A new inbox that puts you back in control

We get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more. All of these emails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done. Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Today, Gmail is getting a brand new inbox on desktop and mobile that puts you back in control using simple, easy organization.

On the desktop, the new inbox groups your mail into categories which appear as different tabs. You simply choose which categories you want and voilà! Your inbox is organized in a way that lets you see what’s new at a glance and decide which emails you want to read when.


You can easily customize the new inbox—select the tabs you want from all five to none, drag-and-drop to move messages between tabs, set certain senders to always appear in a particular tab and star messages so that they also appear in the Primary tab.

In the Gmail for Android 4.0+ and Gmail for iPhone and iPad apps, you'll see your Primary mail when you open the app and you can easily navigate to the other tabs.
 

If the new inbox isn't quite your style, you can simply switch off all optional tabs to go back to classic view, or switch to any of your other favorite inbox types.

The new inbox is rolling out gradually. The desktop, Android and iOS versions will become available within the next few weeks. If you'd like to try out the new inbox on Desktop sooner, keep an eye on the gear menu and select Configure inbox when it appears in the Settings options.

Google Keep—Save what’s on your mind

Every day we all see, hear or think of things we need to remember. Usually we grab a pad of sticky-notes, scribble a reminder and put it on the desk, the fridge or the relevant page of a magazine. Unfortunately, if you’re like me you probably often discover that the desk, fridge or magazine wasn’t such a clever place to leave the note after all...it’s rarely where you need it when you need it.

To solve this problem we’ve created Google Keep. With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you. Your notes are safely stored in Google Drive and synced to all your devices so you can always have them at hand.

If it’s more convenient to speak than to type that’s fine—Keep transcribes voice memos for you automatically. There’s super-fast search to find what you’re looking for and when you’re finished with a note you can archive or delete it.



Changing priorities isn’t a problem: just open Keep on your Android phone or tablet (there’s a widget so you can have Keep front and center all the time) and drag your notes around to reflect what matters. You can choose the color for each note too.

Pro tip: for adding thoughts quickly without unlocking your device there's a lock screen widget (on devices running Android 4.2+).


Google Keep is available on Google Play for devices running Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and above. You can access, edit and create new notes on the web at http://drive.google.com/keep and in the coming weeks you'll be able to do the same directly from Google Drive.

Making the cloud more accessible with Chrome and Android

If you’re a blind or low-vision user, you know that working in the cloud poses unique challenges. Our accessibility team had an opportunity to address some of those challenges at the 28th annual CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference this week. While there, we led a workshop on how we’ve been improving the accessibility of Google technologies. For all those who weren’t at the conference, we want to share just a few of those improvements and updates:

Chrome and Google Apps
  • Chrome OS now supports a high-quality text-to-speech voice (starting with U.S. English). We’ve also made spoken feedback, along with screen magnification and high-contrast mode available out-of-the-box to make Chromebook and Chromebox setup easier for users with accessibility needs.
  • Gmail now has a consistent navigation interface, backed by HTML5 ARIA, which enables blind and low-vision users to effectively navigate using a set of keyboard commands.
  • It’s now much easier to access content in your Google Drive using a keyboard—for example, you can navigate a list of files with just the arrow keys. In Docs, you can access features using the keyboard, with a new way to search menu and toolbar options. New keyboard shortcuts and verbalization improvements also make it easier to use Docs, Sheets and Slides with a screenreader.
  • The latest stable version of Chrome, released last week, includes support for the Web Speech API, which developers can use to integrate speech recognition capabilities into their apps. At CSUN, our friends from Bookshare demonstrated how they use this new functionality to deliver ReadNow—a fully integrated ebook reader for users with print disabilities.
  • Finally, we released a new Help Center Guide specifically for blind and low-vision users to ease the transition to using Google Apps.

Android
  • We added Braille support to Android 4.1; since then, Braille support has been expanded on Google Drive for Android, making it easier to read and edit your documents. You can also use Talkback with Docs and Sheets to edit on the go.
  • With Gesture Mode in Android 4.1, you can reliably navigate the UI using touch and swipe gestures in combination with speech output.
  • Screen magnification is now built into Android 4.2—just enable “Magnification gestures,” then triple tap to enter full screen magnification.
  • The latest release of TalkBack (available on Play soon) includes several highly-requested features like structured browsing of web content and the ability to easily suspend/resume TalkBack via an easy-to-use radial menu.

These updates to Chrome, Google Apps, and Android will help create a better overall experience for our blind and low-vision users, but there’s still room for improvement. Looking ahead, we’re focused on the use of accessibility APIs that will make it easier for third-party developers to create accessible web applications, as well as pushing the state of the art forward with technologies like speech recognition and text-to-speech. We’re looking forward to working with the rest of the industry to make computers and the web more accessible for everyone.

App promoters: Are you prepared for a surge in downloads this holiday season?

With 29% of shoppers planning to purchase smartphones this holiday season, there’s no doubt that some of the shiniest new mobile devices will be wrapped up under the tree this Christmas. Little time will be wasted before happy new smartphone and tablet owners begin searching for the best apps to fill these new devices. So it’s no surprise that according to Google Trends, during the week following Christmas last year, searches for “best tablet apps” rose by more than 70%, while searches for “free phone apps” jumped by about 37%. The holidays are prime time for app promotion, so it’s important for marketers to make sure their app stands out from the crowd.

Maximizing reach with search and display ads

Whether you have a shopping companion app, a banking app, or a mobile gaming app, it’s important to reach the right audience to drive downloads and increase awareness. Many marketers have made mobile work for them by using search and display strategies together to raise interest and drive downloads of their app.

TripIt, a mobile travel organizer, used click-to-download ads on Google Search and the Google Display Network to promote their app to business travelers on the road. By creating and optimizing display ads within other apps, TripIt increased downloads by more than 75% and slashed cost-per-download by more than 96%. According to Rhonda Hanson, senior director of search marketing, promoting their app with mobile ads allowed TripIt to, “redirect the dollars we've saved on app promotion to improving our app and providing a better trip-organizer service to our business travelers.” Download the full case study here.


Maximizing ROI with Conversion Optimizer
Savvy advertisers also know they can take app promotion to the next level with optimization tools. Leading mobile game developer GREE promoted their apps to gamers using Google Search click-to-download ads along with image and text ads on the Google Display Network. To make sure they were getting the best return on investment for their in-app display ads, they used Conversion Optimizer for apps to reach their cost-per-download targets. This automated campaign optimization helped them improve app download rates by 150%, decrease cost-per-download by 52% and improve click-through rates by 49%. Download the full case study here.

If you haven’t already created your holiday app strategy, it’s not too late. Here are some things you can do to win across search and display:
  1. Make sure you’re reaching people when they search for apps like yours and help them easily download your app with click-to-download ads and mobile app extensions
  2. Reach relevant users within over 300,000 premium apps on the Google Display Network with image and text ads
  3. Track downloads on Android and iOS with AdWords conversion tracking and optimize ROI with the automated bidding feature, the Conversion Optimizer for apps
  4. Measure in-app user activity with Mobile App Analytics in order to optimize
  5. Increase app promotion campaign budgets for the holidays to account for additional ad clicks
For more on how you can drive cost-effective app downloads with Google AdWords, check out this recorded Learn with Google webinar.

Communicate more easily across languages in Gmail

Finding the right words can be difficult, especially across languages, and once you choose them, finding a way to type them can be even harder. Try emailing family in Germany, chatting with friends in China or adding a Russian business partner's name to your contacts and you may find yourself limited by the language of your keyboard.

That's why today we’re adding more than 100 virtual keyboards, transliteration and IMEs—collectively called input tools—in Gmail. These tools enable you to type in the language and keyboard layout you’re accustomed to, making it easy to keep in touch with family, friends and coworkers from any computer. You can even switch between languages with one click.


To try it out, check the box next to Enable input tools under Language in Settings.

Once you’ve enabled it, you’ll see the Input Tools icon next to the Settings button in your toolbar, and you can turn on and off any Input Tool from there.


With these new virtual keyboards, Gmail supports typing in 75 languages—a big jump from the five languages that were initially supported when we introduced Indic transliteration in Gmail in 2009.

Gmail’s users are from all over the world—and language should never get in the way of a good conversation. If you'd like to use Input Tools in other places, try out the Chrome extension, the Windows desktop client or the Android app.



(Cross-posted on the Gmail and Enterprise Blogs)

Celebrating teachers who make a difference with Google

For most of us, there’s at least one teacher whose name we will never forget—that favorite teacher who made a difference in our education, whether they were our first grade art teacher or a professor in college. For me, that teacher was Ms. Taylor, my 8th grade science teacher. Ms. Taylor didn't just foster my love of science—she understood that 8th grade can be a tough time for students as they try to navigate social cliques and prepare for the pressure of high school. Ms. Taylor knew that taking the time to ask us if we were feeling okay was just as important as teaching us about geological formations. She didn’t just care about teaching us—she genuinely cared about us as people.

This Friday is World Teachers' Day, and we want to honor the teachers like Ms. Taylor who helped make us the people we are today. We’ve long supported education through technology, offering free tools like YouTube Edu and Google Apps for Education, and by developing cost-efficient devices like Chromebooks. But it’s the teachers who really make the difference by creatively incorporating that technology into their classrooms. As technology usage in schools increases, we hear even more amazing stories about how teachers and students are using our products to foster collaborative learning.

And that usage is growing quickly. As of today, more than 20 million students, faculty and staff worldwide use Google Apps for Education. In addition, in the last year we announced that:
  • 400+ universities are posting lectures and/or full courses online using YouTube Edu
  • 600,000 staff from the Philippines Department of Education will now be using Google Apps
  • Universities across the continents are signing up for Apps, including schools in Poland, Spain, the Netherlands and Africa
  • More than 500 schools and districts went back to school with Chromebooks this fall
  • Seven of the eight Ivy League universities and 72 of this year’s top 100 U.S. universities (as determined by 2013 U.S. News and World Report’s ranking) have gone Google with Google Apps for Education
As a tribute to the educators who are putting these tools to work, this week we’ll be highlighting a few amazing teachers on our Google in Education page on Google+. To kick off the series, we want to celebrate Ms. Kornowski—a science teacher at Kettle-Moraine High School in Wales, WI, who is using Google Forms to bring her students together.



To all the Ms. Taylors and Ms. Kornowskis out there—thank you, both for the positive impact you have on your students and for letting Google be a part of that experience.

Greater accessibility for Google Apps

It's been a year since we posted about enhanced accessibility in Google Docs, Sites and Calendar. As we close out another summer, we want to update our users on some of the new features and improvements in our products since then. We know that assistive technologies for the web are still evolving, and we're committed to moving the state of accessibility forward in our applications.

Since last year, we've made a number of accessibility fixes in Google Calendar, including improved focus handling, keyboard access, and navigation. In Google Drive, we incorporated Optical Character Recognition technology to allow screen readers to read text in scanned PDFs and images, and we added NVDA support for screen readers. New accessibility features in mobile apps (Gmail for Mobile and Google Drive on iOS and Android) included enhanced explore-by-touch capabilities and keyboard/trackpad navigability. For a full list of new features and improvements for accessibility in our products, check out our post today on accessible@googlegroups.com.

Based on these updates, we’ve also created an Administrator Guide to Accessibility that explains best practices for deploying Google Apps to support users’ accessibility needs. We want to give everyone a great experience with Google Apps, and this guide is another resource designed with that goal in mind.

For more information on these specific accessibility improvements, using Google products with screen readers, how to submit feedback and how to track our progress, please visit www.google.com/accessibility.

A new way of doing things on campus

Josh remembers the old days at college, when working on a group project meant trekking through the snow (uphill both ways, of course) to meet with his team in the library, followed by endless rounds of back-and-forth revisions (in red pen, no doubt). And by old days, he means last year. As Josh—a rising senior at Princeton University—heads back to campus this fall, he and his classmates will be getting a whole new experience with Google Apps for Education.

Princeton is just one of the many colleges and universities now using Google Apps. In fact, seven of the eight Ivy League universities and 72 of this year’s top 100 U.S. Universities (as determined by 2013 U.S. News and World Report’s ranking) have gone Google, too.

We’re also welcoming 14 other new schools to the Google Apps for Education family, just in time for back-to-school:
  • Bates College
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Georgetown University
  • Princeton University
  • Rice University
  • Smith College
  • Stony Brook University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Colorado, Boulder
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Mississippi
  • University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences
  • Vassar College
  • Virginia Tech
By going Google, students and teachers have access to a whole new way of doing things: They can better collaborate in and out of the classroom; office hours can be held via hangouts; e-portfolios can be created and maintained in a Google Site; professors can give real-time feedback in a Google document (no red pen necessary); and group projects can take place across continents instead of side-by-side in a library.

And this is just the beginning. As more schools go Google, we continue to be amazed by the creative ways students and teachers are using technology to work better together, and we’re looking forward to the surprises in store this school year.




(Cross-posted on the Google Enterprise Blog.)

Google Drive: Updates for iOS and Android

Every day, more and more people are choosing to live online and get things done in the cloud. Helping to make this experience as seamless as possible, Google Drive is one place where you can create, share and keep all your stuff. Drive is available on the web, as well as Mac, Windows and Android and iOS.

Updates for iOS
Starting today, if you’re using the Drive app on your iOS device you can also edit Google documents, just as you can with the Android app. From your iPhone or iPad, you can create a new document, edit an existing one or format text. And, just like on your computer, you’ll be able to see other people’s edits instantly as they’re made.

You’ll also notice other new improvements to the iOS Drive app. For example, you can now view Google presentations on your iPhone or iPad, including speaker notes, full-screen mode and the ability to swipe between slides. You can also create new folders, move files into folders and upload stuff (like photos and videos) from your device directly in the Drive app.

Updates for Android 
We’re also updating the Drive app for Android phones and tablets today. You can now add comments, reply to existing comments and view tables in your Google documents. And you’ll have the same new abilities to view presentations and organize your stuff as your friends with iPhones do.

More to come... 
Looking ahead, we have plenty more planned for the Drive mobile apps—including native editing and real-time collaboration for Google spreadsheets. Stay tuned.



Get Drive in the App Store for your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and visit the Play Store to get the latest on your Android phone or tablet. To learn more about Google Drive, visit drive.google.com/start.

Posted by Anil Sabharwal, Senior Product Manager

(Cross-posted on the Enterprise and Drive blogs)

Conquer the back to school blues with Google tools

August is both an end to the lush freedom of summer and the beginning of another year of student life. As a rising senior at the University of Florida, this time is both exciting and anxiety-inducing. Even though I’m looking forward to many aspects of the school year, there are certain things about college—from book budgets to calculus study sessions—that can make it a headache.

But this fall, I feel more prepared to face the daily student grind. This summer, I had the chance to intern on the communications team at Google and got the inside track on some tools and tricks to make school a snap. For example, did you know there was an extension for Chrome that helps you stay focused on your work? Yup, didn’t think so! So I thought I’d share some of my new favorite tips—my “Survival Guide for Student Life”—to help make it easier for all students to get through the coming months.

Easy ways to coordinate your social and extracurricular life
  • Google+ Hangouts enables you to video chat with up to nine friends from your desktop, mobile phone or tablet. A great feature for when your club needs to discuss some last minute changes for the upcoming meeting.
  • Stay on task with Hangout Apps like Symphonical, which provides a digital wall of sticky notes for virtual brainstorm sessions.
  • With Google+ Events, invite all your friends to your get-together and attach a personalized video greeting to the invitation. During the event, photos from the party can be uploaded to the event page in real-time using Party Mode. So if you have to miss a party due to a study session, you can avoid that pesky FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)!
  • Let your friends know what you’re up to by sharing your Google Calendar with them. Or create a shared calendar just for your study group.
Stay organized and efficient—and be prepared for the unexpected
  • Stop the email flood from the ridiculous number of email lists you signed up for using Gmail’s auto-unsubscribe feature.
  • No more sore eyes from crowded inboxes—Gmail's default mode is Priority Inbox so it automatically sorts your important messages for you.
  • Cite your sources! Use Google Docs’ research tool to investigate highlighted portions of your essay and then generate a citation.
  • Group projects call for collaboration. With Google Drive, you can use shared folders so everyone can access materials without having to email updates to each other.
  • Using your laptop or phone, you can send any documents or presentations saved on your Google Drive to Fedex to be printed, thanks to Google Cloud Print.
Get what you need and where you’re going faster
  • For those of you starting at university this year, Google Maps has 360-degree panoramic Street View imagery for many campuses around the world to give you a preview of your new stomping grounds.
  • Back to school shopping is one of the most fun things about August. Find your way in and out of malls and department stores with indoor Google Maps on Android devices.
  • We college students can’t go too long without homemade food. Search for your next flight home with Flight Search. (If flying makes you a bit queasy, track any care packages by typing the tracking code into the Google search bar.)
  • Stay informed with Google Now. This feature, available on Android devices running Jelly Bean, can update you when the next bus is coming or provide the weather forecast for Saturday’s big game.
Reading, writing, 'rithmetic and... YouTube
  • Don’t break the bank on textbooks. Google Play has millions of FREE (emphasis is important) books readily available such as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Gulliver’s Travels."
  • With the new Nexus 7 tablet, you can take your Google Play books, music, movies, TV shows, magazines and apps (like My Majors and doubleTwist Alarm Clock) with you, wherever you go.
  • Locate hard-to-find books online or at a library near you with Book Search.
  • Put Chrome to work with educational apps
  • Not a fan of traditional note taking? Chromebooks are a super fast and virus-proof laptop. It starts seconds after you boot it and will last through a whole day of classes.
  • A fair portion of us students aren’t fans of mental math. Type any equation into the Google search box to get the answers you need. It can graph functions as well.
  • We know we spend too much of our time watching funny videos on YouTube, but there are video channels that can actually help us learn more about a variety of subjects—from astrophysics to world history. Find more educational channels at YouTube EDU.
I’m resting a bit easier now that I know there are tools that make student life a bit less overwhelming. Here’s hoping you, too, feel armed to face the fall semester—and beyond—with Google in your backpack.