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Tag: gmail

Google’s new Chrome browser and updated Picasa

Its been an exciting week thanks to Google. On Wednesday they released a new browser – Chrome – and also introduced some new features in Picasa – the biggest of which is face recognition.

There’s been a lot of talk and hype about the Chrome browser on the internet. I gave it a spin too and felt that its really fast. It beats Firefox hands-down in start-up times. Javascript heavy sites like Gmail work pretty fast too, though I didn’t think there was too much difference as compared to Firefox.

What I really miss in Chrome, though, is the ability to extend it using plugins. I especially miss the Greasemonkey which makes some sites like Gmail and Flickr much better.

In all the hype about Chrome, Picasa’s new features seem to have been overlooked. I personally found the face-recognition feature really great. I uploaded a ton of party pics from ISB days onto Picasa Web to test it out. And I was blown away…

It automatically detects all faces in the uploaded pictures and asks you to tag them with names. After you’ve tagged a few it gets better at recognising who’s who and gives you appropriate suggestions. It doesn’t automatically tag photos though. There were a small number of false suggestions and non-faces, but not so many that you get frustrated. In about an hour I was able to tag about 700 faces in my photos. Once you’ve tagged photos, Picasa can display the names of the people in your photos on a sidebar and clicking on them takes you to a gallery of all photos of that person.

The privacy features here are cool too and you can select whether you want to show these name tags to the world or not.

I like this feature so much that I’m probably going to upload all my people pictures to Picasa instead of Flickr when I need to share them with others…

Picasa’s desktop software has also been upgraded to version 3 and one of the best new features is the ability to sync folders between your desktop and Picasa Web. Apparently, any changes you make on your computer will automatically be synced with the web galleries.

A replacement to Window’s default picture viewer is also included with Picasa 3. I tried it and am still not too sure whether I like it better or not.

I’m going to test both these softwares more over the weekend so stay tuned for updates…

Marketing Google style – new Gmail, OpenSocial and OHA

I’ve seen or heard of very little Google marketing (the only thing that comes to mind is a hoarding they put up for job seekers…)

But if we see today Google seems to have one of the best known brands on the Internet. And I think there are some really clever marketing ppl behind this. I’m really coming around to the view that Google’s slow roll-outs of Gmail and its newer versions and invitation-only betas to new products are all smart marketing tactics to create buzz around these things. Further, I refuse to believe that Google has no hand to play in all the speculation that happens around their upcoming launches.

Take for example the two most recent releases – OpenSocial and the Android/OHA mobile phone OS. I must have read hundreds of blog posts (on what else but Google Reader 🙂 ) about these 2 over the last couple of months. Should I really believe that this is all speculation and is not being fuelled by Google? I find it a little too hard to believe that.

Gmail was the first “big” launch that I remember from Google. I can still remember searching all across the Net for an invite to Gmail till I finally got one. The amount of buzz that was generated then was awesome and I think Google has successfully re-created that around OpenSocial and Android/OHA.

But whatever you say I like the things these guys are building. And if you missed the update that is being rolled out across Gmail accounts now, look out for my next post. My wife’s Gmail has been updated to the new version and as a result I spend more time in her mailbox than mine 😉

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