Google iOS app adds features Apple fans will love


The Google iOS app adds drag-and-drop.
The Google app adds drag-and-drop.
Photo: Google

The Google iOS app just added an iMessage extension that lets users conduct searches without leaving Apple’s chat app. Google also added a couple other features that should make life easier for Apple fans: a Safari plugin that serves up related content, and iPad drag-and-drop support.

Apple and Google once collaborated closely on iPhone software, but that ended when the rival Android software was introduced. Still, even though the two companies remain frenemies, iOS versions of virtually all Google apps prove nearly as feature-rich as the Android equivalents.

Search Google from iMessage

You can find the new Google iMessage extension in the iMessage apps drawer. Tapping the Google icon opens a pop-up window allowing the user to search the web. The results appear as cards that can be transferred to the ongoing discussion with a tap of a Share button.

Buttons for weather, food, nearby, trending and videos serve up prebaked searches. They can be used to, for example, search for nearby restaurants. Then you can toss any of the search results right into an iMessage discussion without switching applications.

See related content from Google in Safari

Google for iOS
Get related content with a couple taps.
Photo: Google

It’s now possible for Safari to share a web page with the Google for iOS app, which will bring up a list of related web pages.

From Safari on your iPhone or iPad, just tap on the iOS Share Sheet icon. Then choose Search Google.

Cards displaying web pages with related content will pop up.

iPad drag-and-drop from Google app

The Google iOS app adds drag-and-drop.

A major feature of iOS 11 is the ability to grab items from one app and move them to another on your screen using just a fingertip.

iOS drag-and-drop only works on iPad, though, and third-party software developers must add support for the feature to their own apps. Now Google is the latest power player to do so.

Google revealed its latest search-related iOS updates this morning. If you’re using the Google app for iOS, you should be able to try these new features today.