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Google launch Android 4.4 and Nexus 5

After a supposed two-week delay, Google have at last released the latest Android update, 4.4 (or “KitKat”), and its accompanying smartphone, the Nexus 5, which is the second Nexus handset to be manufactured by LG.

The highly-rumoured launch date was 15th October, but Android enthusiasts were left disappointed mid-month when there was still no sign of either the Nexus 5 or the software upgrade.

Despite the fairly large frame it requires to accommodate its 5-inch full HD screen, the Nexus 5 is remarkably sleek in appearance, with a depth of 8.59mm.

Notable features of Android 4.4

A Google search bar has been incorporated onto the Android homescreen by default. In addition to that, Google search is more accessible vocally: the phrase “OK, Google” has been added to the ‘hotwords’, meaning that saying it aloud will open search up.

The dialler function also now has an integrated search bar, where users can search for the names of businesses they don’t even have in their address books. Conversely, incoming calls from numbers not in users’ address books will display caller ID where possible. This information is said to be extracted from the same database that feeds Google Maps.

An app indexing feature means that an ‘Open in app’ button now appears beside Google search results, allowing users immediate access to the corresponding app and the specific content they seek (providing that they have that app installed). For example, if a user searches a particular film, an “open in app” button in the IMDb search result will give them the option to go directly to that film’s page in the IMDb app.

Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword, says: “The improvements Google have made to the Android operating system are exciting and impressive – specifically the enhancement and further facilitation of the search experience.”

Written by Rachel Hand

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