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The Official Google Blog
Insights from Googlers into our products, technology, and the Google culture.

  • An inbox that works for you
    Today, we’re introducing something new. It’s called Inbox. Years in the making, Inbox is by the same people who brought you Gmail, but it’s not Gmail: it’s a completely different type of inbox, designed to focus on what really matters.

    Email started simply as a way to send digital notes around the office. But fast-forward 30 years and with just the phone in your pocket, you can use email to contact virtually anyone in the world…from your best friend to the owner of that bagel shop you discovered last week.

    With this evolution comes new challenges: we get more email now than ever, important information is buried inside messages, and our most important tasks can slip through the cracks—especially when we’re working on our phones. For many of us, dealing with email has become a daily chore that distracts from what we really need to do—rather than helping us get those things done.

    If this all sounds familiar, then Inbox is for you. Or more accurately, Inbox works for you. Here are some of the ways Inbox is at your service:



    Bundles: stay organized automatically
    Inbox expands upon the categories we introduced in Gmail last year, making it easy to deal with similar types of mail all at once. For example, all your purchase receipts or bank statements are neatly grouped together so that you can quickly review and then swipe them out of the way. You can even teach Inbox to adapt to the way you work by choosing which emails you’d like to see grouped together.

    Highlights: the important info at a glance
    Inbox highlights the key information from important messages, such as flight itineraries, event information, and photos and documents emailed to you by friends and family. Inbox will even display useful information from the web that wasn’t in the original email, such as the real-time status of your flights and package deliveries. Highlights and Bundles work together to give you just the information you need at a glance.
    Reminders, Assists, and Snooze: your to-do’s on your own terms
    Inbox makes it easy to focus on your priorities by letting you add your own Reminders, from picking up the dry cleaning to giving your parents a call. No matter what you need to remember, your inbox becomes a centralized place to keep track of the things you need to get back to.
    A sampling of Assists
    And speaking of to-do’s, Inbox helps you cross those off your list by providing Assists—handy pieces of information you may need to get the job done. For example, if you write a Reminder to call the hardware store, Inbox will supply the store’s phone number and tell you if it's open. Assists work for your email, too. If you make a restaurant reservation online, Inbox adds a map to your confirmation email. Book a flight online, and Inbox gives a link to check-in.

    Of course, not everything needs to be done right now. Whether you’re in an inconvenient place or simply need to focus on something else first, Inbox lets you Snooze away emails and Reminders. You can set them to come back at another time or when you get to a specific location, like your home or your office.

    Get started with Inbox
    Starting today, we’re sending out the first round of invitations to give Inbox a try, and each new user will be able to invite their friends. If Inbox can’t arrive soon enough for you, you can email us at inbox@google.com to get an invitation as soon as more become available.

    When you start using Inbox, you’ll quickly see that it doesn’t feel the same as Gmail—and that’s the point. Gmail’s still there for you, but Inbox is something new. It’s a better way to get back to what matters, and we can’t wait to share it with you.

    Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps

    Cross-posted from the Official Gmail Blog

  • DISTRICT VOICES: Inside Panem with our finest citizens
    Meet District Voices, the latest campaign in our Art, Copy & Code project—where we explore new ways for brands to connect with consumers through experiences that people love, remember and share. District Voices was created in partnership with Lionsgate to promote the upcoming release of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1. -Ed.

    Greetings, Citizens of Panem!

    The Capitol has joined forces with Google and YouTube to celebrate the proud achievements of our strong, lively districts. Premiering today on YouTube, a new miniseries called DISTRICT VOICES will take you behind the scenes to meet some of Panem’s most creative—and loyal—citizens.

    At 4 p.m. EDT/ 1 p.m. PDT every day this week, one of your favorite Citizen creators from YouTube will give you a never-before-seen tour of their districts. First, the Threadbanger textile experts of District 8 will show how utility meets beauty in this season’s fashion—plus, you’ll get a look at a new way to wear your Capitol pride. Tomorrow, District 2's Shane Fazen will provide a riveting demonstration of how we keep our noble peacekeepers in tip-top shape. On Wednesday, Derek Muller from District 5—Panem’s center of power generation—will give you a peek at a revolutionary new way to generate electricity. Thursday The Grain District’s own Feast of Fiction will show you how to bake one of beloved victor Peeta Mellark’s most special treats. And finally, iJustine, District 6’s liaison to the Capitol, will give you an exclusive glimpse at the majestic and powerful peacekeeper vehicles in action.

    Tune in at CAPITOL TV. And remember—Love your labor. Take pride in your task. Our future is in your hands.

    Posted by Vikram Tank of The Capitol, devoted to excellence, progress & unity

  • Through the Google lens: search trends October 10-16
    Diet secrets from Zach Galifianakis, and cord cutting from a cable company?! Here's a look at another topsy-turvy week in search.

    A cast of characters
    Search will always have its fair share of characters and this week was no different. First up, moviegoers learned who’s next in line for Hollywood’s superhero treatment when Ezra Miller, star of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, landed the title role in the 2018 film The Flash. And whispers are swirling in Tinseltown that Gal Gadot's already impressive resume—she’s set to play the world’s most famous Amazonian, Wonder Woman—will soon get another stellar addition, the lead female role in a remake of Ben-Hur.

    But they weren’t the only celebrities to get the Internet buzzing. Comedian and fan favorite Zach Galifianakis caused a stir on the trends charts after he revealed a much thinner version of himself on the red carpet of the New York Film Festival. When a reporter asked Galifianakis if he had made any lifestyle changes to lose the weight, he responded with a straight face, “No, I'm just... I'm dying.” Clearly Galifianakis isn’t sharing his weight loss secrets.

    Out with the old, in with the new
    HBO has seen the light! This week the premium television network announced that they will launch a new stand-alone service for fans of its TV shows. Soon, homes without a cable subscription can sign up for HBO Go and get their fill of Game of Thrones and other HBO shows with just an Internet connection—leading people to wonder if this is the beginning of the end for cable providers.

    Consumers also had a lot of new mobile devices to choose from this week, starting with our own line of Nexus gadgets like the Nexus 6 running the latest version of Android, 5.0 Lollipop. Meanwhile, Apple announced an updated version of the iPad.
    The show’s just getting started
    Is it awards show season already? It’s not—but that’s not stopping searchers from looking ahead. The Internet rejoiced when How I Met Your Mother and Gone Girl star Neil Patrick Harris said “Hosting the 2015 Academy Awards? Challenge accepted!” But with the Oscars red carpet still months away, searchers had their sights set on another celebrity bash: Paul Rudd's keg party… at his mom’s house… in the suburbs of Kansas City. What else are you supposed to do when mom’s out of town and the KC Royals just punched a ticket to the World Series after a nearly 30-year hiatus?

    Tip of the week
    ‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice beers? Next time you’re in a new town and looking to grab a cold one just say “Ok Google, show me pubs near my hotel” and find your new favorite haunt.


    Posted by, Jenise Araujo, Communications Associate, who searched for [tv a la carte] and [yo yo diets]

  • Android: Be together. Not the same.
    Good things happen when everybody’s invited. A few years ago, we had the thought that phones (and stuff that hadn’t even been invented yet like tablets and smart watches) would be way more interesting if everyone could build new things together. So we created Android as an open platform, and put it out there for everyone to imagine, invent, make, or buy whatever they wanted.

    Since then, all kinds of people—from companies big and small to folks on Kickstarter, kids in schools, and crazy smart developers—have been innovating faster, together, more than we ever could alone. And the best part is that every time someone new joins in, things get more interesting, unexpected, and wonderful for all of us.

    Getting everyone in on the party is the same spirit behind Android One—an effort recently launched in India (coming to other countries soon) to make great smartphones available to the billions of people around the world who aren’t yet online. It’s also why we’re excited about Lollipop, our newest software release, which is designed to meet the diverse needs of the billion-plus people who already use Android today.

    Joining the party: Android 5.0 Lollipop
    As previewed at Google I/O, Lollipop is our largest, most ambitious release on Android with over 5,000 new APIs for developers. Lollipop is designed to be flexible, to work on all your devices and to be customized for you the way you see fit. And just like Android has always been, it’s designed to be shared.

    Lollipop is made for a world where moving throughout the day means interacting with a bunch of different screens—from phones and tablets to TVs. With more devices connecting together, your expectation is that things just work. With Lollipop, it’s easier than ever to pick up where you left off, so the songs, photos, apps, and even recent searches from one of your Android devices can be immediately enjoyed across all the other ones.

    As you switch from one screen to another, the experience should feel the same. So Lollipop has a consistent design across devices—an approach we call Material Design. Now content responds to your touch, or even your voice, in more intuitive ways, and transitions between tasks are more fluid.

    Lollipop also gives you more control over your device. You can now adjust your settings so that only certain people and notifications can get through, for example, when you’re out to dinner or in the middle of an important meeting. And when an important notification does come through, you can see it directly from the lockscreen.

    And because we’re using our devices a lot more, there’s a new battery saver feature that extends the life of your device by up to 90 minutes—helpful if you’re far from a power outlet. We’ve enabled multiple user accounts and guest user mode for keeping your personal stuff private. And you can now secure your device with a PIN, password, pattern, or even by pairing your phone to a trusted device like your watch or car with Smart Lock. But this is just a small taste of Lollipop. Learn more on android.com.

    Meet the Nexus family, now running Lollipop
    Advances in computing are driven at the intersection of hardware and software. That's why we’ve always introduced Nexus devices alongside our platform releases. Rather than creating software in the abstract, we work with hardware partners to build Nexus devices to help push the boundaries of what's possible. Nexus devices also serve as a reference for the ecosystem as they develop on our newest release. And for Lollipop, we have a few new Nexus treats to share with you.
    First, with Motorola, we developed the Nexus 6. This new phone has a contoured aluminum frame, a 6-inch Quad HD display and a 13 megapixel camera. The large screen is complemented by dual front-facing stereo speakers that deliver high-fidelity sound, making it as great for movies and gaming as it is for doing work. It also comes with a Turbo Charger, so you can get up to six hours of use with only 15 minutes of charge.

    Next, a new tablet built in partnership with HTC. Nexus 9, with brushed metal sides and 8.9-inch screen, is small enough to easily carry around in one hand, yet big enough to work on. And since more and more people want to have the same simple experience they have on their tablets when they have to do real work, we designed a keyboard folio that magnetically attaches to the Nexus 9, folds into two different angles and rests securely on your lap like a laptop.

    Finally, we’re releasing the first device running Android TV: Nexus Player, a collaboration with Asus, is a streaming media player for movies, music and videos. It's also a first-of-its-kind Android gaming device. With Nexus Player you can play Android games on your HDTV with a gamepad, then keep playing on your phone while you're on the road. Nexus Player is Google Cast Ready so you can cast your favorite entertainment from almost any Chromebook or Android or iOS phone or tablet to your TV.

    Nexus 9 and Nexus Player will be available for pre-order on October 17. Nexus 9 will be in stores starting November 3. Nexus 6 will be available for pre-order in late October and in stores in November—with options for an unlocked version through Play store, or a monthly contract or installment plan through carriers, including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon. Specific carrier rollout timing will vary. Check out google.com/nexus for more details on availability.

    Android 5.0 Lollipop, which comes on Nexus 6, Nexus 9 and Nexus Player, will also be available on Nexus 4, 5, 7, 10 and Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.

    The party’s just getting started
    With this latest release of Android Lollipop, we're excited to continue working with our developer community, hardware partners, and all of you. More ideas and more creators is what gets us all to better ideas faster. And since everyone's invited to the party, we hope you'll join in the fun by creating and sharing an Android character that captures a little bit of who you are—one of a kind. Enjoy!

    Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps

  • OMG! Mobile voice survey reveals teens love to talk
    “Ok Google, do I need an umbrella today?” “How tall do you need to be to ride the Cyclone?” “How long does a goat live?” People of all ages are starting to talk to their devices more regularly—in fact, our data also show mobile voice searches more than doubled in the past year. But how, why and where do people use voice search? To find out, we commissioned a study, conducted by Northstar Research, surveying 1,400 Americans across all age groups. Here are the results:

    We weren’t surprised to find that teens—always ahead of the curve when it comes to new technology—talk to their phones more than the average adult. More than half of teens (13-18) use voice search daily—to them it’s as natural as checking social media or taking selfies. Adults are also getting the hang of it, with 41 percent talking to their phones every day and 56 percent admitting it makes them “feel tech savvy.”
    Both teens and adults are asking their phones for directions and using it to help skip the hassle of typing in phone numbers. And it’s pretty clear a lot of people are relying on voice search for multitasking: they talk to their phones while watching TV (38 percent) and 23 percent of adults use voice search while cooking. Apparently, it’s becoming common kitchen etiquette to ask your mobile device: “Ok Google, how many ounces are in a gallon?”—all while making sure your screen stays crumb-free.
    While people of all ages ask practical questions, it’s teens who are exploring all angles, with nearly one-third talking to their phones to get help with homework. I see my kids asking my phone questions like: “Ok Google, who was the sixth president of the U.S.?” or “what’s the tallest mountain in Europe?” On the bright side, teens are ditching voice search in the classroom: 74 percent of them think using voice search at school is unacceptable. In fact, most admit to using voice search “just for fun”—I know my daughter finds it pretty amusing to tell her phone: “Ok Google, play Olivia Holt’s ‘Fearless’” to start a dance party.
    And teens don’t seem to associate any stigma with using voice search while hanging out with friends, whereas only one-quarter of adults speak to their phones when in the company of others. Teens don’t mind talking to devices in private as well, with more than one in five admitting to using voice search while in the bathroom! Maybe they’re merely setting reminders like “Ok Google, remind mom to buy toilet paper next time we’re at Safeway.”
    Though it’s already helping a lot of people save time and simplify their days, there’s also potential for voice search to do a lot more in the future. So we asked people what they wished voice search could one day deliver. And I have to say, I agree with the results! it would be great to rely on my voice to easily find my car keys or TV remote, both of which somehow always end up under the couch cushions.

    And I’m not alone in wishing a simple voice command could save me from having to cook dinner. Forty-five percent of teens—and 36 percent of adults!—wish they could place a pizza delivery order using voice search on their mobile device. We’re not quite there yet, but next time you don’t feel like cooking, just pull out your phone, tap the Google app, and say: “Ok Google, call Round Table Pizza.” You’ll still have to place your order over the phone, but we’re getting closer!

    The small print: The study was commissioned by Google and executed by Northstar Research, a global consulting firm. It examined the smartphone voice search habits of 1,400 Americans, 13 years of age and older (400 ages 13-17 and 1,000 adults ages 18+). Voice search is part of the Google app (available on iOS and Android) and is the best way to access Google for helpful assistance throughout your day. Learn more about the Google app.

    Posted by Scott Huffman, VP, Conversational Search

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