Google Search update adds more Google Now cards, search with camera

Google Search has received an update applicable to all Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and higher devices, bringing a collection of new features to the core search application.

Google Search is the app that sits behind Google Now, with its array of info cards, and the update adds some new cards into the mix and some creative new searching options. 

The new cards include nearby events, weather not only for your current location, but also for any travel you have planned, a summary of how far you might have walked or cycled in the past month, and more.

Looking to give you something of a Passbook experience, Google Now will also give you cards for your boarding passes extracted from Gmail, although it only supports United Airlines currently, with more promised in the future.

This joins a whole collection of Gmail cards triggered by delivery confirmation, events you've booked, restaurant bookings and so on.

The full list of all Google Now cards can be found here: support.google.com

If searching is really your thing, perhaps you'll be more excited about the option to search using the camera. This clever addition will let you scan an object, piece of art or barcode to get more information. 

It works pretty well, so you can identify a painting that interests you, or run a Google search on products you like the look of. For the former, the results are good, thanks to the way Google returns information cards on people, for example Lucian Freud.

 

For barcode scanning it's less refined, as it simply runs the barcode through Google: what would be ideal is a shopping box, giving you local prices or online deals. We're not sure it's going to replace the Amazon app when it comes to scanning and price comparing any time soon.

However, this latest update does make Google Search move into more areas, adding more voice actions. It purports to add song identification, which might worry the likes of SoundHound and Shazam, except we couldn't get it to work. If you can, leave us a tip in the comments below.

So, a healthy update for all those with Jelly Bean devices. Who would have thought that search could be so exciting?



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