News: Google Assistant Updates Add Screen Search Button & Tweaks the Search Interface

Google Assistant Updates Add Screen Search Button & Tweaks the Search Interface

Google Assistant has introduced tappable shortcuts on the Google app for Android, iOS, and Google.com this week.

The tech giant made the official announcement on their blog on Tuesday after much online speculation that they were integrating their screen search feature into the interface and adding other changes to the Google app.

Image via Google

Shortcuts relating to sports, eat and drink, entertainment, and weather now appear on the home screen for easier access and updates. The new feature also allows users to explore their areas of interest, whether it's seeing what's on TV or your local theater, finding nice lunch spots or getting the latest scores for a recenthockey match:

You can customize your experience for the teams you cheer for—or against—whether it's the playoffs or a regular season game.

Some Android users had noticed small changes to the smart assistant, which made its debut on the Pixel and Pixel XL last year, as well as Nougat and Marshmallow smartphones last week.

The tweak in question made "Screen Search" a bit more discoverable and gives you easier access to the Assistant's screenshot feature. Instead of pressing and holding the home button, then swiping up to activate Screen Search as before, Google's test version adds two buttons that make these features directly accessible from the Assistant screen.

Reddit user rohitsabu pointed out that when triggering Google Assistant, there's a new "What's on my screen?" button, located next to the current "Share Screenshot" option, as seen below.

Image by rohitsabu/Reddit

Rohitsabu also noted that users are now unable to swipe up for Screen Search functionality, not to mention the fact that the "Send feedback" option has also been removed:

The swipe up for screen search functionality no longer works for me. I definitely prefer this to the old method although it is still one tap more than Now on Tap used to need. A little disappointed that OCR text selection has still not made its triumphant return, but one can hope!

So it looks like the new search interface is a go for the Google search app, as Reddit user jpe230 initially discovered before their announcement:

I'm using Google App Beta version 6.14.17.21. Android 6.0.1. Now recent searches are separated into different categories (All, Images, Maps, In-Apps, etc...) and the Images section is now showing Popular Searches.

Images by jpe230/Reddit

According to testers, it was a server-side switch and appears to be available to those using an older version of the Google app. However, Google has confirmed that the changes would be rolled out to everyone now.

Images by jpe230/Reddit

Do you like the changes?

Cover image by Maurizio Pesce/Flickr

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