Thursday, May 17, 2007

Auto-savory Blogger Posting

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Blogger Buzz: Auto-savory Blogger Posting

Today we're adding autosaving of draft posts to the Blogger post editor. Now you don't have to feel so bad about browser crashes, random laptop restarts, or that hamster vs. gerbil war going on behind your desk that keeps knocking your power cord out of the socket, because Blogger is automatically saving as you type! It's doing it to me right now. Even if I...

*smash*

Whoops! I just pretended that my browser crashed for the purpose of illustrating that the above paragraph is still intact, thanks to autosave! So say "goodbye" to lost blog posts. You won't miss them.

As you work on a new or draft post in the Blogger post editor, the page will periodically send a copy of the text, title, labels, etc. to our servers. We do this about once a minute, unless you type a lot, in which case we'll save as soon as you stop typing, just to be on the safe side. You'll know it's happening because the "Save Now" button at the bottom of the page will turn into a gray "Saved" button.

We'll autosave new posts (they'll become drafts) as well as draft posts that you edit. We won't autosave posts that are currently published, since you don't want your readers to see your updates while you're working on them.

On top of this, we're revamping the post editor's keyboard shortcuts to make them a bit more sane. Now Ctrl-P publishes, Ctrl-S saves a draft, and Ctrl-D switches from published to draft. We moved Preview over to Ctrl-Shift-P.

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/05/auto-savory-blogger-posting.html

You now have access to the new Google Analytics!

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You now have access to the new Google Analytics!

If you've been waiting to get access to the new interface, you don't have to wait any longer. Now everyone has access to the new Google Analytics. You'll also be able to use the previous version of Google Analytics until July 18th. If there are specific reports in the previous version of Google Analytics that you'd like to find in the new interface, try using the Report Finder tool. If you haven't viewed the Tour, you may find it to be a helpful introduction to the new Google Analytics.

I love the new Google Analytics and I believe it goes a long way towards percolating data up to the surface where it can be seen by the right people. But rather than hear more about it from me, I thought I'd point out a few other posts on the new Google Analytics interface:

In "Welcome to the New Google Analytics", Justin from EpikOne provides an in-depth overview of how to use sticky URL's, custom dashboards, and the date range selector.

Want to know how to get started off on the right foot with the new Google Analytics? Check out Avinash Kaushik's blog post.

Erik Dafforn's gives a wrap-up in "New Google Analytics: Built for Search Marketers" on ClickZ.

Adam Ostrow takes a detailed look at setting goals, local conversion data, and more in "27 Features That Make Google Analytics Best of Breed."

Speaking for all of us on the Google Analytics team, enjoy!

URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2007/05/you-now-have-access-to-new-google.html

Integrating visual tools with spreadsheet data

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Official Google Docs & Spreadsheets Blog: Integrating visual tools with spreadsheet data



If you are looking for new ways to visualize data from your spreadsheets, or if you're looking for methods to integrate your own products or programming ideas with collaborative spreadsheet data - please check out this blog post on our Google Data APIs blog. It describes how two particular companies integrated Google Docs & Spreadsheets as data sources into their data visualization tools.

URL: http://google-d-s.blogspot.com/2007/05/integrating-visual-tools-with.html

Taking advantage of universal search

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Taking advantage of universal search


Yesterday, at Searchology, we unveiled exciting changes in our search results. With universal search, we've begun blending results from more than just the web in order to provide the most relevant and useful results possible. In addition to web pages, for instance, the search results may include video, news, images, maps, and books. Over time, we'll continue to enhance this blending so that searchers can get the exact information they need right from the search results.

This is great news for the searcher, but what does it mean for you, the webmaster? It's great news for you as well. Many people do their searches from web search and aren't aware of our many other tools to search for images, news, videos, maps, and books. Since more of those results may now be returned in web search, if you have content that is returned in these others searches, more potential visitors may see your results.

Want to make sure you're taking full advantage of universal search? Here are some tips:

Google News results
If your site includes news content, you can, submit your site for inclusion in Google News. Once your site is included, you can let us know about your latest articles by submitting a News Sitemap. (Note News Sitemaps are currently available for English sites only.)

News Archive results
If you have historical news content (available for free or by subscription), you can submit it for inclusion in News Archive Search.

Image results
If your site includes images, you can opt-in to enhanced Image search in webmaster tools, which will enable us to gather additional metadata about your images using our Image Labeler. This helps us return your images for the most relevant queries. Also ensure that you are fully taking advantage of the images on your site.

Local results
If your site is for a business in a particular geographic location, you can provide information to us using our Local Business Center. By providing this information, you can help us provide the best, locally relevant results to searchers both in web search and on Google Maps.

Video results
If you have video content, you can host it on Google Video, YouTube, or a number of other video hosting providers. If the video is a relevant result for the query, searchers can play the video directly from the search results page (for Google Video and YouTube) or can view a thumbnail of the video then click over to the player for other hosting providers. You can easily upload videos to Google Video or to YouTube.

Our goal with universal search is to provide most relevant and useful results, so for those of you who want to connect to visitors via search, our best advice remains the same: create valuable, unique content that is exactly what searchers are looking for.

URL: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/05/taking-advantage-of-universal-search.html

Star Power

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Google Custom Search: Star Power




If you've created a Custom Search Engine you've likely encountered the term 'URL patterns': the method for specifying sites and pages to include in a search engine. You can create a Custom Search Engine without ever giving URL patterns much thought, but there's added control that comes with understanding how they work and how best to use them. To that end, here are a few tips on creating useful URL patterns.

The simplest type of pattern is the URL of a specific page. You can use an asterisk (or star, in techie vernacular) as a wild card in your pattern to specify a swath of URLs by identifying their common characters. Here's how it works: rather than add each page of www.site.com to your search engine, you can merely add www.site.com/* and we will include every URL that begins with www.site.com. Similarly, rather than individually adding each subdomain of site.com, you can use the star to include them all: *.site.com will apply to www.site.com, server.site.com, etc.

Because most users adding sites to their search engines expect the subpages to be included, we've made the addition of the star the default behavior. This is what we mean in the Sites tab of the control panel when we say 'Include all pages whose address contains this URL.' If you leave that option selected, we will add a star to the end of whatever URL you provide. Additionally, if your URL is just a domain (like site.com/), not including a sub-domain (like www.site.com/ or server.site.com/), we will add a star at the beginning. This means:

  • site.com/ becomes *.site.com/*
  • server.foo.com/ becomes server.foo.com/*
  • othersite.co.uk/ becomes *.othersite.co.uk/* (yep, we handle two level top-level domains correctly)

If you'd like to control exactly where stars get added, you can select 'Include just the specific page or URL pattern I have entered.'

Another way to use patterns is to identify and distill common characters among a set of pages you'd like to include in your index. For example, if I know that all car review pages on my favorite consumer reviews site contain the words 'car' and 'reviews' in the URL, I can create the pattern www.reviewsite.com/*reviews*cars and include these pages. (I just need to be careful that only the pages I want contain these terms, or I may include more than I bargained for.) These types of patterns are especially useful when creating search refinements.


There is also one more application of the star, which is before a top-level domain like .edu or .ca. One use of this pattern is for when you'd like to refine a search by country: for example, you can create a pattern like *.ca and refine your search to Canadian web sites only. That said, you cannot otherwise insert a star into the second-level domain, such as www.*.com or www.dogs*.com. For a few more concrete examples of URL patterns check out our documentation.

The careful creation of URL patterns allows you greater control over the content of your Custom Search Engines, and can be particularly helpful when breaking up a site's content for refinements. Patterns may also help reduce the overall number of sites in your Custom Search Engine account, so look for redundant URLs that can be included more economically by the use of, shall we say, a little star power.

URL: http://googlecustomsearch.blogspot.com/2007/05/star-power.html

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Web Programmer? Come work on Blogger!

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Blogger Buzz: Web Programmer? Come work on Blogger!

Now that Blogger's on fresh, solid ground, our engineering team is cranking full-steam ahead on lots of exciting new features! But we've got a classic problem that comes with growth - there's too much to do, and too few people to do it all.

Therefore, we're looking to hire some UI experts (both visual and interaction designers, as well as software engineers) to join the Blogger Team here at Google, and help us plan and build Blogger's next generation features. If you're interested, send an email to jobs@blogger.com with your resumé, and which of the following job descriptions you're interested in:

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/05/web-programmer-come-work-on-blogger.html