The Really Big Google-Related News Roundup
Article by George Norman
On 29 Jun 2009
Here we put together all the Google-related news we did not have time to cover recently – just like we did about a week ago, when we put together the aptly named “The Big Google Related News Roundup.” This time we’ve upped the ante as we cover all the things we missed since last week until today – and you will see there is quite a lot of info to convey.

Taking a cue from Microsoft and its decision engine Bing, I thought I would bypass information overload by presenting you all this Google-related info in a succinct and to the point manner. So here it goes!

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Gmail for iPhone with Swipe-to-Archive

The Lowdown: the smartphone dedicated web application now features “swipe-to archive” functionality. The feature only works with Gmail for iPhone (no Android).

Official description: “After reading the subject of an email and the first line of the message, I often know if I don't need to open the email to read the rest. With swipe-to-archive, I can simply swipe my finger across the email in the inbox, either from left-to-right or right-to-left, and then tap on the red 'Archive' button when it appears,” says Software Engineer, Bikin Chiu.

AdSense for Mobile Announced

The Lowdown: Google has announced the release of a Beta version of AdSense for Mobile applications that will enable advertisers to reach potential customers via the mobile phone.

Official Description: “AdSense for Mobile Applications allows developers to earn revenue by displaying text and image ads in their iPhone and Android applications. For our beta launch, we've created a site where developers can learn more about the AdSense for mobile applications program, see answers to frequently asked questions and sign up to participate in our beta. Advertisers can also learn about the benefits of advertising in mobile applications. We're excited to open up this beta to more developers, and look forward to offering new features for our mobile advertisers and publishers in upcoming releases,” explained VP of Product Management, Susan Wojcicki.

Make the Web Faster

The Lowdown: As Google is constantly trying to make its services faster, it has issued a call to the rest of the world: “Let’s make the web faster”.

Official Description: “Over the years, through continuous experimentation, we've identified some performance best practices that we'd like to share with the web community on code.google.com/speed, a new site for web developers, with tutorials, tips and performance tools. We are excited to discuss what we've learned about web performance with the Internet community. However, to optimize the speed of web applications and make browsing the web as fast as turning the pages of a magazine, we need to work together as a community, to tackle some larger challenges that keep the web slow and prevent it from delivering its full potential,” explained Urs Hoelzle, SVP, Operations and Bill Coughran, SVP, Engineering.

Become a Gmail Ninja

The Lowdown: with Gmail Ninja you can learn various tips and tricks that will help you become a faster Gmail user. The tips are arranged according to your Ninja’s level: white belt (the most basic of tips), green belt, black belt and Gmail master (the most advanced tips).

Official Description: “Everybody has their own system for managing email, but some are definitely more efficient than others. Even if you only get a few messages a day, there are probably some simple things you can do to make it easier to get through your inbox and maybe even have a little fun along the way. We know time is valuable, so we asked lots of Googlers for their tips and tricks on how they make the most of Gmail, and we combined the best of these into a guide at www.gmail.com/tips, cheekily entitled "Become a Gmail Ninja." The tips are categorized into ninja belts based on how much mail you get each day,” explained Product Marketing Manager, Zach Yeskel.

Increased Gmail Attachment Size

The Lowdown: you can attach and send files up to 25MB using Gmail (formerly you could only send 20MB files).

Official Description: “With Gmail, you can send and receive messages up to 25 megabytes (MB) in size. Please note that you may not be able to send larger attachments to contacts who use other email services with smaller attachment limits. If your attachment bounces, you should invite them to Gmail,” explained Google.

Chrome 3.0 on the Dev Channel

The Lowdown: Chrome 3.0.190 has been released on the dev channel. The update comes to fix a bunch of bugs and crash issues affecting the browser.

Official Description: “Google Chrome 3.0.190 has been released to the Dev channel (Mac: 190.0, Windows: 190.1, Linux: 190.2),” explained Google Chrome Program Manager, Mark Larson.

Google and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)

The Lowdown: The EFF applauds Google’s commitment to look into how enabling the HTTPS protocol by default would make its Gmail, Google Docs and Google Calendars services safer (details here).

Official Description: “We're very pleased to hear that Google is trialing full HTTPS encryption of all Gmail pages. If Google's trials are successful, and the company does indeed make HTTPS encryption the default protocol for reading and writing Gmail messages, it will have taken a two-step lead on its competitors in the free webmail and social networking spaces,” explained Staff Technologist for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Peter Eckersley.

New YouTube Channel Design by July 15th

The Lowdown: YouTube has rolled out a new channels design; all new accounts will get this new design, while all existent accounts will be changed over by the 15th of July.

Official Description: “Starting today, all new accounts will automatically have the new version of channels. Want to try it out or start getting ready before July 15? Just click on the "Upgrade my channel!" link on your Channel Design page (and note that you can switch back anytime until July 15). Keep in mind that new channels are still in beta for now, so there may be a few elements missing here and there,” explained Product Manager, Brian Glick.

New Trailers Page on YouTube

The Lowdown: watch all your favorite movie trailers, and discover new movies coming out this summer, on the brand new Trailers page (visit here).

Official Description: “Summer is in full swing and that means summer movie season is right around the corner. Get a sneak peek at upcoming blockbusters by checking out our new Trailers page in the Movies section of our site. We have previews for some of the season's most anticipated films. We're adding new trailers frequently, so check back often,” explained Product Marketing Manager, Curtis Lee.

Experimental Google Maps Feature: City Tours

The Lowdown: Google Labs launched a new, experimental project called City Tours that could one day become an integral part of Google Maps.

Official Description: “[City Tours] helps you identify points of interest and plan multi-day trips to most major cities. You just specify the location of your hotel and the length of your trip and City Tours will map out an itinerary for you," explained Google.

Track Hurricanes with Google Earth

The Lowdown: you can track this year’s hurricanes using Google Earth, just like you did back in 2008.

Official description: “As we did last year, we've created a "Hurricane Season 2009" folder under "Weather" in Google Earth. This folder contains data that allows you to watch the storms develop and follow their progress. Within this folder, you'll find hourly-updated storm tracks courtesy of the National Hurricane Center, which include forecasted storm center positions and storm track areas,” explained Pete Giencke and Cris Castello, GIS Data Engineers.

Google Voice Invites Are Being Sent Out

The Lowdown: Anyone who requested an invite to Google Voice, the application that helps you better manage your voice communications, will get one as the Redmond-based company has started to send them out last week.

Official Description: “We are happy to share that Google Voice is beginning to open up beyond former GrandCentral users. If you requested an invitation on the Google Voice site or previously on GrandCentral, keep your eye out for an invite email. Once you receive your invitation, just click on the link and follow the instructions to setup your new Voice account,” explained Product Managers with Google Voice, Craig Walker and Vincent Paquet.

Recover Your Google Password via SMS

The Lowdown: you can associate a mobile phone number to your Google Account and you will receive a text message with a password-reset code. This feature is only available in the US of A.

Official Description: “Since most people use cell phones these days, we decided text messaging would be an easy, convenient addition to our password recovery options. To set up password recovery via your mobile phone, just sign in to your account and click Change Password Recovery Options. Enter your mobile phone number and current password and then click Save. If you lose access to your account for any reason, you'll be able to regain access by entering a code we'll send in a text message,” explained Google.

Android Native Development Kit (NDK)

The Lowdown: Google has released the Android NDK that will give developers the ability to call into native code from their Android apps.

Official Description: “I'm glad to announce that developers can now download the Android Native Development Kit from the Android developer site. As you know, Android applications run in the Dalvik virtual machine. The NDK allows developers to implement parts of these applications using native-code languages such as C and C++. This can provide benefits to certain kinds of applications,” explained Google’s David Turner.

Google Believed Michael Jackson’s Demise To Be an Attack

The Lowdown: As we’ve previously reported, Michael Jackson’s demise had quite an influence on the interenet, but we never knew that Google initially labeled this news as an automated attack.

Official Description: “The spike in searches related to Michael Jackson was so big that Google News initially mistook it for an automated attack. As a result, for about 25 minutes yesterday, when some people searched Google News they saw a "We're sorry" page before finding the articles they were looking for,” explained Director of Product Management, R.J. Pittman.



Tags: Google
About the author: George Norman
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