Yet More Google Updates: Makeovers, Mobile Sites & Chocolate Milk, Oh My!
Don't You Forget About Me
In the aftermath of all the Google+ excitement, I’d like to call attention to some other Google updates that deserve our notice.
You may have thought that Google+ was enough to tide you over, but remarkably Google has been dishing out additional updates without pause.
Google Products Get a Face Lift
You’ve probably already noticed the new Google homepage’s cleaner, more sophisticated look. You’ll be seeing this sleek redesign applied to a number of Google products, as Google aims to deliver an experience “founded on three key design principles: focus, elasticity and effortlessness.” How oddly vague.
As Google notes, a shot of Botox from time to time never hurts…unless you have a negative reaction. Taking a look at Google’s original homepage in 1997, we can be thankful for the many changes that have come since.
We thought this looked good
The Google Products They Are A-Changin’
Gmail, the gold standard for modern web email, is looking better than ever! Tight, clean square shapes with a healthy dose of negative space dominate the new design rather than the slightly bubbly, crowded icons of the past.
If you’re up for trying out the new and improved look, just head over to the Themes section and select “Preview” or “Preview (dense).” Google plans on tweaking these designs over the next few months, but eventually the design will be standard across inboxes everywhere.
What do you think of the new Google Calendar? Cleaner and crisper, it practically begs to mark your “4:00pm Dentist Appointment” or your “Family Trip to Barbados.” You can still go back to the original style by clicking the gear and going to “use the classic look,” if you’re feeling boring. There are some minimal functional changes such as where icons are located, but for the most part these adjustments are purely cosmetic … at least for now!
Not about to be outdone by Brother Gmail or Uncle Calendar, Google Maps gets an upgrade as well. Following Gmail’s lead, it has a cleaner style and makes better use of white space.
Engadget found a little piece of buried treasure in some Google+ source code; it seems Google+ might be involving some games in the future. Great, but I still get PTSD attacks just hearing the word “Farmville.” Or “Farm” for that matter.
Brought to you by the Data Liberation Front, Google Takeout enables users to remove or copy their data from multiple Google products at once. Better yet, this data is portable and in open formats, which allows you to import that data to other services.
This may not seem like a humongous deal to some, and as the naïve innocent fawn I am, I probably wouldn’t normally consider removing my data from Google because I enjoy the attention and for some reason am not bothered that Google probably knows waay to much about me.
But for the more sensible folks, access to your data and the privacy issues connected with that are hot button topics. By allowing people to remove their data from Google products with a smile, and even making it easy to do so, Google is one-upping the data-greedy Facebook in a big way. While Facebook does enable users to download a zip file of your data, it’s not in a format that third parties could use.
Google Mobile Sites
With more focus on the importance of mobile, Google is making it easy for business to create websites that are mobile-friendly with Google Sites. Google will automatically render pages into a format that is compatible with mobile phones, just like how their enhanced campaigns algorithm will showcase the right ad format withouth device targetting.
Additionally, Google offers free pre-formatted templates that make the process super easy, even for the less tech-savvy.
What Do You Love (WDYL)?
The new Google site, What Do You Love, is an adorable little search tool that connects you with the things you love most, through your pal Google. Search a beloved term and Google will bring up the results from different Google products and services, compiling everything from Google Images, Picasa, Trends, YouTube, etc.
Explore chocolate milk in 3D? Don’t mind if I do!
Nothing earth shattering, but it’s a gentle reminder of what Google has to offer, and also works as a venue to showcase Google’s lesser-known products.
Search Engine Watch notes that there are some odd little issues that arise with the WDYL Picasa previews, as some innocent searches such as “Gmail” bring up photos of women in compromising positions. But we love them anyway.