Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Android Market’s In-App Billing Now Live

[original post by Eric Chu, Android Developer Ecosystem. — Dirk Dougherty]

Today, we're pleased to announce the launch of Android Market In-app Billing to developers and users. As an Android developer, you will now be able to publish apps that use In-app Billing and your users can make purchases from within your apps.

In-app Billing gives you more ways to monetize your apps with try-and-buy, virtual goods, upgrades, and other billing models. If you aren't yet familiar with In-app Billing, we encourage you to learn more about it.

Several apps launching today are already using the service, including Tap Tap Revenge by Disney Mobile; Comics by ComiXology; Gun BrosDeer Hunter Challenge HD, and WSOP3 by Glu Mobile; and Dungeon Defenders: FW Deluxe by Trendy Entertainment.

To try In-app Billing in your apps, start with the detailed documentation and complete sample app provided, which show how to implement the service in your app, set up in-app product lists in Android Market, and test your implementation. Also, it's absolutely essential that you review the security guidelinesto make sure your billing implementation is secure.

We look forward to seeing how you'll use this new service in your apps!

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Google Doing Some Profile Modification

Original post by MG Siegler from
Google is still hard at work on their social strategy. You know it, I know it, we all know it. What it will actually be, remains to be seen. But there are clues related to it that have started to appear.

The first was the redesign of the toolbar. While Google claimed it doesn't directly point to the social strategy (even though it looks exactly like the verified +1 leaks we've seen), it is a first step. The second was the revamping of profile pages. Also nothing particularly social about it, but again, related to the overall strategy. And now we're seeing something else: a unification of profiles across Google properties. And a big push for all of them to be public.

As The Next Web spotted a couple weeks ago, Google quietly announced that it would be deleting Google Profiles that weren't public starting in July. Here's the wording:

The purpose of Google Profiles is to enable you to manage your online identity. Today, nearly all Google Profiles are public. We believe that using Google Profiles to help people find and connect with you online is how the product is best used. Private profiles don't allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public.

Keep in mind that your full name is the only required information that will be displayed on your profile; you'll be able to edit or remove any other information that you don't want to share.

If you currently have a private profile but you do not wish to make your profile public, you can delete your profile. Or, you can simply do nothing. All private profiles will be deleted after July 31, 2011.

And that's important because other Google properties are also being woven into these profiles. Yesterday, the following note was left in the Google Groups message board:

Google Groups-specific profiles will no longer be supported. Instead, you will be able to use the new Google Groups to (optionally) link your new and improved Google profile with your groups. Starting July 1st 2011, you will not be able to make changes to your Groups profile. Your profile information will be available for export from your profile page until November 1st 2011. This change will not affect the nicknames you might have chosen for yourself to participate in groups. It will only affect the custom profile fields, such as your photo, location, and occupation.

This type of unification will also take place across other Google properties as well, we hear. It's a part of a broader effort to bring Google's properties closer together, and allow for more social activities, is our understanding.

But as we laid out a couple weeks ago, don't look for a massive launch of something being billed as a "Facebook-killer" (not that anyone besides the press would label it as such anyway). Instead, expect smaller social features across Google properties to appear once the unification is more complete. Judging from the timelines of the changes above, this could be late summer or even later.

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Give LIKE to Orkut!

Two weeks ago, we announced that we are preparing a visual upgrade to Orkut's interface. We have just started to roll it out to a small percentage of users, so some of you might start to see it. Right now, we are only upgrading those who are using new Orkut, but if you are in the old interface, please do give it a try when we complete the transition!

In addition, we are happy to announce a new feature today that we hope you will "like":

Just as we add different smileys in emails, scraps and chat, we recognize that you likely have different reactions to your friends' stories. Here are a few you might recognize from Google Chat, and in addition, you can find extra "smileys" if you type in the right code in the comment field.

Feel free to follow us on our official blog ( and the official community

Give our "like?" feature a try today and see just how diverse your friends are in their reactions. Rock on, Orkut users!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Import from 14 more Email Accounts to Gmail

Switching email accounts can be painful. The idea of losing years of accumulated contacts and messages can sound daunting, to say the least. Luckily, switching to Gmail doesn't mean you have to start totally fresh.

Back in 2009 we announced tools that let you import mail and contacts from other providers, such as AOL or Hotmail. Today we're announcing the addition of fourteen more international domains to our list of supported email providers:

We've also created a site,, with basic information and how and why you might want to switch to Gmail. If you're reading this blog, chances are you're already a Gmail user, but perhaps this link will be handy for friends and family.

We're always looking for ways to make Gmail more useful -- both for existing users and new ones -- so, as always, we'd love to hear what you think!

The New Chrome Logo (2D)

Original post by Steve Rura, Designer,

Some of you on Chrome's early release channels may have noticed our latest tweak to Chrome's icon:

Since Chrome is all about making your web experience as easy and clutter-free as possible, we refreshed the Chrome icon to better represent these sentiments. A simpler icon embodies the Chrome spirit — to make the web quicker, lighter, and easier for all.

Even before this effort, the new version of the Chrome logo was already being conjured up by Googlers and Chrome fans. Numerous creative reinterpretations have organically moved the icon towards simplicity and abstraction, so it felt right to make the icon structure cleaner and easier to recreate.

The Modern Browser poster by Mike Lemanski, celebrating Chrome's 2nd birthday

Chrome Magnets by Tyson Kartchner

Redesigning the icon was very much a group effort. Collectively, we explored many variations, tried the icon in several different contexts, and refined the details as we moved along. It was important to maintain consistency across all media, so we kept print, web, and other possible formats in mind. Once we arrived at a good place, we finished up the icon by resizing, pixel-pushing, and getting everything out the door.

For Chrome users, you'll see this latest icon reflected in your browsers soon, as we bring the latest features and improvements to the beta and stable channels in the coming weeks!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Google TV Remote for iPhone

Original post by Ambarish Kenghe (AK), Google TV Product Manager,

A very popular feature of Google TV to use your phone as a remote control. We released the Android version of the Google TV Remote app in December and I am happy to say that the app is now available for iPhones, iPads, and iPods running iOS 3 or higher.

Why would you want to use your phone as a remote control? We made this quick video tutorial1 when we released the app for Android, but the summary is:
  • Your
    phone improves standard TV remote activities like changing channels or
    accessing your DVR. I love using it at night, because the back light
    means I can see all the buttons in the dark and the buttons are easy to
    find. Watch
  • You
    can also interact with your TV in ways you never have before. For
    instance, try using the voice search to find your favorite shows and
    movies just by speaking into your phone. There should be less fighting
    over the remote, too, since multiple phones can work as remotes at the
    same time—you just need to agree on what to watch!
Download and try Google Search app today; it's available free from the iTunes App Store. You can also scan the QR code below.

Please note that the iOS remote does not currently support the sharing of web pages from phone to TV screen. Sorry.

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Friday, March 18, 2011

Dont miss anything. "Follow by Email" from Blogger

Original post by Ben Eitzen, Software Engineer

Fresh content is the fuel that drives the blogosphere; it keeps readers coming back to your blog. Our team is always thinking of new ways to connect users with the freshest content across Blogger, and today we're happy to offer a new, powerful way to do just that with Follow by Email.

The Follow by Email gadget provides blog authors a simple way for their readers to subscribe to the latest hot-off-the-press updates, which are delivered directly to the reader's inbox. When new blog content is published, all subscribed readers will receive a daily email notification of the new published posts, which includes a copy of the new content as well as links back to the actual posts.

To enable Follow by Email, click the Add a Gadget link from the Design | Page Elements tab, and then select the Follow by Email gadget which should be at the top of the list. Once you add the gadget, readers visiting your blog can then just enter their email address and click Submit.

Taking advantage of Feedburner technology, Follow by Email will also track your subscription information, such as the number of subscribers and daily views. To view these stats, log into, and select the appropriate blog feed from your list.

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Introducing discussions in Google Docs

Original post by

When we launched the new Google Docs last April, one of the big changes was moving comments to the sidebar and letting people reply to comments. Today, we're updating comments in Google Docs to facilitate rapid and seamless discussions and integrate with email in an intuitive way. Since there are a number of significant improvements, this update is only available for newly created documents for now.

To start, we've improved the discussion flow by adding ownership and edit rights to individual comments. Each comment now has a timestamp and profile picture.

Google Docs doesn't force you to delete comments. Instead, you can resolve comments to remove them from the visible document and view them later by clicking the discussions button at the top of any document. You can even re-open comments from here.

We know you can't watch all of your important documents all day to see if there are any suggestions, which is why we've integrated comments with your inbox to facilitate more rapid and responsive communication. You can now add someone to a discussion with an @mention. For example, typing in a discussion will send a notification email to Eddy with the text of your comment.

Eddy gets a message in her inbox with your question or comment.

She can easily click through to open the document itself to respond, or simply reply to the email.

The reply will show up in the document as soon as the email is sent.

To turn off email notifications for a document, just select Mute updates from this comment at the bottom of any email or select Discussion notification settings... from the Discussions drop down.

We've been using this next-generation commenting system inside Google for several months and have seen it make the feedback cycle shorter and get more people involved. The combination of added structure and intuitive email integration have really given life to the discussions that surround our documents, and we're excited for this new feature to do the same for you.

Discussions will be available over the next few days to all users with personal Google Accounts as well as to Google Apps customers on the Rapid Release track. Please note that improved comments are only available in new documents at this time so if you want to try it out make sure to create a new document. The comments you've created in existing document won't be changed.

We're excited to hear what you think so let us know on in the comments.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Help Japan with Adsense!

Original post by

You may have already seen some of Google's various efforts to help Japan in the wake of last week's 8.9 earthquake. We've heard some inspirational stories from publishers who are donating their AdSense revenue to help and we've heard from many of you wondering how you can also donate AdSense earnings to help those affected by the earthquake.

Currently, the fastest way to contribute is to donate directly via our crisis response page. All donations will go to the Japanese Red Cross Society and will be used directly to support to those affected by the earthquake.

We're working to roll out a way to donate earnings directly from your AdSense account. Please check back here for updated information.

If you're looking for additional resources, we've also launched the Google Person Finder in Japanese, Chinese and English as a tool to help locate missing people, as well as sites in Japanese and English to provide updates on the affected area.

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Updates from Google TV

Original Post by Larry Yang, Google TV Product Manager

One of the great things about Google TV is that we're constantly making improvements to the platform. These updates arrive over-the-air, so your current system evolves and gets even better over time. Over the weekend v1.3 went live with some system improvements, as well as the following:

  • The media player now supports more WMA audio files
  • Netflix and CNBC Real Time are better integrated into Google TV
  • Improved transition between songs in Pandora
  • Support for Music Unlimited powered by Qriocity on Sony devices
  • Support for a broader range of Blu-ray discs
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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gmail can recognize phone numbers

With the ability to call phones built right into Gmail, you no longer have to get out your phone and retype a number anytime someone sends you one in an email or chat message. Starting today, you'll see that phone numbers appear as links, like this:

Just click the number, and Gmail's dialpad will pop up, already populated with the number you're trying to call.

Click "Call" and voilà! Of course, if you don't already have the voice and video plugin installed, you'll be prompted to do that first.

You'll also see a little green phone icon next to numbers in your contacts which you can use to do the same thing.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to Google Apps Marketplace

Post from Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
A year ago today, the Google Apps Marketplace launched with 50 web apps integrated into Google Apps, making it easier for organizations to customize web-based solutions for their specific needs.

We’ve come a long way since then, and now offer 300 apps across 11 categories, including a new set of education apps. Each web app in the Marketplace provides meaningful integrations that range from single sign-on convenience to contextual gadgets inside of a user’s Gmail inbox.

Read our post on the Enterprise blog or visit the Apps Marketplace to learn more—and join us in celebrating a year of expanded Apps functionality.

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Saturday, March 5, 2011

The New Google Profiles Page!

Admit it: You've searched for yourself on Google. We all have. No shame there, in fact you should. If you haven't searched for yourself, then you've probably searched for friends, classmates or co-workers.

Two years ago, we launched Google Profiles to help you manage your online identity. Since then, we've enhanced profiles to help you connect to other public online services and improve your search results. Today, we're starting to give Google Profiles a new look and feel, making it even easier for you to control and enrich your public profile.

We think this new design helps highlight the information that's most important to you, making it easier for people who visit your profile to get to know you. As the new layout gradually rolls out, current users of Google Profiles will notice that their existing profile will automatically update to the new style. To update and add to your profile, simply click on the new "Edit Profile" button.

Because Google Profiles are designed to be public pages on the web, used to help connect and find real people, we'll be asking people to provide the name they are commonly referred to in the real world. We recently outlined how we think about the different modes of online interaction across our products.

While profiles work well for individuals, we'll continue to work on new ways for businesses to engage with their customers, so stay tuned for updates.

Don't have a Google profile yet? Visit and create a profile that best represents the way you want to be seen by the world.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Its Orkut - New look and feel - coming soon

Original post by Barbara Veloso, user experience team,
We’re always looking to improve the product experience for our users, and based on your feedback, we’ve worked on some simple changes to Orkut’s look and feel. We’ll roll these changes out gradually to all users, in approximately two weeks from now. No invitation will be required as everyone will get the update -- so if you don’t see anything right away, just sit tight and you’ll see them soon!

Here are some of the new enhancements that you’ll begin to see in a few weeks:
  • Left navigation, to help you get to the most popular features more easily.
  • A new larger profile photo, a popular request. Be sure to upload a higher resolution photo of yourself!
  • New full profile view, which lets you and your friends see your info, interests, badges, testimonials and recent photos and videos.
  • New fullscreen slideshow for photos.
Like what you see? Check out our our official community and let us know your feedback.

We will also have a few more surprises for you in the next month, including updates on communities and new limits on friends, photos and videos, so stay tuned! 

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Gmail fixed the issue :)

Original Post by Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability Czar (24x7) 

Imagine the sinking feeling of logging in to your Gmail account and finding it empty. That's what happened to 0.02% of Gmail users yesterday, and we're very sorry. The good news is that email was never lost and we've restored access for many of those affected. Though it may take longer than we originally expected, we're making good progress and things should be back to normal for everyone soon. 

I know what some of you are thinking: how could this happen if we have multiple copies of your data, in multiple data centers? Well, in some rare instances software bugs can affect several copies of the data. That's what happened here. Some copies of mail were deleted, and we've been hard at work over the last 30 hours getting it back for the people affected by this issue. 

To protect your information from these unusual bugs, we also back it up to tape. Since the tapes are offline, they're protected from such software bugs. But restoring data from them also takes longer than transferring your requests to another data center, which is why it's taken us hours to get the email back instead of milliseconds. 

So what caused this problem? We released a storage software update that introduced the unexpected bug, which caused 0.02% of Gmail users to temporarily lose access to their email. When we discovered the problem, we immediately stopped the deployment of the new software and reverted to the old version.

As always, we'll post a detailed incident report outlining what happened to the Apps Status Dashboard, as well as the corrective actions we're taking to help prevent it from occurring again. If you were affected by this issue, it's important to note that email sent to you between 6:00 PM PST on February 27 and 2:00 PM PST on February 28 was likely not delivered to your mailbox, and the senders would have received a notification that their messages weren't delivered. 

Thanks for bearing with us as we fix this, and sorry again for the scare.

Update (3/1 12:20 PM PST - in gmail blog): Data for the remaining 0.012% of affected users has been successfully restored from tapes and is now being processed. We plan to begin moving data into mailboxes in 2 hours, and in the hours that follow users will regain access to their data. Accounts with more mail will take more time. Thanks for bearing with us.