Google is constantly updating the features of its wide range of products. A number of new enhancements and announcements were made at the end of 2012, which have positioned the innovative company to pursue new goals and improved user experience in 2013.
1. Zeitgeist 2012: Year In Review
Google released 2012’s Zeitgeist report in the form of a short video which included all the major events across the world. From Felix Baumgartner’s free fall from space to Gangnam Style to the Presidential election and a lot more, users’ curiosity never dwindled. 2012 was an eventful and a memorable year that’s worth the recap. You can access the full Zeitgeist report here to check out most searched terms geographically.
2. Attached File Size Limit in Gmail Increased, Thanks to Google Drive
Shortly after releasing Google Drive (Google’s cloud storage service), Google has now elegantly integrated it with its mailing service, Gmail, to give users the ability to send large files over email.
A revamped user interface allows you to add files from Google Drive account with the click of a button instead of uploading and attaching the file to the email directly. In simple words, this is a new way of sharing the files from your storage cloud.
Once you have sent the files to the intended recipients they will be able to view or download it, provided that you have given them the permission to do so. If not, a pop up will ask them to request the access to the file which in turn will notify you via email to grant access to the file for the specified user. (You can change the default sharing settings for all your files on this screen.)
If you update the content on the file in future, the changes will be saved and the latest version of the file will be available to the recipient, since you are just sharing the link to the hosted file rather than the whole file itself. A free account on Google Drive gives you a storage space of 5GB. More online space can be bought as needed.
3. Chrome Extension to Save Files to Google Drive
Google has released a new Chrome extension for letting the users upload the online web content straight to their Google Drive. Simply install the extension, right click on any file or image on the web page, and select the option “Save to Google Drive.” You can download the extension here.
4. Sync Services to Be Phased Out
Google announced on its official blog that it will be putting an end to certain services starting early January 2013. This operation is termed as “Winter Cleaning,” which aims to shut down services that are less popular and rarely used.
Google Calendar Features: Booking appointments slots and existing appointment slots will only continue to work for one more year. Additionally, Calendar Labs, Smart Rescheduler and the ability to add Gadgets by their URL will be discontinued too. For those of you who check the calendar and set up meetings via SMS, here’s the bad news: these services, which are for U.S. residents only, have recently been discontinued as well. Google justified this move by stating that users now prefer a calendar app in mobile phone over SMS.
Google Sync: With the launch of CardDAV, Google will now employ the IMAP, CalDAV, and CardDAV open sync protocols over the previously used Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol to allow access to Google Mail, Calendar, and Contacts. This Google Sync service will only cease for users who try to set up new devices.
For old devices such as Nokia S60 series, Google Sync and SyncML (used for synchronizing contacts) will be discontinued.
5. Google Maps for iOS
Google released the official application of Google Maps for iOS and is now available in the iTunes Store. The features include turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, 3D maps, street view, and more. Download the application here.
What are your thoughts on Google’s recent changes? Has it affected your daily routine? Weigh in with a comment below.