YouTube Tests New Logo

YouTube's site tests a new logo that looks just like YouTube's mobile app icon. It's smaller, instantly recognizable and more consistent.

For some reason, YouTube still shows the old logo at the bottom of the page:

Here's the regular YouTube interface:

Material Design Refresh for Google Help Panes

Most Google services use floating help panes, so you can find relevant articles from the help center and read them inside the web app. Google Flight Search uses a new interface for the help panes, powered by Material Design. New icons, bigger headings and search box, new color palette. 

You can check the new UI by visiting Google Flights and clicking Help. Google Maps, Gmail, Google Drive and other Google services still use the old interface.

The nice thing about Google's help panes is that they list contextually relevant articles. For example, if you go to Gmail's filters section from the settings page and click Help, you'll find articles about using filters, blocking unwanted emails and changing your Gmail settings.

Google Knowledge Cards Show More Health Information

A few days ago, Google announced that health-related Knowledge Graph cards now include a lot more information. "We'll show you typical symptoms and treatments, as well as details on how common the condition is — whether it's critical, if it's contagious, what ages it affects, and more. For some conditions you'll also see high-quality illustrations from licensed medical illustrators."

I've searched for [type 2 diabetes] and Google displayed a lot of information: organs affected by diabetes, symptoms, ages affected, treatments, specialists. "When you search for a medical condition, you'll see three tabs: About, Symptoms, and Treatments. Right now, we show this medical information for the most frequently searched for health conditions, and we will continue to increase the number of conditions we cover," informs Google.

Google "worked with a team of medical doctors to carefully compile, curate, and review this information. All of the gathered facts represent real-life clinical knowledge from these doctors and high-quality medical sources across the web, and the information has been checked by medical doctors at Google and the Mayo Clinic for accuracy."

For now, the upgraded cards are only available in the US if you use the English interface. They're displayed in both the desktop site snd the mobile site/apps.

Star Places in Google Mobile Search

Google's mobile site and mobile search apps show a star icon next to local search results. If you are logged in to your Google account, you can star places directly from Google Search and quickly find them in Google Maps. After clicking the star icon, Google confirms that the place has been "saved to your map" and links to Google Maps.

Back in November, Google's Android search app got a Material Design upgrade. In December, the iOS app was updated and many of the new features were gradually added to the mobile site.

Google Discontinues Helpouts

Helpouts started as a great way to use Hangouts to share expertise, but the service wasn't very popular and Google will soon shut it down.

"Since launching in 2013, Helpouts has been a home for people to connect with experts on topics they want to learn about or seek advice and solutions to everyday challenges. The Helpouts community includes some engaged and loyal contributors, but unfortunately, it hasn't grown at the pace we had expected. Sadly, we've made the tough decision to shut down the product. Starting April 20, you'll be able to download your Helpouts history using Google Takeout (available until November 1, 2015),"informs Google.

From talking with a doctor to getting fashion advice from companies like ASOS and Sephora, from learning a new language to home workouts and mobile phone support, Helpouts was useful in so many ways. Too bad that Google didn't promote Helpouts more aggressively and didn't use it extensively to provide customer service for its own services. Play Store's video chat assistance feature was a good start.

Download Blocked Gmail Attachments

I was checking some old Gmail messages and I noticed this warning: "Anti-virus warning - 1 attachment contains a virus or blocked file. Downloading this attachment is disabled." It turns out that the .rar archive was "blocked for security reasons" and I can't download it.

There are some file types that are blocked by Gmail, but .rar is not one of them.Here's the list: ".ade, .adp, .bat, .chm, .cmd, .com, .cpl, .exe, .hta, .ins, .isp, .jse, .lib, .lnk, .mde, .msc, .msp, .mst, .pif, .scr, .sct, .shb, .sys, .vb, .vbe, .vbs, .vxd, .wsc, .wsf, .wsh". It turns out that the archive included a few .bat files inside a .zip archive and "Gmail won't accept these file types even if they're sent in a zipped format".

Anti-virus warning in Gmail's web interface

How to download the blocked attachment? I couldn't find a way to do this from the web interface. Gmail disabled the download button and the "save to Drive" button. Not even the "basic HTML" Gmail interface lets you download the file and the "download all" link only lets you download all safe attachments.

Fortunately, you can use other mail clients: Outlook, Thunderbird, KMail, Apple Mail. Surprisingly, Gmail's Android app lets you download blocked files or save them to Google Drive. Gmail's iOS app doesn't let you download blocked attachments, but you can save them to Google Drive. I also checked the built-in mail clients from iOS and Mac OS X and it's easy to download all attachments. To open archives in iOS, install an app like iZip first.

Gmail's Android app

Google Finance Alerts

Google Alerts added a new option to the sources dropdown: finance. Now you can get stock updates using Google Alerts.

I'm not sure if the new option works independently or you need to select other sources like web, news, blogs, discussions. You can select multiple sources for the same alert or you can pick the "automatic" option.

I created a new alert for [goog], picked news and finance, enabled "as-it-happens" and I only received news results, so I don't know if finance alerts actually work.

Google Award Programs

Google Faculty Research Awards

Our Faculty Research Awards program provides unrestricted gifts to support fulltime faculty members at degree granting institutions around the world. The program is focused on funding world-class technical research in Computer Science, Engineering, and related fields. Please see the program page for upcoming application deadlines.

Google Focused Research Awards

We fund specific research in areas of study that are of key interest to Google as well as the research community, through our Google Focused Research Awards program. These awards are large, multi-year commitments to support research that will have a significant impact on the field. Participation in the program is by invitation only.

Visiting Faculty Program

The Google Visiting Faculty program aims to identify and support world-class, full-time faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest.

Google Earth Engine Research Awards

The Earth Engine Research Awards aim to develop advanced geospatial analysis techniques and tools, by supporting world-class, full-time faculty doing technical research in remote sensing, and related fields.

Google App Engine Education Awards

The goal of the Google App Engine Educations Awards program is to bring state of the art tools to the classroom. We believe that Google App Engine can be a training platform and learning format all in one. We offer $1,000 in App Engine credits to teachers at universities or community collegs for academic coursework and student projects.

Google App Engine Research Awards

The App Engine Research Awards provide an opportunity for university faculty to experiment with App Engine, which provides services for building and hosting web applications on the same systems that power Google’s products and services. App Engine offers fast development and deployment, simple administration and built-in scalability -- it’s designed to adapt to large-scale data storage needs and sudden traffic spikes.

Google Little Box Awards

In parallel with the Little Box Challenge, an open competition sponsored by Google and the IEEE Power Electronics Society, Google Research is soliciting proposals for groundbreaking research in the area of increasing the power density for DC-to-AC power conversion through the Google Little Box Awards program. It is envisioned that award recipients could use their grant funding to assist in building a device that could win the competition. The application deadline is September 30, 2014.