Courtesy: Google

Google on Thursday outlined a number of new features for its core search product, including the ability to search for that song stuck in your head by humming or whistling.

Why it matters: While humming may be a cute use case, it shows Google’s recognition that there are plenty of ways to search beyond typing terms into a box. The company has been investing heavily in voice search as well as AI capabilities to help people use their smartphone camera to look up plants or get help with translation.

What's new: Beyond the hum-to-search feature, Google announced several other features Thursday during a livestream event dubbed "Search On."

  • Google is rolling out a new algorithm to better detect when someone uses the wrong word in a search or simply has their fingers misaligned on the keyboard. It really works, as I found out in a back-and-forth on Twitter with Google search liaison Danny Sullivan.
  • To help during the COVID-19 crisis, Google is making it easier to know whether a particular location is crowded at any moment and what precautions, such as mask requirements, are being taken there.
  • Google detailed its progress with Duplex, its automated assistant that can call merchants to make appointments. The company said it's also using the technology to make more than 3 million updates to business listings, such as pharmacies, restaurants and grocery stores, in search and Maps.

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Oct 21, 2020 - Technology

Google's search ad dominance is massive but shrinking slightly

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

Google is expected to net more than 71% of the U.S. search advertising spending this year, down from roughly 74.7% of market share in 2017, per eMarketer.

Oct 20, 2020 - Technology

Here's what the U.S. antitrust case charges Google with

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Justice Department's new antitrust lawsuit against Google centers on the charge that Google has built a self-reinforcing machine to illegally insulate it from any serious competition in search.

Why it matters: DOJ spent more than a year investigating Google to assemble what prosecutors believe is the cleanest case for convincing a court that the company is deliberately hamstringing would-be competition. Both sides now face the likelihood of a bruising, years-long battle that could expand to touch on other aspects of Google's business.

U.S. vs. Google — the siege begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Justice Department fired the starter pistol on what's likely to be a years-long legal siege of Big Tech by the U.S. government when it filed a major antitrust suit Tuesday against Google.

The big picture: Once a generation, it seems, federal regulators decide to take on a dominant tech company. Two decades ago, Microsoft was the target; two decades before that, IBM.