July 20, 2012

The Roundup: 17 Things Google Did Since The I/O

The dust had just settled after Google's blowout developer conference (Google I/O 2012). We saw the release of the Nexus 7, a $199 7-inch tablet packing a high-res display, a front-facing webcam for video chat, and a lightning-fast quad-core processor, not to mention the latest version of Android, Jelly Bean. We saw the Nexus Q, a $299 streaming device that plays music and movies straight from the cloud and has a 25W amp built right in. We saw a sweet demo of Google Glass involving skydiving and rooftop biking, as well as an announcement that developers could pre-order a beta version for $1,500 and get their hands on it as early as next year. We also saw the launch of the much acclaimed tablet version of Google+ for Android and the iPad and the announcement that more people now use Google+ on mobile devices than on desktops.

But if you think that a weekend full of so many big announcements would slow Google down, you don't know the company very well. Here's what Google's been up to since the I/O conference:

Search Public Google Docs On Google

It's pretty much what it sounds like. You can now find documents, spreadsheets, drawings, presentations, and files that have been uploaded to Google Drive and shared as "Public." Wanna check it out? Try these searches (but we warned, most Google Docs files are poorly labeled):
* [site:docs.google.com/document/d] - find text documents
* [site:docs.google.com/presentation/d] - find presentations
* [site:docs.google.com/drawings/d] - find drawings
* [site:docs.google.com/file/d] - find files: images, videos, PDF files, Microsoft Office documents and more (you should click "repeat the search with the omitted results included" since there are many files with similar titles)
* [site:docs.google.com/folder/d] - find folders (collections of files and other folders)

While we're on the topic of Google Docs, it's worth pointing out that another update was released for the offline feature of Docs. Now, when you are offline and open up the Google Docs app in your browser, you will only see the files that are available offline.

YouTube Face Blurring

This one is also pretty self-explanatory but still quite impressive. With no need for expensive, time consuming editing, you can now simply ask YouTube to anonymize your video. It's an easy way to keep your identity safe while maintaining a YouTube presence. It's the greatest invention since the Nixon face mask.

Transfer Your Google+ Circles

Would you like some circles with your takeout? Google thinks you might. Which is why the Big G is now letting you transfer all your social connections from one G+ account to another. In a process that takes an entire week and renders your account temporarily useless, you can move all of your circles and the list of blocked users from one account to another. Keep in mind, your profile data will not be transferred.

5 California Parks Added To StreetView

Google has long allowed us to take a road trip without even owning a car, courtesy of the StreetView feature of Google Maps. Now, we can also pretend to take a casual stroll through a park while lazily lounging on our couch. Redwoods, Sequoia, King's Canyon, Yosemite, and Joshua Tree national parks are now all on Google Maps, complete with eye-level imagery.

MyTracks For Android Gets Google Earth Integration

Heard of Google's MyTracks? Well, now you have! It's a lesser-known but well received geo-location app for hikers, bikers, and runners. The app tracks your trip and offers you some nifty stats like how far you've gone, how long you've been at it, and a map of your journey. The new features also let you replay your entire run/hike/bike on Google Earth. It will also show you how much you're improving over time.

Google Loses Marissa Mayer

Employee #20 at Google and the Vice President in charge of Local, Maps, and Location Services, Marissa Mayer has been one of the most public faces of Google in the recent years. And now she's gone (from the perspective of this blog, at least, since we don't cover Yahoo!). Marissa Mayer went on to a presumably much better paying job as the CEO of Yahoo!, one of the most recognized names on the interwebs. May she find in them what she could not in us...

And Other Stuff...

  • Google also announced that Google Fiber will be coming to Kansas City on July 26.
  • In some African countries that have a lot of cell phones but not a lot of computers, Google will let folks send and receive Gmail messages via text/SMS.
  • Google retired the old interface for Analytics and made the new interface with enhanced real-time and social features the default.
  • If you search for weather in your tablet's browser, you will now see a new interactive widget above the normal Google results which tells you humidity, precipitation, wind, and an extended forcast.
  • Google unveiled an exhibit at the Science Museum in London called Web Lab which shows off the "power of the internet."
  • More detail and precision has been added to maps in Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and more.
  • Google improves the Play Music app with larger album art, slight interface tweaks, and a thumbs-up button on the widget.
  • There were complaints that Instagram would not work on the Nexus 7. Well, now it does.
  • Sparrow, a company that makes popular email apps for iPhone, iPad, and Mac OS was just bought by Google.
  • Google beat the street in their 2nd quarter earnings report with $12.21 billion in revenue and $2.79 billion in profit.