Nearby Intersections on GOOG-411

Friday, May 29, 2009 | 10:18 AM

It is amazing how much information can be displayed on even the smallest map, yet we sometimes forget that geographic content is not always available visually.

If you're out and about, you can call GOOG-411 and get local information about businesses. Now we've made it even easier to orient yourself without a map in front of you: call GOOG-411, ask for 'details', and in addition to the address and phone number of the business, we'll also point you to the nearest street intersection or adjacent streets.

You can try it now: call 1-800-466-4411, look up 'Google in New York', ask us for more 'details', and we'll tell you that our Chelsea office is 'near the intersection with West 16th Street'. Unless you're a seasoned New Yorker, this might very well save you from walking up or down a few blocks.

The nearby intersections are available for most businesses in the US and Canada. They are derived automatically by an algorithm written on 20% time by Googlers in New York and London. Tell us other ways you would want to use this new feature -- we hope to expand it to other products soon!

Google Sync Beta - Now for S60

Wednesday, May 20, 2009 | 9:48 AM

We love to hear user feedback and one of the most common questions we get is, "When is this coming out for my phone?" Well, for those of you who have been asking about Google Sync for mobile on your Nokia S60 smartphone, we're happy to announce that you can now synchronize your Google Contacts and Calendars with your mobile device.

Google Sync offers two-way, over-the-air contacts and calendar synchronization. This means that you can make changes to your contacts and calendar on your phone or in your desktop Google account. Since Sync uses push technology, the changes should automatically appear within minutes. And your information is constantly syncing, so it's up-to-date and securely stored within your Google account, even if you lose your phone.

Please note: Google Sync for S60 requires Nokia software to be installed on the phone. We also recommend backing up your calendar and contacts before setting up Sync. To find out more about setting up Google Sync on Nokia S60 phones, please visit our help center.

To try Google Sync, visit from your desktop.

Posted by Jon Skeet and Douglas Gresham, Software Engineers, Google Mobile

The Iterative Web App - Gmail for Mobile Gets Labels

Monday, May 18, 2009 | 11:32 AM

On April 7th, we announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iPhone and Android-powered devices. Among the improvements was a complete redesign of the web application's underlying code which allows us to more rapidly develop and release new features that users have been asking for, as explained in our first post. We'd like to introduce The Iterative Webapp, a series where we will continue to release features for Gmail for mobile. Today: Labels. --Shyam Sheth, Product Manager, Google Mobile.

You asked for it, and we listened. We've added labels to Gmail for mobile on Android-powered devices and the iPhone. Labels in Gmail allow you to use color-coded tags to manage your inbox.

To label an email, select a message then tap 'Label as..." from the drop-down menu on the Floaty Bar. In the pop-up menu, select the label(s) you would like to use and tap 'Apply'. Please note, you can add and remove existing labels to your emails in Gmail for mobile, but labels can only be created, renamed and deleted in the desktop version.

To label your emails on the go, point your mobile browser to on your iPhone or Android-powered device. To make it easy to check your Gmail, try creating a home screen link. The new Gmail for mobile supports iPhone/iPod Touch OS 2.2.1 or above, as well as Android-powered devices, and is available for US English only.

Posted by Heaven Kim, Product Marketing Manager, Google Mobile

Google Product Search for Android now with Barcode Scanning

Thursday, May 14, 2009 | 9:55 AM

Since we launched Google Product Search for mobile a few weeks ago, I've been using it to check prices, reviews and product details on my Android phone. In addition to typing in my product searches, I've also had some fun speaking them. Sometimes, though, when I'm looking up a specific item in a store rather than a category of products (like "bluetooth headsets"), I'd rather just scan a barcode to see results for the exact product I'm searching for. That's why we've integrated barcode scanning with Google Product Search for mobile.

Here's how to get started. First, visit the Google Product Search for mobile homepage by going to in your browser and selecting 'Shopping' from the 'more' tab. Next, tap on the 'Scan Barcode' button to install the latest version of the Barcode Scanner app -- if you don't already have it -- from Android Market.

After you've installed the application, go back to Product Search in your browser and tap on the 'Scan Barcode' button again. Select "Use by default for this action" and tap on the Barcode Scanner option. After the app opens, center the red line over the barcode and hold the phone steady. When the barcode is read successfully, you'll see a Google Product Search results page back in the browser.

You can also access the scanner directly from the top of the Product Search results page by tapping on the barcode button.

Today, barcode scanning works best for products like electronics, books, movies or video games, but we're working on adding more barcodes for other items. Of course, if your scan does not return a result, you can always type in the product name just as before.

The integration of Barcode Scanner and Product Search for mobile is available in the US and UK, for Android-powered devices.

Behind the scenes of the NYC - Google mapping partnership

Wednesday, May 13, 2009 | 10:51 AM

(cross-posted with Google Lat-Long Blog)

In January New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a partnership between Google and NYC & Company, NYC’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization, to create a new website and high-tech information center. Using these new tools, you can now plan a trip to NYC from your home computer, transfer your itinerary to your cell phone, and then learn more at an information center.

A number of people have asked us about our role in the NYC partnership. We did not create and the Official NYC Information Center here at Google, as you'd probably expect. Rather, we provided NYC with our standard APIs and a bit of technical guidance, and NYC did the rest.

To help other cities and organizations gain a bit more insight into how NYC managed to create and the Official NYC Information Center, we put together this short video of interviews with principal members of the NYC project team.

Click here to learn more about the partnership between Google and NYC.

Sky Map for Android - A Mobile Planetarium

Tuesday, May 12, 2009 | 11:34 AM

I originally heard about Android on my first day at Google. A colleague and I were excited about all of the features that would be present in the platform, such as the GPS, compass, and motion sensors. As astronomy buffs, we talked about how cool it would be to use these features in a mobile application that would correctly display the sky based on your location and the direction you're facing.

Fast forward 12 months. We produced a "prototype" of the mapping application consisting of a phone, a compass, a level, and a map, and then convinced several others to join the project. Now that there was some excitement around the project, the real development could begin.

We were able to play around with a T-Mobile G1 test device in the office and were intrigued by all of the sensors that were available. The GPS and clock allowed us to generate maps for the exact time and location, but the compass and accelerometer were what made Sky Map truly interesting. Using these two sensors, the app can determine the exact direction that your phone is facing and display the stars that are visible. If you want to identify that bright star in the west, all you have to do is point the device in that direction and you'll see "Venus" appear on your screen.

Because we do work for Google, it was perfectly natural for us to add a search feature. We decided to use the location features in the Android platform to implement search in an easy-to-use way. You enter the name of an object of interest, like Saturn, and the phone displays an arrow pointing to the object. As you get closer, the color of the arrow goes from blue to red and the app circles the object when you find it. Voila!

This month is a great opportunity to do some planetary observing -- spot the elusive Mercury in the evening, see Jupiter and Neptune in same binocular field, or view Venus shining in the morning skies. Sky Map was designed to help you navigate the night sky, making months like this particularly exciting! Since 2009 is the International Year of Astronomy, there will be plenty of opportunity to show off the application to your friends.

Download Sky Map from the Android Market, and let us know what you think. We'd love to hear from you, both the good and the bad. You can leave comments here or in the Help Forum. 

Update: We have updated the version of Sky Map for Android in Android Market. We realize that some users were experiencing crashes or slow start-up times. This new version fixes these issues, so Sky Map should now work fine on all Android-powered phones. (May 13, 2009 10:10 pm PDT)

Kevin Serafini, Orbiting Software Engineer

YouTube uploads and more now available on Android

Wednesday, May 6, 2009 | 11:02 AM

If there is one thing I've always wanted, that is to be able to record and share special moments in my life, anytime, anywhere. Needless to say, I am quite excited that I can now pick up my Android-powered phone, start recording videos left and right- and then even upload them to Youtube!

Video uploads is just one of several new Google mobile features and improvements in the new Android 1.5 release:
  • YouTube: record and easily upload videos to YouTube.
  • Picasa Web Albums: upload photos directly to your Picasa Web Albums.
  • Gmail: multiple-thread selection to easily archive, delete, label or mute several threads at once.
  • Search by voice: improved speech recognition.

I seem to always forget my video camera when there's a funny moment that I wish I could record (like my facial expression after tasting a durian for the first time). Now I don't have to worry about that! I can record and play back videos whenever I have my phone with me, and I can easily share them or upload them to YouTube directly from my phone. It's easy- just tap 'share' and select YouTube.

What's more, YouTube gives me full control of my privacy, so I can decide if I want to make my videos available to the entire Web or just a subset of invited friends.

This Android update also enables easier Picasa uploading by reducing the number of clicks needed to share your pictures with others. Just like YouTube- after taking a picture tap 'share' when viewing a photo and select Picasa.

As someone who uses Gmail on the desktop, I appreciate the new 'batch edit' functionality on Android. Instead of selecting and archiving dozens of emails on my phone, one email at a time, I can now select multiple Gmail conversations and act on all of them as a group, saving time for the more important stuff.

And last but certainly not least, we've made it even easier to search with your voice by improving speech recognition. I've personally been surprised and entertained by the cute pictures that appear in my search results when speaking "pictures of Pygmy Marmosets" - give it a try!

New BlackBerry Enterprise Server Packages for Google Mobile applications

Tuesday, May 5, 2009 | 10:03 AM

This week a few of us are at RIM's Wireless Enterprise Symposium to talk with BlackBerry administrators about Google Mobile. Last night we announced the Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES). Today we're excited to announce the availability of new enterprise installation packages for Google Mobile App and Google Maps for mobile.

These enterprise installation packages allow BlackBerry administrators to deploy Google Mobile applications to corporate BlackBerry phones. Administrators have the option of using ALX packages to push applications to BlackBerry phones through BES. Alternatively, administrators can host JAD/COD packages on a private intranet so that employees can download applications from internal sites. BES administrators will need to configure their BlackBerry phones to allow applications from Google to be installed.

The ability to quickly search for information outside of the office is useful to workers on the go. With Google Mobile App, employees can search by voice, or otherwise quickly type queries by selecting query suggestions or past queries in their search history. Users can search for anything they can find on Google, such as stock quotes, product information, or weather. Google Mobile App also enables local search thanks to My Location -- just try searching for "pizza" or "hotel". Google Mobile App conveniently launches Google Maps, where it it is easy to get driving, transit, or walking directions.

If you're a BlackBerry administrator who is interested in deploying Google Mobile applications in your business, learn more at

Posted by Ryan Pollock, Product Marketing Manager

Use Google Apps seamlessly with corporate BlackBerry smartphones

Monday, May 4, 2009 | 2:50 PM

If your employer has provided you with a BlackBerry smartphone, you may be accustomed to its built-in email, calendar, and address book applications. The Google Apps Enterprise team has just announced that we will soon release Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server, which enables you to use these familiar applications with Google Apps.

Google Apps is our hosted solution for enterprise messaging and collaboration. It includes Gmail, Google Calendar, and more. Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server connects your BlackBerry Enterprise Server directly to the Google cloud, and creates a seamless experience between Google Apps and the built-in BlackBerry smartphone applications for mail, calendar, and address book. The Google Enterprise blog has more details about the offering.

If you're an IT administrator interested in Google Apps, you should know that Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry Enterprise Server is currently in beta testing with select companies and universities. We are targeting a July 2009 release for Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers, at no additional cost. This week we're at the Wireless Enterprise Symposium, so if you happen to be at WES, come visit us at Booth #105. We'll also be talking about Google Apps and other Google Mobile products at our breakout session tomorrow, so we hope to see you there!

Posted by Hong Zhang, Software Engineer

Do more with Google Latitude!

| 11:13 AM

When we launched Google Latitude a couple of months ago, we were flooded with feature suggestions. One frequent request was to allow you to share your location with even more people and not just your Latitude friends. Today, we're launching two applications that do just that!

  • Google public location badge lets you publish your Latitude location on your public website or blog. You can just embed the standard badge -- like this or you can use the KML or JSON feeds directly. Read more about the badge on our Blogger Buzz. When you enable this application, your location will be shared publicly and you will not be able to control who can or cannot see it. For your privacy, you may choose to share your best available location, share only your city-level location, or simply never enable the badge.
  • Google Talk location status (beta) lets you share your Latitude location with all your Gmail chat and Google Talk contacts. It will automatically update your status message to your current city as you move, and anyone who can chat with you will be able to see this location status. Of course, you can easily change back to your custom status message at any time.

Visit to enable these applications. They are two separate apps, so you can select which one(s) you'd like to use and customize exactly how you'd like to share your Latitude location. You must be an existing Google Latitude user; if you're not already, you can sign up here!

Please note that we take your privacy very seriously, and your location will not be shared with any application without your consent. Both apps adhere to the same terms and conditions -- you must explicitly opt in to the application and of course, you can always disable an app by going back to the app's page.

These applications are only available in the US for now, but they'll soon be ready for all the same languages and countries that Google Latitude supports.

Hope you enjoy these, and stay tuned for more Latitude goodies. Also, we love feedback, so please tell us what you think in our Help Forum or suggest ideas for apps on our Product Ideas page (be sure to include "Latitude" so we can search for them!).

Rohan Seth, Software Engineer, Google Mobile