Have a question about Will Ferrell? Google may show you a video response directly from him

Curious if Will Ferrell can actually play the drums? Or if Tracee Ellis Ross can sing? Now, when you ask Google a question about a specific celebrity, you may get a self-recorded video from them answering your question.
“When you search for your favorite personalities, whether they’re rising stars or well-known celebs, their answers will appear in the form of selfie-style videos with a uniquely personal, authentic and delightful touch,” according to Google’s The Keyword blog.
Google has taken the most often asked questions about a select number of celebrities and had the celebrities record their answer so that they can now be served up for mobile searches related to the query.
The new feature is currently only available in the US and only works on mobile. It also applies to a very select list of well-known personalities. Google says it is piloting the feature with self-recorded video answers from the following list of celebrities:

Priyanka Chopra
Will Ferrell
Tracee Ellis Ross
Gina Rodriguez

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Google beefs up mobile shopping results for the holidays, adds more product info & buying guides

Google is beefing up its mobile shopping experience to prepare for the holidays, now showing buying guides for broad categories like “sewing machine” and “coffee grinder” searches and adding more product-related information for specific product searches.
“When you search for a specific product, Google.com now shows you other helpful information, like related items, and allows you to compare reviews, prices and other specs, side by side,” writes Google product management director for Google Shopping, Jennifer Liu on Google’s The Keyword blog.

Google says it has added a “newer model available” label to tech-gadget product listings so searchers know if they’re browsing the most recent version of tech products.
According to the announcement, Google’s recently redesigned mobile shopping experience has helped bring more product information to the forefront with features like a “Quick View” button in Google Shopping ads that lets users preview detailed product information.
Google also noted its recent knowledge panel updates that quickly surface product photos, videos, reviews and

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Google searches now correspond to user location instead of domain

Google announced today that it is changing the way it labels country services on the mobile web, Google app for iOS and desktop Search and Maps.
According to Google, one in five searches is now location-related. To make search results more relevant, Google says the country of service will no longer be indicated by the country code top level domain name (ccTLD) such as “google.co.uk” for the UK or “google.com.br” for Brazil, but instead will default to the country where the user is performing the search.
From the Google Search Blog:
So if you live in Australia, you’ll automatically receive the country service for Australia, but when you travel to New Zealand, your results will switch automatically to the country service for New Zealand. Upon return to Australia, you will seamlessly revert back to the Australian country service.

Google says that typing the relevant ccTLD into a browser will no longer return various country services. Instead, users must go into their settings

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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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Google adds new SOS Alerts to search and Maps as part of its crisis response features

Aiming to give users more information when a crisis occurs, Google’s new SOS Alerts are the latest addition to its family of crisis response search features.
The SOS Alerts will appear at the top of search results related to an incident or searches for the location where the crisis has happened. According to Google, alerts will include maps, top stories about the crisis, and local information from authorities when available.
Google says users geographically close to the crisis may get mobile notifications pointing to information around the incident.

“If you’re outside of the affected area, you may still want information about the crisis,” writes Google’s VP of engineering, Yossi Matias on the Google Search blog post covering the announcement, “Searches for relevant terms (like the name of the event or the location) will also show an SOS Alert that provides a timely overview of the situation, in addition to features such as donation opportunities.”
The SOS Alerts will

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Google rolls out new event search feature on app & mobile web

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Google announced a new search feature today that will make it easier to find events.
Google app and mobile web searches for events will now surface a listing of activities pulled from Eventbrite, Meetup and other sites across the web.
Google product manager Nishant Ranka writes:
To try it, type in a quick search like, “jazz concerts in Austin,” or “art events this weekend” on your phone. With a single tap, you’ll see at-a-glance details about various options, like the event title, date and time, and location. You can tap “more events” to see additional options. Once you find one that’s up your alley, tap it to find more details or buy tickets directly from the website.
Rolled out today in the US, Google shared the following image highlighting how its latest search feature works:

Event results include filters that let you drill down by dates or look for specific events happening “today,” “tomorrow” or “next week.”
Google provided the following

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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 app now delivering restaurant reviews & best-of lists for local searches

Google announced today that food- and drink-related local search results via its app will surface restaurant and bar reviews, as well as any “best-of lists” that name the location.
Starting today in the US, when you search on your Google app for the best spots to eat and drink, you’ll have access to reviews from top critics and best-of lists from reputable publishers. Google’s Inside Search Blog
Google included the following screen captures to illustrate how the content is displayed within its app:

For anyone traveling to NYC, Google’s announcement includes a number of tips for finding the city’s “must-try” food and drink places: Never miss a “must-try” with Google Search.
The post Google app now delivering restaurant reviews & best-of lists for local searches appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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Google App for iOS gets AMP content & sports highlights in Now cards

Google has announced new upgrades for its iOS app, designed to create a faster mobile experience.
As part of the updates, Google says it has cut down on loading times and is rolling out AMP content on the Google iOS app.
Now news articles from a vast array of publishers will load instantly for your reading pleasure. Just look out for the lightning bolt and “AMP” next to articles in the “Top Stories” section of your search results and enjoy blazing-fast news.Google’s Inside Search Blog
In addition to a faster experience, the Google App for iOS will also get sports highlights within Now cards.
“When you get a card with a sports highlights, just tap the play button and watch it right from the app,” writes Google’s VP of product management, Tamar Yehoshua, on the Inside Search blog.
According to Google, whether or not iOS users notice the accelerated speed of their searches and load times, the updates will save them a

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Google Search App For iOS Gets New Voice Search Look & Improved Google Now Cards

Google has quietly released version 10.0 of the iOS Google Search App, and they did make a brief mention of it on Google+.
The new version makes the branding more consistent with the new logo and branding, adding a fresh look for the voice search capability in the app. You know, how the animation works with the new dots and G logo when voice search operates.
Other noticeable changes include the redesigned Google Now cards: there are more of them, the design is cleaner and Google tells us they are even smarter. The new structure for the Google Now cards is new on iOS, bringing it in line with the Android version. It has a better structure to make it more predictable where you find what content, and cards move up and down depending on how important they are at any given time. For example, the weather card will be near the top in the morning, but as you

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