iPhone Triptych - Clear Background

Google today invited a bunch of reporters to a garage where the Internet giant started it all, a convenient setting given Google Search turns fifteen tomorrow.

The company’s SVP of Search Amit Singhal let us in on some notable updates concerning the mobile Search app for iOS and Android. For starters, the new version sports a refreshed user interface and such enhancements like new comparison filters.

More importantly, the iOS app will gain push notifications for reminders that will pop up on your screen when due. You’ll be also able to use the ‘OK Google’ phrase for hands-free Google Search access on your iOS devices, the company said, and more…

The Mountain View technology giant has previewed the upcoming Search iOS app update with Google Now notifications and the ability to say “OK Google” to speak your question hands-free.

I have no idea how Google accomplished this because Apple doesn’t allow apps to monitor the mic in the background. Two possibilities: Google may be using the new background refresh API in iOS 7 or the iPhone 5s’s M7 chip – which Apple says monitors gyro, accelerometer and compass sensors, but not the mic.

Aside from this, you should immediately notice a cleaner, more streamlined look for the Search app across iOS and Android phones and tablets.

Google says the app is now optimized for touch, with results clustered on cards so you can focus on the answers you’re looking for. Thanks to Knowledge Graph enhancements, you’ll be able to ask more complex questions like “Tell me about Impressionist artists” and see who the artists are.

That’s not all, the app will let you dive in to learn more about each of them and explore their most famous works. “If you want to switch to Abstract artists, you can do that really easily with our new filter tool,” said the search monster.

Another nice-to-have: suggested items clustered into smart groupings.

As depicted below, these new Knowledge Graph filters let you compare two different things. A few examples: “compare butter with olive oil,” “compare pekingese vs. chihuahua,” “compare earth vs. neptune” and more.

This should be great for research!

I’m curious as to whether this works for product comparison (i.e. “compare iPhone 5s to iPhone 4”).

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 10.31.09 AMNexus 4 - Impressionist ArtistsNexus 4 - Neil Armstrong

The company’s Inside Search blog explains that a new version of the Google Search app on iPhone and iPad will be available in the next couple of weeks.

Notifications are cross-platform:

With this update, you can get notifications across your devices. So if you tell your Nexus 7, “OK Google. Remind me to buy olive oil at Safeway,” when you walk into the store with your iPhone, you’ll get a reminder.

We’ll also show you Google Now notifications so you’re not late to your cooking class.

By the way, check out Google’s first worldwide headquarters, via Susan Wojcicki.


This is where they’ve invited the press today to share Search app advancements and celebrate the fiftienth anniversary of Google Search.

And those over 30 should remember the original Google Search web page.


Additional images are available in an album on Google’s Google+ page. There’s no doubt that Google Search has advanced beyond comprehension in the past fifteen years, here’s a nice infographic.

Search Timeline for blog post.001

Also coming to Google Search iOS/ Android app: ads (it’s a trend).

Phew, how’s this for a Google app update for you?

  • Danuel Carr

    Ads. Shoulda known.

    • Guest

      Who cares? Just like on the Google Maps app, the ads only pop up if they are relevant to what you are searching for, and the blend in with the search results. Are you telling me that if you made an extremely popular free app that had potential to make you money you wouldn’t put ads on it?

    • Mohammad Ridwan

      Dude, It’s an incredible free service. Quit complaining.

      • Danuel Carr

        An incredible free service that a dozen other apps also provide ad-free.

  • Shane Sepeda

    Can’t wait for the jailbreak and the tweak to allow integration.

  • can you send me the lockscreen wallpaper you using in the middle iphone?

    • Danuel Carr

      It’s the default wallpaper that Is blurry because of the notification

      • no its not default , i cant see in my iPhone 4s

      • Danuel Carr

        What I’m trying to say is It is the first new wallpaper on IOS7. When you get a notification on the lock screen it creates the blur effect that you see. The wallpaper is not available in that blurred state, which I why I think you are are saying you don’t see it.

  • mehrab

    Pffff “if you like google services etc go for android” thats does not seem to be as powerful words as they were a while ago. Google earth,google plus,google maps,google voice(search),youtube,gmail and soooooo MANY other services are on ios and they are designed better then their android apps.

    • Guest

      How are Google’s apps designed better on iOS than on Android? The apps on Android and iOS are designed exactly the same, except that Android always gets the updates first, and (in my case) the apps don’t crash any near as much as it did on my 4S. They also allow for way better integration on Android.

      • mehrab

        Wheres imessage facetime icloud ilife iwork safari on android?
        ATLEAST THEY ARE AVAILABLE SURE THEY ARE MORE INGERATED ON ANDROID LIKE DUUHHHH, they work better they are simpler look better and perform better gmail on ios and google maps on ios have a nicer simpler design and works better. Android gets the updates first all the time? Not really sometimes they do for e.g the new youtube app came out the same time as androids did or maybe just a few hours apart so yeah

      • Guest

        Ok, I was never talking about Apple’s apps, so why exactly did you bring that up? Also, I’m not going to waste my time reading the rest of your comment, because in my mind, when you use caps lock in your argument, it instantly becomes irrelevant.

      • mehrab

        Thats not true. Some app updates launch at the friggin same time. lol what about the UI that the first google maps app had after it got thrown out in ios 6 and came to the app store the first UI that it had was on the iphone version for months until it came out for the google play store! 😛

      • Guest

        Really, have you gotten that Gmail update from yesterday? What about the Google Hangouts update? Or the Google Search update? No? Okay, well there you go. You also need to realize I am NOT talking about every single app, I am talking about Google’s apps. Also, stop trying to make this a flame war. Why do you even try to do that? Both operating systems are great, why can’t you just accept that?

        P.S. Google released their Maps app on iOS as soon as they could to capitalize on Apple’s Map problem, and if they were already designing a new UI, why would they develop the new iOS app with the soon-to-be outdated UI?

  • That messed up panorama though.

  • Joseph A. Ahmad

    I love Google Apps running on my iPhone which I love as well. What a win-win. *Thumbs up*.

  • Rirath

    I’d be happy to be wrong on this, but I’m fairly sure the “OK, Google” is going to behave exactly like it does on my Nexus 7 – you have to launch the Google Now app first (and have it active on screen) before the hotwording works. Any comparisons to Moto X’s always-on listening are, most likely, in error.

    Basically this probably just means you won’t have to tap the mic icon after launching the app.