Sunday, April 29, 2007

Google Talk to add multi-user chat

A Google volunteer translator, Martin, tips Google Blogoscoped that Google Talk might be launching a multi-user chat in the near future as this phrase needs a translation:

Phrase in English: NAME has joined (...)
Translation Help: System messages when user joined or left a muc conversation

Looking deeply forward to this feature and how Google would integrate it in Google Talk (would it be similar to MSN in anyways? or would it be another revolution?) Hope Google has not yet run out of ideas.

My impression of the new multi-chat feature.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Weather Gadget

When you search for 'weather place', Google's OneBox would automatically group weather information into a table that gives a brief summary on the current weather as well as a four days forecast (this is not new). The new thing is that they added a line 'Add to my Google homepage' in the box to promote their Personalize Homepage service. On click, you will be brought to with the weather gadget included and set to show weather of the location you searched for. Pretty nice way to draw users' interest to spend some time and customize their Google homepage.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Earth Day Doodle

A really nice one, I would suggest it is related to global warming. Here is what Google have done to be environmentally friendly:

  • Installing solar panels in Googleplex. Learn more
  • Use Google Earth layers to educate people of environmental destructions going on around the globe. Learn more
  • Printing your emails with paper made out of 96% post-consumer organic soybean sputum. Learn more ;)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Picasa Web Album Homepage Adds Search Box

After adding community search to Picasa Web Album, Google decides that their database is large enough that any Internet users can search for images located in the Picasa community by adding a search box in the homepage of Picasa Web Album. Now Picasa is catching up fast with Flickr, the photo album site owned by Yahoo.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Google Spreadsheets Gets Charts!

This is a great advancement for Google Docs & Spreadsheets as they finally rolled out one of the most lacked feature -- charts. Besides, here are some new features from Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog:

  • Named ranges: you can define a name for a range of cells, and use this name in formulas to refer to cells, for example write =sum(expenses) instead of =sum(c12:e17). This helps make calculation logic clearer to write and understand. Check it out under the "Formulas" tab.
  • Cell comments: Attach comments to individual cells, great for additional information or for collaboration on a single cell.
  • Bi-directional text: The ability to properly view and edit text in right-to-left languages like Hebrew. This is very important for our local community here in Israel.
  • A quick way to duplicate a sheet.
  • A new right-click option to search the web for the text in a cell.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Searching Google News

Google adds in links to 'news archive search' as well as 'blog search' to the searching interface of Google News. This means that users can easily switch between the current news search, new archive search and blog search without needing to go back to Google News homepage. Slight yet nice update. ;)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Google Celebrates First Person in Space

Google creates a doodle for to celebrate the first person who traveled to space, Yuri Gagarin. Here some information from Wikipedia:

Hero of the Soviet Union, was a Soviet cosmonaut who in 1961 became the first person in space and the first person to orbit the Earth. ... Yuri's Night is an international celebration held on April 12 every year to commemorate the first human in space and the first space shuttle launch.
Why not first person on Moon? Maybe Google doesn't believe that ever happened. ;)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Suggest a feature to Gmail

Don't know since when Gmail decided to replace the 'Suggest a feature' link from a 'remote area' to the front page of their Help Center. They also added new features (most likely based on suggestions by users) to the 'most-wanted list'. Here are some interesting items:

  • Backgrounds for messages Something like the Google Personalized Homepage?
  • Animal emoticons I really don't know why animals but not humans
  • Hierarchy of Label system (i.e. sub-Labels) I would suggest label archiving instead
  • Ability to block a user from sending mail to your account
  • Sort messages by size, date, sender, etc. I believe this is the most wanted
  • Integration with other Google products such as Calendar, Groups, Reader, Picasa, etc.
  • To-do list This should come with Google Calendar
  • Export messages to a CD for storage Gmail Paper coming true?!
  • SMS notifications for incoming messages
  • Have Gmail do my laundry Is this a human verification? Or another Google joke?
They also added in a new field called 'Location'. Maybe Google wants to know which where do their picky users come from ;). Vote for your most wanted features (up to five) now!

Monday, April 9, 2007

Google China Apologize for Stealing Data

The recently announced Google IME (Input Method Editor) a.k.a. Google PinYin in China's Google Labs but has been discovered by users that it uses the thesaurus from another search engine in China called 搜狐 (Sohu). Facing the vigorous accusation, Google China Blog decided to apologize publicly to SoHu and admitted using their thesaurus. From the Official Google China Blog:

We are willing to face up to the problem, and therefore would like to apologize to both our customers and Sohu.

Meanwhile, we immediately took action this week (April 8, 2007) at noon, We have completed the second update (version ) and spent two days to complete the re-escalation of the current thesaurus. Currently, the Google thesaurus comes from the massive searchable database accumulated over the years produced by tens of millions of entries.
Well ... there has been very high expectation when Google first entered China. Yet to date, it still is being accused of its slow pace in localizing its products to meet the needs of Chinese Internet users. This time they rolled out a product that copied other's database, many have expressed disappointment towards this legendary company. Could Google break the curse and take over the search engine market in China?

Important Announcement: This is the 100th post in gSpy. I would like to thanks all my readers for the unfailing support and I shall continue googling more Google! ;)

Friday, April 6, 2007

Google Updates Ads Look

Google announced two changes to top ads that appears in the Google search results page (the previous blue box above all search results).

  1. The background color will no longer be blue but yellow so to 'make (their) highest quality ads more visible'
  2. Only the ad title itself is clickable to 'help decrease the likelihood that a user will unintentionally click on an ad'
Google chose the pick a color that doesn't even appear in the whole search result page, what does that mean? To me, it means Google thinks that drawing more attention to their ads and generating higher CTR is more important then the relevancy of their results.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

'My Maps' in Google Maps

Google added KML support to Google Maps allowing users to create their own maps using the web-based virtual map (just like Google Earth). You could pin-point a specific location (you room), draw a line (your daily jogging route), shaded an area (your campus). You could then add plain or rich text description (which allows images and outbound links). Finally, you can publicize your map and allow others to search them. By building up a community in Google Maps, it adds in more lively information making it more useful to users (and spending more time). One thing that I couldn't find (tell me if I missed it) is a public URL for my maps. The sense of community could be enhanced by allowing users to set up a profile like Google Coops.

Related: Official Google Blog - Map-making: So easy a caveman could do it

AdSense updates ad-look

Google has been testing around with new look for ads for a while and has come to a conclusion that replacing the typical 'Ads by Goooooogle' to an The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. image would be more "visually appealing to users" and "perform even better for publishers and advertisers" which means most likely means a higher CTR. Another change to the ads (which was not mentioned in Inside AdSesne blog) is that this label has been moved from the top left corner to bottom right corner for rectangles which means users will see the ads before know they are served by Google. It is a smart act for AdSense to constantly update the look of their ads as to attracts ad-blind users.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Google Desktop for Mac

Google Desktop is now available to Mac users! Hurray! The instant question that pops out of my mind is 'Why use Google Desktop when you have Spotlight?'. Scott McNulty from TUAW suggested reasons:

  1. Activating Desktop is as simple as clicking on the icon in the Dock or Menubar (if you choose to display them) or by hitting the default hot key: Command, Command (that's hitting the Command key twice in a row).
  2. Restore all predefined settings. Have you set up Spotlight not to index certain files (that's the list of locations under the Privacy tab in Spotlight's preferences)? Google Desktop won't index those files either. Want to save precious Dock space? Google Desktop gives you an option to display it in the Dock, in your Menubar, both, or neither.
  3. Search files that you have deleted from your system as it creates a cache on your machine that holds information about the various files that it has indexed.
  4. Integration with Google's other offerings, specifically Gmail and Google search. You get a new link in homepage and relevant results in your Mac when you search for web results. You can search your Gmail messages even when you are offline.
If you are a Mac user, download Google Desktop for Mac and give it a try.

[Thanks, Cliff!]

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Google TiSP

Google introduces new free in-home wireless broadband service named Google TiSP (Toilet Internet Service Provider). This is the second April's Fool this year after Gmail Paper. Here is the press release, installation guide, user group and FAQ. Here is the official description:

Google TiSP (BETA) is a fully functional, end-to-end system that provides in-home wireless access by connecting your commode-based TiSP wireless router to one of thousands of TiSP Access Nodes via fiber-optic cable strung through your local municipal sewage lines.
And a diagram that illustrates how it works:

Gmail Paper

Google's 2007 April's Fool is finally out: Gmail Papers. Gmail Papers allows users to request a physical copy of any message with the click of a button, and Google'll send it to you in the mail.