Google has updated their Google Search app for iOS, bringing with it a dramatically improved voice search engine that allows you to have a “smarter conversation” with your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad when using the service. It is as close to Siri as Google has made their voice searching functions in the app to date and it is pretty impressive.
Google has released a significant update to Google Maps for iOS, bringing amongst other improvements turn-by-turn navigation that gives you lane guidance as you drive and travel information such as distance and estimated time of arrival once you are in navigation mode.
Back to the future time. According to Kara Swisher over at Re/code, Yahoo is courting Apple in an effort to replace Google as the default search engine in iOS, possibly as soon as iOS 8. The report outlines the full-court press that Yahoo!’s CEO Marissa Mayer and Adam Cahan (SVP of Mobile & Emerging Products) are putting on Apple in an effort to swoon Cupertino to move to Yahoo.
The report comes out after Yahoo has posted a stellar quarter with their search revenues up by 1%. It isn’t much – certainly when compared to other Silicon Valley companies like Google and Facebook – but it is an increase and the first that Yahoo has seen in many quarters. In the Re/code article, it appears that at the very senior levels Yahoo! and
Apple, conversations are happening to move the default search to Yahoo!.
Google has made a major change to their pricing structure for storage in Google Drive, their cloud based storage solution for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. The new pricing structure drops the prices across the board with 1TB of storage now costing only $9.99 per month. That is down from $49.99 just a few days ago and at $9.99, is the same price that DropBox offers 100GB of storage.
The price drops on Google Drive are across the board. 100GB of storage is now $1.99, down from $4.99. 10TB is now $99.99 per month, down from $199.99 while 20TB is down $100 to $199.99 per month. These prices are seriously less expensive than many of Google’s competitors in cloud storage including Dropbox, Box and OneDrive (formerly SkyDrive) and absolutely crushes the pricing structure of iCloud storage (which is pretty limited in what it can store).
What is not clear is if these prices are one-time drops or permanent drops. When I upgraded my account this morning to 1TB, all indications are that I will have the $9.99 price going forward so it looks like once you are in, you are in.
My advice: If you want to take advantage of this do it now.
You can get more information on the Google Drive site at http://www.google.com/drive.
Also keep in mind that you can access your Google Drive files from you iPhone or iPad with the free Google Drive app.
Google continues to improve their apps for iOS and the latest update of Google Search for iOS is proof positive of this fact. The new 4.0 version is available now in the App Store and brings a huge number of changes including notifications and reminders.
The bulk of the changes in this release come in Google Now inside the app. You can not get notifications for things like when it is time to leave for an appointment, a reminder for something you need to do and if you are on an iPhone 4S or later, you can do handsfree voice searches. Just say “OK Google” to search. In addition there are new cards in Google Now for boarding passes, tickets and so forth. In many ways these new cards are similar to those you would find in Passbook.
The new notifications can give you information before you open the app through the notification system in iOS so you don’t necessarily have to open up Google Search to get these notifications.
In the Google Search app itself there are a host of improvements including a simplified homepage, gestures to zoom or
throw away images and one touch sign in from other Google apps.
Here are the full Release Notes for this update:
Google Now gets even better with:
• Notifications – Get notified when it’s time to go
• Reminders – Never forget to put out the trash
• New cards – See tickets, boarding passes, & more
• Handsfree voice – Just say “OK Google” to search*
* requires iPhone 4s or later
Notifications deliver info before you open the app:
• When to leave for your next appointment or event
• If your flight is running late
• How to catch the last train home
Ask Google to remember things for you. Just say
• “Remind me to buy coffee beans at Starbucks,” or
• “Remind me to check out the fair this weekend”
and Google will remind you at the right time or place.
You can also ask to be reminded when your favorite:
• Musicians release a new album
• TV show has a new episode
• Actors star in a new movie
• Celebrities and politicians make headlines
Just search and press the “remind me” button.
New cards organize the info you care about:
• Tickets for movies, concerts and events
• Boarding passes for your flights
• Reservation confirmations for car rentals
• Warnings when your last train home leaves
• Lists of upcoming local events
And finally, search is better than ever with:
• A redesigned and simplified homepage
• Gestures to zoom or throw away images
• One touch sign in if you use other Google apps
• Improved voiceover accessibility
Google Search for iOS is a universal app and is free now in the App Store.
Google has finally release Google Wallet for iOS and it is now available in the App Store for your iPhone. While everyone thinks of this app for sending money to others, it is also a secure wallet for you to store your credit card, debit card and even your loyalty card information. While it is certainly no eWallet, it is a quick way to keep your credit card information handy. And it is free.
It is important to remember however that Google Wallet for iOS will only work in the United States currently. Those of us
in Europe will have to wait.
Here are the Release Notes
Use the Google Wallet app to send money to any friend in the US with an email address. Plus, you can store your credit and debit cards, loyalty programs, offers, and more.
Send money from anywhere: Send money to any friend in the US with an email address. It’s easy, quick, and won’t cost them a dime. And once you start using the app, you’ll also get access to sending money in Gmail.
Carry less, save more: Store your loyalty programs in Google Wallet and leave the plastic cards behind. Redeem great offers with Google Wallet from your favorite businesses to save when you shop.
A safer wallet: Google Wallet comes with a PIN, 24/7 fraud monitoring, and Google Wallet Purchase Protection. If your phone is lost or stolen, you can easily disable the Google Wallet app at wallet.google.com/manage.
Google Wallet works on devices with iOS 6.0+.
Google Wallet is free and in the App Store Now.
Google has given their Google Drive app for iOS a significant update today, bringing a new and much improved viewing and navigation experience to the cloud storage service. The new version is in the App Store today.
The new Google Drive app brings a brand new viewing experience with cards, a concept that Google has been driving
throughout many of their iOS apps including Google+ and the Google Search app. Users can chose if they want a more traditional layout or if they want this new card preview (think thumbnails) view of their files, photos and folders.
Equally as important for sharing and collaboration, there is a new “Get Link” feature. This allows you to get a link to a file on your Google Drive that allows you to share it with others.
The Google Drive app for iOS is a free app and is a universal app. With Google Drive you get 15GB of cloud storage free with 100GB of storage starting at only $4.99 per month. There is an in-app purchase of $24.99 available for 25GB of storage (one-time cost) but is not required.
Google has released the long awaited update to Google Maps for iOS with a wide range of updates and support for iPad users. The new 2.0 version brings the app up to a Universal App so one download and it is on all of your iOS devices. Equally as important, there are significant updates to the navigation in Google Maps that include live traffic and incident reports along your journey to help you make appropriate changes to your path of travel.
There is also a new indoors navigation aimed at helping you negotiate your way through malls, airports and transit stations, something that is unique to Google Maps.
Google has released an update to their Gmail app for iOS that brings categories to your inbox as well as new and improved notifications from within the app. The update is available in the App Store now.
For notifications, Gmail now allows you to select how you want to be notified. For example, if you only want to be notified on important messages, you can se that up on a per account basis within the settings of the app. Conversely, you can have notifications for all messages or none at all. The idea is to help you cut down on the background noise of constant
notifications of email and this ability to discretely choose which types of notifications you get are not supported in the native Mail app for iPhone or iPad.
The inbox in the Gmail app is significantly improved over previous versions. Now email is grouped into categories so you can quickly decide which emails are important to you and when you read them. Your Primary mail is shown first and you can track other categories by opening the menu within the app. It is important to note that you have to enable categories from your computer by going to Gmail.com.
If you are a heavy Gmail user then you should consider the free app. It gives you a more “natural” Gmail feel over the Mail app on iOS with decidedly more controls and customisation. The app is a universal app for both iPhone and iPad.
Gmail for iOS is a free app and available in the App Store
During the Google I/O event yesterday, a new Google Maps for iOS was discussed and shown that will bring dramatic improvements to the application. While not expected until this summer, the new Google Maps will offer key new features as well as a simplified user interface for both iPhone and iPad.
From a feature perspective, the new Google Maps will bring real-time traffic, dynamic re-routing based on that traffic and integrated reviews from Zagat. Google made it clear that the new version will be for both iPhone and iPad meaning that the UI for the iPad should be optimised for the platform.
In addition, the new Google Maps will introduce a new service call Offers. It will pop up offers near your location. Starbucks was specifically mentioned in the keynote although other companies will undoubtedly be onboard before the release.
The new Google Maps UI will also be brought to the desktop version of the service which will bring up search locations embedded as overlays to the maps, not a separate search area.
The currently Google Maps app for iPhone is free and is available in the App Store.