Google beats Siri to the Desktop with Google Now-like voice search for Chrome

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:
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Google announces Google Play game services coming to Android, iOS & web today

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From 9to5Google:

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

Google Now launches for iOS, available as update to existing Search app

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After a few months of waiting, Google has just released its Google Now service for iOS users. The feature is available via an update to Google’s existing Search app for iOS.

What’s New in Version 3.0.0

Get just the right information at just the right time with Google Now.
• weather and traffic conditions before you start your day
• updates on your favorite sports teams and breaking news stories as they happen
Find out more about all other ways Google Now can help at http://www.google.com/now

Google is also working to bring some voice functionality to its desktop website. While Google Now has a voice component that has been compared to Apple’s Siri on many occasions, the essence of the feature is truly to provide timely, location based information.

The update is available for free for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch via the App Store. Read more

Yahoo! for iOS adds Summly integration

Yahoo continues to rebrand itself under the leadership of former Google executive Marissa Mayer, proving it can be just as innovative as its competitors.

Following the launch of Yahoo! Weather and Yahoo! Mail for iPad last week, the Internet giant updated its Yahoo! for iOS app today to include news summaries in its articles provided by Summly as well as a redesigned page for articles.

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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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Apple and Yahoo in active discussions regarding increased partnership for Siri data, search

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Yahoo’s Mayer and Apple’s Ive at dinner

Apple and Yahoo are in active discussions regarding increasing their partnership, according to The Wall Street Journal. While the report does not provide any true specifics regarding what an increased partnership could entail, the report notes that discussions have surrounded increased Yahoo integration into Siri. Additionally, Yahoo is reportedly exploring ways to reduce Apple’s reliance on Google for web search functions.

Data from Yahoo Finance and its weather site already come preloaded onto iPhones and Yahoo data like sports stats help power Apple’s voice-activated “assistant” Siri. But the companies continue to discuss new arrangements, including possible deals to get more content from Yahoo Sports and Yahoo News, among other Yahoo Web properties, preloaded onto Apple devices or available through an expanded partnership with Siri, one of these people said.

Apple and Yahoo have had a lengthy history in terms of iPhone/iOS-related partnerships. Yahoo was the first third-party email service to be integrated into the iPhone Mail app with free push email technology. In fact, one of Yahoo’s founders joined Apple co-founder Steve on stage at the Macworld 2007 iPhone announcement to discuss the partnership (video). Yahoo is also a Safari web search option and a data source for weather, stocks, sports data for iOS applications and Siri…

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