Today’s Google features

As usual this time of year, there are a whole bunch of nifty new features and other changes in various Google services today. Follow link for full list. Here are my favorites:

  • Google changes its name to Topeka. (You should also follow the "brand equity" link from that entry.)
  • You can now upload and store anything in Google Docs. House keys, pianos, whatever. "[S]imple pricing at $0.10 per kg, along with free pickup and delivery from any location on the planet."
  • A full Japanese keyboard lets you type any kanji character with a single keystroke. (Link is to auto-translated version of Japanese post.) There are even single keys for emoji/emoticons. After sketches of various possible keyboard layouts, the entry shows photos of the final layout, which is based on a drum set.
  • LifeSize™ your photos! Picasa Web Albums can now convert photos of your friends to life size, and then you can print them on your home printer to produce full-size cardboard cutouts.
  • Funniest new feature: Google Wave wave notifications. When you enable this feature, an official notifier person will find you in person and wave to you whenever a wave is updated. Be sure to watch the video and to look at the list of available notifiers at the end of the post.
  • Awesomest (but most technical) new feature: Google Annotations Gallery, a new Java library that lets you add a bunch of entertaining sorts of annotations to your Java code. The part where this goes from just fun to totally awesome is that it includes a set of literary annotations. Yes, now you can mark your code as containing alliteration or representing a haiku; you can mark the meter of the code (their example shows a line of trochaic code: public abstract double axisOffset();); you can indicate a palindrome or an oxymoron or a metaphor; and you can even note a use of synechdoche or a hapax legomenon. <3 <3 <3 If you know anything about programming, even if you know nothing about annotations, you should read the non-literary examples as well; I'm particularly fond of @ThisWouldBeOneLineIn, at the end of the page.
  • I also like the "View in 3D" features of Google Books and Google Maps Street View, but I don't have any 3D glasses on hand so I can't try them out.
  • If you have an Android phone, you can download Translate for Animals, which lets you understand what the animals around you are saying. If you don't have an Android phone, you can watch their brief demo video.
  • YouTube is providing a new text-only mode called TEXTp, showing videos as animated ASCII art. For example, here's an ASCII-art version of the nifty Lego Matrix Trinity Help video. You can switch back and forth between ASCII and normal on the fly, using the resolution menu near the lower right of the video.

4 Responses to “Today’s Google features”

  1. Anonymous

    LOVE the April Fool’s Jokes today.
    G00gl r00ls!

  2. jacob

    I’m loving the Google Annotations Gallery, and it just gets better if you dig into the source code (it’s real, by the way).

    For example, the default supported values for the @ThisHadBetterBe() annotation are NEGATIVE, POSITIVE, ZERO, NULL, THE_BLUE_PILL, THE_RED_PILL, and THE_STOLEN_DEATH_STAR_PLANS. If you specify that a parameter must be THE_STOLEN_DEATH_STAR_PLANS, it first checks whether the given parameter is an instance of a class called DeathStarPlans or TheDeathStarPlans (or SomethingElseDeathStarPlans), then checks whether it has an “isStolen()” method, and then checks whether the value for isStolen() is TRUE.

    Not mentioned in the documentation is the annotation @AnswerToTheUltimateQuestionOfLifeTheUniverseAndEverything, which enforces that the parameter value is 42 (which it helpfully will convert into a variety of numeric types).

  3. Hemant Kohli

    So the April Fools Joke with Topeka has taken us all by surprise, however it did do one thing in my opinion, It has now made MANY americans and many people around the world aware of the presense of a Topeka, Kansas, as I didn’t even know a place named Topeka existed. It has sparked an Idea, which I would require to call upon ALL TOPEKANS, as us at Temple of groove would love to configure a Social Network application geared Specifically towards Topekans, We will name this Topekas as a combination of Topeka and Kansas. If we find support this would be in the works. Email us at or visit us at as we have already purchased


    Hemant Kohli

  4. Tom Galloway

    So, were there any changes made at the Googleplex, er, Topekaplex in accord with the name change? I tried to ask Larry, but he said he was scared to go out with all the pranksters about. : -)


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