Google wants to change the way you search
Table of Contents
Google just rolled out its vision for the future of search, and it’s all about making it easier to find what you need.
For years, mastering search has meant learning the rules — knowing how to structure a query to get the results you want.
- As The Youths™ turn to platforms like the TikToks to find what they need, Google’s now trying to emphasize more natural and approachable ways to hunt for answers in its ecosystem.
- Most of the new systems combine images, sound, and text — like being able to search for something in a photo and add in words to specify what, exactly, you’re looking to find.
- It’s all wildly impressive from a technical perspective and incredibly interesting, too, but I can’t help but wonder how many people are actually gonna put this stuff to use. Have you ever done a combined image-and-text search from your phone?!
Your Android Maps app is about to get extra-interactive
Along with its search improvements, Google’s gearin’ up to give us a wacky new set of ways to interact with our environments in the Maps app on our phones.
Maps is getting a trio of updates that’ll bring a tantalizing high-tech twist to exploring your surroundings — all set to arrive on Android “in the coming months” (of course).
- You’ll be able to pull up multidimensional, photorealistic views of an area with all sorts of relevant info layered on top — everything from weather, traffic, and likely crowd levels based on historical trends.
- Another new feature will let you hold up your phone and find whatever you need in an actual live view of the area around you.
- And a new “vibe check” feature will tell you what a neighborhood you’re looking at is known for (something that seems destined to end poorly, doesn’t it?!).
This announcement has all there is to know about the incoming additions, including some intriguing visual demos of all the new stuff.
The next Pixels may have familiar prices
With less than a week ’til Google’s grand hardware event, info’s leaking out left and right about the newest Pixel additions.
Most notably, a series of premature publications (hey, it happens to the best of us) makes it look like the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro will have the exact same prices as their predecessors — $599 and $899, respectively.
- Keeping the starting flagship price at that $600 mark seems like a smart move for a company in Google’s position.
- Remember: In this situation, Google’s the scrappy underdog. And it wants people who use either iPhones or Galaxy gizmos — both of which start at $800 for their current-gen top-tier equivalents — to consider a switch.
- Of course, Google first has to make the phone-buying masses aware of its devices’ advantages — or, for that matter, even aware that its Pixels exist. Thus far, that’s been a challenge Google’s struggled to overcome.
Take total control over text size in Chrome on your computer
Two of the tips in that Chrome Android collection are about making text easier to read on your phone and forcing your browser to remember your site-to-site text size preferences.
Well, get this: The same sorts of options exist in the desktop version of Chrome, too. You’ve just gotta figure out where to find ’em.
Step 1: First, if you ever want to zoom into a site and make all of its elements larger, hold down your computer’s Ctrl key and press the + key. Each time you do that, you’ll zoom in one more level.
Step 2: Ctrl and – will zoom you back out.
Step 3: And the really cool part — and something I didn’t realize until just recently: Chrome will automatically save your zoom setting preferences on a site-by-site basis whenever you make that type of adjustment.
Note: So hang onto this link: chrome://settings/content/zoomLevels
Paste that into the address bar in Chrome on any computer, and you’ll see a breakdown of every specific site where you’ve adjusted the zoom level to something other than the default. And all it takes is one more click from there to remove any site from the list and zap it back to the standard zoom setting.
Good to know, right?!
Send your smartphone searches straight into your actual browser
Here’s a weird one: Have you ever noticed how when you start a search on your phone — from the search box on your home screen or within the actual Google app — the results show up in a special standalone browser that isn’t the same as Chrome (or whatever browser you usually use)?
- That’s supposed to be a feature, as it theoretically makes the results appear slightly faster.
- But in reality, it can be pretty annoying, since it makes it all too easy to lose your results when you shift your focus somewhere else.
- It’d be much better to have ’em show up as a tab in your browser, where they’d remain present for however long you need ’em — wouldn’t it?
I certainly think so. And there’s a really easy way to make that happen.
Step 1: Open the Google app on your phone, then:
Step 2: Tap your profile picture in the upper-right corner.
Step 3: Tap Settings, then General.
Step 4: Find the line that says Open web pages in the app and turn its toggle into the off position.
Bonus tip: You can follow that same pattern in other apps on your phone that use that standalone in-app browser setup, too. In Gmail, for instance, there’s an option in the “General settings” area to “Open web links in Gmail.” Switch that sucker off, and any links you open in an email will then go into your browser instead of into that in-app interface.
Much better, wouldn’t ya say?