Google Mobile Search Updates: App Referrals for Android

Android search users now get referrals to apps that can give more information, and three more languages are supported using Google Voice Search.

Mobile search

Google is giving Android search users a new tool to help ensure that they have more information at their fingertips: When searching on a topic using an Android device, the results will also now show related apps that users can download for deeper information about the topics they are querying.

But that's not all, mobile search fans—Google has also updated its Google Search apps for Android, iPhone and iPad to allow speakers of French, German and Japanese to now conduct voice searches in their native languages.

The Android app referral capabilities were announced by Scott Huffman, the vice president of engineering for Android, in a Dec. 4 post on the Official Android Blog.

"A task as simple as choosing a movie to see can actually be complex—and the information you want can be in several different places, often in apps," wrote Huffman. "You might get your trivia from IMDb [Internet Movie Database}, the box office stats from Wikipedia and ratings from Rotten Tomatoes. Starting today, Google can save you the digging for information in the dozens of apps you use every day, and get you right where you need to go in those apps with a single search."

That new capability can be quite useful, providing links to known apps or to apps that users may not have used or known about previously. "Google Search can make your life a little easier by fetching the answer you need for you—whether it’s on the Web, or buried in an app," he wrote.

"Say you want to explore downhill skiing—now, you can just ask Google for downhill skiing apps and get a collection of useful apps," wrote Huffman.

The new app referral feature is rolling out to users now on Android through the Google Search app or directly in Chrome and Android browsers and in Google Play when relevant, he wrote. The number of apps that will be referred to will be limited initially and expanded over time, he added. "This is just one step toward bringing apps and the Web together, making it even easier to get the right information, regardless of where it’s located."

For voice search users, the addition of voice search in French, German and Japanese means that native speakers of those languages will no longer be locked out of using Google voice search in their native languages, according to a Dec. 5 post by Kartik Murthy, the product manager for Google Search, on the Google Inside Search Blog.

"English speakers have been hearing Google respond to their spoken queries for a while, and we're now bringing some of the functionality to people in other parts of the world," wrote Murthy. "To try it out, simply tap the microphone in the search box and ask for anything you're looking for. If you need some coffee in Munich, just say 'Wo bekomme ich Kaffee in München?' to get a list of local options. Wondering what the height of the Eiffel Tower is? Get a quick answer by asking, 'Quelle est la hauteur de la Tour Eiffel?'"

Users will now be able to receive spoken answers to many of their questions in French, German, and Japanese using the Google Search app on Android phones or iPhones or iPads, wrote Murthy. Users have to have the latest version of the app installed to gain the new capabilities.

In August, Google expanded its voice search capabilities for Android users with the addition of 13 languages to the 29 languages that had previously been supported. With Voice Search, users can speak into their devices to get search results in their native languages, without having to type in their queries.

The new languages added in August were Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, European Portuguese, Finnish, Galician, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovak and Swedish. By adding these languages to the 29 that were already usable with Voice Search for Android, another 100 million people around the world are able to use the voice search services in their native language, according to Google.