Friday, March 26, 2010

Tips for exploring the Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile

We’ve previously given you a few tips on using Google Buzz for mobile, and today we’re focusing on the Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile. As many of you have found out, location puts a different spin on Google Buzz, adding context to posts and letting anyone find relevant public posts in a natural way -- on a map! We wanted to share some tips on a few creative ways we’ve seen you using the Google Buzz layer.

Explore the world around you
Are you curious if there’s anything interesting going on nearby? Enable the Buzz layer in Google Maps, then select any icon from the map or open the list view to see all the posts from the map area you’re viewing. We’ve found patients chatting from different hospital rooms, neighbors discussing a power outage, and even some public flirting. Here are a few more awesome examples we’ve stumbled upon:
  • A father hearing his baby’s first heartbeats at the hospital
  • Status updates of a rooftop fire being put out in San Francisco
  • Shooting of the TV show “Trauma” on location
  • Photos of the stadiums being built for the World Cup in South Africa
Ask questions and get answers
If you’re exploring a new area and looking for tips, post a question, and someone browsing Buzz in the area may be able to provide a quick answer. A few weeks ago on President’s Day, I was hanging out in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Rather than take my chances, I posted a question asking what the parking rules were. A friendly local soon informed me that I’d be free of parking stress -- meters were enforced but permit parking was not.

Share a picture worth a thousand words
Even if you could type 100 words a minute from your phone, sometimes a picture tells a different story than words could ever describe. Google Maps for mobile or the Android Buzz widget lets anyone share a picture of their favorite dish or the funny street sign they’ve found. Just attach a photo to your post or take a new one before posting. We’ve found great cases of citizen photo journalism on the public Google Buzz layer, such as traffic accidents blocking roads and location-tagged Picasa Web Albums showing the earthquake recovery in Haiti.

Give tips or learn about places
Google Buzz posts you create in Maps will always include your location (i.e. “My Location”) by default, but you can easily change the approximate location to a specific place, such as a restaurant. For example, change the post’s location and select the restaurant from the suggestions list before posting to give a recommendation or tip. Alternatively, you can search for the restaurant in Maps and select the Google Buzz option from the search results page (the post’s location will automatically be the restaurant). Now, people reading your post will know that your recommendation is about that exact restaurant, and your recommendation will be available for anyone browsing that restaurant’s search results page.

...and one reminder
Because we built Google Buzz in Maps for mobile to let you share information about places with the world, posts from Maps are always public to the web and include a location, either your approximate one or a specific place you choose.

To get started, install the latest version of Google Maps 4.0+ on your Android 1.6+, Windows Mobile, or Symbian S60 phone (BlackBerry coming soon; see availability details) by visiting on your phone and going to Layers > Buzz from the Maps main menu. From Android, iPhone, and iPod touch devices, you can also use the Nearby view and map just like the Maps layer.

Visit our Help Center to learn more or tell us your feedback and questions in our Help Forum. Give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Google Mobile App now available for BlackBerry Storm

If you have a BlackBerry Storm or Storm2, and have been wondering when you'd have access to Google Mobile App and features like search by voice, then we hope you'll be happy with today's news. We're launching a new version of Google Mobile App for BlackBerry Storm and Storm2.

This version contains all of the useful features of Google Mobile App, but is tailored for BlackBerry touchscreen devices. You can search using your voice instead of typing your query. Just hold the green button and speak your query in English, Mandarin Chinese, or Japanese. You can also use Google Mobile App to search your BlackBerry's email and contacts. To find an email, you can search for the name of the person who sent you an email, or a phrase from the body of the message. If you'd rather Google Mobile App not search your email and contacts, you can turn off Phone Search in the options screen. Information about your contacts and content from your emails is accessible only on your device; Google Mobile App does not send this data to Google.

The weather OneBox

hold the green key to start search by voice

Google Mobile App also includes a few other conveniences to make searching easy, such as Google Suggest and search history. Google Mobile App also links to other Google services, such as Google Maps and Gmail, so you can access them quickly.

Google Mobile App is available in seven languages in more than twenty countries.

To download Google Mobile App to your BlackBerry, visit in your BlackBerry's browser. If you have any questions or comments, or if you want to learn more, please visit our help center.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Introducing Google Buzz widget for Android

Since we launched Google Buzz for mobile, we've been working on ways to make it quicker and easier to share your thoughts and experiences while you're out and about.

Today, we're excited to release a Google Buzz widget for Android phones that lets you post text and photos with a single tap. Like other mobile access points for Google Buzz, the widget lets you choose to tag your post with the location or place from which it was posted. You can post buzz about a great meal you had and share photos of the new restaurant. To save time, your posts will upload in the background, letting you get back to your scrumptious dessert without a wait.

The widget is initially available in English for Android phones running v1.6 and later. Search for 'Google Buzz' in the Android Market to download it now. Once installed, you can add it to your home screen: tap "Menu" while on the home screen and select "Add > Widgets > Google Buzz".

We plan to add support for other languages soon. Visit our Help Center to learn more, ask questions in our Help Forum, or give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page.

Update on March 22nd @11:10 PM: You can also directly scan the QR code below to install the widget.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Orkut for Android — live folders, photo upload and more!

(Cross-posted on the orkut Blog)

Orkut is now ready to roll on mobile phones with Android. Now you can stay connected to your orkut friends wherever you go -- via scrap notifications, direct photo uploads to your orkut albums, and a phonebook synced to your orkut friends' phone numbers and status messages. Orkut for Android lets you stay in touch with pals through...

Orkut friends live folders
Simply add the list of your orkut friends as a live folder on your home screen, and you'll be able to browse through your friends list even when not under data network coverage. The live folder also lets you communicate (via call, scrap or SMS) with your friends in a single click. To install a live folder, click "Menu > Add > Folders > Orkut" on your Android device’s homescreen after installing the orkut for Android application.

Photo uploads to your orkut albums
Gone are the days when you needed to download photos from your Android phone to your computer and then upload them to your orkut albums. Now you can simply upload photos from your Android Photo Gallery. Just click "Menu > Share > Orkut" while browsing your photos in the Android Photo Gallery to get started.

Scrap notification
You will get notifications on your Android device when you have new scraps on orkut. The notifications will appear on your Android device notification bar; clicking on notifications will take you to your scrapbook page.

To install the orkut for Android application visit Android Market from your Android device and search for "orkut" under the social applications category. You can also directly scan the QR code below to install it. Note that the application is available only for Android devices running version 1.6 or higher.
Hope to see you on orkut for Android soon!

Google Maps for Android: Search ‘n Swipe, Latitude Widget, and More

Making sense of a fast paced and changing world is difficult under the best of circumstances, but when you’re on the go, it’s even harder. With the new Google Maps for mobile 4.1, we’re introducing a few features that make sorting through search results or quickly seeing Maps info a bit easier.

Updated search results page
With the newly reimagined Google Maps for mobile search results page, we’ve done away with the tabs to give you all the info you want on one page. Tap the new buttons to see the place on the map, get directions, call it, or see it with Street View. The extra space let us bring details and reviews right up front.

Swipe for more results
Take a look at the new page, and you can quickly see that Milk Pail Market specializes in cheese, has mostly 4 and 5 star ratings, and also sells fresh vegetables. You can select any section to see more reviews, buzz, etc. If you want to get to more search results without going back to the list, simply grab the page with your finger and swipe it away to the left or right to see the next or last result.

Latitude widget and Maps live wallpaper
Once you’ve updated to Maps 4.1, you’ll also have a couple different ways to put Maps up close and personal on your phone. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could quickly find your nearest friends or glance at the traffic conditions around you without opening Maps? Add the Latitude widget to a home screen panel to see your nearest Latitude friends by pressing the “Menu” button from the home screen and selecting Add > Widgets > Latitude. On Android 2.1+ phones, you can also turn your home screen into one big, updating map using the Maps live wallpaper. Press the “Menu” button from your home screen and select Wallpaper > Live wallpapers > Maps. Now you can see nearby friends or a map each time you open your home screen.

Switch Google Accounts
We’ve been adding more and more features that sync with your Google Account whether you’re on your phone or your computer. If you’re managing multiple identities, Maps now lets you switch the Google Account it uses between the accounts you’ve synced to your Android-powered phone. From the Maps menu, select More > Switch Account to sign out of your current account and sign in to a different one. Features like Google Buzz, Latitude, Starred items, My Maps, and more can then begin using whichever account you’ve chosen.

Get these new features at your fingertips by searching for “Google Maps” in Android Market from Android 1.6+ phones. Update Maps to version 4.1, available in all the countries and languages where Maps is currently available. Visit our Help Center to learn more, ask questions in our Help Forum, or give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gesture Search now available for Android 1.6

Since we launched Gesture Search on Android Market two weeks ago, I've seen quite a bit of feedback. For example, some of you have requested Gesture Search for earlier versions of Android, as well as access to it outside the US.

I'm happy to share with you that Gesture Search is now available on devices with Android 1.6 and higher. Additionally, it can be downloaded in all countries where Android Market is available, although it continues to only recognize the English alphabet. The new version also includes some improvements to performance and bug fixes. Please try it out and let me know what you think.

Friday, March 12, 2010

5 more tips for using Google Buzz on your phone

Last week we shared some tips for getting the most out of Google Buzz for mobile. We're back with more ways to help you become a power buzz poster and find the most interesting buzz while you're on the go. Try these 5 tips for the Google Buzz for mobile web app ( on your iPhone or Android 2.0+ device.

1. Post buzz with your voice.
You can post your public buzz simply by speaking it. From the Google Mobile App for iPhone or Quick Search Box on Android, select the voice search icon, say "post buzz" followed by the text you'd like to post, and watch your words appear. Before your post is sent, you'll be able to edit it or change its tagged location.

2. Filter the Nearby tab for a specific place.
From the Nearby tab, you can easily filter buzz by a specific place, such as a sushi restaurant you're about to walk by, to only see posts from that place. Open the menu showing nearby places, for example "Tartine Bakery and 20+ other locations nearby," and then select a specific place from the list. Now, you'll see all the public buzz anyone's ever posted from that place or you can quickly create a post that is tagged with the place. To go back, just open the same menu and select your current location shown with the blue dot. You'll once again see all the recently posted buzz around your location.

3. Search!
As you'd expect from any Google product, Google Buzz for mobile has a powerful search feature that lets you search all public buzz for topics that interest you. Open the menu or just select the magnifying glass icon to see the search bar. You can also search specifically for nearby posts by checking the "Search nearby" box before submitting your search (it's already checked if you're in the Nearby tab). Now you can find out what people around you are saying about the closest pizza spot or a traffic jam.

4. Post from your city-level location.
Tagging a post with your location is easy and adds context to your buzz posts. Sometimes, your post isn't about a specific place or you'd rather not share your exact location. You can easily show your city-level location, so your post has a general city location tagged and will be browsable in the Nearby view and Maps Buzz layer. When posting, just select the ">" in the location box, scroll down, and select the city-level location option.

5. Refresh your location.
On the other hand, sometimes you really want your location to be exact. When you visit the Nearby tab or want to tag your post with a location, Google Buzz will try to get your location using your phone's GPS. If you're not happy with the location accuracy, you're moving, or you're just stepping outside to get a GPS signal, hit the 'refresh' icon to tell the Google Buzz web app to get your location again. You can also learn more about troubleshooting location problems.

Stay tuned for more tips! Visit our Help Center to learn more or tell us your feedback and questions in our Help Forum. You can also give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page.

In stock nearby? Look for the blue dots.

(Cross-posted with the Google Merchant Blog)

Vic Gundotra, VP of Engineering, demonstrated last December a preview version of Product Search for mobile with local inventory, which lets you see right in your search results whether items are in stock at nearby stores. We're happy to announce that as of today, if you're searching for a product that is sold by participating retailers, including Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, or West Elm, you can just look for the blue dots in the search results to see if it's available in a local store. If you see a blue dot, you can tap on the adjacent "In stock nearby" link, and you'll be taken to the seller's page where you'll see whether the item is "In Stock" or has "Limited Availability" near you. You'll also see how far away the stores are from you -- as long as you've enabled My Location or manually specified your location.

If you have an iPhone, Palm WebOS phone, or any Android-powered device, and you're in the US, just go to in your mobile browser, tap on the "more" link, and then select "Shopping." Or look for the "Shopping results" section in Universal Search results when you search on
Finally, if you're a retailer and you'd like to participate in this program, we want to hear from you. Please fill out this brief form to let us know that you'd like to be considered. In the meantime, you can get prepared by making sure your Local Business Center data is up to date, and ensuring that your Product Search data is in great shape.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

​New YouTube App for Windows Mobile and Nokia S60 phones

Cross posted from the YouTube blog

​Last March, we launched the YouTube Mobile app for Nokia S60 and Windows Mobile phones. Since then, the application was translated to 12 languages, installed on millions of devices around the world, and has been chosen as a Nokia Ovi Top App of 2009. Today we’re excited to announce the release of the latest version of the YouTube Mobile app, version 2.4.

We strongly believe that faster is better. The YouTube Mobile app is designed to be the fastest way to find and play a video on your smartphone. In the initial release we minimized the number of features and focused on speed for things that matter - app startup, finding a video, and starting playback.

In today’s release we have added search query suggestions, ‘My Account’ support, and a new homescreen user interface that is optimized for larger screens. Now when you log into your YouTube account on our phone, you can view your favorites, subscriptions and playlists from wherever you are. Let’s say you have recently found an amazing basketball shot video and favorited it on your desktop PC. When you’re at the basketball court with your friends all you need to do is launch the YouTube app and go to your “Favorites” to show it to them.

Another feature that we have added is query suggestions. When you type into the YouTube search box, you get relevant suggestions. This saves on typing which is especially useful for mobile phones where text input may be difficult.

To download the app on your Windows Mobile or Nokia S60 phone, simply visit in your phone's browser. For more information, please take a look at the YouTube Help Center.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Search your Android phone with written gestures

As mobile phones become increasingly powerful and can store more data, we've introduced new methods of search to get you to your content faster, such as search suggestions or search by voice. But sometimes, typing to get to the right search suggestion takes too long, and you may be in a quiet environment where speaking a query is inappropriate. Today we're pleased to announce Gesture Search, a new Google Labs application for Android-powered devices running Android 2.0 or above in the US. Gesture Search lets you quickly find a contact, an installed application, a bookmark or a music track from hundreds or thousands of items, by simply drawing alphabet gestures on the touch screen.

Say you want to call your friend Anne. Just open Gesture Search and draw letter “A”, and Gesture Search returns a list of items that have words starting with “A”. If your handwriting isn't all that neat, that's okay. If the "A" you draw looks a bit like an "H", as seen in the bottom left corner of the screenshot, "H" results will be brought up as well. If needed, you can also erase a query by crossing it horizontally: left to right erases the entire query, and right to left removes the last letter or space in the query. Now you can either scroll down the list to find Anne or write more letters to refine the search.

Additionally, Gesture Search improves search quality by learning from your search history, so Anne's contact info will jump to the top of the list the next time you write "A".

To download Gesture Search, search for it in Android Market. You can get more information on our Google Labs page. And as this is a Labs launch, we are particularly eager to get your thoughts and feedback in the comments below!

Update 2:19pm Pacific Time 3/4/2010: Gesture Search only supports English letters, but is now available for download in all countries.

Update 10:19am Pacific Time 3/17/2010: Gesture Search is now available for Android 1.6.

Posted by Yang Li, Research Scientist

5 tips for using Google Buzz on your phone

A few weeks ago we released Google Buzz for mobile. There are many ways to access Google Buzz from your phone, but the web app ( provides the most complete viewing and posting experience on an iPhone or Android 2.0+ device (more platforms are coming soon). Today, we'd like to share some tips on how to get the most out of the Google Buzz web app on your phone.

1. Search for a place to post from
Tagging a post with your location is easy and fun. You can just tap the location box in the posting screen to add a place name or an address. Or, you can search for a place. Click ">" in the location box and scroll down a bit to find the search box. This will allow you to search for places nearby and tag your post with that location.

2. Learn more about a tagged place
When you see a location tag and the little red pin attached to someone's post, you might want to learn more about that place. Click 'Show map' to see the address of that place and a small map, which you can tap to see a bigger, fully functional map. You can also click the place link to view business details, reviews, photos, and more.

3. Choose to share privately or publicly
The Google Buzz web app provides options to share your post publicly on the web or privately with the groups you select. To create a new group to share privately, you'll need to visit Buzz in Gmail or from your computer. Your location is attached to your post by default, either as an address or a place. If you don't want it attached, you can simply tap the 'Remove location' link. Next time you post, we will remember your choices for the sharing option (public or private) and for the location tagging option (whether or not to include location).

4. View mobile profiles and follow new people
You'll often find interesting public posts or comments made by people you're not following yet. If you'd like to start following them, simply tap on their name to visit their mobile profile page, click the 'Buzz' tab, and tap 'Follow'. The 'Contact Info' tab includes info pulled from their public Google profile that they've chosen to share and any additional info you may have about them in your contacts, making it easy for you to contact them with one click.

5. Auto-finish @reply
When you want to include someone in a post or comment, you can use the @reply feature. On mobile devices, simply type "@user", which will be automatically expanded to "" for you. This will save you time typing on the phone.

Stay tuned for more tips, and visit our Help Center to learn more. We also love to hear your feedback in our forum and your suggestions on the Mobile Product Ideas page!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Click-to-Call Phone Numbers in Mobile Ads for National Advertisers

Recently we announced a new feature that allows advertisers to add a clickable phone number to their mobile ads, making it easy for customers to connect with the local business they're looking for directly by phone. This week, we're expanding click-to-call phone numbers for national advertisers. Now advertisers can add a national phone number to the last line of ad text for any existing or new campaigns, making it easy for customers to connect with the business by phone directly from the ad, regardless of their location.

This can be especially helpful when you're trying to connect with the business call center rather than a specific business location. After searching for a travel services, for example, you might want to call to discuss trip planning with an agent. Or after searching for car insurance, you might want to call for a quote. Now, if you're using an iPhone, Android device, or Palm Pre, you can just click the phone number to call the business without needing to navigate to a new page.
If you're an advertiser and would like to learn more about how to add a clickable phone number to your mobile ads, check out this post on the Inside AdWords blog for more details.