Google grab bag: Translation, Apps uptime, and more

Company adds new translation abilities, potentially prepares for new YouTube ads, extends credit to paying Google Apps customers, and more.

Stephen Shankland Former Principal Writer
Stephen Shankland worked at CNET from 1998 to 2024 and wrote about processors, digital photography, AI, quantum computing, computer science, materials science, supercomputers, drones, browsers, 3D printing, USB, and new computing technology in general. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces. His first big scoop was about radioactive cat poop.
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  • Shankland covered the tech industry for more than 25 years and was a science writer for five years before that. He has deep expertise in microprocessors, digital photography, computer hardware and software, internet standards, web technology, and more.
Stephen Shankland
2 min read

Google's always up to something, and here's a recap of some recent moves.

• Google is making room for gargantuan display ads on YouTube, according to Silicon Alley Insider, which cites advertising industry sources.

Google's search engine now translates text on command in some cases.
Google's search engine now translates text on command in some cases. Google

Making money off the popular video-sharing service is a top Google priority this year, Chief Executive Eric Schmidt has said.

•  "Transparency" is a hot computing buzzword as everyone from Twitter to SalesForce.com seeks to share information about Web service availability so customers and users don't feel quite so helpless when things go wrong. And Google has showed it got transparency religion while trying to reassure Google Apps customers hurt by an August Gmail outage.

"We've...heard your guidance around the need for better communication when outages occur," Google told Google Apps customers, according to MuleSource CEO Dave Rosenberg, one of those customers.

Specifically, Google is building a dashboard that shows specifics of any outages and an estimated time to fix it. The dashboard should launch in coming months, Google said. The company also will provide customers with a formal incident report within 48 hours and will help out with internal company communications about any outages.

• We knew Google's Android programmers watered down Bluetooth and instant-messaging features from last week's announcement of the software developer kit, but Google has shed more light on the decisions in a blog post.

The company decided to remove the GTalkService interface, which could deal with various instant-messaging features, because it was a serious security vulnerability.

And the Bluetooth interface was removed because "we plain ran out of time," according to Android engineer Nick Pelly. "Rather than ship a broken API that we knew was going to change a lot, we chose not to include it. We absolutely intend to support a Bluetooth API in a future release, although we don't know exactly when that will be...I would love nothing more than to start seeing some neat third-party applications and games over Bluetooth. In my opinion, Bluetooth is completely under-utilized on most mobile platforms and I'm excited to someday see what the developer community can do with Android."

• Google appears to be trying a new way to mix videos into search results, according to Google Blogoscoped. The new technique puts two videos side by side.

• Just as Google's search engine can in effect be commanded to perform specific tasks--"time London" tells you just what you'd expect, and "5+5" tells you "10"--Google's search engine will now translate on demand. Typing "translate jaune" into the engine produces a top result of "Translation for jaune: French » English: jaune - yellow, scab." Google Operating System picked up the change.

• And in case you missed it before, Google's search suggestion feature is now enabled after a period of development at Google Labs. The feature suggests possible searches based on the first keystrokes a searcher types.