This week was all about expansion in the Googleverse. The Internet giant made multiple sign-in for Gmail available on mobile devices and opened up Plus for all. Meanwhile, developers found more joy than users in the quiet release of Chrome 14.
Mobile Gmail, Now with Multiple Sign-in
The multiple sign-in feature has been fairly popular among GMail users since its release, but only those working from a desktop could enjoy the convenience of it. This week, Google is ushering in its slew of mobile users, who can now utilize the feature on their smartphones and tablets.
"To sign into an additional account, click on the account switcher at the bottom of the threadlist, then click 'Sign into an another account.' You can quickly switch between accounts by selecting the desired account from the Accounts menu," writes Dominic Leung, Mobile Software Engineer, on Google's official announcement.
While it's a welcome addition, it's still a tad bit lacking compared to the desktop version. For example, the "Send From" option that allows users to send mail from multiple addresses is not available.
Google+ Open to All, Now With Search and New Features
After roughly three months in invite-only mode, Google+ has moved up a peg with a new public beta, offering new features including search, wider hangouts and improved smartphone support.
Broadcasting allows people to tune into a Hangout to see what's going on, even if it has hit maximum capacity. In the back-end there are improvements in stability and quality of broadcast.
PC users can now share whiteboards in Google Docs with their friends to help aid collaboration efforts. Google has also released the public APIs so developers can start building with the service. Soon we could see the types of apps and diversions that made Facebook such a hit.
Those without a Plus account will find the '+You' button in the corner of any Google page. A quick sign up later and you can join in on the glory that is Circles, Hangouts, Video chat, etc. People already in the Google+ club can add their friends with the mix by inviting up to 150 people.
Chrome 14 Adds Native Client Support, New Audio Spec & Security Fixes
Google quietly rolled out the latest Chrome update over the weekend. Most Windows users won't notice the changes, but Mac OS X Lion users will be pleased with a few UI optimizations for the Mac version.
This update will be more exciting for developers, as Google has already activated Native Client application support through sandbox. The Internet giant has been planning to implement its Native Client or NaCl framework on Chrome for ages. Meant as a ground-up redesign of the browser, NaCl lets developers build platform-agnostic applications on the browser, which should run as C/C++ binaries independent of the hardware or the operating system, and in a secure environment. This feature is already embedded into older Chrome versions, although disabled by a flag.
Chrome 14 comes with NaCl automatically enabled, although the framework will only work with content downloaded from the Chrome Web Store. The browser should automatically update for most users, particularly those using the stable channel. Be sure to check your version through the "About Chrome" option, which should check Google's servers for any update.
Google's Mobile Push
Google has been gently pushing mobile website owners to optimize their sites for mobile for some time now, but a recent announcement indicates that Internet giant is through with playing nice. Google will now consider whether or not an advertiser has a mobile-optimized site when assessing ads quality for all AdWords campaigns.
In other words, when Google considers which ads to feature, it will factor in how well a site is tailored for mobile devices. While there's no guarantee that advertisers will gain better visibility, checking all boxes for optimum ad placement is, obviously, very important.