Google's feeling a bit nostalgic lately: in fact, today is the company's 15th anniversary. However, its look at the past is a fleeting thing, and Big G is very much focused on the future. To that end, Senior VP of Search, Amit Singhal just revealed a host of new features for search. First up, tablet and mobile users will be seeing a new card-based UI that's been making its way across all of Google's services, and has defined the look of Google Now since its inception. In addition to providing a consistent brand appearance, the new look arrives in tandem with an improvement to the Knowledge Graph that delivers an easier way for folks to drill down on answers to their queries. For example, when searching for a particular band, a card will pop up at the top with a list of songs that you can scroll from side to side. In another example, search answered a comparison query with an expandable, columned chart card that displayed pertinent info about the two things asked to be compared. Plus, you'll be able to see other cards with web and other results at the same time, instead of needing to navigate between pages to see all the results.
In keeping with the updated aesthetics on Android, Google's also rolling out a new-look version of its iOS search app. The new app version will put users directly in a Google Now interface that'll feel familiar to Android users, and brings notifications, reminders and hotwording to Apple-philes. Furthermore, the search app is now cross-platform, so if you add a reminder in iOS, it'll show up on Android and vice-versa.
Lastly, Singhal let us know that Google changed its underlying search engine technology about a month ago. The new version's called Hummingbird, and the change was made to better answer the complex questions so many of us are asking Google these days. Since the switch, Hummingbird's been put to use in over ninety percent of worldwide searches and positions Google to stay on top of its game for the foreseeable future. It's the culmination of 15 years of work, but Singhal says it's just the next step in Search's evolution, so we can expect more of the same in the next 15.
Update: To commemorate its birthday, Google has unveiled a brand new interactive Google Doodle game that instructs you to get as much candy as possible by whacking a pinata. Let us know in the comments how much candy you were able to get; so far our highest score is 166.