Google April Fools – YouTube, Google Maps, Chrome…

Hi guy, today (1 April) is the April Fool Day, our naughty little brother Google has prepared many funny things for you.

 

Chrome Multitasking Mode

The first came to my attention is the “Chrome multitask mode” video in YouTube.  In this video, the “Google employee” claims that you can use more than 1 mice at a time on the same screen.  I don’t have two mice to test it, but I bet if you really try to follow these instructions, you get… nothing.

 

8-bit Google Maps

Is this April Fool?  Or a permanent feature?  I hope it is the latter one because it’s so funny.  Today if you go to Google Maps, you will see a box telling you the 8-bit version is released.

Google Maps 8-bit April Fool

You can find the 8-bit rendering of some landmarks.

Google Maps 8-bit Statue of Liberty

UFO at Area 51:

Google Maps 8-bit Area 51 UFO

And there are hidden monsters, like this:

Google Maps 8-bit Monster

People have been crazily sharing the landmarks and monsters they found, probably you already seen some on your Facebook, Twitter or Google+ statuses!

Google even released a video introducing 8-bit Google Maps like a serious product launch!

 

YouTube Collection

The final amazing product is YouTube Collection.  You can order YouTube videos in DVDs delivered to your home!  A vast variety of collections with different themes are available, check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/TheYouTubeCollection

 

New App Categories in Chrome Web Store

Google Chrome Web Store has just received a little change.  As introduced in Chromium Blog, there are new top level categories and sub-categories in the Store, such as Business Tools.

Chrome Web Store New Categories - Business Tools

This is certainly a move to help (and attract) corporate users.  There are also new sub-categories, such as Shopping under Lifestyle.  This is how Google described the benefits of these changes:

The new structure of the store will improve discoverability for apps. For example, users searching for a photo album app can now easily drill down to the “Photos” subcategory level and track down the app they are looking for. At the same time, apps assigned to a subcategory show up in the category page as well giving them wider exposure; an app in “Photos” will appear on both the “Photos” page and the “Entertainment” page.

From now on, an app would only be shown in the primary category the developer chose, to avoid confusion caused.  It would, however, be shown in both the category and sub-category it belongs to.

Web app developers are certainly affected by this change because they have review the categories of their apps after this update.  For web app users, I believe this brings easier app searching.  The new top level categories and sub-categories are, in my opinion, much better and clearer than the original categorization.

 

Source Chromium Blog, via Chrome Story

Christmas is Coming to Google – Snowy Easter Egg and Santa’s Call

Christmas is coming, and Google is prepared to give us surprises.  The first one is an easter egg in Google search.  Try entering “let it snow” (without the quotes) and see what happened?

Google Let It Snow Easter Egg

Yes, your web browser is snowing!  You can see snow flakes fall down and your browser screen gradually becomes frozen.  a “defrost” button will appear later, click on it to return to a workable Google search.

Send a Call or Video from Santa - Get Started

Another surprise by Google is call or video by Santas.  This is a US / Canada only service in which you can ask Santa to give a call to your friend.  Simply go to http://www.sendacallfromsanta.com/ to begin or you may also find the following banner when you log-in to Gmail.

Send a Call or Video from Santa

No it’s not those simple canned messages, you can customize it by giving the name of your friend, his likes/dislikes, where he lives, etc. so that the message by Santa would be more lively.

Send a Call or Video from Santa - Customization

This funny game is available as a Chrome web app, check it out now!

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hhobohiflghobpjebbkgnhfcegcifapm

Use Google Currents Producer to Create Your Own Publication

Many people have already tried Google Currents on their smartphones and tablets.  It is obviously Google’s attempt to challenge the mobile reading market.  While many users opined that Google Currents is similar to its competitors like Flipboard, Pulse, Zite, etc. and did not really stand out from them.  However, ther is one less talked about feature that got my attention: Google Currents Producer.

Google Currents Producer is a tool for all content providers to create their publications for Google Currents users to read.  I said “all” because everyone can do it, even if you are a not-so-popular blog owner.  Let us see how this function works.

 

Google Currents Producer – Create Your First Edition

On the main page of Google Currents (http://www.google.com/producer/currents), click “Publish to Google Currents”.

Google Currents producer - Start Publishing

You would be asked to provide some basic information of your new “Edition”.  The easiest way to create an Edition is to import the RSS feed of your blog or web site.  You can also enter the name of your YouTube channel if you want to create a video-oriented Edition.

Google Currents producer - Create New Edition

You will then enter more details, including an icon and a custom splash image.  As the publisher you can choose to collect reader’s email address.  This means that people must opt-in by providing their email addresses before they could get your Edition.  You can also add Google Analytics code to track the traffic.  You can instantly preview the Edition as on Android phone, tablet, iPhone and iPad.

Google Currents producer - Customization

Your content could be divided into different sections.  Apart from RSS feed and YouTube video, you can put photos, articles, social updates (including your Google+ updates) as well.  The order of sections could be re-arranged.

Google Currents producer - Sections

When you are finished with customizing the Edition, click “Distribute”.  You can preview the Edition on your smartphones and tablet using logging in using the publishing account.  Click “Distribute to Google Currents” and choose a publishing date to pas it to the hands of your readers.  My Edition looks like this on Android phone:

Google Currents producer - Cloud High Club

While Google Currents in its existing form still needs improvements on performance, user interface, etc. I see Google Currents producer as a handy tool for individual publishers to extend their readership.  It could help bloggers to explore the market because they have an extra channel to be known.  The ability to import from RSS feeds, YouTube channels and Google+ updates makes publishing as simple as re-using existing content.

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