Google is rolling out shortcuts in Search to all users for an easier way to access things like Google Translate, the Nearby feature, and a quicker way to find hotels and flights. There's even a shortcut for an internet speed test if you're finding your connection to be a little bit slow and are curious to see what the speeds might be. The shortcuts will be present just under the search box inside of the Google app so if you aren't seeing them then it's likely that your app isn't updated to the latest version as Google notes that the shortcuts are part of an update and not a server side switch.
Shortcuts initially started appearing for some users as early as last September, though at the time this seemed to be just a test as most users didn't have access to it. Not all of the shortcuts are displayed on the home screen of the Google app. There are four that are available under the search box and these are entertainment, eat and drink, sports, and weather. For Nearby and all of the other shortcuts though a quick tap on the arrow next to the weather shortcut will take users to the page with all shortcuts, and they're categorized in groups so it's easier to find exactly what it is that you're looking for.
You will still want to use the search box if you're trying to get specific information about a particular topic or question, but Shortcuts will cast a wide net over a broad set of information about whatever category you tap. With Sports for example, you'll see a tab labeled "latest" which will cover details like current scores for the games between the teams you follow, as well as top videos and other information below the videos about your favorite teams. There's also an additional tab that is just for scores if all you're looking for is points information about current and past games. For those that have access to Shortcuts as of today there is already a large selection of different categories, but Google will also be rolling out additional shortcuts for more categories in the future for "big moments and events," though they don't give an explanation as to what they will consider big moments.