- Google Chrome for the holidays: Mac, Linux and extensions in beta
- Fighting fraud online: taking "Google Money" scammers to court
- Happy holidays from Picasa Web Albums and Eye-Fi (This is what I'd like for Christmas! ed)
- Celebrating Computer Science Education Week
- Relevance meets the real-time web
Posted: 08 Dec 2009 09:03 AM PST
There was nothing more excruciating for me as a kid than seeing the presents pile up under the Christmas tree but knowing that I couldn't open them until Christmas morning. On the Google Chrome team, we've had the same feeling as we've been working to get betas ready for Mac, Linux and extensions. It's been a long time coming, but today we can check the top three items off our users' wish lists.
Google Chrome for Mac (Beta)
We've been working hard to deliver a first-class browser for the Mac — it took longer than we expected, but we hope the wait was worth it! We wanted Google Chrome to feel at home on the Mac, so we've focused on uniting our clean, simple design with subtle animations and effects to create a snappy and satisfying browsing experience on OS X. As you might expect, the speed of Google Chrome for Mac is something we're very proud of. If you have a Mac, try installing the beta and see how fast it launches — there's hardly even time for the icon in the dock to bounce!
For more details on this beta release of Google Chrome for Mac, read on in the Google Mac blog or watch this video from one of our engineers, Mike Pinkerton:
Google Chrome for Linux (Beta)
At Google, most engineers use Linux machines, so we certainly heard loud and clear how much they wanted Google Chrome for Linux. Just like Google Chrome for Windows and Mac, we focused on speed, stability and security, but we also wanted a high-performance browser that integrated well with the Linux ecosystem. This includes tight integration with native GTK themes, updates that are managed by the standard system package manager, and many other features that fit in natively with the operating system where possible.
Google Chrome for Linux in various GTK themes
Just as important, we've had quite a bit of help from the open source community. More than 50 open source contributors have worked on Chromium and they've been especially helpful on delivering our Linux version of Google Chrome. For more details on the beta release of Google Chrome for Linux, check out the Chromium blog.
Extensions in Google Chrome for Windows and Linux (Beta)
When we first launched Google Chrome in September 2008, we knew that we wanted to make it easy for you to customize the browser with extensions. We also wanted to make extensions easy to create and maintain, while preserving Google Chrome's speed and stability. Extensions on Google Chrome accomplishes all these goals: they are as easy to create as web pages, easy to install, and each extension runs in its own process to avoid crashing or significantly slowing down the browser.
If you're on a PC or a Linux machine, you can check out more than 300 extensions in the gallery, including a few cool, useful and cute extensions. Extensions aren't quite beta-quality on Mac yet, but you will be able to preview them on a developer channel soon. And if you're a web developer, you can learn more about writing extensions for Google Chrome on the Chromium blog.
Extensions installed on Google Chrome (for PC or Linux)
We hope the betas for Mac, Linux and extensions were some of the things on your wish list this year. We'd like to say thanks to Mac and Linux users who gave our early developer versions of Google Chrome a test drive on these platforms, as well as developers who wrote great extensions for Google Chrome. And in case you're wondering what we'd like for the holidays, we're always eager for feedback — and I wouldn't mind a brand new extension that makes it snow on demand!
Posted by Brian Rakowski, Product Manager
Posted: 08 Dec 2009 12:00 AM PST
"Use Google to Make 1000s of Dollars!" or "Easy Cash with Google: You Could be Making up to $978 a Day Working from Home!" You may have seen offers like these using Google's name or logo that sounded too good to be true. Unfortunately, nearly all of them are, and, despite hundreds of consumer complaints and our own efforts to keep these sites from tricking people, some scams continue. To fight back, we're working to stop various fraudulent "Google Money" schemes, and this week filed suit against Pacific WebWorks and several other unnamed defendants.
Google hasn't created or endorsed any of the sites like those described in our complaint. Misleading ads try to take advantage of consumers in the midst of a difficult economy, and as the economic situation has worsened, the problem has only grown. As far as we can tell, thousands of people have been tricked into sending payment information and being charged hidden fees by questionable operations.
Even as we're taking legal action to try to cut these sites off at the source, we're still working constantly to remove scammy URLs from our index, and we'll permanently disable AdWords accounts that provide a poor or harmful user experience, whether or not they use Google's trademarks illegally. That said, we can't guarantee that schemes like these won't pop up, like the proverbial "Whack-A-Mole", someplace else online — either on a different network or under a different name.
We can solve only part of the problem — the rest is up to you. Just as you should be careful about giving out financial information in the real world, you should be skeptical and review any offers online before sending any information, and always be on guard when presented with an offer that seems too good to be true. Below is a significantly abridged list of some names that we know are suspect. For more tips on how to spot a scam online or what to do if you think you or someone you know has been tricked, check out this earlier post.
Although there's no secret kit that can guarantee riches, many people really do make money online. In our experience, the best way to build a business on the web is to really serve users — offer useful products and services or write about something you have a passionate interest in. If you are wondering if a particular program is legit, Google's business and advertising programs can be found from our home page, and the best place to find real jobs at Google is google.com/jobs.
Names to be wary of: Google Adwork, Google ATM, Google Biz Kit, Google Cash, Earn Google Cash Kit, Google Fortune, Google Marketing Kit, Google Profits, The Home Business Kit for Google, Google StartUp Kit, and Google Works.
Posted by Jason Morrison, Support Engineer (Search Quality Team), and Stacey Wexler, Senior Litigation Counsel
Posted: 07 Dec 2009 06:30 PM PST
(Cross-posted from the Google Photos Blog)
Three weeks ago we made extra storage more affordable for Picasa Web Albums and Gmail, and now we're making it easier to get your photos in the cloud and share them, right in time for holiday picture snapping. We've partnered with Eye-Fi, makers of WiFi-enabled memory cards that make it easy to upload photos directly from your camera to Picasa Web Albums — no cables required. For a limited time, when you buy 200 GB of Google paid storage for $50 you'll get a free 4GB SDHC Eye-Fi card (a $95 value). The Eye-Fi card lets you wirelessly upload photos and videos directly to Picasa Web Albums or to your computer. It even includes automatic geotagging, so you'll know exactly where your pictures were taken. And you won't need to worry about running out of space — 200 GB is enough storage for a hundred thousand original resolution photos. Visit picasa.google.com/eyefi.html to get yours today.
By using Eye-Fi and Picasa Web Albums together, you can automate your photo sharing: photos are wirelessly uploaded and shared with the people that matter. Based on my experience as an avid Eye-Fi user, here's some tips on setting it up:
Posted by Brian Axe, Product Manager
Posted: 07 Dec 2009 03:44 PM PST
(Cross-posted on the Google Research Blog)
We've been thinking about ways that Google could help with computer science education for several years. After all, our search engine has been used in education since its inception — how many essays, research papers and theses begin with a Google search? Today, we'd like to summarize some of what we've been doing at Google to advance CS education. Our efforts focus on four strategic areas, with an emphasis on computing in core curriculum.
Use of Google tools to support teaching and learning
Having a web-based shared document, spreadsheet or presentation that students in a group or class can all view and edit online has had an enormous impact on collaboration in education. So we provide a free suite of our communication & collaboration applications designed especially for schools and universities. We also used our tools and infrastructure to build and support a community of teachers who have developed classroom content and activities around these applications.
Increasing the access to and quality of Computer Science curriculum
We have many people at Google who know about all areas of computer science, many with backgrounds and experience in education. With this deep base of computer science knowledge, we developed Google Code University to help faculty update their undergraduate computer science curriculum, and the Summer of Code, which gives students the opportunity to develop programs for various open source software projects.
Integrating computing curriculum across K-12 core subjects
A group of Google engineers and K-12 "teaching fellows" is working on building and testing models of curriculum to encourage innovation. These curriculum models revolve around "computational thinking", a problem-solving technique that draws on the thinking and analysis skills that computer scientists use everyday. Our goal is to integrate computational thinking across subject areas in K-12 by connecting these skills, which are already a part of core curriculum, more explicitly to computer science. We're also taking this a step further by integrating simple programming concepts in appropriate areas of core K-12 curriculum, such as algebra. Our hope is that by making computer science more visible and showing its connection to every subject area, students will experience the full power and utility of technology in areas of interest to them. Integrating CS into other subjects will also have the key added benefit of leveling the playing field, so that many more students will have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of computing.
Supporting organizations and individuals through community outreach
We've also worked for years with teachers and nonprofits to build early interest in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. Besides providing financial support and sponsorship for many external organizations, we've developed a number of scholarship and intern programs to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM and computer science. In addition to these formal programs, every day Googlers all over the world organize visits with students at nearby schools and community centers to teach, present workshops and tech talks, and to share their personal stories on how they became computer scientists and engineers.
We're absolutely delighted to be a co-sponsor of the first Computer Science Education Week. As a company, we've benefited so much from advances in computer science and the creativity of computer scientists. We also know that the next great innovators in computer science are out there, ready to be inspired to create technologies that change our world and benefit our society. We urge our children, parents, teachers and educational institutions to pay more attention to this critical field, and we will continue to do our share.
Posted by Alfred Spector, VP Research and Special Initiatives and Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations
Posted: 07 Dec 2009 11:31 AM PST
Search is a natural starting point for discovering the world's information, and we strive to bring you the freshest, most comprehensive and relevant search results over an ever expanding universe of content on the multitude of devices you use to access it.
That's why today, at the Computer History Museum, we're excited to share a few new innovations in the areas of real-time, mobile and social search that we feel are important steps in the evolution of information access.
First, we're introducing new features that bring your search results to life with a dynamic stream of real-time content from across the web. Now, immediately after conducting a search, you can see live updates from people on popular sites like Twitter and FriendFeed, as well as headlines from news and blog posts published just seconds before. When they are relevant, we'll rank these latest results to show the freshest information right on the search results page.
Try searching for your favorite TV show, sporting event or the latest development on a recent government bill. Whether it's an eyewitness tweet, a breaking news story or a fresh blog post, you can find it on Google right after it's published on the web.
Here's how it looks:
Our real-time search enables you to discover breaking news the moment it's happening, even if it's not the popular news of the day, and even if you didn't know about it beforehand. For example, in the screen shot, the big story was about GM's stabilizing car sales, which shows under "News results." Nonetheless, thanks to our powerful real-time algorithms, the "Latest results" feature surfaces another important story breaking just seconds before: GM's CEO stepped down.
Click on "Latest results" or select "Latest" from the search options menu to view a full page of live tweets, blogs, news and other web content scrolling right on Google. You can also filter your results to see only "Updates" from micro-blogs like Twitter, FriendFeed, Jaiku and others. Latest results and the new search options are also designed for iPhone and Android devices when you need them on the go, be it a quick glance at changing information like ski conditions or opening night chatter about a new movie — right when you're in line to buy tickets.
And, as part of our launch of real-time on Google search, we've added "hot topics" to Google Trends to show the most common topics people are publishing to the web in real-time. With this improvement and a series of other interface enhancements, Google Trends is graduating from Labs.
Our real-time search features are based on more than a dozen new search technologies that enable us to monitor more than a billion documents and process hundreds of millions of real-time changes each day. Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our new partners that we're announcing today: Facebook, MySpace, FriendFeed, Jaiku and Identi.ca — along with Twitter, which we announced a few weeks ago.
The new features will be rolling out in the next few days and will be available globally in English. You can try them out today by visiting Google Trends and clicking on a "hot topic," which in most cases will bring you to a search results page with the new real-time feature.
Here's a first look at our real-time search:
We have also made some new strides with mobile search. Today's sensor-rich smartphones are redefining what "query" means. Beyond text, you can now search by a number of new modes including voice, location and sight — all from a mobile device. So we've been working to improve technology that takes advantage of these capabilities.
Starting today, we're extending our voice search capabilities on Android devices to recognize Japanese. In addition, we're using the location of your mobile phone to launch some helpful features, like showing you "what's nearby." Finally, at our event this morning, we demonstrated Google Goggles, a visual search application that lets you search for objects using images rather than words, using your camera phone. For more information on these mobile innovations, check out the Google Mobile Blog.
As we've written before, search is still an unsolved problem and we're committed to making it faster and easier for people to access a greater diversity of information, delivered in real-time, from across the web. I'm tremendously excited about these significant new real-time search features.
Posted by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow
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