Thursday, December 31, 2009

Waving Goodbye to 2009 : Whirled uses Google Wave to say goodbye to 2009.

Whirled uses Google Wave to say goodbye to 2009.

music by: the temper trap

created by: whirled interactive

discuss 2010


From the user


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays from ORKUT :-)

Decorate your tree, hang your stockings and candy canes, prepare your gifts and get ready for Santa Claus to arrive. Christmas time is here and people in countries all over the world are getting into the holiday spirit.

For those who celebrate, it's a great time to gather your family, friends and loved ones and throw a holiday party with tons of food, gifts, and cheer.

There's plenty to do on orkut as well. You can send a holiday-themed scrap to your friends using the Fun Scraps Open Social application or play one of the many games available like Sugar Free Super Hero or 12 days of Christmas.

Whether you're celebrating or not, we hope you have a wonderful day. Happy holidays to you and yours!

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Gmail Blog : It's been real, 2009

Ah 2009...turning five, finally shedding that beta label, and adding more than 40 new features. As we wind down after a busy year, here's a look back at a handful of our favorite additions to Gmail.  We hope you enjoy trying them out as much as we enjoyed building them.
On behalf of the entire Gmail team, happy holidays! See you next year.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blogger Buzz : Blogger integrates with Amazon Associates

Earlier this year we simplified the process for monetizing your blog by adding a "Monetize" tab in the Blogger app. We started with AdSense, which allows you to add contextual advertising to your pages; more recently we added AdSense for Feeds to help you generate revenue from the distribution of your blog via RSS and Atom. Today we launched a third option: direct integration with Amazon Associates to search Amazon's product catalog and add links to products that earn you commissions when your readers buy products you recommend.

With this feature, you can search Amazon directly from the Blogger editor and add pictures and links to Amazon products right into your posts. Your readers will earn you commissions whenever they buy the products you recommend, and if you don't already have an Amazon Associates account, you can sign up for one for free without leaving Blogger.

If you've ever written a blog post about a book, recommended a gadget, or reviewed a toy you bought for your kids, you've likely gone through the process of drafting the post, opening up a separate window to go to find a site that sells the product, then going back to Blogger to paste the link to the product into the post editor.

Starting today, you can search the Amazon product catalog without leaving the Blogger interface and insert links to the products you find into your posts. Not only is the process of linking to products more efficient, but Amazon makes it easy for you to earn money whenever your readers actually buy the products you write about. This is known as an "affiliate program", and it's designed to let you recommend products you like to your audience — if they buy the product, you'll earn a commission on that purchase. (For more on affiliate programs in general, here is a good overview at ProBlogger from this summer, and Darren's "11 Lessons Learned" post about Amazon Associates is a good review of how to get the most out of the program.)

To get started, click on the Monetize tab for your blog and click "Amazon Associates". Walk through the setup wizard, and add the Product Finder once you're done.

Now for the fun part: when you are writing a post on Blogger, you'll see an Amazon gadget to the right of your post editor (the "Product Finder"). You can search the Amazon product catalog from within Blogger — type in the name of the product you are writing about, and insert a link to the product, an image of the product, or an iframe containing the image, price details and a "buy it now" button. Every link that's created contains your unique Associates ID, ensuring that Amazon will credit you for any purchases that result from readers clicking the link on your blog.

If you're an existing Amazon Associate, completing this setup simply makes the Product Finder available on Blogger for you — you continue to earn the same referral rate from Amazon. New Associates receive the same referral rate from Amazon that they would have received if they signed up directly. If you're not interested in earning a referral, you can still install the Product Finder: from the "Amazon Associates" page under the Monetize tab, click "I'll do this later — show me more Amazon options" and then click "Add the Product Finder" button.

A quick note about trust: affiliate programs work well when readers trust you. You should avoid promoting products simply because of the referral fee you might earn — readers may lose some of that trust if they sense your posts exist solely to make you money. You may also want to disclose to your readers that you will earn a commission on their purchase — some readers even prefer knowing that you benefit from their business.

There's more information about this integration at, and the Amazon Associates blog has some more details. This integration is the result of months of collaboration between the engineers at both companies, and we're very excited to share the results of this collaboration with you. Happy blogging!

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New in Gmail : One button to merge all duplicate contacts

Managing a big address book can be a challenge, so it's no surprise that the top request for Google contacts is a fast, easy way to merge duplicate contacts. You've been able to merge contacts one-by-one for a while, but now we've added a single button that merges all your duplicate contacts at once. To clean up your contact list in one fell swoop, just click the "Find duplicates" button in the contact manager, review the merge suggestions (and uncheck any suggestions you don't want merged), and hit the "Merge" button.

If you've been considering getting all your contacts into Gmail or syncing your Gmail contacts to your phone, now's the time to do it. As we've written about previously, you can sync your contacts to a wide variety of devices (including Android, iPhone, Blackberry, SyncML, etc). So if you were dreading spending hours getting your contacts in order, now you can do it with a couple clicks.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Much Faster, more fun photo sharing on Orkut :-)

You've told us that you really liked the fast photo uploading feature on the new orkut, and we're thrilled! So, recently we turned our focus to revamping your photo viewing experience.

In-line photo browsing

When you receive a photo upload update from a friend in your activity stream, now all you have to do to see the full-sized photo is click on the thumbnail in your update. You can also comment on the photo and see comments by others in your activity stream. This means you can continue checking out other updates without opening a new page.

Using the left and right arrow buttons at the bottom of the photo, you can browse all the photos shared with you. You can also pick a photo you want to see up close by clicking on the 'photo film strip' up top.

Convenient face detection

Clicking the "people in this photo" link at the bottom left of a photo highlights all of the faces that orkut has automatically detected with rectangles. Just click on a rectangle to tag a face by typing a name in the pop-up box. You can also hide the rectangles with a single click.

Photo slideshows
Notice the "slideshow" icon at the bottom right of the full view of the photo? Click on it and sit back for a full-screen, automated slideshow of the photo album. You can stop the show at any time or hover over the thumbnail strip at the bottom of the slideshow to enlarge a particular image. You can also jump ahead to an interesting photo, or go back to one you want to view again. Try playing around with some of the keyboard controls (like Home, End, left and right arrows, Spacebar, and Escape), to see what happens.

Note: we're still working on a version of this feature for Internet Explorer, so if you'd like to check it out now, just sign in to orkut using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

You can enjoy many of these same features not just in the "friends updates" section on your orkut homepage but also from the "profile" and "photos" pages.

We hope you enjoy the new photo viewing, commenting and tagging experience -- and please keep telling us what you think at the orkut help forum or official community.

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New in GMail Labs: Mark unread from here

I subscribe to a lot of really active mailing lists. Oftentimes, an email in my inbox will get dozens of replies before I get a chance to start reading it. If I only have a few moments to look at a particularly long and interesting discussion, I'd like to start reading it then; later, when I have some more time, I'll pick up where I left off. However, if I mark the thread as unread, it will return to its previously read state without updating to show what I just read. When I come back to it, I'll have to search for the last thing I remember reading. If I star the first message I still want to read instead, I might not remember that it needs to be read when I'm in my inbox later (and when I do read it, I'll have to expand lots of messages before I can read the conversation properly).

There's a new feature in Gmail Labs that will help with this. When you enable Mark Unread From Here from the Labs tab under Settings, you'll see a new "Mark unread from here" option in the drop down menu found in the upper right-hand corner of messages.

Clicking this option on a message tells Gmail that you want that message to be the first one you see when you reopen the thread later, with all messages after it open for easy reading. So, when you leave partway through reading a long thread, figuring out where to start reading again is easy. Give it a try and share your thoughts.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Happy holidays from Google Chrome : Mac, Linux and extensions in beta

There was nothing more excruciating for me as a kid than seeing the presents pile up under the Christmas tree but knowing that I couldn't open them until Christmas morning. On the Google Chrome team, we've had the same feeling as we've been working to get betas ready for Mac, Linux and extensions. It's been a long time coming, but today we can check the top three items off our users' wish lists.

Google Chrome for Mac (Beta)
We've been working hard to deliver a first-class browser for the Mac — it took longer than we expected, but we hope the wait was worth it! We wanted Google Chrome to feel at home on the Mac, so we've focused on uniting our clean, simple design with subtle animations and effects to create a snappy and satisfying browsing experience on OS X. As you might expect, the speed of Google Chrome for Mac is something we're very proud of. If you have a Mac, try installing the beta and see how fast it launches — there's hardly even time for the icon in the dock to bounce!

Google Chrome for Linux (Beta)
At Google, most engineers use Linux machines, so we certainly heard loud and clear how much they wanted Google Chrome for Linux. Just like Google Chrome for Windows and Mac, we focused on speed, stability and security, but we also wanted a high-performance browser that integrated well with the Linux ecosystem. This includes tight integration with native GTK themes, updates that are managed by the standard system package manager, and many other features that fit in natively with the operating system where possible.

Google Chrome for Linux in various GTK themes

Just as important, we've had quite a bit of help from the open source community. More than 50 open source contributors have worked on Chromium and they've been especially helpful on delivering our Linux version of Google Chrome. For more details on the beta release of Google Chrome for Linux, check out the Chromium blog.

Extensions in Google Chrome for Windows and Linux (Beta)
When we first launched Google Chrome in September 2008, we knew that we wanted to make it easy for you to customize the browser with extensions. We also wanted to make extensions easy to create and maintain, while preserving Google Chrome's speed and stability. Extensions on Google Chrome accomplishes all these goals: they are as easy to create as web pages, easy to install, and each extension runs in its own process to avoid crashing or significantly slowing down the browser.

Extensions installed on Google Chrome (for PC or Linux)

If you're on a PC or a Linux machine, you can check out more than 300 extensions in the gallery, including a few cool, useful and cute extensions . Extensions aren't quite beta-quality on Mac yet, but you will be able to preview them on a developer channel soon. And if you're a web developer, you can learn more about writing extensions for Google Chrome on the Chromium blog.

We hope the betas for Mac, Linux and extensions were some of the things on your wish list this year. We'd like to say thanks to Mac and Linux users who gave our early developer versions of Google Chrome a test drive on these platforms, as well as developers who wrote great extensions for Google Chrome. And in case you're wondering what we'd like for the holidays, we're always eager for feedback — and I wouldn't mind a brand new extension that makes it snow on demand!

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One click Blogging with BlogThis! Chrome Extension

More and more of you are using Google Chrome (more than 30 million active users now!), and we want to let you know that a Blogger extension is included in the Chrome Extensions gallery. The BlogThis! Chrome extension is available now, one of several hundred extensions to be found in the Chrome extensions gallery.

Using the BlogThis! Chrome extension, you can start writing a blog post in one click. Whenever you are inspired by a web page you are looking at and want to blog about it, just click on the BlogThis! button on your Chrome toolbar, and the Blogger post editor opens up with a pre-populated link to the web page you were on. If you want to include any text in your post, simply highlight it before clicking on the BlogThis! button. Edit the post as you'd like, and publish it instantly or save it as a draft for future posting.

To try out the BlogThis! Chrome extension, first switch to Google Chrome BETA (if you are not already on that version), and install the BlogThis! extension by clicking on "Extensions" on your browser toolbar or visiting the BlogThis! extension homepage. Note: Extensions are only available for Chrome on the PC and Linux; Extension support on Chrome for Mac is under development.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

So now you can wave with Google Groups

Some users have noticed that we have the beginnings of support for groups in Google Wave, so we figured we'd give everyone a quick explanation of how it currently works. Keep in mind that this is in the very early stages and we have much better functionality planned for the future, but feel free to try it out!

Currently, you can add a Google Group to a wave, set permissions and then view and edit waves with that group. Unlike other group conversations, however, group waves will only show up in Google Wave, not in the Google Groups interface.

Here are the detailed steps for how to do it:

Step 1: Create a Google Group
When creating a group, note that most of the settings of Google Groups are respected; for instance, if the group is set to allow anyone to view content, anyone may view that wave. You will have to add Google Wave users into your group with their address (we're in the process of getting working, too). Under the 'Appearance' setting, chose an image that will help you identify your group in Google Wave. Learn more about how groups settings work with Google Wave.

If you already have a Google Group, you're ready to go.

Step 2: Add your new group into your contact list
Click the '+' button in the lower right corner of the contacts panel, type in the name of the group (including and hit 'Submit'.

Step 3: Add the group to a wave
This works just like any of your other contacts.

Step 4: Find waves with your group
You can do this either by clicking on the group's contact and then on the "Group Waves" button or by searching for "". If you'd like to create a quick shortcut to get to these, try saving your search! Find information on more group searches in our Help Center.

Step 5: Follow group waves!
We recently launched the ability to follow waves. You will not be automatically following group waves, so use the follow feature to make them appear in your inbox when they're updated.

This is just the beginning for groups. In the future, you'll have a groups option in your Navigation panel that will help you find and follow group waves. We'd love to hear your thoughts, let us know what you think on our Help Forum.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gmail Blog Updates [Offline Gmail graduates from Labs | Happy holidays from the Picasa team]

Offline Gmail graduates from Labs

Almost a year ago, we launched Offline Gmail in Gmail Labs. By installing Offline Gmail, you're able to use the normal Gmail interface to read and write mail, search, and organize, even when there's no internet connection. And Flaky Connection mode speeds up Gmail when your connection is slow or unreliable.

Since we first launched in Labs, we've heard from a lot of you who tried Offline Gmail, and your feedback helped us make a lot of improvements. Aside from fixing bugs and making the whole offline experience smoother, we recently added two frequently requested features: an option to choose which messages get downloaded for offline use and the ability to send attachments while offline. Offline Gmail has proven particularly useful for business and schools making the switch to Google Apps from traditional desktop mail clients -- they're used to being able to access their mail whether or not they're online, and Offline Gmail brings this functionality right to the browser.

Now, we're happy to announce that Offline Gmail is graduating from Labs and becoming a regular part of Gmail. If you're already using it, then you're all set. While you'll no longer see it on the Labs tab, you can tweak your settings and turn it on and off from the Offline tab under Settings. If you'd like to get started with Offline Gmail on your computer now, here's how:
  1. Click the "Settings" link in the top-right corner of Gmail.
  2. Click the "Offline" tab.
  3. Select "Enable Offline Mail for this computer."
  4. Click "Save Changes" and follow the directions from there.

Thanks for all of the feedback over the last year -- and for putting up with the occasional bug or two. We're going to have a little toast, and then get right back to working on more improvements for 2010.

P.S. We received some interesting pictures in response to our call for photos of people using Gmail offline in our last post. Our favorite so far came from Ugo, who is at a Saharawirefugee camp in south Algeria, where he uses Gmail offline most of the time and connects via a satellite phone to our servers just once a day.

Happy holidays from the Picasa team

Three weeks ago we made extra storage for Gmail and Picasa Web Albums more affordable, and now we've partnered with Eye-Fi to make it even easier to get your photos into the cloud. Eye-Fi offers WiFi-enabled memory cards which make your existing camera wireless, so it's easy to upload photos and videos right to Picasa Web Albums or to your computer -- no cables required. For a limited time, when you buy 200 GB of Google paid storage for $50, you'll get a free Eye-Fi card (a $95 value). 

Visit to get yours today, and happy holidays from the Picasa team!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Google launches Online dictionary

San Francisco: Google has launched an online dictionary which will offer meaning of words in two dozen languages. A visit to a Google Dictionary service at showed a clean, simple Web page with a box for selecting languages from a drop-down list and a second box for typing in words to be defined, according to Economic Times.

The dictionary service offered definitions of words in 28 languages and to translate terms from or into English.Although Google's attempt to compete with Wikipedia via its Knol offering has been a remarkably dismal failure for a company that tends to get things right, this is a tool that could displace plenty of other properties like and Not only does it provide a really uncluttered interface, but the extensive translation tools are quite useful. While Google Translate is useful for passages or entire sites, often ELL students simply need to clarify a single word; Google Dictionary fills the bill, report The Register.

Better yet, for those of us who have adopted Google Apps, users can star words and definitions and store them in their Google accounts for reference. While this seems a small thing, like most things Google, it may lend itself to sharing and classroom use in the future as the company expands this offering.

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Integrated Search results from Google

Today, we're excited to introduce a new "Translated search" tool in the Search Options panelthat makes finding and reading content written in other languages easier. Translated search is great because it helps you find information from sites written in other languages. We've offered this feature in Google Translate for a while, but now we're integrating it fully into Google search, making it easier for you to find and read results from pages across the web, even if they weren't written in a language you speak.

Now, when you search on Google for something in your own language, you can use this tool to search the web in another language. Click "Show Options" at the top of the search results page and select "Translated search" to try it out. We'll algorithmically select the best language(s) to translate your search query into and then return you translated results from those pages. We'll even display results from multiple languages.

For example, if you search for [restaurant reviews antwerp] while on vacation in Belgium and want to find more reviews or review sites beyond those that are just available in English, select "Translate search" in the "Show Options" panel. We'll automatically select French and Dutch (the languages spoken in Belgium), translate your query into these languages and then translate the results back into English for you to read. If you'd like to search specific languages, just modify the languages in the panel above the results. You can display results for up to five languages at once and select from 51 languages to search.

Of course, the algorithm that determines which languages to translate your search query into isn't perfect, but we're working to improve it.

We're rolling this out over the next day — keep an eye out. So if you're traveling and want to find hotels, restaurants, activities or reviews written from a local perspective, or if you're just curious to find what's being written about a company, product or topic in another language, give Translated search in the Search Options panel a try. Searching the global web has never been easier!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy holidays from GMail :-)

Every year around this time I start thinking about the annual holiday email I send to friends and family members. I usually email my mom, dad, sister, friends and co-workers. But the one person who appreciates my season's greetings the most — my grandma — is stuck in the pre-digital age of snail mail. Of course, I could go to a store, aimlessly wander through the aisles, choose a card, wait in line to pay for it, go to the post office, pick up some stamps, etc., etc. — but wouldn't it be so much easier just to fill out a form and have Gmail handle the rest?

This holiday season, as a token of our appreciation to our most enthusiastic fans, we'll snail-mail a free holiday postcard on your behalf. Yes, through the mail and everything.

To send a card, visit We'll only be able to send cards to US addresses and to a limited number of people (due to limited Gmail elf availability), so be sure to request one soon.

And if you're headed home for the holidays, consider spending some "computer time" with loved ones who aren't as up-to-date with technology. With some luck, maybe this time next year you'll be able to email them a holiday card instead!

Wishing a happy holiday to you and yours!

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New in GMail Labs : Default text styling

In the early days of email, messages were simple text meant to be read on a terminal. But with the growth of the web came the advent of HTML email, and overnight people began expressing themselves through bold and italics, colors and images, and whatever else their creativity inspired.

If you like to use a specific text style for your messages, you've had to change the font every time you're about to start typing out an email. Now, you can turn on default text styling from the Labs tab, then go to Settings and set your preferences just once.

Try it out and tell us what you think. If you live and breathe code, now you can set your default text style to a monospace font. If your life is purple, your email can be, too. But remember: whatever you see is what your recipients will see, so be nice to them and try not to clog the intertubes with ginormous bold italicized red script. ;)