OnTheFly™ 1.2 for Android just made it easier to plan your trip

Friday, September 30, 2011 | 10:46 AM

(Cross-posted on the ITA Software by Google blog)

We just released the latest version of OnTheFly™, our airfare shopping mobile app, for Android. One of the new features in v1.2 is flexible date search, which enables you to browse 35 days of potential departure dates on a calendar combined with an interactive “temperature” graph.


You can also save and access search history now, including particular itineraries of interest. We’ll even check price changes for those itineraries so you can know the best time to plan that dream trip.

If you haven’t already tried OnTheFly, you can download it for free from Android Market or the App Store. OnTheFly for use with BlackBerry (OS 4.6+) can be accessed at http://bbmatrix.itasoftware.com.

Google+: 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011 | 9:03 AM

We started the Google+ project to help make online sharing more like real-world sharing. Of course, in life we increasingly share on the go, so over the past ~90 days we’ve developed Google+ apps for Android, iOS and the mobile web.

During this time we've made lots of improvements to the project, and in fact, the team just announced its 100th new feature overall (open signups). But our work is far from done, and today we're bringing seven additional Google+ features to your mobile device.

Hangouts on your mobile (a.k.a. feature #92

Seeing someone face-to-face is one of the most important ways you can connect with them. Unfortunately we're often too busy, too far away, or too unpredictable to make meetups a regular occurrence. That's why we're making Hangouts available on phones with Android 2.3+ and front-facing cameras (iOS support coming soon). Just find an active hangout in the Stream, and you can join your friends face-to-face-to-face:

Hangouts on your phone: Stream View (left), Green Room (center), Portrait View (right) 


101, 102, 103. You asked for it 

We take your feedback very seriously, and we do our best to deliver your most-requested features as quickly as possible. So today we're launching three more things you've been asking for in Google+ mobile:


  • Improved SMS support. Users in the US and India can now post to Google+, receive notifications, and respond to group messages via SMS (with more countries on the way). To start texting, just verify your phone number in Google+ settings. 
  • Improved +mentions support. To add someone in your circles to a conversation (or simply get their attention), you can now +[their name] inside a post or comment. 
  • +1’ing comments. When you read a great comment in the Stream, you can now +1 it directly from your iOS device (with Android coming soon). 
    SMS (left), +mentions (center), +1’ing comments (right)

104, 105, 106. Giving you more choices 

The most important part of Google+ is you, so we want to make sure you have meaningful ways to personalize your experience -- from selecting just the right people to share with, to switching between the app, the web, and SMS as you see fit. Today we're excited to bring three new options to mobile users:

  • Edit your profile photo. You can now put your best face forward, from where you happen to be. Just visit your profile, click edit, and you can choose or take a new picture. 
  • Customize your notifications. Some notifications may be more important than others, especially when you’re on the go. Now you can decide which ones you see (or not) on your phone. 
  • Make some room. If you’re taking lots of photos, or installing lots of apps, then internal storage can sometimes shrink. That’s why you can now move the Google+ app to SD storage on Android devices. 
 Edit your profile photo (left), Notification settings (center), Move to USB (right) 



107. So long Huddle, hello Messenger (and hi there, photos) 

As we move from limited field trial to open beta, we’re renaming Huddle to Messenger. More importantly, we’re adding new functionality to Messenger that makes group communication even more fun: photo sharing. So now when you’re sitting down for a meal, or kicking back on vacation, you can show your circles what’s happening, right this second:


Messenger: Homescreen (left), Choosing a Photo (center), Posting a Photo (right)  

We hope you enjoy today’s round of Google+ mobile features. There’s plenty left for us to do, so we’ll keep listening, and working to make your mobile experience that much better. In the meantime, you can try the new app (on Android and the mobile web today, and on iOS soon), and let us know what you think.

 Posted by Punit Soni, Google+ Mobile PM

Launching Google Wallet on Sprint and Working with Visa, American Express and Discover

Monday, September 19, 2011 | 1:25 PM

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

In May we announced Google Wallet—an app that makes your phone your wallet—with Citi, MasterCard, Sprint and First Data. With Google Wallet, you can tap, pay and save using your phone and near field communication (NFC).

We’ve been testing it extensively, and today we’re releasing the first version of the app to Sprint. That means we’re beginning to roll out Google Wallet to all Sprint Nexus S 4G phones through an over-the-air update—just look for the “Wallet” app. Here’s a demo of Google Wallet in action:



Google Wallet enables you to pay with your Citi MasterCard credit card and the Google Prepaid Card, which can be funded with any of your existing plastic credit cards. As a thanks to early adopters, we’re adding a $10 free bonus to the Google Prepaid Card if you set it up in Google Wallet before the end of the year.

When we announced Google Wallet, we pledged a commitment to an open commerce ecosystem. We appreciate Citi and MasterCard for being our launch partners. And today, Visa, Discover and American Express have made available their NFC specifications that could enable their cards to be added to future versions of Google Wallet.

Our goal is to make it possible for you to add all of your payment cards to Google Wallet, so you can say goodbye to even the biggest traditional wallets. In fact, we’ve got a video of our first customer, someone who is ready to replace his famously over-stuffed wallet. We hope Google Wallet gives him “serenity now.”

This is still just the beginning and while we’re excited about this first step, we look forward to bringing Google Wallet to more phones in the future. You can learn more about Google Wallet at google.com/wallet.

Introducing Voice Actions for Android in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain

Friday, September 16, 2011 | 1:08 AM

Last year in the US, we introduced Voice Actions, a series of spoken commands that let you control your Android phone or tablet with your voice. You can call businesses and contacts, send texts, browse the web and complete other common tasks, all just by speaking into your phone.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that users in the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain can now use Voice Actions in British English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

To use Voice Actions, tap the microphone button on the Google search box on your home screen, open the Voice Search app, or press down for a few seconds on the physical search button on your phone to activate the “Speak Now” screen. You can see how it works in this video.



Speak any of these commands to perform a Voice Action on your phone:
  • send text to [contact] [message]
  • call [business]
  • call [contact]
  • go to [website]
  • navigate to [location/business name]
  • directions to [location/business name]
  • map of [location]
And of course, you can still conduct a Google search using your voice.

Use Voice Actions to get directions, or send a text using just your voice

Voice Actions is available on phones and tablets running Android 2.2 and higher. If you don't have Voice Search on your phone yet, you can download it from Android Market - if you do have Voice Search, you can just start using Voice Actions.

We think Voice Actions helps you get things done on your phone faster and easier. Give it a try, and let us know what you think!

Your smartphone camera is now smarter with Goggles 1.6

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | 10:04 AM

Today, we launched a new version of Google Goggles that enhances the camera on your Android-powered phone. With this new opt-in feature in Goggles, you can simply photograph an image using your phone’s camera, and Goggles will work in the background to analyze your image. If your photo contains items that Goggles can recognize, the app will notify you.

Let’s say that I’m going on vacation, and I decide to use my Android-powered phone as my primary camera. Goggles would identify landmarks, paintings and other interesting objects in my photos. I can share these facts about my vacation with my friends right from my Goggles search history.

(l-r) Goggles has found a search result for this popular landmark; Find out more about this item in your photo within Google Goggles

Photos you take with your phone’s camera will only be seen by Goggles if you enable the Search from Camera feature. Here’s how:
  • launch Google Goggles
  • tap Menu > Settings > Search from Camera
Manage your opt-in status from the settings menu

Google Goggles 1.6 is available for Android 2.1 and newer devices. Download by clicking here or by scanning the QR code below:


Announcing the Blogger app for iOS

Thursday, September 8, 2011 | 11:23 AM

(Cross-posted from the Blogger Buzz blog)

Today we’re excited to announce the new Blogger app for iOS. With the Blogger app, you can write a new blog post and publish it immediately or save it as a draft right from your iOS device. You can also open a blog post you've been working on from your computer and continue editing it while you're on-the-go. Your blog posts are automatically synced across devices, so you’ll always have access to the latest version.

Pictures are worth a thousand words, and the Blogger app makes it easy to add photos either by choosing from the gallery or taking a new photo right within the app. You can also add labels and location to provide more details about the post.




Download the Blogger app today for iOS versions 3.2 and above in the App Store. Although the user interface is only available in English at this time, the app supports blog posts written in all languages. If you’re using an Android-powered device, you can download the Blogger app for Android from the Android Market.


Android in spaaaace! (Part 2)

Thursday, September 1, 2011 | 10:19 AM

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

Back in December, Android ventured into near space, thanks to a weekend of DIY work, a couple of Nexus S phones, some weather balloons and the help of this little guy. After this first adventure, we knew it was only a matter of time before Android went further into space.

On the last manned space shuttle, Atlantis, NASA sent two Nexus S phones along for the ride as part of the STS-135 mission. The goal is to use Nexus S on the International Space Station to explore how robots can help humans experiment and live in space more efficiently.

 

NASA is using Nexus S phones to upgrade a trio of volleyball-sized SPHERES (Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites), originally developed by MIT. The phones help the robotic satellites perform tasks the astronauts used to do, like recording sensor data and capturing video footage. In the future, the phones will control and maneuver the SPHERES using the IOIO board and possibly the Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK).

A couple of our engineers built an open source sensor logging app that NASA decided was perfect for running diagnostics with the SPHERES. You can download the same app yourself from Android Market. NASA was interested in Android because it’s an open source platform, which makes it easy to customize the software on the phone to meet the specifications required to fly in space and work with the SPHERES. Nexus S was also a good fit because of its various sensors and low-powered, but high-performing, processor.

You can learn more about the project on NASA’s website. We loved being a part of the final Space Shuttle mission and working to bring the power of the Android platform to space exploration.