Mozilla has been lobbying for. While Microsoft, Apple, Firefox and Opera have either already implemented this feature or will do so soon, Google is still holding out. According to Mozilla's director of community development Asa Dotzler, the "Chrome team is bowing to pressure from Google's advertising business and that's a real shame." Indeed, Dotzler says in his blog post, this situation is similar to what happened when Netscape released version 7.0 of its browser.
Last year, Google announced that it would bring ultra high-speed broadband Internet to one community in the United States. After a long decision process, the search giant today finally announced which community will be the first to enjoy Google-sponsored Internet access that's more than 100 times faster than the U.S. average. Out of the 1,100 cities that applied for Google's so-called "Fibre for Communities program, Topka, Kansas probably went the furthest in attracting Google's attention by renaming itself Google, Kansas. That was not enough, though, and Google today announced that it chose Kansas City, Kansas instead.
We hear a lot about Google’s relationship with publishers, but this week the search giant also quietly launched it’s own publication in the UK. Think Quarterly, which calls itself a “a breathing space in a busy world” is, as the name implies, a quarterly online magazine. The design almost feels somewhat reminiscent of of Wired, with a strong focus on infographics and large photos. The articles themselves come both from writers inside of Google and freelancers. The first edition focuses on “data,” but the articles run the gamut from a discussion of Near Field Communication to an interview with “data superstar” Hans Rosling. The bias is obviously towards Google products, though some of the interviews could easily stand on their own in other publications.
It took more than 10 years, but after filing for a patent for a "provides a periodically changing story line and/or a special event company logo to entice users to access a web page" in April 2001, the U.S. Patent Office today granted Google's Segey Brin a patent for the company's iconic Doodles. Google Doodles are the variations on the company's logo that it uses celebrating holidays and special events. They appear on Google.com and its international versions.
Starting today, Google will integrate Social Search deeper into its main search results and will highlight whenever your friends shared this link on Twitter or Buzz. Even more importantly, Google will use these signals from your friends to personalize your search results if appropriate. If your friend shared a story about Google's new Social Search feature on Google Reader, for example, this link will climb up in Google's search results.
Remember Boutiques.com, Google's shopping site for fashion goods that launched in November 2010? Unless you are a regular Vogue reader and can't wait for the New York Fashion Week to begin, chances are you don't, but the site is doing quite well and Google just launched a number of new features for Boutiques.com. Most interestingly, Google is brining some of its core competencies to the site by introducing two Google's Analytics-like features called Designer Analytics for its partners and Trend Analytics for the rest of us.
Last month, Google launched an Android app for Google Translate, which allows users to write or speak a phrase in one language and then read or hear a translation in another. Today, Google also launched a native iPhone version of this tool, which works surprisingly well. The app accepts voice input in 15 languages (including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Chinese and Japanese), as well as text inputs in over 50 languages. Spoken translations are available for 23 languages.
It isn't quite the Pacman doodle, but today's version of Google's iconic logo introduces a whole new degree of interactivity to the animated logos the company sometimes produces for special occasions. Just in time for Jules Verne's 183rd birthday, the company produced a whimsical logo that allows you to steer the submarine from Verne's famous 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with the help of your laptop's or tablet's built-in accelerometer. You can also play along by using the keyboard.
Gmail's Priority Inbox has been a major hit for Google and, according to the company's own research, saves its users a lot of time. Until now, though, it was only available in the desktop and Android version of Google's email service. Starting today, however, you can also access in the Gmail mobile web app on most mobile browsers that support HTML5. These include early Android devices that don't natively support Priority Inbox yet, as well as Apple iOS devices (version 3 and up).
There is a scandal brewing in the tech world this morning that has the potential to greatly tarnish the reputation of Bing, Microsoft's Google-challenger. According to Search Engine Land's Danny Sullivan, Google thinks that Microsoft is copying some of its search results. That's about as serious an allegation as there can be in the search engine world. In an early statement, Stefan Weitz, Microsoft's director of Bing does not deny this, but notes that Bing uses "multiple signals and approaches" when thinking about ranking.
Google Docs just announced a user interface overhaul of its documents list. This new interface makes it much easier to organize and find the documents you upload to Google Docs. Google introduced a set of filters that now allow you to organize your files by type, visibility state (whether you shared it online, with friends, etc.), last modified date and, of course, by name.
Google just announced that Google Earth now features high-quality 3D-models of virtually all the California Bay Area, including the city of San Francisco, Google's hometown of Mountain View, Palo Alto, Oakland, Redwood City, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Sunnyvale. To see this expanded 3D coverage, you will need to turn on "3D Buildings" in Google Earth.
In 2009, Google launched real estate listings as one of the search options in Google Maps. Apparently, this was not a major hit, as the company today announced that it is retiring this feature because of "low usage" and "the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites."
About two years ago, Google launched a browser plugin that allowed users to opt out of the company's ads tracking mechanism. By tracking your moves around the Internet, Google - and most other advertising companies - can ensure that you see relevant ads (read: ads you are likely to click) on the pages you visit. Today, just a few hours after Mozilla announced its plan to offer a do-not-track tool for Firefox, Google announced a new Chrome plugin that allows users to permanently opt-out of personalized ads and data tracking from not just Google, but a wide range of other online advertising companies as well.
I'm a jaded tech blogger, but Microsoft's HoloLens project is without doubt the most exciting project to come out of Redmond in years. After years of talk about augmented reality, this may be the first project that actually lives up to the hype.