Saturday, July 31, 2010

Rotate your photos in Picasa

Ever marveled at the way many retail sites create 360 views of products? Now you can bring your own photo albums to life by clicking and dragging left and right on a photo in full screen mode. This works especially well if you put an object on a turntable, but even if you're not looking to create a 3-D effect, it also provides a unique browsing experience for albums in general, like our featured shots from the 2010 Winter games.

This feature is available in our embedded album viewer, or if you prefer to host a viewer and images on your own site, check out the Swivel Viewer site at, where you'll find an Open Source embeddable album viewer that also supports zooming and panning.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

So you can scrap as private in Orkut!

Victor Ribeiro, (orkut product management director) Say's

A few weeks ago we launched some changes to scraps on orkut, but we heard your comments and went back to the drawing board. We've finished our homework, and here you can see what we created:

Want to keep something in secret?
Now you can choose to send a private scrap to a friend. On the new orkut, before posting a scrap, just change its visibility to "private", and that scrap will remain visible only to you and the person receiving the scrap, so it stays completely secret.

If you don't change the default options, your scraps will have exactly the same behavior as before, so there's nothing to worry about, things only change if that's what you want.

Privacy labels
We take privacy very seriously, and that's why we're making it absolutely clear who else can see the content you're looking at on orkut. Every scrap (as well as photos, videos, etc) will now have a privacy label, so you can easily tell who else can see it. These are exactly the same as the privacy levels that we already had on photos: private, friends and public.

Still curious? Then visit this page about Private Scraps to learn more! We hope you really enjoy this feature, and don't forget to share your feedback with us. We have many other cool launches coming out soon, so stay tuned for updates.

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Take the high road or the low road with Earth view in Google Maps

Draggable driving directions is one of our most popular features in Google Maps. By simply clicking on a route and dragging it, you can choose an alternate - perhaps more scenic or more familiar - route to your destination. This feature wasn't available when Earth view launched in Google Maps earlier this year, but we're happy to announce that draggable driving directions are now in Earth view as well. After getting directions, just grab the blue route line with your mouse and drag it onto alternate highways or streets. The route will update automatically, redrawing your path in 3D as you move your mouse.

As an example, one of my favorite trips to make is to Yosemite Valley from my home in San Francisco. For those of you familiar with this route, there's a steep shortcut called Old Priest Grade that saves time but can be challenging for larger vehicles. Here is the recommended route taking the grade:

By grabbing the blue line with your mouse cursor and dragging it within the map, you can quickly and easily pick a different route. In this case, I prefer to go around Old Priest Grade and take the gentler Highway 120.

The next time you plan to drive, whether it's a short day trip to park you've never visited or a weekend road trip with your buddies, make sure to check the route and switch it up if you'd like. You can change these same directions to Yosemite, or click-and-drag any driving route you create!

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

[New] STOP! Waving Time!


Over the last few months, I've seen a surprising number of time-related extensions popping up in our gallery - timers, stopwatches, countdowns, and the like. I think it's because 1) many people use Wave to interact with folks from different timezones, and 2) many people use Wave during meetings... and many people don't like meetings to go over time. :)

Whatever the reasons may be, it's a good thing for all of us, as these extensions come in handy in a variety of situations.

For example, the Remaining Time gadget is a favorite of mine. Its simple interface lets you specify an event name and an event time, and then it countdowns to that time.

We first used this gadget in the Google I/O 2010 conference session waves to show the countdown until the start of the talk. We did this because many developers were eager to watch the live notes for a session from afar, but they couldn't easily convert from the San Francisco time listed into their own local time. By including a countdown, they could look at the remaining time and instantly know when to return to the wave.

More recently, in our local Google DevFest AU conference, I used the gadget to let speakers know how much time they have left to present. I set up a laptop in front of the speakers, created a wave with the gadget in it,and set it to countdown until the end of their talk. By using a wave instead of a desktop app, I could modify the wave from my comfortable seat in the back if I wanted to give them more time or send them a message.

Besides the "remaining time" gadget, you might also check out these time-related extensions:
  • Time-me: Gives you all the basic functionality of a stopwatch - start, stop, and split, but since it's in Wave, anyone can do those actions, and it shows the usernames for each split.
  • Time-Manager: Lets you start and stop counting time, and shows the total time counted. The developer created it because he loves the similar functionality in Basecamp ® for tracking the amount of time spent on tasks and wanted to bring that to Wave.
  • Local time gadget: Lets you specify a time in your locale and converts that time to the local time of whoever's viewing it. It was created by a gamer in the US who schedules gaming sessions for him and his friends in wave, and he wanted to make it easy for them to see the local time for each session.
  • Deadline gadget: Similar to the gadget I described above, this one lets you specify a end time and shows the remaining days, hours, and minutes. This one is designed specifically for visualizing task deadlines, like when a blog post should be completed, and lets you check off the task when done.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Tracking ads clicks from mobile devices

Miles Johnson, (Inside AdWords crew) Say's

The ValueTrack parameter has long allowed you to track the clicks that you get via search and the Google Display Network separately. We know that many of you would like to be able to see the clicks you get from mobile ads separately as well. That's why we're pleased to introduce Mobile ValueTrack, a new way for you to do just that.

Mobile ValueTrack works the same way it does for search and content: by automatically adding a tag to your website URL. To use this feature, you just need to add the Mobile ValueTrack parameter: {ifmobile:NewTagName} to the "Destination URL" field when you create a text ad.

There are two ways to take advantage of this feature:

Automatic re-directs to mobile optimized sites
By adding the MobileTrack parameter to your landing page URL, you can automatically redirect people using mobile devices to a mobile-optimized version of your site. In the example below, you can create a mobile site at and ensure that mobile clicks get re-directed to this site by adding the Mobile ValueTrack parameter, {ifmobile:mobile}. Note that non-Google-ads traffic to your site won't have the ValueTrack parameter, so it's still a good idea to send all users to your mobile-optimized site.

click to view full size

Third party tracking tags
Additionally, If you use third party tracking to identify how many of your visitors clicked through to your site from your AdWords ads, you can use Mobile ValueTrack to track clicks coming from mobile devices. Just insert a tag into your destination URL. Let's say that you're Travel Dog Company and want to distinguish clicks coming from mobile devices. By adding the Mobile ValueTrack parameter to your landing page URL,{ifmobile:hello}, the tag "hello" will be inserted into the destination URL allowing you to see which clicks are
coming from mobile devices.

Mobile ValueTrack works for both WAP mobile ads and regular text and image ads on iPhones and other mobile devices with full Internet browsers. Keep in mind that any change that you make to your URLs will need to be reviewed and approved before they go live.  You can also get more stats for mobile devices with full browsers by selecting "Segment By: Device" within Campaign Management.

We hope that this feature will allow you to better track your mobile performance and ensure that users get the best experience on mobile.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Domain-Level Controls on Google Wave

Today(July 20) on the Google Enterprise blog, we announced that we're beginning to roll out user policy management, which will allow Google Apps Premier and Education Edition customers to customize which users in their domains have access to each application in the suite.

One of the top-requested features from businesses and schools who want to try out Google Wave is the ability to pilot the application with a subset of users. With this new feature, Google Apps admins can now start by enabling Wave for a group of advance testers. For example, at a K-12 school, admins can now enable the service for just teachers and older students, or a large enterprise can turn it on for a specific project group first.

If you're already a Google Apps Premier or Education Edition admin, you'll start seeing the 'Organizations & users' tab in the control panel over the next week. And to learn more about Google Wave for your domain, visit


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Share Everything to your Orkut!

Sagari Venkata, (orkut operations team) Say's

We recently introduced the "orkut share" bookmarklet, a cool way for you to share any content on the web that you like. With "orkut share", every time you see an interesting page, photo, video, or virtually any content on the web, all you need to do is click a "share" button and your friends on orkut will see it.

To enjoy this feature, just add the bookmarklet to your browser visiting

Check out this video to see how it works:

Want people to share your webpage or blog on orkut? You can do that too! To add “orkut share” buttons on your pages (like the one below), just visit

Happy sharing, folks!


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

[ORKUT] Easy to see photos in full-screen

Ariel, (orkut operations team) Say's

Some time ago we announced an improved photo viewing experience on orkut. We heard from you that the ability to look at photos full-screen was the most exciting feature, so we decided to make it even easier to use.

When you see an update on your homepage saying that a friend has uploaded some photos, just click the "view in full-screen" button, and an automated full-screen view of the album will begin.

Then just sit back and enjoy the slideshow. You can hover over the thumbnail strip at the bottom to enlarge a particular image at anytime:

While you're still in full-screen view, try playing around with some of the keyboard controls (like Home, End, left and right arrows, Spacebar, and Escape), to see what happens.

Excited? Don't forget to share your photos too, so you and your friends can enjoy them together.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

New Google Buzz API features, including a hose of fire

Since we introduced the Google Buzz API at Google I/O, we've been working hard to make it better, broader, and more useful. Today we're introducing several new features that are the direct result of your feedback.

We're launching the Google Buzz firehose — our top developer feature request. With the firehose, all public activities are available as they are published with a single subscription, thanks to syndication via PubSubHubbub.

We've had some fun coming up with cool things to do with the firehose. For example, Bob Aman coded up Buzz Mood, an App Engine app inspired by Twistori. By scanning for posts that contain certain keywords, Bob's able to give us a sense for the mood across all of Google Buzz in real time. Definitely take a look at the the source to get ideas for your own apps!

For more inspiration, also check out our firehose launch partners. Integrating with the firehose today are Collecta, Gnip, OneRiot, Postrank Analytics, and Superfeedr's Track.

We're making these new API features available starting today:

  • Comments by the user - This feed consists of the activities the user has commented on.
  • Likes by the user - The activities the user has liked are in this feed.
  • Shared counts - This will return the number of times a specified URL has been shared across Google Buzz.
All of these features are documented in much more detail on the Google Buzz API documentation site and can be discussed on the Developer Forum. We will continue to innovate and iterate the Buzz API and encourage you to check out the new features and let us know what you think.Links:

Video Chatting Experience from Grandma

) Say's

Two weeks ago we asked you to submit photos of you video chatting with your grandma. Thank you for all your submissions! As promised, we'd like to highlight a few photos that particularly touched us.

Emmanuel from Israel submitted this photo and wrote "My grandmother lives in Nice, France and could not come to our wedding in Israel, this is as close as we got to having her with us."

Charlie from New York City sent in these great photos of his daughter Maayan's first video chat with her grandparents in Portland.

And Niranjan from Bangalore submitted this photo of him video chatting with his grandmother in Mumbai while away at college.

Thanks again for your submissions-- and happy video chatting!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Can edit Picasa photos by using Picnik

Thomas Kang and Steve Leroux, Software Engineers for Picasa Web and Picnik Say's

A few months back we welcomed Picnik, the powerful online photo editor, into the Google family and today we're happy to share the first of more exciting things to come.

Picnik's rich editing tools are now integrated into Picasa Web Albums allowing you to experience them without ever having to leave your account. As long as you're using Picasa in one of the Picnik supported languages, just click 'edit' from the edit drop down menu or from the new handy Picnik icon. 

Then, Picnik away by applying an effect, adding a sticker, or exploring your own creative path with advanced tools. When you are done editing your photo, save back to your album by either replacing the existing image or making a new copy. 

Sometimes 1+1 really does equal more than 2. 
Happy Picniking (from right inside of Picasa Web Albums)


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Safari can support Gmail's new features

We've been posting a bunch recently about new Gmail features built on top of HTML5 and other advancements in browser platforms, but so far you've only be able to drag in attachments and drag images into messages in Chrome and Firefox, and the ability to have new windows outlive your original Gmail window was limited to Chrome.
Now, all three of these features work in the newest version of Safari (Safari 5) too.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Gmail implements the Rich Text Signatures.

Rich text signatures have long been one of our most widely requested features. Some of you have tried your own solutions, including Greasemonkey scripts, browser plugins, and even using canned responses from Gmail Labs. Others have simply lived with frustration of not being able to change the colors or font size of your signature, or insert images and links. Either way, you'll be happy to know that today we're launching the ability to write your own rich text signatures right in Gmail.

The next time you log in and visit the Settings page, you'll see a rich text editor in the signature section. Here, you can customize your signature by adding pretty formatting, links, and images — or decide to leave things nice and simple.

Gmail also now supports a unique signature for each email address associated with your account. So, if you send mail using a custom "From:" address, you can use a different signature for that address. From the Settings page, you can edit the signature for each account by changing the email address that appears in the dropdown menu.

Currently, only the latest desktop version of Gmail supports rich text signatures and multiple signatures. The older version and HTML version of Gmail, along with the mobile versions, use a plain text version of your primary account's signature.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Page for "Whats New on Orkut"

Sagari Venkata, (orkut operations team) Say's

Since we launched the new version of orkut, back in 2009, so much has changed around here! Because the new orkut was built on top of cutting edge technologies, we were able to add cool new features and improvements to orkut like never before.

With launches happening every month, we don't want you to miss out on any action! That's why we created a one-stop link for all the monthly updates on what's new on orkut:

This link was added to the right column of this blog, and will also be added to the orkut footer itself, so you can keep watching that space to see what's been keeping us busy.

You can also follow all the updates on that page by subscribing to it on Google Reader. Stay tuned!


Monday, July 5, 2010

How to set your 'current music Track' as GTalk status

cross-post from

Here is the procedure to set your current music track as a Google Talk status with Windows Media Player.

Initially you need to enable the Plug-in windows media player

Options -> Plug-ins -> Background -> Google Talk Music Plugin [enable it]

Then set your status as "Show current music track" in gtalk.

If you playing any music file, then you see it as Gtalk status

Like this

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Orkut Celebrating United States Independence Day

Virginia Roman, (Google editorial team) Say's

Roll out the barbecue and grab the fireworks because it's Independence Day in the United States. The 4th of July is one of the most cherished holidays in the US, a time to celebrate the country's history, light fireworks, eat great food and relax with family and friends.

There's no way the Americans on the orkut team would let this date slip by, so we put together this special doodle to join the fun:

If you're also having a barbecue or lighting fireworks today, don't forget to share those photos with your family and friends!


Friday, July 2, 2010

Google Video Chat - Grandma's Guide

Often when I tell people that I work on Google video chat, I hear stories about how they’ve used it to give a video tour of a new home to friends, introduce a baby to relatives, keep in touch with traveling loved ones... the list goes on. This got me thinking about how convenient— and sometimes even magical — the experience of video chatting is.

So when I saw that my grandma, who loves keeping in touch with family more than anyone, wasn’t set up to use video chat, I decided to help her get started. While doing so, it occurred to me how many people there must be out there in similar situations. If only there were a simple way that any grandmother could use to get started on her own...

Introducing the Grandmother’s Guide to Video Chat:

This video, along with a printable guide, can be accessed at Feel free to share this link with your grandma—or grandpa—or, well, anyone who wants to video chat to help get them up and running.

And after your grandma is all set up, take a screenshot of you video chatting with her and email it to to share it with us. The first 100 people to do so will get a t-shirt, printable guide and VHS of the video (because if your grandma’s like mine, she’s still a cassette kind of girl).

In a few weeks, we’ll feature the best photos submitted on this blog. 


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Orkut celebrating Canada's Birthday!

It's Canada's birthday today, and there are more presents than we can count. Throughout the country, city's are hosting open-air concerts, fireworks shows, parades, and lively ceremonies to celebrate another year of the existence of a single country (Canada turns 143 this year). 

To show some love to all of our Canadian friends out there, and to help everyone join in the fun, we've put together a doodle to mark the occasion: 
You can get into the spirit in your own way by joining the Canada communityand sending your congratulations on there. You may even wind up with some new friends. 

Whether you're Canadian or not, I hope you enjoy the day!