Monday, January 31, 2011

A New Google Docs Homepage

As previously anticipated, Google Docs has a new homepage that's better matched for managing files, not just editable documents.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

 There's a sidebar that shows a small thumbnail and some helpful information about the selected file. Google added new filters for images and videos, for public and private files, but dropped the higher search form, which was more difficult to use. The drawback is that there are many search features that are no longer obtainable in the border and you need to use operators to get them back.
http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

The slideshow feature rented from Google Wave is one of the most useful additions:

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

For some reason, Google Docs has a new name for folders: they're now called collections. "Collections are designed to unite the best features of labels and folders. A file can live in multiple collections, just like with Gmail labels. Collections can also be stored hierarchically, just like folders on your desktop. And of course, collections can be shared, just like you can share docs," explains Google. Technically speaking, none of these features is new, but it's much easier to add a file to multiple folders collections. Unfortunately, Google's new terms will probably confuse users and many people won't understand that clicking "Organize" lets you add a file to a collection.

Google also dropped checkboxes, so now it's much more difficult to select multiple files: you need to use Shift for adjacent selections or Control for scattered files (Cmd if you're using a Mac).

Another new feature is priority sorting, which orders files based on importance. For example, a starred document that has been last rationalized 5 hours ago is likely to rank higher than a more recent document that hasn't been starred. Google says that it's like Gmail's Priority Inbox, but there's an important difference: Gmail always sorts conversations by date.

Overall, the new Google Docs homepage is a mixed bag. Google tries to morph Google Docs into an online storage service, while moving away from the initial goal of the service: editing documents online. Suddenly Google Docs is no longer an suitable name for the service, 1 GB of free storage is not enough, the APIs are no longer useful because they're limited to editable documents and Google's applications seem incomplete because they can't handle all the files that can be uploaded. The new homepage can't address these issues, but it manages to make the interface more complicated: now it's a lot easier to open a file when you want to select it and to select the file when you want to open it.

Tip: If you don't like the new interface, there's an option at the top of the page that lets you temporarily switch to the old version.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Google Filters Suggestions connected with Copyright Infringement

Google started to filter search suggestions that include terms connected with copyright infringement like "torrent", "bittorrent", "rapidshare", "megaupload". It's a greasy slope and Google's suggestions will be less useful since they'll no longer comprise many popular searches.

Last month, Google explained that this is one of the changes future to address copyright infringement. "We will prevent terms that are intimately associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. While it's hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we'll do our best to stop Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose."

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

Blacklisting keywords like "torrent" is a awful way to prevent copyright infringement since users can forever type queries without Google's help. The main result is that Google will appear to be broken and users will no longer trust the suggestions because they're suppressed. Last year, Google started to become politically correct by removing the suggestions for queries like [why are muslim]. There will forever be complaints about the suggestions, but starting to randomly blacklist keywords opens a can of worms and makes it easy to remove other contentious suggestions. As Mashable says, "this is a subtle form of censorship, and at first look it seems trivial. However, even though the censorship is slight, it still indicates Google's willingness to change its search protocols to satisfy the needs of a convinced business group, in this case members of the entertainment industry."

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

Google doesn't blacklist "pirate bay", "isohunt", "mediafire", "cracks", "serial numbers", "keygen" and there's a simple trick to bypass the obtainable filters: start your queries using the blacklisted keywords (for example: [torrent ubuntu 10.10]).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gmail Desktop Notifications

If you use Google Chrome, you can enable a new Gmail feature that shows desktop notifications for new messages. Go to "Settings", and enable chat notifications and mail notifications to see a small bubble when you get a new message. If you get a lot of messages, it's a good idea to only enable notifications for important messages.

The nice thing is that the notifications are displayed even when you're visiting a different site or the Chrome window is minimized. Gmail's blog mentions an important use case: "you've probably missed an important chat message because you weren't looking at your Gmail window when it came in".



Unfortunately, you'll no longer see the notifications if you close Gmail or Google Chrome, so this isn't a perfect replacement for Gmail Notifier. This issue could be solved by background web apps, a new Chrome feature that allows installed web apps to run in the background.

Right now, desktop notifications are only available in Google Chrome, but this feature has been implemented in WebKit and there's a W3C draft for web notifications. Google Calendar has a similar feature as part of the "Gentle reminders" experiment.

Explore Yad Vashem’s Holocaust archives online

In honor of the UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day tomorrow, we’re partnering with Yad Vashem, the Jerusalem-based center for detection the Holocaust's victims and survivors, to bring their collections of photographs and documents to the web.

On a trip to Jerusalem three years ago, Jonathan Rosenberg visited Yad Vashem. Struck by the museum's vast historical record housed inside the physical building, he hoped Google could do something powerful to showcase this in order. Inspired by the challenge, a few of us, in our “20% time,” in progress working with Yad Vashem and finally grew our effort into a full project, introducing a YouTube channel in 2008 and now this collections site.

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Within the archive you will find more than 130,000 images in full declaration. You can search for them via a custom search engine on Yad Vashem’s collections site. And by using experimental optical character acknowledgment (OCR), we’ve transcribed the text on many images, making them even more discoverable on the web. This means that if you search for the name of a family member who was in the Holocaust, you might find a link to an image on the Yad Vashem site.

To experience the new archive features yourself, try penetrating for the term [rena weiser], the name of a Jewish refugee. You’ll find a link to a visa issued to her by the Consulate of Chile in France. OCR technology made this picture discoverable to those searching for her.

Yad Vashem encourages you to add personal stories about images that have sense for you in the “share your thoughts” section below each item. Doron Avni, a fellow Googler, has previously added a story. He found a photograph of his grandfather taken right away after his release from a Nazi prison. His grandfather had vowed that if he should survive, he would right away have his picture taken to preserve the memory of his experience in the Holocaust. He stitched the photo into his coat, an act that later saved his life. After beating in the forest for a year, Russian soldiers mistook him for a German enemy, but released him once they saw this picture.

The Yad Vashem partnership is part of our larger effort to bring significant cultural and historical collections online. We’ve been concerned in similar projects in the past including digitizing major libraries in Europe, collections at the Prado Museum in Madrid, and the LIFE photo archive. We encourage organizations involved in partnering with us in our archiving efforts to enter their information in this form.

We’re proud to be initiation this significant archive that will allow people to discover images that are part of their inheritance, and will aid people worldwide researching the Holocaust.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Google Navigation Bar Switch

Google made a small modify to the navigation bar used for its non-search services: the link to Google Reader was enthused to the "more" drop-down, while the link to Picasa Web Albums was brought back to the main bar. At some point, both links were incorporated in the main bar.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

Google's Brian Rose said that the Picasa Web team is working on "some fun stuff" and we'll expectantly see some important changes in the near future. Meanwhile, Google Reader's team posted on Twitter that "the Reader link at the top of Gmail (and other sites) was accidentally detached. It's upcoming back soon, we promise."

It's still astonishing to see that Google's navigation bar is not customizable and you can't add your favorite Google services. Google experienced a customizable bar back in 2006, but this feature was quickly deserted.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Our big gift for small businesses

To kick off 2011, we wanted to thank a few small businesses for taking the first step toward enhancing their online presence—and to provide additional resources for achieving this goal. So over the holiday season, we paid a surprise visit to five small businesses who recently started advertising their businesses online: Create A Cook and Twinkle Star in Massachusetts, Ramy’s Garage and Atlas Flooring in Texas, and Cloud 9 Frozen Yogurt in Georgia. These small businesses span several industries, but their founders share one common goal: to expand beyond their brick-and-mortar storefronts and into the world of e-commerce.

To help, we gave them each of them $100,000 in AdWords spend for 2011 as well as free consultations with AdWords representatives. Because we know online presence means more than just AdWords, we’ll also be providing them with web consultations, wireless service for the year as well as a few other little surprises. See footage from our surprise visit below:

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We’re looking forward to making big investments in small businesses far beyond these lucky five. Small businesses have long benefited from Google products and services; now our hope is that all small business owners can have greater access to the tools and training they need to develop a cohesive strategy for doing more business online. We started last year by creating the Google Small Business Center and asking small business owners about their biggest wishes for 2011. We received an overwhelming response from business owners who, like the owners of these shops, want to do more business in the clouds in 2011.

In the meantime, check the Google Small Business Blog for updates, and if you’re a business owner, visit the Google Small Business Center for information on how you can bring your business online in 2011.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Google's New CEO: Larry Page

Eric Schmidt announced today that Larry Page will become Google's CEO.

Larry will now lead product development and technology strategy, his greatest strengths, and starting from April 4 he will take charge of our day-to-day operations as Google's Chief Executive Officer. In this new role I know he will merge Google's technology and business vision brilliantly. I am enormously proud of my last decade as CEO, and I am certain that the next 10 years under Larry will be even better! Larry, in my clear opinion, is ready to lead.

Sergey Brin's new title will be Co-Founder and he will work on strategic projects, while Eric Schmidt will be the Executive Chairman. "I will focus wherever I can add the greatest value: externally, on the deals, partnerships, customers and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership that are increasingly important given Google's global reach; and internally as an advisor to Larry and Sergey," explains Eric Schmidt, who became Google's CEO in August 2001.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

Here's an interesting excerpt from Google's 2004 SEC filling:

We run Google as a triumvirate. Sergey and I have worked closely together for the last eight years, five at Google. Eric, our CEO, joined Google three years ago. The three of us run the company collaboratively with Sergey and me as Presidents. The structure is unconventional, but we have worked successfully in this way.

To facilitate timely decisions, Eric, Sergey and I meet daily to update each other on the business and to focus our collaborative thinking on the most important and immediate issues. Decisions are often made by one of us, with the others being briefed later. This works because we have tremendous trust and respect for each other and we generally think alike. Because of our intense long term working relationship, we can often predict differences of opinion among the three of us. We know that when we disagree, the correct decision is far from obvious. For important decisions, we discuss the issue with a larger team appropriate to the task. Differences are resolved through discussion and analysis and by reaching consensus. Eric, Sergey and I run the company without any significant internal conflict, but with healthy debate. As different topics come up, we often delegate decision-making responsibility to one of us.

We hired Eric as a more experienced complement to Sergey and me to help us run the business. Eric was CTO of Sun Microsystems. He was also CEO of Novell and has a Ph.D. in computer science, a very unusual and important combination for Google given our scientific and technical culture. This partnership among the three of us has worked very well and we expect it to continue. The shared judgments and extra energy available from all three of us has significantly benefited Google.

Eric has the legal responsibilities of the CEO and focuses on management of our vice presidents and the sales organization. Sergey focuses on engineering and business deals. I focus on engineering and product management.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Doodle 4 Google - tell us what you’d like to do someday

Today, I’m pleased to proclaim the launch of the fourth annual Doodle 4 Google contest. Open to K-12 students in the U.S., Doodle 4 Google is an opportunity of a lifetime: design the Google.com homepage doodle for millions to see, and while you’re at it, take home a $15,000 scholarship and a $25,000 technology funding for your school.

In the spirit of thoughts big, our theme this year is “What I’d like to do someday...”—giving all of the gifted young dreamers an opportunity to flex their creative muscles. We know this crop of students will be the generation of tomorrow’s leaders and inventors, and we can’t wait to see what they come up with.

While most of this year's contest remains the same, we’ve made some thrilling changes based on your feedback. Now, parents or guardians can register their students directly, and if a school registers, there’s no limit on the number of doodles they can submit. But remember, we only allow one entry per student. We’re also satisfied to partner with Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Girl Scouts of the USA, two organizations that truly bring this year’s theme to life.

Once you’ve registered your students and they submit their artwork, Google employees and our panel of guest judges, including Whoopi Goldberg, gold medal ice skater Evan Lysacek and “Garfield” creator Jim Davis, will thin down the submissions. The top 40 regional finalists will not only be given a trip to New York City and a visit from Google in their hometown, but their artwork will be featured in a special exhibition in partnership with the Whitney Museum of American Art.

For more details, check out google.com/doodle4google, including full contest rules. To get started, whether you’re a teacher or a parent, register your student(s) by March 2, 2011. Then get out the crayons, paints and markers—you can even fling your own doodle party. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Abandoned Knol

Knol's homepage says a lot about the present state of the project. There's a big empty part called "what's new", a single featured knol that has 1,000 views, while the "most discussed" part doesn't include any knol and the search characteristic no longer works properly.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
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Knol has been last rationalized in December 2009 and it's clear that the service has been abandoned. Somebody wants to close Knol before it's too late.

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If you want to find a list of abandoned Google products, check the copyright notice at the base of their homepage and see if it's been updated. Friend Connect, Google Desktop and Knol still show an old message:.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A year of the new DoubleClick Ad Exchange: civilizing large publishers’ returns

With 2011 now happening, we thought it was the perfect time to revisit a big topic from 2010, the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, and take a fresh look at its payment to the display advertising ecosystem. And we have some new answer to share: a recent analysis that we’ve undertaken shows just how considerably the Exchange is improving advertising revenues for major web publishers.

We unveiled the new Ad Exchange in late 2009 in North America and Europe, as an open, real-time auction marketplace for display ad space—i.e., the image-based, interactive or video ad formats you see on most sites. The swap brings together ad networks, agency trading desks and demand side platforms on one side, and main online publishers on the other, to buy and sell display ad space in real time, allowing advertisers to reach the right ad to the right consumer at the right time and enabling publishers to connect with the advertisers most involved in what they’re offering. Our goal was to grow the overall display advertising pie, so that publishers might benefit from higher ad revenues that fund their savings in the online content and services that we all read and use every day.

With a full year under our belt, we’re happy to see that the Ad Exchange has established itself so useful for so many participants. As of today, there are hundreds of best publishers making ad space available, in addition to the many niche publishers that contribute in Ad Exchange through the AdSense program. The number of transactions that occur every day has tripled. And the Ad Exchange is now becoming obtainable in new countries.

To see how what kind of effect the growth of the Exchange was having on its participants, we undertake an analysis that quantified the Exchange’s impact on participating publishers’ bottom lines. Today, we’re publishing a white paper that shows that when publishers make ad space obtainable in the Ad Exchange, and the Exchange wins the auction, publishers generate, on average, 188% more proceeds compared with indirect sales to ad networks and other third-party buyers. Over millions of impressions, this can make a huge dissimilarity to publishers’ advertising revenues, which is great for the web as a whole.

This 188% increase is a result of two key trends that we’re seeing:

* Demand for publishers’ inventory is increasing as more AdWords and Google Display Network advertisers start running show campaigns, get great results and invest further. For example, display advertising spend among Google’s largest 1,000 advertisers augmented 75% in the past year. Agency trading desks and new third-party technology providers are also running more display ads through the Ad Exchange. And real-time request—which enables advertisers to tailor their bids and ads in real time to buy the ad space they value the most—continues to be a major draw, now accounting for 56% of buyers’ expend.

* We’re seeing publishers increasingly influence the Ad Exchange’s “dynamic allocation” to sell their inventory. Via dynamic portion, the Exchange compares—in real time—the value of the highest-paying ad in the Ad Exchange with any ads from other sources (such as ad network deals) and chooses the highest paying one. The Ad Exchange only serves ads when it can offer a higher price for ad space. Of course, publishers are in complete control of which networks they allow to bid, what ads can appear on their sites and which ad space they make available.

Our goal is to make the Ad Exchange a complete solution for major publishers to exploit their ad revenue across thousands of buyers, networks and agencies. We also want to put publishers even more firmly in control of what types of ads appear on their site, enabling them to build and protect their brand, and find new advertising opportunities.

2010 was a huge growth year for the Ad Exchange, and the increased volume has made it a more lively ecosystem for buyers and sellers. We’ll continue our work to ensure that the Ad Exchange delivers ever-improving income and controls for publishers, so that more participants can benefit from the huge increase taking place in display advertising in 2011 and beyond.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Better Music Video Results in Google Search

Google rationalized the group of video search results sometimes intermingled with usual results, but only for queries bands and music artists.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

"People frequently come to Google to find music videos, and this week we enhanced our results so now when you're searching for your favorite band or album, you'll find popular clips prepared in a new way. For example, search for [michael jackson] and you'll find some of the King of Pop's most famous videos, counting clear text indicating the length of the video, the album and the year it was published. The feature scans the entire web for video content and algorithmically ranks the best sources for each song. Rather than return recurring links, we group results for the same song together, making it easier to scan and choose the song you're looking for."

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

The results aren't always the best music videos and Google should give options to sort them by year, album, genre. Another issue is that, even while Google shows results from different video sites, the main link typically sends you to YouTube and that's not fair.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Google Places for iPhone

Why build a local explore app for iPhone when the Maps app already lets you find businesses and local attractions? Apple's Maps app doesn't use all the in sequence that's available about businesses, doesn't show photos, reviews and other details. That's one of the reasons why Google determined to build an iPhone app called Google Places.

"We apprehend the importance of finding places you'll love while you're out and about, no matter what mobile device you use. And Places with Hotpot not only helps you find places near where you are, it gives you the best places to go for you by personalizing your search results," explains Google.

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The application integrates with Google Hotpot and uses your ratings and your friends' ratings to suggest other places. Google Places encourages users to rate businesses and to post reviews in order to get better search results and that's an interesting proposal. What's missing from the app is a list of business you've formerly rated and the Hotpot feed that's now available on Google Maps.

Geo services are one of the key Google assets and it's very likely that Google will use them to create a furtiveness social network. Google Maps is probably the best mapping service and one of the the majority popular local search engines, so the social layer will have an important user base. Unlike Google Buzz, Hotpot doesn't have privacy issues yet and it doesn't feel like a different app because it's properly integrated with Google Maps.

Google Places for iOS can be installed from the Apple App Store and it's only obtainable in English.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Conversation Mode in Google Translate for Android

Google Translate's app for Android additional a feature that has previously announced by Google: discussion mode. The new option is experimental and it only works for English and Spanish, so it's more like an early preview. Conversation mode is a fancy name for making it easy to have a chat in two different languages.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/

"In conversation mode, simply press the microphone for your language and start speaking. Google Translate will translate your speech and read the conversion out loud. Your conversation partner can then react in factors like regional accents, background noise or rapid speech may make it difficult to understand what you're saying their language, and you'll hear the translation spoken back to you. Because this technology is still in alph," explains Google.



The conversation is hypothetical to be fluid, but you still need to confirm that Google's voice credit system worked well and tap the "Reply" button to switch roles. Here's a demo that shows the new characteristic in action for English and German:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Google Chrome to Drop Support for H.264

Chromium's blog informs that Google Chrome will drop support for H.264 in the coming months and will only support WebM (VP8) and Theora codecs.

We expect even more rapid innovation in the web media platform in the coming year and are focusing our investments in those technologies that are developed and licensed based on open web principles. To that end, we are changing Chrome's HTML5 support to make it consistent with the codecs already supported by the open Chromium project. Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.

Google decided to pick sides, much like Mozilla and Opera, in an effort to encourage developers to use WebM. Right now, the only important website that uses WebM is YouTube, Google's video sharing service. Internet Explorer, Safari and iOS devices are unlikely to support WebM, while hardware acceleration and Flash support are expected later this year.

John Gruber thinks that "this is just going to push publishers toward forcing Chrome users to use Flash for video playback — and that the video that gets sent to Flash Player will be encoded as H.264". He also finds it ironic that Google Chrome bundles Adobe's proprietary Flash plugin, which is a great software for playing H.264 videos.

VP8 has a long way to go before becoming the codec of choice for Web videos and Google decided to make it more popular by dropping support for the competing codec from its browser. Last year, Andy Rubin said that sometimes being open "means not being militant about the things consumer are actually enjoying," but that's not the case here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Google Transcoder's Zooming Feature

If you're annoying to load a web page using your mobile phone's browser, but the Internet connection is slow and you can't install Opera Mini, there's forever Google Transcoder. Google's service shows a cut downward version of the page that hides navigation links, removes scripts and compresses images.

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Google Transcoder also has a "zoom out" characteristic that shows a screenshot of the page and lets you select the part you want to read. This means that Google has at least two databases of screenshots for all the indexed pages and Google knows a lot of about the arrangement of a web page.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Android Addresses UI Shortcomings

It's astonishing to see how much Android's user interface has distorted ever since Matias Duarte was hired by Google to get better Android. Matias has previously worked on Sidekick, Helio and Palm's WebOS, so Android is a perfect fit for him. In only 9 months, Matias Duarte and his team managed to talk to a lot of Android's UI shortcomings: a virtual keyboard that wasn't good enough, an uninspired border for multitasking, the hidden menus that required to click on a soft key to display them, rigid soft keys that were restricted to a single direction. Here's, for example, the steering bar that replaces the hidden menu for common actions:

In an Engadget interview, Matias says that Honeycomb is the future of Android in terms of user knowledge. His job is to make Android's interface so good that companies like HTC or Samsung don't have to spend so much time improving it. The stock user interface will raise the bar high enough to be more than a solid groundwork.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
You're not working on one product, you're not saying "we're one company, upright integrating and making one product and we're going to focus on one market and we're going to try and meet that mainly need." But instead, the idea is that there's a common problem that every company that wants to do well in making computing better, making computing mobile has and that's the basic platform problem. We're not only going to try to find a way to get everybody to benefit from it, we're going to do it for free. We're going to work on building this common tide that rises all boats.

It's attractive to think of Android as "the tide that rises all boats", a platform that accelerates mobile development not just for smartphones, but also for tablets, media players, digital cameras, TVs, cars, appliances and much more.

It's amazing to see how much Android's user interface has changed ever since Matias Duarte was hired by Google to improve Android. Matias has previously worked on Sidekick, Helio and Palm's WebOS, so Android is a perfect fit for him. In only 9 months, Matias Duarte and his team managed to address a lot of Android's UI shortcomings: a virtual keyboard that wasn't good enough, an uninspired border for multitasking, the hidden menus that required to click on a soft key to display them, inflexible soft keys that were limited to a single orientation. Here's, for example, the navigation bar that replaces the unseen menu for common actions:


In an Engadget interview, Matias says that Honeycomb is the future of Android in terms of user experience. His job is to make Android's border so good that companies like HTC or Samsung don't have to spend so much time improving it. The stock user interface will raise the bar high sufficient to be more than a solid foundation.

You're not working on one product, you're not saying "we're one company, upright integrating and making one product and we're going to focus on one market and we're going to try and meet that particularly need." But instead, the idea is that there's a common problem that every company that wants to do well in making computing better, making computing mobile has and that's the fundamental platform problem. We're not only going to try to find a way to get everybody to benefit from it, we're going to do it for free. We're going to work on building this common tide that rises all boats.

It's attractive to think of Android as "the tide that rises all boats", a platform that accelerates mobile growth not just for smartphones, but also for tablets, media players, digital cameras, TVs, cars, appliances and much more.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Google Apps highlights – 1/7/2011

This is part of a usual series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label Google Apps highlights and pledge to the series.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
It’s a new year, and we have new reasons to rejoice what’s possible with Google Apps. Since our last update, we’ve made it easier to track spreadsheet revisions and work with videos in Google Docs, additional two new security features for organizations using Gmail and introduced new capabilities to make migrate to Google Apps even easier.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
Revision history for spreadsheets

A few months ago we added better review history tools for documents in Google Docs, and we just added a similar alteration history tool for spreadsheets. Spreadsheet changes made by each co-author are marked by a different color, and you can easily see all of the changes made to your spreadsheet cell-by-cell.


http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
Video player in the document list

Google Docs lets groups work together concurrently on documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings, but you can also use it to upload and share a wide range of file types. Previously, if you uploaded and shared a video file, people you shared with could only download the file. Yesterday we released an update which lets you play many videos right from Google Docs, no file download necessary.

A safer email environment for customers

Organizations using Google Apps typically provide unobstructed email access to their users, but some organizations—like K-12 schools—want to stop outsiders from interacting with a subset of their users over email. On Tuesday, we released a feature enabling an email walled garden, so organizations can meet this requirement. K-12 schools can help defend youngsters, and other types of organizations can provide incomplete email accounts to select employees, like contractors.

DKIM email authentication for improved email delivery

Yesterday we made it probable for customers to easily validate their outgoing email with DKIM digital signatures. DKIM allows many getting email systems to verify whether an incoming message truly originates from the domain in the message sent from field. Spam filters can then use the standing of the sender’s domain to help separate good mail from spam. For customers, using DKIM verification means their outgoing mail is less likely to get caught up in their recipients’ spam filters.


Chrome browser for organizations

Google Chrome is built for speed, security and the ability to run the most complicated web-based applications. Until recently, it was tough for businesses to deploy Chrome as a successor or alternative to traditional browsers, but last month we added capabilities to Chrome so IT administrators can professionally deploy and manage Chrome across their organizations. We’ve also made it likely for businesses to centrally deploy Chrome Frame to get better performance of Internet Explorer.



Improved tools for moving existing data to Google Apps

Customers are already moving data from legacy systems to Google Apps at an astonishing rate, and we’ve just made improvements to our data migration tools. Whether you’re touching from Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Notes or other IMAP-based email systems, it’s now even easier to move email, calendar and contacts data into Google’s cloud.

Who’s gone Google?

Tens of thousands of businesses, schools and other organization took advantage of the holiday break to move over to Google Apps. Some of the notable additions include Compositites One, Broadway Maylan and BI-LO. We also heard some great stories from Traffic Konzept + Film GmbH a team of explorers and filmmakers on a first-ever journey to sail both North Pole passages in a single season. You can learn more about their exploit and how they use Google Apps here:

I hope these product updates and customer stories help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps.

Google Docs Plays Videos

Google Docs lets you upload any type of files, but not a lot of of them can be previewed in Google Docs. You can unlock Microsoft Office documents and presentations, PDF files and some images. Now you can also play videos.

Uploaded video files can be up to 1 GB. These are the majority common video formats that you can upload and play:

* WebM files (Vp8 video codec and Vorbis Audio codec)
* MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files - (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs and AAC audio codec)

* AVI (many cameras use this format - typically the video codec is MJPEG and audio is PCM)
* MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec and MP2 audio)

* WMV * .FLV (Adobe - FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio)

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Since Google uses YouTube's player, it's understandable that these are the formats supported by YouTube. After uploading a video to Google Docs, you'll have to stay until it's processed.

Why would someone upload videos to Google Docs as a substitute of using YouTube? When Google adds more free storage to Google Docs and makes it simple to sync all your files, you'll upload documents, photos, music files and videos. Google Docs lets you sort out files into folders, share multiple files with your friends and still keep old versions of your files.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Picasa Web Adds HTTPS Support

Picasa Web Albums was one of the few Google apps that didn't support encrypted connections. Now you can go to the secure version at https://picasaweb.google.com to make sure that no one can intercept your requests. This is especially helpful if you use an unsecured WiFi connection.

Google Chrome says that Picasa Web Albums includes some resources that are sent via HTTP, but these aren't the usual suspects: images, CSS and JavaScript files. The culprit is an iframe used for loading ads. Internet Explorer shows a mixed content warning every time you visit a Picasa Web Albums page, which is really annoying.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
Here's an incomplete list of Google services that support HTTPS connections: Gmail (enabled by default), Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google Reader, Google Groups, Picasa Web Albums, Google Search, Google Finance, YouTube (partially encrypted), Google Health, Google Analytics, Google AdSense and AdWords, Google Web History, Google Bookmarks, Google Voice, Google Latitude, FeedBurner, Google Checkout. It's probably easier to list the services that don't support HTTPS.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Honeycomb: Android for Tablets

Google has by chance made public a YouTube video that shows Android 3.0 in action. It's a completely new boundary for tablets that borrows a lot of thoughts from BumpTop, the 3D desktop software acquired by Google last year.

Engadget says that the new interface "looks more or less not anything like Android". You might think it's a new operating system. The video mentions that this is "the next age band of Android" and that's built completely for tablets.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
Google has listening carefully on improving the user interface and Android 3.0 comes with fluid home screens, better app switching, browser tabs, video chat, dynamic app shortcuts and new versions of Google's Android applications that take benefit of the bigger screen.

It seems that the Android tablets that will be launched in the coming months will have imposing hardware and an efficient operating system that looks dramatic, so they're balanced for success.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Voice Search for Google Chrome

Voice Search is a Google Chrome addition that lets you search using your voice. It's not urbanized by Google, but it uses an untried Chrome feature called form speech input. The feature is enabled by default in the dev channel builds, but it can be physically enabled by adding a command-line flag.

"Voice Search comes pre-loaded with the subsequent default services: Google, Wikipedia, YouTube, Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo and Wolfram|Alpha. You can also add your own user-defined search engines. It also integrates a speech input button for all websites using HTML5 search boxes. This addition requires a microphone. Speech input is very experimental, so don't be astonished if it doesn't work. Also, try to speak clearly for best speech credit results," suggests the author.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
Speech gratitude is limited to English and it doesn't work very well, but this addition is a good way to test a feature that will be enabled in the prospect Chrome releases. If you have a website, it's quite easy to add support for speech input, but it may take a while until Google's Speech Input API requirement becomes a standard and all browsers apply it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Picasa Web Albums Wish List

Picasa Web Albums is one of the Google services that has been unjustly abandoned by Google, even if it has a lot of flaws and many missing features. Probably the main flaw was the goal of the service: to be an online addition of Picasa, a popular photo management software. Picasa Web Albums innate Picasa's limitations and didn't add many useful features since they were obtainable in Picasa. Instead of focusing on civilizing the web app, Google developed Picasa for Mac, extra new features to Picasa and acquired Picnik, an online image editor.

Picasa Web Albums is somewhat comparable to Microsoft's Office Live, an online addition of a popular software, which is astonishing, allowing for that Google is a big proponent of cloud computing.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
If you try to upload photos to Picasa Web Albums, you'll see that Google recommends to install Picasa. That's because you can only upload up to 5 photos at a time using the web app (unless you're using Internet Explorer: Google urbanized an ActiveX control for uploading photos).
Try to download an album and you won't be able to do that with no installing Picasa or using some workarounds.

To edit a photo, you require to use Picasa or Picnik, a unhurried Flash image editor. It would be much more helpful to have some basic editing options within Picasa Web Albums, so you can quickly touch up your photos.

Andrew Maxwell and Fran├žois Beaufort shaped a long wish list for Picasa Web Albums (categorization albums by name, sub-albums, upload by drag and drop, multiple sign-in, offline mode) and many of their issues can be easily address by storing photos in Google Docs and transform Picasa Web Albums into a Google Docs app. This way, you'll use a single file storage space service, uploading and downloading multiple photos will be much easier, photos could be communal privately without revealing all the photos from an album, you might add photos to multiple folders and even create subfolders. Another advantage is that you'll be able to use a syncing software for all your files if Google decides to discharge a software like Dropbox or Windows Live Mesh.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Predictions for Google's 2011

1. More free storage in Google Docs: at least 20 GB.

2. A new HTML5 interface for Gmail that loads faster, stores email offline and integrates with other Google apps like Google Calendar and Google Docs.

3. An updated Android keyboard that uses Google Scribd data to provide useful suggestions.

4. Google Earth as a WebGL web app and vector-based maps in Google Maps for desktop.

5. A database of things, where you can store important names, book titles, products, concepts and useful information about them.

6. Data sync for Google Chrome extensions.

7. Chrome for Android, with data sync, web apps, session restore, Cloud Print, built-in Flash and smarter address bar.

8. Google's search engine will answer complex questions using inferences.

9. Google Personal Alerts will notify on your mobile phone if there's something interesting around (one of your friends, a store that offers a discount for one your favorite products, a museum you wanted to visit, a shop recommended by one of your friends).

10. Google will learn to embrace Facebook and will start using Facebook Connect.

11. Google Online Store: the place where you can download Chrome/Android apps and games, e-books, buy magazine subscriptions, music and movies.

12. Android's growth will slow down, but it will be the most popular mobile operating system because many companies will use it to create smart media players, digital cameras, TVs, game consoles and even home appliances.

13. Picasa Web Albums will become a Google Docs app and Picnik will switch to HTML5.

14. Google will acquire Disqus to make it easier to manage your comments and to improve Blogger's commenting system.

15. Google Profiles will no longer be optional: when you create a Google/Gmail account, you'll also create a profile.

16. Voice search and visual search for desktop.

17. Google will buy LastPass and offer an online password manager.

18. Google Wave will be resurrected, but it will have a simplified interface.

19. An online music player that will let you listen music from the Google Store or Google Docs, podcasts from Google Reader, online radios and more.

20. Google Fast Flip for web search powered by Google Instant Previews.