Saturday, August 11, 2007

Weekly Google Code Roundup for August 10th

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Google Code - Updates: Weekly Google Code Roundup for August 10th


In API and developer-product news...

ExtMapTypeControl 1.1 contains a smarter traffic button. In this week's release of API v2.86, there is a "changed" event for GTrafficOverlay that sends a boolean indicating whether traffic data is available in the current viewport. Using this event, Pamela modified the traffic button in ExtMapTypeControl to behave exactly as the maps.google.com button does. The example below lets you test out the new behavior - pan and zoom out to the other side of the world to see the button disappear.

The Google Mashup Editor has a couple of great new mashups including EarthQuake! which gives detailed information on earthquakes and plots their magnitude on a Google Map. If you are a Sudoku fan, Offline Sudoku will let you play away even when the internet connection isn't there for you, using Google Gears.

Speaking of Gears, Arjun Kalura has created a database sync module that shows the progress of a sync between a remote database, and a local one. The example also uses the worker pool to execute SQL in its own thread and hence keeping the user interface freed up to show the progress report on how the sync process is going.

Also, Uriel Katz announced a new release of GearsORM which adds basic introspection including a model that maps to sqlite_master table.

Around Google

We feel pretty generous with the amount of storage that we give out with our services such as Gmail and Picasa, but we realise that some users would like more so we now offer a way for you to buy more storage if you need it.

Privacy is important to us, and our users. In order to improve transparency we have launched our first experiment to explain basic privacy concepts via video on YouTube.

Joining the Open Invention Network: "You'll often hear members of our open source team say, "Every time you use Google, you're using Linux." It's absolutely true. Check a Google engineer's workstation, and you'll probably find it's running Linux. Do a search on Google.com, and a Linux server will return your results. Ever since Google got its start, Linux has given us the power and flexibility we need to serve millions of users around the world.

In turn, we feel a strong responsibility to the Linux community, and we're always looking for creative ways to put our resources in the hands of Linux developers. That's why today we became a licensee of the Open Invention Network (OIN), an innovative patent-sharing organization founded to create a legally protected environment for anyone who works with Linux."

You will notice that the search results now tell how when fresh content shows up via a small piece of metadata such as "13 hours ago". This is an instant indicator of freshness, which you may, or may not, have weight depending on what you are looking for.

Featured Projects

MapMSG lets you create an electronic note on a map. The note can be in the form of smoke, crop circles, and more.

Walk Score is a mashup that uses the Maps and AJAX Search APIs to show you how friendly your location is for walking.

Google Tech Talks

JSR-305: Java annotations For Defects: This talk describes the current status of JSR-305, Java annotations for software defect detection. This JSR will define several standard Java annotations for properties such as @Nonnegative and @Nonnull that can be used to document your design intentions in a way that be interpreted by multiple software tools.

Open-source-based high-resolution cameras: Andrey Filippov explains the designs and applications of Elphel, Inc. intelligent, network-enabled cameras based on open source hardware and software. Google currently uses Elphel cameras for book scanning and for capturing street imagery in Google Maps.

View more tech talks.

URL: http://google-code-updates.blogspot.com/2007/08/weekly-google-code-roundup-for-august.html

Friday, August 10, 2007

Online ad-serving tests

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Online ad-serving tests



We're always experimenting and testing ways to deliver relevant and new kinds of ads, and as part of that, we recently started running a test of an ad serving technology that will help us understand online ad serving better, and allow us to experiment with some new approaches to privacy for third-party ad servers. The privacy features we'll test in these experiments follow some recently-announced policies, such as a shorter expiration date for the cookie set on your computer and anonymization of the logs data after 18 months.

In our ad-serving tests, we're introducing an opt-out mechanism so people can opt out of the test ad-serving cookie if they wish. In addition, we're going to experiment with ways the industry could provide improved transparency for consumers and providing users with additional controls over the data gathered by ad servers. Some of the ideas we're exploring include:
  • using "crumbled" cookies, so that the data typically associated with one unique identifying number or "cookie ID" will be broken up among multiple different cookies and diffuse the ad history of individual users;
  • providing better forms of notice within ads, to help users understand who is serving the ads they see, and what data is being collected; and
  • giving users the ability to provide feedback to us about the ads they like and don't like.
Like all experiments, these ideas may or may not work out. And they won't be effective unless the industry adopts them -- we are not likely to implement these ideas alone. But we are excited to start innovating in this area for our advertising customers and for our users. We welcome your feedback.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/online-ad-serving-tests.html

Site maintenance on Saturday, August 11th

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Site maintenance on Saturday, August 11th

Tomorrow, our engineers will be performing routine system maintenance from 10am to 12pm PDT. Although you won't be able to log in to your account for 2 hours, we'll continue to serve ads to your pages and track your earnings as usual.

For our international readers, we've converted the maintenance start time for a few cities around the world:

Toronto -- 1pm Saturday
London -- 6pm Saturday
Cairo -- 8pm Saturday
Mumbai -- 10:30pm Saturday
Melbourne -- 3am Sunday

Thanks for your patience, and enjoy your weekend!

URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/08/site-maintenance-on-saturday-august.html

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A simple way to get more storage

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A simple way to get more storage



As someone who tests Google products daily, I know that the simplest solution is often the one that works best. In the case of online storage, whether it's a picture, a video or an email, you should just, well, be able to store it without having to worry about whether you've got enough space in each particular product. That's why the Picasa team is pleased to tell you that in a few hours we'll be rolling out extra storage that you can purchase to use across several Google products (today, Picasa Web Albums and Gmail; soon, other applications like Google Docs & Spreadsheets). That will help make storage really useful, like letting you upload lots of full resolution images to Picasa Web Albums.

When you reach the limit of free storage (i.e., 1GB for Picasa Web Albums, 2.8GB for Gmail), consider this your overflow solution. Plans start at $20/year for 6GB (yes, $5 cheaper than before), with larger plans ranging up to 250GB. If only testing everything were this easy.

We'll update this post as soon as we're ready to take your order.

Update: And we're live! To buy more storage, go here.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/simple-way-to-get-more-storage.html

Finance in iGoogle

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Google Finance Blog: Finance in iGoogle

Nick Fey, Google Finance designer

There are some great Finance gadgets available on iGoogle (personalized Google search page), but it can be challenging to find the best Finance gadgets. Recently the iGoogle team have introduced the 'Share tab' feature which allows you to share a whole tab of gadgets. This has allowed us to pull together a collection of some of our favorite iGoogle gadgets and share them with you. If you click on the link below you will see an invitation to create a new iGoogle tab.

Add a Google Finance recommended iGoogle tab

Go ahead and click on the blue 'Add to iGoogle' button and it will create the new tab for you with these suggested gadgets.

You should see something similar to the screenshot below.



Now every time you do a web search you can view a quick overview of the market and see what is moving and shaking in your portfolios

One enhancement I would recommend is to add some Finance RSS feeds to the Google reader gadget. If you have not used Reader yet, you have been missing out big time. The big advantage with the Reader gadget is that you can read the story right on your iGoogle page rather than having to go to another website.

To set up your Reader gadget just follow these quick steps:

1. Click on the 'Google Reader' gadget title which is a link to the Google Reader main page.



2. Click on the 'Browse >>' link in the green 'Add subscription' box.



3. Ignore the 'Fun' group for now (there will be time for fun later) and follow the 'More bundles' link.



4. You can click on the 'subscribe' icon in the Finance group which will add a bundle of Finance RSS feeds to Reader in one go.



5. You are all done! Head back to your new iGoogle page and take a look at the updated Reader gadget.

If you don't like any of the RSS feeds you can click on the 'Google Reader' title again and remove them from the list. There are plenty more feeds out there that you may prefer and they are easy to search for and add to your reading list. Try adding http://googlefinanceblog.blogspot.com/ and you can see when there is a new post to this blog.

The Finance team is busy building useful new gadgets and we are also building tools to enable you to easily make your own Finance gadgets to share with the Google Finance community. We will let you know when we get some cool new stuff to check out. As always, we encourage you to leave comments with any suggestions for what you would like to see.

URL: http://googlefinanceblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/finance-in-igoogle.html

Publishers go Dutch with newest AdSense forum

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Publishers go Dutch with newest AdSense forum

Two weeks ago, our blog team celebrated the first birthday of the Dutch AdSense blog. We're now happy to announce the launch of the Dutch AdSense Help Forum! Visit the new forum to ask troubleshooting questions, offer optimization advice, and meet other AdSense publishers. You might also notice posts from 'AdSensePro', a Google representative who will contribute to discussions.

Aside from Dutch, the AdSense Help Forum is also available in the following languages: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.

URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/08/publishers-go-dutch-with-newest-adsense.html

Finding fresh results

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Finding fresh results



We work hard to keep our search results as fresh as possible so that they reflect the most up to date content on the web. However, given the immense medium the Internet is, it's hard to find all those pages that have just come into existence and make them available when people come looking for the latest information on new topics, whether it's a highly anticipated cell phone launch, news about a popular celebrity or the latest political maneuvers. What makes providing the latest information harder is the small amount of time we have between the page creation and when we'd like to serve those results to you.

Despite these challenges, one thing should not be hard: finding the freshest results on the page. To make it easier for you to spot the newer pages among the search results, we are now going to tell you how long ago we've seen a page containing what we think you're looking for.

For example, if on August 6th you were searching on Google.com for latest financial information following the Friday financial sector action, here's how that result would have looked in the past:



From this you could only see that we crawled this page at a day level granularity. But now when you do this search you will also be able to tell how long ago we noticed this page, so you can quickly pinpoint which of these is results is likely to contain more recent information. Here's the same example showing the annotation that tells you there's something new in the results we've seen recently.



So if you're looking for the most recent content on the web, this change should make it easier to find. And if you're a webmaster looking to tell us about all the new content on your site we haven't looked at yet, check out our support for sitemaps.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/finding-fresh-results.html

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Is black the new green?

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Is black the new green?



Reducing climate change by saving energy is an important effort we should all join, and that's why we're very glad to see the innovative thinking going into a variety of solutions. One idea, suggested by the site called "Blackle" (which is not related to Google, by the way, though the site does use our custom search engine), is to reduce energy used by monitors by providing search with a black background. We applaud the spirit of the idea, but our own analysis as well as that of others shows that making the Google homepage black will not reduce energy consumption. To the contrary, on flat-panel monitors (already estimated to be 75% of the market), displaying black may actually increase energy usage. Detailed results from a new study confirm this.

As computers become a bigger part of more people's lives, they will consume an increasing amount of energy, which is why we've invested so much in making our data centers efficient and we've joined with others to launch Climate Savers Computing, which has a goal of reducing total power consumption by more than 50% for all computers by 2010.

There are some things you can do now to reduce the energy used by your computer, such as:
  • turn on the power management features. Virtually all computers today have the ability to switch into low-power modes automatically when they're idle; very few computers have this capability enabled! Here's how to do it on computers running Windows XP.
  • turn off your monitor and computer when you're not using them
  • turn down the brightness on your monitor
  • make sure your next computer meets the efficiency standards of Climate Savers Computing (an efficient computer uses up to 50% less energy than a conventional one)
  • to find the most efficient PCs available today, look for the words "EnergyStar 4.0 compliant."

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/is-black-new-green.html

Google Checkout back-to-school offers

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Google Checkout back-to-school offers



Checkout stores are offering up to $20 in savings for the back-to-school season. Find out more on the Checkout blog.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/google-checkout-back-to-school-offers.html

The 59 Mile Drive

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Google LatLong: The 59 Mile Drive



The original "49 Mile Drive" was a route created in 1938 by the San Francisco Downtown Association to highlight the city's beauty and to promote it as a tourist destination. The route has changed several times in the last 70 years, but most recently a user on Google Maps has plotted his own version of the 49 Mile Drive. The original route has been modified to avoid highways and to include scenic views such as the Painted Ladies at Alamo Square and Lombard Street (the "crookedest street the in the world"). It's also 10 miles longer, so I guess a more appropriate name would be the 59 Mile Drive. You can map your own scenic route using the map drawing tools found in the My Maps tab of Google Maps.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/08/59-mile-drive.html

Upcoming change to the top ad placement formula

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Upcoming change to the top ad placement formula

Advertisers often aim for top placement because they find that their ads perform the best when they appear above Google search results. Since these ads must meet or exceed a top placement quality threshold, our users receive high quality ad results while advertisers get the traffic they desire – a win-win situation.

Quality Score is the greatest determining factor in top ad placement, which means no one will ever be able to pay their way to the top. We have, however, been working on an improvement to the top ad placement formula that will soon offer advertisers more control over achieving top placement while increasing the quality of our ad results for users.

The key change to the formula will be how we consider price. Today's formula considers an ad's Quality Score and actual cost-per-click (CPC). The improved formula will still heavily weight Quality Score, but instead of actual CPC, it will consider an ad's maximum CPC. Here's why:

Actual CPC is determined, in part, by the bidding behavior of the advertisers below you. This means that your ad's chance of being promoted to a top spot could be constrained by a factor you cannot influence. By considering your ad's maximum CPC, a value you set, you will have more control over achieving top ad placement.

In addition to increasing control for advertisers, the improved formula increases the quality of our top ads for users. This is due to more high quality ads becoming eligible for top placement, thereby allowing our system to choose from a larger pool of high quality ads to show our users.

The improved formula will go into effect within the next few weeks. For a full explanation of how the top ad placement formula will be changing, please see this AdWords Help Center FAQ. We encourage you to read the FAQ in its entirety since this change may affect the performance of your ads – e.g. in some cases, some ads previously showing alongside search results may begin to show in top spots, and vice versa.

Once the improved formula goes live, we'll update you here on the Inside AdWords blog so stay tuned.

URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/08/upcoming-change-to-top-ad-placement.html

[G] Save time (and money) with Checkout back-to-school shopping

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Save time (and money) with Checkout back-to-school shopping



It's that time of year: the school year is quickly approaching and we're all trying to squeeze in some last-minute summer fun. To help you get ready for school, a number of Google Checkout stores are offering exclusive savings of up to $20 for Checkout buyers for a limited time. Whether you're shopping for small items like pens and notebooks, or for the latest school gear and digital gadgets, you can buy it quickly and securely with Google Checkout.

One more thing: to explore fun back-to-school products from Google Checkout stores, be sure to add our new gadget to your iGoogle personalized homepage by clicking here:

Saving time + money = more summer fun.

URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2007/08/save-time-and-money-with-checkout-back.html

Google search privacy: Plain and simple

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Google search privacy: Plain and simple


Cookies, IP addresses, logs -- all of these are important things to understand in the context of online privacy. We try to explain them in clear and simple language in our privacy policy and FAQ. But they're not always easy for non-techies to understand. Google is committed to being transparent about our privacy practices. We've been thinking about different ways to help people understand the technical aspects of online privacy, to improve transparency, and to empower you to make informed decisions about how you want to use our services. Today, we're launching our first experiment to explain basic privacy concepts via video on YouTube. Here it is:


This video runs about 5 minutes, so we couldn't cover everything. Over time, we hope to create additional videos where we talk about other privacy issues: what data do we collect when you register for a Google Account? or - when you search on Google while you're logged in? or - why does Google keep server logs? But before we head down the road of sequels, we'd like to get your feedback on whether you find this video format helpful. So please watch it and tell us what you think. We look forward to hearing from you.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/google-search-privacy-plain-and-simple.html

Historical NTDOY

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Google Finance Blog: Historical NTDOY

Posted by Matthew Simmons - Market Data Gnome

Many of you have noticed that we had a gap in our NTDOY charts, as well as with some other ADRs. I've fixed NTDOY, and am working on fixing the others. Thanks for the heads up, and please do report data errors as this is the best way we can quickly detect and resolve them.

URL: http://googlefinanceblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/historical-ntdoy.html

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Perspectives about the news from people in the news

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Google News Blog: Perspectives about the news from people in the news



We wanted to give you a heads-up on a new, experimental feature we'll be trying out on the Google News home page. Starting this week, we'll be displaying reader comments on stories in Google News, but with a bit of a twist...

We'll be trying out a mechanism for publishing comments from a special subset of readers: those people or organizations who were actual participants in the story in question. Our long-term vision is that any participant will be able to send in their comments, and we'll show them next to the articles about the story. Comments will be published in full, without any edits, but marked as "comments" so readers know it's the individual's perspective, rather than part of a journalist's report.

As always, Google News will direct readers to the professionally-written articles and news sources our algorithms have determined are relevant for a topic. From bloggers to mainstream journalists, the journalists who help create the news we read every day occupy a critical place in the information age. But we're hoping that by adding this feature, we can help enhance the news experience for readers, testing the hypothesis that -- whether they're penguin researchers or presidential candidates-- a personal view can sometimes add a whole new dimension to the story.

We're beginning this only in the US and then, based on how things go, we'll work to expand it to other languages and editions. We're excited about the possibilities of this new feature and we hope you are too, so if you've been covered in a news article please send us your comments and we'll work with you to post it on Google News.

URL: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/perspectives-about-news-from-people-in.html

Optimisation data for HTML5 parser implementors

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Google Code - Updates: Optimisation data for HTML5 parser implementors


Last month, just before I left on vacation, I posted three sets of data to help implementors of the HTML5 parser specification optimise their code. There are several implementations coming along, for example those that are part of the html5lib project and the one behind Validator.nu.

The three sets of data that I posted are all derived from parsing several billion documents from Google's Web search index using a parser I wrote in Sawzall.

The first set of data gives the relative aggregate distribution of invocations of the "in head", "in body", and "in table" insertion modes, for each of the insertion modes. This allows implementors to determine, for instance, that invoking the "in body" code while in a cell must be very efficient, while invoking the "in body" code from the "after frameset" code need not be as efficient, in case the implementor has a strategy that optimises one at the cost of another. See: documentation, data.

The second set of data gives the relative aggregate distribution of tokens for each phase/insertion mode pair. This can help implementors that are using a cascade of if statements decide on the right order for their statements. For instance, the most common token type seen in the "in body" insertion mode is character data, and the second most token is the start tag token for an a element, but the isindex start tag was almost never seen. This tells implementors that they should check for characters and a start tags long before checking for isindex tags. See: documentation, data.

The last set of data examines the number of attributes per element. It allows implementors to decide on the optimum memory allocation strategy for attributes. For example, since most elements have 9 or fewer attributes, the data structure that stores attributes can be optimised for simply having 9 attributes, using little memory, and if an element has more than this number of attributes, the implementation can switch to a separate implementation that is more memory-heaving but is optimised for large numbers of attributes. See: data.

I hope this data is useful!

URL: http://google-code-updates.blogspot.com/2007/08/optimisation-data-for-html5-parser.html

Browse Profiles! Find new blogs to read!

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Blogger Buzz: Browse Profiles! Find new blogs to read!

Say you live in Albuquerque, count the Smashing Pumpkins among your favorite bands, and like sushi. Starting today, we're making it easy for you to find other bloggers who share your interests.

Now you can go to any Blogger profile page (start with your own, or perhaps another popular blogger's) and follow any of the links on the page to get a list of other bloggers with the same industry, occupation, location, interest, or favorite book, movie, or music.


The Browse Profile results are tuned to show you people who have recently updated their blogs at the top, so you can find blogs with fresh posts.


If you haven't filled out your profile, do it now to help people find your blog. Here's how.

Don't want to be found? Just edit your profile and uncheck the "Share my profile" box, and your profile won't show up when other people browse.

Still curious about Blogger profiles? Read our FAQ.

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/08/browse-profiles-find-new-blogs-to-read.html

AdWords system maintenance on August 11

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AdWords system maintenance on August 11

On Saturday, August 11th, the AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT due to our regularly scheduled maintenance. While you won't be able to log into your accounts during this time, your campaigns will continue to run as usual.

AdWords system maintenance typically occurs on the second Saturday of each month during the above times. We'll continue to update you here as we always have, but you may want to take note of our intended dates and times to help you plan for any scheduled downtimes further down the road.

URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/08/adwords-system-maintenance-on-august-11.html

Let's get this roadshow on the...er...road

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Let's get this roadshow on the...er...road

We really enjoy meeting publishers face to face, as it lets us know how you feel about the AdSense program and what improvements we can make. Plus, we're happy to help you put faces to the names in the email messages we send. Recently, a few members of our AdSense UK team met up with a group of publishers in London to discuss AdSense and to share a bit about future developments. We've compiled some video footage from that day. Enjoy!



URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/08/lets-get-this-roadshow-on-theerroad.html

[G] At eTail East this week

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Official Google Checkout Blog: At eTail East this week



This week, we're attending the eTail East Coast Conference in Washington D.C. If you're at the show, stop by and visit us in booth #65 at the Hilton, and try to catch our own Steve Stukenborg on Wednesday, August 8, during Track B. Steve will be joined by Steve Larkin from Zales for a session called One Merchant's Experience with Google Checkout.

URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2007/08/at-etail-east-this-week.html

More Street View Cities

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Google LatLong: More Street View Cities



Since the launch of Street View we've been working hard on extending the service to more cities.

We're excited to announce that Street View is now available in San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston and Orlando. Like the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego features high-resolution imagery.

I've been waiting to visit Frank Gehry's Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA for some time now. Now I can see it in Street View!



URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/08/more-street-view-cities.html

Monday, August 6, 2007

Joining OIN

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Joining OIN



You'll often hear members of our open source team say, "Every time you use Google, you're using Linux." It's absolutely true. Check a Google engineer's workstation, and you'll probably find it's running Linux. Do a search on Google.com, and a Linux server will return your results. Ever since Google got its start, Linux has given us the power and flexibility we need to serve millions of users around the world.

In turn, we feel a strong responsibility to the Linux community, and we're always looking for creative ways to put our resources in the hands of Linux developers. That's why today we became a licensee of the Open Invention Network (OIN), an innovative patent-sharing organization founded to create a legally protected environment for anyone who works with Linux.

The concept behind OIN is simple. All OIN licensees, including participants such as IBM, Oracle, NEC and Sony, agree to cross-license their Linux-related patents to the others free of charge. Patent issues therefore become a much smaller concern inside the community, and OIN members can focus their energy on writing and releasing software rather than vetting their code for intellectual property issues. It's the legal equivalent of taking a long, deep breath.

For us, today's announcement marks the latest development in a long, fruitful relationship with the open source community. The Google Summer of Code program has trained over 2,000 students as open source developers, many on Linux-related projects. We continue to fund external projects and host events like the Ubuntu Developer Summit and the Linux Foundation Innovation Summit. Hundreds of Googlers are submitting patches to Linux, and we've open-sourced over a million lines of code.

We believe Linux innovation moves fastest when developers can share their knowledge with full peace of mind. We're proud to participate in an organization that's making that possible, and we look forward to seeing OIN grow and thrive.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/08/joining-oin.html

AdWords Seminars coming to Philadelphia & Vancouver

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AdWords Seminars coming to Philadelphia & Vancouver

Finished with our back to school tips from last week, and still want to learn more?

Additional Intermediate & Advanced sessions of AdWords Seminars have been added in Philadelphia and Vancouver, Canada in the month of August. If you sign up for seminars at least 7 days in advance, we'll even throw in a $50 AdWords credit. You'll find more information about these seminars, including dates, course outlines, seminar leader bios, and registration instructions at http://www.google.com/awseminars.

URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/08/adwords-seminars-coming-to-philadelphia.html