Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mobile internet usage and useful mobile ads

Last December, those of you who responded to our 100th mobile blog post said that you wanted more editorial content and mobile industry insight. Here are a couple of recent mobile-related articles that you might find interesting from Google executives.

The first article went out yesterday on TechCrunch from Vic Gundotra, our VP of engineering for Google's mobile and developer products. Vic talks about the nature and prerequisites of surging mobile internet usage. Straight-forward and flat-rate data plans, modern mobile web browsers, and easy access to mobile apps -- that's what you want, right? This chart, for instance, compares mobile search traffic from one carrier (MetroPCS) that offers a simple, flat-rate data plan with a larger carrier that does not offer a comparable plan.

The second article was published today on MediaPost from Doug Garland, our VP of product management for mobile advertising. Doug offers suggestions on how to make mobile advertising work and describes the benefits of experimenting with new opportunities.

As always, feel free to leave questions and comments below or in our forum.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Look Ma, No Hands - Google Mobile App for Blackberry now with Search by voice and My Location

Remember the last time you tried to search for "Marks & Spencers London SW1W" on your Blackberry and ended up with 10 extra characters in the spelling of "Spencers" before you gave up on the "London" bit? If you're like us and hate typing on that tiny keyboard, you'll be glad to hear that Google Mobile App on your Blackberry will let you search with your voice and with My Location. Give it a try by visiting http://m.google.com on your Blackberry. (Blackberry Storm is not supported at this time.) Your fingers will thank you for it.

Get the latest version of Google Mobile App at http://m.google.com

Suppose you're vacationing in London, and you have a craving for fish and chips. With the My Location feature enabled, you can just enter "fish n chips" into Google Mobile App, and it will return the fish and chips restaurants closest to you. No need to type in "fish and chips near SW1W". And since Google Mobile App displays search suggestions as you type, you may only need to type part of the query before "Best Fish n Chips in London" pops up as a suggestion. We're a fan of anything that saves keystrokes on the way to deep-fried British goodness.

Search suggestions appear as you type, saving you keystrokes and time

Now on your vacation, you could have sworn your friend said to meet in "Lester Square". Unfortunately, "Lester Square" is nowhere to be found on the Tube Map. A quick voice search on Google Mobile App (just press and hold the green button) for "Lester Square" reveals the true spelling. Leicester Square is actually only two stops away on the Picadilly Line. Problem solved! And as always, local results have a link to open Google Maps for mobile to guide you there. Searching by voice can be used in combination with the My Location feature, and it works well with standard Google searches, such as currency conversion and weather. So keystrokes have been reduced... to a single press of the green button in Google Mobile App.

Who knew 'Lester Square' had an extra 'ice' in its spelling.

And if you happen to speak with a British accent, you'll be happy to know that we now support British English as well. Google Mobile App is now available on all versions of Blackberry running on O/S 4.1+ and with Search by voice on O/S 4.2 and above, although the Blackberry Storm is not supported at this time. 

Posted by Luca Zanolin, Google Mobile App engineer

Friday, March 20, 2009

New YouTube App for Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 phones

We've been working hard to support more devices and to offer better speed, quality, and robustness in the YouTube app. So we're excited to announce a new version of our mobile YouTube application that's optimized for most Window Mobile and Symbian Series 60 devices. Visit m.youtube.com from your phone to download the app.
  • More phones: Supports most Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 devices (a list of supported Nokia S60 devices is available here).
  • Speed: Faster application start-up, searching, and video loading. For even quicker access, add the application icon to your phone's home screen.
  • Video quality: The application automatically detects your device and network capabilities, and selects the highest available stream quality based on those. Videos will look sharper and sound clearer than ever.
  • WiFi: Improved streaming over WiFi to support a wider range of networks.
  • More robust streaming: Improved buffering ensures that videos will play even in weak coverage areas.
  • Easy video viewing: Once installed, no configuration is required outside of the application. We've worked really hard to make video playback "just work".
The application will alert you as more improvements become available, so keep an eye out for updates. In the meantime, visit our Community Help Forums to leave feedback for us.

For more info, check out the YouTube Blog.

Posted by Andreas Tuerk, Product Manager and Stephen Spence, Software Engineer, Mobile Team

Friday, March 13, 2009

Here comes Google Voice

We've got good news for GrandCentral users -- now you can begin previewing Google Voice, an application that helps you centralize all your telephony needs. Some features of Google Voice include voicemail transcription, the ability to search and store SMS messages and low-priced international dialing. The original functionality of GrandCentral, such as a centralized number and web accessible voicemail inbox, live on within Google Voice. You can read more about this release on the Official Google Blog.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

New Image Search Results for Android and iPhone

Today we launched a new Image Search results page for Android, iPhone, and iPod touch in the US, the UK, and Japan.

With the new Image Search results, you can easily scan up to 20 images on a single results page and get the details for images that interest you. From the details page, you can view a larger thumbnail, visit the web page containing the image, or view the image by itself in full size. The new results page also supports "search-by-style" filters, which allow you to restrict your search results to people's faces, clip art, line drawings, or photo content. This feature was previously launched on Google Image Search in December 2008, and we are excited to now bring this feature to mobile.

To try it yourself, go to google.com on your Android-powered device , iPhone, or iPod touch, and click on "Images" before doing your search.

How to use Image Search:

1. To begin image search, go to google.com and click on “Images.”

2. The results page shows related images. Clicking on an image loads the details page.

3. On results page, the “filter” option on the blue bar allows selection of image style and SafeSearch settings.

4. The image details page shows a larger thumbnail and links to the original website and image.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Finance for Android App

Just over a year ago, during a user experience research trip for Google Finance, we were at the home of a stay-at-home mom / day trader. She was frustrated that there were "personal blackout periods" in the trading day when she was entirely disconnected from the stock market -- for example, while she was ferrying kids around or at lunch with friends. Her situation wasn't unique. During our research visits, we had been hearing similar concerns from people who need to stay connected to the market. With the hope of resolving this dilemma, we started to design and build a finance application for the Android platform in our Google 20% time.

As the Finance for Android application took shape, and the team of 20% engineers grew, we added more features with the aim of allowing users to get stock quotes, market data, and news as fast as possible. If you are following the markets throughout the day, check out the real-time streaming quotes in your portfolio, fast stock look-ups with search auto-suggestion, and 'recent quotes' to make it even easier receive quotes on-the-go. For each stock, you can see detailed quotes, charts and news, and any change you make to your portfolio automatically syncs up with the Google Finance website. So now you don't have to worry about setting up a separate portfolio on your phone.

If you're in the US, you can now download Finance for Android from Android Market.