use Google Now. Many apps that keep the icon on actually do drain the phone’s battery because they require very accurate location. (For example a navigation app has to run your GPS all the time to keep you from missing your turn.)

Google explained that Now is “built very differently” than other apps that utilize Location Services by using “cell towers and wifi hot spots for much lower battery impact.” 

Google’s response continues by noting it didn’t receive any reports of battery drain during its extensive month of testing the feature on iOS and encouraged users to contact them if they continue to see a problem:

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Review: CamFind for iPhone lets you search for anything with your camera

CamFind for iPhone

Back in late 2010, Google brought Google Goggles (not to be confused with Google Glass) to the Google Search app for iPhone. At the time, it seemed like a great feature. You could take a photo of anything with your iPhone, and Google would instantly identify the object in the frame, returning relevant data about the photo.

That was 2010. You’d probably think that in the years following, Google would’ve continually updated Goggles, making the recognition more accurate and expanding its features. Well, you’d be wrong. In fact, Goggles functions entirely the same as it did in 2010, another fine example of Google’s continued dedication to their products.

Image Searcher, the developers behind a new app called CamFind, have seemingly stepped in where Google failed, creating a image-based search service that they claim is “four times more accurate than Google Goggles.” Let’s take a look at how it really performed.



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Google’s Eric Schmidt says Google Now for iOS approval is in Apple’s court

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Update: Apple responds.

Google chairman Eric Schmidt spoke at the company’s Big Tent Summit in India this morning, and, on top of claiming there are no immediate plans to merge Chrome and Android, the executive discussed the possibility of Google Now coming to iOS devices. It appears Google is in a similar situation to when it launched a standalone Google Maps app, as Schmidt claimed it’s up to Apple to approve or reject Google Now for the App Store. TechCrunch pointed us to the comment from the Google executive at around 17 minutes into the interview:

You’ll need to discuss that with Apple” (at around 17:50). “Apple has a policy of approving or disapproving apps that are submitted into its store, and some of them they approve and some of them they don’t,” he went on to say.

A video that appeared to be an ad for the debut of Google Now on iPhone and iPad landed on YouTube last week before quickly being removed. The video (above) showed that Google could implement Google Now functionality—currently only available as a Siri-like voice and contextual assistant app on Android devices—into the Google Search app.

Google already updated its Google Search app with voice recognition and Google Now-like features last October, and a number of comparison videos have since appeared online and show Siri has some serious competition with even the scaled back voice search features. Bringing the contextual assistant features that Google Now implements on Android to the Google Search app would give iOS users yet another reason to use it rather than Siri for a large number of tasks.

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Google adds horizontal carousel for web based iPad searches about local places

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Google updated its web experience for U.S. iPad users who search for local places, such as bars and restaurants, on Google Search. The Mountain View-based company called the new feature a “horizontal carousel” of results that will display at the top of page, while normal search results will display below. Tapping on a business in the carousel, as seen in the image above, will display quick information about the location, including: address, Zagat rating, phone number, location on a Map, and a link to the website—accompanied with pictures. There’s also a new map link in the upper-right hand corner that shows you nearby places on a map.

Google has always shown its support for tablets and smartphones on its mobile Search page, and today’s update is definitely beneficial. When calling a restaurant to place an order or make a reservation, I’ve found Google to be the quickest way to find the needed information (definitely beating apps like Yellow Pages to get the same information).

Source: Google

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Google Search iOS app updated with overhauled iPad UI and full-screen mode for iPhone

Google has just released an update to their Google Search iOS app bringing with it a brand new design for iPad and full-screen mode for search results and pages on iPhone.

The new iPad interface is noticeably inspired by the design recently rolled out across the majority of Google’s web services. The main search page now has four grey icons as shortcuts to History, Applications, Voice Search, and Goggles, while a new side-by-side view allows you to browse webpages and search results simultaneously. Also included in the update in a full-screen browsing mode for images and a new visual UI for history allowing you to  thumb through results as pages. Instant Previews and Google Instant are now also baked into the iPad version.

As for the iPhone, the update only lists the usual minor bug fixes along with the full-screen mode mentioned above. As always, you can grab the updated Google Search app as a universal download now (iTunes link).  More screenshots below:


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