Wednesday, 28 July 2010
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New Google Font Previewer - Webfonts Easier and More Fun

We’re very proud to tell you that we’ve just launched a new feature for the Google font directory. The new Google font previewer lets you test drive all the fonts in the directory so you can decide which web font in the Google Font API works best for your requirements.

Now, whenever you visit the font family page of any of the fonts, you will see a link saying “Preview this font” that will load your font selection into the font previewer.

Here you can edit the text, change its size and line height, and add decorations and spacing among other things. You can even apply text shadow to your text.

The previewer will generate the corresponding code for you so all you have to do to start using the font on your own website is to copy and paste the stylesheet link and the CSS into your pages. In the example above this would be:

<link href=""
rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" >
<style> body {
font-family: 'Lobster', serif;
font-size: 28px;
font-weight: 400;
text-shadow: 4px 4px 4px #bbb;
text-decoration: underline;
text-transform: lowercase; line-height: 1.42em; }

That’s really all you need to use the Google Font API.

If you want to see the font sample without any distractions from the font previewer controls, you can do that as well simply by clicking “Toggle controls” in the upper right corner. This will show you a nice clean example of what the font would look like in your design.

We think the previewer is a great way to try out web fonts and showcase what can be done with them. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think about the new font previewer.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010
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Redesigned app pages on orkut

Since we launched the new orkut, we’ve been working hard to launch new features and introduce the new design to other pages that are still using the older UI. Today, we’re excited to announce the redesign of the app pages on orkut. Because we want developers to try it out first, these changes are first being rolled out to the sandbox, and you’ll have some time to give us your feedback before these go live for all users at We believe usability and speed improved considerably.

Let’s check out what’s new:

New canvas page
Options are more descriptive and appear at the top of the page. They open up as dialogs so users can configure or access the app information without leaving the canvas page.

New apps directory page
The apps directory is easier to navigate. We removed the descriptions and arranged the apps in two columns, and you can search for apps within categories, so it all looks much cleaner. We also created a section called "my applications" from where users can open or remove their apps.

When a user clicks on an app listed in the directory, the screenshot as well as the app’s description and popularity will now pop up in a new window. This window replaces the old app page and allows users to quickly add apps without loading another page.

New profile view for apps
We’re changing the way apps are displayed on a user’s profile. Showing several apps in tabs on the profile page was confusing. We made things simpler having users select a single app to appear on their profile page and other apps (as well as the "about me" section) are accessible by a drop-down menu.

A new apps box
We’re adding a “my applications” box, just below the “my communities” one on the right. This box will list the thumbnails of all apps the user has installed. We hope this will drive more traffic to the app’s canvas page.

We hope you’ll like these changes. Please share your feedback with us at the forum.

Monday, 19 July 2010
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New Google Buzz API features, including a hose of fire

Since we introduced the Google Buzz API at Google I/O, we’ve been working hard to make it better, broader, and more useful. Today we're introducing several new features that are the direct result of your feedback.

We're launching the Google Buzz firehose — our top developer feature request. With the firehose, all public activities are available as they are published with a single subscription, thanks to syndication via PubSubHubbub.

We’ve had some fun coming up with cool things to do with the firehose. For example, Bob Aman coded up Buzz Mood, an App Engine app inspired by Twistori. By scanning for posts that contain certain keywords, Bob’s able to give us a sense for the mood across all of Google Buzz in real time. Definitely take a look at the the source to get ideas for your own apps!

For more inspiration, also check out our firehose launch partners. Integrating with the firehose today are Collecta, Gnip, OneRiot, Postrank Analytics, and Superfeedr’s Track.

We’re making these new API features available starting today:
  • Comments by the user - This feed consists of the activities the user has commented on.
  • Likes by the user - The activities the user has liked are in this feed.
  • Shared counts - This will return the number of times a specified URL has been shared across Google Buzz.
All of these features are documented in much more detail on the Google Buzz API documentation site and can be discussed on the Developer Forum. We will continue to innovate and iterate the Buzz API and encourage you to check out the new features and let us know what you think.

Monday, 12 July 2010
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Open, Integrated and Giving You Choice: The Story Behind the Google Apps Marketplace

Gmail, Calendar, Docs, Sites and all Google Apps were designed as cloud-based services from day one.  Google’s web-centric approach allows any application to work seamlessly on any device with a browser, allowing users to work when, where, and how they want. No more need for constant upgrades, security patches and bug fixes required by client based software.

Given the first step to the cloud for many businesses and schools is Gmail, the Google Apps Marketplace aims to make it easier for organizations that have “gone Google” to take the next step and take fuller advantage of the cloud by running even more of their infrastructure on cloud-based apps, from hundreds of software companies.

These software companies agree the web-centric approach is the way to go, and are building their applications on web-based architectures and open standards like OpenID for Single Sign-On and OAuth for data access.  Marketplace developers build their applications using the technologies and hosting platform they prefer.  Want to build using Java?  Great.  Ruby or PHP?  Fine with us.  .NET?  Sure, the Marketplace supports that too.  These apps are then hosted on developers’ own servers, on Amazon EC2, on Google’s App Engine, or on any other cloud hosting service.  As developers, they don’t need to worry about proprietary tools, vendor lock-in, or proprietary cloud architecture lock-in, and as Google Apps customers, you’ll even find apps that compete with Google products such as SlideRocket presentations and Zoho CRM, giving you the maximum possible choice.

The key advantage of Marketplace apps, however, is their integration with Google Apps.  All installable Marketplace apps feature single sign-on with Google Apps, and most go beyond that to incorporate specific features that help you accomplish everyday tasks more easily in combination with Google’s applications.  Here is a tiny sampling of Marketplace apps that integrate with various Google Apps:

Gmail -- Manymoon is an online project management tool that make it easy to turn emails from team mates or customers directly into tasks in your projects.  Kwaga Context and Awayfind are two productivity apps that help you manage your conversations directly in your Gmail inbox, helping keep you more productive.

Spreadsheets -- Sliderocket let’s you connect media-rich presentations to live data in Google Spreadsheets, so your presentation always display the most up to date charts and graphs, and    Smartsheet let’s you extend Google Spreadsheets with Gantt tracking and customer management features to empower your sales teams.

Calendar -- and Timebridge are meeting management tools that make it easier to set up and conduct meetings with partners and customers who use different calendaring systems.

Sites -- RunMyProcess let’s you embed custom business process workflows into Google Sites, so each part of an organization can more easily access business process that effect their daily work.

Talk -- Atlassian integrates Jira Studio with Google Talk, so your software development team can stay up to date with the latest build status and team conversations from within Jira Studio, all in real time.

There are hundreds more business applications available on the Marketplace for every aspect of your business.  Find CRM apps, Admin tools, Document Management apps, Productivity apps, and many more.

Every week more cloud-based business applications are added. If you can’t find an app you want please post a suggestion.

Sharing the Joy of Creating Android Apps with Everyone

Sharing the joy of building software with someone that doesn’t have an engineering background is hard. Today it got a little easier with App Inventor for Android.

App Inventor for Android is a Google Labs project that makes it possible to create complex Android applications without having to write any code. This is because, instead of writing code, you can visually design the way the app looks and use blocks to specify behavior.

This helps introduce concepts about logic and programming in a compelling way, without getting lost in syntax and code. And while App Inventor for Android doesn’t have every feature available in the latest Android SDK, it has been used to create some very compelling applications.

For more information about how to participate, take a look at the announcement on the Google Blog.

We look forward to seeing what you think and hearing about your stories. And, yes, the irony of writing a Google Code blog post about avoiding the need to code is not lost on me. :-)

App Inventor for Android is possible due to some significant work done in research on education computing both inside and outside Google. The brainchild of Hal Abelson (visiting faculty), App Inventor for Android is an effort to see if the nature of introductory computing can be changed.

By Ali Pasha, Google Developer Programs

.NET Data API SDK updated

We are proud to announce a new release of the Google Data API .NET SDK.

This new release, version 1.6, adds support for the latest Contacts and Documents services, as well as support for Google Analytics. It also sports a very easy to use ResumableUpload component to support those gigantic YouTube Videos that you are dying to upload, as well as other services that support this feature, like Google Documents.

For a complete list of changes and bugfixes:

To download this release:
(it comes in versions for Windows, Mono and Windows Mobile).

If you want to report bugs or request features:

Happy coding

Friday, 9 July 2010
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Orkut App Issues Being Addressed

The Orkut engineering team has been hard at work addressing some recent issues and we would like to provide a status update and apologize for the inconvenience our spotty service may have caused you. We’re not done yet, but we wanted to explain to you what happened and what corrective measures we’re taking to ensure it doesn’t happen again:

First, Orkut is based on open source software that is subject to frequent updates, which we then pull and merge into the Orkut code tree. A result is that this can sometimes makes bugs harder to discover and fix. We accidentally began overwriting user app preferences, which resulted in the activity updates not getting posted, but this has now been fixed.

Another unexpected effect was that getting viewer and owner information via data pipelining also became broken, and we’re still working to fix this.

Lastly, we had a problem with our directory listing that led to some featured apps being reported as “being reviewed.” We’ve already identified how to fix this permanently, and the fix should be live in a few days.

Once again, we would like to apologize for these bugs. Thanks to everyone for their patience these past weeks as we’ve focused on fixing these issues, and don’t forget to check this forum thread for status updates.

WebFont Loader updated with Ascender Module

Two months ago we announced the WebFont Loader, a JavaScript library for improving the web font experience. Today we are pleased to announce the availability of the Ascender Module, so now you can use the WebFont Loader with Ascender’s FontsLive web font service.

The WebFont Loader was designed to make it easy to switch between different providers of web fonts, including Google, Typekit, and others. The Ascender module provides users of the FontsLive service with enhanced controls over how web fonts are handled by various browsers.

The WebFont Loader provides developers with advanced features to manage how web fonts behave, establish better consistency across all browsers and even set the fallback font size to more closely match the web font, so content doesn't reflow after loading.

Google is delighted to work with the Ascender and DevBridge teams on this new module for the WebFont Loader. We look forward to continue to advance typography on the web.