Google Products News - r#d

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Extra screen space in Docs and Sites

posted 14 Aug 2012, 04:03 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 14 Aug 2012, 04:03 ]


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via Google Apps update alerts by Google Apps Team on 6/12/12

Starting this week, the new Google bar look will be rolling out to all Google Apps users. As a part of this launch the Google bar will not show while viewing or editing Docs or Sites. This change frees up space on the screen.

Editions included:
Google Apps, Google Apps for Business, Government and Education

Languages included:
All languages supported
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Google Products News by perjury is dead...

posted 30 Mar 2012, 07:34 by Philip Ridout

Long live Google Products News by perjury !

I have decided to discontinue updating this announcements page on Sitesguide in favour of using the content curation tool

In future, I will post items that I think are of particular interest about Google products on this site:

Please 'follow' this page or subscribe to its RSS feed.

Crossing the 50 billion km mark and giving Google Maps for Android a fresh look

posted 28 Mar 2012, 16:35 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 28 Mar 2012, 16:35 ]


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via The Official Google Blog by A Googler on 3/28/12

Every day, millions of people turn to Google Maps for Android for free, voice-guided GPS navigation to guide them to their destination. So far, Navigation on Google Maps for Android has provided 50 billion kilometers of turn-by-turn directions, the equivalent of 130,000 trips to the moon, 334 trips to the sun, 10 trips to Neptune or 0.005 light years! When getting to your destination matters most, Google Maps for Android will get you there:

A new look for Navigation on Android 4.0+ phones
In today’s release of Google Maps 6.5 for Android we’ve redesigned the Navigation home screen in Android 4.0+ to make it easier to enter a new destination or select from recent and favorite locations by swiping left or right.

Left: New Navigation home screen   Right: Navigation in Google Maps for Android

Crisper, faster maps for high pixel density devices
If your device has a high pixel density screen, such as those on Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S II, Droid Razr and others, you’ll now get higher resolution map tiles that take better advantage of the pixels-per-inch on your screen. The result is a crisper, less cluttered map that is easier to read:

Left: Previous style Right:New style in Google Maps 6.5 for Android

Compare our new map on the right to the previous map on the left. The road network is easier to see, less obstructed by labels, and has more color contrast. At more zoomed-in levels, you’ll notice a more controlled amount of maps labels to avoid cluttering the map and blocking out street names. The new style also helps maps react faster to panning, zooming and twisting.

You'll start seeing the new style as you navigate around new areas on the map; however, you can see these changes immediately by clearing your cache from the Maps settings.

Pick your preferred public transit mode and route option
Google Maps 6.5 for Android now lets you choose to prioritize a particular transit mode (such as the bus or subway) and route option (like taking the recommended route, one with fewer transfers or one with less walking). Whether you just need to get somewhere as fast as possible, or you want to avoid the risk of a missed connection or you prefer not to tire your legs, you can get the transit directions that best suit you. Transit directions and schedules are available for 475 cities around the world.

To start using Google Maps 6.5 for Android, download the update from Google Play. Learn more about how to use other great features of Google Maps for Android on the redesigned Google Maps YouTube channel that has 12 new videos available today.

Posted by Harlan Hile, Software Engineer

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)


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Giving you more insight into your Google Account activity

posted 28 Mar 2012, 16:35 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 28 Mar 2012, 16:35 ]


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via The Official Google Blog by A Googler on 3/28/12

Every day we aim to make technology so simple and intuitive that you stop thinking about it—we want Google to work so well, it just blends into your life. But sometimes it’s helpful to step back and take stock of what you’re doing online.

Today we’re introducing Account Activity, a new feature in your Google Account. If you sign up, each month we’ll send you a link to a password-protected report with insights into your signed-in use of Google services.

For example, my most recent Account Activity report told me that I sent 5 percent more email than the previous month and received 3 percent more. An Italian hotel was my top Gmail contact for the month. I conducted 12 percent more Google searches than in the previous month, and my top queries reflected the vacation I was planning: [rome] and [hotel].

Click the image for a larger version

Knowing more about your own account activity also can help you take steps to protect your Google Account. For example, if you notice sign-ins from countries where you haven’t been or devices you’ve never owned, you can change your password immediately and sign up for the extra level of security provided by 2-step verification.

Give Account Activity a try, and tell us what you think by clicking on the “Send feedback” button in the lower right corner of your report. Over the next few months, we plan to incorporate more Google services. Meanwhile, we hope this feature helps you better understand and manage your information on Google.

Posted by Andreas Tuerk, product manager


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Star and label messages before you send them

posted 16 Mar 2012, 13:35 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 16 Mar 2012, 13:35 ]

What a shame this doesn't allow use of superstars. Maybe they'll add it later


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via Gmail Blog by The Gmail Team on 3/14/12

Posted by Craig Prince, Software Engineer

Have you ever sent an important email that you wanted to follow up on, but a couple days later realized you hadn’t? Starting today, you can organize your messages before sending them by starring them or adding a label, making it easy to keep track of your sent messages.

When composing a new message, you can assign labels or star it by using the labels drop-down menu. As you’d expect, recipients of messages organized this way won’t see your labels or stars.


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New Google +1 Buttons

posted 10 Mar 2012, 08:35 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 10 Mar 2012, 08:35 ]


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via Google Operating System by Alex Chitu on 3/7/12

The ubiquitous +1 buttons will soon have a new look. The updated version is available when you subscribe to the Google+ Platform Preview, at least for now.

"Following in the footsteps of our new red and white Google+ icon, the +1 button is sporting a fresh coat of paint," informs Google.

While the new buttons are more consistent and include the Google+ branding, the old buttons are more colorful and more descriptive. "+1" is bigger and more obvious in the old buttons and that made them more clickable.

Here's the tiny +1 button from Google+:

... and here's the +1 button from Google Groups:

The small +1 buttons are not legible and it's not obvious that you're supposed to click them. As Fernando Fonseca says, "I understand the need to have a button that looks like the new logo but the problem is that a white background with a thin red line is hardly eye catching and hardly says 'Click me'."

You can compare the different versions of the +1 (v1) and +1 (v2) using the corresponding sprites. I'd choose the old buttons.

Update: There's still time to improve the buttons. Share your feedback here and here.

{ Thanks, Yu-Hsuan Lin. }


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Gmail's New Loading Screen

posted 10 Mar 2012, 08:35 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 10 Mar 2012, 08:35 ]


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via Google Operating System by Alex Chitu on 3/7/12

Sometimes little things can make a difference. Gmail's updated loading screen makes Google's mail service look more like a native app and the transition to the actual interface is much smoother. The progress bar and the "loading" message are now centered and no longer look like an afterthought.

In the new Gmail interface you'll also see the loading page when you pick a different theme and that's annoying.

If you have a slow internet connection, you can enable the "inbox preview" lab feature to see a preview of the inbox while you wait for Gmail to load.

{ Thanks, Herin, James, John and Jonah. }


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Google's Thank You Notes

posted 10 Mar 2012, 08:35 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 10 Mar 2012, 08:35 ]


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via Google Operating System by Alex Chitu on 3/7/12

Google sometimes displays some annotations below search snippets. Showing that one of the people you trust +1'd a page is useful and might help you decide to click a search result.

Now Google also adds a link that lets you send a thank you note to the person that +1'd page: "Your +1 helped me find this. Thank you!". It's a cute idea and this also helps Google find the recommendations that were really useful, but the links clutter Google's results pages. Maybe Google could show the "thank you" link when you +1 the page.

Another issue is that social annotations aren't necessary when it comes to the top result for a navigational query. Most people that search for [Yahoo] want to visit Yahoo's homepage or use services like Yahoo Mail, Yahoo News, so the annotations for these results are unnecessary. It's probably a better idea to show the annotations less often and only for the results that deserve to be highlighted.

{ via Search Engine Roundtable }


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Introducing Google Play: All your entertainment, anywhere you go

posted 6 Mar 2012, 16:35 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 6 Mar 2012, 16:35 ]


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via Google Mobile Blog by Effie Seiberg on 3/6/12

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

Entertainment is supposed to be fun. But in reality, getting everything to work can be the exact opposite—moving files between your computers, endless syncing across your devices, and wires…lots of wires. Today we’re eliminating all that hassle with Google Play, a digital entertainment destination where you can find, enjoy and share your favorite music, movies, books and apps on the web and on your Android phone or tablet. Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again.

With Google Play you can:
  • Store up to 20,000 songs for free and buy millions of new tracks
  • Download more than 450,000 Android apps and games
  • Browse the world’s largest selection of eBooks
  • Rent thousands of your favorite movies, including new releases and HD titles
Starting today, Android Market, Google Music and the Google eBookstore will become part of Google Play. On your Android phone or tablet, we’ll be upgrading the Android Market app to the Google Play Store app over the coming days. Your videos, books and music apps (in countries where they are available) will also be upgraded to Google Play Movies, Google Play Books and Google Play Music apps. The music, movies, books and apps you’ve purchased will continue to be available to you through Google Play—simply log in with your Google account like always.

To celebrate, we’ll be offering a different album, book, video rental and Android app at a special price each day for the next week in our “7 Days to Play” sale. In the U.S., today’s titles include the collection of top 40 hits Now That's What I Call Music 41, the popular game Where's My Water, the novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and the movie Puncture for just 25 cents each. In addition, you'll find great collections of hip-hop, rock and country albums for $3.99 all week, detective novels from $2.99, some of our editorial team's favorite movies from 99 cents, and our favorite apps from 49 cents.

In the U.S., music, movies, books and Android apps are available in Google Play. In Canada and the U.K., we’ll offer movies, books and Android apps; in Australia, books and apps; and in Japan, movies and apps. Everywhere else, Google Play will be the new home for Android apps. Our long-term goal is to roll out as many different types of content as possible to people around the world, and we’ll keep adding new content to keep it fresh.

To learn more, head over to or keep up with the latest on our Google+ page. If you’re headed to Austin later this week for South by Southwest, come to the Google Village to see Google Play in action. We can’t wait for you to try Google Play and experience a simpler way to manage your entertainment.

Posted by Jamie Rosenberg, Director of Digital Content


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Open email links directly in Gmail using Chrome

posted 28 Feb 2012, 04:35 by Philip Ridout   [ updated 28 Feb 2012, 04:35 ]


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via Gmail Blog by The Gmail Team on 2/27/12

Posted by Michael Davidson, Software Engineer

I used to avoid clicking on email links on the web because an application on my computer that I never used would pop up and interrupt me. Instead, I would copy the email address, switch to Gmail, click compose and paste it in.

Starting today, thanks to the magic of HTML5 things are getting simpler. Now, when you go to Gmail in Chrome, you will be asked if you want Gmail to open all email links. Say yes, and clicking on email links in any application on your computer will open a fresh Gmail compose window.

You can set Gmail as your default mail client in Firefox and Internet Explorer, too.


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