Android

Pro tip: Make the most of Google Now with Research Topics

If you're looking for tips on how to get even more out of Google Now, Jack Wallen shows you an on-again, off-again feature that might be on again for good.

Google Now

You probably know that Google is pretty good at tracking your search queries. What you probably don't know is that Google does a great job at presenting your search habits in ways that can be really, really useful.

Everything you search within Chrome (mobile or desktop) or Google Now will be collected on a Google Now Card (as well as a single web page) and presented in such a way that you can explore related content based on the searches. At the moment, this feature is a bit hit or miss (sometimes the card doesn't even show) as Google refines and tweaks the process. But while the Google Now Research Topics Cards may be elusive, there's an alternative you can use in the meantime.

In order for this to work, you must have web history turned on. To do this, go to the History page, log into your Google account (if prompted), and click the Turn Web History On button (if visible). If you already see a search history listed on that page, it's already working for you.

Now, if you go to the Google Research Topics page (while logged into your account), you'll see all of your recent searches displayed in a manner that allows you to further research by clicking the Explore button under research topic image (Figure A).

Figure A

Figure A

The Google Research Topics feature in action.

The Research Topic Card doesn't show up in Google Now until your recent search history includes a number of related searches. Of course, Google Now Cards sometimes show up, but sometimes they don't. Even the Research Topics web page will take a while to show your results. But when it/they do show up (Figure B), they are quite handy.

Figure B

Figure B

Google Now Research Topics card ready to explore more.

The Research Topics feature also seems to come and go (a sign that Google is still tweaking this). However, when you do get a chance to use it, it's well worth the wait.

Have you had a chance to play with Google Now Research Topics — or has this tool eluded you? How do you use Google Now? Share your experience in the discussion thread below.

About Jack Wallen

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website jackwallen.com.

Editor's Picks

Free Newsletters, In your Inbox