Friday, March 15

Official Google Blog

Official Google Blog


Sharing stories of Bletchley Park: home of the code-breakers

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 01:10 AM PDT

For decades, the World War II codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park was one of the U.K.'s most closely guarded secrets. Today, it's a poignant place to visit and reflect on the achievements of those who worked there. Their outstanding feats of intellect, coupled with breakthrough engineering and dogged determination, were crucial to the Allied victory—and in parallel, helped kickstart the computing age.

We've long been keen to help preserve and promote the importance of Bletchley Park. Today we're announcing two new initiatives that we hope will bring its story to a wider online audience.

First, we're welcoming the Bletchley Park Trust as the latest partner to join Google's Cultural Institute. Their digital exhibit features material from Bletchley's archives, providing a vivid snapshot of the work that went on cracking secret messages and the role this played in shortening the war. Included are images of the Bombe machines that helped crack the Enigma code; and of Colossus, the world's first programmable electronic computer, used to crack the German High Command code—including this message showing the Germans had been successfully duped about the location for the D-Day invasion.


Second, as a followup to our film about Colossus, we're pleased to share a personal story of the Bombe, as told by one of its original operators, Jean Valentine. Women like Jean made up the majority of Bletchley Park's personnel—ranging from cryptographers, to machine operators, to clerks. In her role operating the Bombe, Jean directly helped to decipher messages encoded by Enigma. In this film Jean gives us a firsthand account of life at Bletchley Park during the war, and demonstrates how the Bombe worked using a replica machine now on show at the museum.



We hope you enjoy learning more about Bletchley Park and its fundamental wartime role and legacy. For more glimpses of history, explore the Cultural Institute's other exhibitions on www.google.com/culturalinstitute.

A second spring of cleaning

Posted: 14 Mar 2013 08:34 AM PDT

We're living in a new kind of computing environment. Everyone has a device, sometimes multiple devices. It's been a long time since we have had this rate of change—it probably hasn't happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago. To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus—otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact. So today we're announcing some more closures, bringing the total to 70 features or services closed since our spring cleaning began in 2011:

  • Apps Script will be deprecating the GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets in order to focus efforts on Html Service. The rest of the Ui Service will not be affected. The GUI Builder will continue to be available until September 16, 2013. For more information see our post on the Google Apps Developer Blog.
  • CalDAV API will become available for whitelisted developers, and will be shut down for other developers on September 16, 2013. Most developers' use cases are handled well by Google Calendar API, which we recommend using instead. If you're a developer and the Calendar API won't work for you, please fill out this form to tell us about your use case and request access to whitelisted-only CalDAV API.
  • Google Building Maker helped people to make three-dimensional building models for Google Earth and Maps. It will be retired on June 1, but users are still able to access and export their models from the 3D Warehouse. We'll continue to expand the availability of comprehensive and accurate new 3D imagery on Google Earth, and people can still use Google Map Maker to add building information such as outlines and heights to Google Maps.
  • Google Cloud Connect is a plug-in to help people work in the cloud by automatically saving Microsoft Office files from Windows PCs in Google Drive. But installing Google Drive on your desktop achieves the same thing more effectively—and Drive works not only on Windows, but also on Mac, Android and iOS devices. Existing users will no longer be able to use Cloud Connect as of April 30.
  • We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
  • Beginning next week, we're ending support for the Google Voice App for Blackberry. For Blackberry users who want to continue using Google Voice, we recommend they use our HTML5 app, which is more secure and easier for us to keep up to date. Our HTML5 site is compatible with users with Blackberry version 6 and newer.
  • We're deprecating our Search API for Shopping, which has enabled developers to create shopping apps based on Google's Product Search data. While we believe in the value this offering provided, we're shifting our focus to concentrate on creating a better shopping experience for users through Google Shopping. We'll shut the API down completely on September 16, 2013.
  • Beginning today we'll no longer sell or provide updates for Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows. Existing customers will continue to be able to download the software and can contact us for support. We'll continue to offer the Snapseed mobile app on iOS and Android for free.

These changes are never easy. But by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on building great products that really help in their lives.

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