Google opens 'shortcuts' on smartphones

Google wants to make it easier for you to find answers and recommendations on smartphones without having to think about what to ask its search engine.

Its new feature, called "shortcuts ," will appear as a row of icons below the Google search box. Instead of having to ponder and then speak or type a request, the shortcuts will let you tap the icons to get the latest weather, movie showtimes, sports scores, restaurant recommendations and other common requests.

The shortcuts will begin appearing Tuesday in updates to Google's app for iPhones, Android phones and its mobile website. The Android app will also include various tools such as a currency converter, a language translator and an ATM locator, which you can also summon with a tap. Those tools may eventually make it to the iPhone as well, although Google says it doesn't know when.

YOUR BACKUP BRAIN

The changes are the latest step in Google's quest to turn its search engine into a secondary brain that anticipates people's needs and desires. The search engine gleans these insights by analyzing your past requests and, when you allow it, tracking your location, a practice that periodically raises privacy concerns about Google's power to create digital profiles of its users.

Based on the knowledge that Google already has accumulated, its shortcuts feature may already list your favorite sports teams or recommend nearby restaurants serving cuisines you prefer.

Shortcuts also show how Google's search engine has been adapting to its audience, now that smartphones have become the primary way millions of people stay connected to the internet.

GOING MOBILE

Since more than half of requests for Google's search engine now come from smartphones, the Mountain View, California, company has adapted its services to smaller screens, touch keyboards and apps instead of websites.

Early in that process, Google tweaked its search engine to answer many requests with factual summaries at the top of its results page, a change from simply displaying a list of links to other websites. Voice-recognition technology also allows you to speak your request into a phone instead of typing it.

The transition is going well so far. Google's revenue rose 20 percent last year to $89 billion, propelled by digital ads served up on its search engine, YouTube and Gmail. Although shortcuts won't initially show ads after you tap them, Google typically sells marketing space if a feature or service becomes popular.

Shoot

Trending News

Nusli skips Tata Steel EGM, result awaited

Ratan Tata saving British Steel at the cost of Tata Steel India: Nusli

Blackberry Partners with Optiemus

OPEC and non-OPEC producers achieve 86 per cent conformity to output cut

Reliance eyes defense.

RIL stock maximizes 5%, market valuation ranks top Rs 4 lakh crore

How Fintech and Payments Innovations Will Disrupt Global Ecommerce

The New Nokia 3310 Gets A Camera, Expandable Storage, And A Design Makeover

Everyone Can Adopt This Founder's One-Step Productivity Advice

Reliance Jio plans to overtake Airtel, hit 50% revenue market share in 4 years

Samsung unveils Nougat for S6, and S6 Edge

Sensex up 146 Points on exit polls forecast

What the CIA WikiLeaks dump tells us: Encryption works

Idea Cellular to offer free incoming calls on domestic roaming

BJP at Centre and in states will spur growth reforms: India Inc

Forex reserves up $1.218 billion to $364 billion

Following emergent win in UP, Centre May take may take tough reform decisions.

The Top Five Challenges Of Doing Business In Dubai

My 8 Favorite Tools for Driving Business Growth

Nike's hijab line for Muslim female athletes, and Sydney boys on the importance of feminism

Uber wins driver-status case in France on legal technicality

Adani Hopes to Start Australian Coal Mine Project in August

Tesla’s $1 Billion Cash Raise May Fall Short

Race to Build Offshore Wind Farms That Float on Sea Gathers Pace

7 Things Every Entrepreneur Should Do Before 7 a.m.

Can Main Street Businesses Thrive in the Trump Era?

Russia, Saudis Move at a Different Pace as Oil Cuts Scrutinized

China Southern Said in Talks to Sell Stake to American Air