Google released an updated version of its namesake app on iOS today, with the company claiming that some new speed improvements and performance optimizations will save users "a combined 6.5 million hours" this year. "Each time you open the app or do a search, everything will load just a bit quicker," Tamar Yehoshua, VP of product management, wrote in a blog post.
In addition to the app itself feeling faster, some news articles that appear in search will now load pretty much instantly. Google has brought its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) — the company's answer to Facebook Instant Articles — directly to the Google iOS app. Now, whenever you tap on a story from any publication or news outlet participating in AMP (yes, The Verge is included), the entire article will load "blazing fast." AMP-optimized stories are designated with a lightning bolt icon and appear in the top stories section of search results. If you're using regular old Google search through mobile Safari, you've already been getting this same benefit — but some people just like using the Google app, often because of the excellent voice recognition.
And lastly, Google has added video highlights to select Google Now cards for NBA and NHL games. That's some good timing, seeing as both leagues are currently in playoffs. The latest version of Google for iOS is available now from the App Store.