Saturday, December 31, 2011

Please reply today! Dec 31, 2011

Please spend a few moments today to share your thoughts about what you'd like to read on our family websites in 2012. You can take our anonymous online survey (here) and add ideas/comments below this post. We would love your feedback for making improvements to family news in 2012!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Where is Santa?

Ho! Ho! Ho! Children of all ages can start tracking Santa in real-time on using Google Maps and in 3D with Google Earth. "If" your phone is handy, you can also search for [santa] on Google Maps for Mobile to track his journey on the go, or follow on Twitter @NoradSanta.

Thank you, NORAD. Merry Christmas to all! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Facebook Releases Timeline Dec 15, 2011

Timeline is one one of the changes FB announced in September at the F8 conference.

You might like to read these articles:
10 Things You Should now About Facebook Timeline on
Facebook releases the Timeline for everyone on
Facebook Pulls Back Curtain on Timeline on
Introducing Timeline on
Facebook's Timeline-- Already boring and in need of a tune-up on

What do you think of Facebook's Timeline? Let us know below in comments.

Be smarter than a grinch!

This week's guest blog is written by an experienced risk manager from the financial services industry.

Illustration by Dr Seuss (Theodor Geisel)

Protect yourself from Phishing attacks, which are E-mail scams involving fraudsters pretending to be from legitimate businesses and ask you to verify or update your financial or personal information. Don't do it! If you fall for the scam, the fraudsters steal your identity and use it to commit financial crimes.

Never give out your personal information such as social security number, account number or insurance policy information, passwords, mother's maiden's name, or place of birth in response to an unsolicited E-mail or phone request. Do not provide your bank name, and never tell anyone the Personal Identification Number (PIN) assigned to log-in to your bank cards, credit cards or other merchant accounts (e.g., phone, utility, cable or homeowners accounts).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Survey Says: Most wanted 2012 feature is...

From December 5 - 13, 2011, we conducted a web site poll asking, "What feature do you most want to see in 2012 big family news?" We asked our readers to vote for one of these choices:
  • Easier to use
  • More direct family Emails
  • Less web site content
  • Protected tweets
  • More user tips

Friday, December 9, 2011

Big Family News spreads holiday cheer

This week we've added a few festive touches to our web sites. Please be sure to visit and comment on any of our posts.
Also, we've reduced the width of this site; thanks for your suggestion!

Tell us what you want to see: Please answer a few questions to determine what we explore in 2012. Thank you for reading, and happy holidays!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gmail & Contacts change Dec 8, 2011

Google is integrating Gmail (get started here) and Contacts with Google+ (G+).  Examples of upgrades includes automatic contact data updates from those in your G+ circles to your Gmail Contacts and posting photos from your Gmail attachments to G+. If you want, you can now show circle names on Emails in your inbox. For more details, read the Google Enterprise announcement

You might also like:
Introducing multiple sign-in preferences on Gmail for mobile on Official Gmail Blog
Improving themes in Gmail's new look on Official Gmail Blog
How real users helped us develop Gmail's new look on Official Gmail Blog
Changing information density in Gmail's new look on Official Gmail Blog
Designing Gmail's new left navigation on Official Gmail Blog

Monday, December 5, 2011

Survey Says: Top benefit is...

From November 28 - December 5, 2011, we conducted a web site poll asking, What is the top benefit of having a family blog that's public?. We asked you to vote for one of these choices:
  • Easy to find
  • View without sign-in
  • Social media connectivity
  • Forward posts by Email
  • Web feed
  • Follow by Email
  • Other
Thank you for your responses. 100% respondents said: Follow by Email, which means you receive an Email newsletter of new posts to this blog.

Here's how:
  • To Follow by Email, join our mailing list. You may get started with click here. Within minutes, you'll receive a verification; once you click a link in that Email, you activate your subscription. To stop receiving these Emails, use the unsubscribe now link at the bottom of every newsletter.

It's Computer Science Education Week!

From Dec 4 - 10, 2011, the USA is recognizing the third annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek).
Here's a chance to eliminate misperceptions about CS and computing careers and increase awareness about all the opportunities understanding computing enables.
Computer careers are growing. Read what you can do this week as a student, teacher, parent or as a citizen concerned about the health and relevance of your community's K-12 educational resources,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Family Address Book Edits Dec 2, 2011

Family relocation and new addition updates our address and Email lists. To view details, please sign-in at the bottom of After you Sign-in, you will find the current contact info starts here.

Google announces YouTube's new look

Read about YouTube's overall new design, new channel and Home Page design here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

2011 Family Online Report Available for Download Dec 1, 2011

As we prepare (2012 annual survey) to enter our fifth year, we'd like to take a look at how "big family news" changed during 2011 to better match our family's changing habits. To have meaningful resources, we believe our family project priorities must be contemporary, creative and dynamic.

Our 2011 online team draft report is now available for viewing online and as a PDF file

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Official Google Blog: The next stage in our redesign

Read about the new Google bar that will enable you to navigate quickly between Google services, as well as share the right stuff with the right people easily on Google+. Read full announcement at Official Google Blog: The next stage in our redesign.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What would you like to see in 2012?

Each of is unique. In 2012, we want to make your experience match your preferences, your goals, and the way you use the site, better than ever before.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Google Calendar Upgrade Nov 28, 2011

You're now able to compact your Google Calendar by hiding morning and night hours when you don't usually have appointments. For more details, read the Official Gmail Blog.

You might also like:
Suggested times in Google Calendar on Official Gmail Blog

Friday, November 25, 2011

Blogger Dynamic View Demo Nov 25, 2011

Have you seen our Dynamic View web site? (Learn more.) This week, our seventh and final default view features Classic. During the demo, you can pick any of Blogger's 7 Dynamic

Monday, November 21, 2011

Got Crayons? Nov 21, 2011

This guest post is written by (at least) a fourth generation needlecrafter who also happens to love crayons.   
Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist after we grow up. ~Pablo Picasso

Why do grown-ups wait to draw with crayons until we're at a restaurant with fresh Italian bread sopped in herbed olive oil? Seems like we're missing out on some fun.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Take Sides Nov 19, 2011

Stuffing. Cranberry sauce. Mashed potatoes. Bring it on! We're wondering, "Which Thanksgiving side dish is the most popular in our family?" Comment below to vote for your fave.

Sign-in at to see our online recipe collection. If you'd like our posting assistance, send your favorite recipes via Email the author below. Happy Thanksgiving!

What's your favorite Thanksgiving side dish? Let us know in comments!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

This Week's Dynamic View Nov 17, 2011

Have you seen our Dynamic View web site? (Learn more.) This week, our sixth  default view features Magazine (here). During the demo, you can pick any of the 7 Dynamic

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Google Enterprise support for issues and customers Nov 15, 2011 -- Updated Nov 21, 2011

Find these recent updates at the Official Google Enterprise Blog:

You might also like
Google Apps Mobile Management Overview via Google Apps for Business
Security First via Google Apps for Business
Using Gmail, Calendar, and Docs without an internet connection via Official Google Blog
Custom domains simplified via Blogger Buzz

Updated November 21, 2011 at 8:54  AM

Family Myth or History? Nov 15, 2011

This guest post is written by an avid family history researcher and collector extraordinaire.   

Perhaps you've heard the expression, "Genealogy without documentation is mythology." I recently found inexpensive software for organizing genealogy content and

Monday, November 14, 2011

Address Book Edit Nov 14, 2011

We added the new phone number associated with recent family relocation to our 
address list. To view details, please sign-in at the bottom of The current address and phone list is here and our Address Book FAQ are here.

We also alert you to address book changes via Twitter @BigFamilyNews Sign-up for our private address book here

What else can we do to sustain family connections? Please share your thoughts in comments.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Message Boards can facilitate genealogy research Nov 8, 2011

This guest post is written by a relative who researches our family history.

Our search for ancestor graves has been hampered by limited vital statistics. In one instance, we had first and maiden name, husband's name, and marriage date. No birth date. No death date. No cemetery location for husband or wife.

Recently, we decided to register for Guest Access on, and write about our experience using their free services. Not only did we

Monday, November 7, 2011

Google+ Pages Now Available Nov 7, 2011

Recently, we started a poll to find out whether you want to enable Google+ on our family sites. There's another Google+ upgrade we think you should know about.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thank A Military Family Nov 3, 2011

This guest post is written by a thankful relative.

November is a traditional time for reflecting upon our blessings, and I suggest we take a moment to express the gratitude we all feel for our military families.

Share a message of thanks with a military family. Email your personal message at Joining Forces here, and it will be delivered by the USO.

This Week's Dynamic View Nov 3, 2011

Have you seen our Dynamic View web site? (Learn more.) This week, our fourth default view features Mosaic (here). During the demo, you can pick any of the 7 Dynamic

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Preview Gmail's New Look Nov 1, 2011 -- Updated Nov 7, 2011

Google continues product changes, and is introducing a clean, more modern look to Gmail. You will automatically get upgraded to the new look soon. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Official Google Enterprise Blog: Cloud Computing and Internet Governance

Our online team posts about cloud computing for two reasons. First, we receive questions about it; second, we received the suggestion to set-up a family cloud. We're looking for technical support to help us make this evaluation. To volunteer your technical talents to advise our online team about creating a family cloud, please Contact Us or use the link below to Email the author.

Using Census Records in Your Family Research Nov 1, 2011

This guest post is written by a relative who researches our family history.

For anyone interested in family history research, the United States population census has a wealth of detailed information.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Do You Want to Use Google+ On Our Sites? Oct 28, 2011

We know about some Google+ users in our family (here); of course we're aware of the Google+ impact on Facebook (here and here). We're sensitive to the lack of support in our family to use Facebook for sharing some general family news, but another option is available.

Starting October 27, 2011 (yesterday), Google+ is now available to Google Apps users. Read the Official Google Enterprise announcement here. Before enabling G+, we need to consider the factors listed here, and we invite your discussion below and by Email.

According to Ronald Ho, Google+ product Manager
In addition to sharing publicly or with your circles, you’ll also have the option to share with everyone in your organization, even if you haven’t added all of those people to a circle.
Are you in favor of enabling Google+ on family sites? Let us know in comments!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This Week's Dynamic View Oct 25, 2011

Have you seen our Dynamic View web site? (Learn more.) This week, our third default  view features Timeslide (here). During the demo, you can pick any of the 7 Dynamic

Monday, October 24, 2011

Please Reply By 7 Nov 2011

In preparation for holiday mail, we've been asked to confirm our extended family's online address book is up-to-date. Your online response by Monday November 7, 2011,

Friday, October 21, 2011

Can There Ever Really Be Privacy in the Cloud? Oct 19, 2011

Fran Maier is the president and executive chair of TRUSTe, the leading online privacy solutions provider. She speaks widely on issues of online privacy and trust and is active in mentoring women in technology. She serves on a number of Internet and trust-related boards, including the Online Trust Alliance. Read her post at Can There Ever Really Be Privacy in the Cloud?

Family Events updated Oct 21, 2011

Through online research, we are validating elements of our family history, and just posted updates. For example, to see a partial list of musical events relating to our heritage, click here. We invite you to join us (learn more) writing family blogs.

Do you have other events? Please Email the author below!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Fresh start for Google presentations Oct 18, 2011

You will need a modern browser to use the new version of Google presentations. Then you can do things like insert images and videos, format your slides, and download your presentations as a PDF (read about PDF and Adobe Acrobat Reader® in our Newsletters FAQ), PPT or .txt file.

Once you publish your presentation, you can embed it in a web site! Isn't this a great opportunity to enhance our web sites?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Notes About Our Free Newsletters Oct 17, 2010

We are looking for relatives to regularly write family news (read more here). To volunteer, please Email the author below.

Also, we're updating links in our blog posts. During the next several weeks, your newsletter may include some earlier announcements. The links need to be updated because we've consolidated  family web sites and moved content to We apologize for any inconvenience.

Would you like to join our mailing list for free Email newsletters? Click here.

Friday, October 7, 2011

This Week's Dynamic View - Oct 7, 2011

Have you seen our Dynamic View web site? (Learn more.) This week, our default view features Snapshot (here). During the demo, you can pick any of the 7 Dynamic

Friday, September 30, 2011

Big Family Recipes Sept 30, 2011

We'd like to consider alternatives to posting all family recipes on restricted web pages at One alternative is posting some content on a food and wine blog. Reconsidering visibility and editing access (read more) are other options. We welcome and encourage all suggestions. To see the announcement in detail on our family Message Board, please Sign-in here.

How do you want to access family recipes? Please share your thoughts in comments.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

See our Dynamic Views demo Sept 29, 2011

Browse our demo of Dynamic Views that Blogger announced September 27, 2011 (here). We chose Flipcard as this week's default (here). During the

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Address Book Edits Sept 28, 2011

Family relocation updates our address list. To view details, please sign-in at the bottom of The current address and phone list is here.

Want to sign-up for our private address book? Email the author with complete contact data!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dynamic Views | Blogger Buzz Sept 27, 2011

Read about Blogger's new interactive features and looks at Blogger Buzz. We have a customized lay-out on this blog, so we are tinkering with Dynamic Views on

To participate in our testing and re-design, Sign-in at and browse our Tasks list. We'll announce changes here and @BigFamilyNews.

Which of Blogger's new Dynamic Views do you like the most? Let us know in Comments!

You might like:

New apps status dashboard improves visibility

Google provides information about how its applications are performing. If something goes wrong and you want to check the status, you can access the "Apps Status Dashboard" that has just been redesigned to be more clutter-free status with a single, continuous timeline.

The new dashboard shows only service disruptions and outages. The size of the dot will indicate the length of outage and the color will indicate the severity. The dot to the left of the service name will show the current status of the service. Read the official announcement here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cookbook editing access Sept 17, 2011

Since launching with Page-Level Permissions (more info here), Comments suggest we reconsider the access list. 

Family News and Address Book Changes Sept 17, 2011

Good Saturday morning! We have ready for you. Sign-in at the bottom of to access restricted web pages. You will now find USPO address and telephone numbers on the same rather than separate lists. Please verify your data, and use our online form to update content.