An unofficial blog that watches Google's attempts to move your operating system online since 2005. Not affiliated with Google.

Send your tips to gostips@gmail.com.

September 30, 2016

Google Calendar Events in Google Maps

The latest version of the Google Maps app for Android adds more integration with Google Calendar. There's a new upcoming tab in "Your places", which shows a list of upcoming events, including your bookings and reservations from Gmail. Click an event to quickly see the location on the map.


There's also a new "personal content" section in the settings, which lets you disable the integration with Google Contacts, Google Photos, disable location, location history and search history.

The Keyword: Google's New Unified Blog

Google has a new blog that merges 19 of its most popular blogs, including the Official Google Blog, Gmail's blog, Google Drive blog, Chrome's blog, Android's blog and more. You can find it at blog.google and it's called The Keyword.


"We wanted to make it easier for people to find news from Google about what we're up to. With that in mind, today we're launching the Keyword — a new destination for the latest news from inside Google, from Android to Translate. The Keyword is all the stuff we had across 19 blogs, in one place — so you don't have to hop from one blog to another to find the latest update. If you're looking for something from Google from now on, chances are it's here," mentions Emily Wood.

The most interesting thing about this change is that Google abandoned Blogger and uses a completely new blogging platform. There's a section that showcases the latest tweets from Google's main Twitter accounts, a list of the latest stories and news. You can filter blog posts by Google product or by topic and you can use the same filters for search results too.

Mobile Google Tests Trending Searches

Bing has a cool feature: just click the search box and you get a list of trending searches. Google has been testing a similar feature this year in the mobile search interface. It started as an experiment in the Google Search app for Android back in January and now I noticed the same experiment when visiting Google.com in Chrome.


Google shows 5 searches that are currently popular and most of them seem to be related to recent news. Obviously, Google's results include a lot of news articles.

"The difference between trending and normal auto-complete is basically the difference of showing search suggestions based on years of query history vs the past 48 hours of search query history (in the most simplistic way)," says Barry Schwartz, who reported about this last month.

September 14, 2016

Google Destinations, Now for Desktop

Google launched the "plan a trip" feature for mobile phones back in March and now it's available in the regular desktop interface, as well. "Destinations on Google helps you discover and plan your next vacation, right from Google Search," informed Google.

Search for a continent, a country or state you'd like to visit and the Knowledge Graph card has a "plan a trip" section which includes a travel guide, information about hotels and upcoming events.


The travel guide link sends you to a new Google Destinations site which shows beautiful photos, a short description of the place, links to Google Flights, Google Hotel Finder, a trip planning feature, a list of suggested itineraries, top sights, videos, related places, information about climate and the most popular months to visit the place you picked.


Google displays a list of popular itineraries which are generated from the historic visits of other travelers.





The trip planning feature is quite clever. Google shows "highs and lows for the next six months, so you can find the right price tag for you. And as you slide left or right, the results instantly update with real-time fares and rates, pulling from the trillions of flight itineraries and hotels we price every day on Google Flights and Hotel search. You can also customize results further with flight and hotel preferences, including number of stops, hotel class, and number of travelers."


Google Destinations also works for queries like [asia destinations], which shows popular destinations and lets you filter them by interest: beach, culture, golf, hiking, nature, scuba diving, shopping, skiing, wildlife.


{ Thanks, Mukil Elango. }

New Original Message UI in Gmail

Gmail has a new interface for displaying the raw version of a message. If you click the arrow icon next to "reply" and then "show original", you'll see a list of headers like "message ID", "from", "to", "subject", "SPF", "DKIM", a link for downloading the message and then the actual text of the message. Until now, Gmail only displayed the text of the message.


The new interface also displays help center links with additional information about SPF records, DKIM signatures and the DMARC standard. All of these values are useful for identifying spoofed email messages, which forge the sender address.

{ Thanks, Dirk Zaal. }

August 26, 2016

Play Solitaire and Tic Tac Toe in Google Search

Google Search now comes with 2 games you can play right from your desktop or mobile browser: Solitaire and Tic-Tac-Toe. Just search for [solitaire] or [tic tac toe] and you can quickly start the games.

Solitaire has 2 difficulty levels: easy and hard. The game has realistic sounds and animations (you can mute sounds) and it also shows your stats, just like any other Solitaire app. Unfortunately, Google doesn't save your state, so you can't resume a game later.


Tic-Tac-Toe is much simpler and less pretty. You can choose between 3 difficulty levels (easy, medium and impossible) or pick an option that lets you play against a friend. The easy level always lets you win, the medium level lets you win sometimes, while in the impossible level you can never win.


An older game you can still play from Google Search is Pac-Man. It's actually the interactive doodle from May 21, 2010.



{ via Google Blog }

July 30, 2016

Google Album Archive

Picasa Web Albums will be discontinued on August 1st, but you can still access your photos from the new Google Album Archive. "The album archive is where we keep all the photos that have been shared or stored on Google products, like Picasa, Google+, and Blogger," informs Google.

As you probably noticed, Google Photos doesn't show photos uploaded using other Google services, so it can't fully replace Picasa Web Albums or Google+ Photos. Google Album Archive lets you see, download or delete photos from Picasa Web Albums, Google+, Blogger, Hangouts, Google Drive and Google Photos.




Album Archive doesn't have a search feature, but there are separate sections for Google services. For example, you can find all the photos uploaded to Hangouts in one place.

If you're wondering what's happening with Picasa Web Albums links, this article has some answers:

Links that will continue to work
* Links to photos and albums whose URLs use your user ID number (and not your username).
* Links to Public Galleries whose URLs use your user ID number (and not your username).

Links that will stop working
* Slideshows embedded on websites.
* Picasa Web Albums & photos embedded on websites.
* Links to photos, albums, and Public Galleries whose URLs use your username (and not your user ID number).

{ Thanks, Brandon Giesing. }

Google Image Labeler Is Back

Google Image Labeler used to be a game that helped Google categorize images and improve image search. It was launched in 2006 and discontinued in 2013. Now Image Labeler is back, but it's no longer a game.

If you go to get.google.com/crowdsource/imagelabeler/category, you'll see this message: "Ready to help Google Image Labeler? Look at a few public images to see if Google is organizing them right."


Then you can pick a category like birds, cats, dancing, concerts, food, cars, mountains, sky. If you use this URL: get.google.com/crowdsource/imagelabeler?label_str=Dogs, you can add your own category (replace "Dogs" in the address bar with something different like Rainbows, Stairs or Moon).


Google shows Creative Commons images from Flickr categorized by Google's algorithms. You only need to answer to questions like "Does this image contain dancing?".


May 20, 2016

Google Translate Autocomplete

Google Translate's site for desktop and mobile now shows suggestions and autocompletes your text, much like Google Search. This works for English, French, Italian, Spanish, German, Portuguese, but you have to manually pick the input language instead of relying on automatic detection.


The new feature helps you translate faster common phrases, words and expressions, but it's not very useful for long texts.


For example, I picked French as the input language, typed "k" and one of the suggestions was "kinésithérapeute", which means "physiotherapist".


It also works when you use the mobile site:


{ Thanks, Emanuele Bartolomucci. }

The Ever-Expanding Knowledge Graph Cards

Sometimes Google's Knowledge Graph cards use more real estate than all the other search results combined. I've searched for [from Paris with love] in the experimental mobile-like desktop interface and got a huge card with images, information about the movie, ratings, cast. Then Google displayed 10 search results and 3 other cards with John Travolta movies, Luc Besson movies and action movies, followed by another list of related searches.



Somehow, the list of search results felt like a placeholder for future Knowledge Graph enhancements. Here's the entire page: