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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Mobile Apps

Get started with the new Google search for iOS

Google updated its search app for the iPhone and iPad, adding its Material Design language and new features.

Search history cards stacked Lollipop-style in Google Search for iOS Jason Cipriani/CNET

With the release of Android 5.0 Lollipop seeing one of the biggest visual updates to the platform, it only makes sense for Google to bring its Material Design language to its iOS apps.

And starting with the Google app, the search giant is doing just that. The Google app has long provided access to Google search, along with Google Now cards and reminders.

In addition to the visual revamp, Google added some handy features that's made the app easier to use. I'd even go so far to say it's now a strong candidate to replace Safari for Google searches altogether.

Search history

Accessing your search history is now a tap away. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The previous version of the app required you to tap and swipe between screens in order to see your search history. Even when you managed to locate your history, it wasn't all that intuitive to navigate through.

So with this update Google brought over its multitasking UI from Lollipop, but instead of displaying previously launched apps, you now see your search history in a stack of cards.

To access your history, just tap on the card stack icon. You can then move cards up or down to view past searches and results, tapping on the one you want to view again. Or if you want to delete some cards, swipe across the card in either direction.

Maps integration

Google heard you like its Maps app, so it put some Maps in its app. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

Instead of starting a search only to be redirected to the Google Maps app, you can now search Google Maps directly within the app.

When entering a search query, tap the Maps option just below the search bar and the app will launch a embedded version of Google Maps. Alternatively, if you forgot to change the search type to Maps, you can always tap on the map preview in the results to switch modes.

From there you can zoom in or out, scroll around the map, view details about a venue and use Maps just as you would in its standalone app.

Enable OK Google search from anywhere

Enable OK Google to give commands from any screen within the app. Screenshot by Jason Cipriani/CNET

The OK Google hotword feature isn't new to the app, but the always present blue microphone icon is. Meaning that at any time when using the app you can mutter "OK, Google" to start a new search.

  • To enable OK Google, launch the app and tap on your profile icon in the upper-left corner.
  • From the list of options tap on Voice Search, then slide the OK Google hotword switch to the right.
  • Finally, tap Done.

Now whenever you have the app open, you can use your voice to start searches.

You can download the Google app from the App Store for free.