Summer always seems busy. And if you work at Google, this summer has been especially busy. Obviously, Google+ (aka Google Plus) has been the Google news item of the summer. The new social media network has charmed many who have tried it. Maybe it's the cool features like Sparks, Circles and Hangouts. Or maybe people are just looking for a Facebook alternative. Either way, the Google Plus splash has stolen the thunder from other new features from Google.
So what has Google done lately other than Google+? Here are ten things Google has released this summer that aren't Google Plus.
10 New Things from Google (that Aren't Google+):
- The big Google re-design. Google is re-designing a lot of their products to have a consistent look and feel. Everything from Gmail to search to Google+ will soon have a similar design. This is a big change for a company that has traditionally and very famously been machine-driven instead of by human aesthetics.
- Google Places reviews get personal. As part of the Google interface re-design efforts, Google Places announced changes that will emphasize the reviews of individuals and throw out third-party reviews. Look for Google Places and Google+ integrations in the future.
- Google Translate now servicing India. Google's main business goal is to get more people to use the web so Google can advertise to them. Google's translation service began translating five new Indic langauges this summer. With a combined 500 million speakers, Google Translate just added another large number to Google's global audience.
- Google Voice Search for your computer. Google released a voice-powered search engine for your desktop computer. Today it's search, but what does tomorrow hold? Will Google be smart enough to take our commands and perform our daily tasks in the near future?
- Google will help you refinance. Google Advisor takes Google's ability to organize and extends it to the world of mortgage refinance, checking accounts and other financial matters.
- Google Offers eyes local deal market. The local deal market is hot right now. Groupon, Living Social and others give businesses a way to attract new customers with deep discounts. Google could buy any of these services if it wanted, but instead they created Google Offers.
- Nevada legalizes Google's driverless cars. Google has perfected the world's first commercial driverless car. Thought to be able to increase traffic capacity by a factor of two or three in addition to saving lives, Google's machein-driven cars are now legal to own in Nevada.
- Google is the new wallet. Google recently hosted a demo of Google Wallet, a tool which will allow you to make payments with your smartphone. There may be a day soon when a lump of paper and leather in your back pocket is no longer an everyday occurance.
- Google has a music service too. It seems like everyone is getting into the music space this summer and Google is no different. Google Music beta launched earlier this summer at Google I/O to compete with Apple, Amazon, Spotify, and a guy named Hank.
- Display advertising as Google's next big money-maker. Ever since buying Doubleclick four years ago, Google has been a major player in the display (aka banner) advertising space. Recently, Google purchased Admeld, a service that helps select ads and simplifies the advertising experience for web publishers. It'll be interesting how Google incorporates Admeld into their display advertising product to continue their growth in this ad space.
What Google news item did you find interesting? Was it a recent effort in their core web/search business or in an entirely new space for Google that got your attention? Should Google offer such a wide product portfolio or should they focus on fewer, more related products? Leave your thoughts on these and other Google topics in the comments below. (P.S. Thanks go out to Kareem Ahmed for suggesting today's topic!)