Posted to Erik Wagner's blog on January 31st, 2011

Several Updates From Google

There have been several interesting updates from Google in the past week.

Google Offers has officially been released! Google Offers is a Groupon alternative. It's not exactly Groupon, but still fairly neat. When you click on a local search result, you will see "offers" posted by the business owner. Pretty neat stuff! You can even add Google Offers to your iGoogle account so that you can see that stream of new coupons.

Last week Google also began to censor their "Autocomplete" and "Instant" results. There has been an increasing amount of pressure on Google to remove search results that may foster piracy. So, Google has banned certain words that are frequently used in the piracy community. Unfortunately, this has also harmed quite a few companies who are merely innocent bystanders. The legal software "uTorrent" and "BitTorrent" are now banned. In fact, all combinations of the word "torrent" are also banned.

Finally, an interesting update regarding Google Voice. You can now import your current phone number into Google Voice for $20. This is great for those of us who are on the go frequently because Google Voice has a lot of great features such as porting, voicemail transcription, personalized greetings, SMS to e-mail, caller screening, etc. If you don't have it, get it. Google Voice is a fantastic service.