The Google wheels turned this week just as quickly as the last with the release of Google Takeout, news of profiles forcibly made public and a peek at the up and coming face lift across the Internet giant's entire ecosystem.
Have you noticed any changes to your Google interface lately? The Internet giant has been slowly rolling out a new look that will continue over the course of the summer. The revamp aims to make the UI across Google more focused, elastic and effortless. These are all good things, but if change gives you anxiety you are free to preview it before it fully arrives.
The first updates will occur in Gmail and Calendar. These updates are currently available on an opt-in/opt-out basis, so you can continue to use the old interface and preview the changes before they become the default if you wish.
For example, click on the themes tab in your Gmail settings to select the "preview" or "preview (dense)" themes. And don't worry, these options will eventually expand dynamically to accommodate different screen sizes and user preferences:
"Over the years, adding countless features to Gmail have made it an increasingly powerful communication hub, but along the way the interface has also become more cluttered and complex," explained Google User Experience Designer Jason Cornwell. "That's one of the reasons we're embarking on a series of interface updates."
Check out other changes and what they might mean for Microsoft here.
Unsurprisingly, the excitement around the announcement of Google+ drowned out most other news from the Internet giant. One such nugget was Google Takeout, a service that downloads all of a user’s information on Google’s servers.
Basically, Google users can retrieve all the information stored on Google servers related to Google Buzz, Gmail contacts, the Google+ activity stream, Picasa photo albums and Google profiles. This data is bunched together into a single file that users can unzip and review at their leisure.
This little trick could come in handy if, say, you sign up for Google+ and decide you don't like it. Using Google Takeout, the information you transmitted while on the social network (is it okay to call it that?) won't be a casualty when you leave it.
The tool is also useful considering the fact that Google+ does not yet work for Google Apps customers. This way, Apps users can employ Takeout to retrieve all of their contacts, photos, etc. and upload them into a separate Google account for Google+ perks.
Further: “We believe that if we make it easy for you to leave Google, we’ll have to work just that much harder to make sure you don’t,” said the company’s “data liberation front” in the following video:
Note: Downloading the info does not remove it from Google servers.
In order to push the growth of Google+. Google is making all user profiles public by the end of the month.
Explains the Internet giant in its official post on the subject:
The purpose of Google Profiles is to enable you to manage your online identity. Today, nearly all Google Profiles are public. We believe that using Google Profiles to help people find and connect with you online is how the product is best used. Private profiles don’t allow this, so we have decided to require all profiles to be public.
Keep in mind that your full name and gender are the only required information that will be displayed on your profile; you’ll be able to edit or remove any other information that you don’t want to share.
In reality, the change isn't that much different from your public Facebook, Twitter or other social media account details, but will still cause anger for some-- particularly those who don't want to join Google+.
If you currently have a private profile and do not wish to make it public, Google says you can simply delete it. All private profiles will be deleted after July 31, 2011.