Google makes searching on Android better with new Shortcuts feature

There is no shortage of ways to find things on an Android device. If you've bought a phone in the last couple of years, it's more than likely you have a Google search bar on your main homescreen — Google requires it as part of its certification process — and some phones, including its Nexus and Pixel line, have the Artist Formerly Known As Google Now, now known merely as the Feed, to the left of the main homescreen.

Well, Google still thinks searching for specific topics is too difficult, because it's introducing a new Shortcuts menu within the Feed that's meant to simplify the process of getting in-depth information.

Getting up-to-the-minute info is as easy as a single tap. With shortcuts right on the home screen, you now have access to in-depth experiences across sports, eat & drink, entertainment and weather. Need to know whether to bring a raincoat tomorrow? Want the score to last night's basketball game? Looking for what's on TV tonight or who's nominated for best supporting actress? Shortcuts on Google will get you there.Android users will find dozens of other useful shortcuts too—translate, nearby attractions, flights, hotels, internet speed test, currency converter, and more. Plus, if you're looking for fun, there are shortcuts like tic-tac-toe, roll a die, animal sounds, solitaire, and always a Google favorite: I'm feeling curious.

What's interesting about this is that Shortcuts presumably makes it easier to get sports scores, movie times and other pieces of information people often search for. But it's also putting web apps like Google Translate and Google Trips — experiences that are available as native apps on Android — front and center in the experience.

The feature is rolling out first to Android, iOS and mobile web users U.S., with more countries expected to come in the next few months.

What do you think of Shortcuts? Is it useful, or just another set of icons cluttering up the Feed?

Daniel Bader

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

  • Don't have it yet, I'm on 7.0 with the Google beta app.
  • I was in Costa Rica in January. I was running the first 7.1.2 beta. It doesn't seem like this feature should have been available on my phone at that time. But a card for Google Translate showed up on my feed and it was really useful. I could type into it and it would instantly show the translation. It was the most important part of the app readily available without launching the full-blown app.
  • How do you get shortcuts? And will it come to 6.0? I have a note 7.0 for me🤐
  • It's most likely coming through an app update like Assistant did. I just got the 7.1.2 beta #2 last night and don't have shortcuts yet.
  • Of course they will be useful, if I remember they are THERE LOL
  • I have them now and they are quite prominent on the Feed page. I use that several times a day to keep up with my interests so this is kinda nice and easy to remember.
  • My old Lollipop-powered Galaxy S5 has had these shortcuts for well over a month or so. And of course, my Marshmallow-powered Galaxy S5 has it. Not sure why this is new. That being said, they are useful.
  • These have been present for quite a while for me, and I do like them. They seem to have gone on a brief hiatus at one point, but have since returned, for the good.
  • I had it when I had now on tap but they don't show anymore since google assistant took over
  • I just want a quick way to set a reminder WITHOUT talking to my damned phone. I hate that they removed Now On Tap and replaced it with the ASSistant. I have no desire to do this through voice interaction. Sorry... random gripe.