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Google released an update to its Google Search iPhone app today, adding a few small features and tweaks that should make searching faster and more intuitive. Let’s take a visual tour of what’s new in the app by searching for my favorite animal, the angora rabbit.
The new app greets you with a clean search bar and just three buttons: Apps (promotes Google’s other web and iOS apps), Voice (speak your search term), and Goggles (the still wonky search-by-photo feature that only seems to recognize brand logos). Today’s Google doodle, an amazing working moog synthesizer in honor of Robert Moog’s 78th birthday, makes an appearance on the app version as an image, but unfortunately you cannot use it to make beautiful music. At the bottom of search results page is a scrollable bar listing all the available types of search, such as Places, News, Blogs, and Discussions.
Image results go big, beautiful
Grids of different-sized images are all the rage. The image results in the app fill up your iPhone screen completely (just start scrolling to lose the controls), so you can enjoy them without any pesky user interface getting in the way. Tap to open an image (pictured at the top of this article) and swipe left or right to flip through the other image search results. Tap to save an image directly to your camera roll or share it, but check the image rights before going too crazy.
Speedy and slidey
The improvement that does the most to make search faster in my opinion is the new slider. Open a search result and tabs appear at the top of the page. You can slide left to right to get back to your search results. If you want to find a specific word on a page, tap the little magnifying glass in the lower right corner. Google also says auto-compelete and page-load times are faster, but I wasn’t able to test the updated app side by side with the older version to check.
But wait, there’s more
Finally, Google is putting promotion of its other apps front and center, adding an Apps button to the main screen. Tap to bring up a list of Google’s available web and iOS apps. The web apps will open directly in the Google Search app, not Safari.