Friday, August 27, 2010

[G] An update on our ITA Software acquisition

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Google Public Policy Blog: An update on our ITA Software acquisition

Posted by Andrew Silverman, Senior Product Manager

Last month we announced our plans to acquire ITA Software. Today, after meeting with many companies in the industry, we're even more excited about building new tools that will make it easier for consumers to search for flights, compare flight options, and get you quickly to a site where you can buy a ticket.

We’ve been encouraged by the travel industry support we’ve seen for this acquisition -- from airlines to online travel agencies. Even longtime travel guru Arthur Frommer said that "the existence of so many competing airfare search engines convinces me that the field will remain competitive even after Google enters it.”

While we think this acquisition will benefit travelers as well as those seeking their business, we know that closer scrutiny has been one consequence of Google's success, and we said that we wouldn’t be surprised if there were a regulatory review before the deal closes. This week we received what's called a "second request," which means that the U.S. Department of Justice is asking for more information so that they can continue to review the deal.

While this means we won't be closing the deal right away, we're confident that the DOJ will conclude that online travel will remain competitive after this acquisition closes. In fact, over the past few weeks online travel companies have noted that they have alternatives to ITA’s product: Kayak's CEO called Expedia’s Best Fare Search alternative "awesome"; Orbitz said that "Worldspan's e-Pricing search technology is a good solution that Travelport is devoting resources to develop. So we have alternatives available to us”; and Continental Airlines noted that "there are alternatives to the [ITA] shopping solution in the marketplace, both internally and externally.”

While we of course hope to continue working with ITA’s current customers, these comments demonstrate that competition will remain alive and well. We’ll be working cooperatively with the Department of Justice as they continue their review.

[G] Going Google across the 50 States: Bowery Lane Bicycles in New York rides towards success with Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Going Google across the 50 States: Bowery Lane Bicycles in New York rides towards success with Google Apps

Editor’s note: Over the past couple months, thousands of businesses have added their Gone Google story to our community map and even more have used the Go Google cloud calculator to test drive life in the cloud. To highlight some of these companies’ Gone Google stories, we decided to talk to Google Apps customers across the United States. Check back each week to see which state we visit next. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

Two years ago, Patrick Benard and Sean Naughton completed their first handmade bicycle. Shortly after, they opened Bowery Lane Bicycles in Manhattan with a commitment to having a positive impact on the environment and the local community. Today, they continue to design bicycles for the urban cyclist, build them by hand in New York – in a local factory that uses solar panels to generate 30% of its power – and sell them from their showroom and at city cycling events. Even on the business side, the founders have taken a community approach, working only with local vendors and freelancers.

A year after Bowery Lane Bicycles opened, Michael Salvatore, chief officer of just about everything, was brought on board to help run the business. His first task was to get the company operating and communicating on a more professional level by implementing Google Apps so everyone had email addresses. From experience at previous companies, Michael knew that email addresses were only the beginning and started using Google Apps to improve other business processes. He shares with us how this was done.

“We rely on freelancers and friends located throughout the city to get projects done, and Google Docs makes this possible. Our friends have day jobs so being able to access everything online and collaborate with us in real-time, from anywhere, is not only convenient, it’s essential.

Google Calendar also helps us quickly spread the word among our friends about upcoming cycling and charity events where we’ll need staffing help. We keep a master calendar of all events and send out invites directly from Google Calendar. On the sales end, our showroom is viewed by appointment only, so we use a shared calendar for all of our scheduling.

To track inventory, I use Google forms. When a sale is made the model number of the bicycle purchased and other relevant information is inputted into a form. All the details are then populated directly into my spreadsheet and I can keep track of which bikes are low in inventory and when I need to order more. It’s simple but efficient.

With most of our business software needs taken care of, we can focus on our main goal – manufacturing the best bikes we can. Yes, we’re a small start-up, but we realized early on that successful companies need to be able to communicate quickly and keep track of their business as they expand. We can do just that, thanks to Google Apps.”

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, Google Apps team

[G] Conflicitivism

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YouTube Blog: Conflicitivism

For our second cross-post from the Guggenheim’s The Take blog, inspired by YouTube Play. A Biennial of Creative Video, Jaime Davidovich pontificates on YouTube as “public access gone ballistic” and how the 21st century artist might deal with the site’s cacophony of image and sound.

Davidovich was one of the first artists to recognize cable television for its potential for contemporary art, producing
The Live! Show, a weekly public-access television program that featured avant-garde performances, artwork, political satire and social commentary. He’s currently working on pieces for his YouTube channel, as well as “video paintings,” or video images projected onto a gestural painting surface. You can read his original article here.

In his recent book Feedback: Television Against Democracy (2007), David Joselit challenges artists with a manifesto that echoes a sentiment common among us: "How is your image going to circulate? Use the resources of the 'art world' as a base of operations, but don't remain there. Use images to build publics."

I have been practicing Joselit's principle since 1976, putting art into the public arena through public-access television. One of my first programs was The Live! Show, a satirical variety show about the art world, which ran from 1979 to 1984 on New York cable television.

In the series I appeared as Dr. Videovich, my alter ego, interviewing artists such as Eric Bogosian, Tony Oursler, and Martha Wilson, as well as Marcia Tucker, founder of the New Museum, and the present-day director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation, Richard Armstrong. The idea of The Live! Show was to showcase art on a popular medium — TV — allowing people to watch these works in the comfort of their homes.

Continuing the first-come, first-serve spirit of public-access TV, YouTube, with the tagline "Broadcast Yourself," is the current medium for circulating art outside the pristine walls of the art gallery. YouTube is public access gone ballistic — an anarchist brain on steroids. While public-access television was one channel at a time, YouTube features dozens of channels at the same time, and they are not listed anywhere, but found by user searching. And while public-access television was low tech and a 30-minute format, YouTube is all tech and features short clips with a maximum length of 15 minutes. I currently have a work on YouTube that is a close-up video of a delete key with audio accompaniment. The concept of this piece is to provide a break in the cacophonous overload of YouTube images and sound.

I am a conflictivist, an artist who explores the conflict between high and low culture. The artist of the 21st century cannot live solely in the art world or the “real world.” Rather, he or she should commute between the two.

How should artists today deal with new forms and media? Please comment below (note comments are moderated due to spam) or directly on The Take.


[G] An update on JavaOne

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Google Open Source Blog: An update on JavaOne

(Cross-posted from the Google Code Blog)

Like many of you, every year we look forward to the workshops, conferences and events related to open source software. In our view, these are among the best ways we can engage the community, by sharing our experiences and learning from yours. So we’re sad to announce that we won't be able to present at JavaOne this year. We wish that we could, but Oracle’s recent lawsuit against Google and open source has made it impossible for us to freely share our thoughts about the future of Java and open source generally. This is a painful realization for us, as we've participated in every JavaOne since 2004, and I personally have spoken at all but the first in 1996.

We understand that this may disappoint and inconvenience many of you, but we look forward to presenting at other venues soon. We’re proud to participate in the open source Java community, and look forward to finding additional ways to engage and contribute.

Joshua Bloch, Google Open Source Programs Office

[G] Interviews from GUADEC, Part 2

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Google Open Source Blog: Interviews from GUADEC, Part 2

At many open source conferences, discussions about diversity come up and there is a lot of talk about how to make the open source community more inclusive and welcoming. While the Open Source Programs Office’s Jeremy Allison was at GUADEC, he had a chance to talk to someone who is actively doing something to get more women involved in free software. Marina Zhurakhinskaya, GNOME Shell developer and Senior Software Engineer at Red Hat, is an organizer of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women and she spoke to Jeremy on camera about the program’s activities.

On of the projects that the program has completed was a mentoring program similar to Google Summer of Code, which provided six women with mentors and stipends to help stimulate open source development. They plan to repeat their success again this year with the 2010 GNOME Outreach Program for Women, which will run from mid-December through mid-March to coincide with the Southern Hemisphere’s school break. If you’re interested in participating, take a look at the list of participating projects to see what sparks your interest, check out the mailing list, or help spread the word to anyone who you think should apply!

Thanks to Fabian Scherschel of Sixgun Productions for operating the camera.

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

[G] Remembering Hurricane Katrina

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Google LatLong: Remembering Hurricane Katrina

Before coming to Google, I worked at a non-profit organization that responded to Hurricane Katrina by sending mobile health clinics to the Gulf Coast, where there was critical shortage of medical and mental health care providers. I traveled through the region regularly for nearly two years following the storm and each time I would visit the same spots, trying to get a sense of how they were recovering. In some places I saw rapid change and in others hardly any.

Since moving to California I haven’t been able to get back to the Gulf, but I think about that time often. I was excited back in 2008 when we made Street View imagery of New Orleans available, and I’ve kept track of updates to our overhead imagery of the area in Google Earth and Maps.

With the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaching, my mind has been with the hardworking and resilient residents of coastal Louisiana and Mississippi. I used the Historical Imagery feature in Google Earth to look back at some of the places I used to visit, and created these slideshows to show the change over time.

These by-now-familiar images of the Lower Ninth Ward are no less heartbreaking today than they were when we first saw them.

The Biloxi Bay Bridge, which connects Biloxi to Ocean Springs, MS, was heavily damaged in the hurricane and had to be rebuilt. The new bridge opened to traffic in November, 2007.

Posted by Kate Hurowitz, Lat Long Blog Team

[G] Go East!

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Google LatLong: Go East!

The Google Earth and Maps Imagery team has just finished rolling out new imagery across the globe, including a significant amount of aerial imagery in Eastern Europe. It's been a while since we had a big update in that part of the world, and there are a ton of fantastic sights for all you armchair geographers out there to explore. Break out the Slavic dictionary, crank up the techno, and start zooming in!

Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland

Airport/Racetrack, Dolna Mitropoliya, Bulgaria

Struga, Macedonia

High Resolution Aerial Updates:
USA: Pittsburgh, Kane County (IL)
Poland: Krakow, Tarnow, Nowy Sacz, Bielsko-Biala, Zory, Chorzow, Krosno, Kolbuszowa, Chorzow, Czestochowa, Kielce, Radomsko, Belchatow, Skarzysko-Kamienna, Kielce, Starachowice, Radom, Ostrowiec, Pulawy, Zamosc, Jelenia Gora, Swidnica, Glogow,
Czech Republic: Vysocina, Jihomoravsky, Olomoucky, Moravskoslezsky
Macedonia: entire country

Countries receiving High Resolution Satellite Updates:
Cuba, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Senegal, Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Murkina Faso, Nigeria, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Botswana, South Africa, Madagascar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Jordan, Israel, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Iran, Pakistan, India, China, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, The Philippines, Japan, North Korea, Mongolia

Countries receiving Medium Resolution Satellite Updates:

These updates are currently only available in Google Earth, but they'll also be in Google Maps soon. To get a complete picture of where we updated imagery, download this KML for viewing in Google Earth.

Posted by Matt Manolides, Senior Geo Data Strategist

[G] This week in search 8/27/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 8/27/10

This is one of a regular series of posts on search experience updates. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

Searches come in many flavors, but it's our job to determine what type of search you're doing once you've clicked your way out of the search box. Whether you're looking for a blog or a business, our goal is to get you the most relevant type of result back to you—fast. Ultimately, it's that combination of relevance and speed that we think will give you the best experience. Here are some of our newest search enhancements:

Improved Blog Search
With the proliferation of specialized blogs all across the web, you'll often find great content on blogs—whether you're planning a trip to Florida, looking to bring home a new golden retriever or learning how to make a delicious Italian dinner. Recently, our blog search team made it much easier to find full blogs about your query, rather than single posts on the topic. This is especially useful if you're looking for bloggers that post on an ongoing basis about the subject of your query. Try it with one of your search queries by clicking "Blogs," then "Homepages," in the left-hand panel of your search results.

Example searches: [tesla car], [google], [android]

A new home for Realtime Search
When we think about relevancy, often what you're looking for may have just happened. It's been more than nine months since we first announced our real-time search features, and this week we gave it a new home at as well as some great new tools to you refine and understand your results. You can use geographic refinements to find updates and news that's happening right near you or in the area of your choice. We also added conversations view, so you can follow a discussion more easily by browsing a full timeline of tweets and seeing how the conversation evolved. And in Google Alerts, you can now create an alert specifically for "updates" to get an email the moment a topic of interest shows up on Twitter or other short-form services.

Realtime Search and updates in Google Alerts are available globally in 40 languages, and the geographic refinements and conversations views are available in English, Japanese, Russian and Spanish.

Example search: [egg recall]

More local results in maps and clickable markers
We made some changes to local results in web search that will help you learn more about the results and save you time by saving you clicks. Starting this week, when you search for places we'll show you all of the results that match your query on the map. Results after the first seven will be shown with small circle markers. This can be very useful in identifying the density of stores and helping you find the right neighborhood to visit. For example, when you search for [fabric stores nyc], you can now easily identify the Garment District:

When you see a result on the map that you like, you can now click directly on the marker (the pin or the circle) and go to Google Maps with that place selected and the "Info" window open. The other results will still be there if you want to explore more places.

Example searches: [fabric stores nyc], [coffee in seattle], [resort near ko samui, thailand]

We hope you find these updates useful. Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks.

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director, Search Product Management

[G] Find out what’s hot on search with the Google Beat

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Official Google Blog: Find out what’s hot on search with the Google Beat

Every day, there are more than a billion searches for information on Google. Have you ever wondered what those searches are about—or whether what you’re searching for also happens to be on the minds of millions of others across the country? We’re introducing a new way to find out—a regular video series called the Google Beat that highlights some of the hottest searches on Google in the U.S.

Using data from Google Trends, Google Insights for Search and some additional tools, the Google Beat will give you a snapshot of some of the topics that prompted people to turn to the web over the past week. You’ve probably seen our previous deep dives into Google search trends, like our annual year-end Zeitgeist and posts here about search trends related to events like the World Cup, the Oscars® and beyond. Searches can be unexpected, and sometimes what’s popular one week could never have been predicted the week before (think of Falcon Heene, last October’s “balloon boy” or Steven Slater). We’re looking forward to seeing what our data will reveal.

Check out this week’s premier video below, and subscribe to the Google Beat YouTube channel to get regular updates. We hope you enjoy.

Posted by Emily Wood, Editor, Google Blog team

[G] Bigger, better Google Finance charts -- and how to get the most out of them

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Google Finance Blog: Bigger, better Google Finance charts -- and how to get the most out of them

Posted by Patrick Cosken, Software Engineer

One of the most popular features on Google Finance is our charts. In fact, we like them so much we thought they’d benefit from being bigger. So today we launched a new feature on our individual stock and market charts: the ability to expand them to fill the page and allow for further refinement.

Here are our top tips & tricks for using Google Finance charts, including a few longstanding ones you may not have seen before.

1) Big charts (NEW)
To expand a stock chart, click the arrow button in the upper-right corner. Voilà! The chart fills the page, making it easier than ever to see and manipulate. If you want to collapse it, just click the arrow button again.



2) Customize your chart view in ‘Settings’
You can change the content of the charts to include or exclude news flags, dividends, splits, volume, and after hours trading data by clicking on the ‘Settings’ tab under the chart. From this panel, you can also change the scale from linear to logarithmic and change the default zoom for your charts. Also on the Settings tab, you can switch your charts to a variety of types. Instead of a line graph, you can opt to view candlestick or OHLC (Open, High, Low, Close) charts.

3) Plot custom news feeds on your charts
Using the ‘Plot Feeds’ tab, you can customize the news annotations on your chart to come from a favorite RSS feed or news source. Simply click the tab, enter the Feed Address, and click Plot Feeds. Here you can see I’m tracking The Apple Blog.

4) Let’s get technical
The ‘Technicals’ tab allows you to add a variety of technical data to your charts for more advanced tracking. Available technicals range from Simple and Exponential Moving Averages to KDJ Indicators and Bollinger Bands, among many more. You can set up as many technical data series’ to your charts as you like and view up to six at a time.

Try these tips out and let us know what you think or submit your suggestions for Google Finance on our Product Ideas page. Stay tuned for more as we keep building out Google Finance and catch the latest from the Google Finance team by following us on Twitter.

[G] Analyze Competition live in all English language accounts

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Inside AdWords: Analyze Competition live in all English language accounts

In June we announced the Analyze Competition feature in the Opportunities tab. At first, this feature was only available to a small number of advertisers using the English language AdWords interface, but now this feature is available to all English language accounts.

Analyze Competition helps you understand how your AdWords performance compares to that of other advertisers competing on similar keyword categories. Using the data in Analyze Competition, we hope you can make more informed decisions about which types of optimization changes are right for your account.

In addition to the feature’s core functionality, you can now also see the Google search terms that triggered your ad for each of the most specific sub-categories in your account. Click a category name to see more specific sub-categories. When the category name is no longer a link, you’ll know you’re at the most specific sub-category -- this is where you’ll see a "See search terms" link. Seeing the search terms that triggered your ad can serve as inspiration for new keyword ideas or help you understand if your keywords have been miscategorized by our system. If you see that the search terms listed for a given category are not related to the keywords in your ad groups, you may consider making keywords more specific or adding new negative keywords.

We hope to bring even more features to Analyze Competition in the future. To learn more about Analyze Competition, visit the Help Center, or watch this short video. You can also visit our page on the Ad Innovations site, which is the destination site for the newest, most innovative developments in AdWords.

Posted by Jason Shafton, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Improvements to Realtime Search

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Blogger Buzz: Improvements to Realtime Search

The blogosphere is a dynamic environment that changes almost as quickly as the world that we live in. And as access to information becomes more widespread and more immediate, the blogosphere is steadily closing that gap. That’s why the Blogger Team is excited to spread the word about Google’s new improvements to Realtime Search, which provide richer and fresher results than ever before.

From the new Realtime Search homepage, you can search live updates, recently-published blog posts, and news from around the web in brand new ways. Now you can restrict your search to include just updates from a specific geographic region or just nearby you. You can also check out complete conversations from Twitter. You can also now set up custom alerts for Realtime updates to be sent directly to your inbox once a day or week, or as soon as the happen for instant blog post fodder.

For more information about Realtime’s new features, please visit

[G] Blogger's 11th Birthday Fiesta is Almost Here

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Blogger Buzz: Blogger's 11th Birthday Fiesta is Almost Here

Posted by Seth Shamban, Blogger Consumer Operations

It’s only five days away, and we hope that you’re as excited as we are about the 200+ Meetups that are happening around the world. We’re looking forward to your meetups, and seeing your photos, videos, and tweets from the event.

We don’t want to leave the best parties empty-handed, so starting tomorrow we will be sending out some Blogger birthday presents to some of the largest Meetups around the world. We can only send presents to Meetups that have organizers, though, and there’s still lots of fiestas that are organizer-less. It’s super easy and any one can do it, so if you volunteer you may be able to secure presents for your local Meetup.

For those of you who haven’t yet joined one of our Meetups, there’s still time! As a reminder, here’s the important details for the event:

If you have any questions about the Blogger Fiesta Meetups, head over to our official invitation.

We look forward to our first ever global meetups on the 31st!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

[G] Work better across time zones with Google Calendar

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Work better across time zones with Google Calendar

Collaborating with colleagues from various teams in different offices is a daily facet of my work. I am based in Zurich, Switzerland, and many of the people I interact with are in California, USA, which is nine hours behind. Oftentimes I find myself invited to attend meetings that happen late in my evening, which proves that coordinating across time zones can be a challenge.

At Google we want to help you maintain a healthy work/life balance, so today we’re launching a set of new features that will improve your experience whether you’re scheduling across time zones or just across the hall.

Setting Up Working Hours
For Google Apps users, the new ‘Working hours’ setting allows you to configure the hours that suit your schedule, as you can see in the screenshot below:

Users setting up an event will be able to see your working hours clearly marked in your calendar in the event creation page. They will also be warned if they schedule an event outside your working hours. For example, when someone in California is scheduling an appointment with me for 11am their time, they will see a warning like this:

Find a Time, Make it Recurring
The new "Find a Time" tab on the event scheduling page lets you view your coworkers’ schedules at-a-glance and choose the best time for a meeting. This is especially helpful for scheduling events with a large number of attendees, particularly if they are spread out geographically. Also in the event scheduling page, we’ve launched a simpler interface for setting recurring meetings with a small window that appears when you select the “Repeats” check box. For Google Apps customers with the administrative control panel option set to “enable new pre-release features” users will automatically see these new changes to the event editor.

We’ve also made a number of changes on the back-end that improve the performance, consistency, and extensibility of Calendar, which we’ve announced on our Gmail blog today. Enjoy your meetings, now with fewer time zone scheduling hassles!

Posted by Oana Florescu, Software Engineer, Calendar

[G] JibJab helps visitors find their online funny bone with Google Site Search

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: JibJab helps visitors find their online funny bone with Google Site Search

Editor’s note: Today’s guest post comes from Chris Poe, Engineering Director at JibJab Media. is a digital entertainment studio that creates, produces and distributes humorous online content. From offbeat eCards to personalized videos and satirical viral videos, JibJab is on a mission to help more people share more laughs than any other company in the history of the world.

We could all use a good laugh from time to time. Which is why we’re thrilled to announce that, as of today, search on is powered by Google Site Search, making it even easier for our visitors to explore and find their favorite funny items:

In evaluating a website search engine, we chose Google Site Search for its ability to help users find the perfect eCard or video, fast, while allowing our developers to control the look and feel of the results. We also appreciated the fact that Google Site Search provided XML results for full customization of each search query, and gave us a hands-free search solution that requires little-to-no custom maintenance.

This, hopefully, will allow our visitors to find more of what they’re looking for on our site - good laughs!

Posted by: Rajat Mukherjee, Group Product Manager, Google Enterprise

[G] Go-Go (Gmail contextual) Gadgets - get more done right from your inbox

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Go-Go (Gmail contextual) Gadgets - get more done right from your inbox

The email inbox has become the hub for most people’s business day. With Gmail contextual gadgets, available in the Google Apps Marketplace, instead of having to open additional applications to take action or get more information, these applications intelligently bring what you need right into your inbox. Gmail contextual gadgets scan for triggers, such as names or purchase order numbers, within a message and present relevant actions in-line with the email. Attend our webinar on Sept 8th to learn more about this feature. Here are a few examples of the wide range of applications that offer Gmail contextual gadgets in the Marketplace.

Customer management (CRM) solutions are one of the most sought after applications in the Marketplace. The newly launched Solve360 contextual gadget demonstrates the advantages of having access to CRM information within a message. Alongside each Gmail message, Solve360’s gadget shows off a clean, at-a-glance view of everything your team knows about the person behind the message. Before taking further action, you can examine the customer’s previous interactions and special considerations. Advanced customer management is now no more complicated than a few extra clicks inside an email exchange with a client.

Video Demonstration

Tracking time can be quite cumbersome for employees and businesses, so Harvest has developed a web-based solution for managing your timesheets. With Harvest for Google Apps, entering time is as simple as filling out a timesheet right within Gmail. Harvest sends automatic reminder emails to employees to fill out relevant timesheets. With contextual gadgets, these emails display the recipient’s timesheet right below the body of the message so users can fill out and submit their timesheet without ever leaving their inbox. Bringing this crucial task right into your email takes out unnecessary steps and helps you save time and stay on track.

Video Demonstration

Smartsheet, a popular project management solution, offers integration across various Google Apps products. With their Gmail contextual gadget, any email that references a Smartsheet item allows task management right from your inbox. This functionality is interactive with your daily needs - as Smartsheet tracks project progress, if it detects a change in status based on your parameters, it will deliver an email to your inbox. Right from that email, you will be able to fully assess and edit each aspect of the project. The volatility of project management just got that much smoother.

Video Demonstration

Gist demonstrates how deeply rooted and useful social networks have become. This application delivers social media in a way that changes how you manage relationships. Gist removes the noise from individual email alerts, eliminates the hassle of going to multiple services for updates, and automates the delivery of the most important information about the contacts in your professional network. With their Gmail contextual gadget, you can better understand the context of each email without any extra work and better frame your actions. Valuable social information is available to you exactly where you need it - your inbox.

Video Demonstration

These are just four of the applications in the Google Apps Marketplace that have taken Gmail contextual gadgets to the next level. For more contextual gadgets, check out:

Remember to sign up for our webinar on Sept 8th to learn more about these great gadgets.

All about Gmail contextual gadgets: Learn how to access Line of Business data from your inbox
Wednesday, September 8th, 2010
11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT
Register here

Posted by Harrison Shih, Google Apps Marketplace Team

[G] Easier event scheduling in Google Calendar

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Official Gmail Blog: Easier event scheduling in Google Calendar

Posted by Nassar Stoertz, Software Engineer

In the next day or so, you'll start to see some changes to the event page in Google Calendar which should make scheduling events easier. We've made the style more consistent with other Google apps, put information that’s most commonly used at the top of the screen, simplified the layout, and added some functionality.

A new repeating event editor
The old interface for creating recurring events was clumsy and took up too much space on the screen. Now you'll see only a summary of your recurring event on the main event page; if you want to edit it, you can use a window that opens when you select the "Repeats" checkbox.

A new tool to help you find a time for your event
You'll notice a new tab on the event page that should make it easier to find a good time to schedule an event. When your friends or coworkers give you permission to see their calendars, you can click this tab to see a preview of their schedules and hover over their events to see what conflicts they might have. This should make scheduling a tad easier, especially for events with large numbers of guests. For Google Apps users, the new schedule preview can also show data from other calendar services using our Google Calendar Connectors API.

Changes under the hood
As browsers and other technologies both within and outside of Google have evolved, we've found it necessary to occasionally make structural code changes in order to keep up. These visible changes are only the surface; underneath we've added a new model for how we represent calendar events in the browser and a new mechanism for how we make sure those events get properly saved. We've paid special attention to performance, consistency, and extensibility. In the short term, you'll hopefully notice that the event page opens slightly faster than it did before.

[G] In-cell dropdown and validation in spreadsheets

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Official Google Docs Blog: In-cell dropdown and validation in spreadsheets

Today, we added in-cell dropdown and validation to spreadsheets. This makes it easy to constrain the values of an individual cell to a specific range or list. For example, if you are building a trip planning spreadsheet, you can now limit the options in the travel destination column to a select set of cities via dropdown lists.

In-cell dropdowns also make input easier by reducing unnecessary typing and errors in processing. You can create dropdown lists in individual cells through the data validation tool by validating against a range of cells in your sheet or by creating a custom list.

Follow these steps to create an in-cell dropdown list through validation against a range.
  1. Enter data into a range of cells.
    • For example, create a list of destinations on your spreadsheet.
  2. Select the cell(s) you would like to validate.
  3. Under the Tools menu, select Data validation...
  4. Change the Criteria to ‘Items from a list.’
  5. Click the button next to the ‘Create list from range’ option and select the range of cells you entered data in during Step 1.
  6. Click Save and the cell you chose to validate will have a dropdown arrow in it with the data in your cell range as the potential input values. If you want, you can set a cell to allow invalid data.
You can also create a in-cell dropdown using a custom list.
  1. Under the Tools menu, select Data validation...
  2. Change the Criteria to ‘Items from a list.’
  3. Click the button next to the 'Enter list items' option.
  4. Enter a set of custom values, separated by commas. For example, you could enter "San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles."
  5. Click Save and the cell you selected will have a dropdown list with the values you entered as potential input values.
Let us know what you think in the comments.

Posted by: Li-Wei Lee, Software Engineer

[G] Google Realtime Search: a new home with new tools

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Official Google Blog: Google Realtime Search: a new home with new tools

When we first introduced our real-time search features last December, we focused on bringing relevance to the freshest information on the web. Our goal was to provide real-time content from a comprehensive set of sources, integrated right into your usual search results. Today we’re making our most significant enhancements to date, giving real-time information its own home and more powerful tools to help you find what you need. Now you can access Google Realtime Search at its own address,

On the new homepage you’ll find some great tools to help you refine and understand your results. First, you can use geographic refinements to find updates and news near you, or in a region you specify. So if you’re traveling to Los Angeles this summer, you can check out tweets from Angelenos to get ideas for activities happening right where you are.

In addition, we’ve added a conversations view, making it easy to follow a discussion on the real-time web. Often a single tweet sparks a larger conversation of re-tweets and other replies, but to put it together you have to click through a bunch of links and figure it out yourself. With the new “full conversation” feature, you can browse the entire conversation in a single glance. We organize the tweets from oldest to newest and indent so you quickly see how the conversation developed.

Finally, we’ve also added updates content to Google Alerts, making it easy to stay informed about a topic of your choosing. Now you can create an alert specifically for “updates” to get an email the moment your topic appears on Twitter or other short-form services. Or, if you want to manage your email volume, you can set alerts to email you once per day or week.

Check out our demo video of the new features and quick tips on how to use them:

You can access Realtime Search by typing directly into your browser, or clicking the “Updates” link in the left-hand panel of your search results. Set up your Google Alerts at Realtime Search and updates in Google Alerts are available globally in 40 languages, and the geographic refinements and conversations views are available in English, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. The features are rolling out now, but you can use this link to see them right away.

Posted by Dylan Casey, Product Manager

[G] Call phones from Gmail

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Google Talkabout: Call phones from Gmail

(Cross-posted from the Gmail Blog)

Gmail voice and video chat makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family using your computer’s microphone and speakers. But until now, this required both people to be at their computers, signed into Gmail at the same time. Given that most of us don’t spend all day in front of our computers, we thought, “wouldn’t it be nice if you could call people directly on their phones?”

Starting today, you can call any phone right from Gmail.

Calls to the U.S. and Canada will be free for at least the rest of the year and calls to other countries will be billed at our very low rates. We worked hard to make these rates really cheap (see comparison table) with calls to the U.K., France, Germany, China, Japan—and many more countries—for as little as $0.02 per minute.

Dialing a phone number works just like a normal phone. Just click “Call phone” at the top of your chat list and dial a number or enter a contact’s name.

We’ve been testing this feature internally and have found it to be useful in a lot of situations, ranging from making a quick call to a restaurant to placing a call when you’re in an area with bad reception.

If you have a Google Voice phone number, calls made from Gmail will display this number as the outbound caller ID. And if you decide to, you can receive calls made to this number right inside Gmail (see instructions).

We’re rolling out this feature to U.S. based Gmail users over the next few days, so you’ll be ready to get started once “Call Phones” shows up in your chat list (you will need to install the voice and video plug-in if you haven’t already). If you’re using Google Apps for your school or business, then you won’t see it quite yet. We’re working on making this available more broadly - so stay tuned!

For more information, visit

Posted by Robin Schriebman, Software Engineer