Apple promises to open up universal search on Apple TV

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 5, 2015

When the new Apple TV launches toward the end of this month, it will allow viewers to use their voice to search movies and television shows across iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, Showtime and HBO. Fans of the device were initially concerned that the new box would offer preferential treatment to the aforesaid services. Thankfully, that won’t be the case.

As CEO Tim Cook noted in an interview this weekend with BuzzFeed News’s John Paczkowski, the new box will allow apps beyond launch partners to expose and make their content discoverable and searchable via iOS 9’s universal search feature.

It’s a crucial confirmation: content from other broadcasters and studios such as NBC, Disney and CNN must be exposed through the Apple TV’s Siri-based search if the device is to streamline the user experience. Read More


How to convert units and currencies and get exchange rates with Spotlight on iPhone and iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Oct 1, 2015

In addition to running simple math with a little help of iOS 9’s vastly improved Spotlight Search, your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad also lets you run unit and currency conversions, and get live exchange rates, right from any Home screen.

This convenient feature is another great time-saver provided by iOS 9, even more so if you resort to third-party apps for live currency conversions on the go.

With Spotlight in iOS 9, you can convert dollars to euros, feet to meters, pounds to kilograms, hectares to acres and much more, here’s how. Read More


How to prevent Spotlight from searching certain apps on iPhone and iPad with iOS 9

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 17, 2015

iOS 9 sports an easily overlooked yet significant enhancement to Spotlight, permitting you to search and discover content buried deep within the apps on your device right from Spotlight’s search field on the Home screen.

This was made possible because the iOS 9 SDK gives developers the tools to expose content stored inside their apps to the operating system in order to make it searchable and linkable within Spotlight.

But as you install apps from the App Store that support Spotlight, they get automatically added to Spotlight, whether you like it or not.

And with too many apps feeding their content to Spotlight, the feature shows the tendency to run slower than usual due to indexing. Of course, not each and every app needs to be searched this way.

In fact, it might be prudent to turn off ones that pollute your search results and make Spotlight run slower than usual. In this tutorial, we’re going to explain how you can selectively exclude content from specific apps from surfacing in Spotlight search results. Read More


Bing for iPhone picks up Interests and News, gains private searching, Apple Watch app and more

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 1, 2015

Microsoft’s Bing for iPhone app was updated last evening with several new features such as Bing Interests, Bing News, a private searching mode, the Popular Now section on your Apple Watch and other enhancements.

I typically use Google’s native search app on my iPhone, but Bing saw some rather interesting improvements in recent months. In my personal opinion, Microsoft’s search-based app is better designed than Google’s with richer descriptions and prettier images.

More importunely, Bing’s popular searches feature produces way more relevant results than Google, at least for me. Read More


New Google for iOS update adds always-listening “Ok Google” to in-app browser and more

By Christian Zibreg on Aug 12, 2015

It’s been a while since Google last refreshed its native search application for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad with meaningful new features, but today Google for iOS got bumped to version 7.0 in the App Store.

Most notably, the app now supports the always-on “Ok Google” feature within in-app browser, but not only that—it understands what you’re searching for in the context of the webpage you’re browsing.

Before today, “Ok Google” was only available on the app’s search screen and you weren’t able to use it if you navigated away from search results. Read More


Instagram bringing place, people and hashtag search to the web

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 20, 2015

Following an update last month that added expanded search options to its mobile app, Facebook-owned Instagram has now started rolling out place search and other search-related enhancements for its web version, the company announced Monday.

The new search features are currently rolling out to a subset of Instagram’s installed base before going live for everyone so they may not be available to you just yet. Read More


Here are Google’s plans for frictionless shopping straight from mobile search

By Christian Zibreg on Jul 15, 2015

The next time you use Google Search on your iPhone, you may notice a brand new “Purchase on Google” button, a feature that has been rumored for several months and confirmed today at the company’s presser in New York City.

According to Venture Beat, it will let consumers purchase items directly from ads in Google search results using the payment information linked to their Google account.

The new button will begin rolling out in the next few weeks. Read More


How to find great quotations without visiting any Google Search results

By Christian Zibreg on Jun 15, 2015

The Internet is the perfect place to research some of the greatest quotes from the world’s most insightful people, but often searching for a quote feels like finding a needle in the haystack. What if you could find great quotations without having to click through a bunch of links in search results like an animal? Well, now you can as Google has quietly rolled out handy Quotes cards that inject your search results with—you guessed right—quotes.

In this post, I’m going to teach you how to retrieve quotations on your Mac, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad without visiting any Google Search results. Read More


Spotlight gets smarter in iOS 9

By Jeff Benjamin on Jun 8, 2015

Spotlight search has been completely redesigned for iOS 9, and it brings with it a new interface, a new search API, deep linking to search results, and more. With an interface that harkens back to the pre-iOS 7 days, search is now a powerful new tool in iOS. Read More


You’ll soon be able to open iOS app content straight from Google Search

By Christian Zibreg on May 27, 2015

Google will soon start indexing iOS apps, allowing you to open content in your favorite apps straight from Google Search, the company announced Wednesday.

Google has been indexing content from Android apps for a while and now it’s about to help Apple fans discover relevant content from iPhone and iPad applications, right inside search.

“Starting today, we’re bringing App Indexing to iOS apps as well,” the company announced. “This means users on both Android and iOS will be able to open mobile app content straight from Google Search.” Read More


Google and Twitter team up to provide Tweets in mobile search results

By Cody Lee on May 19, 2015

Google and Twitter announced on Tuesday that they are partnering up to bring Tweets to Google Search on mobile devices. The move means that now, anytime you perform a search using the Google app (iOS or Android) or mobile browser, you’ll see real-time content from Twitter in your results.

The search results are triggered by “Twitter” keyword searches, and include both hashtags and accounts. So you can either search for feedback on the new #TaylorSwift album or #MadMenFinale, or you can track down NASA’s Twitter account, and view their recent Tweets without leaving Google. Read More


Applebot, a web crawler for Siri and Spotlight, unmasked in a support document

By Christian Zibreg on May 6, 2015

An official support document updated last evening has confirmed that Apple is using a web crawler service called Applebot to index the web for content used by its Siri personal digital assistant on iOS devices and built-in Spotlight search on both iOS and OS X.

An Apple-operated engine, Applebot is described as “the web crawler for Apple” which gathers useful content for products including Siri and Spotlight Suggestions. The document doesn’t state how long AppleBot has been operational in production. Read More


Bing for iPhone gains private mode, revamped Image search, app links in search results and more

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 17, 2015

Microsoft today refreshed Bing for iPhone, adding more than half a dozen useful new features and enhancements, beginning with the Private Search Mode which will not remember your search history and sites you have visited.

Other new features include better management of your search history settings, the ability to launch native iPhone applications right from the search results page, inline previews of clips in Video search and more. Read More


Search images faster without typing in Bing

By Christian Zibreg on Apr 16, 2015

Windows maker Microsoft today announced that Bing for iPhone and Android now makes it easy to find images faster than before, without typing or by typing less.

The new search experience is now live on iPhone and Android devices in mobile browsers and lets you search images with “no typing required to discover more”. Read More


Apple reportedly acquired search startup Ottocat in 2013 to improve App Store discovery

By Cody Lee on Apr 6, 2015

Apple has quietly acquired Ottocat, reports TechCrunch, a little-known startup with some interesting search tech. The deal went down a few years ago—sometime in 2013—but its impact is still being felt today. The site believes the company’s tech is behind the App Store’s fairly new ‘Explore’ section.

There’s little evidence of the acquisition, except for a patent granted to Apple that lists Ottocat co-founder Edwin Cooper as an inventor. The patent is titled “System and Method for Divisive Textual Clustering by Label Selection Using Variant-Weighted TFIDF,” and clearly incorporates Ottocat’s tech. Read More


Photos app and the power of search

By Sébastien Page on Feb 12, 2015

You’d think that searching through your photos should be an impossible task. Unlike a text document, there are no actual words you can look for in a photo. But your photos can hold very precious information that can help surface some details about your shots. If you have Location Services enabled for your iPhone camera app, then all your shots contain location metadata, allowing you to perform very specific searches in the stock Photos app of iOS.

And with the release of iOS 8, Apple has included some very powerful features to help you find that one photo you were looking for. Read More


Marissa Mayer wants to make Yahoo default search engine in Safari

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 28, 2015

Embattled CEO Marisa Mayer just bought herself some more air cover by spinning off Yahoo’s 15 percent stake in Alibaba into a new public company. But Mayer is still under pressure to boost Yahoo’s core biz which has been eroding steadily. Now, MacRumors passes along a transcript of Yahoo’s conference call when Mayer praised Apple’s Safari browser as the premier search platform.

She called fans of the Apple web browser “among the most lucrative users in the world” and expressed interest in Yahoo becoming the default search engine in Safari. Read More


Yahoo’s Search iOS app gains comments, local news and improved navigation

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 18, 2014

Yahoo’s main search-focused iPhone and iPad application has received a refresh today. In addition to an improved navigation system focused on the new side panel accessible by swiping, Yahoo 5.4 for iOS now integrates latest local news headlines and finally lets you comment on stories within the app.

“Today we’re bringing local news to your fingertips with the Yahoo App,” writes the Internet company. “As you move around the country, you’ll be able to see what’s going on in your area.” Read More


Bing’s iOS apps get a facelift, translate extension now available on iPad

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 18, 2014

Microsoft’s mobile Bing apps for the iPhone and iPad are getting a major makeover today, with the translate extension that debuted in the iPhone app two months ago at last available on iPads.

On the iPhone, you can now tap anywhere underneath the search box to check out Bing’s image of the day in uncluttered full-screen view. You can also swipe from the left to see yesterday’s image of the day.

Another handy addition: weather information, trending news and images of the day zoom to full screen smoothly when swiping from the bottom of Bing’s Home screen. Read More


Google iOS app gains Material Design, iPhone 6 support, Recents and Maps in search results

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 11, 2014

The search monster Google this morning posted a major update to its main search app for iOS.

The company says it’s enhanced the software by bringing out support for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus screens, a fresh new look with Material Design appearance, Maps alongside search results, easier-to-find recent searches, a “G” button that lets you start a new search from anywhere within the app and more.

You can grab the completely rebuilt Google 5.0 app for the iPhone and iPad free of charge in the App Store. Read More

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