Google Unveils New Music Streaming, Hangout App, Photo Features

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Google Hangout App Upgrade
Part of the Google+ experience, the tech giant announced upgrades to its Hangout App, available today on all Android and iOS devices as well as the web.

Users can have group video chats, with participants' faces will switch back and forth depending on who is talking, for free on their mobile phones and tablets.

Notifications in the app are synced so that messages, chat requests or shared photos will follow you from your desktop to your smartphone.

The app also allows users to save their conversation histories so they can go back and rewatch them -- this might be a cool feature for college lectures.

Google Search Updates: Conversation Search
Google revealed its new "Conversation Search" feature, seemingly the tech giant's answer to Apple's Siri, coming soon to Chrome and supported mobile devices.

Conversation Search allows users to speak to Google to search. To launch the tool, users simply say "O.K. Google," and a microphone icon appears. Then users can ask Google questions such as, "Who was the 20th president?" as well as conduct personal tasks -- looking up flights, recommending restaurants, providing directions, setting reminders, even sending emails.

"A really smart assistant to do all these things for you since you don't have to worry about it," said Page.

The "Knowledge Graph," the feature on Google's search bar that helps answer questions users type in the search bar, also got a makeover. Now it will make comparisons between popular search results automatically. For example, searching for the population of India will also return a search for the population of the United States, a common comparison that is searched for.

"Very soon you will start to get important statistics powered by the Knowledge Graph," said Amit Singhal, a senior vice president of search.

Google Maps: 'Explore and Discover Your Surroundings'
Google announced today they rebuilt their popular Google Maps app "from the ground up" and that it will now be included on tablets.

Company execs said they thought three things were missing from Maps: Maps built for you, the user, immersive maps and a new user interface.

For the web, Google Maps will now incorporate points of interest -- restaurants, landmarks, etc. -- on the map directly. When users click on a spot, the map will adjust, showing a Street View-like image and offer directions to that specific destination from your current location, and include a comparison between driving times and public transit times.

One of the most exciting new features is the "Explore" experience, which travelers will fall in love with. Coming to Android and iOS devices this summer, users will be able to type in a location name and the word "Explore" in the Google Maps search bar, and the app will bring up several links, photos and ratings grouped by food, lodging, fitness location, popular tourist destinations and others.

"We're going beyond navigation and direction," said Brian McClendon, a vice president who oversees Google Maps. "It's about exploring."

Another cool feature is that the Google Earth view is now part of Google Maps, allowing users to zoom in on buildings and streets, or zoom out to see the entire planet as a whole, while getting a realistic feel for what they look like -- even clouds are in real time. In addition, buildings will have 3-D photo tours generated from images users upload to the Google Maps app -- think of it as a user-generated Street View.

This is launching today for people who attended the conference. Everyone else can sign up at maps.google.com/preview to sign up to try it -- the invites go out tomorrow.

Noticeably absent from the conference were big announcements about new Android phones or tablets, new enhancements with its operating system, including the next full version of Android -- Android 5.0, also called Key Lime Pie -- and Google Glass. But the year is still young.

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