Last night on the Droid Life Show, we talked about Google’s penchant for throwing ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks. Their latest project, Google Free Zone, seems to be one of those ideas, but we hope that it catches on. Currently being tested in the Philippines, Google is allowing feature phones that have access to the internet to get on Google+, Gmail and use Google Search without incurring any charges.
There are a few caveats however, the main one being that you will be exposed to ads in your searches, Gmail and G+ posts. While the initial searches are free, if you click a link that takes you to another site out of the Free Zone you will be charged, so users beware. It does seem that if this test goes well that Google will try and expand this to other carriers around the world.
Bets on if Verizon would allow this on their network?
Last night, and possibly because the month of October came to a close, Google Now started showing a new card to a number of our readers. That new card is a pedometer that has been tracking their steps and miles biked over the last couple of months, behind the scenes. I say “behind the scenes” because this is a card that we have yet to see or hear about. In fact, I took a quick look through Google Now settings and could not find this feature mentioned. (more…)
You may as well start thinking of Google Now as one of the backbones to Android going forward. It’s clear that Google and the Android team are going to make this the most robust and feature-rich service on Android going forward. Sure, they’ll turn the camera software around, make UIs smoother, and tweak little things here and there, but the future is in Google Now and its ability to make your life easier. In the latest update to Google Search, that was released today, new Google Now cards and behind-the-scenes integration are more advanced than ever. (more…)
Google is soon to be in hot water with the FTC again if the latest report out of Reuters is to be believed. An investigation into whether Google wrongly used its ownership of Google Search to promote their products above products of rival companies has been underway for a while now. 4 out of the 5 investigators of this case are recommending legal action against Google for these allegations.
Apparently there is a “long list” of companies that have filed complaints against Google under this claim. Last month, FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz said that he expected a decision in the case by the end of the year. If the FTC feels that they have a case, Google could negotiate a settlement out of court, but if that doesn’t work this could go before a judge. A decision should be reached sometime soon, until then we have to wait and see if Google broke the law in ranking their search results.
Google pushed an update out to Google Search today, which includes new Google Now goodies for Jelly Bean users. The update adds an option to manually sticky your favorite sports team’s card right to your feed for live updates. Previously, you had to search for your favorite sports teams and hope that Google Now was smart enough to add them to your feed. They tossed in movie listings, but so far, are not showing up in a beautiful card and essentially look like what you would get with an iOS Google Search. Also found in the update are Public Alerts – examples given are earthquakes and storm warnings.
Go grab the newest update and let us know if you’re still loving Google Now. To enable these new options, open Google Now, tap Menu>Settings>Google Now and visit each of the sections. Some of them need to be manually turned on.
Google is rolling out more interactive search results on mobile phones and tablets. For example, when searching for math answers like I have done above, instead of just giving you the answer, Google Search displays an entire calculator for you to edit the equation to what you need. Bossy. Other inquiries that will see this Google Now card-esque makeover are Stocks, Flights, Currency Conversion, Holidays, Unit Conversion, and Dictionary Definitions.
Another example, when checking a flight status, Google will display a progress bar with a little plane icon for you to visually see how far along the flight is. It will move further towards the right as it approaches its final destination. The roll out has started today, so go check out the updates on your phone or tablet inside a web browser. Just another reason why Google kicks butt.
Via: Inside Search
Google announced today that they are planning to release a new Google Search app for iOS that carries the advanced voice tech used (our first look) in the current build built into Jelly Bean (Android 4.1). While this is great news for iOS users, we can’t help but ask, “What about everyone else with an Android device that isn’t yet running Jelly Bean?” We don’t have an answer to that question at all, and that’s unfortunate. You would think that Google would take care of their own before moving onto another platform, but then again, as a search company, it makes sense for them to expand to such a massive platform. But then again, again, the advanced Voice Search in Jelly Bean was one of the major selling points for people to consider over an iOS device. (more…)
Moments ago, Google unwrapped their latest search feature called Handwrite. Once enabled on your mobile device, you can search for items by writing them out on your screen with a finger. As you can see in the screen shot above, the search works just as would if you were typing them, by providing suggestions along the way. This isn’t meant to replace traditional typing or voice search, but it could prove to be very useful should you be in a situation where typing is not optimal nor is speaking aloud to your phone. Just draw out some words, and let Google do the rest of the work.
They recommend that you use it in Chrome on Android, but it should work in most browsers. It does requires you to be running Android 2.3+. Give it a try! (more…)