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09 Jun 12 Android’s one killer feature that trumps the iPhone


At Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC 2012) next week in San Francisco we expect to see the latest iteration of iOS unveiled with a laundry list of updates to extend the growing appeal of the
iPhone. But, there’s still one key feature that Apple isn’t likely to improve enough to catch up with
Android.

While iOS 6 will reportedly include Apple’s new 3D Maps app, Facebook integration, an update to Siri, and a revamped mobile iTunes store, the platform still has one big weak spot: Alerts

It’s hard to argue that Android is more usable than iOS overall. The truth is that iOS is a more limited, simplified experience, but that makes it easy for most users to pick up and start using right away and makes it hard for them to get themselves in trouble by misconfiguring things. By contrast, Android is more flexible and customizable, but it can also be more difficult to navigate and more apt to confuse smartphone novices.

However, the alerts system is the one area where Android is just flat out more useful and more usable than iPhone. If that sounds trivial, it’s not — especially for business professionals and others who do a lot of stuff with their smartphones. Alerts give you timely updates of important information, quickly let you know about things that need your attention, and give you an at-a-glance look at your latest messages from various sources.

Apple made big strides with its alerts system in iOS 5 — taking obvious inspiration from Android — but even the vastly-improved alerts system still didn’t match the power and efficiency of what Android offers. In fact, iOS 5 didn’t match Android 2.3 “Gingerbread,” which still powers the vast majority of Android phones. Meanwhile, Google enhanced the alerts functionality even more in Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich,” which debuted at the end of 2011.

The biggest advantage that Android alerts have over iOS alerts is immediate glance-ability, and a lot of that has to do with the fundamental design of the platform. That’s why iOS appears unlikely to catch up in this area any time soon.

What I’m really talking about when I say “immediate glance-ability” is that when you turn on the display on your Android phone you see a bunch of little badges in the top left corner of the screen that let you know you’ve got new messages or that a calendar appointment is about to happen or someone is talking about you on social media or there’s a severe weather alert in your area.

Android alerts provide an immediate glance at the stuff you care about.

(Credit:
Jason Hiner | CNET)

In iOS, you actually have to swipe down from the top of the screen to open the Notification Center and then scroll through your whole alerts list by app to see what all you might need to address. A lot of iOS users just aren’t in the habit of checking the Notification Center since it’s a newer addition to the platform.

The iOS 5 Notification Center has handy weather and stock updates but alerts require a lot of scrolling.

(Credit:
Jason Hiner | CNET)

More often than not, the habit in iOS is to see if your apps for Mail, Messages, Calendar, or Twitter (or various other apps) have their red alert badges in the upper left corner activated with the number of important new things you haven’t seen yet. Then you go straight into each app and check the new stuff. Lots of iOS apps can use the red alert badge now and it’s handy for the stuff you want to track most often, but it’s obviously not as efficient as that quick glance in Android.

A single alert in iOS can quickly get your attention, but it can break down when you have multiple alerts.

(Credit:
Jason Hiner | CNET)

Once you get past the glance-ability, Android also has iOS beat when you dive into the listing of alerts. Ironically, iOS is actually more configurable and customizable in its listings, but Android’s default configuration nails it, and that’s more important since most people never change the defaults. While iOS lets you decide how many alerts you want to show for each app and how you want to organize them, Android simply mixes up the alerts and shows them in chronological order from the time they happened. In Android 4.0, you can also simply swipe right to dismiss individual alerts, which isn’t possible in iOS.

Here’s a comparison of the alerts listings in iOS and Android.

(Credit:
Jason Hiner | CNET)

Another thing to keep in mind here is that Google is just really good at alerts, and Apple isn’t. Take a look at what Google has done with Google+ alerts by building them into the universal Google toolbar and giving an excellent at-a-glance look at the activity that’s happening around your Google+ content. Meanwhile, Apple has still never built a decent universal alerts system into
Mac OS. The most popular solution is the third party app Growl.

Google+ is another example where Google has done good work with alerts.

(Credit:
Jason Hiner | CNET)

Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of other things that Android does better than iPhone — for example, turn-by-turn GPS navigation and Google Voice integration. But, Apple will likely catch up in maps and GPS and Google Voice is a niche solution mostly used by technophiles. Alerts represent the one area where Android is a lot more friendly and usable than iOS, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon unless Apple does a more drastic redesign on the user interface of its home screen.

Article source: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57449969-94/androids-one-killer-feature-that-trumps-the-iphone/

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05 May 12 Getting started With Google Chrome and Google Voice


Lots of users are probably trying Google Chrome for the first time, and maybe having some trouble learning the basics of the browser. Downloads in particular can be confusing if you’re moving to Chrome.

When it comes to downloading files, not all browsers are created equal. In Microsoft Internet Explorer, for example, clicking a download link produces a pop-up bar along the bottom of the screen, asking if you want to run or save the file. In Mozilla Firefox, the browser I used prior to Chrome, you get a pop-up requester front and center, followed by a big ol’ status window. For anyone accustomed to this, Chrome can be a head-scratcher. It’s easy to overlook the arrival and status of a file download, especially if you’re accustomed to looking near the top of the screen or seeing a pop-up window.

[ FREE DOWNLOAD: 3 things Google Apps needs to fix... like, NOW ]

Chrome’s download-status indicator appears quietly and unobtrusively in the lower-left corner of the screen. If you blink, you’ll miss the little arrow that flashes at the start of the download. (Google no doubt added this because so many people had trouble finding any evidence of download activity.)

Of course, now that you know where to look, you’re all set. When the download is done, you can click it to run or open the file, or click the little arrow alongside it for a handful of options (including the always-handy Show in folder, which opens the folder containing the download).

Want to view all your downloads? Press Ctrl-J to open Chrome’s download manager in a new tab. You can also click the little wrench icon in the top-right corner of the screen, then select Downloads. This may seem like an obvious thing, but it took me a while to get accustomed to Chrome’s tucked-away-in-a-corner download indicator.

Three Things You Should Know About Google Voice

Have you tried Google Voice? If not, I think I can understand why. It’s one of those services that sounds a little confusing–and perhaps not terribly useful.

But Google Voice is a pretty cool tool, and it can solve more than a few hassles. Let’s take a look at three GV perks you might not have known about.

(Note: I’m assuming that you’ve already signed up for a GV account. If not, just visit google.com/voice and follow the instructions. You’ll need to have some sort of Google account already, like, say, Gmail.)

1. You can use it to send text messages. Why bother pulling out your cell phone and typing on its tiny keyboard every time you want to send a text message?

If you’re at your computer, you can simply open up Google Voice, click Text, enter the recipient’s phone number, and type your message. Click Send and you’re done. Best of all, replies will pop up right there, so you can hold an entire SMS conversation right in your Web browser.

Oh, and unlike with standard texting from your phone, GV texting is free (for you, anyway–the recipient still has to pay regular rates).

2. You can use it to make free calls (for now). Google Voice is, at its core, a voice-over-IP calling service. And a free one, at least until the end of 2012. That means you can make unlimited local and long-distance calls without spending an extra dime.

Looking for a way to integrate this GV goodness with your current phone system? Check out the Obihai OBi100 adapter, which plugs right into your router (much like a MagicJack, but with Google Voice as the service provider). Connect your phone’s base station and presto: You’ve got dial tone.

3. You can use it to record phone calls. Are you conducting an interview? Talking to a customer-service representative? Planning some blackmail? Might be nice to have a recording of the call. Google Voice makes this a cinch: Just press 4 during the call to initiate recording. When you’re done, you’ll be able to access the audio file from the GV dashboard.

Just one caveat: this works only for incoming calls. And depending on your state’s laws, you may need to get consent from the other party.

If you’ve got a hassle that needs solving, send it my way. I can’t promise a response, but I’ll definitely read every e-mail I get–and do my best to address at least some of them in the PCWorld Hassle-Free PC blog. My 411: hasslefree@pcworld.com. You can also sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

Article source: http://www.itworld.com/internet/273630/getting-started-google-chrome-and-google-voice

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02 May 12 Getting Started With Google Chrome and Google Voice


Lots of users are probably trying Google Chrome for the first time, and maybe having some trouble learning the basics of the browser. Downloads in particular can be confusing if you’re moving to Chrome.

When it comes to downloading files, not all browsers are created equal. In Microsoft Internet Explorer, for example, clicking a download link produces a pop-up bar along the bottom of the screen, asking if you want to run or save the file. In Mozilla Firefox, the browser I used prior to Chrome, you get a pop-up requester front and center, followed by a big ol’ status window. For anyone accustomed to this, Chrome can be a head-scratcher. It’s easy to overlook the arrival and status of a file download, especially if you’re accustomed to looking near the top of the screen or seeing a pop-up window.

Chrome’s download-status indicator appears quietly and unobtrusively in the lower-left corner of the screen. If you blink, you’ll miss the little arrow that flashes at the start of the download. (Google no doubt added this because so many people had trouble finding any evidence of download activity.)

Of course, now that you know where to look, you’re all set. When the download is done, you can click it to run or open the file, or click the little arrow alongside it for a handful of options (including the always-handy Show in folder, which opens the folder containing the download).

Want to view all your downloads? Press Ctrl-J to open Chrome’s download manager in a new tab. You can also click the little wrench icon in the top-right corner of the screen, then select Downloads. This may seem like an obvious thing, but it took me a while to get accustomed to Chrome’s tucked-away-in-a-corner download indicator.

Three Things You Should Know About Google Voice

Have you tried Google Voice? If not, I think I can understand why. It’s one of those services that sounds a little confusing–and perhaps not terribly useful.

But Google Voice is a pretty cool tool, and it can solve more than a few hassles. Let’s take a look at three GV perks you might not have known about.

(Note: I’m assuming that you’ve already signed up for a GV account. If not, just visit google.com/voice and follow the instructions. You’ll need to have some sort of Google account already, like, say, Gmail.)

1. You can use it to send text messages. Why bother pulling out your cell phone and typing on its tiny keyboard every time you want to send a text message?

If you’re at your computer, you can simply open up Google Voice, click Text, enter the recipient’s phone number, and type your message. Click Send and you’re done. Best of all, replies will pop up right there, so you can hold an entire SMS conversation right in your Web browser.

Oh, and unlike with standard texting from your phone, GV texting is free (for you, anyway–the recipient still has to pay regular rates).

2. You can use it to make free calls (for now). Google Voice is, at its core, a voice-over-IP calling service. And a free one, at least until the end of 2012. That means you can make unlimited local and long-distance calls without spending an extra dime.

Looking for a way to integrate this GV goodness with your current phone system? Check out the Obihai OBi100 adapter, which plugs right into your router (much like a MagicJack, but with Google Voice as the service provider). Connect your phone’s base station and presto: You’ve got dial tone.

3. You can use it to record phone calls. Are you conducting an interview? Talking to a customer-service representative? Planning some blackmail? Might be nice to have a recording of the call. Google Voice makes this a cinch: Just press 4 during the call to initiate recording. When you’re done, you’ll be able to access the audio file from the GV dashboard.

Just one caveat: this works only for incoming calls. And depending on your state’s laws, you may need to get consent from the other party.

If you’ve got a hassle that needs solving, send it my way. I can’t promise a response, but I’ll definitely read every e-mail I get–and do my best to address at least some of them in the PCWorld Hassle-Free PC blog. My 411: hasslefree@pcworld.com. You can also sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/254799/getting_started_with_google_chrome_and_google_voice.html

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01 May 12 Getting Started With Google Chrome and Google Voice


Lots of users are probably trying Google Chrome for the first time, and maybe having some trouble learning the basics of the browser. Downloads in particular can be confusing if you’re moving to Chrome.

When it comes to downloading files, not all browsers are created equal. In Microsoft Internet Explorer, for example, clicking a download link produces a pop-up bar along the bottom of the screen, asking if you want to run or save the file. In Mozilla Firefox, the browser I used prior to Chrome, you get a pop-up requester front and center, followed by a big ol’ status window. For anyone accustomed to this, Chrome can be a head-scratcher. It’s easy to overlook the arrival and status of a file download, especially if you’re accustomed to looking near the top of the screen or seeing a pop-up window.

Chrome’s download-status indicator appears quietly and unobtrusively in the lower-left corner of the screen. If you blink, you’ll miss the little arrow that flashes at the start of the download. (Google no doubt added this because so many people had trouble finding any evidence of download activity.)

Of course, now that you know where to look, you’re all set. When the download is done, you can click it to run or open the file, or click the little arrow alongside it for a handful of options (including the always-handy Show in folder, which opens the folder containing the download).

Want to view all your downloads? Press Ctrl-J to open Chrome’s download manager in a new tab. You can also click the little wrench icon in the top-right corner of the screen, then select Downloads. This may seem like an obvious thing, but it took me a while to get accustomed to Chrome’s tucked-away-in-a-corner download indicator.

Three Things You Should Know About Google Voice

Have you tried Google Voice? If not, I think I can understand why. It’s one of those services that sounds a little confusing–and perhaps not terribly useful.

But Google Voice is a pretty cool tool, and it can solve more than a few hassles. Let’s take a look at three GV perks you might not have known about.

(Note: I’m assuming that you’ve already signed up for a GV account. If not, just visit google.com/voice and follow the instructions. You’ll need to have some sort of Google account already, like, say, Gmail.)

1. You can use it to send text messages. Why bother pulling out your cell phone and typing on its tiny keyboard every time you want to send a text message?

If you’re at your computer, you can simply open up Google Voice, click Text, enter the recipient’s phone number, and type your message. Click Send and you’re done. Best of all, replies will pop up right there, so you can hold an entire SMS conversation right in your Web browser.

Oh, and unlike with standard texting from your phone, GV texting is free (for you, anyway–the recipient still has to pay regular rates).

2. You can use it to make free calls (for now). Google Voice is, at its core, a voice-over-IP calling service. And a free one, at least until the end of 2012. That means you can make unlimited local and long-distance calls without spending an extra dime.

Looking for a way to integrate this GV goodness with your current phone system? Check out the Obihai OBi100 adapter, which plugs right into your router (much like a MagicJack, but with Google Voice as the service provider). Connect your phone’s base station and presto: You’ve got dial tone.

3. You can use it to record phone calls. Are you conducting an interview? Talking to a customer-service representative? Planning some blackmail? Might be nice to have a recording of the call. Google Voice makes this a cinch: Just press 4 during the call to initiate recording. When you’re done, you’ll be able to access the audio file from the GV dashboard.

Just one caveat: this works only for incoming calls. And depending on your state’s laws, you may need to get consent from the other party.

If you’ve got a hassle that needs solving, send it my way. I can’t promise a response, but I’ll definitely read every e-mail I get–and do my best to address at least some of them in the PCWorld Hassle-Free PC blog. My 411: hasslefree@pcworld.com. You can also sign up to have the Hassle-Free PC newsletter e-mailed to you each week.

Article source: http://www.pcworld.com/article/254799/getting_started_with_google_chrome_and_google_voice.html

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23 Apr 12 Skype For Windows Phone: Hands-On First Look


Skype has become an essential business tool for many, especially those looking to tame travel-related telecom costs. The popular VoIP services work around the globe and support many desktop and mobile platforms with dedicated applications. On April 22, Microsoft made version 1.0 of Skype available to its Windows Phone smartphone platform, following a beta period of about two months.

I downloaded and installed Skype version 1.0.0.0 on my Nokia Lumia 800 and gave it a whirl. Skype for Windows Phone should be one of the crown jewels in Microsoft’s mobile platform (after all, Microsoft owns Skype). Instead, it feels incomplete and lacks polish.

The user interface for Skype borrows heavily from Microsoft’s Metro UI concept, with multiple pages in the app that are accessed by swiping sideways to the left or right. The UI uses Skype’s well-known white-and-blue color scheme, and all the requisite Skype sounds are present.

Once you’ve logged in, the first screen visible is the contact page. Rather than highlight or show you which contacts are online, the app simply shows you the entire contact list that’s stored on the device. I thought perhaps swiping sideways would parse that down to my Skype contacts, but that’s not the case. Instead, that only shows you a list of recent calls. From the main screen, you can also choose to search through your contacts or open the dialpad. For an app that’s supposed to help make phone calls, the button to open the actual phone is a bit too small.

In order to see your Skype contacts, you have to press a ridiculously small button that says “All”. Only then can you choose to see the list of people who are available for free voice calls and IM. Your Skype contacts appear in the Windows Phone app just as they do on a desktop client or the Android/iOS apps.

You know what’s also too small? The button used to access and manage your profile. It’s a teeny little thing tucked into the top-left corner of the app. The settings tools are anemic at best, and only let you toggle on/off automatic sign-in.

Skype for Windows Phone lets you voice/video call and IM other Skype users for free over both 3G and Wi-Fi. In my tests, it worked perfectly over both network types. Call quality was outstanding, I was very impressed. Calls were connected quickly, and I had no trouble reaching other Skype lines and landlines. The same goes for IM. IM conversations were fast and furious. Video calls showed mixed quality, but they were good enough.

The app covers these basics just fine, but falls flat in other ways.

For instance, Google has done some great things with Google Voice–especially for the Android platform. The latest version of Google Voice for Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich integrates flawlessly with the native dialer and voicemail system or the operating system, for example, merging the two services into one.

This is what Microsoft needs to do with Skype, but hasn’t. Instead, the app is siloed from the operating system completely, and is a stand-alone application.

Worse, Skype for Windows Phone leaves out one critical feature–it won’t run in the background. This means if you close the app, it not only shuts down, but also signs you out of the service, leaving you unreachable to other Skype users looking to connect. I tried using Windows Phone’s fast-app-switching powers to get around the problem, with no luck. Every time I returned to Skype, I had to sign into the service anew.

Last, Skype won’t run on Windows Phone “Tango” devices. Tango is the low-end version of Windows Phone that functions on half the RAM that other versions of Windows Phone use. Apparently Skype can’t function with such little system memory available. This means those who can only afford low-end smartphones won’t be able to realize the cost savings possible with Skype.

Based on these factors, I’d call this basic Skype application a place-holder at best while Microsoft–hopefully–works on much deeper integration between Skype and Windows Phone.

At this interactive Enterprise Mobility Virtual Event, experts and solution providers will offer detailed insight into how to bring some order to the mobile industry innovation chaos. When you register, you will gain access to live webcast presentations and virtual booths packed with free resources. It happens May 17.

Article source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/productivity_apps/232900759

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01 Apr 12 Google April Fools’ Day Pranks 2012: 8-Bit Maps, Chrome Multitask Mode & More!


For Google, April Fools’ Day is the annual launch day for a slew of gag products and hoax services you’ll likely never see in real life. Google’s practical jokes began a day early in 2012, with 8-Bit Google Maps, Chrome Multitask Mode making their debut, then continued early this morning with the YouTube Collection, Google Racing, Click-to-Teleport search ads, and much more.

Here’s a recap of all the April Fools’ Day fun from this year.

Google 8-Bit Maps for NES

Like Google Maps? Still have your dusty old Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in the back of your closet or up in your attic? Then you’re in luck.

Google is finally adding support for the classic video game system with the launch of 8-bit maps, touting “low-res graphics, simple and intuitive controls, and a timeless soundtrack.” You can explore the world and find landmarks, including:

google-8-bit-maps-white-house

The White House and Washington Monument

google-maps-8-bit-mount-rushmore

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota

statue-of-liberty-8-bit-google-maps

The Statue of Liberty in New York City

st-louis-arch-google-maps-8-bit

St. Louis Arch in Missouri

hollywood-sign-google-8-bit-maps

Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California

googleplex-google-maps-8-bit

The Googleplex in Mountain View, California

space-needle-google-maps-8-bit

Space Needle in Seattle, Washington

area-51-google-maps-8-bit

Area 51

eiffel-tower-google-maps-8-bit

Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

louvre-google-maps-8-bit

Louvre Museum in Paris, France

taj-mahal-google-maps-8-bit

Taj Mahal in Agra, India

leaning-tower-pisa-google-maps-8-bit

Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy

rome-colosseum

Roman Colosseum

pyramids-sphinx-google-maps-8-bit

Sphinx Great Pyramids in Giza, Egypt

chichen-itza-google-maps-8-bit

Chichen Itza, Mexico

easter-island-google-maps-8-bit

Easter Island

parthenon-google-maps-8-bit

Parthenon in Athens, Greece

kremlin-google-maps-8-bit

Kremlin in Moscow, Russia

great-buddha-google-maps-8-bit

Great Buddha of Kamakura, Japan

nazca-lines-google-maps-8-bit

Nazca Lines in Nasca, Peru

(Seen any other cool 8-bit Google Maps landmarks? Leave a note in the comments!)

This video offers a full walk-through and preview. The “trial version” is available at Google Maps in Quest Mode:

Chrome Multitask Mode

Cursing because you only have one cursor? Say hello to the ambinavigation revolution known as Chrome Multitask Mode.

Thanks to Google’s unending need for speed, you can surf the web with both hands by using more than one mouse on the same computer. Or, surf with your friends or loved ones at the same time.

Here’s where you can try out Multitask Mode. Here’s a video explaining it:

All of YouTube Put on a DVD

youtube-dvd-collection

YouTube joined in with an April Fools’ Day hoax of its own. In a post on the YouTube Blog, Chet Flanagan, director of DVD product management, asked, “Loved a video so much that liking it, favoriting it, sharing it and even subscribing to the channel wasn’t enough? Just had to hold it in your grasp and never ever let it go?” He added, “We know the feeling, so today we’re making The YouTube Collection available for you in a new holdable version: DVD. A direct result of your feedback and demand, The YouTube Collection is a first of its kind offering in web video.”

Here’s a video outlining the details.

Google Racing: Self-Driving NASCAR Race Cars

google-racing

For those who enjoy spending Sunday afternoons watching cars speed around a track at 200 miles per hour but don’t like all that crashing, now there’s a Google racing team. Partnering with NASCAR, Google’s fleet of autonomous vehicle will duel against carbon-based life forms.

“I hope that today’s announcement of Google Racing will mark another step along this path, and spur innovations that improve the daily lives of people all over the world,” wrote Google co-founder Sergey Brin. “Or at the very least offer us a few cool new thrills on hot weekend afternoons.”

Note that the car number is 10^100 (known as a googol in mathematics – the number 1 followed by 100 zeroes) and the car slogan is “I’m steering lucky”, a play on Google’s long-time “I’m feeling lucky” search option that brings searchers to the No. 1 result rather than showing an entire search engine results page.

Gmail Tap

gmail-tip-learn

Google has revealed its futuristic binary language made up of dots and dashes for Android and iOS users on the go: Gmail Tap, which reduces 26 keys to 2.

Gmail also introduced multi-email, allowing power users to double their productivity by typing multiple emails at once, predictive text mode, and optional audio feedback.

Google Street Roo View

google-roo-view

To provide panoramic pictures of the Australian outback, Google has announced Google Street Roo. The search giant plans to equip more than 1,000 kangaroos with 360-degree cameras powered by solar panels stitched into custom-made “roo jackets” to capture images as they hop around during daylight hours. The goal is to capture images of 98 percent of the area within three years.

We’re all holding our breath to find out whether any kangaroos will file privacy complaints with the Australian government.

Click-to-Teleport

teleport-me-google-adwords

Phone calls and website visits are so old-fashioned. Now when people click on a search ad, Google will teleport through time and space – directly to a business location.

For advertisers, Google says you should:

  • Optimize for closest location: Least disorienting for visitors, and helps you maintain a local feeling.
  • Optimize for conversions: Teleports visitors to locations where your customers are most likely to convert.
  • Rotate evenly: Teleports visitor to a random business location and helpful for avoiding overcrowded business locations.

Good news for advertisers: offline sales have increased by a whopping 3,600 percent. Bad news for users and businesses: while Click-to-Teleport is in beta, there is no “teleport back home” option.

Google Really Advanced Search

Sometimes Advanced Search isn’t enough. Now if you need to search with new options, Google Really Advanced Search has you covered for the following:

  • Rhyming slang for
  • This exact word or phrase, whose sum of unicode code points is a mersenne prime
  • Font
  • Content that is true
  • will have been modified
  • Embarrassing grammatical faux pas
  • Looping midi music in the genre of

Not enough? You can also “tickle a unicorn”; “download our ranking code so you can run Google at home”; and “search by odor”.

Fittingly, clicking on any of those, or the blue Advanced Search button will take you to the search results page for “april fools”.

Control the Weather!

google-weather-control

Says Google: “Don’t like the weather? Now you can change it in your region by selecting from the dropdown to change precipitation and setting your own temperature.”

Choose the temperature along with whatever weather conditions (e.g., sunny, foggy, windy, rain, thunderstorm). Then click the “Update weather” button. Google explains that it will take 45 minutes to update and you must agree to be responsible for the weather (if you’re too afraid, you can click “Dismiss”)!

Google Fiber: It’s Fiberlicious!

The company introduced Google Fiber. No, it’s not a fiber optic network. Google Fiber starts with 100 times more fiber than any source of fiber available today.

Tested in labs across Google’s Mountain View campus, the company found that in just the right synthesis, psyllium and vitamins C and D morph into a byproduct that Google has coded as “Fiberlicious.” This smarter fiber delivers just what the body needs to sustain activity, energy and productivity up to 100 times more than you have experienced before.

Google Voice for Pets

Next, the company introduced Google Voice for Pets! Now, you might ask yourself, “Google Voice … for my pets? How is that even possible? There’s only a few bluetooth headsets that can fit my dog, and they’re so expensive!”

The secret is in Google’s special Voice Communication Collars. The collars fit around your pet’s neck and use a series of sensors to record audio directly from your dog or cat’s vocal cords, using technology originally developed for NASA spacesuits.

Jargot-bot for Google Apps

The company also introduced Jargon-bot for Google Apps. Have you seen the National Car Rental commercial that talks about improving ROI through SEO by COB? Well, Jargon-Bot will automatically detect business jargon or business speak and provide you with real-time translation in plain English. (Actually, it’s more American than English. But, it’s definitely not Australian, Canadian, Irish, Scottish, or Welsh.)

Go Ro

Finally, Google introduced Go Ro. Now, you know that millions of people are using mobile devices every day, but did you know that dozens are still using rotary phones? And did you know that 100 percent of people using rotary phones have trouble accessing your website? Well, if you’re ready to prepare for the return of rotary, then you know it’s time to Go Ro!

Google Offers: $1 Buy Good Parking Karma

google-offer-karma

For the low, low price of $1, some lucky participants scooped up the latest deal from Google Offers: a lifelong boost of good parking karma. After redeeming with the parking gods, you’ll no longer have to worry about runaway shopping carts, tow away zones, parking tickets, or even parallel parking – all thanks to the new prime spots that will become available to you.

Note: We’ll be updating this post throughout the day if/when more spoofs are uncovered. If you spot any other funny pranks from Google, other search engines, social networks, or tech companies, let us know in the comments! Also let us know what you think of this year’s edition of jokes. Also, Search Engine Watch checked in with a couple spoof news posts of our own: Google+ Bowling: Real Life Bowling Rethought for Real Life and Exclusive Interview on Search Engine Industry Issues With Sloof Lirpa.

Google April Fools’ Day Hoaxes History: 2000-2011

In 2000, Google asked users to “project a mental image of what you want to find” while staring at the MentalPlex circle. When we clicked (or visualized clicking) within the MentalPlex circle, we got an error message that said, “Error 01: Brainwaves received in analog. Please re-think in digital.”

In 2002, Google revealed the technology behind its great results – PigeonRank – which used low cost pigeon clusters (PCs) to compute the relative value of web pages. Google explained, “Those pages receiving the most pecks are returned at the top of the user’s results page with the other results displayed in pecking order.”

In 2004, the Google Copernicus Center announced it was interviewing candidates for engineering positions at a lunar hosting and research center, which was opening late in the spring of 2007.

In 2005, the company announced Google Gulp (BETA) with Auto-Drink (LIMITED RELEASE), a line of “smart drinks” designed to maximize your surfing efficiency by making you more intelligent, and less thirsty.

In 2006, the company announced Google Romance, a place where you can post all types of romantic information and, using Google’s Soulmate Search, get back search results that could, in theory, include the love of your life.

In 2007, the company announced the launch of Google TiSP (BETA) . The Toilet Internet Service Provider (TiSP) project was a self-installed, ad-supported online service that was offered entirely free to any consumer with a WiFi-capable PC and a toilet connected to a local municipal sewage system.

In 2008, Google announced Project Virgle, a joint project with the Virgin Group to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. The announcement included videos on projectvirgle’s channel on YouTube.

Also that year, YouTube participated in Google’s April Fools’ Day tradition for the first time. All featured videos on YouTube’s linked to “Rick Astley – Never Gonna Give You Up,” causing all users of the website who clicked on featured videos to be Rickrolled.

In 2009, Google announced CADIE, the world’s first Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity. She immediately assumed control of the company and its products and services.

That year, YouTube gave some users a look at a new “viewing experience” when they selected a video within the “recommended for you” section. This new interface caused the whole layout including the video you were watching to flip upside down.

In 2010, Google announced it was changing its name to Topeka, after that city changed its name to Google the previous month.

At the same time, YouTube unveiled a new quality setting, TEXTp. According to a notice underneath videos, viewing a video with this quality setting enabled allowed YouTube to save one US dollar ($1) per second on bandwidth costs.

In 2011, Google rolled out Comic Sans as its default font across all Google products (one of many pranks). YouTube celebrated its 100th anniversary last year. In honor of this milestone, the video site’s homepage was a reproduction of how users might have viewed it in 1911. It also featured the “Top 5 Viral Pictures of 1911.”

Search Engine Watch also learned about the Bamboo Update, to restore websites rankings from Google’s Panda update.

Greg Jarboe also contributed to this post.

SES Toronto 2012 is June 11-13. Register before May 11 and save up to $300!

Article source: http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2165162/Google-April-Fools-Day-Pranks-2012-8-Bit-Maps-Chrome-Multitask-Mode-More

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