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Google has issued a handful of updates that should make Android smartphones a little easier to use when away from home.

Google has issued a handful of updates that should make Android smartphones a little easier to use when away from home.

If you make regular use of the free Google Maps app on your smartphone to write reviews of places you pitch up at, the latest update (version 5.10) now allows you to attach a photo that you’ve snapped with the smartphone camera for added explanation.

Places that have been rated as four stars or higher now automatically appear when browsing Google Maps too, making it easier to see the nearby amenities that are recommended by other people.

Google has also made smartphone searching easier with an update to its Voice Actions tool.

Once installed, Voice Search for UK let’s you tap the microphone icon on the Google Search widget and speak one of a number of commands:

  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • go to [website]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]

As long as there’s an active mobile internet connection, the command will then be recognised and acted upon.

Movie

Finally, Google’s update to its free Goggles app improves the way in which it recognises images.

Google Goggles lets you snap a photograph and use it to perform a Google search, so it’s an easy way to put a name to paintings, landmarks, book covers, bar codes and just about anything else you can see but can’t quite put a name to.

It can also translate foreign languages too, so you just need to snap an undecipherable menu when you’re abroad to see what you’re about to eat.

This latest 1.6 update now performs searches in the background and it just needs to be enabled

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