Google is rolling out a new feature called "shortcuts" on its app for iPhones, Android phones, and its mobile website that will appear as a row of icons below the search box and give one touch access to several of its tools and topics of interest like weather, sports, and restaurants. The idea is to give users a different way to find things of interests other than using the search box.
“The Google search box is great when you’re looking for a specific answer, but there are also moments when you just want to catch up on the latest for topics of interest,” wrote Tamar Yehoshua, VP of product management at Google, in a blog post. “With shortcuts right on the home screen, you now have access to in-depth experiences across sports, eat & drink, entertainment and weather.”
The shortcuts will begin appearing Tuesday in updates to Google's app for iPhones, Android phones and its mobile website. The Android app will also include various tools such as a currency converter, a language translator, an ATM locator and more — over 40 shortcuts in total.
Google will position the shortcuts you use most frequently on the homepage, while Android app users can tap an arrow to access the dozens of other choices. More shortcuts that correspond to major events, such as the NBA Finals, will be added eventually. Right now, Google says these “tappable shortcuts” are available to users in the US, and it’s unclear when they might be available elsewhere.
It should be noted that none of the functionality introduced today is new to Google, it’s just been organized differently front and center into Google’s core product to make it easier to surface information.