Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The next phase in our redesign

Six months ago we in progress rolling out a new look and feel for Search, News, Maps, Translate, Gmail and a bunch of other products. Our goal was to produce a beautifully simple and intuitive user skill across Google.

We’re now prepared for the next stage of our redesign—a new Google bar that will allow you to navigate quickly between our services, as well as share the right stuff with the right people easily on Google+.

Instead of the horizontal black bar at the top of the page, you’ll now find links to your services in a new drop-down Google menu nested beneath the Google logo. We’ll show you a list of links and you can access additional services by hovering over the “More” link at the bottom of the list. Click on what you want, and you’re off.

To find out extra about the new Google bar, take a look at this video or read our Help Center article. Making navigation and sharing super simple for people is a key part of our efforts to change the overall Google experience, which is why we’re very keyed up about this redesign. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Google's Broken Lists

Google has newly redesigned the advanced search page and removed two options that weren't used very frequently: finding pages that are similar to a page and pages that link to a page. You can use the similar: and link: operators and "similar pages" and still obtainable in the Instant Preview pane, so the features haven't been detached.

What's disconcerting is that Google made drop-down lists a lot more difficult to use in the new border. Until now, you could use the tab key to select a list, but this no longer works. After clicking a list, you could use the up/down arrows or Page Up / Page Down to move among the options, but you can no longer do that. It was much faster to type the first letters from the name of the language or the country to rapidly find an item, but this is another feature that no longer works. Basically, the only way to use the new lists is to scroll up or down waiting you find the item you were looking for.

You can check the old superior search page at the Way back Machine or the advanced image search page, which still uses the old interface.

Another service that makes drop-downs more hard to use is Blogger. If you have a long list of labels, you can no longer find a label by typing the first letters.

Google Reader's new interface lets you use arrows to move among the items from a list, but you can no longer type some letters from a subscription's name in the "All items" drop-down. This was a non-standard featured extra back in 2007, when Google Reader added a search engine.

Hopefully, Google will address these issues and will no longer take away basic features that are taken for granted by many users.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Table Snippets in Google Search

Google has enhanced the snippets for the pages that include big tables. They're just like the snippets for lists, but columns are evidently separated and snippets also comprise the table header.

Barry Schwartz says that "Google is trying to figure out the makeup of the older fashion HTML tables to show the snippet in a table format". Google also finds the most related columns from the table and frequently displays the first two rows.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Google X

New York Times has an interesting article concerning Google X, a secret lab where Sergey Brin and other Google employees undertake important projects that aren't yet ready for primetime.

In a top-secret lab in an undisclosed Bay Area location where robots run free, the future is being imagined. It's a place where your refrigerator might be connected to the Internet, so it could order groceries when they ran low. Your dinner plate could post to a social network what you’re eating. Your robot might go to the office while you stay home in your pajamas. And you could, perhaps, take an elevator to outer space.

Google X is the place where Google works on the driver less car and New York Times reports that Google is allowing for manufacturing the cars in the US. Many projects are connected to Android @ Home, an initiative announced this year that tries to make everyday objects smarter. "We want to think of every application in your home as a potential I/O device," said Google's Joe Britt. Google tries to construct the "Web of things" by connecting home accessories, wearable objects to the Internet.

Most of the ideas tackled at Google X involve robots. "Fleets of robots could assist Google with collecting information, replacing the humans that photograph streets for Google Maps, say people with information of Google X. Robots born in the lab could be intended for homes and offices, where they could assist with mundane tasks or allow people to work remotely".

It's interesting to note that one of the Google X projects might be released by the end of the year, although it's not clear what it does. At the I/O conference, Google announced that it will introduce "a Web-connected light bulb that might communicate wire lessly with Android devices," so this might be the product that will be released.

Google has always tried to resolve big problems, even if many people think that it should focus on improving search results and ad quality. "Larry and Sergey founded Google because they required to help solve really big problems using technology," said Sebastian Thrun, a robotics expert who invented the first self-driving car and now works at Google.

Google X might be the next Xerox PARC or it could fail, but it's important to think big and take risks. "I just feel like people aren't working sufficient on impactful things. People are really afraid of failure on things, and so it's hard for them to do ambitious stuff. And also, they don't understand the power of technological solutions to things, especially computers," complained Larry Page in Steven Levy's "In the Plex".

Hopefully, MG Siegler is right when he says that "whatever is going on inside of Google X, I'm fairly certain it's filled to the brim with the type of stuff that made us all fall in love with Google in the first place".

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Bringing the very best of what we do to the veteran community

We consider that technology can be a force for good; one that builds and binds community. As a Googler, my proudest moments are when we take that technology and put it in the hands of people who can use it to communicate, collaborate, build and explore.

Today, on Veterans Day, I am conceited to share a few Google tools and platforms for the military veteran community. They can be accessed on our website, Google for Veterans and Families, which was created by veterans and their family and friends, who work at Google. This single border brings together Google products and platforms for service members and their families. We believe it will be useful to all veterans, whether still in the service, transitioning out, or on a new path in their civilian lives. Here are some examples of what you’ll find on the site:

* Vet Connect - This tool helps service members connect, communicate and share their experiences with others who have served using the Google+ platform.
* Google Veterans Channel - A YouTube channel for discussion concerning military service for veterans, their families and the public. Veterans can share their experiences with each other as well as with civilians to help shed light on the significance and complexity of service. If you have not served, this is a great place to offer your thanks by uploading a compliment video.
* Resume Builder powered by Google Docs - We originate that Docs can be a particularly helpful tool to transitioning service members seeking employment. Resume Builder generates an auto-formatted resume that can be simply edited, saved and downloaded to share with potential employers.
* Tour Builder powered by Google Earth (coming soon). A new way to tell your military story, Today, you can view some sample “tours”— 3D maps of veterans’ service histories, complete with photos and videos. Stay tuned for more facts and updates on the Google Lat Long Blog.

It’s been a proud month for those of us here at Google who are veterans or family of veterans.

In October, 100 Googlers visited the Soldier and Family Assistance Center at West Point to conduct resume writing workshops for members of the Warrior Transition Unit. And, just two weeks ago, we traveled to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to teach wounded, ill and injured service members how to use Google tools to continue in touch with their loved ones while in recovery.

Finally, this week, we introduced the Veterans Job Bank in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Job Bank is a modified job search engine in the National Resource Directory (NRD), which is powered by Google Custom Search technology and crawls the web for Job Posting markup from to recognize veteran-committed job openings.

Even playing a little part to serve those who have served has been an honor.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Raising awareness for breast cancer throughout the Pink Pin scheme in NYC and beyond

Every October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when organizations and persons around the world come together to raise awareness to support the fight against breast cancer.

This year, Google joined in and partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure on the Pink Pin scheme, which challenged local businesses in New York City to rally their customers, friends and families about breast cancer awareness. Using Google’s products, including Maps, YouTube, Picasa and Google+, we made it easy for local businesses and New York residents to show their support for the cause. On an interactive website,, people might register their businesses on the Pink Pin Map, share their experiences by uploading their own videos and photo stories, as well as donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

More than 300 businesses signed up to contribute in the first 24 hours, and we saw an outpouring of public support from both businesses and individuals, demonstrating how small, random acts of participation can interpret to larger scale impact. In fact, some businesses took it upon themselves to take Pink Pin a step further. One New York business offered $100 of free services for every $100 donated. A Brooklyn restaurant hosted a one-day “Dine-out” for Pink Pin, where a percentage of their earnings for that day went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Pink Pin was a wonderful demonstration of what people will do if you give them the tools to use technology for good. We’re delighted that Pink Pin has been so positively established by New Yorkers and hope to carry on and expand our efforts next year.

Googlers also celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness month in 23 of our offices about the globe. In addition to health talks encouraging Googlers to learn more about breast cancer prevention, we heard a panel of survivors speak in Mountain View, held walk/runs in California, New York and Washington, and participated in flash mobs to raise awareness in Dublin and London. On Wednesday, October 19, we renowned a global “Wear Pink, Think Pink Day.” We also encouraged donations (and gift matching!) to organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. You can see a photo album of all our activities below:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Read Your Shared Items in Google Reader

The latest Google Reader update detached all the social features, including the section that allowed you to read the items you've joint. Fortunately, the shared items page is still obtainable at (replace username with your Gmail username) and you can pledge to this page in Google Reader. Click "subscribe" and paste the URL of the shared items page. If you don't have a Gmail account, load the shared items feed in Reader, right-click "Your shared items" and copy the URL.

You can now use Google Reader's search box to find a post you've joint. Click the "All items" drop-down next to the search box, scroll down to the end of the list (or just press "End") and you'll discover the shared items feed.

To unsubscribe from this feed, you require to go to the settings page, click "Subscriptions", type "shared items" in the search box and click the "unsubscribe button".