Google vs. Facebook: Drawing the battle lines

Google vs. Facebook

Photo By nicolascaitan

There’s a requisite chaos to the “hacker culture” that has been central to the rise of both Google and Facebook: cobble something together, fueled by Red Bull and pizza, until it works; keep changing it and improving it, lest a competitor jump in and create something better; and if for some reason it doesn’t work, just do away with it altogether. From both the inside and the outside, it can look quite messy.

Take, for example, the fact that Google has been known to tweak its search algorithm hundreds of times per year, or that the Facebook home page goes through major facelifts on a regular basis. This week, Google killed an experimental social-collaboration project called Wave that had been heavily hyped at launch; last month, Facebook’s “Gift Shop” feature got the ax. That slash-and-burn, change-the-system mentality that a Valley superstar like Google or Facebook projects to the outside world applies internally, too.

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Google Apps highlights

Google Apps updates

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights” and subscribe to the series. – Ed.

Over the last couple of weeks we rolled out some nice updates in Gmail, improved on Google forms, added new mobile device security features and celebrated many new applications recently added to the Apps Marketplace. Enjoy!

Rich text signatures in Gmail

You’ve been able to add plain text signatures to your messages in Gmail for some time, but last Thursday we stepped it up a notch by adding rich text signatures, one of our most requested features. Now you can create signatures with different fonts, font sizes, font colors, links and images. The feature also supports different signatures for different custom “From:” addresses that you’ve configured. Head over to the “Settings” page in Gmail to get started.

HTML5 features in Gmail on Safari

Gmail has recently added some new interactive features, like drag-and-drop attachments and images, and new windows that “outlive” your original Gmail window. These features are possible thanks to HTML5, but until this week, Safari users have been left out. All of that changed on Monday, and users of Safari 5 can now enjoy these helpful HTML5 features, too.

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