Thursday, April 29, 2010

The New Image Search for Android and iPhone

When you do an image search, we find that it is typical that you will look through many pages of search results. So in the redesign of Google Image Search for mobile, available today for iPhone 3.0+ and Android 2.1 devices, we focused on making it easy to quickly see as many image thumbnails as possible:
  • The thumbnails are square to maximize the number of images we can get on the screen at one time so you can scan them quickly
  • You can swipe to see the next or previous page of results, or tap the large, stationary 'Next' and 'Previous' page buttons
  • We optimized for speed so that the images appear quickly when you browse
When it comes to viewing the images, we now make them as large as possible by introducing a special image viewing page:
  • The black background emphasizes the image and the buttons fade after a few seconds so you can just see images with little distraction
  • Easily browse through the images by swiping from picture to picture

To try this new version of Image Search, just go to on your phone and tap on “Images.” The new experience is available in 38 languages worldwide. Whether you like to look through pictures of prom dresses, impressionist paintings or 猫 ジャンプ we hope you love this update to Image Search for mobile.

Update on 6/2 @ 5:40 pm: This version of Image Search is now available for all Android and Palm webOS devices.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New Place Pages for mobile

Last fall, we launched Place Pages which organize relevant and useful information about places on Google Maps. Since then we've been developing a version, available now, which gives you access to the same useful information optimized for your mobile phone. For example, in the video below, the Place Page for Mama's restaurant in San Francisco shows location information, customer ratings, opening hours and what people are saying about the restaurant in summary format.

To get more details on opening hours or on customer specific comments related to the food, service or ambiance, simply click on those respective sections to show more information instantly. The Place Page also provides links to useful websites where the user can read full reviews about the place. Lastly, if address and cross street information is not enough, click on the map button and you will be taken to a full screen dynamic map which is pannable and zoomable. In this way you can quickly see the restaurant's location in the context of the entire neighborhood.

To try this yourself, go to on your phone's browser and search for "mama's sf". On the search results page, click on the listing for Mama's restaurant to go to the Place Page. This mobile optimized Place Page is currently supported on Android-powered devices and iPhones/iPod touches in the US.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Search by Voice Comes to Google Maps 4.1 for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 phones

We understand that typing on phones isn’t as easy or fast as talking into them. As a result, we’re big fans of letting you search in Google Maps for mobile in the most natural way possible -- with your voice! Not wanting the BlackBerry and Android folks to have all the fun, today we’re happy to announce Search by voice in Google Maps 4.1 on Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 phones.

Search by voice lets you easily search for anything by simply speaking your search terms instead of typing them. Just open Google Maps, press your phone’s “call” button, and clearly speak your search term like “Park Plaza.” Search by voice works with all the kinds of searches Google Maps for mobile already supports, including places, addresses (1600 Amphitheatre Parkway), specific businesses (The French Laundry), or types of businesses (sushi restaurants new york).

You may also notice a few other additions, including a redesigned settings page with Search by voice language choices. Choose your preferred language from the supported options, including multiple English accents and Mandarin Chinese. Also, if you find a problem with any information in Google Maps, you can use the “Report a problem” option to let us know.

To get started, install the latest version of Google Maps for mobile 4.1 for Windows Mobile and Symbian S60 by going to in your phone’s standard web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer on Windows Mobile). This update is available in all the countries and languages where Google Maps for mobile is currently available.

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.

Posted by Yuliang Wang and Yifei Zhang, Software Engineers, Google Mobile Team

Google Buzz Layer Now Available for Google Maps On Your Computer

(Cross-posted from Google LatLong)

With Google Buzz for mobile, you can choose to post publicly and include your location, providing context for your followers and allowing others to see what you have to say about a place on a map. We’ve received a lot of requests to make the Google Buzz layer available on desktop Google Maps, and today we're doing just that.

Now you can use Google Maps from the comfort of your computer to find out what people are saying about places near and far. If you’re new to the public Google Buzz layer, check out some tips for exploring the Buzz layer on Google Maps for mobile to see a few of the fun ways people have already been using it on their phones, sharing everything from breaking news to restaurant recommendations.

To view the Google Buzz layer from your computer, go to Google Maps in your web browser and select Buzz from the More... menu in the top right corner of the map. Find an interesting area like your neighborhood and select any available icon to see what’s going on there. In the post’s window, click on the name to see the author’s public profile, the timestamp to comment on the post, or the place to see it in Maps. The Google Buzz layer is available for in all currently supported languages.

The desktop layer is view-only, however, you can post using Google Buzz for mobile from the web app ( on your phone, Google Maps for mobile, the Android widget, and more.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Explore the UK and Ireland with Google Maps Navigation

Despite recent travel disruption due to Eyjafjallajökull, those of us marooned in the UK and Ireland have enjoyed lovely sunny weather. It’s the perfect excuse to take a road trip, wouldn’t you agree?

With Google Maps Navigation (beta), now available in the UK and Ireland for Android devices 1.6 and higher, traveling by car couldn’t be easier. Like other satnav devices, Navigation includes 3D views, turn-by-turn voice guidance, and automatic rerouting. But because Google Maps Navigation is connected to the Internet, it also features powerful functionality you can’t get from other satnav services, including the most up to date map, business, and traffic data, access to satellite and street views, and of course, search.

With Google Maps Navigation, you can search by voice, and in plain English -- just press the voice search button on your Android phone, say “navigate to Sainsbury’s,” and Navigation will open automatically and guide you to the supermarket. Running out of petrol? You can search along your route for nearby petrol stations, cash points, restaurants, and car parks, without exiting the navigation path.

Google Maps Navigation is available in the US, UK, and Ireland. And like other Google Maps features, Navigation is free. To get Google Maps Navigation on your Android phone, search for “Google Maps” on Android Market and download the latest update. Visit the Google Maps Navigation page to learn more and watch a video, or check out the help center if you have questions.

posted by Sara Rowghani, Product Marketing Manager

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Iterative Web App: Redesign of the Compose Page

On April 7th 2009, we announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iPhone and Android-powered devices. Among the improvements was a complete redesign of the web application's underlying code which allows us to more rapidly develop and release new features that users have been asking for, as explained in our first post. We'd like to introduce The Iterative Webapp, a series where we will continue to release features for Gmail for mobile. Today: Compose view redesign

You're on the subway and you get the brilliant idea to host a TV viewing party for your friends for the premier of Conan O'Brien's new show. You pull out your phone (or your iPad) and start typing names into the compose page at (Yes, it works on the subway.) You've added Naveed, Suzy and 7 others before you remember that Naveed made you eat grass at the last BBQ. You want to remove him from the list but his email address has scrolled way out of view. Argh! After some intense scrolling and lots of backspaces, you finally manage to get rid of Naveed's email address.

Enter our redesigned Compose page. It has new address fields that automatically expand to fit all the email addresses that you're entering, so you'll never have to worry about this type of problem again.
As always, when you start typing an name into the new compose view, you'll see possible contact choices in the autocomplete dropdown. When you select a contact from the autocomplete dropdown, only the person's name is entered into the address field. This saves screen space and won't leave you thinking "man, who is" when you're reviewing an email before sending.

Once you select a contact from the autocomplete menu, you'll also notice that the contact becomes an object that you can tap on. Tapping on a contact opens a detailed view that let's you double-check the person's email address or remove them from the email. Yes, this means you can remove an email address in two taps!

Some other nifty new features which will help you compose your emails faster:

  • Remove the contact you just added by tapping Backspace.
  • Press the '+' button to see your top contacts, or hide them by pressing the '–' button.
  • If for some reason autocomplete fails you and the person you are trying to reach is a Gmail user, just type their Gmail username and a comma, and we'll take care of the pesky @ sign and the rest (so [hikingfan] becomes [].)
  • The page now fills the entire screen, giving you more space to see what you're writing.

This update is available for Android, iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch devices. We always love to hear what you'd like to see next, so be sure to leave your feedback in our Help Forum or the Mobile Product Ideas page!

Happy composing!

Posted by Andra Adams, Software Engineer Intern, Google Mobile

Google Mobile App for iPad now available in the App Store

We’re pleased to announce that a new iPad-friendly version of Google Mobile App is now available in the App Store worldwide. By “iPad-friendly”, we mean that this new version has been designed to show neatly on the iPad’s screen, and that the usual features of Google Mobile App for iPhone, like search by voice and My Location, work well. From the Apps tab, you can also easily navigate to Google’s web-based apps, such as Gmail, which was recently optimized for iPad.

While this first version of Google Mobile App for iPad is essentially the same app we’ve built for iPhone, we’re working on improving Google Mobile App so that it takes advantage of iPad’s features. Stay tuned as we continue to make it and other Google products even better on this new type of device.

To download Google Mobile App to your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch (requires OS 3.0 or higher), search for “Google Mobile App” in the App Store or just visit

Friday, April 9, 2010

Universal search features in Google Suggest for mobile

Last December on the Official Google Blog, we announced how universal search features in Google Suggest could show useful information while the user is composing a query from the Google home page. Today, we are bringing this same functionality to mobile phones so that getting answers while on the go is even faster and easier. For example, let's say you're flying to London and want to know: Is my flight on time? Or what is the exchange rate of the pound? As you type the flight "Ba 284" or "Usd in pounds", the answers are provided right below the search box, without having to wait for the results page. Other searches that show answers include weather (e.g., "weather london"), stock quotes (e.g., "intc"), current time (e.g., "time london"), calculator (e.g. "29*37") and unit conversion (e.g., "220 miles in km").
To try this yourself, go to on your phone's browser and type your own query to see these special results under the search box. Note that if you don't see these results at first, try refreshing the page in your browser. The functionality is currently supported on Android-powered devices, iPhones/iPods and Palm WebOS devices in the US.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Google Maps 4.0 for BlackBerry adds Search by Voice, Google Buzz, Starring, Labs, and More

We’ve been rolling out new versions of Google Maps for mobile at a fast pace lately, and the first Google Maps for BlackBerry update of 2010 is a big one. For version 4.0, we’ve added new features to help you find places faster, post from those places with Google Buzz, star them for quick access, and more.

Search by voice
For starters, we’ve added Search by voice to all BlackBerry devices to save your overworked thumbs. Simply press and hold the green “call” button, speak your search, and see your results quickly appear without typing a single letter. Try it now for any search, like the name of my favorite hometown pizza place, “Punch Pizza in Minneapolis.” You can also search by voice for addresses like “802 Washington Avenue Southeast” or search for other another pizza place to try by speaking, “pizza restaurants.” Currently supported languages include multiple English accents and Mandarin Chinese.

Google Buzz
Google Buzz for mobile also makes its debut on BlackBerry phones in Google Maps 4.0 (see availability). Use the Google Buzz layer to see what’s going on around you or to post to the layer yourself. Check out the many ways to explore the Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile, including sharing pictures, news, and more. From the Maps main menu, select Layers > Buzz to enable the layer; open the menu and select “Post Buzz” to add your own public post from a location or place.

Take your searches and starred places to go.
Just like in Google Maps on Android, the BlackBerry version now provides personalized search suggestions from your search history. If I previously searched for “Punch Pizza” at home, I can simply type “pun” into Maps on my phone to see “Punch Pizza” at the top of the suggested search terms. Make sure you’ve signed in to your Google Account (Menu > Sign In) and have Web History enabled for your account.

Signing in to your Google Account also synchronizes starred items between on your computer (My Maps > Starred items) and phone (Menu > Starred Items). I’ll do my heavy pizza research at home, star several pizzerias I want to try, and browse the list in Google Maps on my phone when I’m ready to eat.

Wait, there’s more!
Also check out other new features added with 4.0:
  • Use Labs to try experimental features like the Scale Bar or Terrain layer (great for hiking enthusiasts!).
  • See nearby businesses at an address or location by selecting a point from the map.
  • Report a problem with the map data or a business listing.
To get started, install the latest version of Google Maps 4.0 for BlackBerry by going to in your BlackBerry’s Internet Browser. The update for BlackBerry Enterprise Server administrators and users, including support for BlackBerry OS 5.0 phones, is available here.

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!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Gmail for mobile integrates with Google Buzz

When Google Buzz for mobile launched in February, we created the mobile web app at so you could post buzz on the go. Depending on your inbox integration settings buzz gets sent to your Gmail inbox when people @reply you, comment on something you’ve posted, or comment on a post after you.

With the latest iteration of Gmail for mobile, we’ve worked to integrate buzz with your mobile inbox. Now, you’ll see buzz in your inbox on your phone just like you do in the desktop version of Gmail, complete with the little Google Buzz icon. When you open a buzz post from your inbox, you can perform all the standard functions, such as liking the post or commenting, just as you can from the desktop Gmail inbox.

To try this out, simply go to in your iPhone or Android browser.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Google services on the iPad and tablet computers

Here at Google we’re really excited about the promise of tablet computers, which will be great for browsing the web and using apps. We’ve been working hard to optimize our services for the new format - larger touchscreens, increased portability, rich sensors - and we’d like to share some information about our progress so far.

While surfing the web on your iPad, we expect many of you will want to check your Gmail. If you go to in your browser, you’ll see something different than what you’re used to on the desktop. We’re releasing an experimental user interface for the iPad built on the Gmail for mobile HTML5 web app that we launched last year for the iPhone and Android devices. Those devices have large screens compared to other phones, and tablets like the iPad give us even more room to innovate. To take advantage of the iPad’s large display, we’ve created a two-pane view with your list of conversations on the left and messages to the right.

To try this new interface, go to in your browser. We recommend adding a homescreen link for easy access. As this interface is experimental, expect changes as we continue to develop and optimize. Also, please let us know any ideas or feedback that you have. You can also access Gmail on the iPad through the native Mail app using the IMAP protocol.

Additionally, the iPad ships with a number of Google services pre-installed. As with Mac computers and the iPhone, you’ll find Google Search in the top right corner of Safari. The YouTube app for iPad is built-in, so you can watch HD videos and read and write comments. The new Maps app on iPad takes advantage of high-resolution satellite and Street View imagery, includes a new terrain view, and lets you search for local businesses and get directions. Just like on the iPhone, you can also go to the App Store to download Google Mobile App with search by voice. Of course, Google Mobile App was originally designed for the iPhone’s screen dimensions, but we’ve adapted it to work on the iPad and we’re looking into new ideas to make the app even better.

As you use Google’s web-based applications on iPad, you’ll notice that you sometimes see the desktop user interface and other times you see the mobile interface. We’ve evaluated the behavior of each Google web app using the iPad Simulator, and we are serving the interface we feel works best. If you’d like any help using our products on iPad, please click the 'Help' link within the product.

We’re particularly excited by how tablet computers create the opportunity for new kinds of user interaction. Here on the mobile team, we often talk about how mobile devices are sensor-rich: they can sense touch through their screens, see with a camera, hear through a microphone, and they know where they are with GPS. The same holds true for tablet computers, and we’re just starting to work through how our products can become even better on devices like the iPad.

Update on April 4, 2010 @ 12:30 AM: The new Google Mobile App for iPad is currently not yet available in the App Store. The version that you can download now is the iPhone/iPod touch version.

Update on April 13, 2010 @ 11:40 AM: The new Google Mobile App for iPad is now available in the App Store.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Grunt, Woof and Moo to you too

(Cross-posted with the Google translate blog)

For millennia man and animal have tolerantly coexisted, separated by language and the development of opposable thumbs. Today we can proudly say that we have overcome one of those hurdles. Presenting Google Translate for Animals, a new application available in Android Market.

This application allows you to record animal sounds and have the sounds analyzed and translated by Google Translate into any of the 52 supported languages. With animal translation you can finally understand why Spot keeps peeing in your closet or why Pickles keeps leaving dead mice in the tub. No longer must humanity struggle to comprehend when Lassie warns, “Hurry, Timmy’s fallen down the well!”

The technology isn’t perfect yet, so you may discover some translations that don’t make perfect sense. The algorithms are always improving however, thanks to the large corpus of cute cat videos that have been uploaded to YouTube.

We think that this is an exciting step in understanding and communicating with the world around us. Stay tuned for the addition of “old car” and “stomach” to the translation capabilities of the application this summer.

Our newest Mobile Search feature: Where am I?

Many of our improvements to search quality come from analyzing actual search queries. We’re constantly trying to surface more relevant search results in as many situations as we can.

Well, I’m happy to announce that for those of you who turn to Google in search of, “where am I,” we finally have a better result. Starting today, just go to on your phone in the US, search for “where am I”, and wonder about your own whereabouts no more.

Note that in this alpha release, we are finding that our results can be slightly off. However, accuracy should improve with greater usage. So if at first the answer is not what you’d expect, please continue to try it over the next couple of days and ask your friends to do the same.

Stars in mobile search

Earlier this month on the Official Google Blog, we announced how stars make search more personal by allowing you to mark and rediscover your favorite content. Today, we are extending this feature so that you can get to your favorite content on your phone, anytime, anywhere. For example, if you previously searched for "car reviews" and starred a few sites that were useful while researching cars on your computer, searching for "car reviews" on your phone will allow you to rediscover your starred items. If there are additional results that you want to star while on mobile, simply click the star marker beside the result, and you will be able to see it later when searching from your computer or phone.

To try this yourself, go to on your phone's browser, sign in to your Google Account and do a search. Star a few results and then do the search again to see your starred items appear at the top of your results. To see the same starred items between computer and phone, make sure you are signed in to the same account. The stars in search functionality is currently supported on Android phones, iPhones/iPods, and Palm WebOS devices in the US.