Friday, February 23, 2007

A visit to Apple

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Official Google Mac Blog: A visit to Apple

Posted by Scott Knaster, Mac Team Technical Writer

When you start work at Google, you get to choose whether you want a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer. For many new employees who have never used a Mac (or who haven't used one for a long time), this choice represents a chance to try living in Mac OS X. Google provides a supportive environment for users of various operating systems, so newbie Mac users can count on something of a comfort zone. And, just as elsewhere in the world, new Mac users at Google are often won over by Apple's excellent combination of hardware and software.

I spend part of my time at Google writing documentation for Google Checkout, and in that group I work with several of these recent Mac converts. Some of the folks in the group became intrigued with the idea of visiting Apple's headquarters, located just a brief drive down the road, and I mentioned that I could probably convince a couple of Apple friends to host us for lunch in Apple's cafeteria. The Mac newbies thought that was a fine idea, and lunch was arranged.

When the date arrived, my gang and I piled into our cars for the quick trip to Cupertino. We met up with my friends and spent the first part of our visit at Apple's legendary Company Store, where we admired all the new Macs and iPods, and wandered through the selection of Apple-logoed clothing, pens, notebooks, and other chotchkas. Strong willpower kept us from buying too much stuff.

After the store visit, our Google gang entered the main Apple building at 1 Infinite Loop and walked to Caffé Macs. We chose our food from among the sushi, burritos, soups, and other fare that was somewhat Google-like, paused to pay for our lunches (which was not Google-like at all), then took our seats.

A few minutes later, as we were enjoying our lunch and chatting with Apple friends, we noticed a slight disturbance in the room, as if all the air had rushed to a single place, over by the salad bar. As you have probably guessed, it was Apple CEO Steve Jobs, grabbing some lunch with Jonathan Ive, Apple's industrial design guru. As the two moved across the room, there was no great commotion -- after all, this probably happens just about every day at Apple -- but our Google group and many other folks stopped eating long enough to follow the two rock stars around the room for awhile.

Later, as we drove back to Mountain View, we reflected on our visit. My coworkers enjoyed the entire trip, but were most impressed with the impromptu Steve Jobs flyby. They even accused me of timing our visit to correspond with Steve's lunch (as if!). And so, a gang of new Mac fans at Google visited Apple and became full on converts.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Going to work with Docs & Spreadsheets

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Official Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog: Going to work with Docs & Spreadsheets

Corporate workers have experienced the pain of document collaboration for years. Nobody could find the latest version of that important spreadsheet. You were on a sales call and that proposal you needed was stuck on your work computer. Your email inbox was full of everybody's document edits. All that changed with Docs & Spreadsheets. But we kept hearing the same thing from business users - "how do I get everybody in my company using this?" As of today, the answer is easy: Google Apps.

Google Apps lets you offer private-labeled email, instant messaging and calendar accounts to everyone in your organization so they can share ideas and work more effectively. As of today, Google Apps now includes Docs & Spreadsheets. The Google Apps version works just like the Docs & Spreadsheets you know and love but with a few special new features like the ability to publish a document only to your co-workers and support for making everyone in your company a collaborator. Everything is hosted by Google, and no hardware or software is required. Check it out: we think you'll agree that we look pretty dapper in a suit and tie.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Site search gets supplemental

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Google Custom Search: Site search gets supplemental

One of the common uses of Custom Search Engines is to provide site search. A number of users have suggested that we can improve Custom Search for this application by also including supplemental results in Custom Search Engine's results. We put fewer constraints on what pages go into our supplemental index and therefore there are many pages which are available only there. This is our first step to give you more results. If your search engine operates as a filter and has three sites or less or your search engine includes the whole web, you'll get supplemental results as well. For example, take a look at the Hanayama Puzzle Store search engine I've created. Hanayama makes some great puzzles, but they aren't always so easy to find. The queries "hanayama baroq" (possibly my favorite puzzle of all time) and "hanayama laby" only return supplemental results in this search engine. Check out the FAQ entry about supplemental results for more information.