Google stuff we missed this week

The Pope on YouTube; Google's transit site gets a makeover; and watching Web videos right in Gmail! Here are some little updates you might have missed.

Josh Lowensohn Former Senior Writer
Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.
Josh Lowensohn
2 min read

Between its big earnings call and rolling out a snazzy New York visitors' center, Google's been pretty busy this week. Here are five bits of news that slipped through the cracks:

Gmail users can now watch YouTube videos right in Gmail Chat. CNET Networks

Watch YouTube videos in Gmail Chat. Having YouTube video links turn into videos in Google Talk is nothing new, but the feature is now a part of Gmail too. Web users who had lusted over the desktop software's feature are now able to do the same right in the browser. Dropping in any YouTube URL will insert the video into your conversation stream, where it can be viewed by both users, although not at the same time. See our old story about Meebo offering the same thing in its chat rooms back in 2007.

Embedded YouTube videos get high-quality love. Previously, if you had embedded a YouTube video somewhere else, your viewers would have missed out on the option to view it in high quality. Google has quietly added the option to flip it into high-quality mode right from the bottom corner menu. This doesn't come along with an option to view the same video in its high-def glory, but it's a start. (via CrunchGear)

Google's transit site gets a makeover. On Friday, Google rolled out a new version of its transit site that makes it easier to see which parts of the U.S. are Google Transit-capable. Each state now has a little sub-list of regions and the respective transit companies that are a part of Google's index. Missing, however, is the transit layer, which lets you see routes in all forms of transportation at once. Google added this to its Maps product earlier this month, and says it will be a part of the transit site soon.

FeedBurner experiences hiccups in service. Earlier this week, RSS management service FeedBurner began to experience problems with its aggregation tools, resulting in the number of reported reader subscriptions fluctuating wildly. FeedBurner co-founder Dick Costolo says that there's nothing to worry about and that the hiccups have been related to FeedBurner moving users over to the newer, updated architecture. Costolo also said that the actual reader subscriptions have remained intact.

The Vatican goes Web 2.0. On Friday, YouTube announced that the Vatican joined up as a content partner. There's now a dedicated content channel with a dozen videos--mostly of the Pope. In an introductory video, Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, said the move was the Vatican's way of being a part of the "global arena." The only problem with that statement is that the Vatican has disabled embedding, requiring users to watch all the videos on YouTube's site only.