Here is a small but nifty update to Google’s search interface on tablets (both iOS and Android): just search for [weather] and a new tablet-optimized weather widget will show you the current weather at your location (or anywhere else if you add a city’s name or ZIP code to your search), as well as hourly and ten-day forecasts for temperature, precipitation, humidity and wind speed. Google officially confirmed this update on Google+ earlier today.
The new widget looks like the developers took their design cues from Android’s new Google Now feature. Earlier this year, Google launched a similar widget for iPhone and Android phones as well, but its design is significantly different and the feature set is limited to a three- or five-day forecast depending on the size and orientation of your screen. Just like the new tablet widget, though, the phone interface is also interactive.
Interestingly, the desktop version of Google Search currently features the least informative weather widget. On the desktop, all you get is a basic three-day forecast without any interactivity. Instead, the search results link to The Weather Channel, Weather Underground (which The Weather Channel acquired earlier this month) and AccuWeather.
Chances are that Google will sooner or later bring these different interfaces together.
It’s worth noting that the tablet interface uses a very similar layout and the same minimalist icons as Google Now, the company’s new opt-in contextual search utility. Google Now automatically learns from your search behavior and other clues to displays relevant weather data, upcoming calendar appointments, scores for sports teams you’ve search for, traffic conditions for your daily commute and more.
For now, these features are just available on Jelly Bean. Looking at the design of this new widget, it’s hard not to think that some of these features could slowly be making their way over to Google Search as well, starting with the overall look and feel.
Google provides search and advertising services, which together aim to organize and monetize the world’s information. In addition to its dominant search engine, it offers a plethora of online tools and platforms including: Gmail, Maps, YouTube, and Google+, the company’s extension into the social space. Most of its Web-based products are free, funded by Google’s highly integrated online advertising platforms AdWords and AdSense. Google promotes the idea that advertising should be highly targeted and relevant to users thus providing...