Google Buy Waze Traffic-obsessed Drivers Community; Launches Google+ Dashboard, Refresh Art Project

Google buys Waze, enhancing Google Maps with traffic update features of Waze. Launches redesigned Art Project with improved navigation, search tools; Unified Google+ Dashboard for Businesses, +Page owners. Gmail People Widget now lets brands highlight their Google+ Profiles and posts.

Google has closed the acquisition of Waze, a fast-growing community of traffic-obsessed drivers, working together to find the best routes from home to work, every day.

For, the Waze product development team will remain in Israel and operate separately.

The Waze community and its dedicated team have created a great source of timely road corrections and updates.

"We're excited about the prospect of enhancing Google Maps with some of the traffic update features provided by Waze and enhancing Waze with Google's search capabilities. We'll also work closely with the vibrant Waze community, who are the DNA of this app, to ensure they have what's needed to grow and prosper," google wrote.

Also, Google Art Project received a major redesign that includes a much improved and faster navigation and new search features.

For example, you can now filter any list of artwork around artists, place, date, related events and more with the Refine tool.

The improved search tools now make it significantly easier to filter any list of artworks by artist, place, data and related events.

And, the redesigned Art project with white background gives the whole site a much lighter feel and puts more emphasis on the images. The new site also moved the features like the comparison, sharing and bookmarking tools to the bottom of the page.

New Google Art Project User Experience

Art Project currently features more than 40,000 pieces of art from about 250 museums in more than 40 countries.

Google+ Dashboard launched today for businesses and Google+ page owners, provide them a single dashboard to manage many of their daily activities around Google's tools.

The new dashboard will, for example, allow businesses to update their info, including their website URLs, store hours and phone numbers, across Google Maps, Search and on Google+ right from the tools Overview tab.

To start using Google+ Dashboard, simply sign in to Google+ as your page, then click the "Dashboard" icon in the navigation menu.

"We want to make it easier to manage your online presence - all across Google - so today we're getting started with Google+ Dashboard. After signing in to your Google+ page, you'll now have access to the following Dashboard features," informs Google.

Google says, that it will bring lots more useful tools from all across Google.

  • "ability to update information (like website URLs, store hours and phone numbers) across Maps, Search and Google+ - all from the Overview tab.
  • One place to monitor your Google+ notifications, assign page managers, share photos and videos - even start a Hangout with followers.
  • For Local businesses:

  • At-a-glance access to their AdWords Express and Offers campaigns.
  • Insights that include top searches for their business, top locations requesting driving directions, and performance data for their Google+ posts," Google writes.

New Google+ Dashboard for Businesses and Page owners

New Google+ Dashboard

In another post, Google shared a study by conducted with the help of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), that looks at the Cloud Efficiency.

The study shows that migrating all U.S. office workers to the cloud could save up to 87 percent of IT energy use--"about 23 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, or enough to power the city of Los Angeles for a year," google stated.

The savings are associated with shifting people in the workforce to Internet-based applications like email, word processing and customer relationship software.

Google also hosted a summit called "How Green is the Internet?" to understand the impact of shifting office applications to the cloud.

At the summit, "experts presented data on how the growth of Internet infrastructure, including devices like phones and tablets, can impact the environment as well as new Internet-enabled tools in areas like transportation, e-commerce and digital content to deliver huge energy and carbon savings."

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Moving to Cloud Efficiency Infographic

Check the video below, or the full study here:

Update: Google rolled out an update to Gmail people widget, that expands to include brands and businesses, "making it easier for customers to connect with businesses on their Google+ page."

This way, "when people receive emails from your domain, they can follow your Google+ page directly from their inbox! Your recent Google+ posts can also appear in the widget (alongside your email message), helping customers find and engage with your content," writes Google.

To appear in the new Gmail widget, business or organization just needs a verified Google+ page and digitally-signed emails.

Gmail people widget to include brands and businesses

To learn more, visit this help center article.