This week in the Google-verse we welcomed back the iOS Gmail app. So far, the angry pitchfork mob has been quiet. Meanwhile, Google+ plugged in a little Trends column in the search results page (it's like Twitter's Trending Topics with a twist) and all marketers have been invited to check out Think Insights, a smorgasbord of helpful tools and up-to-date studies, trends and videos.

The Google Gmail App is Back on the iPhone, Finally

After vanishing abruptly two weeks ago, the Gmail app for the iPhone is back. 

Google yanked the app from the store soon after it was released and posted a brief note: "Earlier today we launched a new Gmail app for iOS. Unfortunately, it contained a bug which broke notifications and caused users to see an error message when first opening the app. We’ve removed the app while we correct the problem, and we’re working to bring you a new version soon. Everyone who’s already installed the app can continue to use it."

The failure caused a lot of embarrassment for Google and has brought into question its commitment to the iPhone and iOS platform, given its need to service the Android market first and foremost.

However, if this version of the app works okay, and Google delivers the promised improvements, then perhaps the unfortunate start can be put to rest. (Note: if you have the original app still on your iPhone, you need to uninstall it before heading to the App Store to download the new version.)

Google Think Insights: A One-Stop Shop for Consumer Trends

Google took yet another new project out of beta. Think Insights is an "information and resource hub for marketers" that features a smorgasbord of helpful tools and up-to-date studies, trends and videos.

The sections breakdown like this:

  • Latest Insights: If you're short on time, Latest Insights is like a shortcut. The section provides the featured content of the day.
  • Facts and Stats: This section is handy if you're looking for that last minute, semi-interesting data point or graph for your presentation.
  • Research Library: A comprehensive database of Google's studies, videos and infographics, organized by topic.
  • Planning tools: Custom tools to help you gain consumer and marketing insights, including: Real time Insights finder, mobile planet, search tools and display benchmark tools.
  • Thinking Ahead: What ideas will shape the future? Wouldn't you like to know. This section lists some of the emerging digital trends Google is watching.

Sounds like an idea someone should have had yesterday, right? The watering hole can be found under the new Think Insights page, which Google claims is forward-thinking and rooted in data. And while it sounds super handy, I personally wouldn't get used to its availability just yet.

After all, Google's CEO Larry Page has been on a rampage lately, killing Google projects left and right. In September, a total of 10 initiatives were given the boot, and most recently we had to wave goodbye to Google Buzz.

Checkout + Wallet

Good news! Just in time for the holidays, Big G has made shopping even easier. That is, Google Checkout and Google Wallet have officially been merged.

"When you shop with merchants that accept Google Wallet or Google Checkout, just use your Google Wallet username and password to complete your purchase -- there’s no need to pull out your credit card or enter your shipping address with every transaction." writes Ben Lee, Product Manager, Google Wallet, on the official blog. "...if you add a Citi MasterCard to the Google Wallet mobile app, it will also be available for use when you shop with Google Wallet online."

The marriage sounds mostly like a rebranding of Checkout with the Wallet name, rather than a complete overhaul of either system, and so far it sounds like the only casualty is the Google Checkout logo. 

Google+ Rolls Out Trending Topics

You read that headline right! Google+ now features trending topics in search results:


My immediate thought was Twitter's Trending Topics, of course, but rather than focusing on the most popular, Google+ lists 10 of the most recently discussed items on the social network. Clicking on one will launch a search query.

While integrating Trending Topics helped make Twitter more relevant, Google is taking a slightly different route by focusing solely on real-time news. Which approach do you think consumers will prefer?

Google+ Search got some additional goodness as users can now surface results from within just their own posts, their Circles or the entire Google+ network.