What Is Google Discover? How to Use the Google Feed on Android
If you have an Android phone or use the Google app on iPhone or iPad, you’ve probably come across the Google Discover feed. But do you take full advantage of this feature to check out content relevant to your interests?
Let’s take a look at Google Discover, including what Google cards it offers, how to customize it to your interests, and more.
What Is Google Discover?
Google Discover is a feature of the Google app on Android and iOS that provides a feed of content relevant to your interests. As you’d expect, Google leverages the information it knows about you through its various products to provide this.
For instance, it checks your Gmail and Google Calendar for important events and uses search history to detect what you’re interested in. The service also takes your location into account to calculate driving times and suggest local events. Other Google services, like YouTube, play a part too.
Like many Google products, Discover has gone through several name changes. The function was first known as Google Now, which debuted in 2012. It brought you information in the form of Google Now cards, which each provided a useful snippet.
For example, if you had ordered a package and received a tracking number in your Gmail account, Google Now would provide its tracking information in a card without you having to look it up. Other Google cards included reminders about upcoming appointments, easy access to airline boarding passes, and much more.
Over time, Google kept the feature alive but slowly stopped calling it Google Now in favor of “Google Feed.” Currently, Google refers to it as “Google Discover.” In addition, Google Assistant is in many ways a successor to Google Now, which only supported basic voice commands.
How to Access Google Discover
The Google app is installed by default on virtually every Android device, and chances are you have it on your iPhone or iPad too. If you don’t have it yet, install it from Google Play or the App Store, then sign in with your Google account.
To have a look at Google Discover, simply open the Google app, as Discover should be enabled by default. If you’re running stock Android on certain devices, you may be able to swipe right on the home screen as a shortcut.
Below the search bar at the top, you’ll see a list of Google cards on the Discover tab (Android) or Home (iOS). Each one contains a link to an article that Google thinks you’ll be interested in. This is based on what you search for on Google, watch on YouTube, and other factors.
On Android, you’ll also see an Updates tab. Here, you’ll see information similar to what Google Now used to offer. It includes cards showing travel time to your scheduled appointments, tomorrow’s weather, upcoming bills and flights, and similar.
How to Adjust What Google Discover Shows You
Do the suggestions in Google Discover clash with your actual interests? Let’s take a look at how to tweak them for better results.
Give Feedback on Existing Cards
The best way to start adjusting what Google Discover brings up is telling the service what you think about existing material. You can use the buttons at the bottom-right of each card to do this.
First, hit the three-dot button at the right side of a card. On that menu, you’ll see the general topic at the top. Tap Follow to subscribe to updates about it. You can choose to Hide this story if you don’t want to see it any longer.
Next is a Not interested in [topic] field—select this to see fewer stories about the topic at hand. If you don’t like the source of the article, tap Don’t show stories from [source] to avoid it in the future.
On any card, you can also tap the slider icon next to the three-dot button. Using this, you can tell Google Discover you want to see stories More or Less often about that topic.
Add or Remove Interests
There’s one more item on the three-dot menu that’s quite useful: Manage interests. Here, you can see what Google thinks you’re interested in and unfollow topics you don’t wish to see.
After tapping Manage interests, tap Your interests to see a list of topics you’ve followed. Tap the blue checkmark to unfollow anything that you’re no longer interested in.
Next, scroll down and you’ll see another section under Based on Your Activity. This shows topics that Google thinks you’re interested in based on your activity. If you want to follow any of these topics, tap the Plus button to do so. You can also select the Decline symbol to hide topics you don’t want to see.
Back on the Interests page, select Hidden to see any topics you’ve elected to avoid in Google Discover. Tap the Minus icon to unhide a topic and being seeing stories about it again.
Review Your Google Activity Settings
Since Google uses your Activity History to populate Discover, it’s a good idea to double-check your settings there. To do so, open the Google app, tap More, and choose Your data in Search.
On this page, you’ll see your recent search activity, if it’s turned on. Scroll down and tap Web & App Activity to see if it is. If you have this feature disabled, you can turn it on here and choose to include Chrome data and voice recordings, if you like.
Turning this off will prevent Google from recording what you search for, which can make Discover less useful. Below, you’ll find similar controls for your location and YouTube history.
If you need to adjust your data in Google for more relevant Discover recommendations, see how to delete your Google account history .
Use Incognito in the Future
It’s annoying to start seeing stories about a topic you don’t care about just because you looked it up once. To avoid this, consider using incognito windows (or other browsers where you’re not signed into Google) for one-off searches.
For example, say that you and a friend are arguing about the first movie that Brad Pitt was in. You want to know this information, but don’t want to start seeing stories about him in Discover all the time. A quick search in incognito mode will let you figure this out without tying the interest to your Google account.
How to Turn Off Google Discover
Don’t want to use Google Discover? You can turn the feature off to make the Google app a simple search bar again. To do this, open the Google app and tap the More tab at the bottom-right. Choose Settings, then General. Find the Discover field and turn the slider off to disable this feature.
While you’re here, you can also change a few quick options for Discover. Enable Data saver (Android only) and Discover won’t refresh as often. You can also change Autoplay video previews to only play on Wi-Fi, or disable them completely.
Combining Google Discover and Google Assistant
Google Discover’s cards are handy for showing you articles and information you care about without having to look it up on your own. It’s a worthy successor to Google Now and gets even better when you personalize it, as we’ve shown.
In addition to Google Cards, you shouldn’t forget about Google Assistant, which has so much to offer you with voice commands, routines, integration with apps, and a lot more. If you haven’t put Assistant to use on your device yet, see our introduction to Google Assistant and how to use Google Assistant Routines for powerful automation.
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