Places App for iPhone, Public Alerts for Google Now, Search, Maps in Canada

Public Alerts for Google Now, Google Search & Maps arrives in Canada and France on desktop and mobile. Google Places App for iPhone, iPod touch app. Google Now to integrate with Google's Homepage.

Google Public Alerts for Google Now, Google Search and Google Maps launching for Canada in English and French both desktop and mobile.

""Public Alerts," is a platform designed to provide accurate and relevant emergency alerts when and where you need them. An alert will appear on your desktop or mobile screens when you search for relevant keywords such as flood or with location-based queries like Toronto," informs Google.

On Android devices running Google Now, alerts will appear automatically on Cards.

Here are example alerts in Canada surfaced on Search from a mobile device and Google Maps Mobile:

Public Alerts on Google Now, Search and Maps in Canada and FranceGoogle Public Alerts on Google Now, Search and Maps

Today, Google has also released a new "Places app for iPhone and iPod touch."

""Google Places for Business" is a Google service that allows business owners to manage the presence of their business across Google services such as Search, Maps, and Google+. Now, with the new app, these tasks can be handled on the go."

Business owners can use the app to:

  • "Verify your business listing directly from your phone
  • Update your business information: hours, address, contact information, and description
  • Post beautiful pictures of your business on your local Google+ page
  • Track web traffic going to your listing
  • Manage multiple business locations from one app."

The app is free on the App Store.

Google Places app for iPhone and iPod touch

Google is testing to integrate Google Now functionality on to the Google home page.

Google, collects location inforamtion based on your browser settings and it already knows your time and may be able to use your Gmail emails--"can tie this data all together and give you Google Now functionality directly on the Google home page," informs GOS.

"Get started with Google Now. Just the right information at just the right time." That's how Google introduces the new feature. "Google Now uses your Home location to show relevant information like weather, traffic conditions, and nearby places," explains Google. You can edit the home location, work location and the current location. Another feature lets you track your favorite stocks.

The version on Android may sync with the search version, via Google accounts, but that may not be decided just yet.

""Google Now" is a feature of the Google Search app for Android that shows information about what's happening right now or in the near future: weather, calendar events, reservations, travel information. Try this: disable Google Now in Google's search app and you can still use voice search. After all, Google Voice Search has been available before Google Now. Google Search for iOS includes Voice Search, but it doesn't have Google Now yet."

A screenshot of the code and a mock-up is below:

Google source code: revealing Google Now integration with Google search home page

Mock up of Google Now on homepage

Google is experimenting a new Image Search interface for related searches--now when you mouse over the related searches--instead of showing a list of thumbnails, Google in this experimental interface--shows a small collage of images above the queries.

Google tests new Image Search UI for related searches

Clicking one of the related searches and Google shows an additional box (via):

new Google Image Search landing page

In other Android news, security firm Lookout has discovered a new Android Malware in the Google Play store--that has been downloaded over few million times.

Dubbed "BadNews", has been spotted spotted in to 32 different apps from 4 separate developer accounts. Following LookOut's report, Google has pulled all 32 known-infected apps for the store.

BadNews snuck into the store by posing as an ad network, only firing off the nasty bits of code by way of remote signal once it had found its way onto a bunch of devices. It does following two things:

  • "Fakes alerts encouraging you to download other infected apps, as well as things like AlphaSMS, which hijacks your phone and silently signs it up for premium SMS services
  • Sends your phone number and unique device i.d (the IMEI) back to the malware's mothership."

LookOut has the full list of affected apps.

YouTube is testing a new "carousel interface" on homepage similar to the new design for channels.

The "what to watch" section groups recent videos from your subscriptions, recommended videos and now also shows popular videos from some of your subscriptions.

For music artists, YouTube links to a playlists that includes their top tracks.

The new interface is more compact, it shows more videos, you can easily ignore recommendations and prolific channels can't "spam" your homepage.

These features are only available in the "my subscriptions" page, which still has the old interface.

YouTube Carousel User Interface (UI)

Google has quietly killed "related searches" option from the search tools on its search results page.

Google said that they removed the feature because they were not seeing enough usage of this filter to maintain it in the toolbar. Google did add that it did not completely go away, as they do now "display related searches at the bottom of the page when they seem relevant enough."

Also, responding to reports of penalizing Mozilla over user generated content--Matt Cutts said that this manual penalty was applied in a very granular way that only impacted a single page out of Mozilla's ~22 million web pages.

"In this particular case, it was the url that we took action on, and that was because it was so defaced with spam comments. I checked the URL this morning and it was over 12 megabytes (!) of spam from 21,169 different comments. When a page like that lands in our search results, it's the sort of thing that users complain to us about, so we are willing to take action," Cutts wrote.

Update 04/25: Google has now added a new drop-down menu next to the site links on its search results page. The new green arrow icon (similiar to Bing), when clicked show a drop-down menu with up to three options: "cached, similar and share."

New Green drop-down arrow for Google Search Results UTLs

Until now, Google only displayed the "share" link next to the results, while "cached" and "similar" were buried in the Instant Preview box. Instant Preview is no longer available.

Update 04/26: Google has now removed a very useful feature "quick view" from its search results page (SERPs).

The link was displayed next to PDF files and Microsoft Office files and allowed you to open them in the Google Drive Viewer.

"Annoyed by pop ups requesting you to download a specific software or plugin to visualize a document? Google Docs allows you to view any document directly from the search results without requiring any plugins. Just search for a document, for example [white paper on cloud computing] and then click on 'Quick View' to see the document in Google Docs," Google described the feature.

Google kills quick view from SERPs