Top 10 Google Labs Projects From 2010


Google Labs is the place where you can find a lot of experimental services that are developed by Google engineers in their “20 percent time”. As Jeffrey Ressner points out, “Labs began [back in 2002] when Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin decided to allow engineers and programmers to devote 20 percent of their time, or one day each week, to projects of their own choosing. It was a bold move, but Page and Brin figured the great minds they hired would be even more creative if they were given free rein to unleash their imaginations and cultivate their personal interests instead of spending all their energies on assigned tasks.” Aparna Chennapragada, product manager for Google Labs, says that Google tried to “remove all friction between the idea and the experiment”.

Features like Google Suggest or Social Search and services like iGoogle, Google Reader, Google Local or Google Docs started as Labs projects. Here are some of the best services and features released in Google Labs, Gmail Labs, TestTube and other similar places in 2010:

1. Google Scribe is a powerful tool that uses aggregated data from Web pages to provide suggestions as you type. It could become an useful Google Docs feature and it could improve the suggestions provided by the default Android keyboard.


2. Body Browser, a WebGL application developed by the Google Health team that showsa detailed 3D model of the human body. Try it in Chrome 9 beta or Firefox 4 beta.

3. YouTube Leanback – a YouTube interface designed for Google TV or any other big screen. The great thing about YouTube Leanback is that it doesn’t require interaction, so you can quickly watch the videos added to the queue or the latest videos from your subscribed channels.

4. Apps Search – a Gmail Labs feature that lets you search your Gmail messages, Google Docs files and Google Sites pages from a single search box. If Google shows results from other services and improves the interface, this feature could become very useful. Imagine searching your contacts, calendars, bookmarks, files and your browsing history from a single search box.

5. YouTube’s HTML5 player has improved a lot ever since it was launched, back in January 2010. It now supports WebM videos and it works in most browsers: Chrome, Opera, Safari and the latest beta versions of Firefox and Internet Explorer. YouTube even offers a new embedding code that triggers the HTML5 player if your browser supports it and Adobe Flash is not installed.


6. Aardvark, a social Q&A service acquired by Google last year, hasn’t improved since its acquisition, but it has a lot of potential to make search more social. Google Spreadsheets also started as a Google Labs project, even though it was the result of an acquisition.

7. Public Data Explorer “makes large datasets easy to explore, visualize and communicate”. This could be a great way to make Google Search more visual and more interactive.

8. Google Books Ngram Viewer is a Google Trends for books. It’s useful if you want to see how often certain words or phrases have been used in books over time.


9. Google Reader Play – a new way to view your feeds and the most popular blog posts on the Web. The interface works well for photo blogs, comics and videos.

10. Google Calendar’s Gentle Reminders replaces annoying pop-ups with a blinking tab and a notification sound. If you use Google Chrome, you’ll also see desktop notifications.

It’s interesting to see that most of the services are related to data visualization, cutting-edge browser features and productivity.

Unreleased New Look for Gmail

A video from Google’s YouTube channel (update: the video is now private, but there’s a mirror here) introduces a new Gmail interface. It’s based on the Preview theme that’s already available in Gmail, but there are many other changes: an action bar that uses icons instead of text labels, a completely new interface for conversations, profile pictures next to contacts, a flexible layout that adapts to any window size, display density options like in Google Docs, resizable chat/labels sections, new high-definition themes and an updated search box that includes advanced options.




I don’t see the new interface yet, but it will probably be available soon. It’s interesting that there’s an arrow next to “Mail” and the links to Google Contacts and Google Tasks are missing. Maybe you’ll be able to use the arrow to switch to other Google services.

Rise of Google+

The search giant may finally have got third time lucky with Plus

In just two weeks, Google’s much-anticipated and delayed foray into the ‘social’ Web, Google Plus, crossed the 10 million mark. Despite being launched in an exclusive by-invites-only mode, no less than 1 billion items were shared in a single day and the +1 button (similar to Facebook’s ‘Like’) is already all over the Web.

Google may finally have got third time lucky with Plus. After two failed attempts to enter the ‘social’ sphere on the Web — the lukewarm Google Wave and the controversial Buzz — Plus’ “field trial phase” appears to be going down well with users. Amidst reports of Facebook (the social networking giant that has over 750 million users worldwide) losing users — which has been rubbished by the firm — Plus hopes to give users more privacy, more control over their data stream and an integrated Google experience by weaving together its plethora of existing services.

Figures quoted by third-party analytics service provider, Google Analytics, project that India is the second largest country in terms of Google Plus users, comprising over 5.6 per cent of the total share, following the U.S. at 49.3 per cent. The number of active users is pegged at around 18,000 in India. While the accuracy of this statistic cannot be vouched for, experts say this is plausible given that Google dominates the Internet in emerging markets.

Indeed, Google appears to have learnt its lessons. But can it replace the wide appeal of Facebook or provide the simplicity and speed of Twitter? Plus will have to do a lot more than it is doing now to actually get people to make that shift. So what does Plus offer? For starters, Google Plus’ Beta already appears to score over its competitors on privacy. Learning its lessons from Buzz, which creeped out Gmail users, privacy controls are fairly ubiquitous. This is particularly important, because unlike Facebook, Google users are bound to be paranoid about the fact that their personal email is closely linked to this new social media platform.

Google launches Photovine, a photo-sharing social network

Google has quietly launched a new photo sharing app for smartphones called Photovine. Rumours about the service have been doing the rounds for the last few weeks.

Photovine has put up a teaser video on YouTube giving a glimpse of the photo-sharing social network (see video below). Photovine is operated by Slide, a company that the search engine giant had acquired in August 2010 for $182 million.

While Google hasn’t made any public announcements about Photovine on its official blog or on its Twitter accounts, it had applied for a trademark over the Photovine name on June 7, 2011. Also the photovine.com domain name is registered in the name of Google Inc.

Google launches Photovine, a photo-sharing social network

“Photovine is a community that’s about creating fun and unique collections of photos that we call Vines,” reads the company overview on the Photovine Facebook page.

Users can share content captured through Photovine on other social networking services and may also be able to pull in content from other social networking services into Photovine. At the core of Photo vine are vines, that is a like a constantly growing family of photos connected through a common caption. The Photovine concept seems similar to the new version of Twitter search that displays photo and video content attached to hashtags and other search results.

Photovine is currently invitation only and users can request for an invite through their website – http://www.photovine.com.

Speculation is rife that Google may integrate the service with its recently launched social media product, Google+. But Google already owns the popular Picasa photo sharing service and two parallel services can confuse users.

Photovine is also not marketing itself as a Google product, in fact there is hardly any mention of Google in its publicity material and also on its website, except that it is a part of Slide that is owned by Google. Even the phone displayed on the Photovine website is an iPhone and not a phone that runs on Google’s Android software.

Is mark zuckerberg is on Google+?

Is it Ridiculous?. yeah it may be.

i read from mashable.com.

here its for you.

facebook owner in google

facebook owner in google+?

Tech journalists aren’t the only ones with early access to Google’s latest social product, Google+. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also apparently snagged an invite to check out the social network designed to overtake his own.

As Forbes notes, he doesn’t look particularly happy about being there. The hazy webcam shot is a far cry from the smiling photo that graces his Facebook page:

He also hasn’t imported any of his interests, noting only that he is male and based in Palo Alto, California. His introduction? “I make things.”

He has at least connected with a number of fellow Facebook employees on the service, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Zuckerberg’s interest in Google+ lasts about as long as his exploration of Twitter.

You can explore his profile — and add yourself to his growing roster of more than 800 followers

What Do You Love: Googles Ultimate

Google has launched a new, mysterious service called What Do You Love. It’s a simple search box, similar to the one on Google’s homepage, but it returns results from more than 20 different Google services, including Google Translate, Trends, YouTube, Maps and Groups.

The results are presented in little boxes that can, in some cases, be expanded by clicking on the icon in the lower right corner. If you need even more results, you can always click the button in the upper right corner of the box and go directly to the chosen service.

The concept reminds us of iGoogle, a service that lets you add simple apps to your own personalized portal. What Do You Love, however, instantly creates a mini-portal about any term you choose, which makes it a nice option for users who don’t have the time to tinker with options and simply want to have access to Google’s many services on one page.

The service, located on the address http://www.wdyl.com and google.com/whatdoyoulove, bears Google’s copyright mark but very little explanation, and it hasn’t so far been announced on any of Google’s official blogs.

Tell us how you like it in the comments

sc[mashable]

Google Launches Google+ To Battle Facebook

Google has finally unveiled Google+, the company’s top secret social layer that turns all of the search engine into one giant social network.

Google+, which begins rolling out a very limited field test on Tuesday, is the culmination of a year-long project led by Vic Gundotra, Google’s senior vice president of social. The project, which has been delayed several times, constitutes Google’s answer to Facebook.

The search giant’s new social project will be omnipresent on its products, thanks to a complete redesign of the navigation bar. The familiar gray strip at the top of every Google page will turn black, and come with several new options for accessing your Google+ profile, viewing notifications and instantly sharing content. The notification system is similar to how Facebook handles notifications, complete with a red number that increases with each additional notice.
At its core, Google+ is a social network. The first thing users are introduced to is the Stream. It’s much like the Facebook News Feed, allowing users to share photos, videos, links or their location with friend

VIDEO

Google begins testing its daily-deal Groupon clone

Google has the advantage of already having both millions of users and advertisers.

(WIRED) — Spurned by daily-deal site Groupon, Google is now testing Google Offers, its own service for sending users deeply discounted offers for local businesses, starting with Portland, Oregon.

Yes, it’s YADDS (Yet Another Daily Deal Site), but Google has the advantage of already having both millions of users and advertisers.

Google reportedly tried to buy Groupon for $6 billion in December, only to be rebuffed.

Groupon, based in Chicago, exploded in popularity in the recession, likely becoming the fastest-ever billion-dollar corporation. After spawning dozens of copycat sites, Groupon is now looking to IPO.

The beta of Google Offers is launching in Portland, and a splash screen prompting users to sign up began showing up Thursday.

Google confirmed that Google Offers is now official.

“Today we launched a marketing campaign inviting Portlanders to sign up for a test of Google Offers — to get great deals delivered right to their inboxes,” a company spokeswoman said by e-mail. “Offers is part of an ongoing effort at Google to make new services that give consumers great deals while helping connect businesses with customers in new ways.”

Google is also offering users in five other locations — New York City Downtown, New York City Midtown, New York City Uptown, Oakland-East Bay in California, and San Francisco — the chance to sign up.

Businesses interested in testing Google Offers can fill out a form to join the beta.

Google Panda Update Winners, Losers, and Future Considerations

So the controversial Google Panda update is now live throughout the world (in the English language). Since Google’s announcement about this, data has come out looking at some of the winners and losers (in terms of search visibility) from both SearchMetrics and Sistrix. Hopefully we can all learn from this experience, as search marketing continues to be critical to online success.

Throughout this article, keep a couple of things in mind. The SearchMetrics and Sistrix data are limited to the UK and Europe. The Panda update has been rolled out globally (in English). It seems fair to assume that while the numbers may not match exactly, there are likely parallel trends in visibility gain or loss in other countries’ versions of Google. So, while the numbers are interesting to look at, they’re not representative of the entire picture – more a general view.

Also keep in mind that Google has made new adjustments to its algorithm in the U.S. In the announcement, they said the new tweaks would affect 2% of queries (in comparison to 12% for the initial Panda update). Also note that they’re now taking into consideration the domain-blocking feature in “high confidence” situations, as the company describes it. So that may very well have had an impact on some of these sites in the U.S.

As there were the first time around, the new global version of Panda has brought with it numerous interesting side stories. First, let’s look at some noteworthy sites that were negatively impacted by the update.

eHow

eHow managed to escape the U.S. roll-out of the Panda update, and actually come out ahead, but the site’s luck appears to have changed, based on the SearchMetrics/Sistrix data. According to the SearchMetrics data, eHow.co.uk took a 72,30% hit in visibility. eHow.com took a 53,46% hit. Sistrix has eHow.co.uk as its top loser with a -84% change.

eHow Hit by Panda in the UK

In the U.S. after looking at some queries we tested before, it does appear that eHow has lost some positioning in some areas – most notably the “level 4 brain cancer” example we’ve often referenced to make a point about Google’s placement of non-authoritative content over more authoritative content for health terms.

EzineArticles

EzineArticles, which was heavily impacted the first time around got nailed again, based on the data. SearchMetrics, looking at UK search data has EzineArticles with a drop in search visibility of as much as 93.69%. Sistrix, looking at Europe, has the site as its number 2 loser with a change of -78%.

This is after an apparently rigorous focus on quality and guidelines following the U.S. update.

Mahalo

You may recall that after the U.S. update, Mahalo announced a 10% reduction in staff. “All we can do is put our heads down and continue to make better and better content,” CEO Jason Calacanis told us at the time. “If we do our job I’m certain the algorithm will treat us fairly in the long-term.”

Since the global roll-out, we’ve seen not indications from Calcanis or Mahalo that more layoffs are happening. “We were impacted starting on February 24th and haven’t seen a significant change up or down since then,” he told us.

Still, the SearchMetrics UK has Mahalo at a 81.05% decrease in search visibility. The Sistrix data has the site at a -77% change.

“We support Google’s effort to make better search results and continue to build only expert-driven content,” Calcanis said. “This means any videos and text we make has a credentialed expert with seven years or 10,000 hours of experience (a la Malcolm Gladwell).”

HubPages

HubPages was hit the first time, and has been hit again. SearchMetrics has the site at -85,72%. Sistrix has it at -72%.

An interesting thing about HubPages is that a Googler (from the AdSense department) recently did a guest blog post on the HubPages blog, telling HubPages writers how to improve their content for AdSense.

Suite101

Suite101, another one of the biggest losers in the initial update, was even called out by Google as an example of what they were targeting. “I feel pretty confident about the algorithm on Suite 101,” Matt Cutts said in a Wired interview.

Suite101 CEO Peter Berger followed that up with an open letter to Matt Cutts.

This time Sixtrix has Suite101 at a -79% change, and SearchMetrics has it at -95,39%. Berger told us this week, “As expected by Google and us, the international impact is noticeably smaller.”

Xomba

Xomba.com had a -88,06% change, according to the SearchMetrics data. They also had their AdSense ads temporarily taken away entirely. This doesn’t appear to be related to the update in anyway, but is still a terrible inconvenience that got the company and its users a little bit frantic at a time while their traffic was taking a hit too.

Google ended up responding and saying they’d have their ads back soon. All the while, Google still links to Xomba on its help page for “How do I use AdSense with my CMS?”

A lot of price comparison sites were also negatively impacted. In the UK, Ciao.co.uk was a big loser with -93,83% according to SearchMetrics.

You can see SearchMetrics’ entire list of losers here.

The Winners

As there are plenty of losers in this update, somebody has to win right? The big winners appear to be Google, Google’s competitors, news sites, blogs, and video sites. A few porn sites were sprinkled into the list as well.

All winner data is based on the SearchMetrics data of top 101 winners.

Google properties positively impacted:

– youtube.com gained 18.93% in visibility.
– google.com gained 6.14% in visibility.
– google.co.uk gained 3.99% visibility.
– blogspot.com (Blogger) gained gained 22.8% visibility.
– android.com gained 33.92% in visibility.

Google competitors positively impacted:

– yahoo.com increased 9.47%
– apple.com increased 15.19%
– facebook.com increased 9.14%
– dailymotion.com increasd 17.80
– wordpress.com increased 18.62
– msn.com increased 8.13%
– metacafe.com increased 6.45%
– vimeo.com increased 18.85%
– flickr.com increased 12.39%
– typepad.com increased 43.86%
– tripadvisor.co.uk increased 7.81%
– mozilla.org increased 19.44%
– windowslive.co.uk increased 29.46%
– live.com increased 6.62%

News sites, blogs, and video sites positively impacted include (but are not limited to):

– youtube.com – 18.93% visibility increase
– telegraph.co.uk 16.98% visibility increase
– guardian.co.uk – 9.73% visibility increase
– bbc.co.uk – 5.46% visibility increase
– yahoo.com – 9.47% visibility increase
– blogspot.com (Blogger) – 22.8% visibility increase
– dailymail.co.uk – 12.72% visibility increase
– dailymotion – 17.8% visibility increase
– ft.com – 16.17% visibility increase
– independent.co.uk – 21.53% visbility increase
– readwriteweb.com – 152.46% visbility increase
– thegregister.co.uk – 13.47% visibility increase
– itv.com – 22.38% visibility increase
– cnet.com – 14.21% visibility increase
– mirror.co.uk – 24.87% visibility increase
– mashable.com – 22.61% visibility increase
– wordpress.com – 18.62% visibility increase
– techcrunch.com – 40.72% visibility increase
– time.com – 55.24% visibility increase
– metacafe.com – 6.45% visibility increase
– reuters.com – 36.82% visibility increase
– thenextweb.com – 3.85% visibility increase
– zdnet.co.uk – 34.04% visibility increase
– vimeo.com – 18.85% visibility increase
– typepad.com – 43.86% visibility increase

Dude, Have you been impacted by the global roll-out of Panda? For better or worse? Let us know in the comments.

Google denies Panda hit on rival

source:bbc

Microsoft and Google logosGoogle has defended recent changes to its search system that reduced the prominence of some popular websites.

One of the worst hit by the “Panda” update was Ciao.co.uk, a Microsoft-owned company that had been leading an EU competition case against Google.

Its web visibility fell by 94% according to analysis by Searchmetrics.

Google’s head of search evaluation, Scott Huffman, said it was “almost absurd” to suggest that the results were rigged.

The company regularly changes the algorithms that determine what users see when they search.

Rankings

Such updates are often done to weed out “content farms” – websites that copy material from other sites in order to get hits.

Where a keyword search may previously have returned their site on Google’s first page, afterwards it may be relegated to further down the rankings.

When the update, known as Panda, was rolled out globally on 11 April, Google published a blog post explaining that it was designed to “reduce rankings for low-quality sites”.

Shopping and price comparison sites such as Ciao.co.uk sometimes suffer when Google algorithms change because they carry comments and reviews replicated elsewhere on the internet.

However, experts said that it was unusual to see a legitimate website hit as badly as Ciao.

“A 94% drop is astronomical,” said Sanjay Shelat, a search engine optimisation (SEO) specialist at Edit Optimisation.

“It is very unusual to take such a hit in an update. That is enough to put a company under.”

Searchmetrics visibility results for Ciao
Searchmetrics claims that the search visibility of Ciao.co.uk fell by 94% after Google’s Panda update.

Competition case

Ciao.co.uk was involved in initiating an EU investigation into Google in November 2010.

Parent company, Microsoft, claims that Google has used its dominant position to limit rivals’ products.

The BBC asked Microsoft if it thought the downgrading of Ciao results was related to the legal action, but Microsoft said it would not be commenting on the situation “at this time”.

When questioned by news agency AFP, Google’s Scott Huffman said: “If you think of the scale of what we are talking about, it is almost absurd to say we could rig results.”

Mr Huffman pointed out that the update had received a very positive response from Google users.

Search visibility

Searchmetrics analysed Google results in response to a range of keywords, both before and after the Panda update.

Alongside Ciao’s 94% reduction in visibility, it found that hubpages.com fell by 85% and eHow.co.uk dropped 53%.

A similar analysis by Sistrix found a 81% drop in visibility for Ciao.co.uk, 72% reduction for hubpages.com and an 84% fall for eHow.co.uk.

While a sharp drop in visibility may constitute a crisis for some websites and their search engine optimisation (SEO) engineers, it does not necessarily spell disaster.

Technology news website Electricpig.co.uk was downgraded by 94% by the Panda update, according to Searchmetrics.

Site editor James Holland told BBC News: “We haven’t seen an immediate impact.

“Comparing our traffic from Google for that week, we’re actually only down 0.5% versus the week before Panda took effect.

“That suggests most of the keywords Searchmetrics are measuring us against weren’t being clicked anyway, and our best-performing stuff is still doing the business.”

ARE YOU OK! WITH GOOGLE NEW PANDA UPDATE ???