by Kristin Burnham

Summer of Google: 10 Hot New Features

Aug 30, 20115 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsInternetSoftware Development

Some businesses embraced the relaxed pace of summer, but not Google. Check out how Google was beating the heat and rolled out 10 new tools for shopping, tracking weather and more.

Shop With Google Catalogs

If you’re looking to ditch your catalog subscriptions, check out Google Catalogs. Catalogs is a free app for tablet devices that lets you browse a number of catalogs from categories such as fashion and apparel, beauty, jewelry, home, kids and gifts, and lets you interact with the content.

Using your tablet device, you can zoom in to see products up close, tap on tags to learn more about an item, view photo albums and videos, find products in nearby stores, check out collages created by others, share products with friends and more.

Track Weather in Google Maps


If you’re leaving for a business trip or planning a vacation, Google is making it easier to check out the weather at a location by using Google Maps.

To add the weather layer to your view, hover over the widget in the upper right corner of Google Maps and select it from the list of options. When zoomed out, you’ll see a map with current weather conditions from with icons to denote sun, clouds, rain, etc. Click on a city’s weather icon to get more detailed data such as current humidity, wind conditions and an extended forecast.

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Gmail Snooze


Got more e-mail than you can possibly delete? Google’s new “Gmail Snooze” lets you archive certain emails for now and lets you choose when it will automatically reappear in your inbox in the future.

This feature uses an Apps Script. If you’re not familiar with how those work, head over here for more information on how to configure it.

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Google Docs for Mobile


If you spend a lot of time on your mobile device, you may find this update handy. Earlier this summer, Google announced a new mobile interface for Google Docs and a number of new features that let you sort, narrow and share multiple docs in your mobile docs list. Sharing a doc in your mobile browser works the same way it does on the desktop.

Google Mobile Tips: 2 New Ways to Search Faster


Google Related, a Chrome extension and a new feature in Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer, is a thin bar at the bottom of your screen that offers you relevant suggestions for more content to browse based on the content of the page you’re viewing.

For example, say you visit a restaurant’s Website. The Google Related toolbar could display a map, reviews from Google Places, mentions from across the Web and other similar restaurants you might want to try.

Gmail Labs Preview Pane


Gmail’s standard inbox view shows you only the subject line and a very short snippet of the email’s contents. A new feature in Gmail labs lets you preview the entire contents of the message right inside your inbox.

Preview Pane is similar in setup to Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Notes, showing a split screen: the messages in your inbox and a preview of a message you click. To enable this feature, click the gear icon at the top-right of your screen and select Labs, then Enable.

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Google News Badges


Following in the footsteps of Foursquare and other social networks, Google jumped on the badge bandwagon, rolling out Google News Badges — icons and levels you collect based on the volume and type of Google News Stories you read.

Once you start accruing badges, you can share them with friends by hovering over the badge and clicking one of the share icons. When you share a badge, it reveals your badge’s name and level, as well as the rough number of articles you have read about that badge’s topic. Your friends won’t see the specific articles that you have read.

Google News Badges: The Price Is Your Privacy

New Google Docs Shortcuts


If you’re a fan of keyboard shortcuts, check out some new ones Google added to help you easily navigate your Docs. Google even created a shortcut to open the full list in case you forget: Just type ? when you’re not in the search bar.

Make Multiple Calls in Gmail


If you’re familiar with Gmail’s ability to call phones, you know that you were limited to making one call at a time. Not anymore: Google has added the ability to make or receive multiple calls in Gmail.

If you’re on a call and make a second one, your first call will be put on hold. You can switch between calls by pressing the Resume button. If you receive an incoming call while you’re on another one, you’ll receive a notification and can choose to accept it or not. If you take the new call, the previous one will be put on hold.

Google+ Gets Games


A few weeks ago, Google announced it was adding games to its ever-growing social network, Google+. Not only is it adding an array of games including popular ones such as Angry birds, Bejeweled Blitz, Sudoku and more, it’s also adding the capability to control when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences.

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