Popular Images on Google Image Search for mobile

Thursday, January 28, 2010 | 4:05 PM

Google is always looking to make it easier for you to search and explore the web on your phone. We recently launched Near me now, which lets you explore what's around you from the Google home page, and a category browse feature on Local Search with categorized business listings. Today, we're happy to announce Popular Images which lets you browse and find interesting images.

This feature is accessible from Google Image Search on Android-powered devices and iPhones in the US. To try it out, go to www.google.com on your phone browser and click on "Images". Under the search box, you will see a few of the top images along with a link to "Browse Popular Images".

Clicking the link opens up a categorized list of image searches and corresponding images.

We have organized popular images across a few categories like Movies, Sports, Cars & Bikes, Music, and Cartoons. You can click on individual categories to see related images corresponding to what's popular on Google Image Search. The queries are automatically categorized with an algorithm that will continue to improve over time. One special category is Trends, which shows image queries from Google Trends that have especially high recent activity.

Give it a try and have fun exploring images.

New Click to Call Phone Numbers in Mobile Ads

| 1:01 PM

Sometimes when you're searching for a local business on your mobile device, you're not looking for their website, but rather to connect by phone. After searching for a restaurant, you might want to call and make a reservation. Or, after searching for a video store, you might want to find out if they have the video you want. Calling the business is now easier thanks to a feature that allows advertisers to add a clickable local phone number to their mobile ads. If you're using an iPhone, Android, or other smartphone, you just click the number to call the business.
What's more, the ads and phone numbers you see are based on your location. So, if a store or restaurant has multiple locations, you'll be calling the nearest one, and not making reservations in some other city. You can use My Location to make sure you get search results that are tailored to your location.

Of course, if you're going to be in another city next week and you want to call ahead to make your reservation, include the city in your search query to get the most relevant results.

If you're an advertiser and would like to learn more about how to add a clickable phone number to your ads that appear on mobile devices, check out this post on the Inside AdWords blog for more details.

Google Voice comes to iPhone and Palm WebOS

Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | 7:58 AM

A few weeks ago, Alex Nicolaou, Engineering Manager, wrote about the benefits of the fast and feature-rich iterative web app. Delivering Google services via mobile browsers has worked well for the Gmail team, so we decided to follow the same approach with Google Voice.

Today, we're excited to introduce the Google Voice web app for the iPhone and Palm WebOS devices. This HTML5 application provides you with a fast and versatile mobile experience for Google Voice because it uses the latest advancements in web technologies. For example, AppCache lets you interact with web apps without a network connection and local databases allow you to store data locally on the device, so you don't lose data even when you close the browser.

One of the great benefits of web applications is that you don't need to download and install an app on your phone. Instead, simply point your mobile browser to m.google.com/voice and sign in to your Google Voice account.

Then you can make calls from your phone that show your Google Voice number as the caller ID. You can also listen to voicemail and read voicemail transcripts, send and receive text messages for free, and take advantage of the low international call rates offered by Google Voice.

For quick access to the most important features like "Dialer", "Compose SMS", "Inbox" or "Contacts," you can add shortcuts to your iPhone home screen or Palm Launcher -- so cheap calls and messaging will be just a single click away. And because the Google Voice web app uses advanced features of modern HTML5 browsers, it offers native app-like performance and speed.

For more information visit m.google.com/voice or take a look at the Google Mobile Help Center. Please note, the web app is compatible with all versions of Palm WebOS and iPhone OS 3.0 and higher.

A Google Voice account is required to use the app, and Google Voice is currently only available in the United States. To learn more about Google Voice or request an invite, visit www.google.com/voice or read the Google Voice blog.

Optimized Search Suggestions using your location

Thursday, January 14, 2010 | 2:38 PM

Typing a query into the search box on a phone can often be slow and difficult. For this reason, relevant search suggestions that match your intended query can meaningfully reduce the time and effort it takes to submit a search. Today in the US, we are happy to announce an improvement to Google.com search suggestions offered on Android powered devices and iPhone. Now, Google will offer suggestions based on the phone's current or last location, making the suggestions more relevant.

For example, when users in the Boston metro area begin typing "Muse", suggestions such as "museum of science boston" and "museum of fine arts boston" are provided because people near Boston frequently look for these very popular museums. On the other hand, users in San Francisco who begin their query with "Muse" will see suggestions for museums in the San Francisco area. By using the device's current or most recent location, Google is able to offer even better, more useful suggestions than ever before. To try this yourself, go to google.com on your phone's browser and start typing a query to see the new location-optimized suggestions. Make sure you have turned on "Save recent locations" and "Allow use of device location" under the Settings link on the google.com home page.

Update @ 4:50 PM: Note that you may have to refresh google.com in your phone browser to see the new optimized suggestions.

Search your BlackBerry email and contacts with Google Mobile App

| 9:00 AM

If you have a BlackBerry and use the built-in Messages and Contacts apps, you can now search the email and contacts on your device using the new version of Google Mobile App.

Just type (or speak) your query - perhaps the name of the person who sent you the mail or a phrase from the text - and Google Mobile App will search through the emails and contacts on your device and return the results. You can quickly reply to an email or forward it on.

You can also quickly call, SMS, or email contacts by typing the first few letters of your contact's first or last name, and then pressing the corresponding button. Google Mobile App will suggest contacts as you type and you can scroll down to select one. Google Mobile App will promote the people you contact frequently to the top of the suggestions list.

To switch between on-device results (email and contacts) and web results (from Google), click on the link underneath the search box.

If you'd rather Google Mobile App not search your email and contacts, you can turn off Phone Search in the options screen. Google Mobile App does not send information about your contacts or content from your emails to Google. This data is only accessed on your device.

Searching email requires BlackBerry OS version 4.5 or higher. Searching contacts is available on BlackBerry OS 4.2 and higher.

The new version of Google Mobile App also includes other improvements, such as the ability to use your BlackBerry's Wi-Fi connection to access the Internet.

To download Google Mobile App to your BlackBerry, visit m.google.com. Learn more in our help center.

Finding places "Near me now" is easier and faster than ever on Google.com

Thursday, January 7, 2010 | 3:28 PM

Last month, Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering, demonstrated at the Computer History Museum the ability to search by using your location as the query. Starting today, you can try this yourself by going to Google.com in your iPhone or Android browser and clicking on "Near me now" once your location has been provided by your phone.

"Near me now" was designed to address two user problems. First, we wanted to make it fast and easy to find out more about a place in your immediate vicinity, whether you're standing right in front of a business or if it's just a short walk away. For example, you may want to know what other customers think about a restaurant before you go inside (see quick video below) or what they have been raving about on the menu before you order. By selecting the "Explore right here" option, you can find out more about a place "right here" with just a few clicks.

Second, we wanted to make searching for popular categories of nearby places really simple. Imagine that you emerge from the subway station and you want to grab a coffee, but you don't see a coffee shop around you. You can simply search for all nearby coffee shops by using "Near me now". To search other categories of places not shown, "Browse more categories" provides access to our local search product with more category choices.

"Near me now" is currently available in the US for iPhone (OS 3.x) or Android-powered devices with version 2.0.1 or later. You must first enable location in order for "Near me now" to appear, and "Explore right here" works only if the phone provides location accuracy within approximately a city block.

Introducing Nexus One

Tuesday, January 5, 2010 | 10:29 AM

We're very excited about today's launch of Nexus One, the newest Android-powered phone running the latest Android 2.1 software. Nexus One comes with all your favorite Google Mobile apps pre-installed: find the classics like Search, Maps, Gmail, YouTube and Google Talk, with additional goodies like Maps Navigation and Google Voice. With its 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon™ chipset, these apps are speedier than ever before.

Additionally, Nexus One has a few cool new features like a voice-enabled keyboard for any text field; this way, you can speak to your phone and it does the text messaging, email writing, or search querying for you. Try adding the new YouTube widget to one of the five customizable home screen panels to quickly access the videos you want with just a few clicks. Explore your Picasa Web Albums with the 3D interface of the new Cooliris Gallery application. With Nexus One's 3.7" AMOLED display, your videos, apps, and photos are larger, clearer, and sharper.

To learn more about Nexus One, visit google.com/phone.