Google opens 'shortcuts' to information, tools on phones

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google wants to make it easier for you to find answers and recommendations on smartphones without having to think about what to ask its search engine.

Its new feature, called "shortcuts," will appear as a row of icons below the Google search box. Where now you'd have to ponder and then speak or type a request, the shortcuts will let you tap the icons to get the latest weather, movie showtimes, sports scores, restaurant recommendations and other common requests.

These shortcuts are the latest step in Google's quest to turn its search engine into a secondary brain that anticipates people's needs and desires.

The shortcuts will begin appearing Tuesday in updates to Google's app for iPhones, Android phones and its mobile website.