Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Some fantastic stuff announced by Amazon at their New York event.

Some fantastic stuff announced by Amazon at their New York event. But the prime service that gives you all that movie streaming goodness still isn't available in the UK. It diminishes the appeal of the Kindle Fire somewhat doesn't it?

Still an Android tablet for under $200 can't be bad. It won't be long before the hacking crews have it rooted!

I think the new Kindle Touch will be the big seller. It's so much neater and makes even the most recent Kindle incarnation look dated.

Live from Amazon's tablet event in NYC!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Gmail and Gmail for mobile go global again, available in Persian

Posted by Ian Hill, Localization Project Manager

At Google, we want to make our products universally accessible and useful, and that means providing them for as many people as possible in the language they speak. The Gmail and Google Localization teams have worked together to bring Gmail to people around the world in 53 languages. Today that number grows to 54, because we’re proud to announce that through working with the Persian Initiative Team, we are able to release Persian (Farsi - فارسی), as the newest language available in Gmail. If you or someone you know speaks Persian, they can change the language in Gmail by selecting it on the Gmail settings page, under the language dropdown.

Gmail for mobile is also now available in Persian through your mobile browser.

To read this announcement in Persian, visit the Google Persian blog.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Introducing multiple sign-in and preferences on Gmail for mobile

Posted by Posted by Dominic Leung, Mobile Software Engineer

The Gmail for mobile team works hard to bring you features that make you more productive on the go. Today, we will highlight some new features for Gmail in your mobile browser.

Multiple sign-in support

Just like on your desktop, you can now to sign into multiple accounts simultaneously. To sign into an additional account, click on the account switcher at the bottom of the threadlist, then click ”Sign into an another account.” You can quickly switch between accounts by selecting the desired account from the Accounts menu.

Mobile-specific signature

We know that autocorrect and other mobile spell-checks can be frustrating as you are typing on the go. Let your friends know that you are responding via your mobile phone so that they understand why you might have sent a message that you are meeting for "monitors" and not "mojitos". It's an easy way to make them understand why your message might be short or have a few typos. To create a mobile signature, from the menu view, press the new settings icon, choose your signature, and then check the box that tells us you want to activate it. If you ever want to disable the mobile signature, you can uncheck the box and we will use your desktop signature instead.

Vacation Auto-Responder

Ever forgotten to set your out-of-office auto-reply in Gmail before going on a trip? You don’t have to worry about that anymore, since you can now set your auto-reply using the mobile interface. Simply choose a start and end date and specify your message, just like on the desktop interface.

As part of added multiple sign-in support, we’ve updated URLs so that each account can have a separate bookmark. For those who have previously bookmarked Gmail for Mobile, please update your bookmark. If you haven’t, now is a great time to head to on your smartphone or tablet browser and add a bookmark to your home screen.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Never run out of calling credit with auto-recharge

Posted by Posted by Ilya Frank, Senior Software Engineer
Cross-posted from the Google Voice Blog

 If you're calling internationally from Gmail a lot, you may have noticed that your calling credit goes a very long way... which makes it easy to get caught off guard when it runs out.

So based on your feedback, we implemented the ability to auto-recharge your account: just go to your billing page (click on the add credit link next to your balance) and select the recharge amount. When your calling credit dips under $2 or 2€ we will automatically charge your credit card on file for the selected amount.

This feature becomes available after your first purchase and can be changed or disabled at any time.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

I had my first go on a segway today.

I had my first go on a segway today. Brilliant fun and so easy to use. I really can't see why these useful and environmentally friendly devices are banned in the UK. Isn't it about time the government let people make risk decisions for themselves and stopped treating the population like children?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

This week in Docs: Format painter, Google Fusion Tables, and drag & drop images

This week in Docs, we’re introducing three new tools that put the fun in functional.

Format painter in Google documents

First, we’ve added a format painter to help you copy formatting within Google documents. The new format painter allows you to copy the style of your text, including font, size, color and other formatting options and apply it somewhere else in your document. To use the format painter, select the text for the formatting you want to copy, press the paintbrush button in your toolbar, and then select the text where you want to apply that formatting.

If you double-click on the format painter icon, you’ll enter a mode that lets you select multiple sections of text so you can apply the same formatting to each section.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts for format painting. To copy the style of your selected text, press Ctrl+Option+C for Mac or Ctrl+Alt+C for Windows. To apply any copied styles to whatever text you have selected, press Ctrl+Option+V for Mac or Ctrl+Alt+V for Windows.

Google Fusion Tables in documents list

With this week’s update, we’re also integrating Google Fusion Tables into your documents list. Google Fusion Tables is a data management web application that makes it easy to gather, visualize and collaborate on data online. Now you’ll be able to store and share your Fusion Tables with the rest of the files in your documents list.

Recently, people have used Google Fusion Tables to:

Go to Create new > Table from your documents list menu to get started visualizing or sharing tables of data in .csv, .xls or .kml files.

We're working on making Google Fusion Tables available to Google Apps customers and will let you know as soon as they are. Take a tour to learn more about Google Fusion Tables.

Drag & drop images in Google drawings

We also made it easier to add images from your desktop to Google drawings. If you’re using the latest version of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, you can now drag an image from your desktop and drop it directly in the drawing canvas.

Give these tools a try and let us know what you think in the comments.

Posted by: Micah Lemonick, Software Engineer

Updated 9/13 to add shortcuts for Windows

Improved accessibility for Google Calendar

Posted by: Florian Niemann, Software Engineer

Today we announced some of the updates we’ve released recently to make Google’s applications more accessible to the blind community. Google Calendar now has new keyboard shortcuts and better screen reader support for our blind users. Members of the blind community can now use JAWS, VoiceOver and ChromeVox to manage your calendars, create and edit events or simply browse your events. Here are a few examples of how screen readers and keyboard shortcuts work with Google Calendar:
  • In your calendar lists, you can use the up and down arrow keys to navigate between your calendars. For each calendar in the list, you’ll hear its name and can use the spacebar to turn the calendar on or off. To remove a calendar from the list, use the delete key.
  • In the agenda view, you can use the up and down arrow keys to move between events and use the left and right arrow keys to move between dates. To expand an event and expose the event details, press enter. To go to the event details page, type ‘e’. To remove an event, press delete. Although agenda view provides the best screen reader experience today, we are also working on improved accessibility for other views.
  • In the guest list on the create/edit event page, you can navigate around using the up and down arrow keys. Use the spacebar to switch a guest's status between optional and required. To remove a guest from the list, use the delete key.
  • Additional keyboard shortcuts make it easier to use Google Calendar no matter which view or screen you’re on. Type ‘c’ to create an event, ‘/’ to start a search, and ‘+’ to add a calendar.
For a complete list of keyboard shortcuts and to learn more about using Google Calendar with screen readers, please visit the help center.With these new accessibility features, we hope to make it easier for everyone to use Google Calendar. Please use this form to share your feedback directly with the accessibility team so we can continue to improve our products.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Comment-only access in Google documents

In the past several months, we’ve added new discussion and commenting features to improve collaboration in Google documents. As an engineer, I often create docs with design concepts and send them to my team to review and provide feedback, and we use the commenting features to facilitate these discussions. Sometimes, I want to let team members view and make comments without allowing them to directly edit my document.

Over the next several days, we're releasing a new sharing option so that you can let people view and add comments to your documents without giving them edit access. To give comment-only access to your document, click on the Share button. From there, add in the contact you’d like to share your document with, and select Can comment.

You can also choose to give comment-only access to anyone with the link or anyone on the web by changing the sharing settings within the document. To do this, click Change in the sharing settings window and change visibility options to Public on the web or Anyone with the link, then change the access options to Can comment.

Similarly, if you’re using a Google Apps account, click Change in the sharing settings and select either “People at who have the link can access” or “People at can find and access.” Then change access option to Can comment.

Users that have comment-only access can view your document and add comments throughout -- without being able to change the content of the document directly.

We hope this latest feature in discussions helps you get the feedback you need while providing you with more control over the content in your docs. So comment away and tell us what you think -- below or in the forum.

Posted by: Sarah Wu, Software Engineer

Friday, 9 September 2011

German court upholds Samsung tablet ban "The court is of the opinion that A

German court upholds Samsung tablet ban

"The court is of the opinion that Apple's minimalistic design isn't the only technical solution to make a tablet computer,"

And maybe "round" isn't the only shape to make a wheel but it's probably the most common one.

German court upholds injunction against Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, Apple wins nationwide ban

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

On my way to a meeting in london, just braved the horrendous weather walkin

On my way to a meeting in london, just braved the horrendous weather walking to the train station to find trains disrupted.

Looking forward to being able to use Google hangouts for business meetings in the near future.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Tips & Tricks: Using the new Subtotal function in Google spreadsheets

This week, we added the Subtotal function to our list of functions in Google spreadsheets. One of the benefits of the Subtotal function is that it works well with AutoFilters by only using unfiltered data when performing calculations (other functions such as Sum include filtered data calculations). Subtotal also lets you change what function you’re performing on those values very quickly, by selecting an item from a drop-down list. See our help article for details.

This versatile function is often used by accountants, finance professionals, and business consultants. It can also be extremely convenient for any user -- let’s show you why.

Say that you’re helping to plan your family’s annual Labor Day beach weekend. You want to decide how many hot dogs and veggie dogs to buy. To figure this out, you create a Google spreadsheet that includes all your family members, their meat preferences, and the number of hot dogs everyone ate at the past several family gatherings:

To quickly count how many veggie dogs you need to buy based off the number of veggie dogs eaten last month, add a filter to the columns , sort to “Yes” only in Column C, and type in this Subtotal function underneath the table:

=SUBTOTAL(109, F2:F14)

Cells F2 through F14 show the number of hot dogs each family member ate last month. “109” is the code that references the Sum function (“9” would also work). Typing in a regular Sum function in this case (=SUM(F2:F14)) would have added all dogs, veggie or not, whereas Subtotal ignores hodogs which have been filtered.

Another neat feature of the Subtotal function is that the function code (such as “109” above) can easily be changed to refer to different operations like Average, Minimum, and Maximum. As a result, Subtotal can be used to condense a number of calculations into a small space.

Let’s say you want to see not only the total number of hot dogs eaten each summer month, but also the average number eaten. Rather than creating two different functions (Sum and Average) for each month, you can use Subtotal.
  • In an open cell -- let’s use B15 -- you would create a drop-down list with the codes for the Sum and Average function (109 and 101 respectively).
  • And under the column for each month, you would write a Subtotal function, but reference cell B15 instead of typing in a code.
For June, therefore, your function would read: =SUBTOTAL(B15, D2:D14)

Every time you change which code appears in cell B15 through the drop-down, the values under each month will change, showing either the total or the average number of hot dogs eaten by your family with just one click.

We hope the Subtotal function makes your data analysis a lot easier -- and maybe even more fun.

Posted by: Lai Kwan Wong, Software Engineer

PlusFeed to close

PlusFeed is shutting down

Google changed their pricing for AppEngine increasing the costs tenfold, making this free service unsupportable.


Please grab the open source code from GitHub here and start your own AppSpot instance if you rely on this service.


Thursday, 1 September 2011

Using Gmail, Calendar and Docs without an Internet connection

Posted by Benoît de Boursetty, Product Manager

(Cross-posted on the Google Enterprise Blog)

The great thing about web apps is that you can access all of your information on the go, and we’ve introduced ways to use Google Apps on a variety of devices like mobile phones and tablets. But it’s inevitable that you’ll occasionally find yourself in situations when you don’t have an Internet connection, like planes, trains and carpools. When we announced Chromebooks at Google I/O 2011, we talked about bringing offline access to our web apps, and now we’re taking our first steps in that direction. Gmail offline will be available today, and offline for Google Calendar and Google Docs will be rolling out over the next week, starting today.

Gmail Offline is a Chrome Web Store app that’s intended for situations when you need to read, respond to, organize and archive email without an internet connection. This HTML5-powered app is based on the Gmail web app for tablets, which was built to function with or without web access. After you install the Gmail Offline app from the Chrome Web Store, you can continue using Gmail when you lose your connection by clicking the Gmail Offline icon on Chrome’s “new tab” page.

Google Calendar and Google Docs let you seamlessly transition between on- and offline modes. When you’re offline in Google Calendar, you can view events from your calendars and RSVP to appointments. With Google Docs you can view documents and spreadsheets when you don’t have a connection. Offline editing isn’t ready yet, but we know it’s important to many of you, and we’re working hard to make it a reality. To get started using Google Calendar or Google Docs offline, just click the gear icon at the top right corner of the web app and select the option for offline access.

IT administrators can deploy Chrome Web Store apps to users en masse by setting up organizational policies for Chrome.

Today’s world doesn’t slow down when you’re offline and it’s a great feeling to be productive from anywhere, on any device, at any time. We’re pushing the boundaries of modern browsers to make this possible, and while we hope that many users will already find today’s offline functionality useful, this is only the beginning. Support for offline document editing and customizing the amount of email to be synchronized will be coming in the future. We also look forward to making offline access more widely available when other browsers support advanced functionality (like background pages).

How I use Google Docs as a student

Shep McAllister is a rising senior at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX, and editor of the popular student blog HackCollege. For the past several years, he has done his college coursework exclusively on Google Docs, and today he shares his five favorite uses for the platform in the classroom.

When I started out at Trinity University, I didn’t know much about Google Docs and relied heavily on desktop word processors. As I became increasingly frustrated with these programs crashing mid-sentence, I thought I’d give Google Docs a try. But what started as an experiment to test Google Docs for group projects and class notes quickly became a permanent solution for all of my schoolwork, and I haven’t looked back once. Here are a few of my favorite uses of Google Docs in college:

1. Work together on group projects
Before I started using Google Docs, group projects were a nightmare. A co-authored paper would fragment into a dozen different documents. Group presentations became last minute scrambles to get combine slides. Any information sharing about our project took place in splintered email threads. With Google Docs, my class groups are able work together on the same presentation or paper simultaneously while sharing links and ideas in a separate doc. The discussions feature released earlier this year made collaboration even simpler.

2. Take notes collaboratively
My classmates and I always get together near exam time to combine our notes and share ideas, so why not do it in real time? I work with friends to take in-class notes on a single Google doc, allowing everyone to come away with a more thorough set of notes than they could have written individually. I discuss this concept in more detail on my blog, HackCollege.

3. Convert PDFs and handouts to searchable text with Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
As a student, I get a lot of assigned reading as PDF files. Unfortunately, most of them are low-quality scans from the library, which makes it hard to search through them for keywords or make annotations. With Google Docs’ OCR capabilities, I’m able to upload a low-quality PDF and receive an editable text document in return. This also works well for any important handouts professors give out in class -- I just scan the handout and upload to Google Docs, keeping all of my class material in one place.

4. Save major assignments in the cloud
Writing important papers in Google Docs allows me to access my assignments and papers from any computer, anywhere. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been stuck in the library without my laptop, or only have my smartphone handy. With Google Docs, it doesn’t matter, because all of my assignments are stored in the cloud, meaning I don’t have to be tethered to my laptop to get work done. This saved my sanity (and GPA) during finals last semester, when my computer crashed and was out of commission for over a week. Luckily, there was no need to panic, because I knew my final papers and study guides were tucked safely in the Google Docs cloud, instead of my dying hard drive.

5. Collect information from a group with forms
Before I started using Google Docs, organizing my classmates for a group dinner or campus event was a nightmare. Now, I use Google Docs to create web forms to send to my friends and classmates. My friends have gotten involved too, using it for keeping track of club participation, voting on housing for their fraternity’s beach weekend, and even conducting surveys for major research projects.

Posted by: Shep McAllister, Blogger & Trinity University Student

The Google Docs app for Android now with Web Clipboard and in 46 languages

In April, we introduced the Google Docs app for Android, which allows you to access and create new docs on the go, directly from an app on your Android phone. Since then, we’ve continued to work on ways to improve your mobile experience, and I’m excited to share a couple of new updates that we hope will do just that.

Starting today, you can easily take pictures with your Android phone and insert them into a Google document, using the new Web Clipboard feature. Here’s how:

1. From the Docs widget on your phone, tap the camera icon.

2. Snap a photo then select Send to Web Clipboard and press OK.

3. Open any Google document from your computer. Click the Web Clipboard icon and select the item to paste into your doc.

A couple of other new features for the Android app include improved open and send options. You can open your documents with any compatible viewer application or send a doc as an attachment through email or another app on your phone.

Last but certainly not least, we’re making the Docs app available in 45 additional languages so more users around the world can access, share and edit on the go. Here’s an example of what the app looks like in German:

You can grab the app from Android Market and learn more by visiting the help center. As always, let us know what you think in the comments or on the forum.

Posted by: Tobias Thierer, Software Engineer

This week in Docs: Page numbers in documents and one click to Google Cloud Print

This week in Docs, we’re announcing page numbers and page count in documents, plus one click to Google Cloud Print -- a couple features that we hope will save you time and energy.

Page numbers and page count in documents
Today we’re making it possible to add page numbers and page count to your documents. You can use the Insert > Page number option to add page numbers to the header or footer of your documents.

We’ve also added the option to insert page count, which displays the total number of pages in your document. You can combine the page number and the page count to create more advanced headers and footers. For example, to create the “Page 3 of 15” header below, take the following steps:
  1. Go to Insert > Header.
  2. Click the right align icon in the toolbar to move the cursor to the upper right corner.
  3. Type the word “Page”.
  4. Go to Insert > Page number > Top of page to add page numbers to the headers of your document.
  5. Type the word “of”.
  6. Go to Insert > Page count to add the total number of pages to the headers of your document.

Print with Google Cloud Print in just one click
Earlier this year, we announced Google Cloud Print for mobile documents. Google Cloud Print is a service in Beta that allows printing from any app on any device, OS or browser without the need to install any software.

We’re making it easier to print on the go directly from your mobile documents list in Google Docs. Simply select a document from the documents list and click on Actions > Print from the bottom toolbar. Currently, you can use Cloud Print in Google documents and spreadsheets.

To get started, you’ll need to connect your printer to Google Cloud Print. To learn more, check out the new site.

We hope you’ll take advantage of these latest features. Stay tuned for the next This Week in Docs.

Posted by: Chris Graves, Software Engineer Intern

Access Google Docs with FedEx Office Print Online

With Google Docs, you have instant access to your files anytime -- whether you’re at the office on your desktop, on the go with your mobile phone, or at home on your laptop.

When you need to print your documents from anywhere, FedEx Office® is now making it even easier with a Google Docs feature. With FedEx Office Print Online, you can upload and access your Google Docs directly from their site, choose what file types to print and customize your printing options. Once you’ve completed your order, you can choose to pick up the prints at a local FedEx Office retail location or have them delivered right to your door.

So whether you’re creating brochures for your business or a mid-term project to share with classmates, the power of the web helps you access your files from anywhere and even get them into your hands, literally.

Posted by: Teresa Wu, Community Manager