Monday, February 28, 2011

Many Gmail Users Can't Find Their Messages

Imagine loading Gmail and noticing that all your mail have been deleted. This is a real trouble for many Gmail users who thought that they lost all of their messages. Here's one of the many reports from Gmail's forum:

Yes, whatever the mistake is on Google's end (and it clearly is that, not a hack, unless it's some kind of inside hack) it's basically reset my account so it's like a brand-new Gmail account My friends are intact, but nothing else--the folders have reset to defaulting, my signature line is blank, the "theme" is changed back to the default and--of course--every single email from the last 7 years has misplaced completely.

The Google Apps position page mentions that "this issue affects less than 0.08% of the Google Mail userbase" and "Google engineers are operational to restore full access". The users that are affected "will be provisionally unable to sign in".

This is a really significant problem for Google and one of the biggest Gmail issues ever since Google's email check was released, back in 2004.

Update: A Google engineer says that the "accounts that are precious are currently fully disabled. We're in the process of altering this to be a Gmail only disable so you should regain access to other Google services soon. This will also mean email to these accounts stops lively and gets queued up for later delivery instead."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Google Profile Search

Google has a new particular search engine for probing Google Profiles. It has a better boundary than the regular Google Profiles search feature, it's included with Google Search and it shows extra links from people's profiles.

This attribute is not yet enabled in the interface, but you can look for Google Profiles by adding up &tbs=prfl:1 to a Google Search URL. Here's an pattern.

Google could use the data from user profiles to offer advanced search features like restricting profiles to people who lived in Chicago, attended Long Island University and are involved in sports.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Android Gingerbread for Nexus One

Two months after Android Gingerbread was free, Nexus One users can finally update their phones to the newest Android version. "Gingerbread (Android 2.3.3) update now rolling out to Nexus S and Nexus One. Be patient, may take a few weeks for OTA to complete," informs Google. Ry Guy explains that Google "sends out OTA updates (...) incrementally to make sure that everything is going smoothly".

The good news is that Nexus One is the second Android phone efficient to Gingerbread and it's likely that the feedback from Nexus S users helped Google fix the most significant bugs. Unfortunately, Google is wedged between releasing the Android version for tablets, continuing to get better Gingerbread, developing new Android apps and services, civilizing the Android Market, so the delays are inevitable.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Open Gmail's PDF Attachments in Google Docs Viewer

A recent Gmail update distorted the "View" links for PDF attachments, but only if you use Google Chrome. Instead of gap PDF files using Google Docs Viewer, Gmail now uses the PDF plugin incorporated in Google Chrome. Unfortunately, this makes it more hard to save PDF files to Google Docs.

Here's a simple ploy that lets you open a PDF attachment in Google Docs Viewer. Click "View" next to the addition and edit the URL: replace "view=att" with "view=gvatt" in the address bar. Another alternative is to right-click "View", copy the URL, paste in the address bar and replace "view=att" with "view=gvatt".

Obviously, you can also stop the built-in PDF plugin. Just type about:plugins in the address bar and click "Disable" next to "Chrome PDF Viewer".

Sunday, February 20, 2011

7 Chrome Annoyances and How to attach Them

Google Chrome was free more than two years ago and it's the browser of choice for many people. Despite having won hearts for its speed and grace, Google Chrome does have some slight flaws that you might want to fix. Here are some of them:

1. No confirmation when closing multiple tabs

Google Chrome does't show a caution when you close a window with multiple tabs. If you by chance close Chrome windows, you can install Chrome Toolbox. The next time you close many tabs, you'll at least get a caution.

2. Basic history page

Google Chrome's history page is pretty basic and you can't limit the list to a certain time interval.

The History 2 extension comes to the release by allowing you to sort web pages based on the day/week you visited them. History 2 allows you to delete numerous items from your history page at the click of a button – something that's not probable by default.

3. Missing image properties

There's no way to quickly examine an image when you're in Chrome. Luckily, you can install Image Properties Context Menu, an addition that lets you right-click on an image and find in order about the image size, location, dimensions and more.

4. No support for feeds

Chrome simply doesn't distinguish RSS feeds and all you get is a page with gibberish text. If you install the RSS Subscription addition developed by Google, you can quickly subscribe to any feed using Google Reader, iGoogle, Bloglines or My Yahoo.

5. You can't send a web page by email

While other popular browsers allow you to rapidly send any web page you're viewing by email, such an alternative is nowhere to be found in Google Chrome.

Worry not, because you can make a simple Javascript bookmarklet to open your default email program with the current URL. If Gmail is what you use, you can otherwise install the Send from Gmail extension to send the web page to Gmail.

6. No session manger

Closing Google Chrome and reopening it does not reinstate previously opened tabs. In order to do that, go to the Options dialog and enable Reopen tabs that were open last.

If you want higher session saving options like the ability to create multiple sessions, try the Session Buddy addon for Google Chrome.

7. You can't switch to a tab from the Omnibox

Firefox 4 lets you switch to any open tab by typing applicable words into the address bar. If you'd like to see a similar feature in Chrome, install the Switch To Tab extension.

The next time you contain too many open tabs, just type sw followed by some words from the page. Hitting Enter switches to the tab that's listed as the first match.

Have you ever wanted to switch from Chrome to another browser because of a missing feature? Did you mange to find a workaround or an addition that adds the missing feature?

Friday, February 18, 2011

More File Formats inside Google Docs Viewer

Google Docs Viewer additional support for a lot of new file formats. You can now use it to open Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, Microsoft PowerPoint presentations from Office 2007 and Office 2010, Apple Pages files, PostScript documents, Microsoft XPS documents, TrueType fonts, graphics as of Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk AutoCad and SVG files.

"Not only does this round out support for the main Microsoft Office file types (we now support DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS and XLSX), but it also adds quick presentation capabilities for many of the most popular and highly-requested document and image types," informs Google.

Google Docs Viewer is included with Gmail and Google Docs, so you can now open many Gmail attachments and Google Docs files without installing additional software.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Gmail Opens PDF Attachments Using Chrome's Viewer

If you use Google Chrome and you haven't disabled the built-in PDF plugin, you can now open PDF attachments from Gmail using your browser's viewer. Just click "View" next to the attachment and you'll notice that the PDF file opens faster and it looks much better.

If you disable the plug-in or you use a dissimilar browser, Gmail continues to open PDF attachments with the Google Docs Viewer. Maybe Gmail ought to also detect Adobe Reader's plugin and use it instead of the online PDF viewer.

Google Apps blog informs that this feature will be obtainable in Google Apps next week. You can get it faster by enabling "pre-release features" in the Administrator Control Panel.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Search trends: a clue to 2011 Oscar winners?

Each year, as the Academy Awards bubble to the top of our communal consciousness, we see a major spike in search traffic connected to the event. This year, on the day the nominees were announced, four of the top 10 trending search terms in the U.S. were Oscar-related.

After last year’s awards ceremony, we provided an in-depth summary of search trends that played out during the broadcast. But could search trends have predicted the winners? To make it easy to discover how the actors, directors and cinematographers are trending in search—and maybe see if that data correlates with the ultimate winners—you can explore search data across all award categories on our new Oscar hunt Trends website.

John Batelle once described search trends as “a massive database of needs, needs, wants and likes.” Looking at Insights for Search data, we were intrigued to find that this “database of intentions” shows reliable search patterns among Best Picture winners for the last three years. Each year, the winning film has shown an rising trend in search volume for at least four weeks, as well as highest regional interest from New York (The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and No Country for Old Men).

Will that outline repeat this year? If you apply the same test, this year’s most likely candidates for best picture—by search pattern—are The Social Network (trending upward for five weeks) followed by Black Swan and The King’s Speech (each trending upward for four weeks). The Fighter, another 2011 Best Picture nominee, saw an rising trend in search volume for five weeks after its release, but highest regional interest was from Massachusetts instead of New York; no film with highest local interest in Massachusetts has won best picture since The Departed in 2007. Perhaps Boston will take it back in 2011?

We can’t say for sure what will happen this year, since searches can only reproduce what people are interested in, but it’s fun to look for patterns that persist year after year. So before you make any Academy Awards-related bets with your friends this year, be sure to discover the Oscar Search Trends. Choose any award category to see how the nominees were searched over time.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Block Domains from Google's Search Results

Google has released a Chrome addition that lets you block domains and sun domains from Google's results. If you not at all find the results from useful, you can now click "Block" next to a search result from this site and you'll add the field to your personal blacklist.

Unfortunately, the extension does little more than storing a list of domains on your computer and beating the results from those domains. It's not tied to a web service and the blacklist is not saved to your Google account, so that you could use it from a different computer or another browser.

Matt Cutts says that the list of domains you've infertile is sent to Google. "We will study the resulting feedback and explore using it as a potential ranking signal for our search results."

Google Search Wiki used to offer a similar feature, but you could only use it to hide from view certain results. Blocking domains is more influential and it will be interesting to see if it will become a regular Google search feature. I think it's too influential and it might lead to unintended consequences: for example, some users might hide a domain just since a web page is not very helpful.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More “I do”s, less “to-do”s: wedding planning simplified

For many, your wedding day is one of the biggest, most important days of your life. The perfect dress, the right tuxedo, the correct shade of blue, the three-tier cake with chocolate fondant, and all of your closest family and friends—these are just a few of the many things you might think about for your special day. Although there’s much to believe and a lot of work to do, the payoff is great: it’s one of the happiest days of your life.

To help you plan this significant day we’ve created wedding-specific templates in Google Sites, Google Docs and Picnik, and gathered tips and tricks for using these and other Google products at From wedding websites to save-the-date cards, these tools make simpler wedding planning, letting you focus your time on the fun things—like tasting cakes!

We teamed up with famous wedding planner Michelle Rago, who provided her insight and originality to guide the designs you’ll find on this new site. Michelle also shared her experience to provide tips and suggestion to keep your guests comfortable and you sane.

We’re also hosting a wedding sweepstakes, so if you’re getting married in the next year you can enter for a chance to win $25,000 towards your dream wedding (see Official Rules). Plus, Michelle Rago and her team will counsel the winning couple on location, flowers, food and other design fundamentals to create a day that is exclusively their own.

Visit to start planning, or share the site with your favorite engaged couple and help them on their way to wedded bliss.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Google Tests a Navigation Bar Integrated with Google Profiles

Google has been testing different versions of a new steering bar that removes link underlining and adds a menu for the features that now mess the bar.

The latest iteration of Google's experiment replaces your email address with your name and shows the photo from your Google Profile. Right now, creating a Google Profile is elective, but I wouldn't be astonished to see that this will change. If there's one thing that unifies almost all Google services, that's the navigation bar and it makes sense to add social features to the persistent bar.

Introducing the Google Translate app for iPhone

Back in August 2008, we launched a Google interpret HTML5 web app for iPhone users. Today, the official Google Translate for iPhone app is obtainable for download from the App Store. The new app has all of the features of the web app, plus some significant new trappings designed to improve your overall translation experience.

Speak to translate

The new app accepts voice input for 15 languages, and—just like the web app—you can convert a word or phrase into one of more than 50 languages. For voice input, just press the microphone icon next to the text box and say what you want to transform.

Listen to your translations

You can also listen to your translations vocal out loud in one of 23 different languages. This feature uses the same new speech synthesizer voices as the desktop account of Google Translate we introduced last month.

Full-screen mode

Another feature that strength come in handy is the ability to easily increase the translated text to full-screen size. This way, it’s much easier to read the text on the screen, or show the translation to the person you are communicating with. Just tap on the zoom icon to rapidly zoom in.

And the app also includes all of the major features of the web app, counting the ability to view dictionary results for single words, access your starred translations and translation history even when offline, and support romanized wording like Pinyin and Romaji.

You can download Google Translate now as of the App Store globally. The app is obtainable in all iOS supported languages, but you’ll need an iPhone or iPod touch iOS version 3 or later.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

IPv6 marks the next chapter in the history of the Internet

In the same way your phone is linked with a single number, your computer is assigned a exclusive Internet Protocol (IP) address when you connect to the Internet. The current protocol, IPv4, allows for about 4 billion unique addresses—and that number is about to run out.

This morning the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced (PDF) that it has spread the last batch of its remaining IPv4 addresses to the world’s five Regional Internet Registries, the organizations that manage IP addresses in dissimilar regions. These Registries will begin conveying the final IPv4 addresses within their regions until they run out completely, which could come as soon as early 2012.

As the last blocks of IPv4 addresses are assigned, acceptance of a new protocol—IPv6—is essential to the sustained growth of the open Internet. IPv6 will expand Internet address space to 128 bits, making room for approximately 340 trillion trillion trillion addresses (enough to preceding us for the foreseeable future).

Google, along with others, has been functioning for years to implement the larger IPv6 format. We’re also participating in the intended World IPv6 Day, scheduled for June 8, 2011. On this day, all of the participating organizations will allow access to as many services as possible via IPv6.

Today’s ICANN statement marks a major milestone in the history of the Internet. IPv6, the next chapter, is at the present under way.

Friday, February 4, 2011

This week in search 2/4/2011

This week it got just a bit faster to discover the right things to buy and the right places to go, with a little help from Google—and your friends. Simply type a few characters and get Google Instant outcome in the “Shopping” view, and find recommendations from your friends with Hotpot in search results.

Instant results in the “Shopping” view

Now you can shop faster than ever and get the speed of Google Instant when comparing prices, looking for nearby stores and knowledge about products you want to buy. For example, if you’re searching for a cast iron skillet, we’ll start showing you applicable pans as you type [cast iro...]. Click “Shopping” in the left-hand panel and try penetrating for [sweater wrap shawl], [android phone] or anything else.

Hotpot recommendations in search results

Earlier this week we additional Hotpot recommendations to regular search results on Google. So now, if you’re looking for restaurants in San Francisco, you can simply look for Google for [restaurants sf]. If a friend has rated a particular place, you might see her estimation right under the listing. We also prolonged Hotpot to 38 new languages so people can share their favorite places around the world.

Whether you’re cooking at home or dining out, we hope this week’s updates help you find what you’re looking for just a little bit faster

Thursday, February 3, 2011

9 Things to Try in Google Chrome 9

Google Chrome 9 is now available, two months after the previous release and two weeks later than Google's self-imposed deadline. Here are 9 features you should try in this new version:

1. WebGL is now enabled by default in Google Chrome and you can try the 3D web apps from Google's gallery. Don't miss Body Browser, a Google Earth for the human body, and the WebGL Aquarium.

2. Google Instant is now integrated with Chrome's address bar, but this feature is not for everyone because it automatically loads web pages as you type. It's disabled by default, so you need to enable it by checking "Enable Instant for faster searching and browsing" in the Options dialog.

3. Cloud Print can be enabled from Options > Under the hood. This features lets you print from devices that can't communicate directly with printers. The first two applications that use Cloud Print are the mobile versions of Gmail and Google Docs.

4. Chrome supports WebP files. WebP is a new image format created by Google whose main advantage is that it offers better compression. "Our team focused on improving compression of the lossy images, which constitute the larger percentage of images on the web today. To improve on the compression that JPEG provides, we used an image compressor based on the VP8 codec that Google open-sourced in May 2010." Here's an example of WebP image.

9 Things to Try in Google Chrome 9

5. Right-click on an extension button next to the address bar and select "Hide button". When you change your mind, go to Tools > Extensions and click on "Show button" next to the corresponding extension.

6. Create desktop shortcuts for your web apps: right-click on an app in the new tab page and select "create shortcut". You can also add shortcuts to the Start Menu and the Quick Launch Bar if you use Windows.

9 Things to Try in Google Chrome 9

7. Launch web apps in a new window. Right-click on a web app and select "open as window".

9 Things to Try in Google Chrome 9

8. Install extensions that add custom menu options to images. For example, install Clip It Good to upload any image from a web page to Picasa Web Albums.

9. Install extensions that use the Omnibox API to associate keywords with new search engines. For example, install the DOI Resolver extension and type doi 10.1205/096030802760309188 in the address bar. The extension added a new search engine and associated it with the keyword doi.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Android Market for the Web

 Google has finally released the Web-based description of the Android Market, which is now available at You can link to applications, find apps from your computer and install them over the air.

Android Market for the Web includes all the applications, not just the ones that are obtainable for a certain device or a certain description of Android, so it's much more complete than the application that's installed on your Android device. You'll be able to find paid apps even if you live in a country where you can only put in free apps and you'll be able to find apps that require Froyo even if your phone still uses Android Donut. In fact, you don't even have to be an Android user to discover the Market.

I've tried to install an application from the web site, but Google shows an "invalid request" error after the verification process.

To make the Market even better, Google announced two additional features that will be available soon: in-app purchases and fixed pricing for various currencies. That means you'll see less apps that cost $1.73 or €2.26, pretentious that developers will adjust their prices.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Google Results, One of Bing's Ranking Signals

Danny Sullivan has a story about Google's claims that Bing copies Google search results. Google noticed that there's an rising overlap between the top results at Google and Bing, so it supposed that Microsoft was using Google's results to improve its search engine.

To verify its doubts, Google set up a smart operation. For the first time in its history, Google crafted one-time code that would allow it to physically rank a page for a certain term (code that will soon be removed, as described further below). It then created about 100 of what it calls "synthetic" searches, queries that few people, if anyone, would ever enter into Google.

These searches returned no matches on Google or Bing — or a tiny number of poor superiority matches, in a few cases — before the experiment went live. With the code enabled, Google placed a honeypot page to show up at the top of each synthetic search.

The only reason these pages appeared on Google was because Google required them to be there. There was nothing that made them obviously relevant for these searches. If they started to appeared at Bing after Google, that would mean that Bing took Google's bait and derivative its results.

This all happened in December. When the experiment was ready, about 20 Google engineers were told to run the test queries from laptops at home, using Internet Explorer, with optional Sites and the Bing Toolbar both enabled. They were also told to click on the top results. They started on December 17. By December 31, some of the results started appearing on Bing. (...) Only a small number of the test searches produced this result, about 7 to 9 (depending on when exactly Google checked) out of the 100.

Microsoft's engineers almost certainly thought that Google's results were pretty good, so why not use clickstream data from Internet Explorer and Bing Toolbar to monitor the results picked by Google users? It's a clever idea, but not when you're using it to unnaturally add results from Google. Bing's team says that they use "collective intelligence" to improve search results, so we can assume that a non-negligible amount of intelligence comes from Google. When you're including results just because Google does it, you're credulous Google too much and you implicitly admit that Google offers better results.