Technology

This New Google App May Help You Get Answers Directly From Celebrities

Google Cameos
Image Source: itunes.apple.com (screenshot)

Google has rolled out a new app for celebrities called Cameos. The app enables celebrities to record video responses to the “most asked questions on Google” and post them in Google’s search results. Currently, Google Cameos is available only to iPhone users.

Here’s how Google Cameos helps

According to the search giant, the new app will let users get answers directly from a celebrity they are searching for facts and trivia about on Google. Though the app is open to all for download, it does need access approval. Celebrities with access will be able to look for the “top questions” asked about them and respond to the ones they want to.

After a celebrity has recorded a video, it will be posted “right to Google” so users can see it when they search for information on that celebrity. The video will also be visible on every celebrity’s feed in the main group app.

“Record video answers to the most asked questions on Google and then post them right to Google. Now, when people search for you, they’ll get answers directly from you,” reads the App Store description for Google Cameos.

In addition to helping users get answers directly from celebrities, the app will also help celebrities. Google Cameos will allow celebrities to ensure information about them on Google “stays recent and timely.” Such a feature will help in checking misinformation spread via rumors and unauthorized sources.

Not a completely new concept

Google’s latest feature is similar to its “Posts on Google” platform, which has been rolling out gradually to more users over the past couple of years. The feature allows people and organizations to post directly to Google’s search results page. Previously, the app was open to some celebrities, sports teams, movie studios and museums, but starting last year, Google made it available to local businesses as well, allowing them to publish details about their products, events and services. This year, the feature was made available to musicians as well.

Google Cameos is also reminiscent of Instagram’s new Q&A feature, which was launched in July. The feature allows users to ask their followers questions. The recipient can select the questions they want to respond to and post their replies directly to Instagram Stories. The feature quickly became popular, even taking up most of users’ Stories feed.

It must also be noted that Google Cameos is entirely separate from another celebrity video app called Cameo. The Cameo app allows users to pay celebrities to record short video messages.

Integrating news into Google Assistant

In other Google-related news, the search giant has decided to integrate Google News with Google Assistant. Such a move will enable users to just ask for the news and get it in the form of videos and audio clips. The feature will be available to Google Home speakers and the Lenovo Smart display powered by Google Assistant.

Users with either device can simply say, “Hey Google, what’s the news?” to see the video and audio news briefings. Google Home, however, will deliver only audio news briefings. Users are free to choose the topics and sources they want news from. According to the search giant, the feature will initially be rolled out in the United States to test the integration. If all goes well, it will be launched in other countries as well.

Just last month, Google rolled out a plan for publishers to highlight the most important sections of a news article which should be read aloud by Assistant. The name of the publication and other suggested articles will be noted by Assistant as well, and links to full stories can be sent to users’ phones.

Google wants you to sleep well

On one hand, Google is making smart devices more addictive, while on the other, it is rolling out features to limit the use of those devices. Several such features have been introduced as part of the Android Pie launch, the latest and ninth version of the Android operating system. Of all the new features, the Digital Wellbeing controls are the most interesting. Google rolled out the feature in response to criticism that smart devices affect our sleep patterns.

Google’s new feature has a dashboard showing the amount of time spent on the device. It also gives a breakdown of the hours and minutes spent on the most popular apps. Users can also set timers to limit usage of a specific app. Once the timer is set, a user gets a warning when they are near the set limit, and after the limit is reached, that particular app is greyed out, preventing it from launching. However, users can continue using the app after changing this setting.

Google also introduced Wind Down Mode, which reminds users to stay away from their device toward the end of the day. To alert the user, the screen changes from colored to grey. The device will also go into Do Not Disturb mode, silencing all incoming calls and alerts.