Angstro Buy, Shopping, Gaming Investments Point To Multi-Pronged Google Social Strategy

Last week Google acquired Angstro. The site has been described as a way to discover and organize information about individuals across various professional networks. Here's how Angstro describes itself: Ångströ represents the ability to hone in on highly focused, relevant news across professional networks. Where search engines such as Google and other news aggregator services have immense infrastructures that return a huge array of random results, Ångströ analyses a wide breadth of information from multiple data sources to deliver very few, yet very intelligent results. The pundit consens [...]

Google Voice + Gmail = Free Voice Calls For Those In US

Google's holding a small press gathering today at 9:30am in its San Francisco offices. Topic? The ability to place phone calls using Google Voice integrated within Gmail. Anyone with a US Gmail account will get this rolling out today and over the next few days, along with the ability to make free calls to numbers in the US and Canada. Here's the live blogging. We're going. There's a British phone box that says Google Voice on it. Gonna be related to those Gmail & Google Voice news rumor that broke today. New features that Todd Jackson is telling us about. Gmail related, and so [...]

Google Wave Crashes

Last May Google Wave was unveiled as a new communication platform and positioned as a successor to both email and instant messaging. It was also a powerful, real-time collaboration tool. It did other things too. Perhaps that was the problem; it offered too many possibilities. Beyond that people didn't necessarily see the need for Wave, even if it was more productive and efficient than more conventional tools. Here's what Google said when Wave launched: After months holed up in a conference room in the Sydney office, our five-person "startup" team emerged with a prototype. And now, aft [...]

For Travel Planning, Search Engines May Not Be Your Best Destination

It’s that time of year when many of us turn to the internet for information, advice and maps to help plan a getaway for some rest and relaxation. Although search engines may be an obvious place to start your quest, they often aren’t your best bet for useful information, helpful advice or savvy planning tips. Here’s why—along with an in-depth look at more useful alternatives.

Google Apologizes, Continues To Tweak Buzz

You may not like Buzz, or may not like how it was launched (you're not alone), but you have to give Google credit for listening and continuing to change Buzz in response to user feedback and criticisms. Google has just announced three tweaks to Buzz and, at the same time, offered an apology for what it calls a "challenging week": We quickly realized that we didn't get everything quite right. We're very sorry for the concern we've caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback. We'll continue to do so. Here are the three changes announced today: [...]

Google May Offer Buzz Independently From Gmail

Google says it may allow people to participate in Google Buzz without having it integrated within Gmail, in addition to offering a combined Gmail service. That may be a welcome move for users of both products, especially in light of the substantial privacy concerns voiced this week about Google Buzz. "It's clear that interest in Buzz may extend beyond the current Gmail base, and we're open to serving that community," said Bradley Horowitz, Google's VP of Product Marketing, when I spoke to him about some Buzz issues at the TED Conference. Horowitz stressed that Google would still offer a [...]

Google Buzz: Google Takes On Twitter, Facebook & Even Foursquare

Google has announced a new product called Google Buzz, which represents the company's latest attempt to hitch its wagon to the popularity of social networking and, more specifically, the growth of social sharing and status updates. Many will call this a Twitter killer or a threat to Facebook. Certainly the company is targeting the audiences that Twitter and Facebook serve, but suggestions that Buzz will kill them are overblown. From Orkut to Lively to Google Friend Connect and beyond, Google has tried to succeed with social products that just haven't caught on. There's no guarantee Google B [...]

Report: Google To Announce A More Social Gmail

There are several reports today that Google is set to announce a new social feature inside Gmail, allowing users to see (and add to) a stream of status updates from friends and connections. NOTE: Google Buzz Is Now Live. See our detailed post, Google Buzz: Google Takes On Twitter, Facebook & Even Foursquare. While Twitter is all abuzz over the news, this is something that Yahoo Mail has offered its 300 million users since last June. Yahoo, in fact, offers status updates across a wide variety of its properties. The Wall Street Journal reports that Google may announce the new featur [...]

Google Just Says No To China: Ending Censorship, Due To Gmail Attack

Google has revealed that the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists were targeted last December in a hacking attempt. That, along with other issues, has convinced the company that it will no longer censor results China as the Chinese government wishes. In particular, Google has willingly allowed self-censored its search results since January 27, 2006, on its Google China service. The screenshot above show an example of this, where a search for tiananmen on Google China (on the left) doesn't bring up protest pictures as you get when searching for the same thing on Google's main [...]

Google Broadening Wave Access With GMail-Like Rollout

As we previously reported, starting tomorrow Google will widen access to its innovative communications platform Wave, offering 100,000 new invitations to use the service. Many of these people in turn will be allowed to invite others to join as well, reminiscent of how GMail propagated. (It's wise for Google to allow these new users to invite friends and family because you effectively can't use Wave without contacts on the system.) Those who will gain full access tomorrow will apparently be developers, early users who provided feedback and some Google Apps customers. My earlier blog post pro [...]

Google Expanding Access To Wave Soon, First “Hands-On” Impressions

At the end of next month, September 30, Google will expand the current "developer preview" of Google Wave to roughly 100,000 consumer users. According to Google, "included in this group of early testers will be some of the businesses using Google Apps." In anticipation of this wider release, Danny and I got some time with Lars Rasmussen and the rest of the Google Wave team the other day. By way of background, Danny and I wrote about Wave when it was first announced earlier this year and then offered some third-party developer observations. Without doing a full "review," I'll offer [...]

Google’s New Wave Of Ambition

I'm in the Google Wave press conference, following a dizzying keynote -- dizzying, at least, after a night of little sleep. As he did yesterday Google co-founder Sergey Brin joined the discussion and similarly apologized for arriving late. Danny live blogged the keynote earlier this morning. He jokingly compared Wave to Lotus Notes. In some respects that's not an entirely inappropriate comparison, given the scope of the product and the emphasis on collaboration -- though the Google folks would probably disagree. Wave seems to be conceived as a total communication and collaboration to [...]

Google Services Go Down For Many

Currently, many people who use Google's services, including web search, Gmail, Google Reader and other products are either down or incredibly slow for some Google users. For Danny and myself, we are able to access these services with no problem. However, if you look at recent Tweets about Google, you will notice that many people are having extreme difficulty for the past hour or so. The Google Apps status page does confirm issues for some users. The question is, how many and for how long? It does seem fairly wide spread. There are more people covering this at Techmeme. Postscript [...]

Gmail: All Your Emails Are Belong To Us

Google is removing one of the most common excuses for not using Gmail: "It's such a pain in the (beep) to switch!" The company announced a new tool that simplifies the process of importing emails and contacts from other providers, including bigger competitors like Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. All new Gmail users have access to the import feature via the renamed "Accounts and Import" tab in Gmail Settings. The import feature will be "slowly rolled out" to existing Gmail users. The import tool currently supports close to 50 email providers. You can see the full list in Gmail Help. [...]

Gmail Goes Offline Again

Gmail has now been offline for the past twenty minutes or so. Just take a look at Twitter Search to see how many people are upset with the downtime. Here is a screen capture: This outage seems to be impacting both web access, pop access and imap access. Hopefully this outage won't be as long or serious as the one from last August. Update: Gmail is coming back online now. The outage was maybe 30 minutes. @Google Tweeted an apology: Our apologies to all for the short Gmail outage early this's fixed now. Dashboard status [...]

Google Adds Search Box Inside Gmail

The newest addition to Gmail Labs is an option that adds a Google search box to your Gmail inbox interface. When activated, the search box appears below the "Labels" section of the left navbar, like this: (Of course, there's a drag and drop option in Gmail Labs, too, that will let you move the search box wherever you want in the left navbar.) When doing a search, the results appear in a new window that overlays the bottom of the email list. From my testing, you'll get a max of three search results and no more than one AdWords ad. Clicking one of the search results will open the page [...]

Gmail, Google Maps Among Fastest-Rising Google Properties

Gmail and Google Maps are two of Google's hottest properties, while YouTube and Google Image Search are falling on the list of the most popular Google properties. That's according to Hitwise data that tracked U.S. visits to Google sites during the month of March: Gmail is the big winner here, surpassing YouTube as the number two Google property -- something Greg reported last month. Google Maps is also on the rise, perhaps spurred recently by the dislay of Google Maps listings on non-local queries. To put this in perspective, we can turn back the clock to early 2008, when Hitwise sho [...]

New Privacy Complaint Filed Against Google (And The Cloud)

Yet another privacy complaint has been filed against Google with the FTC, this time by the Electronic Privacy Information Center over Google's cloud computing services and related privacy and data security issues. While Google is the named party, the company is basically the stand-in for "the cloud" as a whole. (If you want to read the complaint, you can download it here [.pdf].) Here's the thrust of the complaint: EPIC hereby petitions the Federal Trade Commission to open an investigation into Google’s Cloud Computing Services, to determine the adequacy of the privacy and security safeg [...]

Hitwise: Visits To Gmail Surpass YouTube

Hitwise reported that "for the past two weeks, the market share of US Internet visits to Gmail has been higher than visits to YouTube." Accordingly, the measurement firm says that Gmail is now second only to in terms of visits among Google's properties. Gmail has recently had a number of problems, with several outages and problems of varying degrees of severity. I wonder if there's a relationship between the growth of Gmail and these problems. As they say correlation doesn't equal causation, but it would make sense. I took a look at Compete and Google trends comparing traffic [...]

Gmail Labs Adds Location To Signatures

The Gmail Blog announced that you can now activate a new labs feature that will append your current location to your email signature, when you use Gmail or Google Apps email within the Gmail interface. To activate it, go to "Settings" and click on "Labs." Scroll down to the location feature and enable it. Then go back to "Settings" and scroll down to your "Signature" and check off the box to "Append your location to the signature". Google will then activate the Google Gears location module, which will tell Google where you are, when you compose your emails. Then it will append your locat [...]

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