Google keeps bringing search into the future. Even though it is the number one search engine, by far, it is always trying to improve. The result is that there are now new Google search features that make search easier to conduct on mobile phones and much easier to find personal answers anywhere.
1. Google Mobile Search App
The Google App is available for Android, Apple and Windows 8, smartphones and tablets. Although I see many people typing away on tiny phone keyboards without a problem, as we get older, and our eyes begin to age, typing on those tiny keyboards becomes much more difficult. I have been using Google Voice sometimes which is absolutley wonderful. It understands everything I say, even with my thick NYC accent. All you need to do is open the Google app, touch the microphone and say your search, ex. “Yellowstone National Park”. You will get the same results as if you typed it but much quicker, and a lovely voice will say, “Here are your results”.
However, the only problem with Google Voice is that if you are in a very noisy area, you might have a problem. Enter Google’s brand new search feature, Google Handwriting (still in beta). You can actually use your finger to write your search in the search box. After each word, Google transcribes it, so if there are any mistakes you can catch them along the way. To use handwriting search, you must turn it on in your mobile search settings. Here are the directions to turn on Handwriting search and how to use it.
Another fun feature of the Google Mobile app is Goggles. It is on the front page of the app next to the microphone for Voice. If you see something that you would like to know more about, touch the goggles camera and aim it at the object. Snap to take a picture and Google does a search from the picture. I just goggled my Starbucks Coffee Mug and came up with pages of results all about Starbucks Coffee Mugs. I’m going to be using this feature very often.
2. Google Answers
If you want to find out anything that might be in your Gmail, Google Calendar, Google+ or Google Drive, you can now ask a quick question and Google will find it in no time. And by the way, Google PCs now have microphones also to make even home searches quicker. I clicked the microphone to enable it and said “Do I have plans this week” and Google results listed all my plans from my calendar for the week.
Another great feature of Google Answers is that if you use Google+, you should have many photos stored there. I did a search for “my photos of technology” a bunch of my photos came up. Not all, but that was probably due to my tagging.
As far as privacy concerns go:
- Google Answers only works when you are signed into your Google account.
- Your info is encrypted using SSL, the same security protocol used on Gmail and other Google services.
- Whenever you don’t want Google to retrieve this info, click the globe icon at the top right of the search results page. To turn this feature off permanently visit “Private results” on search settings.
Which of these Google features do you like best? Which Google Search feature will make your searching easier. Voice, Handwriting, Goggles, or My Answers? Please let me know what you think.