Google bringing the Assistant to tablets and Lollipop Android phones

Google is rolling out the Assistant to more devices. It will soon be available on Android tablets running Nougat and Marshmallow, and smartphones running Lollipop.
Tablets in the US running English will be the first to get access. However, a wide array of Android 5.0 smartphones (Lollipop) will get the Assistant: Those operating in English in major markets and in Spanish in the US, Mexico and Spain; and Lollipop smartphones in Italy, Japan, Germany, Brazil and Korea.
Google is pushing the Assistant out to more devices as the market becomes more competitive and AI development accelerates.
A July 2017 report from Verto Analytics found that 42 percent of US smartphone owners used virtual assistants, in the aggregate, on average 10 times per month. That translated into more than 70 million smartphone owners and almost 1 billion hours per month in the US. The numbers are likely somewhat higher now.
Personal Assistant Usage Numbers & Demographics

Source: Verto Analytics (5/17)
Siri was the most

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Report: Google to debut ‘Home Mini’ smart speaker for $49 on October 4

Google is set to reveal the Pixel 2 smartphone and potentially other hardware at an event on October 4, in time for holiday shopping. While the Pixel 2 is set to be the star of the event, a prominent supporting role will be played by the new “Google Home Mini.”
This is apparently Google’s answer to the low-cost Amazon Echo Dot. According to Droid Life, it will be priced comparably at $49 and be available in three colors.

Image credit: Droid Life
The device will support the Google Assistant and reportedly will provide the same functionality as Google Home. It’s all but certain the sound quality won’t be as good. And there may be other hardware compromises to bring costs down. It will very likely broaden the market for Google Home and the Google Assistant.
Amazon has created multiple Alexa devices for different budgets:

Dot — $49
Echo Tap — $129
Echo — $179
Echo Show — $229

Amazon often discounts the devices and offers multiple purchase

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Google adds trending searches and instant answers to iOS app

With a new search app update for iOS, Google has added trending searches and instant answers. (TechCrunch noticed it earlier today.) It replicates a previously introduced Android feature which reportedly resulted in an outcry, causing Google to enable an opt-out.
In the “what’s new” discussion in the iOS App Store, Google says:

See searches that are trending around you when you tap on the search box to start a search
Get instant answers to your questions as you type them, before you even complete the search. Try it out by typing for “goog stock” or “how tall is the eiffel tower” and see the answer show up in the suggestions below the search box
Easily give feedback on any suggestions you see while typing — just swipe left and tap on the “info” icon

Here’s what it looks like:

The trending searches appear to be national rather than specific to my location. The data appear to be Knowledge Graph data, but it’s not

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Google Maps Android app adds ‘find parking’ feature to show you nearest parking garage

Google Maps is making it easy for Android users to find parking options.
The Android app now has a “find parking” button on the direction card that is displayed once you search for your location. The button leads to a list of parking garages and lots near the intended location.
Users can select their preferred parking option, and the app will automatically add it to their trip, along with walking directions from the parking spot to their destination.

The “find parking” feature was rolled out in 25 US cities, including Atlanta, Chicago, DC, Detroit, Portland, Orlando and St. Louis.
In addition to its latest feature, the app has expanded its “parking difficulty” feature for Android and iOS apps to 25 international cities, including Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, London, Milan, Rio de Janeiro and Vancouver.
When available, the parking difficulty icon appears in the bottom of a direction card screen, and it ranks parking availability as “limited,” “medium” or “easy” based on historical parking data.
The

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Data: Consumers grow more demanding, impatient as brands fall behind

There’s considerable evidence that consumers are growing more impatient and less tolerant of poor or frustrating online experiences. There’s also increasing evidence that most brands aren’t keeping up with customers, creating significant risk and lost opportunities.
This gap is reflected in all the CX (consumer experience) research and reports coming out. There’s also a strong undercurrent of this theme in the Google “micro-moments” research and discussions. All the data about mobile page speeds and consumer abandonment support this idea:
The average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but, according to the most recent data, 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. And 79% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with site performance say they’re less likely to purchase from the same site again.
Most recently, Google said that geo-modifiers (e.g., ZIP codes) have declined by 30 percent, even as local search volumes have increased:
[D]emanding mobile users now assume

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AdWords app-install campaigns to sunset as Universal App Campaigns take over

Google launched Universal App Campaigns (UAC) roughly two years ago to help developers drive app downloads. UAC has co-existed with AdWords app-install campaigns since that time.
Now the company is moving all app-install ads under the umbrella of UAC. Google said that as of October 16, all app-install campaigns will run as UAC ads. All current app-install campaigns will stop running on November 15; so developers and publishers need to convert their campaigns accordingly. (Google’s blog post has instructions on how to do this.)
The two types of mobile-app campaigns offered different features and capabilities, with some distribution overlap. AdWords app-install ads offered more direct control over placements (single channel, multichannel) and bidding (CPC, CPI and so on) but were also more complex to create and manage.
UAC ads are automatically distributed across multiple Google channels (search, GDN, YouTube, AdMob and Google Play) and use a CPA model. UAC radically simplifies ad creation and optimization with automation and machine learning.

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Google expands offline attribution and launches in-store sales measurement

Earlier this week at Google Marketing Next event in San Francisco the company made a number of provocative and important announcements. It announced a new, free multi-touch attribution tool called Google Attribution. It also announced location extensions for YouTube and in-store sales measurement for AdWords.
Google is increasingly focused on showing advertisers how the ads on its network holistically impact consumer purchase activity, including and especially in the real-world.
To that end, location extensions are coming to YouTube. That means address/map location, hours, photos, call buttons and other information will be available for YouTube ads. Store visits measurement will also be available soon for YouTube campaigns. Google Director of Product Management, Kishore Kanakamedela, said that QSR chain Wendy’s was able to track over 1 million store visits driven by video ads during a campaign run late last year.
Beyond store visits analytics Google is expanding in-store sales measurement, which it has been testing since 2014.
[Read the full article on Marketing Land.]
The post Google

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Google adds emoji & GIF suggestions, translations & more to GBoard for Android

Google has rolled a number of new features for GBoard for Android — the keyboard app it originally launched on iOS devices.
Android users now will see emoji and GIF suggestions as they type, and they’ll be able to share GIFs in supported apps, including Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, Hangouts and Allo. The latest updates also include improved voice-typing, more keyboard themes and search features for right-to-left languages.
“Now for the first time in right-to-left languages (think Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi), you can tap on the arrow or the G in the suggestion strip and get access to new search features, including web, GIF and emoji,” writes Reena Lee, a Google product manager, on the Google Search Blog.
There is also a new Google Translate option — showcased in the GIF here — that lets users click a Translate icon from the features menu to translate instantly whatever they are typing.

Google says the updates are available now, as long as users

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Google App for Android gets a refresh with new shortcuts to frequently used features

Google has updated its beta app for Android, adding shortcuts for frequently used features to the Google Now home screen.
According to a report from Venture Beat, widgets for the weather, nearby restaurants and more appear when a user taps inside the Google Search box.
From Venture Beat:
If you’re on version 6.10.35 of the Google app beta, you’ll see a weather shortcut, which shows the location and temperature, alongside an icon representing the weather. It also shows widgets for nearby restaurants, Solitaire, “I’m feeling curious” (which shows a random question and answer), a calculator, nearby ATMs, Tic Tac Toe, a coin flip, My Events (which displays upcoming events listed in your Google Calendar), and nearby coffee shops.
The Venture Beat report says anyone with Google’s new Pixel or Pixel XL phone can swipe right on the home screen to display the shortcuts, which are updated based on frequency of use.
Venture Beat notes the app updates are not available on iOS

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Google launches Gboard keyboard features on Android devices

According to multiple reports, Gboard — Google’s keyboard designed specifically for iOS devices — is now available on Android devices.
A report from The Verge says that a Google Keyboard update is bringing Gboard features to Android, including the integrated search function, the emoji search tool and new shortcuts.
“It’s currently available only as an APK from Google without detailed release notes, although it should make its way over to the Play Store soon,” writes The Verge reporter, Adi Robertson.
Gboard originally launched in May of this year, followed by a major update in August that added internationalization features, smart GIF suggestions and custom keyboards.
The post Google launches Gboard keyboard features on Android devices appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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