Google Docs viewer on Mobile Browsers

Monday, June 28, 2010 | 11:38 AM

(Cross-posted with the Google Docs Blog)

Last week, we announced that the Google Docs viewer supports .doc and .docx attachments. Today we’re also releasing a mobile version of the Google Docs viewer for Android, iPhone and iPad to help you view PDFs, .ppt, .doc and .docx files you’ve uploaded to your documents list, without needing to download the file.

With our mobile viewer you can switch quickly between pages and pan/zoom within a page. On your iPhone and iPad, you can pinch to zoom in or out.

You can try it out by going to docs.google.com on your Android-powered device, iPad or iPhone and select any document in these formats that you've previously uploaded. Let us know what you think in the Mobile Help Forum.

Google Maps for Android Helps You Find the Right Place, Catch a Train, and Add Latitude Friends

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 | 10:55 AM

Hot off the presses, Google Maps for Android version 4.3 has added a couple new features to help you quickly choose the right place to grab dinner, catch the next train, and find friends to add in Latitude.

Have you ever had to make a split decision for dinner plans while on the go? Now, you can see a snapshot of what people are saying about places right on search result pages. Instead of poring through full reviews, you can start by looking at what the most frequently mentioned aspects about a place are, such as food, service, atmosphere, or anything else people keep mentioning. Just like on Place Pages for your computer, the color-coded bar gives an overview of how positively people are talking about any individual aspect. Tap one to see more details like the actual review snippets. Whether you’re looking for top-notch service or a vibrant ambiance, you can now pick just the right place to go.



You’ll also find a new addition to public transit station pages: upcoming schedules. Select any transit station icon directly from the map and open its page by tapping the window. You’ll find a handy list of the next departure times for any subways, trains, or buses that are leaving from that station where transit info is available.



In Google Latitude, we wanted to make it even easier for you to find friends and family with whom you’d like to share your location. Right at the bottom of your Latitude friend list, you’ll be able to quickly start sharing your location with long lost friends, loved ones, and others from your Google Contacts. Add any suggested friends by tapping the + icon and sending them a sharing request. Tap the x and they’ll be dropped from your suggested friends list. Don’t worry -- you can always add them later by choosing “Add friends” from the Latitude menu.



Get the latest version of Maps by searching for Google Maps in Android Market from Android 1.6+ phones. If you’re reading this on your phone, just tap here. Version 4.3 is available in all the countries and languages where Maps is currently available.

Visit our Help Center to learn more, ask questions in our Help Forum, or give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page.

Google Voice for everyone

| 10:07 AM

(Cross-posted with the Google Voice Blog)

A little over a year ago, we released an early preview of Google Voice, our web-based platform for managing your communications. We introduced one number to ring all your phones, voicemail that works like email, free calls and text messages to the U.S. and Canada, low-priced international calls and more—the only catch was you had to request and receive an invite to try it out. Today, after lots of testing and tweaking, we’re excited to open up Google Voice to the public, no invitation required.

Over the past year, we’ve introduced a mobile web app, an integrated voicemail player in Gmail, the ability to use Google Voice with your existing number and more. Over a million of you are now actively using Google Voice, and many of the features released over the past year (like SMS to email and our Chrome extension) came as a result of your suggestions, so thanks!

If you haven’t yet tried Google Voice, we can’t wait for you to try it out and let us know what you think. Check out our revamped features page to learn about everything Google Voice can do, and if you haven’t seen it yet, this video provides a good overview in less than two minutes:



We’re proud of the progress we’ve made with Google Voice over the last few years, and we’re still just scratching the surface of what’s possible when you combine your regular phone service with the latest web technology. It’s even more amazing to think about how far communication has come over the last couple hundred years. To put things in context, we created this infographic to visualize some recent history of human communication and how Google Voice uses the web to help people communicate in more ways than ever before (click the image for a larger version):



Update 10:55 am: Just to clarify, though we've opened up sign-ups, Google Voice is still limited to everyone in the U.S. for now.

“Annyeong Haseyo! “안녕하세요” to Google Search by Voice in Korean

| 7:45 AM

The creation of the Korean alphabet by Sejong the Great was a wonderful advance, enabling literacy for the masses. However, even with the latest smartphone keyboards, entering the characters of the Korean alphabet is still challenging.

Less than two weeks ago we announced Google Search by Voice in French, German, Italian, and Spanish, and today we are happy to announce support for Korean.



Google Search by Voice in action on Android and iPhone

Google Search by Voice will be available soon, pre-installed, on the Samsung Galaxy S and the Nexus One. It is also accessible in the Android Market and via Google Mobile App for the BlackBerry and the iPhone. You can download Google Mobile App at m.google.com

So if you speak Korean, grab your phone and bid Google Search by Voice a hearty Annyeong Haseyo! 안녕하세요!

The Iterative Web App: New Compose Interface for Gmail on iPad

Monday, June 21, 2010 | 7:56 AM

In April 2009, we announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iOS and Android. 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 Web App, a series where we will continue to release features for Gmail for mobile. Today: New Compose Interface on the iPad.

Today we’re happy to announce an improved experience for writing emails on Gmail web interface for iPad. When you write an email you’ll now get a big full screen compose window instead of splitting the screen between your inbox and the compose view. More text is visible at once and there are no more distractions with messages on the side. We’ve also fixed problems that prevented scrolling on long messages. Thanks to everyone who reported the issue via the ‘Send feedback’ feature at the bottom of the screen.



We’re continuing to experiment with the large touchscreen and tablet form factor so send more feedback if you have suggestions. To try out Gmail on the iPad, just go to gmail.com in Safari. Please note that the new interface is only available in US English for now.



Posted by Craig Wilkinson, Software Engineer, Google Mobile

Settle trivia debates anytime, anywhere

Thursday, June 10, 2010 | 4:01 PM

Last month we launched a way to provide short answers to search queries, and it's now available on your iPhone, Palm WebOS or Android-powered device in English. If you’re like us, you may sometimes engage in trivia matches with friends on topics as far ranging as, what continent is Turkey in?, Star Wars release date?, or Augustus’ successor? Now you can settle that debate there and then by searching Google from your mobile; you can speak your question into Google Search on Android or Google Mobile App for iPhone, or you can visit google.com from your mobile browser to type your search.

If your friends challenge the answer provided in Google Search results, you can corroborate the information with a list of websites by clicking on the “Show sources” link. The source list includes the relevant text from each page so you can quickly verify whether Google interpreted the context of the answer correctly. You can also click through to the original website to get all the details.

We continue to work on providing short answers to more questions. Here are some additional examples to try:

  • Who’s taller? [height of kobe bryant] or [height of paul pierce]
  • Geography trivia? [capital of massachusetts], [language in netherlands]
  • Literature trivia? [author of les miserables], [george eliot’s gender]
  • Movie trivia? [release date of shrek], [director of harry potter 3]
  • Music trivia? [composer of four seasons], [birthday of lady gaga]

Fun on the Autobahn: Google Maps Navigation in 11 more Countries

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 | 4:00 AM

There’s nothing quite like driving through Europe in the summer. In the past week, I’ve seen the beautiful Val d’Aosta, the Swiss Alps, the Cathedral in Chartres, and travelled through the Channel Tunnel as I road-tripped from Milan to Geneva, Zürich to Stuttgart, and on through Paris to London. Why the burst of mileage? Well, I’ve been testing Google Maps Navigation version 4.2. Yes, road-testing it around Europe was a grueling process, but somebody had to do it :)

Today we’re launching Google Maps Navigation version 4.2 in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Switzerland for Android devices 1.6 and higher. Google Maps Navigation is an Internet-connected GPS navigation or ‘satnav’ system that provides turn-by-turn voice guidance as a free feature of Google Maps.


On my test trip, I found a number of Navigation features useful:
  • While driving through the Loire Valley, I put my French language skills to the test by finding my destination with Search by voice (now launched in French, German, Italian, and Spanish for Android 2.0 and higher);
  • I previewed a typical British roundabout with Street View to see exactly where I’d need to exit before getting there in person;
  • I satisfied my craving for moules frites by searching for it along my route;
  • I kept the gas stations layer on to ensure I’d always know where the nearest petrol station was, just in case;
  • And, of course, the turn-by-turn voice guidance kept me on-track to my destination -- despite my sometimes spotty connection in mountain tunnels -- thanks to the way Maps Navigation saves the route on your device when you start.
Google Maps Navigation (beta) with Search by voice is available in version 4.2 of Google Maps, on Android devices 1.6 and higher. To download Google Maps version 4.2, search for Google Maps in Android Market.

Try Google Maps Navigation in your local country and language today -- and have a great time touring around the Continent this summer if you get the chance!

Salut! Willkommen! Benvenuto! ¡Bienvenido! Google Search by Voice in French, German, Italian and Spanish

| 3:37 AM

Here’s a test for the German speakers out there: which is faster...saying Geschwindigkeitsbeschränkung (German for speed limit), or typing the same query character-by-character?

Voice has always been the most natural way to interact with a phone -- speaking is typically faster and easier than typing. We first developed Search by voice for English, and then for Mandarin Chinese and Japanese. Today we’re excited to welcome speakers of French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

Images of Google Search by Voice in Italian (Android), German (iPhone), Spanish (BlackBerry)

Our goal is to bring Google Search by voice to speakers of all languages. We follow a rigorous process to add each new language or dialect. Working directly with native speakers in each country, we spend weeks collecting spoken utterances to create the specific models which power the service. Our helpers are asked to read popular queries in their native tongue, in a variety of acoustic conditions such as in restaurants, out on busy streets, and inside cars. We also construct, for each language, a vocabulary of over one million recognizable words. It’s no small feat, but we love doing it.

Note that our new language models are designed for accents from Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. If you speak one of the new languages with another accent (for example, German in Austria, French in Switzerland, or Spanish in Mexico), Search by voice may not work so well for you.

How you get started with Google Search by voice depends on what kind of phone you have. If your phone runs Android 2.1 or later, and you have the Quick Search Box installed, all you have to do is tap the microphone icon to start a voice-powered search. iPhone and BlackBerry users who already have Google Mobile App installed can enable voice search by selecting the new languages from the settings panel within the app.

If you have Android 1.6 or 2.1 (Donut or Eclair), and you have already installed the Search by voice application, starting later today voice search will return recognition results for French, German, Italian or Spanish if your phone has one of those languages chosen in ‘Language and keyboard’ settings. If you do not have the Search by voice application, you can install it from Android Market on your phone - search for ‘voice search‘. This application is only available in the Android Markets for France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

To get Google Mobile App for iPhone, search for ‘Google Mobile App’ in the App Store or follow this link. BlackBerry and Nokia S60 users should visit m.google.com using their phone’s browser.

Learn more at http://mobile.google.com and select your country in the footer.

So if you speak French, Italian, German, Spanish, grab your phone and bid Google Search by voice a hearty Salut! Willkommen! Benvenuto! ¡Bienvenido!

Making AdSense for Mobile Applications Work With More Ad Networks

Thursday, June 3, 2010 | 8:10 AM

We’re always working to help people grow their mobile business with ads. Today we’re making our tools even more flexible by allowing publishers participating in our AdSense for Mobile Applications beta program to use third-party mediators. Mediation lets app developers use multiple ad networks simultaneously - reaching a greater pool of advertisers, and focusing more time on building their apps, and less time managing ad inventory.

AdSense for Mobile Application beta publishers will now be able to manage their ad inventory using third party ad serving mediators, as long as their apps meet these conditions, including:

  • Using the latest version of the AdSense for Mobile Applications SDK
  • Abiding by the AdSense for mobile applications terms and program policies
  • Agreeing to Google’s privacy policy
We think this is great news for our AdSense for Mobile Application publishers because it will allow them to easily optimize and fill their ad inventory. We believe this also shows our commitment to develop the mobile advertising ecosystem by ensuring that the most optimal ad is shown to users, and enabling our AdSense partners to earn more regardless of which networks they use.

To learn more about monetizing for mobile, or to learn more about how to apply for the AdSense for Mobile Applications beta program, please visit www.google.com/mobileads/developer.

Update 6/3/10 10:30 PST: We had previously written that this helps developers avoid implementing individual SDKs from each ad network, but this is not the case.

Posted by Jim Kelm, Product Manager, Google Mobile Ads

Google Search for mobile now includes mobile app results

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | 3:26 PM

As mobile apps continue to proliferate in stores like Android Market and the iPhone App Store, finding relevant information on the web about these apps is becoming more important to help you decide which apps to download. In addition to helping you find the mobile app information you’re looking for, Google Search for mobile now also makes it easier for you to get the actual apps themselves while you’re searching.

As of today, if you go to Google.com on your iPhone or Android-powered device and search for an app, we’ll show special links and content at the top of the search results. You can tap these links to go directly to the app’s Android Market or iPhone App Store page. You can also get a quick look at some of the app’s basic details including the price, rating, and publisher. These results will appear when your search pertains to a mobile application and relevant, well-rated apps are found. For example, try searching for download shazam on your Android-powered device or bank of america app on your iPhone.

Mobile app search results are available today in the US, with other countries and devices planned for the future.


Google Maps for BlackBerry Gets Biking Directions, Sharing, and New Search Results

| 12:15 PM

Grab your BlackBerry, hop on your bike, and have your friends join you with Google Maps for mobile! After adding biking directions and sharing for Android folks a few weeks ago, we're happy to announce that Google Maps 4.2 for BlackBerry can also let you get biking directions, quickly see helpful info when searching, and share places with friends.

Biking directions
If you’ve been using Google Maps on your computer to get biking directions, trails, and lanes, you can now head out for a ride using just your BlackBerry. When getting directions in Google Maps, just choose to travel by bicycle to get an optimal bicycling route in the U.S. If you’re in the mood for a more scenic ride, you’ll also see the Bicycling layer on the map which shows dedicated bike-only trails (dark green), roads with bike lanes (light green), or roads that are good for biking but lack a dedicated lane (dashed green). You can always turn on this layer from the Layers menu to devise your own route.




Search and Share
The next time you're searching for a late night bite of pizza, you'll see a redesigned list view of results with pictures and ratings. Select one to see a simplified search results page with easy-access buttons for directions, calling, etc. and all the info you'll need right below. Select a section, such as “Reviews,” to see more. A new “share this place” option lets you send anyone place info, such as its address or phone number, by email or text message. In addition to specific places like a restaurant, you can also share any location you select on the map -- including a snapshot of where you are at the moment -- to help folks meet you outside or right where you’re standing!



To get started, go to m.google.com/maps in your BlackBerry's browser and install version 4.2. In case you’ve had previous installation hiccups, we've also fixed some issues with permissions and BlackBerry Enterprise Server installation on some 5.0 devices.

Learn more in the Help Center, ask questions in our Help Forum, or give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page.