The login dialog for users who have enabled Single Sign On (SSO) login to Google Apps, but not Google password login has been simplified (shows only one option for entering a password), and the authentication landing page better redirects users back to the Google Apps Sync application.
Google Apps administrators can use a new feature in the administrator control panel to manage routing and basic filtering of email to on-premise systems as well as email to Google Apps users. These changes are a part of the integration of Postini and Google Apps.
Larry Page once described the perfect search engine as understanding exactly what you mean and giving you back exactly what you want. It’s very much like the computer I dreamt about as a child growing up in India, glued to our black-and-white TV for every episode of Star Trek. I imagined a future where a starship computer would be able to answer any question I might ask, instantly. Today, we’re closer to that dream than I ever thought possible during my working life—and here are some of the latest steps we’re taking today to make search even more intelligent:
1. Understanding the world
In May we launched the Knowledge Graph, our database of more than 500 million real-world people, places and things with 3.5 billion attributes and connections among them. The feedback has been phenomenally positive and we want to extend this feature to people outside the U.S. So starting today, you’ll see Knowledge Graph results across every English-speaking country in the world. If you’re in Australia and search for [chiefs], you’ll get the rugby team—its players, results and history.
We’ll also use this intelligence to help you find the right result more quickly when your search may have different meanings. For example, if you search for [rio], you might be interested in the Brazilian city, the recent animated movie or the casino in Vegas. Thanks to the Knowledge Graph, we can now give you these different suggestions of real-world entities in the search box as you type:
Finally, the best answer to your question is not always a single entity, but a list or group of connected things. It’s quite challenging to pull these lists automatically from the web. But we’re now beginning to do just that. So when you search for [california lighthouses], [hurricanes in 2008] or [famous female astronomers], we’ll show you a list of these things across the top of the page. And by combining our Knowledge Graph with the collective wisdom of the web, we can even provide more subjective lists like [best action movies of the 2000s] or [things to do in paris]. If you click on an item, you can then explore the result more deeply on the web:
So far we can produce hundreds of thousands of lists involving millions of items, and we’ll keep growing to match your curiosity. A quick preview:
2. Putting your info at your fingertips
Sometimes the best answer to your question isn’t available on the public web—it may be contained somewhere else, such as in your email. We think you shouldn’t have to be your own mini-search engine to find the most useful information—it should just work. A search is a search, and we want our results to be truly universal. So we’re developing a way to find this information for you that’s useful and unobtrusive, and we’d love your feedback. Starting today, we’re opening up a limited trial where you can sign up to get information from your Gmail right from the search box.
So if you’re planning a biking trip to Tahoe, you might see relevant emails from friends about the best bike trails, or great places to eat on the right hand side of the results page. If it looks relevant you can then expand the box to read the emails:
We’re working on some even more useful features. For example, if you search for [my flights] we will organize flight confirmation emails for any upcoming trips in a beautifully easy-to-read way right on the search results page:
3. Understanding your intent
Often the most natural way to ask a question is by asking aloud. So we’ve combined our speech recognition expertise, understanding of language and the Knowledge Graph so that Voice Search can better interpret your questions and sometimes speak the answers back as full sentences. This has been available on Android for a few weeks and people love it. It’ll soon be available on your iPhone or iPad (iOS version 4.2+).
You just need to tap the microphone icon and ask your question, the same way you’d ask a friend. For example, ask “What movies are playing this weekend?” and you’ll see your words streamed back to you quickly as you speak. Then Google will show you a list of the latest movies in theaters near you, with schedules and even trailers. It works for everything from celebrity factoids to the height of Kilamanjaro and more. When Google can supply a direct answer to your question, you’ll get a spoken response too.
These are baby steps, but important ones on our way to building the search engine of the future—one that is much more intelligent and useful than it was just a few years ago. It’s a very exciting time to be working in this field.
Posted by Amit Singhal, SVP Google Search
Video chat in Gmail has been upgraded and is now powered by Google+ Hangouts. If both sides have created a Google+ profile you will get the full Hangouts experience including the ability to add up to nine other people to the conversation, screen sharing and integrated Google Docs collaboration.
According to Google
At Google, we’re obsessed with building energy efficient data centers that enable cloud computing. Besides helping you be more productive, cloud-based services like Google Apps can reduce energy use, lower carbon emissions and save you money in the process. Last year, we crunched the numbers and found that Gmail is up to 80 times more energy-efficient than running traditional in-house email. We’ve sharpened our pencils again to see how Google Apps as a whole—documents, spreadsheets, email and other applications—stacks up against the standard model of locally hosted services. Our results show that a typical organization can achieve energy savings of about 65-85% by migrating to Google Apps.
Lower energy use results in less carbon pollution and more energy saved for organizations. That’s what happened at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which recently switched its 17,000 users to Google Apps for Government. We found that the GSA was able to reduce server energy consumption by nearly 90% and carbon emissions by 85%. That means the GSA will save an estimated $285,000 annually on energy costs alone, a 93% cost reduction.
How is the cloud so energy efficient? It’s all about reducing energy use for servers and server cooling. Here’s how it works:
A typical organization has a lot more servers than it needs—for backup, failures and spikes in demand for computing. Cloud-based service providers like Google aggregate demand across thousands of people, substantially increasing how much servers are utilized. And our data centers use equipment and software specially designed to minimize energy use. The cloud can do the same work much more efficiently than locally hosted servers.
In fact, according to a study by the Carbon Disclosure Project, by migrating to the cloud, companies with over $1 billion in revenues in the U.S. and Europe could achieve substantial reductions in energy costs and carbon emissions by 2020:
- US companies could save $12.3 billion and up to 85.7 million metric tonnes of CO2
- UK companies would save £1.2 billion and more than 9.2 million metric tonnes of CO2
- French companies could save nearly €700 million and 1.2 million metric tonnes of CO2
We’ve built efficient data centers all over the world, even designing them in ways that make the best use of the natural environment, and we continue working to improve their performance. We think using the super-efficient cloud to deliver services like Google Apps can be part of the solution towards a more energy efficient future.
Posted by Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure
(Cross-posted on the Google Green Blog)
Last year we announced
a new kind of computer
This is the next step
All of you haiku fans (like many of us on the Chrome team) can stop here; the rest can read on for more details.
A year ago we introduced a new model of computing with the launch of Chromebooks. We’ve heard from many of you who’ve enjoyed the speed, simplicity and security of your Chromebooks at home, at school or at work. (Thanks for all the wonderful feedback and stories!) Today, we wanted to share some developments with you—new hardware, a major software update and many more robust apps—as we continue on our journey to make computers much better.
Our partner Samsung has just announced a new Chromebook and the industry’s first Chromebox. Like its predecessor, the newest Chromebook is a fast and portable laptop for everyday users. The Chromebox is a compact, powerful and versatile desktop perfect for the home or office.
Speed is integral to the Chrome experience. The new Chromebook and Chromebox, based on Intel Core processors, are nearly three times as fast as the first-generation Chromebooks. And support for hardware-accelerated graphics, a built-from-scratch multi-touch trackpad and an open-source firmware stack provide a much faster and more responsive computing experience. The new Chromebook boots in less than seven seconds and resumes instantly. With the Chromebox, you can be on a video conference while continuing to play your favorite role-playing game on the side.
An app-centric user interface
With the new user interface you can easily find and launch apps, and use them alongside your browser or other apps. You can pin commonly-used apps for quick access, display multiple windows side-by-side or experience your favorite apps in full-screen mode without any distractions.
Be much more productive…or not
- Get more stuff done, online or offline: With the built-in ability to view Microsoft Office files and dozens of the most common file formats, you can access all your content without the hassle of installing additional software. Google Drive makes it easy to create, store and share with just one click. Drive will be seamlessly integrated with the File Manager and support offline access with the next release of Chrome OS in six weeks. With Google Docs offline support (rolling out over the next few weeks), you can keep working on your documents even when offline and seamlessly sync back up when you re-connect. In addition, there are hundreds of offline-capable web apps in the Chrome Web Store.
- Have more fun: The revamped media player and a built-in photo editor and uploader enable you to easily play and manage your personal media collections. Through the Chrome Web Store, you can access entertainment apps such as Google Play, Netflix, Kindle Cloud Reader and Pandora, and thousands of games including popular games like Angry Birds and console titles such as Bastion.
- Carry your other computers…inside your Chromebook: With Chrome Remote Desktop Beta, you can now securely connect to your PC or Mac from your Chromebook or Chromebox. With the underlying VP8 technology, it’s almost like you’re in front of your other computers in real time.
The (always) new computer
We’ve released eight stable updates over the past year, adding a number of major features and hundreds of improvements to all Chromebooks through our seamless auto-update mechanism. There’s a lot more on the way, so all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the benefits of the (always) new computer.
For those who want to try the Chromebook and Chromebox first-hand, we’re expanding the Chrome Zone experience centers. In the U.S., Chromebooks will be available to try out in select Best Buy stores in the coming weeks. In the U.K., they’re now available in a growing list of PC World and Currys stores.
Starting today, you can get the new Chromebook and Chromebox from our online retail partners in the U.S. and U.K., and in other select countries over the coming weeks.
Posted by Linus Upson, Vice President, Engineering and Caesar Sengupta, Director of Product Management
(Cross-posted from the Chrome Blog)
Google Apps Password Sync allows Google Apps admins to synchronize their users’ passwords from Active Directory to Google Apps as they are changed.
- Sync passwords as they are changed – no need to wait for a scheduled sync
- Secure – passwords aren’t saved anywhere except on your Active Directory and Google Apps, and are transmitted hashed and encrypted
- Quick to set up – installation takes only a few minutes per server
A reminder that Google will enable IPv6 permanently on June 6th, 2012 at 12am UTC.
The countdown to IPv6 was announced back on January 17th, 2012 here. This was done for 24 hours a year ago and we did not notice any major disruptions for Apps customers.
Customers with SSO IP Whitelists and IPv6 capable equipment need to ensure that their SSO whitelist configuration contains their IPv6 network segments (if applicable). The SSO Help Center article is linked here.
If you’re anything like me, you send and receive a lot of emails every day. But have you ever wondered where your message goes after you hit “send?” How does an email travel from your computer to your friend’s smartphone across the country or around the world?
We’re answering those questions with Story of Send, a new site that gives you a behind-the-scenes look into how all that virtual information makes its journey through the real world—from your Internet service provider to our data centers and beyond. Along the way, you’ll discover everything from where we filter for spam and scan for viruses to how we’re minimizing our impact on the environment through energy efficiency and renewable power.
We’ve included videos and photos throughout the journey so you can explore certain areas more deeply. For example, if you’re curious what data center servers look like, we’ve included some photos. Or you can watch a video to learn about how we purchase clean energy from wind farms near our data centers. And because technology doesn’t always have to be serious, you might find a vampire or two lurking around or uncover other surprises on the journey.
In the past, Gmail fans have shown us how emails connect people across the world. Now we’re providing a glimpse into how those emails go from one place to another. So hit send and start the journey today.
Posted by Erin Reilly, Google Green team
After a few months of speculation, Google revealed some information about the project that will make Google Goggles and other mobile apps more useful. Instead of using a smartphone to find information about an object, translate a text, get directions, compare prices, you can use some smart glasses that augment the reality and help you understand more about that things around you.
“We think technology should work for you—to be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don’t. A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment,” says Google.
There’s also a video that shows why the glasses could be helpful:
Google’s concept glasses have a camera, a microphone and can connect to the Internet to send and receive data in real time. The interface is simple and it only shows relevant information.
One of the people who used the glasses said that “they let technology get out of your way. If I want to take a picture I don’t have to reach into my pocket and take out my phone; I just press a button at the top of the glasses and that’s it.”
In February, New York Times reported that “the glasses [could] go on sale to the public by the end of the year. (…) The people familiar with the Google glasses said they would be Android-based, and will include a small screen that will sit a few inches from someone’s eye. They will also have a 3G or 4G data connection and a number of sensors including motion and GPS.” Seth Weintraub found that “the navigation system currently used is a head tilting-to scroll and click, (…) I/O on the glasses will also include voice input and output, and we are told the CPU/RAM/storage hardware is near the equivalent of a generation-old Android smartphone”.
It will be interesting to see if Google will actually sell these smart glasses. There are a lot of issues that need to be solved before releasing a commercial product: from battery life to packaging so much technology in a such a small product, from improving Google Goggles to handling real-time video streaming.