The official Google Search blog
A voice for everyone in 2016
July 15, 2016
Every election matters and every vote counts. The American democracy relies on everyone’s participation in the political process. This November, Americans all across the country will line up at the polls to cast their ballots for the President of the United States. With states’ varied deadlines and methods, the voter registration process can be tricky. So starting on Monday, we're introducing a new tool in Search to simplify the voter registration process to make it easier for you to have your voice heard.
Now when you search for “register to vote” or similar queries, Google will display a detailed state-by-state guide providing information on how to register, general requirements, and deadlines.
No matter which state you’re in or how you plan to cast your ballot, you can find the step-by-step information you need to register correctly and on time—right at the top of your Search page and in the Google app.
And for the kickoff of the
Republican National Convention
next week (and coming in time for the Democratic National Convention next week), when you search for these events on the Google app, you’ll find a summary of the event, nominees and the lineup of speakers. You’ll also find a livestream video from YouTube, and relevant social media posts, so you can stay up-to-date with both the political parties and the public.
We hope these new features in Search will help keep you informed this election season and make it easier for you to make it to the ballot box in November.
Posted by Jacob Schonberg, Product Manager
More on Tap: Translate, discover and improved Search by image
July 6, 2016
With Now on Tap, Android Marshmallow users can get quick help from Google without having to stop what they’re doing. Today, we’re introducing new Now on Tap features that surface useful content and create a more engaging experience. With these updates, users can translate text on any page, discover more about the things that interest them, and learn more about products by using QR codes and bar codes in Search by Image.
Translate text from any screen
Chrome makes it easy to translate any webpage into your native language, but what about translations in your apps?
With Now on Tap’s new translate feature, you can translate text on any screen, whether it’s an app or webpage. Just long press the home button and tap the “Translate this screen” card. Voilà, the text on screen will be translated into your phone’s language.
So if you’re using Google Maps and come across a location or a restaurant review in a foreign language, just long press the home button and continue reading. You’ll even be able to translate multiple languages at once.
The translate feature is currently available for phones with the language set to English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian.
Discover more interesting content
Now on Tap is great for getting things done, but our new discover mode can also help you learn more about things that interest you. Just tap the “Discover” icon and get a stream of visual content related to what’s on your screen — it’s perfect for browsing and exploring, rather than searching for something in particular.
For example, if you’re reading an article about Pluto and are interested in learning about NASA, discover mode will show you a stream of links to YouTube videos, news articles and more.
Search by Image - Barcodes and QR codes
that you can use Now on Tap to search via your camera app for objects like famous landmarks. Today, we’re expanding that to include barcodes and QR codes.
Next time you’re shopping, you can simply point your camera at the barcode and get helpful cards related to that object, such as user reviews. This feature will work with packaged products, books, DVDs and more!
We’re excited to continue to bring more engaging features to Now on Tap and hope today’s updates help you get things done faster and find new and interesting information.
Posted by Aneto Okonkwo, Product Manager
Stay safe and informed in case of an earthquake
June 30, 2016
U.S. Geological Survey
estimates that approximately 500,000 earthquakes occur around the globe each year, 100,000 of which can be felt. Now people who feel the effects of an earthquake can ask Google directly about the disaster and get timely information to help them stay safe.
In the event of an earthquake, searches for “earthquake,” “earthquakes near me” or similar queries will give you an at-a-glance summary about the quake, right at the top of the search page.
Information will include a summary of the size of the quake, a map of the affected areas, and tips to safely navigate the aftermath. Oftentimes, you really want to know whether you just felt a small earthquake nearby, or a larger earthquake farther away. The map will show areas that shook with various intensities (known as a shakemap), so you’ll be able to quickly assess the reach of the earthquake as well as its epicenter.
You’ll also find clearly displayed tips on what to do next to stay safe from damaged buildings and during potential earthquake aftershocks. To give you the ability to confirm aftershocks in the hours and days after the event, we’ll also show information about other recent earthquakes to put the tremors into context.
We hope that by displaying this result directly in Search, people will have fast and easy access to the information they need to stay safe in the face of an earthquake.
Posted by Chris Keitel, Software Engineer
I’m Feeling Yucky :( Searching for symptoms on Google
June 20, 2016
Picture this: you woke up today with a headache. It’s been getting worse all day, and you aren’t sure if you should be worried or not. So you open
the Google app
and start searching for your symptoms. After 20 minutes digging through health forums, chances are you're overwhelmed by all the complicated medical terms and breaking out in a sweat—whether that’s related to the headache or the overdose of info is unclear!
You’re not alone. Roughly 1 percent of searches on Google (think: millions!) are symptom-related. But health content on the web can be difficult to navigate, and tends to lead people from mild symptoms to scary and unlikely conditions, which can cause unnecessary anxiety and stress.
So starting in the coming days, when you ask Google about symptoms like “
headache on one side
,” we’ll show you a list of related conditions (“headache,” “migraine,” “tension headache,” “cluster headache,” “sinusitis,” and “common cold”). For individual symptoms like “
,” we’ll also give you an overview description along with information on self-treatment options and what might warrant a doctor’s visit. By doing this, our goal is to help you to navigate and explore health conditions related to your symptoms, and quickly get to the point where you can do more in-depth research on the web or talk to a health professional.
We create the list of symptoms by looking for health conditions mentioned in web results, and then checking them against high-quality medical information we’ve collected from doctors for our
. We worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully review the individual symptom information, and experts at Harvard Medical School and Mayo Clinic evaluated related conditions for a representative sample of searches to help improve the lists we show.
That said, symptom search (like all medical information on Google) is intended for informational purposes only, and you should always consult a doctor for medical advice. We rely on search results, and we reflect what’s on the web. Because of this, your feedback is especially important to us; we’ll use it to keep improving the results we show. You’ll notice in the weeks following launch that when we show symptom search we’ll automatically ask you if the results are helpful.
We’re rolling this update out on mobile over the next few days, in English in the U.S. to start. Over time, we hope to cover more symptoms, and we also want to extend this to other languages and internationally. So the next time you’re worried about your “
child with knee pain
” (even though it’s probably just growing pains), or have some symptoms you’re too embarrassed to run by your roommate, a Google search will be a helpful place to start.
Posted by Veronica Pinchin, Product Manager, Search
Google Search Autocomplete
June 10, 2016
Over the last week we've received questions about our
. I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify a few things.
The autocomplete algorithm is designed to avoid completing a search for a person’s name with terms that are offensive or disparaging. We made this change a while ago following feedback that Autocomplete too often predicted offensive, hurtful or inappropriate queries about people. This filter operates according to the same rules no matter who the person is, as you can see in
some examples here
Autocomplete isn’t an exact science, and the output of the prediction algorithms changes frequently. Predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity and freshness of search terms. Given that search activity varies, the terms that appears in Autocomplete for you may change over time. If you come across an Autocomplete prediction you consider offensive,
please let us know
It’s also important to keep in mind that Autocomplete predictions aren’t search results and don’t limit what you can search for. It’s a shortcut for those who are interested. You can still perform whatever search you want to, and of course, regardless of what you search for, we always strive to deliver the most relevant results from across the web.
We welcome feedback - and scrutiny - as it helps us provide you the best services. We recognize that your trust is what keeps you using Google, so we take our responsibility seriously. From the beginning, our approach has been to provide the most relevant answers, and we’ll continue doing just that.
Posted by Tamar Yehoshua, VP, Product Management, Search
Now on Tap update: Text Select and Image Search
June 1, 2016
When we introduced
Now on Tap in Android Marshmallow last year
, our goal was to make your phone a little bit smarter and help you get things done quicker. With Now on Tap, you can touch and hold the home button for helpful info about what’s on your screen, without having to leave what you’re doing.
With today’s update, we’re taking things one step further: you can now select the exact word or phrase that you’d like help with and get info about images or photos.
Select exactly what you’re looking for
If you use Now on Tap in an app, email, chat, or news article with a lot of text, sometimes the results aren’t as precise as you’d like. Starting today, you can give Google a nudge by selecting exactly what you want help with, and you’ll get the right information, right away.
For example, if you’re reading a news article you can select a specific word, like crustacean, and get a definition and links to relevant apps.
Search by Image
You can also get quick info about images on your screen. Let’s say you’re scrolling through the Google Photos app and see a photo you can’t quite place. Simply touch and hold the home button to get a helpful card with more info. This works across all your apps, not just Photos. If you’re browsing Pinterest and want to learn more about cool artwork, just touch and hold the home button for a helpful card with more info.
And for certain images or objects, you can also search via your camera app in real time. If you’re standing in front of the Bay Bridge, you can hold up your phone, open your camera app, touch and hold the home button, and get a helpful card with deep links to relevant apps. This works for more than just famous structures like the Bay Bridge, you can even point your camera at a movie poster or magazine and get additional info about what you're looking at.
All of today’s updates are
everywhere you can already use Now on Tap. Word definitions are currently only available in English but will be rolling out to other languages over the coming weeks.
We hope these updates help you find what you’re looking for and get things done just a little faster than before.
Posted by Aneto Okonkwo, Product Manager
Speeding up the Google app for iOS users
May 27, 2016
This just in: your
for iPhone and iPad is now faster. We’ve cut down loading time and updated the app with some new features to help you save time and get the information you need as quickly as possible.
Faster every step of the way
Each time you open the app or do a search, everything will load just a bit quicker. Whether you can notice the difference or not, these small improvements will save app users a combined 6.5 million hours this year.
Instant article loading with AMP
A few months ago, we announced that
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
were coming to the mobile web. Starting today, AMP will be available in the Google app for iOS. So now news articles from a vast array of publishers will load instantly for your reading pleasure. Just look out for the lightning bolt and “AMP” next to articles in the “Top Stories” section of your search results and enjoy blazing-fast news.
Play sports highlights right from your Now cards
With the NBA and NHL playoffs in full swing and the Olympics around the corner, it’s a good time to be a sports fan. And now, you can instantly watch sports highlights right from your Now cards. When you get a card with sports highlights, just tap the play button and watch it right from the app. Score!
So whether you’re searching for news from around the world or video playbacks from your favorite sports team, the Google app’s got you covered, faster. Ready, set, search!
Unni Narayanan, Director, Product Management
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