Transit directions: Now on S60 & Windows Mobile

Wednesday, July 30, 2008 | 11:38 AM

A few weeks ago we released Google Maps for mobile with Transit directions for BlackBerry and Java-based handsets. Now, with the release of version 2.2 of the application for Symbian S60 (3rd edition or later) and Windows Mobile (2005 or later), we're happy to say that Transit directions will be available to a bunch more smartphone users around the world.

Transit directions on these platforms work just like they do on the BlackBerry version of the app (watch the demo video). Simply bring up Directions from the main menu and you'll see a second tab labeled Transit (or Public Transport), where you can request a route using only public transportation. You'll receive a number of alternatives that take you (car-free) to your destination. Transit directions are available on Google Maps in more than 50 cities. So whether you live in or are passing through Zurich, Ottawa, Bordeaux or Chicago -- and plenty of places in between -- you can have Transit schedules in your pocket at all times. Stay tuned as we continue working with transit agencies to support more and more cities across the globe!

You'll find a number of other features in this new version of Google Maps for mobile for WinMo and S60: star-ratings for businesses will help you get a feel for what other people think, your search results show up faster than ever, and user-generated content will now surface in your search results -- opening up a whole new world of geo content on your phone. Look for the blue result markers when you search for "ruins in london," for example.

To get this latest version of Google Maps for mobile with Transit, simply point your mobile browser to Happy trails.

Gmail for iPhone with Richer UI now in 17 more languages

Thursday, July 24, 2008 | 6:43 PM

If you use Gmail in Chinese (Simplified or Traditional), Danish, Dutch, UK English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil or Portugal), Russian, Spanish, or Swedish you can now access a richer Gmail experience for your iPhone that was previously only available in US English. While you've been able to access the integrated for iPhone in many languages since May, you'll now see a multilingual version of Gmail for iPhone that leverages the AJAX capabilities of the iPhone browser and features address autocomplete, a smoother UI, and mail pre-fetching.

This version of Gmail for iPhone also includes performance and reliability enhancements including faster loading and better support for reading your email in both portrait and landscape modes. These improvements have also been rolled out in US English, as well as for Google Apps email users.

To try out the updated Gmail for iPhone in your language, go to (or the Google Mail site for your country) in your desktop browser, sign in to your Google account, select "Settings," and change your "Gmail display language" to your desired language. Then, go to in your iPhone or iPod Touch web browser, select the "Gmail" tab, and sign in.

Google Apps users can go to in your desktop browser and then in your iPhone browser, where "" is replaced with your actual domain name.


Mobile Tricks with the Google Mobile App

Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | 1:30 PM

It turns out we're not the only ones excited about the new Google Mobile App for iPhone and iPod Touch. Adam Pash, of the productivity blog Lifehacker, shows off how he uses the Google Mobile App.

Our friends at Blendtec got a new 3G iPhone and loaded it up with the Google Mobile App... and you can guess what happened next.

Keep your submissions coming! Remember, they should have the Mobile Tricks slides at the beginning and end of the clip, so we can feature them on our Mobile Tricks YouTube channel.

Posted by Effie Seiberg, Mobile Trickster

New updates to for the iPhone

Friday, July 18, 2008 | 5:54 PM

Unless you're living on a deserted island -- and maybe even if you are -- you know about Apple's 3G iPhone and App Store launch last week. Hopefully you know about the Google Mobile App that we launched last week, as well. And some of you may have noticed that we also released a new version of for the iPhone and iPod touch.

At Google, improving the speed of our applications and user experience is a top priority. The new for the iPhone browser now loads twice as fast as before -- and not just over 3G or Wi-Fi but also EDGE. We've optimized the page for fast searching, while still providing easy access to other Google applications including Gmail, Calendar, Reader, and many others under the More tab. We also improved the user interface so that there's more room on the page for search results. Take a look at the screen shot below to see how we've eliminated wasted space.

Also, when you click on a search result, the destination web site now opens in the same browser window that you conducted your search with. This means that you can instantly return to your search results or the Google home page by simply pressing the back button of your browser.

Finally, you can now access any of the application tabs directly by adding them to your iPhone Home Screen. We've created cool new icons for all the applications. Simply go to in your browser, tap on any of the application tabs, click the "+" button, and select "Add to Home Screen." The icons will appear on your iPhone Home Screen allowing you to go directly to the application with a tap of your finger. Collect the whole set!

The new version of works on your 3G iPhone as well as the original iPhone and iPod touch. If you use Google Apps, you can also access this new version by going to, where "" is replaced with your actual domain name.

Rate and Review Businesses from Your Phone

Wednesday, July 16, 2008 | 7:22 PM

Last Saturday I had dinner at a hole-in-the-wall Vietnamese restaurant in San Francisco's Richmond District. While it didn't look like much from the outside, the inside displayed a variety of Southeast Asian antiques and the walls were adorned with tapestries and bamboo. Our waiter was friendly and attentive and the phở was the best I've had in the city -- just the right amount of spice tempered with bean sprouts and fresh cilantro. When I finished my meal, I took out my phone and wrote a five-star review on Google. By the time the check came, my review was already incorporated into the business listing.

Now you can share your opinions on local businesses by rating and reviewing them right from your mobile phone. It's easy, fast, and a great way to pass the time while you're waiting for the check! Here's all you have to do:

  • Go to on your mobile browser
  • Search for the business by name and location like "pot pho sf ca”
  • Click on the business name on the results page to view details
  • Scroll down and click on "Sign in to write/edit your review"
This new mobile feature uses the same database found on Google Maps on the desktop, so when you rate and review a business from your phone, your opinions are also published to the millions of Google Maps users around the world. You can even click on the My Profile link in Maps to see all of the businesses you've reviewed.

For now, this feature is available on non-iPhone handsets in the US. Stay tuned for an iPhone version and international coverage.

Magic Mobile Tricks

Friday, July 11, 2008 | 11:27 AM

We've got some more cool submissions on Mobile Tricks, our new YouTube channel celebrating everything that can be done with a mobile phone. Today's theme is magic.

Did you see Marco Tempest's magic trick about bending space and time last week? Here's how he did it.

Want more magic? YouTube magician Rizqi shows off how to earn back the cost of your phone...

... and YouTuber subsynchronous turns on the phone's new X-Ray powers. Amazing!

We love your submissions! Keep sending in your best mobile tricks.

Searching on an iPhone can be fun

Thursday, July 10, 2008 | 9:51 AM

You probably agree that nothing can be made too easy. We've been dreaming of ways to make searching on phones easier and more fun.

Today, we're showing off our first native app for the iPhone and iPod touch -- Google Mobile App. It combines powerful Google services with a slick interface, so you can find what you're looking for faster and more easily.

Google Mobile App gives you a single text box to search through your contacts and the web. As soon as you start typing, it scours Google for things to help you. These could be typing suggestions, website suggestions or easy access to a search you made before. Google Mobile App even searches as you type so that you see results as soon as you finish typing. Over time, the App remembers the things you do most and puts them at the top. Finally, Google Mobile App also uses the My Location feature to detect your current location and show nearby businesses on a map.

If you use other Google mobile products you'll find them through the "Explore more" button - all in one place.

Watch this video to see Google Mobile App in action.

To get Google Mobile App, tap the App Store icon on your iPhone, or open iTunes, and search for 'Google Mobile'. You need to have the latest iPhone software update to see the App Store. Google Mobile App is currently only available in the US App Store, but will be available in other countries very soon.

New MMA-compliant mobile image ads

Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | 10:42 PM

Back in April, we launched our mobile image ads based on the recommended guidelines of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). At about the same time, the MMA published its new mobile advertising guidelines. The new guidelines set forth suggested sizes for image ads that were different from its previous guidelines, so our image ad sizes were not in line with the new recommendations.

We're delighted to announce that our mobile image ads are now MMA-compliant. Google mobile image ads now come in six sizes -- three sizes for each of two different aspect ratios: 6x1 and 4x1. We've also increased our file size allowances so you can do even more with your advertising creatives. Watch the video below to see a comparison of the old and new image ad sizes.

We think that working with industry standards like those proposed by the MMA will help us create the best experience for our advertisers and users. We will continue to work with the MMA to ensure consistency between our formats and future guidelines.

And don't worry, if you have an ad in an old format that's already uploaded to your account, it will continue to run. From here on out, though, we'll be accepting uploads only in the MMA-compliant formats. To take a look at our new offering, refer to our mobile image ads example page. You can also get a refresher on our mobile image ads policies.

Google Talk for the iPhone

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 | 4:57 PM

We've just released in the US a new version of Google Talk designed specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch browsers. In addition to sending your friends Gmail messages from your iPhone, you can now chat with them while you're on the move, too! In your iPhone browser, just go to, sign in and start chatting. That's it. Google Talk runs entirely in the browser so there's no need to download or install anything.

There are some differences from using Google Talk on your computer. For instance, in order to receive instant messages with Google Talk on your iPhone, the application needs to be open in your Safari browser. When you navigate away to another browser window or application, your status will be changed to "unavailable" and your Google Talk session will be restarted when you return.

Other than that, we've tried to keep the design as faithful to the desktop experience as possible, so it should be familiar to you. You can select from a quicklist of the people you contact most, search your contacts, and manage multiple conversations. You'll never have to miss out on the latest gossip or updates from friends just because you're away from a computer.

Nicely said: Google Maps for mobile with voice search on BlackBerry Pearl

| 8:33 AM

On the Google Maps for mobile team we're always experimenting with new technologies, so we're happy to announce that we've started testing voice search as a new feature. Starting today, you can speak your business query instead of typing it on a select group of BlackBerry devices (Pearl 8110, 8120, and 8130, US only). Voice search in Google Maps uses the same speech recognition engine as GOOG-411, our free directory assistance service.

Using your voice to search for businesses is super useful in situations when you can't type, when the name of the business is long, or when you're not sure how to spell it. In other situations -- when you're in a library or a rock concert, for example -- typing makes more sense. Keeping that in mind, we designed this feature to allow you to choose whether to speak or type. Get it now on your BlackBerry Pearl by visiting on your mobile phone, or learn more here.

Using voice search is as simple as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Press "0" to center the map view around your location
  2. Press the left-side key and hold it while you say the name or type of business you're looking for (for example, "pizza")
  3. When you're done speaking, release the left-side key, and our voice recognition technology will figure out your request and find the business you've been looking for, no typing needed.

This feature is experimental, which means a couple of things. First, similar to other voice-recognition technologies, the accuracy of voice recognition will improve over time as more people use the voice search feature. Second, the feature is currently only supported on 8110, 8120 and 8130 BlackBerry Pearl models in the US. Third, we'd love to get your feedback on it -- feel free to leave your comments below.

Update (8/12/08): we've been busy fixing bugs and adding support for BlackBerry 8100, so now voice search works on all Pearl devices. Hopefully, this will resolve any issues some of you might have had before. You can check out the updated version from any BlackBerry Pearl device in the US -- point your mobile browser to

Getting away with Mobile Tricks

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | 5:10 PM

We've got some exciting submissions on Mobile Tricks, our new YouTube channel celebrating everything that can be done with a mobile phone. Today's theme is "getting away."

You can get away from that annoying guy who keeps trying to friend you on MySpace (from the comedy group The Vacationeers)...

...get away with a good deal (thanks to Jenny Hsieh, a student at Art Center)...

... or even get away with a pretty cool magic trick (courtesy of Marco Tempest, the Virtual Magician).

Can you figure out how he did it? Look for the reveal -- and more great videos -- next week.