Google Sky Map- now with time travel

Thursday, November 18, 2010 | 9:12 AM

Man ... can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way.
H.G. WELLS, The Time Machine - Google Books book link

Have you ever wondered how the sky was back in 1900? How the sky looked when the Apollo 11 moon landing happened? Or what the sky will look like next Thursday night for your planned star-gazing trip?

Today, the new version of Google Sky Map lets you time travel to see the sky at a specific date, past or future. After smooth travel to the desired year, you can fast forward or rewind in various speeds and watch how the sky changes.


While viewing another time period, you can still search for your favorite objects.


Google Sky Map is available for Android-powered devices running Android 1.6 and above. Download this new version by going to Android Market on your phone, or by scanning the QR code below. We'd love to hear from you, both the good and the bad, so leave us comments here or in the Help Forum.


Posted by Hector Ouilhet, Lunatic Designer

Editing your Google Docs on the go

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 | 9:01 AM

Cross posted on the Official Google Blog, Google Enterprise Blog and the Google Docs Blog

With Google Docs, we’re always trying to make you more productive—and part of that means making it possible for you to get things done from anywhere, at anytime. That’s why we’re excited that the new documents editor now supports editing on your mobile browser. We’re rolling this out over the next few days.

That means that...

  • You can work on that important memo...while on the bus or train to work.
  • If you’re behind on a group proposal, but really want to make it to the ball game tonight, your whole team can work on it from the bleacher seats.
  • You can take minute-by-minute notes at a concert so you’ll always remember the setlist. And your friends can jealously follow in real-time at home.
  • ...and the list goes on!
Take a look at this video to see mobile editing in action:



It’s easy to get started: visit docs.google.com in a browser on a supported device, and select the document you want to edit. Then, when you’re viewing it, press the Edit button to switch to the mobile editor.


In the next few days, we’re rolling this out to English-language users around the world on Android with Froyo (version 2.2) and on iOS devices (version 3.0+) including the iPad. We’ll be adding support for other languages soon. And as before, we also support editing of spreadsheets from your mobile device’s browser.

We hope you enjoy editing your documents on the go—especially when you’re at the game with a hot dog in your other hand.

Google Voice for iPhone

Tuesday, November 16, 2010 | 10:55 AM

(cross-posted from the Google Voice Blog)

Earlier this year we launched a Google Voice HTML5 web app for iPhone users. Today we’re taking the Google Voice experience on the iPhone to a whole new level with the launch of the official Google Voice for iPhone app.

With this native app, you’ll continue to have access to all the major Google Voice features on your iPhone, like:

  • Cheap rates for international calls
  • Free text messaging to U.S. numbers
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls
In addition to these benefits, the app provides some features that make using Google Voice on your iPhone a much better experience:
  • With push notifications, the app will alert you instantly when you receive a new voicemail or text message
  • Most of your calls will be placed via Direct Access Numbers, making them connect just as quickly as regular phone calls


Google Voice for iPhone is available to download from the Apple App Store today. You’ll need an iPhone with iOS 3.1 or later and a valid Google Voice account to use the app. At this time, Google Voice is available in the U.S. only.

Offline, meet online: a marketing experiment with Google Goggles

Monday, November 15, 2010 | 10:20 PM

(cross-posted with Official Google Blog)

Personally Yours on the Go - Personalized Recommendations in Google Maps 4.7

| 7:30 PM

Google Maps on Android just got even hotter with Hotpot, our new local recommendation engine that helps you discover places you’ll love based on opinions from you and your friends. Here’s how to get the benefits of Hotpot on your phone:

Rate places on the go — Now you can write and publish ratings and reviews from your mobile phone. We make it quick and easy with a new rating widget designed for rating places on the go. Install it from your homescreen by going to Menu > Add > Widgets > Rate Places. You can also post ratings and reviews directly from any Place page. So, when you polish off the crispiest carnitas taco you’ve ever eaten, you can pull out your Android phone to celebrate the event and give that taqueria the public love it deserves.



Get personalized recommendations — Why rate the places you’ve been? First, your ratings will personalize your search results by customizing them according to your tastes. Even better, when you add friends to the mix using Hotpot on your computer, your ratings will point them in the direction of the best enchiladas in town the next time they crave Mexican food, wherever they happen to be.

Of course, this works the other way too — so to reap the rewards, you’ll want to add friends to get recommendations for the places they love. Notice how John Hawkins, a colleague of mine in London who knows a lot about English pubs, recommends The Grenadier below.


Get Google Maps 4.7 for Android 1.6 and above everywhere Maps is already available. Just search for Google Maps in Android Market (or tap here from your phone).

By the way, if you’re an iPhone user, good news: we’ll soon have a Places app that allows you to rate and get place recommendations as well. Alternatively, you can rate and get place recommendations from your phone browser (iPhone and Android) in the US. Just visit the Places tab at google.com as we roll out over the next day.

We hope you enjoy getting and giving personalized recommendations to make place finding better and more fun.

Google Shopper 1.3 adds search filters and featured lists

| 4:16 PM

When we launched Google Shopper in February, I never expected that my 20% project would quickly become one of Google’s most popular Android applications. With over 2.5 million downloads in just 9 months, many Android users are using Shopper to help them shop on the go.

Today, we’re excited to announce the next version of Shopper. In addition to existing, popular features like local availability, fast barcode scanning and voice search, version 1.3 includes new search filters like “price” and “brand” to help users refine their searches to find the perfect product.

For example, if you’re looking for a new Blu-Ray player and you want to match it to your existing Denon receiver, you can filter by price and brand:


In addition, version 1.3 includes new “featured lists” - lists of products to help you shop during the holidays. When you have a spare moment, you can browse through suggested gifts and then click through to find the best place to buy them.

To get Shopper, Android users can go to Android Market for the free download. If you’re an iPhone user, you can use Mobile Product Search (m.google.com/products from an iPhone or Android device) to get many of the same great features.



Posted by Daniel Switkin, Senior Software Engineer, Google Shopper

Voice Search in underrepresented languages

Wednesday, November 10, 2010 | 10:57 AM

Welkom*!

Today we’re introducing Voice Search support for Zulu and Afrikaans, as well as South African-accented English. The addition of Zulu in particular represents our first effort in building Voice Search for underrepresented languages. We define underrepresented languages as those which, while spoken by millions, have little presence in electronic and physical media, e.g., webpages, newspapers and magazines.

We believe that the speech research community needs to start working on many of these underrepresented languages to advance progress and build speech recognition, translation and other Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies. The development of NLP technologies in these languages is critical for enabling information access for everybody. Indeed, these technologies have the potential to break language barriers.

Check out the Google Research Blog for more details.

Salani kahle!**


* “Welcome” in Afrikaans
** “Stay well” in Zulu

Posted by Pedro J. Moreno, Staff Research Scientist and Johan Schalkwyk, Senior Staff Engineer

Enhancements to Google News for smartphones

Monday, November 8, 2010 | 3:44 PM

(Cross-posted from the Google News Blog)

Last November, we redesigned Google News for mobile access on smartphones including Android, iPhone and Palm Pre. Today, we’re globally rolling out new usability and visual enhancements that we hope will make browsing news on your smartphone easier.

We expanded the story space to make tapping on articles easier and more accurate. Tapping anywhere on an article headline or snippet opens it up, and clicking on a section heading opens up that topic section on your screen.

In addition, the default view of stories is now collapsed, to reduce scrolling time. You can ‘expand’ a story by tapping ‘More sources’, which brings you to related stories from other sources. The screenshots below show the collapsed and expanded view of a story.




So, pick up your smartphone, point your browser to http://news.google.com, and catch up on news on the go.

Google Search app for Windows Phone 7 - in the Marketplace now

| 8:37 AM

Searching with Google on your Windows Phone 7 device just got easier. The Google Search app for Windows Phone 7 provides quick and convenient access to a rich set of search results, allowing you to search the web, images, local, news, and more.

This initial release of the Google Search app includes several features that help you to search faster - suggestions appear automatically as you type, you can choose to repeat a query from your search history, and your current location is used to provide more relevant results.




The Google Search app is a free download for all Windows Phone 7 devices and languages. Just search the Marketplace for “Google Search”, download, pin to Start, and the power of Google Search is only a click away.


Update: here is a link to the app in Zune Marketplace. You'll need to be using a Windows Phone 7 device or Internet Explorer for the link to work.

The power of Google Instant, now in your pocket

Thursday, November 4, 2010 | 1:01 PM

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog.)

Google Instant makes search faster by displaying not just predictions but actual search results as you type. This saves valuable time on a desktop browser, but wouldn’t it be great to have Google Instant on mobile devices, where each keystroke and page load is much slower and you frequently have just a moment to find the information you need?

In September we announced that we were working to bring Google Instant to mobile, and today we’re making a beta version available to most iPhone and Android devices in the U.S. To try it out, go to google.com in your phone’s browser and tap the Google Instant “Turn on” link beneath the search box (if you don’t see the “Turn on” link, try waiting a moment and then refresh the page).

Like the desktop version of Google Instant, when you type on your mobile device you’ll see predictions of what you might be searching for. If you type [anse], for example, you should see [ansel adams] along with other predictions. Results for the first prediction appear automatically, and tapping on the other predictions will display those results. Pressing the enter key or the search button skips the predictions and will display results for exactly what you’ve typed. Check out our demo video:



With Google Instant on mobile, we’re pushing the limits of mobile browsers and wireless networks. You will probably notice a big improvement in speed when you search thanks to a new AJAX and HTML5 implementation for mobile that dynamically updates the page with new results and eliminates the need to load a new page for each query.

Google Instant for mobile works best on 3G and WiFi networks, but since the quality of any wireless connection can fluctuate, we’ve made it easy to enable or disable Google Instant without ever leaving the page. Just tap the “Turn on” or “Turn off” link.

We hope you’ll enjoy using Google Instant for mobile as much as we enjoyed making it. It’s currently available for Android 2.2 (“Froyo”) devices and iPhones and iPods running iOS 4 in the U.S. in English. We’re working to support additional countries and languages and more devices in the coming months, so stay tuned.