Tumblr is out today with a brand new version of its blogging and community app for iPhone and iPad. Version 4 adds several new features like the ability to create new blogs from your iPhone or iPad and create video posts quickly by pasting YouTube or Vimeo URLs into a new post. The update adds a new widget for the Today section of Notification Center on iOS 8 for quickly seeing which tags are trending on Tumblr when you’re not using the app and much more. Read more
Apple often acquires small startup companies very quietly and without any formal announcement to bolster its own services, and a new report from TechCrunch claims that the company acquired Ottocat in late-2013. Ottocat was a startup that focused on developing a system to organize and discover apps based on increasingly specific subcategories. Apple currently uses this technology to power the “Explore” tab in the App Store, as seen above.
Google is packing even more useful information into the latest version of its Maps app for iOS. Google Maps 4.3.0 for iPhone and iPad adds several contextual data points to locations like nearby businesses for address searches, quick facts for notable locations, and even event information for select venues. Read more
Last week Mozilla announced that its Firefox browser would be dropping Google as the default search engine in favor of Yahoo. While it’s a good move for Yahoo, it won’t gain the company the exposure that comes with being the default search engine on something more widely used, such as Apple’s Safari browser on iOS devices.
That position has been held by Google since the iPhone’s launch in 2007, but the agreement that made the Mountain View-based company the default site for all of Safari’s searches will expire next year, and The Information reports that Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing are both vying for the spot.
Re/code reports that Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer is planning an attempt at persuading Apple to switch its default iOS search engine from Google to her company’s own offering. According to Re/code’s sources, Mayer has built what she hopes will be a convincing arguement in favor of the change.
Yahoo! current powers the weather and stocks apps and Notification Center widgets found in iOS 7 as well as a few Siri functions, such as sports, but lost out on the chance to power Siri’s web search to Microsoft’s Bing. Both Yahoo! and Bing are included as optional search engines in the Safari browser, but the default selection is Google.
Benoit Dupin, Vice President of Amazon A9’s Search Technology group, has left the high-profile search technology firm to take up a job with Apple. Dupin’s profile from Amazon A9’s executive management website disappeared this week, and his LinkedIn profile has been updated to reflect that he began his position as a director at Apple this month.
Amazon A9 is Amazon’s Palo Alto, California-based subsidiary that focuses on developing Amazon’s marquee search and advertising functionality. While Amazon has become popular in the tablet, eBook reader, and now set-top-box worlds, its core business has, of course, been Amazon.com, and Dupin’s work on search powers the heart of the online sales giant…
According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple has recently implemented updates to the App Store’s search engine allowing it to compensate for “misspelled queries with small typos” and provide more useful results. The update also reportedly extends to app titles that have spaces in the title:
For example, those looking for the highly ranked “QuizUp” game wouldn’t have found it before if they had typed in “Quiz Up” with a space. Now it appears.
The result will ultimately be better discoverability for apps in the App Store, especially for developers targeting keywords that are commonly misspelled. As noted by TechCrunch, it’s also something that has helped Google provide better results on its Play store (as highlighted in the graphic from SEO firm SearchMan above): Read more
The Google Search iOS app has received a huge update today that brings a number of new features including the ability to activate voice search handsfree. Users on iPhone 4S or later can now simply say “OK Google” to begin a voice search, much like what users have been able to do with Google Now on Android devices for quite some time.
Version 3.1.0 now includes notifications for upcoming events, flights and public transit. For example, the Google Search app will provide notifications for delayed flights, tell you how long you have to catch the last train, and remind you of upcoming appointments . You can also now set reminders within the app:
Ask Google to remember things for you. Just say
• “Remind me to buy coffee beans at Starbucks,” or
• “Remind me to check out the fair this weekend”
and Google will remind you at the right time or place
In addition, Google says users can now set reminders for when their favorite musicians, tv shows, actors or celebrities are releasing new content or appear in headlines. There are also new cards in the app that display info for movie and event tickets, boarding passes, rental car reservations, public transit and upcoming events.
During its Google I/O keynote earlier this month, Google announced that it would be bringing conversational, Google-Now like voice search to the desktop. Using a UI similar to voice search and Google Now in its mobile apps, Google would soon allow Chrome users to search and drill down further into results using only their voice.
Today, Google appears to have finally started rolling out the feature for Chrome users on the stable and beta channels of Chrome.
After updating to the latest version 27.0.1453.93 of Chrome, users can navigate to Google.com, click the microphone icon, and choose to allow the new Google Voice search feature to begin listening. Google will only ask for permission to listen once and from then on users can simply speak in order to search. For certain search results such as questions Google will also provide audible results.
Not all of the functionality seems to be available as of yet. For example, when Google first showed off the feature users weren’t required to click at all. Google execs were activating the feature by simply saying “Ok, Google” and were able to continue searching with their voice, hands-free, from on the search results page. The feature as it’s currently implemented now requires users to click the mic icon in order to start a voice search. Read more
Google today announced that it is revamping the Google voice search feature available in Chrome on the desktop. While users have always been able to search with their voice through Chrome, Google is attempting to make the service work more like it does through Google Search apps and Google Now on mobile devices.
Chrome will now include “conversational search” with a brand new interface that doesn’t require users to click in order to search with their voice. Like on mobile devices with Google Now, users will now be able to simple say “Google” in order to activate voice search.
Today, we previewed what this conversational experience will look like in Chrome on your desktops and laptops. Soon, you’ll be able to just say, hands-free, “OK Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?” and get a spoken answer. Then, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with “how far is it from here?” if you care about the drive or “how about Monterey?” if you want to check weather somewhere else, and get Google to tell you the answer.
The new interface, as pictured above from Google’s demo of the feature, is much like the voice search interface for Google Now on Android devices.
The new feature will be coming to Macs and PCs through Chrome soon.
Google also briefly showed off some new content coming to Google Now including new cards for Reminders, Music Albums, TV Shows, Books, Public Transit, and Video games rolling out today:
We knew from leaks in the weeks leading up to I/O that Google was planning some gaming related announcements and today the company has officially announced the service in a press release ahead of its Google I/O keynote taking place now. Not only will the service allow Android developers to build in real-time multiplayer, social features, achievements, and leaderboards while storing game saves and settings in the cloud, the SDK for Google Play game services will also be available to iOS and web developers.
Google noted a few titles for Android have already been updated with the feature including World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos.
Not surprisingly, the cross-platform gaming service will also build in Google+ integration to track high scores, achievements and more:
-Achievements that increase engagement and promote different styles of play.
-Social and public leaderboards that seamlessly use Google+ circles to track high scores across friends and across the world.
-Cloud saves that provide a simple and streamlined storage API to store game saves and settings. Now players never have to replay Level 1 again.
-Real-time multiplayer for easy addition of cooperative or competitive game play on Android devices. Using G+ Circles a game can have up to 4 simultaneous friends or auto-matched players in a game session together with support for additional players coming soon.
Google’s full press release below: Read more