Your favorite Google things in 2006?

One thing I like to do for the Super Session talk is discuss what’s new since the last conference (in this case, Pubcon Boston was in April, I think). I normally spend an hour making a list of things Google has released or updated. Lazyweb, why don’t you help me? I know my top 2-3 favorite things, but what are yours? What changes, features or products has Google rolled out in 2006 that you enjoyed?

121 Responses to Your favorite Google things in 2006? (Leave a comment)

  1. Matt – I think Maps has come a long way and I find myself using that more than mapquest or Yahoo! maps recently

    Co-op is cool and gave me an easy way to search webmasterworld which you always had to use a search engine to do anyways.

    Also – after chatting with Adam a bit today – I think that he was a good addition as well.

  2. For me it would be the improved Webmaster Central.

  3. Google Reader, because I hated my old RSS reader
    Google Notebook, because I like being able to have my notes in all my browsers, quick and simple access
    Google Webmaster Help Groups, because it’s fun (and because the people there are generally of the friendly sort… mostly :-))

  4. Google Docs is pretty good except for the spreadsheet. For some reason the bottom half row of cells disappear. But the share feature for collaboraters is simply brilliant.

  5. Google Earth, Webmaster Central and Picasa.

  6. Google Reader, Picasa, Orkutized Google Talk

  7. . πŸ˜€ Google Code Search and the Special Logos πŸ˜€

  8. With no doubt PicasaWeb is the best thing that happend to me this year (IT Wise that is πŸ™‚ )

    Gmail for Mobile is NOT that bad either. πŸ™‚

    And last, but NOT least, Google Apps for your Domain with Google Docs…

    Well, I guess IT’S ALL COOL!

  9. Without hesitation, Google CSE as it is related to search, and Google Earth for the data and beautiful visualization.

  10. Harith

    The new infrastructure BigDaddy!! πŸ™‚

  11. I think Google Docs and Spreadsheets is the best. It has given me the option not to install all kinds of offline office suites πŸ™‚ Btw, is there a chance that it will also support PDF reading in the future?

  12. Google Code Search, Maps API2 and Spreadsheets πŸ™‚

  13. It’s gotta be Calendar and Notebook for me. I use them both every day.

  14. Google CSE
    Adsense πŸ™‚

  15. Claudio

    Hi Matt, good conference so far?
    One product I really liked, out of the Labs in May 2006, was the Notebook. It is extremely useful when you’re doing a search on any topic and need to visit tens of pages with relevant information that you want to put together – and it does that in seconds – right click, add to notebook. And you can edit it, add own notes and even share it online and search for other people’s notebooks – EXCELLENT!

  16. Ian

    iono really. Nothing that really blew me away, like GMail and maps did. Which in itself may be a worry.

    Sketchup is pretty cool, used it to make a mockup of my house extension I’m planning. I guess the webmaster central thing is pretty cool, and I might want to look more into the code search at some point (but mostly, I just use API references).

    Ahh, actually, I’ve just remembered, Google Calendar is my big new Google product I’ve been using this year. Still massively in need of better mail integration, and a way to synch to my iPAQ, but awesome for a first release πŸ™‚

    The best thing may be yet to come … how about a Matt-Cutts-takes-truth-serum-before-answering-all-your-questions-at-pubcon event? πŸ™‚

  17. Probably Earth / Maps.

    I’ve probably been using search less now, and tend to go directly to the wikipedia page for a lot of things (using a neat little bookmarklet – goes to the page of the currently highlighted text, or whatever you type into the box).

  18. webmaster tools and google talk
    very good tools

  19. Oh yeah, and gmail… duh.. how could i forget!

  20. Got to be Google Calendar for me – it’s simply brilliant. I’ve never regularly used a Calendar app before and it’s the one that’s got me hooked.

    I really like Google Desktop 4 too, but it still seems a bit buggy…

  21. The improvements to sitemaps and the changes to foogal/base though more work needs to be done on localisation for base – I get ssl certificate errors on the base.

    It would be usefull to be able to use one acount to load products into the uk and the .com version or alow us to indicate which markets a product/item is pertinant to.

  22. I think Gmail is the best free email service around. Simple, intuitive, uses Ajax beautifully. I love to use it. I still use Hotmail, because I have an account there since 1999, but I wish Hotmail had the features Gmail now has.

  23. Of course gmail because of the great spam protection.

    the hosted services are also great (yeah it’s gamil too)

    For the next year I see a lot in the CSE…

  24. Definitely google sitemaps improvements.

    In particular – query stats by search type/location, crawl rate and preferred domain options.

  25. GoogleReader, Google Calendar, Picasa and GoogleMaps – especially the public API for GoogleMaps

    You guys are incredible – the number of new applications since last year is truly amazing. Very impressive.

  26. Matt,

    – Webmaster tools (the new stuff of course)
    – Googles summer of code. Although I didn’t take part, the investment in our future is great!!!
    – Google CSE. What a great concept, except lose the ads.


    – Bigdaddy. Although it hurt me, pain and pleasure sometimes go together.


  27. how could anyone not choose the matt cutts videos?…

  28. I would probably say the Google Reader re-design. That’s so innovative and out of this world. Then, I think the runner-up has to be Blogger Beta, because of the instant-ness of them (except for the FTP blogs).

  29. How can I forget…. the YouTube acquisition, of course! I’m not a specific fan of YouTube, but this is a method that gets Google into the “cool as fcuk” category. Orkut needs Blogger and YouTube integration, then it will be the social net for everyone.

  30. GData! And more specifically, the Google Calendar Data API. Oh, and Google Apps for your Domain.

    So maybe I should say, “GData access into Google Calendar for Your Domain.” Adios, Exchange. πŸ™‚


  31. I think that there are a lot of things that happened this year, but out of all things, my top 3 are
    1) Sponsoring
    2) Webmaster tools
    3) Informing the Webmaster community that there is a difference between an update and a data refresh. (just wish we could get more info on data refreshes, like a weather report…)

  32. Hmm, there ought to be a neat little visual Google release history timeline. Something like but without so many words πŸ˜‰

    So, I have to add my vote to Google Code Search. Think it needs to be closer to the “google main search box” though… hmm, why dontcha give people the option to configure the links in Google’s dynamic “more” box?

  33. I think it is CSE, I really liked the concept. I have started using docs and spreadsheets.

  34. First : The new Google Reader improved interface ! Wow, I never thought that reading my rss feed could be so easy.

    Second : Google Webmaster Central, with sitemaps. Statistics, Page Analysis and Crawl stats, very good thing

  35. For me, by far it is the Google Website Optimizer.
    This tool although in Beta is absolutely AMAZING. When (If ever) you make this tool public, it is going to revolutionize the way we build websites and market online.

    This has been the most useful tool, in my opinion, that Google have ever released. (Yes, even more than Analytics).

  36. Google Calendar has a feature to text message me a specified number of minutes before each appointment. This has saved my butt on numerous occasions.

  37. My favorite things about Google are the addition of;

    Webmaster Central and the decision on Google’s part to be active in the SEO/Webmaster forum.

    The tools in Sitemaps to warn you of errors and possible problems

    The additions and upgrades to Adwords Editor 2.0

    And lastly,
    Buying YouTube…all the controversy it has stirred up. Even in England its caused a ton of speculation and some great reading.


  38. And now for a researcher’s perspective – specifically historic buildings research. The Google products that I have mentioned to the readers of my site since April are:

    a) Google Book Search. It became possible to add it to your own site in August, so I did.

    b) Google Maps. I’m afraid that I noted in September that its aerial views have been outshone by those of Windows Live, but I did say that Google Maps was excellent!

    c) Google Earth. The latest version (November) offers a selection of historic maps, which is useful to have combined with Google Earth’s navigation and overlays.

  39. I love Google Docs as it enables me to easily work on documents from multiple locations. GMail is great too and I love Analytics.

  40. Ads Diagnostic Tool, Google Notebook and the Google Reader are my favorites.

  41. Favorite and good fun to play with has to be Custom Search Engine…

    – Michael

  42. Love analytics. Google Earth rocks. Maps in line next. Summer of code, I agree with Christian… didn’t participate but great way to invest in the future.

  43. I actually liked the additions to the Google Toolbar. I know it sounds small, but little things please as well πŸ˜‰

  44. carly

    gmail, google code search, gtalk(however, still facing some bugs while using it)

  45. For me the best are Google earth, Custom Search Engine and of course Google maps

  46. 1) Mobile Gmail application – fast, easy to use, much better than just loading Gmail in a browser. The app on my Blackberry works so well I can keep up with email on the train almost as fast as if I was sitting at the desk.

    2) GTalk for the Blackberry – Great implementation for a mobile version. Again, easy to use, utilizes the Blackberry features very well, etc.

    3) Google Sitemaps/Webaster Central – great improvements, this tool has come a long way. Along with this would be better communication with the public – your level of secrecy has decreased somewhat.

  47. InfraJohn

    Google Browser Sync – I was able to finally stop the madness. No more sending the link to a site to myself by email so that I could bookmark it on my office computer too. And if I want to continue working on something at night when I get home, I can just close the browser window and be reminded of what I was doing by the tabs recalling the last page they were looking at.

    Google Calendar with recurring events (like monthly pymts due same day every month) and text msg to cell Alerts – saved me a couple times already when bills hide in envelopes that don’t get opened by a person who lives digitally.

    Google Checkout – 1 click ordering – already knows where I want it shipped – already had a dispute with a merchant and all of the history of the transaction (order dates, amounts, invoice, item info) are all in one place, ready for us consumers to make a case about how many times we asked for a refund for sending the Canon battery charger when we ordered the Olympus Battery Charger πŸ™‚

  48. Wayne

    I think the co-op CSE is the search engine feature of the year! If there was a magazine like time magazine for search engines the CSE should get the cover in Jan. 2007 as the feature most likely to have the greatest effect on search in the future. I wish there was a feature to search and find the vertical search collections by topic.

    Maps is my personal favorite thing on google. Being able to text mail google for information from a cell phone is very cool but I kind of already know the definitions to all the words I know how to spell, text messaging for translations is awsome but computer translations often pick an uncommonly used word, and then there is my poor reading skills in a language I don’t know (the commercial “yo caro un bud lite” comes to mind)

  49. JLH

    My favorite by far has been the expansion of the the official webmaster help Google Groups. They’ve added more categories and really ramped up the responses from Googlers. It’s becoming a great community where people are actually helped every day.

  50. OK, I like it SSSOOOOOO much that it is a ‘bolded’ link on my custom home page.
    I have affectionately labeled the link “G-Reader”, that’s right, from a personal usage point the Google Reader is my personal fav from Google.

    On a business/strategic point of view Webmaster Central is top of the line.

    U R > me (a.k.a. Brian)

  51. Features in google that i visit usually are the Google Analytics and webmaster tools. I have not yet used Google Docs and Spreadsheets. I might try them later on.

  52. Jeff

    Webaster Tools
    Google Checkout….I hate paypal and its about time someone gave them competiton.

    So, when are we going to see googles free version of ebay where sellers can auction and buyers use google checkout? Would be nice if google gave ebay a run for the money as well.

    BTW… If google did that and ebay died, then I would not have as many expired ebay auctions in the serps……

  53. This is pretty bitchin’–thanks everybody. πŸ™‚ I’m going to list as many as I want because it’s my blog. πŸ™‚

    – Webmaster central/console and webmaster forum. We could still a lot more on webmaster communication, but I’m proud of how far we’ve come.
    – Google Reader. I use it every day. With the mobile version, now I can even go furniture shopping with my wife. πŸ˜‰
    – Google Browser Sync. I also use it every day.
    – Gmail + Google Calendar + Google Desktop = pretty much everything I need to work during the day, plus a safety net where I can search for any web pages I’ve surfed to.

    For non-Matt people, I think Google Apps for Domains (hosted services) is really interesting. The combo of Gmail/Calendar/Docs/Spreadsheets would let you run most of the software/communication side of a small start-up for free. Then add in CSE (Google’s Custom Search Engine) and you could do even more.

    Anyway, here’s the histogram as I saw it.

    Webmaster Central/console/forum xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Maps/Earth xxxxxxxxxxxx
    CSE/Co-op xxxxxxxxx
    Google Reader xxxxxxxx
    Calendar xxxxxxx
    Gmail xxxx (plus xx for Mobile Gmail)
    Picasaweb xxxx
    Google Notebook xxxx
    Hosted Services/Apps for you Domain xxx
    Google Code Search xxx
    Bigdaddy xx
    Google Browser Sync xx
    Google Checkout xx
    Summer of Code xx
    Google Docs/Spreadsheets xx
    YouTube xx
    Analytics xx
    Google Talk xx
    Sketchup x
    Special Logos x
    Google Talk in Orkut x
    Hiring Adam x
    Desktop x
    Sponsoring x
    Matt’s videos x
    Update/data refresh definitions x
    Website Optimizer x
    AdWords Editor 2.0 x
    Ads Diagnostic Tool x
    AdSense x
    Book Search x
    Google Toolbar improvements x
    Gtalk for the Blackberry x
    Blogger Beta x

    Google Notebook had a really nice showing, considering that we haven’t talked about it much. Thanks again for all the good feedback. Philipp, I think an AJAX-y timeline of Google launches would be very cool. I agree that customizing the “more >>” box would be neat, too.

  54. MacBasedLifeform

    I don’t know how I ever lived without Google Reader

  55. Google Earth and Webmasters Central

  56. JLH

    I’d add ASCII Histographs on your blog to that list as well.

  57. Kathy

    I like my Google drink dispenser. I like how I can select crushed or cracked ice, subflavors for my cold drinks and added flavors for the hot stuff.

    Second on my list is my Google flashlight that interfaces with maps and acts like a GPS unit in the dark.

    Third on my list: Webmaster tools.

  58. For me: Google Dance, SJ 2006

    Great party!

    For everyone: Reader, by far.

    When I am unplugged too long, all I need is a connection and I can get up to date faster!

  59. Love the CTRL CTRL search from gDesktop 2 .. still can’t figure out why it can’t spider the XML/HTML logs that gaim generates though πŸ™

  60. for me Google Trends πŸ™‚

  61. Aaron Pratt

    The Google Reader sharing feature rocks, now give me the URL of your shared blackhat list there Matt! =P

  62. Gmail
    New features added in Gtalk
    Orkut + Gtalk
    Analytics and adwords combined

  63. I’m not sure, but this might top my other mentions:

    Great going, Google!! A new standard within a bit more than a year, is that a new record or what?!

  64. Alexander

    Hmmmzz… maybe a long shot in the dark, but why not a Google operating system? The combination of the user-central-Google-point-of-view and a feeling for innovation and experimentation…. could be a new revolution in software land… oh yeah… as long as we are dreaming… why not a real Google notebook?? Let’s post this on WMW

  65. remo

    – Google Reader
    – Gmail
    – Getting the index cleaner

    If you want to get balance and not meaning “I used to rank but not now I dont or other comments about SERPS”

    Why not also ask “what do you think is wrong with these products we think are best”

    Maybe the responses will be too much for your personal blog but G should look at it – Yes webmasters have avenues to chase at but maybe an idea for 2007 – Whats good, whats not, what do people not like – make it more open if G want better versions

    24 acquisitions later a well thought out place to contribute if implemented before 2007 πŸ™‚ would be one of the best things G has done in 2006

  66. Russell

    I think Google Pack was great, it would be awesome to include, Inkscape Thunderbird, VLC, Gimp in a future release……in 2007

  67. Jarid

    My top 3 new apps:
    Google Maps for Mobile
    Google Reader for Mobile (this one doesn’t get talked about much)
    Google CSE

  68. Google CSE, Google Calendar and Gmail for corporations.

  69. Jeff

    Geez, another site that has hidden text, keyword stuffing in the top ten. Look at this one… Why is the google algo not picking these things up? Over 100 keywords in hidden text

  70. Nice pickup Geoff. Good to see someone is on the ball!

  71. I though about it a while: sitemaps

  72. I think “Google Apps for your domain” is the best service ever. I use it on my own domain and for my company, this is totally helpfull and easy to configure and use.
    Thanks for all Googlers!

  73. I think that the new sitemap protocol, becoming a standard, is probably one the greatest accomplishment of google.

    And for the personal use, calendar is really changing my life in a better way πŸ™‚

  74. I love the google reader, and the personalised home page, and the to-do list widget, calc, calendar, notes they are my favs.

  75. But with the sitemap protocol standard, that means we will need to register and submit to msn, yahoo etc More work!!

  76. Late post… But I really like Google CoOp

  77. Ditto on the new sitemaps standard nice to see thebig 3 doing somthing posative to gether

  78. Customized home is an absolute godsend for me, I work from several different locations and it’s great to be able to log in to a custom environment with all my fav utilities, feeds and toys right there wherever I go.

  79. David

    google calendar has changed how i keep my life organized. much easier than outlook. it needs a pocket pc syncronization function…

    gmail is always one of google’s best applications

    google maps gets me from place to place.

  80. Google rolls out so many new things that are useful that we all seem to be chomping at the bit to see what new tool comes out next.

    Google Reader is the best new tool this year I think

  81. ONLY 1 THING



  82. Peter,

    Be patient son! PR update is just around the corner!…LOL

    It’s a loooooong corner that one!! πŸ™‚

  83. Harith

    I found it!!!!!

    A photo of Matt and Ozzie returning back from PubCon.

    Welcome back Matt πŸ™‚

  84. IMHO Co-op and SiteMaps are the TopTop of Google in 2006.

    The abbility to build up from the ground a CSE that can be 100% monetized since hour 0 and that as much itΒ΄s used it grows up both in relevance and in importance (Authority) is very exciting and SiteMaps, a racional way to give leeds to GoogleBot look at our content (this being a standart now!!!) and to Google spent less in band, CPU, processing is very interesting too!

  85. I love Google Sitemaps, Picasa and GMail! πŸ™‚

  86. The Google adwords software

  87. David

    Serp position 31 for domain name searches.

    It provides fuel for the discussion lists.

  88. By far I am really starting to love Google Base, I also really enjoy how I can integrate my own domains email into the gmail. It was great to hear you at PubCon in Vegas this year! Thanks for the insights and good info.

  89. Has to be Webmaster Tools, imo.

  90. Google Maps for mobile is awesome.

  91. Personalize Home is my top favorite, I use it keep up to date on blogs and rss – I’m sure I can use a reader like Google Reader, but with Home I see everything (news, entertainement, work related – everything) at one glance in an easy to follow format.

    Maps are another defitinite favorite as well..

    Good seeing you at Pubcon Matt!

  92. that is an easy one!

    Google Maps
    Google Sitemaps
    Google Adwords

    Sitemaps hs really helped no-end… despite the fact its gone real funny the past week!

  93. I liked the personalized homepage initially I still preferd classic home but couldn’t escape from new homepage. It’s my starting point for everything today. A week back Gtalk integration with Orkut finally made me install gtalk. Great stuff there especially when Gazzag marketing that “User can chat” I liked the fast step taken there. I loved Google Maps and integrated few for my sites and last the most important thing I like is updated webmaster guidelines and accepting urls with session IDs. Everything else was as usual Marissa Myer so has to be good and it will turn out best sooner or later.

  94. Google webmasters tool, google alerts, google trends, google check out and my favorite google talk..

  95. Gmail, Calandar, Webmaster & making the top 10 for “chicago real estate”.

  96. Favorite: Custom Search Engines. Excellent product and excellent customer support.

    *Least* Favorite: AdWords Starter Edition. This is a very bad idea as implemented. New advertisers should not be buying contextual ads as well as search engine ads. They should either have the choice to opt out of the content network or else Starter Edition should be purely search engine advertising. Also makes it hard to help people with their AdWords accounts. Most of the Google help documentation doesn’t apply to Starter Edition. Can you get the AdWords team to re-think this one?


  97. Top five Google thing for 2006

    Google Adsense – My best year so far
    Google Co-op – Much better than Adsense for search
    Webmaster Tools – You know, get listed.
    Toolbar buttons and Google Gadget – Cool tools
    Google Calendar – The SMS alerts

    Looking forward to 2007

  98. Gmail is the best. Best spam filter I ever had and the space keeps growing. I don’t even need to update it. I just leave it and I don’t ever delete email. I found google analytics this year and it was so sweet. I can tell where all my links are coming from and everything I really like it. I know what keywords people are searching on and everything. Good work Google, keep on making your products.

  99. The personalized homepage – defo – no question about it πŸ˜€

    I wake up in the morning to the latest news, time, date, weather, wikipedia, random facts, and RSS feeds – it’s great!

    It feels weird when I’m not at home, having to put up with the company intranet homepage.


  100. The new Beta Blog looks promising but I just wish even if it was a paid for thing, you could get a 24 hr detailed reply as to why your site is page 1 on Google for weeks on end then it crashes out of Google completely.

    I am not asking for a paid re-inclusion, a paid reply as to why you were deleted or dropped at least that way mistakes would be learned.

  101. webmaster tools and google talk πŸ˜†

    Off topic:

    Could you please tell me how to add the spam protection in the comment, thanks.

  102. Google Maps. Oh how I love thee! The API is revolutionising the world! Go Google.

  103. Hi There, I am a loyal dutch reader of your weblog. I really enjoy it!

    There are a lot of features from Google that I like. There are a few which I use a lot, but one I use most. I love to know everything about the visitors of my website so Google Analytics is still a big favorite of mine. The only thing that’s missing there is really tracking specific visitors, for example through their ip-adresses.

    I also wanted to show you that Google Maps is playing a part in the dutch elections. On the website people can find where they can vote.

    Good luck
    Bas van den Beld (Netherlands)

  104. Google Maps – excellent job for building interactive web apps and really useful for conferences. It’s easy to setup and good for those that are traveling.

    Analytics – well because it is free, you don’t get products like this for free. I do agree with Bas van der Ben about the tracking specific visitors by IP, it is really important for sales.

    Sitemaps was good. I think next year it will be my favorite if the open source Sitemap Protocol actually pulls through.

  105. Ian

    Actually, yes, in addition to Google Calendar, Google Apps for your domain is the other awesome thing.

  106. Gmail new Features.
    – Reply on top (this is very cool)
    – Embarassment-reducing new message notifications
    – Forward all
    – Chat even when your friends are offline
    My Homepage Custimize

  107. I like alot of products that have been released this year.

    Spreadsheet is cool, in my opinion.

    My favorite is Analytics!

    Maps are getting really handy… πŸ™‚

  108. For me, it was Google Docs. I used to save my Blog posts in word docs and carry it around in my USB drive, until I lost the drive oneday with about 10 or so unpublished stories.

    So I started using Google Docs, and it has been very useful. Wherever I have time, and access to internet, I put down some thoughts in my Google Docs, and then expand them out into Blog stories.

    No fear of losing blog story documents on flash drives anymore !

  109. I like Analytics, GTalk and GMail.

    I still don’t like Google reader and Spreadsheets

  110. I even love the new mobile services

  111. does page size calculate page load time?

  112. does page size calculate page load time……?

  113. please explain more.

  114. Chris

    I have a question. I implemented the Google Search Appliance for my company. I wanted to clarify something. We used Googleoff/on to keep the menu navigation out of internal Google index. Does the external Google engine treat Googleoff/on tags the same?


  115. As an average user (and not a SEO girl) I think I was enchanted by Google Trends. Also, as I rely very heavily on GMail and the extra tools padded inside, I especially appreciate the finetuning of GCalendar (added event, search event) as wellas the WebClips. And, last but not least, something really thoughtful: accessible search.
    A lot of things really!! πŸ™‚

    However, I somehow do not see YouTube as either a feature or a product of Google. It was an event I read and blogged about, and thought hard how to offer user-friendly marketing options on it. But It is still not part of the Google universe (at least for me). If I had not read the news about the buy-out etc. it would not be associated with Google products. So I am looking forward to how the site will get clearer and better structured in 2007.

  116. My favs are Google Code Search, Personalized Search and the WebmasterCentral.

    Great blog, by the way !
    Keep up the good work Mr. Matt

  117. Google Earth, Webmaster Central, Gmail

  118. I would definitely vote for the Webmaster Central as my favorite! Thanks Google!