Coming soon: make your phone your wallet

Thursday, May 26, 2011 | 9:20 AM

(cross-posted to Official Google Blog and Google Commerce Blog)

Today in our New York City office, along with Citi, MasterCard, First Data and Sprint, we gave a demo of Google Wallet, an app that will make your phone your wallet. You’ll be able to tap, pay and save using your phone and near field communication (NFC). We’re field testing Google Wallet now and plan to release it soon.


Google Wallet is a key part of our ongoing effort to improve shopping for both businesses and consumers. It’s aimed at making it easier for you to pay for and save on the goods you want, while giving merchants more ways to offer coupons and loyalty programs to customers, as well as bridging the gap between online and offline commerce.

Because Google Wallet is a mobile app, it will do more than a regular wallet ever could. You'll be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards, but without the bulk. When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you. Someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet.

At first, Google Wallet will support both Citi MasterCard and a Google Prepaid Card, which you’ll be able to fund with almost any payment card. From the outset, you’ll be able to tap your phone to pay wherever MasterCard PayPass is accepted. Google Wallet will also sync your Google Offers, which you’ll be able to redeem via NFC at participating SingleTap™ merchants, or by showing the barcode as you check out. Many merchants are working to integrate their offers and loyalty programs with Google Wallet.

With Google Wallet, we’re building an open commerce ecosystem, and we’re planning to develop APIs that will enable integration with numerous partners. In the beginning, Google Wallet will be compatible with Nexus S 4G by Google, available on Sprint. Over time, we plan on expanding support to more phones.

To learn more please visit our Google Wallet website at www.google.com/wallet.

This is just the start of what has already been a great adventure towards the future of mobile shopping. We’re incredibly excited and hope you are, too.

Check-ins and rating places get easier with Google Maps 5.5 for Android

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 | 1:40 PM

(Cross posted from Google LatLong Blog)

We’ve made it easier to check in and out of places, rate various locations, and get transit information with Google Maps 5.5 for Android. This release adds ‘check in’ and ‘rate and review’ buttons to Place pages, the option to edit your home/work address for Latitude, and redesigned transit station pages.

Read below for more details about the new features, which we hope will improve your user experience, a topic we take very seriously as there are now more than 200 million users of Google Maps for mobile across platforms and devices worldwide.

New check-in and rating buttons added to Place pages

Now when you open a Place page from your mobile device, you can check in to places with Google Latitude or submit a rating or review by clicking on two new buttons at the top of the listing.

This past week I had the chance to explore the Computer History Museum during my visit to San Francisco from across the pond in London. Once nearby, I could quickly open the museum’s Place page and check in.

When I was ready to leave and head to lunch, in a few seconds I could go back to the Place page and rate the museum – which certainly earned the 5 star rating it received from me.

Update home and work address for your Latitude Location History

Last month we released the Location History dashboard for Latitude which estimates how much time you spend at home, work, and everywhere else. If your home or work address changes, or you’d rather set a different address to represent ‘home’ and ‘work,’ you can now edit these addresses within Latitude.

Change home/work location from Location History dashboard

View the redesigned transit station pages

It’s been about two years since we added transit directions in Google Maps for Android. Since then, we’ve increased the coverage from 250 cities to more than 440 and counting - the most recent being Washington, D.C. To make it easier to plan your transit route, we updated the transit station pages in this release to better organize the information you need.

Each page now includes a list of upcoming scheduled departures for different lines, all the transit lines serving the station, and links to nearby transit stations.


Download Google Maps 5.5 for Android here to try out the new check-in and rating buttons, update your Latitude Location History home/work address, check out a transit station in a nearby city, or just make sure you have the latest version of Google Maps for Android. This update requires an Android OS 1.6+ device anywhere Google Maps is currently available. Learn more in our help center.

Google Maps on your mobile browser

Friday, May 20, 2011 | 9:25 AM

(Cross-posted from the Google Lat Long Blog)

With 40% of Google Maps usage on mobile devices, we want you to have a consistent Google Maps experience wherever you use it. So, today we’re announcing our updated Google Maps experience for mobile browsers on Android and iOS.

Now, when you visit maps.google.com on your phone or tablet’s browser and opt-in to share your location, you can use many of the same Google Maps features you’re used to from the desktop. This will allow you to:

  • See your current location
  • Search for what’s nearby with suggest and auto complete
  • Have clickable icons of popular businesses and transit stations
  • Get driving, transit, biking, and walking directions
  • Turn on satellite, transit, traffic, biking, and other layers
  • View Place pages with photos, ratings, hours, and more
  • When signed into your Google account, access your starred locations and My Maps
This past weekend, I was at a team off-site at a ropes course and needed to find a good deli spot to grab lunch. I opened Google Maps on my mobile browser and searched to locate a popular deli nearby. A few finger taps later, I had viewed photos and reviews on the deli’s Place page and found the quickest way to get there using driving directions- all from my mobile browser.

Google Maps for mobile browsers is platform independent - you will always get a consistent experience and the latest features without needing to install any updates, no matter what phone you use.

To get started exploring Google Maps in your mobile browser, go to http://maps.google.com or any domain where Google Maps is available. Learn more in our help center.

Launch a mobile business with The Guide to the App Galaxy

Thursday, May 19, 2011 | 11:52 AM

The Guide to the App Galaxy, which we showed off last week at Google I/O, is designed to help mobile app developers—regardless of platform—navigate the complexities of launching an app and building a business on mobile. As you maneuver through the "galaxy” using the arrow keys on your keyboard, you’ll get the basics about app promotion, monetization and measurement—with tips from Google as well as successful developers. Read more on the Official Google Blog.

Post content by Lauren Usui, 

Google Search app for iOS, now even faster and easier to use

Tuesday, May 17, 2011 | 9:46 AM

Two months ago, we launched a redesign of the Google Search app for iOS. We were happy that many of you liked the new look and interactivity of the app. However, we also heard your feedback about the app’s speed. Today we’re introducing changes that make the app more responsive as well as other visual changes that make search results even easier to read.

Faster app performance

This version of Google Search app is up to 20% more responsive as you type search queries and interact with it. As part of the speed improvements, a feature called “Just Talk” will now be off by default. Just Talk allowed you to search via voice just by bringing the phone to your ear and speaking rather than tapping the microphone icon. Turning off this feature may improve app performance, though you can easily re-enable it under the Settings > Voice Search menu.

Turn Just Talk on or off


Improved look & feel for search results

When searching on a phone, the small screen sometimes makes it difficult to read small fonts or to tap precisely on a link. To help you read and tap with ease, we’ve made the font of our search results bigger and the entire search result is now a tap target rather than just the link.

See the difference between previous (left) and new interface (right) with results now easier to read and select


Thank you for your feedback. Please continue to let us know how we can improve your experience by going to Settings > Help and Feedback > Feedback.

Google Search app is available for devices running iOS 3.0 and above. Download it from the App Store or by scanning the QR code below:


Introducing “News near you” on Google News for mobile

Friday, May 13, 2011 | 10:21 AM

(Cross-posted from the Google News blog)

Google News for mobile lets you keep up with the latest news, wherever you are. Today we’re excited to announce a new feature in the U.S. English edition called “News near you” that surfaces news relevant to the city you’re in and surrounding areas.

Location-based news first became available in Google News in 2008, and today there’s a local section for just about any city, state or country in the world with coverage from thousands of sources. We do local news a bit differently, analyzing every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located.

Now you can find local news on your smartphone. Here’s an example of a “News near you” mobile section automatically created for someone in Topeka, Kansas:


To use this feature, visit Google News from the browser of your Android smartphone or iPhone. If this is the first time you are visiting Google News on your phone since this feature became available, a pop-up will ask you if you want to share your location. If you say yes, news relevant to your location will appear in a new section called “News near you” which will be added at the bottom of the homepage. You can reorganize the sections later via the personalization page.


You can turn off the feature at any time either by hiding the section in your personalization settings or by adjusting your mobile browser settings. Please visit the Help Center for further details.

So, go to news.google.com from your smartphone and get the latest news from wherever you are.


Posted by Navneet Singh, Product Manager, Google News

New ways to discover great apps on Android Market

Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | 9:53 AM

We’ve seen tremendous growth in Android Market lately. With over 200,000 apps supporting over 300 Android devices, we’ve had 4.5 billion applications installed to date. But with so many apps available, how do you find the ones you really want? Whether you’re looking for the most popular apps, hot new apps, or just the very best apps available, we want to help make sure that you find what you’re looking for.

Today, we’re excited to announce 5 new features for Android Market focused on helping you find apps you’ll love.


  • New top app charts - We’ve revamped our top app charts to be fresher and country-specific, so you get the most current, relevant results. We’ve also added top new free, top new paid, and top grossing lists, all right on the Android Market home page.   
  • Editors’ Choice - These are some of the very best apps available for Android, as chosen by the Android Market staff. They span everything from games to productivity and beyond.   
  • Top Developers - We’re also recognizing those developers creating the highest quality, most popular, and most notable apps available on Android Market. They’ll get a special icon on our Android Market website, appearing wherever the developer name is shown, starting today for an initial set of over 150 developers.
  • Better related apps - On the left side of an app page, you’ll now see two groups of related apps: apps frequently browsed by people who viewed this app, and apps that people tend to install alongside this app. For example, people who view ScoreMobile, my favorite sports score app, often also view other sports score apps, while those who install ScoreMobile tend to also install apps for specific sports leagues or teams. We’ll also show you related apps once you decide to install an app.
  • Trending apps - Finally, we’ve added a new section to the Android Market homepage showing trending apps – those apps that are quickly growing in daily installs. Look here to stay ahead of the curve and find new apps as they get hot.
We hope you find these features helpful as you explore the many greats apps available on Android Market. These new features are available now on http://market.android.com, and will be coming soon to Android Market on phones and tablets.


Posted by Fernando Delgado, Product Manager, Android Market

Google I/O: countdown to the keynote kickoff

Monday, May 9, 2011 | 3:48 PM

(Cross-posted from the Code Blog)

In less than 24 hours, we’ll be kicking off Google I/O 2011, our annual developer conference here in San Francisco. This year’s keynote presentations will highlight the biggest opportunities for developers and feature two of our most popular and important developer platforms: Android and Chrome. Google engineers from Andy Rubin and Sundar Pichai’s teams will unveil new features, preview upcoming updates, and provide new insights into the growing momentum behind these platforms.

Plus, for the first time in Google I/O history, you’ll be able to join us throughout the two days at I/O Live. We’ll live stream the two keynote presentations, two full days of Android and Chrome technical sessions, and the After Hours party. Recorded videos from all sessions across eight product tracks will be available within 24 hours after the conference. Whether you’ll be joining us in San Francisco or from the farthest corner of the world, bookmark www.google.com/io and check back on May 10 at 9:00 a.m. PDT for a fun treat as we count down to 00:00:00:00.

Posted by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering

Share and personalize your Google Goggles experience with Goggles 1.4

| 10:27 AM

Since its launch, we have worked to make Google Goggles faster and more accurate when returning search results for a wide variety of images. Today, we are taking several steps to make Goggles a better and more personal experience. Goggles 1.4 for Android devices introduces an enhanced search history experience, the ability to suggest better results to Google if we are not able to accurately match your image, and improved business card recognition.

Enhanced search history
The new search history experience lets you search your Goggles results, make personal notes on specific results and share your results with friends. When you add a personal note to a Goggles result, the note will appear in your search history. I’m trying to learn more about wine, so when I taste something new, it’s easy for me to add a note to help me remember what I liked about the wine. Later, I can search my search history for words in my note to help me find that bottle that went so well with steak. Read more about how to enable search history for Goggles here.

To make a personal note, tap the pencil in the corner when viewing a search result.

Notes are intended to help you better organize your search history, so if you choose to share a result with a friend, your notes will not be shared. However, you can always add a personalized message to your friend when you share your results with them.

Share a result by sending a link to your friends.


Suggest a better result
We are constantly working to improve the accuracy of Goggles at recognizing certain categories of items, but visual recognition is still a complicated task. With Goggles 1.4, you are now able to suggest a better result when Goggles cannot find an image match, or the quality of the result is poor.

To send your suggestion to Google, tap “Can you suggest a better result?” on the results page. You can then select the relevant part of the image and submit a tag. Tags will be used to improve recognition in object categories where Goggles already provides some results, like artwork or wine bottles.

When suggesting a better result, you can crop the image and add a description.


Improved business card recognition
Business card recognition is one of the most popular uses of Google Goggles, so we're rolling out some new updates to make the experience even quicker and easier. Additionally, instead of simply recognizing the content as text, Goggles now recognizes the information as a contact, making it easier to add to your phone's contact list.

Call or add the person directly as a contact

Google Goggles is available for Android 1.6+ devices. Download it by visiting Android Market or by scanning the QR code below:

Google Earth optimized for Android-powered tablets

Thursday, May 5, 2011 | 10:02 AM

Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog

When we launched Google Earth in 2005, most of us were still using flip phones. At the time, the thought of being able to cart around 197 million square miles of Earth in your pocket was still a distant dream. Last year, that dream came to fruition for Android users when we released Google Earth for Android. With the recent release of tablets based on Android 3.0, we wanted to take full advantage of the large screens and powerful processors that this exciting new breed of tablets had to offer.

Today’s update to Google Earth for Android makes Earth look better than ever on your tablet. We’ve added support for fully textured 3D buildings, so your tour through the streets of Manhattan will look more realistic than ever. There’s also a new action bar up top, enabling easier access to search, the option to “fly to your location” and layers such as Places, Panoramio photos, Wikipedia and 3D buildings.

Moving from a mobile phone to a tablet was like going from a regular movie theatre to IMAX. We took advantage of the larger screen size, including features like content pop-ups appearing within Earth view, so you can see more information without switching back and forth between pages.

One of my favorite buildings to fly around in Google Earth has always been the Colosseum in Rome, Italy:



With the larger tablet screen, I can fly around the 3D Colosseum while also browsing user photos from Panoramio. The photos pop up within the imagery so I can interact with them without losing sight of the Colosseum and its surroundings. Also, by clicking on the layer button on the action bar, I can choose which layers I want to browse.

This version is available for devices with Android 2.1 and above. The new tablet design is available for devices with Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) and above. Please visit the Google Earth help center for more information.

To download or update Google Earth, head to m.google.com/earth in your device’s browser or visit Android Market. Enjoy a whole new world of Google Earth for tablets!

Google Voice and Sprint integration is live

Tuesday, May 3, 2011 | 10:11 AM

Cross-posted from the Google Voice Blog

It’s official, the Google Voice integration with Sprint is now live!

As we mentioned when we first announced the integration, there are two ways to bring Google Voice to your Sprint mobile phone:

Option 1: Keep your Sprint number: Your Sprint number becomes your Google Voice number so that when people call your Sprint mobile number, it rings all the phones you want.

Option 2: Replace your Sprint number with your Google Voice number: All calls made and texts sent from your Sprint phone will display your Google Voice number.

In both cases, Google Voice replaces Sprint voicemail and international calls made from the Sprint phone will be connected by Google Voice.

For detailed instructions on how to get started with either option, visit google.com/voice/sprint.

This integration is currently only available to Sprint customers in the United States.

Posted by Patrick Moor, Software Engineer