Tuesday, December 30, 2008
When we launched last year, we realized that we needed to better communicate what the Google mobile team was up to. Since then, we've been working hard to provide you with timely and useful information. We've also sought to keep our posts personal and engaging by introducing you to the Googlers behind our products, incorporating video, and enabling comments.
While we're thrilled that our readership has continued to grow, we want to make the mobile blog even more useful and interesting to you in 2009. We invite you to tell us how we can improve. What else do you want to see on the mobile blog? Are our posts too long or too short? What phones do you most want to read about? Please fill out this quick survey to let us know what you think.
In celebration of our 100th post, we're going to attempt to address one of the blog's most frequent comments: "What about MY phone?" This comment always seems to be tinged with such angst and passion. Trust us, as users we know your pain. But we also know the difficulty of developing software for disparate phones.
We've put together a video that gives you a behind-the-scenes glimpse of our "Sky Lab" that contains over 800 phones for developing, demonstrating, and testing purposes. Although we have so many phones, we currently can't make all of our products work on all of these phones -- we face the same challenges that every developer faces in the mobile industry: we have to choose. So this video also reveals two very different approaches for choosing devices in this industry... If you have any better ideas, let us know!
Of course, if you've been following our blog you may have noticed some patterns. We do like phones with good browsers and flat-rate data plans. Stay tuned to the Google mobile blog for more on this in the new year.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Getting started is easy, just open Google Maps for mobile, and search maps for 'norad santa'. Once the tracking begins, you will be flown to Santa's most current location, according to NORAD radar. Try it out on your T-Mobile G1, iPhone, BlackBerry, Nokia S60, or Windows Mobile smartphone. Note that you'll have to re-issue your query to see Santa's updated location.
For the moment, Santa is in his home at the North Pole, but after he takes off, his whereabouts will be updated every few minutes as he zips around, delivering his gifts. By the way, if you need an excuse to end a conversation with that relative that is trying to make up for not calling you in 15 years, this may come in handy - "Sorry, I'm going to have to let you go - I need to find out where Santa is!"
Santa doesn't take off until 12/24 at 3:00am PT, but there is plenty to learn about NORAD Tracks Santa between now and then at www.noradsanta.org. The video below has a few highlights from last year's trip - enjoy and happy holidays from the mobile team!
Posted by Bruno Bowden, Software Engineer
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Ted Smolsen shows how he does last-minute shopping using Google Docs and Google Maps for mobile...
George shows how he keeps in touch with far-off relatives with a cameraphone, Picasa Webalbums, and a WiFi-enabled picture frame
and after your holiday meal, try ChangChangYall's Full-O-lator to understand what your relatives are saying.
From the Google Mobile team, search for recipes on your phone, use mobile YouTube to keep antsy kids at the dinner table, and remember to search for local times to wish your far-off friends a happy new year.
Posted by Effie Seiberg, Google Mobile Trickster
Friday, December 19, 2008
The optimized search results pages are currently available in U.S. English for Android and for iPhone and iPod touch devices with firmware 2.x. If you prefer, you can always view desktop search result pages by selecting the "Classic" link at the bottom of any page.
Posted by Steve Kanefsky and Rob Stacey, Software Engineers, Google mobile team
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Terrence Diggle checks out new watch styles....
momola90404 shows off a whole new twist on a mobile headset...
and pizzazzery finds a friend in the mall.
And from the Google Mobile team, check out tips on seeing stores before you get there, and checking store stock. Remember to send us your video tips and tricks through the Mobile Tricks YouTube channel! We'll continue posting our favorites to this blog.
Posted by Effie Seiberg, Mobile Trickster
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
With this application you can create, edit, share, and view personalized maps on your Android powered phone synchronized with the My Maps tab on Google Maps. Create a map on your desktop computer using Google Maps and then take it with you on the go and update it on location. My Maps Editor by Google supports full editing functionality for markers, lines, and shapes on maps, plus the ability to mark your location using GPS or attach a photo directly from your phone. Your maps are automatically synchronized with your My Maps on the web. Check out this tour of Google Mountain View that I just created on my phone:
There are plenty of ways to put this to good use during the holiday season:
- Plan out your holiday shopping. Create a map on your computer with markers for all of the stores you need to visit. Color code the markers according to importance, category, or sales. Then as you visit each store, change the icon to indicate that you've been there and list what items you were able to get in the description. If you find a store you didn't think of, you can quickly add a marker for it to help future planning.
- Make a map of holiday decorations and displays that you see. Every time you see an interesting holiday display, use the Mark My Location feature to create a marker, then edit the details and add a photo of the display right from the phone's camera. Share your map with your friends and family to show them the best holiday displays in your area. Just go to the maps list, tap and hold on your map, and select Share Map to share it right from your phone.
- Keep track of your travels. You can map out your travel plans and take them with you wherever you go. Add markers while you travel to mark interesting places, and take lots of pictures and attach them to the markers. Then when you get back, you can share the map with your friends and show everyone what your did on your vacation with a map and pictures to help them really visualize the trip.
Posted by Brian Cornell, Software Engineer
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In case you hadn't noticed, the Google Street View team has been busy photographing France, Italy, Spain, and Australia. Given the international focus of recent Street View launches, it's time we make Street View accessible on phones that are especially popular in those countries. We're excited to announce the availability of Google Maps for mobile version 2.3 with Street View on Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile. Street View was previously released on Google Maps for Android, BlackBerry, and iPhone.
Street View lets you access street level imagery to help orient yourself when looking for places, businesses, or getting directions. Say you're going to meet with friends at an unfamiliar restaurant. Now you can search for it in Google Maps for mobile, click on "Street View", and see what the place and surrounding area look like. Similarly, say you need to get to a shop in a part of town you don't know. Find it using your phone, get directions to it, and see how to get there with full-screen panorama images of every step along the way.
While Street View is not yet available everywhere, we'll continue rolling out support across other geographies in the coming months.
Check out this demo of Street View (albeit on a BlackBerry) to get an idea of how things work:
Besides Street View, the new version of Google Maps for mobile also has a bunch of other new features: request walking directions (in addition to driving and public transit) to get anywhere on foot, receive transit alerts from participating public transportation authorities, and see what other people think of a place by reading reviews directly on your phone. We've also overhauled the entire user interface to make the app more responsive and easier to use.
So if you have a Nokia S60 or Windows Mobile smartphone, go ahead and download the new version of Google Maps by visiting google.com/gmm on your phone. Enjoy the (street) view!
Posted by Flavio Lerda, Software Engineer
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
And as before, we got together to give some tricks of our own, from looking up store hours without needing to type, to tracking packages. We're sure you do even more interesting, fun things though, so show us!
Posted by Effie Seiberg, Mobile Trickster
Monday, December 8, 2008
You may have seen ads running on the iPhone and G1 already. That's because Google Search on these devices used to show desktop results pages modified for these phones. Recently, the Google mobile team launched new results pages formatted specifically for the iPhone. Now, advertisers will be able to display ads exclusively on these mobile devices, create campaigns for them, and get separate performance reporting. If you prefer not to show your desktop ads on these phones, you can opt out and show ads only on desktop and laptop computers.
To target ads for G1 and iPhone, go to your campaign settings tab in your AdWords account. Then for the "Device Platform" option under "Networks and Bidding," select "iPhones and other mobile devices with full internet browsers." As additional devices that use full browsers enter the market, your ads will show on those phones, too. You can visit the AdWords Help Center for more detailed instructions and watch my video below for a quick demo. If you currently have an AdWords campaign running, by default your campaign will show ads on desktop and laptop computers, as well as iPhone and G1.
Note that if you're currently running our mobile ads, this new option for desktop ads does not affect your campaign. You can still create mobile ads that show up on other mobile devices like before. For a refresher on our mobile ad formats, check out my past posts on the Google mobile blog and past videos on the mobile blog YouTube channel.
Posted by Alexandra Kenin, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Ads team
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
From now through January 1, 2009, we'll post one new tip each day on our Google Mobile Tips microsite. You can also view the tips on your phone by simply entering your phone number on the microsite and clicking "Send". You'll receive an SMS text message with a link that leads to a tip on a mobile web page.
Today's tip is on voice search. Many of you may know that we recently launched Google Mobile App for the iPhone with voice search. However, did you know that you can tap the green highlighted text in the search bar to see alternative predictions of what you've spoken? If the voice recognition for a query is close but not perfect, try tapping this text to see if your desired query is in the list. If it is, then just tap the list item to see your search results. Voice search can come in handy when you're looking for that perfect gift -- whatever that may be.
Make life even easier by taking a look at this countdown to 2009 for tips about other Google products like Product Search, Checkout, Maps, and more. There's even a gadget that you can add to your iGoogle page -- read more on the Official Google Blog.
Posted by Lawrence Chang, Product Marketing Manager, Google mobile team
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The new platform was built from scratch to offer you some exciting new features:
- Q&A format to help you find answers quickly
- Improved search and integration with the Google Mobile Help Center
- Better spam detection and prevention
- Public recognition of Top Contributors and frequent posters (with more posting privileges as you make your way up)
- Ability to subscribe to ask questions and receive answers via email
The new forum is just one step in our quest to build better products and connect you with one another, so stay tuned for more. As part of this transition, we'll archive the current Google Help Group, as well as the Google Mobile Community. We hope you'll use the Forum not just when you need help, but also to share your enthusiasm and give tips and tricks to the whole mobile community. So stop by to introduce youself, and stay to ask and answer a few questions.
Posted by Alden and Robin, Google Mobile Help Forum Guides
Friday, November 21, 2008
I waited in line on launch day to buy my first-generation iPhone, and ever since then it has never left my side. The best part is that it keeps getting more useful with every software upgrade Apple puts out. This time around, Apple has improved their version of Google Maps by putting even more Google features in your pocket.
The most eye-catching one is Street View: Apple's silky-smooth implementation makes it a joy to pan around the world. You might wonder why you'd want to look at panoramas of the world while you're already out in it, but I've found it handy for getting an idea of what to look for when going somewhere new. In somewhere like New York, it's also a great way to get your bearings when you pop out of a subway station in an unfamiliar part of town.
Speaking of subways, my favorite new feature is the addition of Google Transit and walking directions. In a time of congested roads and fluctuating gas prices, driving isn't always the best way to get from A to B, so why limit your options? Now when you get directions, you can switch between driving, walking, and public transportation directions (where available) with a single tap.
Google Maps has schedules for transportation systems in more than 100 cities worldwide, including New York, Tokyo, Montréal, Zürich, and Perth — and now it's easy to get that information on your iPhone. As more transportation agencies decide to share their schedule information, their routes will be available on the iPhone the instant they appear in Google Maps on the web.
Finally, in the latest version of Google Maps for iPhone, you can email information about a location to your friends, which can be a great help when coordinating a get-together.
To get these new Maps features on your iPhone, you'll need to update your phone's software through iTunes. I hope you'll find these new additions as useful as I have. And don't forget that even if you don't have an iPhone, Google Maps for mobile is available for many other kinds of phones, including BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Symbian Series 60, and Android — visit www.google.com/gmm for more details.
Posted by Joe Hughes, Mobile Maps Software Engineer
Thursday, November 20, 2008
You asked for it, so here it is. We're happy to announce that in the latest update to Google Sync for BlackBerry, we've added two-way contacts synchronization. This new functionality will enable you to sync your handheld's built-in address book with your Gmail contacts. This all happens in the background and over the air, so your information is always up to date, no matter where you are or what you're doing.
Once you've installed Sync, all your information will be safe in your Google account. If you ever lose your phone or buy a new one, getting your address book and calendar to your new device is as easy as installing Sync. Current and new Google Sync users can try Google Sync today by visiting m.google.com/sync from their BlackBerry browser.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
After you speak your query, Google Mobile App will return search results formatted for your iPhone.
And if you're doing a local search, there's no need to specify where you are because Google Mobile App now has Search with My Location. Search for "movie showtimes" or "Mediterranean restaurant" and you'll automatically see results based on your current location. For this to work, Location Services must be enabled on your iPhone and you have to opt-in to let Google Mobile App use your location.
To get the latest Google Mobile App for iPhone or iPod touch, go to the App Store and look for "Google Mobile App." Note that the voice search feature is currently available only in U.S. English and for the iPhone. Read more about other features of Google Mobile App.
Watch this video to see what Googlers from Chicago, London, New York, and Mountain View are searching for. Then consider sharing your most interesting voice search query by submitting a video response.
Posted by Dave Burke, Engineering Manager, Google mobile team
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Results are formatted to be neatly displayed on the mobile screen, so there's no need to scroll side to side. Local search results now include easier-to-press "Get Directions" and click-to-call links. Maps are shown by default in the case of a single listing or accessible by the "Show map" link for multiple listings. For those of you wanting to access the classic desktop search results format, it's only a click away, with the "Classic" link near the bottom of each page.
For now, the newly formatted results pages are available only in U.S. English and for iPhone and iPod touch firmware version 2.x. Over time, we intend to make the newly formatted results pages available through other search entry points on the iPhone, on additional devices, and in more language and country combinations.
Posted by Steve Kanefsky and Rob Stacey, Software Engineers, Google mobile team
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
While this blog tends to focus on consumer applications of Google Mobile products, many of our products are used by business people to find information essential to their jobs. Perhaps you use a BlackBerry issued by your company. If you do, hopefully you search the web with Google and get directions using Google Maps. Your BlackBerry is likely administered by IT managers who whitelist what software you can install on the device. In many cases, IT managers haven't whitelisted Google Maps for mobile or other Google Mobile applications.
If you are an IT manager, visit http://mobile.google.com/enterprise to learn how to give your staff Google Mobile applications. The new installation packages allow you to place the Maps for mobile binaries on an internal server, or push the application to your employees via BlackBerry Enterprise Server.
If you don't manage information technology at your company, consider asking your IT department to deploy Google Maps and Web Search on all the company phones.
Posted by Ryan Pollock, Product Marketing Manager, Google Mobile
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Posted by Steve Kanefsky and Jerry Morrison, Google Mobile engineering
Monday, October 27, 2008
The world just got a little bit smaller. Google Earth is now available for the iPhone and iPod touch, allowing you to fly to the far reaches of the world from the palm of your hand. Since we launched Google Earth for the desktop in 2005, we've had over 400 million unique downloads, and people from around the world have used it to view their house, research travel destinations, learn how to make the world a better place, find local businesses, and view geo-located photos. Now, with a free download from the iTunes App Store, you can fly through the same 3D immersive world of Google Earth you've come to love, without having to fire up your desktop computer.
Check out this video tour to see Google Earth for the iPhone in action:
Not only is having Google Earth on your iPhone convenient, but the touch interface is a very natural way to interact with the Earth. Just swipe your finger across the screen and you fly to the other side of the globe; tilt your phone and your view tilts as well. You can pinch to zoom in or out, or just double tap with one finger to zoom in and two fingers to zoom out. We also integrated the My Location feature, so with a touch of a button, you can fly to where you are in the real world on your phone. In addition, we have over eight million Panoramio photos, which are geo-located photos of places, and you can view any and all of them from your iPhone. Besides being beautiful, high-quality pictures, they're specifically of places, so you don't have to see some guy's family on vacation in Thailand--you can see the beaches, the temples, all the things that give you a real sense of the place. Here is a nice shot of the Grand Palace that I found on my virtual tour of Bangkok.
All versions of Earth include search, and the iPhone version is no exception. You have access to the same great local search that you get with Google Maps, so you can search for places, businesses, and landmarks. With Google Earth you get to the full detail page for businesses, so you can get reviews, photos, user content, business hours, and other useful information. We also added a "search near me" feature, so with one touch you can find businesses near your location, without having to navigate there first or type in the name of the city. Looking for a good cafe when you're in Trento, Italy? It's a snap:
To get Google Earth on your iPhone, visit the App Store in iTunes or your iPhone, and search for "Google Earth."
Posted by Peter Birch, Product Manager, Google Earth
Friday, October 24, 2008
So, what does this all mean for you?
- Overall performance improvement: You should experience significant raw speed improvement, smoother scrolling, and no freezing.
- Multiple accounts management: If you have both a Gmail and Google Apps email account, you can easily switch between them quickly. You will no longer have to use two different mobile apps to access personal and work emails.
- Multiple mobile email drafts: You can save multiple email drafts in your mobile phone, so that you can pick and choose what you would like to send later.
- Powerful shortcut keys: If you have a QWERTY phone, you can use shortcut keys. Hit 'z' to undo, 'k' to go to a newer conversation, and 'j' to go to an older conversation. See Menu/Help in the app for more shortcuts.
- Basic offline support: Can't get a signal? Not a problem. You can compose and read your most recent emails even when there is no signal. Also, any outgoing messages will be saved in the outbox on your phone and sent automatically when you're back in coverage.
Go to m.google.com/mail in your mobile browser to download the new Gmail for mobile for your phone.
Posted by Derek Phillips, Software Engineer, Google mobile team
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Posted by Adel Youssef and Arunesh Mishra, Software Engineers, Google mobile team
Saturday, October 18, 2008
As an engineer on mobile, part of my job includes testing multiple phones. Having to add and update contacts whenever I get a new phone is one of my least favorite things to do. Switching phones is such a hassle in no small part because manually adding my friends' contact information takes so much time.
It occurred to us that the best way to synchronize these various pieces of information is to let the device do it on its own while you're not looking, so you never have to think about it. Once you've logged into your Google account on an Android-powered phone it automatically synchronizes all your contacts and Gmail information so everything is always available, regardless of where you are and whether you have cell coverage. Since all your contacts and mail are backed up to the network, they will still be available if you get a new phone or just have multiple phones.
You will also find that Gmail on Android preserves all the nice functionality that you are used to on your desktop, such as starring, archiving, assigning and reading labels, and the conversation view that makes reading email on Gmail so pleasant. You can also configure which labels you want to synchronize to your phone and how much data you want there. More than ever, you are in control of the data that you want to find on your phone. Gmail even syncs your drafts so you can begin a message on the phone and send it from the web, or vice versa. With push email, Gmail offers real-time, two-way synchronization of your email, notifying you of new e-mails even when you're using another application.
Of course, your contacts list in Gmail also syncs to the phone, and any changes you make on the phone sync to your contacts list on the web.
Because this synchronization works in both directions, you can add a contact on the web and almost immediately use it to call the person from your phone. Once you get used to automatic synchronization, you'll wonder how you could ever live without it. We certainly became addicted to it, and we hope you will too!
Posted by: Fred Quintana, Software Engineer, Android Team
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Whether it's the infectious laughter of "Dad at the Comedy Barn" or Randy Pausch's uplifting "Last Lecture," YouTube on Android can bring news and entertainment to you in an immediate, personalized way. Let me tell you about my favorite YouTube features and how I use them.
I walk into the local coffee shop to get a dose of caffeine -- double espresso is my drink of choice. The Formula 1 race in Singapore was two weekends ago, the first night race F1 has ever held. I wonder if there are some highlights on YouTube. I slide open the keyboard and type "Formula 1 Singapore" and sure enough, there's a video with some footage from the first practice session. The cars look fantastic under the lights. I wonder if my friend Ken has seen this video. I click on the "Menu" button, select "Share," and up pops the email application - I know Ken will appreciate the video as much as I do.
When the video is done playing, a bunch of related videos pop up.
This is great because I can simply choose from any of them to see more F1 racing footage. This feature makes it easier to find more videos that interest me.
While I am busy watching the F1 video, my wife emails me a link to a YouTube video of the San Jose Taiko company. She's a big fan of taiko drumming and is asking if I want to go with her to the concert on Sunday. I tap the link in the email message and watch the video. Wow, I can't wait to see the concert. I hit the back button to take me back to the email conversation and reply to my wife, "Yes -- let's go!"
In addition to the tight integration with Gmail and other applications that are already on the device, I find it really cool that YouTube on Android exposes its search functionality to other Android apps through the open application framework, giving applications like the built-in music player the power to quickly find relevant videos. All I have to do is long-press on the artist, song name, or album to do a search on YouTube for a related video. I'm really looking forward to seeing how developers will integrate YouTube features into their own applications.
Posted by David Sparks, Technical Lead, Android Team
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
When we designed Google Maps for the T-Mobile G1, we set out to create a great mapping application that took full advantage of the G1's hardware, like the touch screen, accelerometer, and GPS, as well as the deep system integration made possible by the Android platform.
One of my favorite things to do with Google Maps on Android is to explore new and favorite places. You can pan around and zoom in and out easily using just your thumb on the touchscreen -- a big plus for all those times when that other hand is unavailable. And if I want to see a restaurant or building up close, I can switch to Street View and view a panorama from street level. I can even turn on Compass mode to let me look around the panorama by moving my phone up, down, and to the side. It's like popping up a virtual periscope anywhere you want to check out what's there with your own eyes. Check out the video below for a quick demo. Note that Street View on Android is only available in the US at this time.
When I'm in a new city or just a new part of town, I like to turn on My Location. It can use GPS or just the nearest cell tower to tell me where I am and re-center my position in the middle of my screen when I approach the edge. When I'm walking or in a taxi in a dense city, like New York, I zoom in to street level and turn on GPS for the highest accuracy.
And as I wander the city, I can search for nearby businesses (like restaurants), and use Android's integrated Map features to save search results to my contacts. For instance, if I find a restaurant that I like, I can save it to my contacts and then later on call it or Map it with one touch. In the future, when I do another search with Maps, I might even see this contact again as a suggested search result along side past queries.
Maps is also integrated with email, IM, and the web on Android. For instance, street addresses that appear as plain text in these apps become touchable zones that you can click on to take you straight to Maps. Something similar happens when a Google Maps link is pasted into an email, IM or placed on a web page. When I touch it, I can choose whether to view the map in the browser, in Google Maps, or in any other application that's built to handle what's known to Android developers as an "intent." Or, I can make the choice once and save it as my default map-viewing application (Google Maps, in my case).
Perhaps best of all is that most of the resources, flexibility, and functionality in Google Maps are available to any application written for Android. Cab4me and Locale are both Android Developer Challenge winners that used the Android platform to build compelling applications with maps and location at their core. Any developer can use Android's MapView and location APIs to build location-aware mobile applications like these. While the team is proud of Google Maps on Android and other cool applications we've seen to date, we're equally excited to see what new kinds of maps and location-enabled applications developers create in the coming months.
Posted by David Conway, Product Manager, Android Team
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Android-powered phones are designed to support the second part of that mission -- universally accessible and useful -- by making Search an integrated, easy-to-use, and platform-wide feature.
We've integrated Search with applications in a variety of ways, in order to make it universally accessible. Every searchable application includes a Search menu option. Some applications (like Maps) support type-to-search. Just start typing, and Maps will automatically open the Search UI for you! Some applications (like Android Market) have Search buttons, while others have Search widgets (like the home screen). Finally, on the T-Mobile G1, there's even a dedicated Search key on bottom row of the keyboard. Just press it and start typing your query.
We've made Search easier to use by providing suggestions. As you type, the list of suggestions refines itself, and you'll immediately jump to that search with a simple touch. There are two types of suggestions on the T-Mobile G1. Google web searches use Google Suggest technology to offer relevant, up-to-date suggestions. Other applications, like YouTube or Gmail, suggest queries you've previously made so that it's easier to find and share results that you've found before. I've even used recent query suggestions to start a search without any typing at all.
Also, we've integrated search across the platform so that applications can even share search capabilities with each other. For example, as Marc noted in his blog post, the music player can use other apps, like the browser or YouTube, to search for artist info, more music, or even music videos.
Finally, we've made it easy for third party developers to incorporate search into their applications, too. We've provided an easy-to-use API, documentation, sample code, and everything else a developer needs to implement basic searchability -- with recent query suggestions -- in their apps. What's more exciting to me is that developers can improve upon search as well. Maybe someone will find and provide new sources of searchable knowledge, or serve "mind reading" suggestions, or display search results in a more informative and beautiful way? I can't wait to see what developers come up with!
To see Google search on Android in action, check out this video:
Posted by Andy Stadler, Software Engineer, Android Team
Voter registration deadlines are right around the corner (the earliest are Alaska, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and Washington, which require mailed-in registrations to be postmarked by October 4) so be sure to check your state's rules in time.
Posted by Effie Seiberg, Mobile Citizen
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The first Android-powered phone, announced today by T-Mobile, comes 'with Google'. The following Google applications are preloaded on the device: Search, Maps, Gmail with Contacts, Calendar, Google Talk, and YouTube. There are a few things I'm particularly excited about:
- Easy to use. It's never been easier to use Google on your phone. With single sign-in, you can log in to your Google account and have instant access to all your favorite Google products. No messing around with settings, your login never expires, and everything just works. If you don't have a Google account yet, you can set one up on your phone and be up and running in seconds.
- Fully synchronized. Your emails, contacts, calendar entries, Google Talk chats are fully synchronized with Gmail and Calendar on the web. New events are pushed in real-time to your phone and any changes you make on-the-go are immediately available on the web. If you ever lose or break your phone, all your data is safe and secure in the cloud.
- Designed to work together. Search is now available as a feature in many applications, including non-Google ones, such as the music player. While you're listening to a song -- like something from Depeche Mode -- just 'long-press' the artist's name. You'll see a menu pop up that let's you search Google for the Depeche Mode Wikipedia entry, or search YouTube for the music video. The contact application lets you see your friend's IM status, view his address on a map, and communicate with him using Gmail or Google Talk. And, of course, you can call or text him as well.
The Google applications on Android take full advantage of the features of the Android platform. Gmail is built on 'embedded WebViews', the real-time push features and synchronization use the multi-tasking capabilities of the platform, and the integration between applications relies on the 'Android Application Framework'.
We're kicking off a new blog series, called 'Google on Android'. Over the next couple of weeks, we will dig deeper into each one of the Google applications available for Android, and at the end of the series, I'll let you know whether I've decided to switch phones or switch to pants that let me carry four phones instead of three.
Posted by Marc Vanlerberghe, Product Marketing Director
Luckily, Google Maps for mobile can give you the same public transit directions right on your cell phone! You can plan trips throughout the New York metro area, including turn-by-turn walking directions. With the My Location feature, most cell phones can automatically set the starting point for your trip, even without GPS. And satellite view and Street View (on selected devices) can show you a preview of where you're going.
With Google Maps for mobile in your pocket, you can go wherever the evening takes you, secure in the knowledge that it'll be easy to figure out how to get there. Google Maps for mobile with public transit directions is available for Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Symbian Series 60, and many Java-based phones. Download it by visiting http://m.google.com/nyc in your mobile phone's browser.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
We've also added other features to help you search for and get to businesses and locations. You can now read business reviews, so you'll know if it's actually worth driving across town to that store. And once you decide where to go, you can get there on foot using the same walking directions (beta) we recently launched on desktop. Finally, we hope you'll notice significant improvements in search speed with this version, as well as better location accuracy in all versions thanks to this week's My Location update.
Check out this video to see the new release of Google Maps for mobile in action:
The newest Google Maps for mobile is available now for BlackBerry and many Java-enabled phones. To download it to your phone, visit google.com/gmm from your phone's web browser or on the desktop. We're working on bringing all these new features to other platforms as well, so stay tuned.
Posted by Michael Siliski, Product Manager
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
In November 2007 we launched My Location on Google Maps for mobile, and in the past few months, we've location-enabled other applications from third parties and Google. Hundreds of location-enabled iPhone applications, including the Google Mobile App, use Google's database of cell towers to determine approximate location. And just last week we announced Mobile Search with My Location, powered by the Gears Geolocation API.
With today's launch, your location estimate will be centered closer to your true location, and we have also improved the calculation of just how good our estimate is. When we originally launched the "blue circle" on Google Maps for mobile, the circle usually stayed the same size no matter if you were in downtown Manhattan or rural Iowa. Now, the next time you're using Google Maps in downtown Manhattan, expect to see a much smaller circle that's also far more accurate. Conversely, when you're in a lightly populated area like rural Iowa, expect to see a much larger circle which also happens to be centered closer to your true location. Check out these screenshots to get a better idea of the before and after effects of today's change:
New York City -- a smaller light blue circle denotes that we're more confident of your actual location.
Slater, Iowa - the light blue circle is larger because there are fewer cell towers with which to determine your location, but the dark blue circle is more accurately centered in downtown Slater
So how exactly have we made these improvements? Mobile operators typically need a lot more cell towers in populous areas to service all the users. This means each individual tower provides a much smaller coverage footprint. On the other hand, in a very sparsely populated area, towers provide much larger coverage footprints. We've developed algorithms to try and figure out what the right circle size should be and are pleased to make this available to you today.
There's actually nothing you need to do to start enjoying the new improvements to My Location. Any application powered by Google's geolocation service automatically benefits from today's launch. Enjoy!
Posted by Zhengrong Ji, Software Engineer
Friday, September 12, 2008
Previously, when you went to google.com from your phone’s browser and performed a local search, the results were tailored to the last location you entered. Now, using the Gears Geolocation API, Search with My Location approximates your actual location using the same Cell ID technology used by Google maps for mobile. So if you want to find sushi nearby, just type "sushi" and Google will return local business listings around you. If you want to know the forecast, type "weather". If you want to search somewhere else, specify a location in the query like "pizza Kansas City".
We take your privacy seriously and have designed Search with My Location so that it doesn't associate your location with any personally identifiable information, even if you are logged in. We won’t send your location until you explicitly opt in, and you can always opt-out from the Gears Settings under the Tools menu.
Note that some devices don't yet support My Location. For this reason, we’re initially launching the feature on the devices listed in this help center article while we work with manufacturers to add support to future phone versions.
Initially, Search with My Location will be available in the US and UK. To get started, visit google.com from your phone and click on the My Location link under the search box (you may have to refresh the page to see the link). Enjoy the new feature and check out the video to see how Search with My Location can help save your thumbs!
Posted by Phil Genera, Software Engineer & Joshua Siegel, Product Manager, Google Mobile Search Team
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Once it's installed you'll have faster search and easy access to Maps, Gmail, News, and more from Google.
So what exactly will you get?
- Fast Google search - enter queries without waiting for a browser to load
- Search history - easily access and amend your previous queries
- Google Suggest - complete queries with less typing
- Easy access to Google products for your phone - click once to download and install our applications for BlackBerry, and get immediate access to our web-based services
- Google Apps support - get direct links to your Google Apps Calendar and Documents/Spreadsheets (select Menu, Options, Use Google Apps Domain: yes, and then enter your domain name)
- Update alerts - learn about new versions of downloadable Google mobile applications and upgrade with just one click (Google Mobile App replaces Google Updater for BlackBerry)
A final tip - you can make it even easier to get all of this whenever you need it... just assign Google Mobile App to a convenience key using these instructions.
Posted by Terry Van Belle and Tim Cox, Software Engineers, Google mobile team
Saturday, August 23, 2008
- Mobile Search - Link to search results for Obama and McCain, so you don't have to type in their names on your phone each time you want information.
- Mobile News - Read the latest! A handy link returns only elections-relevant news.
- Mobile Reader - Are you subscribed to the Google Power Readers in Politics? If you're already following the reading lists of the presidential candidates or prominent political journalists on Google Reader, you can keep it up while you're on the go. Not yet subscribed? Manage your account and subscriptions on your desktop computer.
- Mobile YouTube - Both presidential candidates have their own YouTube channels. Watch their latest clips of speeches and press conferences from your phone.
- Mobile Maps - Are you going to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, or the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis? Make sure you've got Google Maps for mobile on your phone to help you get around town. (And if you're going, stop by and say hello! We'll be at both conventions.)
Posted by Effie Seiberg, Mobile Special Projects
Friday, August 22, 2008
One of the most popular travel sites in the Europe, lastminute.com, has now location-enabled their new mobile restaurant finder to help you find restaurants near you without requiring you to type in where you are. If you're in the UK, just go to fonefood at m.lastminute.com, click the "Find your location" link on the home page, select the type of restaurant you want, and lastminute.com will automatically work out which neighbourhood and city you are in and find matching restaurants. This is great for both UK residents and the millions of tourists who visit each year.
Rummble is a new social discovery tool where you can recommend places to visit and see personalised recommendations from friends. Just go to m.rummble.com and click on the "Update location with Gears" link on the home page to see the "Rummbles" near you.
These two apps make use of the Gears Geolocation API. The API can determine your location using nearby cell-towers or GPS for your mobile device or your computer's IP address for your laptop. Google provides this service for free to both developers and users.
Gears is available on IE Mobile on mobile and Internet Explorer and Firefox on desktop. To use the location-enabled lastminute.com and Rummble web apps you will need a Windows Mobile device that supports GPS or cell-id lookup (for example the Samsung Blackjack II and HTC Touch Dual, see supported devices FAQ). We are working hard to bring Gears to more mobile platforms, such as Android and others.
If you are in the UK and have a supported Windows Mobile device visit m.lastminute.com and m.rummble.com today. The first time you use the location feature you will be prompted to download and install Gears.
Posted by Charles Wiles, Product Manager, Google mobile team