Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Improved chat for iGoogle and orkut

Have you ever wanted to quickly send a file to a friend who's online? Now you can share pictures, documents and other files directly with your friends while chatting in iGoogle and orkut, without having to switch to email to send the file as an attachment. File transfer works directly in the browser so you don't need to install anything. Just start a conversation with a friend and click “Send a file...” in the “Actions” menu. After you select a file, your friend will be asked if they want to accept the transfer. You can learn more on the Google Talkabout Blog.

You might have noticed that we recently gave iGoogle and orkut chat a face lift. Several tools now have a new home at the top of the chat window. From the new toolbar, you can click the blue camera and phone icons to start video and voice chats with your friends or the group chat icon to add additional friends to a text chat. If you've never used video or voice chat before, all you need is a webcam and microphone attached to your computer and a small plugin application available for free at

We're working to bring file transfer and the new toolbar to Gmail too. In the meantime, you can continue to access voice, video and group chat in Gmail from the “Video and More” menu in a chat window.

Monday, April 5, 2010

25 iGoogle themes

One way we love to help you make iGoogle your own is with our artist and designer themes — ranging from food and fashion to games and comics. Today, we’re excited to announce a set of new themes, tailored to the world traveler in all of us. These new themes, focused on destinations all over the globe, allow you to experience beautiful landscapes, historic monuments, stunning beaches, iconic cities and other picturesque sites — right from your homepage.

To bring you this imagery, we've partnered with a few leading organizations including National Geographic Society and LIFE, who photograph some of the most breathtaking destinations on earth. Lonely Planet, UNESCO and have also shared a selection of incredible images.

Here’s a quick preview of some of what you’ll find:

Hopefully, you’re as eager to try out these new themes as we are. Whether these themes remind you of one of your favorite places or allow you to experience a global destination on your homepage, we hope you enjoy them. Bon voyage!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Google Apps highlights

Smart Rescheduler Lab in Google Calendar
If you’ve ever tried to schedule time with a group of people who have packed agendas, you know how hard it can be to find a good meeting time that works for everyone. With the Smart Rescheduler, Google Calendar can sift through the details for you. When you need to reschedule an appointment, Smart Rescheduler quickly compares people’s calendars and ranks potential meeting times based on criteria like attendees, schedule complexity, conference rooms, and time zones. You can enable Smart Rescheduler by going to “Labs” under “Settings” in Google Calendar.

Suspicious account activity alerts
To help keep Gmail users and the data in their accounts safer, on Wednesday we launched a new security feature to alert you if our systems detect suspicious activity in your account. When something unusual is identified, you’ll see a warning notification near the top of your inbox. You can choose to view a log of recent activity, and if it looks like your account has been compromised, you can change your password immediately. (And while we’re on the topic of security, we encourage you to brush up on our tips to keep your account safer.) We know that security is also a top priority for businesses and schools, and we plan to bring this feature to Google Apps customers once we have gathered and incorporated their feedback.

Contact delegation
Businesses using Google Apps can use a feature called email delegation, which lets employees appoint delegates who are allowed to read, send and manage email on their behalf. For example, this allows executive assistants to handle email for their managers. As of last Monday, delegates can also access and manage contacts. Now, a delegate can pick contacts from the manager’s contact list when composing a message on behalf of the manager, and keep the manager’s contacts up-to-date.

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft® Exchange
Millions of companies and schools have switched to Google Apps, and we hope to help millions more “go Google” in the near future. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we’ve released Google Apps Migration for Microsoft® Exchange, a server-to-server migration utility that brings email, contacts and calendar data from a legacy Microsoft® Exchange system to Google Apps. This makes the transition more seamless for employees, faculty and students. When they sign in to Google Apps, they’ll see the messages, contact information and calendar appointments from the old system right in Gmail and Google Calendar.

Who’s gone Google?
The number of businesses and other organizations using Google Apps continues to shoot up, and we hit another big milestone by crossing the 25 million user mark. Among those are the 7,000 employees at Konica Minolta, who are using Google Apps to help the company move fast and be more productive.

We’re excited to welcome another string of schools and universities too, including the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the College of William and Mary. Marshall University has a particularly great story: their technology group challenged themselves to deploy Google Apps to over 50,000 students in less than 24 hours – quite a feat when it typically takes large organizations months or even years to make major technology changes. We hope Marshall’s nimble approach inspires others to make the switch!

I hope you're enjoying the latest round of new features, whether you're using Google Apps with friends and family, with colleagues or with classmates. And don’t forget, you can always check the Google Apps Blog for more details and the latest news in this area.

Google Introducing Ad Innovations

The principle behind the advertising products we build at Google is simple: ads are information. But the type of information that ads provide is getting more varied and inventive all the time, and as a result ads are getting more interesting, social and useful.
As advertising evolves, we want to build the tools that make it possible for marketers to connect with customers in meaningful, creative ways. We’ve found that the best way to do that is to focus on the user, test new approaches regularly and listen closely to the feedback of the advertisers using our products. To work closely with advertisers on what comes next, today we’ve launched Google Ad Innovations, where we’ll show you some of our latest ideas around advertising technologies and get your feedback.

One of the new features we’re showcasing is a set of AdWords reports, launched last week, called Search Funnels. These reports can help an advertiser understand whether there are keywords in her account that are helping to drive sales at a later date. At Google Ad Innovations, you can read more about this feature, watch a video walking you through how it works and send us your ideas on how to improve it.

If you’re interested in the future of advertising with Google, pay Ad Innovations a visit — we’ll regularly add tools and features to the site, and we hope you’ll check them out!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Google search now supports Haitian

Last week we added Haitian Kreyòl as a language to Google search. Visitors to our Haitian homepage can now use search in English, French and Kreyòl.Haitian Kreyòl is spoken by more than 10 million people in Haiti and in the Haitian diaspora in the Bahamas, Canada, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, France, French Guiana, Puerto Rico and the United States.The massive earthquake that recently stuck Haiti took a heavy toll on communication infrastructure (including TV, radio and newspapers). In the weeks following the earthquake, the Internet has become an important tool for Haitians to search for news and information. We previously added support for Haitian Kreyòl to Google Translate and we are happy that Google search can now be used the Haitian people in their native language.We would like to thank the Haitian volunteers who heard our call for volunteer translators and generously shared their time and knowledge to improve the search experience for all Haitians.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Introducing a collection of favorite places from around the world

We on the Google Maps team are committed to organizing all the local places and businesses that can be found online, from a design shop in New York City, to an architectural bookstore in San Francisco, to a cabaret in London. To show you the range of all this interesting local information, we've teamed up with local experts around the world to share some of their favorite places.

Culinary expert and chef Alice Waters has shared her favorite places for organic and sustainable food in San Francisco and the Bay Area, including places like Blue Bottle Cafe, whose coffee Alice serves at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, and Bi-Rite Creamery, where you can find salted caramel ice cream.

Iwona Blazwick, director of the Whitechapel Gallery in London, has shared her favorite places to experience art in London, from the Tate Modern for contemporary art to Curzon Soho cinema, where you can catch the latest independent film releases.

Vladimir Spivakov, artistic director and principal conductor of the State chamber orchestra Moscow Virtuosi and the National Philharmonic of Russia, has shared his favorite places to hear and appreciate theater and music in Moscow, from the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied, to the historic Maly Theater, the oldest theater in Moscow.

With this project we also hope to send a friendly message to local businesses — people are looking online for local information, and you should be here. Timothy Childs, Founder and Chief Chocolate Officer of TCHO in San Francisco, shares his perspective on using online tools to build and grow:

"TCHO is all about using appropriate technology, to make high quality chocolate and experiences for our customers. As our start-up moves to early growth stage, we are now using tools like Google Maps and the Local Business Center to reach customers and to continue building our business."

It's estimated that 80% of U.S. Internet users use web search to find restaurants, stores and other local businesses, and yet only about half of local businesses currently have a website. By working with local experts to highlight the power of the web, we're encouraging local business owners to build out their online presence. If you're a business owner looking to get online, have a look at the Google Local Business Center.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Submit your ideas to change the face of broadband

Have an idea for how to expand high-speed Internet access across the United States? Here's your chance to have your voice heard.

Under the terms of the recent economic stimulus package, the Federal Communications Commission must deliver to Congress a National Broadband Plan by February 2010. Several weeks ago, we laid out Google's vision for how to make broadband Internet available and affordable for every American — and hundreds of others have already submitted comments of their own.

The FCC has called for "maximum civic engagement" in developing a broadband strategy, and we're hoping to help them to achieve just that.

We've teamed up with the New America Foundation to launch a Google Moderator page where you can submit and vote on ideas for what you think the Commission should include in its National Broadband Plan. Two weeks from now we'll take the most popular and most innovative ideas and submit them to the official record at the FCC on your behalf.

Google and the New America Foundation agree that public participation in this process is critical. Expanding access to broadband has the potential to transform communities across the country, spark economic growth, and restore American competitiveness. Now that the Commission has officially opened this proceeding, and with a new Chairman at the helm, we think it's time to give people the opportunity to learn about the issue and to weigh in with their thoughts. And as the process continues to unfold at the FCC, we'll keep you informed of additional ways to share your views and voice your ideas to the agency.

So do you have any good ideas? Submit them today on Google Moderator — and you just might help change the face of broadband in the United States.