Following the US elections on your phone

Saturday, August 23, 2008 | 12:42 AM

Elections in the US are coming, and the race is heating up. With Joe Biden just announced as the Democratic VP nominee, speculation is increasing about the Republican choice. To help you stay up to date on the latest election updates, we've set up a new one stop shop for your mobile electoral needs. Just go to m.google.com/elections on your mobile phone, and you can find these resources:

  • Mobile Search - Link to search results for Obama and McCain, so you don't have to type in their names on your phone each time you want information.
  • Mobile News - Read the latest! A handy link returns only elections-relevant news.
  • Mobile Reader - Are you subscribed to the Google Power Readers in Politics? If you're already following the reading lists of the presidential candidates or prominent political journalists on Google Reader, you can keep it up while you're on the go. Not yet subscribed? Manage your account and subscriptions on your desktop computer.
  • Mobile YouTube - Both presidential candidates have their own YouTube channels. Watch their latest clips of speeches and press conferences from your phone.
  • Mobile Maps - Are you going to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, or the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis? Make sure you've got Google Maps for mobile on your phone to help you get around town. (And if you're going, stop by and say hello! We'll be at both conventions.)

New Gears Geolocation API powers mobile web sites

Friday, August 22, 2008 | 12:24 AM

Imagine if web sites could provide you with customized information based on your current location, even if you don't have GPS. Today we're launching the Gears Geolocation API for mobile and desktop browsers, while two third-party developers are launching the first location-enabled web apps using this API on Windows Mobile.

One of the most popular travel sites in the Europe, lastminute.com, has now location-enabled their new mobile restaurant finder to help you find restaurants near you without requiring you to type in where you are. If you're in the UK, just go to fonefood at m.lastminute.com, click the "Find your location" link on the home page, select the type of restaurant you want, and lastminute.com will automatically work out which neighbourhood and city you are in and find matching restaurants. This is great for both UK residents and the millions of tourists who visit each year.



Rummble is a new social discovery tool where you can recommend places to visit and see personalised recommendations from friends. Just go to m.rummble.com and click on the "Update location with Gears" link on the home page to see the "Rummbles" near you.

These two apps make use of the Gears Geolocation API. The API can determine your location using nearby cell-towers or GPS for your mobile device or your computer's IP address for your laptop. Google provides this service for free to both developers and users.

Gears is available on IE Mobile on mobile and Internet Explorer and Firefox on desktop. To use the location-enabled lastminute.com and Rummble web apps you will need a Windows Mobile device that supports GPS or cell-id lookup (for example the Samsung Blackjack II and HTC Touch Dual, see supported devices FAQ). We are working hard to bring Gears to more mobile platforms, such as Android and others.

Google takes your privacy very seriously. Although Gears and the Geolocation API do not record your location, you should only allow web sites that you trust to access your location. Gears will always tell you when a site wants to access your location for the first time and you can either allow or deny that site permission. Always check the privacy policy of the web site if you are in doubt as to how they may use your location information.

If you are in the UK and have a supported Windows Mobile device visit m.lastminute.com and m.rummble.com today. The first time you use the location feature you will be prompted to download and install Gears.

This is a test -- ads on YouTube's mobile site

Monday, August 18, 2008 | 9:00 AM

Over the past year, we’ve focused on creating and delivering a full-featured YouTube mobile user experience. We think we've made great strides in doing this, allowing you to access YouTube wherever you are, whenever you want it. YouTube for mobile continues to grow exponentially, and today, people watch hundreds of millions of YouTube videos every month on mobile devices.

You may have noticed that we started running a test of display ads on select pages of the YouTube mobile site in the U.S. and Japan. This is our first step in testing mobile advertising for YouTube -- it will give you a new way to interact with content on the go, while allowing us to learn how video viewers engage with mobile advertising. Our test advertisers will also have an additional branding tool at their disposal and the opportunity to reach the millions of people who visit YouTube every day on their phones.

At YouTube, we are constantly testing new ways to deliver the kinds of ads that contribute to the user experience while making the most sense for advertisers, and we've learned a lot about what works for YouTube and what doesn't. We're excited to explore new approaches to mobile advertising, and will evaluate this test closely over the next several weeks to make sure we provide our community, our partners and advertisers with the most valuable and effective mobile experience possible.

orkut for S60, now with photo uploads and picture galleries

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 | 6:52 PM

When we launched the mobile (xhtml) version of orkut back in April on m.orkut.com, we were overwhelmed by its adoption.

However, Google always tries to build our products for a diverse group of users. Many people access orkut from their smartphones, many of which can support more advanced functionality. So today we are launching a new mobile orkut experience that is optimized for Symbian Series 60 (3rd edition) phones. The new orkut works on many popular phones, including Nokia's Nseries (N95, N82, etc.) and Samsung's SGH models. And we have added a bunch of new features including photo uploads, picture galleries, click-to-call, and quick friend searches. But the best part of it all - everything is available without the need to download any special client. Just open your phone browser, type http://m.orkut.com, and if you have a Symbian Series 60 3rd edition phone, you are good to go!

So go ahead and upload all those wonderful pictures you took at the beach or at the city's latest dancing spot, and then start calling your orkut friends to plan the next gathering.

And, don't forget to write to us and share your ideas for how we can make the orkut experience on your mobile phone even better.

Posted by Ankit Gupta, Software Engineer



Google Translate now for iPhone

Thursday, August 7, 2008 | 10:30 PM

A few months ago I was planning a vacation to Austria and Italy. I knew a few words and phrases in German and Italian, but that was about it. So I looked around for some portable language dictionaries. I thought Google Translate was great, but the web page didn't work that well on the iPhone. So I teamed up with David Singleton, a fellow engineer in our London office, to build an iPhone interface for Google Translate.

Google Translate for iPhone is optimized for speed, supports all of the existing Google Translate language pairs, and uses a client-side data-store on your iPhone to hang on to your past translations so you always have them at hand, even if you can't use the local data network. We wrote this using the AJAX Language API, so every time the Google Translate team updates the languages they support, the languages will automatically be added here.

I tried an early version of this interface out on my trip and it was great -- although my pronunciation wasn't. So every now and then, I would just hold up my phone to let people read what I couldn't. If you're wondering about data costs, I found that I could get between 200 and 400 translations in 1MB of data download. Although we don't charge for this service, your carrier may charge for the data usage so be sure to know what your roaming rates are. For my plan, I found that I could translate 400 phrases for less than $10 when roaming internationally.

To try Google Translate for iPhone, point your iPhone or iPod Touch web browser to www.google.com and choose the "more" tab. Or you can go directly to translate.google.com in your browser. If you are traveling this summer (perhaps on your way to Beijing?) we hope you find this useful.

On your mark, get set, go! Follow the Summer Games on your phone.

| 5:10 PM

It's that time again... time for the Summer Games to begin! It may still be August 7th here in Mountain View, but it's already August 8th in Beijing, and the Opening Ceremonies are getting ready to kick off another global celebration of athleticism. We marvel at the elegance of the swimmers, the power of the pole vaulters, and the artistry of the gymnasts. And of course, we cheer on our favorite athletes.

If you're like me you'll want quick updates for the Games all day long. (I'll be following Michael Phelps's gold medal quest, and I can't wait to see how the US swimming team does.) We've launched a new mobile search tool that gets you sport results, country medal count, and event schedules right at the top of your search results. Go to www.google.com on your phone and try a search for "swimming." You'll get something like this:

Once the events have begun, you'll be able to search for things like "gymnastics medals" or "Russia medal count" to get updated medal counts and rankings in your search results as well. Fast updates are now at your fingertips, and you don't even need to click through to an extra webpage.

Want to browse through all of the events? Go to
www.google.com/m/summergames on your mobile phone. You can discover sports you may not have even known were part of the Games, such as the new Cycling BMX event. Since the Summer Games are a worldwide event, we made this new search tool available in 36 languages and over 60 countries. Alors, par exemple, if you were in France you could browse on the French domain, or get the same search tool when you search for "natation."

We're also excited to announce our first-ever worldwide mobile doodle in celebration of the Summer Games. Go to the Google homepage on your phone to see it.

And for all that we're excited here on Mobile, this is far from the only tool you'll have for the Summer Games. Check out what else Google has to offer on our post on the Official Google Blog. And now... let the games begin!