Voice Search, already available through the standalone Google Search app, will be activated in Google Chrome by tapping on a microphone button above the iOS keyboard:
Over the coming days, we’re rolling out an update for iPhone and iPad as well. You can now speak your searches into the omnibox. Touch the microphone, say your search query aloud and see your results (in some cases spoken back to you), all without typing a single letter.
Interestingly, the screenshot shown by Google displays the microphone button in the same additional keyboard row that’s currently occupied by buttons aimed at enabling users to more easily type URLs. Because Chrome for iOS, unlike Safari, uses a unified address bar for URLs and web searches, the extra keyboard buttons were necessary to let users quickly insert URL-related characters. It’s possible that Google will figure out a way to show both keyboard rows — the buttons and the new microphone — by letting users swipe horizontally above the keyboard.
Google Now style voice search has just went live in the latest Chrome stable version for the desktop (Version 27.0.1453.93). As far as we can tell from playing around testing things, the full contextual search isn’t running like we saw in the demo during the Google I/O keynote, but the basic voice search and response is ready to go.
Announced and demoed at I/O last week, Voice Search for the desktop mimics the experience launched on Google’s Search app for iOS last year. Voice Search for the desktop lets you dictate search queries to Google, which will transcribe them in (almost) real-time and take you directly to results, powered by the Knowledge Graph. Like on iOS, certain queries will trigger a voice response by Google itself, whereas others will display cards of information or regular results.
It appears Google is rolling out the feature this morning, as the new voice interface is available in Chrome but leading to frequent “No Internet connection” dialogs; I was able to try Voice Search twice, and it worked as expected.
You can watch a demo of Google’s Voice Search for the desktop from I/O 2013 here; an announcent will likely be posted on the official Google Chrome blog.
Google demonstrated a new version of Google Maps during the Google I/O 2013 keynote today, showcasing a full screen maps application for the web that reacts to every click. Redesigned in an effort to put an emphasis on directions and places, Maps’ new interface is focused on discovery. As you click, Maps will surface contextual information about what you can find at a desired location through a carousel and contextual cards, highlighting popular tourist attractions, directions to that place, and street views so you know exactly what to expect when you get there. Based on photos taken in the area, Google will even create tours so you can easily plan your next trip.
It’s contextually aware too: taking into account location information from your Google account, such as where you live and where you work, Google Maps will make recommendations on places to visit, utilizing reviews from Zagat and recent places your friends on Google+ have visited to highlight what’s popular in the area. It’ll also highlight new places you might be interested in based on your previous search history.
Maps will be much faster than before, as vector maps are replacing tile-based maps on the web, bringing it up to date with Android and iOS. For WebGL-enabled browsers, Google Earth is now a part of the web app and can be activated through a simple toggle for viewing 3D imagery. Just the like the desktop app, you can zoom out and fly around the entire planet or just around your favorite locale.
Google also talked about updates to their mobile applications, announcing than an iPad app will be arriving in the summer. Building upon the interface introduced with Google Maps on iOS, Google will be bringing in global traffic data and alerts for live reports on incidents and accidents, no matter where you’ll be going. Google Offers will also be integrated, giving you a heads up on nearby deals from restaurants and department stores so that you can take advantage of discounts and special offers.
It’s also obvious to us that iCloud and the implementation of it needs to be easier, and the service itself needs to be more reliable. Almost every studio we talked to had some trepidations or a horror story to share. Browse our message board, and you’ll find even more from users receiving the bad end of an iCloud problem.
Today, Google announced Google Play Game Services, a set of APIs to enable cross-platform gaming features like saved game states, leaderboards with Google+ support, achievements, and automatic player matches with real-time multiplayer. There is a native SDK for iOS and Android, REST APIs and various libraries for the web.
WWDC ’13 is less than a month away, and it’s safe to assume Apple will show new developer tools for iCloud and Game Center. It’ll be interesting to see if “Sign In with Google+” buttons will start showing up in iOS games in the next few months.
A detail that struck as a great feature was, surprisingly, related to Google+ and photos:
The service’s Google+ integration is one of the best features in the entire product: every photo that you or a friend posts is automatically saved in a private, shared album on Google+. For example, after a year of using Hangouts, it will be easy not just to trace the text conversations your budding relationship has produced, but to track the photos you’ve shared over time.
I have been using iMessage with the MacStories team since the service first launched; it used to be the only communication tool we relied upon to stay in touch. We have shared thousands of screenshots and photos in a group thread, but Messages makes it nearly impossible to browse old attachments. You can retrieve attachments through the OS X Finder, but the process is cumbersome at best. Having Google automatically archive Hangouts photos and organize them in a private album shared with my coworkers sounds obvious and, for someone who relies on a group chat on a daily basis, incredibly useful. This would be a great addition to iCloud and Photo Stream with iOS 7.
After logging into your Google account, you can upload your own personal collection of EPUBs and PDFs under My Books in the Google Play Store, or choose files to include in your uploads from Google Drive. Through the newly updated Google Play Books app on iOS, you can then download the added files to your mobile device.
Rumored for the past few months, Google has today announced its new unified messaging system for iOS, Android, and web called “Hangouts”. A free service that includes text, photo, and video messaging, Hangouts is a rebrand of Google’s former video-chat service for Google+. The new Hangouts will unify Google Talk and Google+ messages under a single service, storing conversations in the cloud.
With Hangouts, users will be able to access their full history of conversations on any device, an option that can be turned off. While other messaging services such as WhatsApp, Apple’s iMessage, or Facebook Messenger focus on either text or static media, Google promises to leverage its experience with Talk and Google+ to provide a solution that encompasses all kinds of messages, including live video. Another key aspect of Hangouts, demoed at Google’s I/O conference earlier today, is the possibility of syncing notifications across devices: instead of buzzing multiple devices for a message that’s already been read somewhere else, Google will try to sync every Hangouts notification on mobile devices and the web (Hangouts is also available through Google+ and Gmail). (more…)
The game’s introduction was 37 years ago today, in 1976. Google decided to commemorate the occasion with a little easter egg in image search that will suck all of your free time from you. It’s good to see Google doing these kinds of things away from their normal doodle, especially since a lot of their users might not remember Breakout.
You can also play it on the iPad. I tried with Google Chrome, but Safari had much faster, smoother scrolling (I guess because of Nitro). Alas, I couldn’t find a way to get an iPhone-optimized version.