Monday, February 15, 2010

Introducing Google Buzz

Introducing Google Buzz: "We've blogged before about our thoughts on the social web, steps we've taken to add social features to our products, and efforts like OpenSocial that propose common tools for building social apps. With more and more communication happening online, the social web has exploded as the primary way to share interesting stuff, tell the world what you're up to in real-time and stay more connected to more people. In today's world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it's increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations.

Our belief is that organizing the social information on the web — finding relevance in the noise — has become a large-scale challenge, one that Google's experience in organizing information can help solve. We've recently launched innovations like real-time search and Social Search, and today we're taking another big step with the introduction of a new product, Google Buzz.

Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting. It's built right into Gmail, so you don't have to peck out an entirely new set of friends from scratch — it just works. If you think about it, there's always been a big social network underlying Gmail. Buzz brings this network to the surface by automatically setting you up to follow the people you email and chat with the most. We focused on building an easy-to-use sharing experience that richly integrates photos, videos and links, and makes it easy to share publicly or privately (so you don't have to use different tools to share with different audiences). Plus, Buzz integrates tightly with your existing Gmail inbox, so you're sure to see the stuff that matters most as it happens in real time.

We're rolling out Buzz to all Gmail accounts over the next few days, so if you don't see it in your account yet, check back soon. We also plan to make Google Buzz available to businesses and schools using Google Apps, with added features for sharing within organizations.

On your phone, Google Buzz is much more than just a small screen version of the desktop experience. Mobile devices add an important component to sharing: location. Posts tagged with geographical information have an extra dimension of context — the answer to the question 'where were you when you shared this?' can communicate so much. And when viewed in aggregate, the posts about a particular location can paint an extremely rich picture of that place. Check out the Mobile Blog for more info about all of the ways to use Buzz on your phone, from a new mobile web app to a Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile.

We've relied on other services' openness in order to build Buzz (you can connect Flickr and Twitter from Buzz in Gmail), and Buzz itself is not designed to be a closed system. Our goal is to make Buzz a fully open and distributed platform for conversations. We're building on a suite of open protocols to create a complete read/write developer API, and we invite developers to join us on Google Code to see what is available today and to learn more about how to participate.

We really hope you enjoy the experiences we've built within Gmail and for mobile phones. If you want to learn more, visit We look forward to continuing to evolve and improve Google Buzz based on your feedback.

Update on 2/10: The video from yesterday's Google Buzz launch event is now available:

Posted by Todd Jackson, Product Manager, Gmail and Google Buzz


Think big with a gig: Our experimental fiber network

Think big with a gig: Our experimental fiber network: "Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York. Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes. Or collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture. Universal, ultra high-speed Internet access will make all this and more possible. We've urged the FCC to look at new and creative ways to get there in its National Broadband Plan – and today we're announcing an experiment of our own.

We're planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We'll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

Our goal is to experiment with new ways to help make Internet access better and faster for everyone. Here are some specific things that we have in mind:
  • Next generation apps: We want to see what developers and users can do with ultra high-speeds, whether it's creating new bandwidth-intensive 'killer apps' and services, or other uses we can't yet imagine.
  • New deployment techniques: We'll test new ways to build fiber networks, and to help inform and support deployments elsewhere, we'll share key lessons learned with the world.
  • Openness and choice: We'll operate an 'open access' network, giving users the choice of multiple service providers. And consistent with our past advocacy, we'll manage our network in an open, non-discriminatory and transparent way.
Like our WiFi network in Mountain View, the purpose of this project is to experiment and learn. Network providers are making real progress to expand and improve high-speed Internet access, but there's still more to be done. We don't think we have all the answers – but through our trial, we hope to make a meaningful contribution to the shared goal of delivering faster and better Internet for everyone.

As a first step, today we're putting out a request for information (RFI) to help identify interested communities. We welcome responses from local government, as well as members of the public. If you'd like to respond, visit this page to learn more, or check out our video:

We'll collect responses until March 26, and will announce our target communities later this year. Stay tuned.

Posted by Minnie Ingersoll and James Kelly, Product Managers


Bringing extensions to Google Chrome for Mac

Bringing extensions to Google Chrome for Mac: "As thousands of Mac fans and developers gather in San Francisco for this week's Macworld conference, we're particularly delighted to announce a new beta release of Chrome for Mac. Today's release includes some of our most requested features from the Mac community, including extensions and bookmark sync.

You can read more about these features on the Google Chrome blog, or you can try it out directly by downloading the Google Chrome Beta for Mac. If you're already using Chrome, you should be automatically updated to the new beta within the next day.

Downloading Google Chrome will give your mouse pointer a new reason to get excited:

Posted by Mark Mentovai, Software Engineer, Google Chrome


Silicon Valley Is An Innovation Dagger

Silicon Valley Is An Innovation Dagger: "
It was a routine trip back home from work one of these days. As soon as I boarded the bus the driver asked me: 'So, what do you think about Google's announcement regarding China? Will Yahoo follow the suit?'. The same bus driver had asked me about my views on NexusOne on the day it was announced. He even has a strong point of view on net neutrality. The other day the librarian showed me a Firefox plug-in that hides your identity from Google. Everyday it's a constant reminder of the demographics that we live in the Silicon Valley. It's an innovation dagger. One edge keeps people to stay on top of cutting edge technology and the other keeps them away from the vast majority of the users that don't live in the valley.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of being surrounded by the smartest of the smart people in the valley. However for entrepreneurs it is equally important to stay grounded in the reality. As cool as iPod was and iPhone is and iPad/iSlate will be it takes years for the products to cross the chasm and many products simply vanish. If you are designing a product in the valley please do me a favor - find your users outside the valley. They are the real people, the mass, that you should be designing for. It took Facebook 5 years to go from 5M users to 350M users and Foursquare is just the beginning of what's more to come. If you are in the valley building the next big thing, be real. Hangout with all the cool kids on the block but don't forget that you will have to cross the chasm and it won't be easy.

Tomorrow Apple is going to announce the tablet. When I take the bus tomorrow I will face the question from the driver: 'So, what do you think of the tablet?'. While I prepare my answer, check out this hilarious 'In The Valley' performance that resonates well with what we see and how we think.