Over the weekend, many people were impacted by what appears to be a server-side experiment with Google Now. The issue left those who use the Google Now Launcher, the Pixel launcher or the Google app on their phone useless for personalized information. The cards would not display save one that simply stated “Failed to load cards”. I was met with this issue on all three of my main devices: Google Pixel XL, Nexus 9 and Huawei P10.
Fortunately there is what seems to be a rather quick and easy fix to this issue: Clear the data on the Google app on your devices. I did this on all three of my devices mentioned above and afterwards, the Google Now cards displayed as expected. If you know how to clear data in an app, try the trick and let me know if it also works for you. If you don’t know how to do this, keep reading and I’ll walk you through the steps.
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Late last week it came to light from various sources that Google is going to be removing the Google Now Launcher from the Play Store in March. The ultimate reason behind this remains a bit of a mystery with those of us who have the Nexus 6P or Nexus 5X hoping that the Pixel launcher will become the new default. But regardless, one thing that needs to be made perfectly clear: If you have the Now Launcher installed, it won’t disappear from your phone when Google removes it from the store. It just simply won’t be available for download.
All-in-all, the Now Launcher is a solid launcher option that has been around since the Nexus 5 days and became a stand alone download in 2015. It works well, gets the job done and with a swipe to the left you get all your Google Now cards. Those Now cards are the key reason I’ve kept the launcher installed. But, to be fair, those Now cards are available in the Google app itself now so you don’t necessarily have to have the launcher installed. This, likely, was part of the deciding factor for Google to kill off the launcher.
The question for some however who use it will be if it will still work after Google removes it from the Store. The answer is absolutely. Equally, it won’t be uninstalled from your phone either. The only way that could happen would be if you completely reset your phone as you won’t be able to download it from the Play Store again. You can get around that too by side-loading it from APKMirror.
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One of the big benefits of Google Now is getting travel time information to your next appointment. It is really handing in planning your journey time as it takes into account things like travel time itself but also things like traffic on along your route thanks to its Google Maps integration. That travel time can be adjusted depending on your mode of transportation: Car, bike, bus or public transit or walking and, in some place, car sharing services like Uber.
There is another small but important feature that this service in Now offers and that is the ability to adjust your arrival time regardless of your transportation mode. I, for example, generally like to be at a meeting place about 5 minutes before the actual start time of the meeting. Old habits die hard, what can I say? Within the travel time information in Google Now, you can adjust when you want to arrive at your destination which, in turn, adjust the time in which you need to leave. In this How To, I’ll show you how to tweak this little feature so you can show up at the time you want to show up for your next appointment.
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On Monday, Google announced that audio podcasts were coming to Google Play Music for the first time with the feature already enabled on the web and an updated app coming to Android. To make your life easier and to find those podcasts you want to listen to on your phone, the Google search app on your phone has received a background update to help you find and play them. The good news is that there is no update of an app required for users. This is all on the back end and it is already working.
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Google has thrown the switch on a behind the scenes update that allows you to place a shortcut to Google Now weather on your Home screen. This feature has been slowly rolling out over the past couple of weeks, first as a beta, but seems to have been enabled more widely over the past 24-48 hours. As users of the launcher will know, the weather portion of the app was updated a couple of months ago to a more colorful and informative page when you tap on the weather information in Google Now. This latest update doesn’t change anything other than providing you an option to add a shortcut to your Home screen for faster access to local weather.
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For those of you who don’t live in the US, you may have heard we are in an election year. For those of you who live in the US, it has been one of the most hotly contested pre-election cycles in quite some time. For those of you who use the Google Now launcher, primary and caucus results have been readily available for the past few weeks as these events leading up to the Democratic and Republican conventions this summer and the Presidential election in November. Part of that process to get the nomination of either party is to secure enough delegates from the states (thanks to your results in the primaries or caucus’ in those states) to get the nomination. With “Super Tuesday” now complete and the delegates picture more clear, Google Now is starting to show the delegates standings.
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A few weeks ago, Google released an update to the Google Search apps for Android. The updates brought the ability to rotate your Android phone into landscape mode for viewing of your home screen. Users, of course, have been able to use various apps in landscape mode with no problem but if you turned your device into landscape in an app then tapped the Home key to go back home, you went to a portrait mode. That has changed now with the update to these apps but by default, it is disabled. I’ll show you how to enable it in this How To so you can try it out and see if it is right for you.
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