Google Friends Newsletter - September 2009


Introducing Google Sidewiki

We're excited about the release last week of Google Sidewiki, a new way for you and others to contribute helpful information alongside any page on the web. Google Sidewiki is a sidebar in Google Toolbar where you can add text entries, links, and embedded videos. To make sure you see the most relevant entries on top, we use an algorithm to rank entries by quality. It takes into account your feedback as well as many other signals. We also have the first version of our API available to let anyone work freely with the content that's created in Google Sidewiki. Google Sidewiki is a feature of Google Toolbar for Firefox and Internet Explorer — support for Chrome is coming.



Google Fast Flip

Google Fast Flip, recently launched in Google Labs, is a way to read news that combines the best elements of print and online articles. Like a print magazine, Fast Flip lets you browse through recent news, headlines and popular topics, as well as feeds from individual top publishers. At the same time, we offer search over many top newspapers and magazines, and the ability to share content with your friends. Fast Flip also personalizes your experience by taking cues from selections you make to show you more content from sources, topics and journalists that you like.

Place Pages in Google Maps

Last week we launched Place Pages. A Place Page is a webpage for every place in the world — not just businesses, but also points of interest, transit stations, neighborhoods, landmarks and cities. Each Place Page organizes information about that a place, including a summary, reviews, photos and videos, related maps and much more — all in one page. To get to a Place Page, click "more info" in either the search results or the display bubble that pops up on the map.

Picasa 3.5, now with name tags

With Picasa 3.5, the newest version of our free photo editing software, you can organize your pictures by what matters most: the people in them. Using the same facial recognition technology that powers name tags in Picasa Web Albums, it identifies and groups similar faces so you can add name tags to dozens of pictures at once. Then, you can do creative things with your pictures, like quickly find all the photos with the same two people in them, make a face collage with just one click, or upload and share people albums with friends. Picasa 3.5 also has integrated Google Maps for faster geotagging, and there's a totally redesigned import process so you can import photos and upload them to Picasa Web Albums in one step. Picasa 3.5 is available in English for both PC and Mac.

New Features in Google SketchUp

We just released Google SketchUp 7.1 with a bunch of new features and functionality to make SketchUp even more useful for everyone. We overhauled our rendering engine to make it faster, built in a connection to Street View imagery in Google Maps, and added support for even more 3D file types. Plus, LayOut 2.1 (which is included in SketchUp Pro 7.1) now includes a simple but surprisingly powerful tool for creating dimensioned drawings from your models; especially helpful for architects, woodworkers and other designers.


Recently, you might have seen our mysterious series of Google "doodles" (our special homepage designs) in honor of H.G. Wells, the author and "father of science fiction." These are just three of the many doodles that decorate the Google homepage to commemorate notable individuals and discoveries, holidays and events in history. Occasionally, such as for our 11th birthday this month, a doodle graces the homepage worldwide. Other times, a doodle appears on a particular Google country domain. But you don't have to travel to see all the doodles there are — we archive them for your viewing pleasure. You can also subscribe to a feed to see new doodles whenever the archive is updated. Enjoy!

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