If you liked using Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG ) Chrome on your iPhone or iPad before, you're gonna love this.
Over the past few days, iOS mobile users have been downloading the latest version of Google's flagship browser from Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL ) App Store, and those who took the time to check out the summary page for the update may have noticed a few unusual items.
Apart from the typical bug fixes and stability and security improvements, here are three things Google is incorporating into Chrome for millions upon millions of Apple users going forward.
1. Get back to search results faster
Have you ever searched for something and clicked a result only to find it wasn't what you wanted?
Google knows better than anyone how precious your time is -- especially when it comes to occasionally slow mobile Internet browsers and connections -- so now after clicking the unwanted result, you can tap the back button in Chrome and your previous search results will instantly appear, ready for you to choose the correct link.
Sure, this might seem like a relatively insignificant change on the surface, but it's the little things that count, right?
2. Data cost savings
Next, for those of you who worry about running over your pesky smartphone data plan limits, Google is rolling out what it calls "data cost savings enhancements" in the form of a Bandwidth Management Settings feature in Chrome.
This will give users the option of speeding up their browsing by passing traffic through Google's own proxy servers which optimize web content. In fact, Google claims enabling this setting in their tests has been shown to reduce data usage by 50%, while at the same time significantly speeding up load times on cellular networks.
Curiously enough, however, though this was listed in Google Chrome's app summary page, not all users will immediately be able to use it, likely because of the significant server hardware required to implement such a monumental service. Rest assured, though, as Google states that "this feature is being rolled out and will be available to all users over time."
3. Voice search pronoun support
Last but certainly not least, Chrome can now incorporate pronouns into its voice search capabilities. If you can't quite recall what a pronoun is, think of words which can be substituted for specific vowels in a sentence like "it," "he," and "that."
So what does "this" mean?
In short, now you can perform successive voice searches in Chrome for iOS like "What is The Motley Fool?" followed by "When was it founded?"
Chrome, in turn, understands what you were hoping to find with that vague second query and will return with this:
That said, voice search pronoun support isn't entirely new.
Those of you keeping track know Google unsurprisingly launched the feature a few weeks ago for Chrome on desktop and Android devices, and even demonstrated it way back in May as part of its Google Now service, with which the search giant hopes to compete more effectively with Apple's popular -- albeit somewhat limited -- Siri voice assistant.
But that's also not to say Siri is entirely helpless, either. Remember, Apple's solution does boast a few intriguing features, including the nifty ability to keep track of your relationships once you teach it who's who. This enables users to complete actions by saying things like "Call my best friend," or "Send a text message to my brother," even if it does requires some setup to work properly. This in mind, you can bet Apple is working feverishly to further improve Siri's capabilities.
However, it's also safe to say Google won't be slowing down anytime soon given its hiring of renowned inventor Ray Kurzweil, who's currently leading a variety of tasks revolving around improving the company's language processing efforts. Incidentally, just prior to joining Google, Kurzweil himself raised eyebrows during an interview with VentureBeat last year in which he described Apple's Siri as "primitive" in its ability to understand natural language.
It was only natural, then, he'd choose to join Google to further his own lifetime goal of perfecting artificial intelligence, a decision he says he made when it became apparent the "resources [he] would need were uniquely at Google," including its massive Knowledge Graph project which ties together more than 700 million different concepts will billions of relationships between them.
In the end, whether you love Google or not, these improvements make it hard not to be excited for what the future might hold. In fact, this sort of knack for pushing the envelope with the aim of improving our lives over the long run remains one of the very reasons I'm still convinced Google will be able to reward shareholders handsomely going forward.
I suppose it also helps that last quarter, Google managed to increase its already massive revenue stream by 19% year over year to $14 billion, which translated to 15.8% quarterly net income growth to $3.23 billion.
If you ask me, that's an awful lot of money to help this incredible company change the world for the better.
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