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March 07, 2012

Google Now Offers 'Recent' Icon for Helping in Searches

By Ed Silverstein, TMCnet Contributor

Google is offering a way to improve local searches via a new “Recent” icon for Android operating system and iPhone (News - Alert) devices. The Recent icon is accessible via’s mobile homepage.

For the feature to work while searching, users need to enable “Web History” and make sure they are logged into Google (News - Alert). Information about places will be kept available under the icon for about a day. It keeps info about places users have searched for through any device. By clicking on the icon, the places that were searched for will appear with address and phone number, and options for the directions and map, according to MobileSyrup.

Users just need to enter user name and password. So far, there are no major complaints that it violates user privacy, though the issue was raised by some bloggers, especially since Google’s new privacy policy has been met with many criticisms.

Google, however, has apparently avoided that issue when announcing the new icon. “Next time you go to on your Android (News - Alert) phone or iPhone, information about that place will be conveniently available under the new ‘Recent’ icon,” according to a  recent blog post from Google’s Junichi Uekawa, a software engineer. “Calling, getting directions or seeing details about the places you just searched for is now only one tap away.”

“No need to worry if you can’t remember the address or phone number,” the blog post adds. “Just go to on your smartphone and tap on the ‘Recent’ icon.”

While the new feature is not earth-shattering it is seen as being convenient. “It’s certainly an interesting extra to Google’s service,” Phones Review said about the new feature. “It seems like Google is attempting to provide an integrated cross platform experience to every user,” adds a review from “The icon can be fully utilized only after users have signed in,” MobileTor adds.

It is noteworthy that in January, Google announced a new privacy policy which in part allows for combining “personal information” via various devices and services, according to a report from Phones Review. CNET and Phones Review see the new icon as connected with the new policy. Last month, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to stop Google’s planned privacy changes, according to TMCnet. Still, Google’s new privacy policy went into effect this month and was criticized for being “incoherent and confusing,” according to The Register.

Edited by Rich Steeves
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