Friday, August 17, 2007

What's on your personalized News page?

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Google News Blog: What's on your personalized News page?

I "grew up" in Google supporting News and communicating directly with publishers and readers. One thought I've seen over and over is that people want to be able to see the news that interests them the most. And a great way to do that is to personalize your Google News homepage.

One of the easiest ways to personalize the News homepage is to move the sections that you most like to read to the top of your page and remove the sections you don't. For me, that means no Sports section. Or, if you're interested in a particular topic, you can use personalized News to create a custom section using a keyword. Many Google News readers use this feature to track their favorite sport or team. Others use custom sections to track politics, specific politicians or their own hot button issues. You can even get custom sections with articles from certain publishers (check out the search for, or articles written by sources from a certain state or country (like location:CA, for California). News publishers can even use custom sections to track which articles we're crawling from their site.

I myself will be using a custom section to help me plan for my Jamaican vacation later this summer. It looks like it's shaping up to be a wild season for hurricanes, so I've set up a custom section using the keywords [atlantic hurricane]. This section will help me stay up to date to see whether the season turns out as badly as predicted. (Even if I have to brave gale-force winds and rain for a couple of days, I'll still have fun!)

Finally, if you use a feed reader (such as Google Reader) to read your news, you can get an RSS or Atom feed from your custom News section. Just click into your custom section and click on either the RSS or Atom link on the lefthand side of the page. For more info about feeds, check out our online help content.

We'd like to hear about how you're using personalized News to get the news that interests you. Visit the Google News group to tell everyone about your most creative or interesting personalized News section.


Modify Your Campaigns tools phasing out next week

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Modify Your Campaigns tools phasing out next week

We'd like to let you know that the Modify Your Campaigns tools will no longer be available in AdWords accounts beginning next week. Specifically, these tools are the Copy or Move Keywords and Ad Text tool and the Advanced Search and Editing tool.

If these tools are important to the management of your campaigns, we encourage you to try AdWords Editor, our free, downloadable campaign management application. AdWords Editor includes many useful campaign management tools that enable you to manage your keywords and ads much as you did with the Modify Your Campaigns tools.

If you have further questions about the Modify Your Campaigns tools please contact the AdWords support team, who will be happy to assist you.


Join us at cool SES San Jose - it'll be hot!

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Join us at cool SES San Jose - it'll be hot!

As summer inches towards fall and in many places the temperature is still rising, you're probably thinking the best place to be right now is on the beach, by a pool or inside somewhere that's air-conditioned. These are all good choices, but next week there's somewhere else to be that's both hot and cool: the Search Engines Strategies conference in San Jose. In addition to the many tantalizing conference sessions covering diverse topics related to search, there will be refreshments, food, and of course, air-conditioning.
Googlers attending SES San Jose
Additionally, on Tuesday evening at our Mountain View 'plex we're hosting the "Google Dance" -- where conference attendees can eat, drink, play, dance, and talk about search. During the Google Dance be sure to attend the "Meet the Engineers" event where you'll be able to meet and have a conversation with 25 or more engineers including Webmaster Central's own Amanda Camp. Also, if you get a spare minute from merry-making, head over to the Webmaster Tools booth, where you'll find Maile Ohye offering lots of good advice.

If you're a night owl, you'll probably also be interested in the unofficial late-night SES after-parties that you only know about if you talk to the right person. To stem the potential barrage of "where's the party" questions, I'd like to make it clear that I unfortunately am not the right person. But if you happen to be someone who's organizing a late night party, please consider inviting me. ;)

"Enough about the parties -- what about the conference?," you ask. As you would expect, Google will be well-represented at the conference. Here is a sampling of the Search-related sessions at which Googlers will be speaking:

Universal & Blended Search
Monday, August 20
David Baile

Personalization, User Data & Search
Monday, August 20
2:00 - 3:30pm
Sep Kamvar

Searcher Behavior Research Update
Monday, August 20
4:00 - 5:30pm
Oliver Deighton

Are Paid Links Evil?
Tuesday, August 21
4:45 - 6:00pm
Matt Cutts

Keynote Conversation
Wednesday, August 22
9:00 - 9:45am
Marissa Mayer

Search APIs
Wednesday, August 22
10:30am - 12:00pm
Jon Diorio

SEO Through Blogs & Feeds
Wednesday, August 22
10:30am - 12:00pm
Rick Klau

Duplicate Content & Multiple Site Issues
Wednesday, August 22
1:30 - 2:45pm
Greg Grothaus

CSS, AJAX, Web 2.0 & Search Engines
Wednesday, August 22
3:15 - 4:30pm
Amanda Camp

Search Engine Q&A On Links
Wednesday, August 22
4:45 - 6:00pm
Shashi Thakur

Meet the Crawlers
Thursday, August 23
10:45am - 12:00pm
Evan Roseman

We will also have a large presence in the conference expo hall where members of the Webmaster Central Team like Susan Moskwa and I will be present at the Webmaster Tools booth to answer questions, listen to your thoughts and generally be there to chat about all things webmaster related. Bergy and Wysz, two more of us who tackle tough questions in the Webmaster Help Groups, will be offering assistance at the Google booth (live and in person, not via discussion thread).

If you're reading this and thinking, "I should go and grab the last frozen juice bar in the freezer," I suggest that you save that frozen juice bar for when you return from the conference and find that your brain's overheating from employing all the strategies you've learned and networking with all the people you've met.

Joking aside, we are psyched about the conference and hope to see you there. Save a cold beverage for me!


Google Funds COLLADA Support for Mac and Linux

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Google Code - Updates: Google Funds COLLADA Support for Mac and Linux

COLLADA, the standard 3D interchange format, makes it much easier to translate complex animated 3D models across Google Earth, Google Sketch-Up, Adobe Photoshop, Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3, Autodesk Maya, and many other applications. COLLADA integrates 3D geometry, textures, complex material, complex skeletal and facial animation, physical simulations, and many more aspects. With such power comes complexity: integrating COLLADA from scratch in your application is not for the faint-hearted. Luckily developers have created reusable libraries to simplify this process, including FCollada, which is open-source, well tested, can import all versions of COLLADA and has been integrated into many applications.

We've worked on development of FCollada over the past two years, thanks to support from Google's Open Source Progams Office. Until recently, the library was only offered for Windows; it is now available for Mac OS X and several Linux distributions.

Google's sponsorship also enabled us to distribute and support two additional tools for Linux and Mac OS X enthusiasts:
  • ColladaMaya, a complete COLLADA translator designed for Autodesk Maya. It's now available for all three major platforms under the MIT license.

  • Feeling Viewer, a reference viewer for COLLADA content, supports all standard COLLADA features. A stand-alone version of the viewer is available for free on Linux and Mac.


AdSense heads to SES San Jose

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AdSense heads to SES San Jose

Summer is the time for travel, right? That's why we're excited to be making the "long" trek from our office to San Jose to participate in the Search Engine Strategies conference from August 20-22.

A few members of the AdSense team will be speaking about contextual ads on Monday the 20th, and you can find the full schedule here. If you're planning to attend, be sure to also stop by the Google booth on Tuesday and Wednesday to meet other representatives from our team -- we're looking forward to helping you optimize your sites, answering your questions, and hearing your feedback about the product. And finally, don't forget to save room for our special event on Tuesday night at the Googleplex. :)

Hope to see you next week!


Google Developer Podcast Episode Seven: Mashups in the Enterprise

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Google Code - Updates: Google Developer Podcast Episode Seven: Mashups in the Enterprise

Gregor Hohpe is a Googler who has spent a lot of time in the enterprise. He authored the book on Enterprise Integration Patterns, and has been watching and helping the integration world.

We were both at MashupCamp and started to talk about how Mashups could be called EAI 2.0, and started to discuss the similarities and differences.

Gregor also wrote an article titled Google Mashup Editor and Yahoo! Pipes: Friend, not Foe, which does a great job of explaining the mashup landscape by example. He shows how to use the Google Mashup Editor, and how it can work with Yahoo! Pipes and other tools.

In this podcast you will hear about all of these topics in that special style that only a German can offer. There are some really fun analogies here. Listen out for the graffiti artists in the Mashup world.

Oh, and on behalf of two europeans, we apologize for saying "San Franciso 49ers" when we of course meant the Giants.

You can download the episode directly, or subscribe to the show (click here for iTunes one-click subscribe).



Dreamweaver Tools for Google

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Google Code - Updates: Dreamweaver Tools for Google

We keep making more services available to mobile users; in addition to Google Mobile Search, you will find that Google News, Google Maps, and more have had a mobile presence for a while. So, we want to make it easy for developers to link to and use these services in mobile web sites. I'm therefore pleased to note that we've collaborated with WebAssist to add new mobile tools to their Dreamweaver Tools for Google plugin. The newly-released version 2.0 of this free tool includes, among other things, one-click access to embedding Google Maps, News, Mobile Search, and Send-to-phone in a page.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Considerable promise for Internet access in TV "white spaces"

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Considerable promise for Internet access in TV "white spaces"

I've written a lot lately about the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction, but there's another spectrum-related proceeding at the FCC that also holds promise for expanding Internet access to more Americans: opening unused "white spaces" in the television spectrum bands for broadband service. These unused channels will become even more useful for broadband applications once broadcasters vacate some of this spectrum as part of the February 2009 digital television transition.

A Washington Post editorial today does an excellent job explaining the promise of this unique spectrum:

Coveted bits of the radio spectrum called "white spaces" -- unused areas of spectrum wedged between licensed TV channels -- may soon be freed up by the Federal Communications Commission. Right now no broadband devices are allowed to use these parts of the spectrum, but the FCC is considering whether to let companies sell FCC-certified wireless devices that would be used without an exclusive broadcast license in these slivers of bandwidth. Such white-space devices (WSDs) would be low-power and so would emit signals over very small geographic areas. White space within the TV band is unlicensed, like WiFi, but is physically better suited than WiFi for broadband transmission.

Google and other companies (including Dell, EarthLink, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, and Philips) have formed the "White Spaces Coalition," to persuade the FCC to establish appropriate interference standards that would allow entrepreneurs to develop fixed and mobile devices that utilize these airwaves. Earlier this year, the coalition submitted two prototype devices (from Microsoft and Philips) to the FCC's engineers to demonstrate the feasibility of this approach.

The FCC's engineering analysis, released two weeks ago, confirms what we have stated all along: it is technologically feasible to provide Internet access through this segment of spectrum without interfering with either digital television signals or wireless microphones. While one of the prototypes unfortunately was damaged, the other prototype fully demonstrated the promise of using these "white spaces" for Internet access. The coalition filed comments at the FCC yesterday responding to these test results.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has expressed a keen interest in keeping this matter moving forward, and the coalition will be working with FCC staff to address any remaining technical issues. As the Washington Post notes today, the promise that this spectrum holds for bringing the Internet to more Americans is too great to ignore:

Certainly the FCC shouldn't approve WSDs that will obliterate TV. But just because these prototypes fell short doesn't mean the technology can never work. The limited success of these devices and another designed at the University of Kansas certainly gives hope that someday a non-interfering product could exist. After all, low-power wireless microphone operators often already use white spaces for similar short-distance broadcasts without a license -- although they're supposed to get licenses -- and they coexist peacefully with TV stations...Given the good that could come out of using this unoccupied bandwidth, the FCC should continue to encourage WSD research and development.


Introducing the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center

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Introducing the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center

Over the past couple of years, the Click Quality team has launched many new initiatives and shared a great deal of information about how they combat click fraud. To help keep track of their various presentations, blog posts, articles, and more, they've created a new website to serve as the single source for all click fraud and ad traffic quality related information. The new site is called the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center and can be found at

If you're just starting to learn about click fraud -- what it is and what we're doing about it -- start with the Overview section. If you'd like more information, visit the Resource Center's Help Center for detailed FAQs and multimedia presentations. If, on the other hand, you follow the industry closely, you may want to check out Technical Talk which features in-depth articles and blog posts written by our engineering team and other experts in the field.

Click fraud remains an important issue to online advertisers (you may have noticed that Yahoo! has also launched a similar effort for their advertisers), so we hope you find the new website useful. Much of the information was created based on the questions and concerns heard from our advertisers, so let the team know what you think. The Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center is a work in progress and the team will continue to add information, including videos of events, presentations, and articles, as the content becomes available.

Finally, if you're interested in hearing more about click fraud directly from the experts and are attending the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, CA, be sure to check out the Search Engines on Click Fraud panel taking place Tuesday, August 21st -- Shuman Ghosemajumder, Business Product Manager for Google Trust & Safety, will be speaking.


Plant a Seed, Watch It Grow: Improvements to GeoServer

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Google Code - Updates: Plant a Seed, Watch It Grow: Improvements to GeoServer

Last year, Google's Open Source Programs Office funded the GeoServer Project to add support to output data to Google Earth. In the venture capital world, there is a notion of 'seed funding': putting capital into a new, usually risky, project to try out an idea and help it reach a state of sustainability. Google wanted to promote the idea of using 'Network Links' in KML to enable organizations to put large amounts of existing geospatial data onto Google Earth. They found fertile ground in the open source GeoServer Project, where the seed would not have to grow in isolation, but instead could flourish alongside other improving components.

GeoServer was started by a non-profit called The Open Planning Project (TOPP) in 2001, with the goal of making geospatial data more available through open standards - not just images but the actual data, the 'source code' of the map. This opens the information to enable analysis, modeling and user corrections. Today it is a vital open source project, with many outside contributors. The latest release (download) contains a number of new additions for Google Earth, which the community has helped shape and improve over the last year.

New features include the ability to easily customize placemark pop-ups from existing data, support for 'Super-Overlays', powerful time visualization, and automatic generation of legends. These are all available from a variety of data sources, including PostGIS, Oracle Spatial, DB2, ArcSDE, Shapefiles, GeoTiffs, and ArcGrid, with more being added every day by the community. There are also several related improvements, including the ability to overlay data dynamically on Google Maps, as well as GeoRSS and GeoJSON output.

Other Google Earth-related news: TOPP is participating in a testbed put on by the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) to help figure out what the next version of the KML specification may look like. The GeoServer team is very excited about KML becoming an OGC open standard, as GeoServer already implements the main OGC standards. For the testbed TOPP will build support for the new version of KML in to GeoServer and OpenLayers, an excellent AJAX mapping client. To follow and participate in the work being done on the next version of KML, subscribe and contribute to the ogckml page on


Google Notebook can help with your research

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Google Finance Blog: Google Notebook can help with your research

Nick Fey, Google Finance designer

When we study how people make and gather notes when researching companies online, almost everyone tends to use a word processor, a spreadsheet, or (sadly) scraps of paper. Whatever they use, there seems to be consensus that they're generally dissatisfied with the approach and tools they use. We have something you may be unaware of which could solve some of these same problems. It's called Google Notebook.

Key features:
  • It uses a browser plugin -- you can make notes no matter what website you're on.
  • Create a notebook for each company you're researching to stay organized.
  • Collaborate on notebooks with specific friends, coworkers, clients, investment club members.
  • Search your notes to locate anything easily.
  • No typing needed -- just highlight the text on the screen and drop it into your notes with one click.
Visit the Google Notebook website ( or take the Google Notebook tour.

Once you download and install the browser plugin you can access a notebook at any time from the bottom of your web browser.

Clicking on this icon at any time brings up the notebook which sits on top of the content of the page you are on. In the image below I have created a new notebook called 'Google Research':

I can highlight some content on the page like this:

...and hit the clip button on the notebook which drops the highlighted content into a note. Luckily it keeps the formatting.

Now I can highlight the whole market summary section, copy (Ctrl-C on my PC) and paste (Ctrl-V) it into the notepad. It pulls in all the formatting and images!

I can pop out the notebook to exist in a new window. Here I have navigated to the Financials page, highlighted a section of the table and pasted it straight in the notebook.

As part of my Google research I also pay a visit to Yahoo Finance and notice a news story that catches my eye. As the notebook is integrated with the browser I can clip the story straight into the same notebook. It retains the link to the story for me to access at a later date.

At the end of my research session I can visit the Google Notebook main site and here I have options to add collaborators and share the research with a co-worker who can type notes in themselves, clip or paste in their own website content. Here is also a search box where I can easily locate any notes I have previously made.

We are currently thinking through some ideas to integrate Google Notebook more closely with Google Finance to make the functionality even more useful. For example, displaying notes made about a company on the company page chart as flags similar to how we currently display news articles. We would love to hear your own ideas in the comments. If you give Notebook a try, please leave a comment describing how you got on with it and share any tips you come up with to help other Google Finance users make the most of this cool tool.

Update: Made a correction in the first paragraph.


Wednesday, August 15, 2007

It's that time - SES San Jose

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It's that time - SES San Jose

We love the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, which happens next week from August 20th to 23rd. It's a cutting edge conference about all things online and it's right in our backyard. Lots of Googlers will be in attendance, from engineers to product managers to client services, representing a wide variety of products including search, AdWords, AdSense, Webmaster Tools, Feedburner, and of course, Google Analytics and Website Optimizer. Many of us will be on panels or presenting, but we're most looking forward to the idea exchange and conversations that take place during the week.

To learn more, visit the SES website and browse the daily agendas on the left. Google Analytics' Brett Crosby will speak on Thursday at 10:45am as part of a web analytics panel, and Tom Leung from Website Optimizer will speak on Tuesday at 4:45pm as part of a panel discussing landing page testing and tuning. The Google Analytics team will also be present at the Google booth (#403 in the expo hall on Tuesday and Wednesday), so stop by and say hi, ask us questions, or see a demo. And don't forget to register for and attend the Google Dance which is literally in our own backyard on Tuesday evening after SES at Google. Google Analytics will have a demo station there, so feel free to come by in between (or during) dancing, eating, and schmoozing.

Hope to see you next week!


Happy blogday to us

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Happy blogday to us

Today, we celebrate the second birthday of Inside AdSense. Surprised it's been two years already? So are we -– but not as surprised as we were last year, when we got so busy with Optimization Month that we neglected to commemorate it at all. (But can you blame us for putting the focus on getting the most from our sites?)

So how should we mark this momentous occasion? A Scooby Doo pinata and squirt guns proved to be a big hit at my little brother's birthday party last week, but Inside AdSense isn't a rambunctious four year old. We hope that Inside AdSense is a grown-up resource for publishers. And if there's anything that we would like for our birthday, it's what any thriving blog needs: readers.

Whether you read the blog every so often or if this is the first time you've stumbled upon it, it's a great opportunity to subscribe and begin receiving posts in your inbox. Cheesy as it may sound, subscribing to the blog isn't just a gift to us on the Inside AdSense team -- it's a gift to yourself.

If you believe that you are what you read, consider becoming a more informed, savvier publisher -- and help us celebrate our new year -- by subscribing today.


New robots.txt feature and REP Meta Tags

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: New robots.txt feature and REP Meta Tags

We've improved Webmaster Central's robots.txt analysis tool to recognize sitemap declarations and relative urls. Earlier versions weren't aware of sitemaps at all, and understood only absolute URLs; anything else was reported as Syntax not understood. The improved version now tells you whether your sitemap's URL and scope are valid. You can also test against relative URLs with a lot less typing.

Reporting is better, too. You'll now be told of multiple problems per line if they exist, unlike earlier versions which only reported the first problem encountered. And we've made other general improvements to analysis and validation.

Imagine that you're responsible for the domain and you want search engines to index everything on your site, except for your /images folder. You also want to make sure your sitemap gets noticed, so you save the following as your robots.txt file:

disalow images

user-agent: *


You visit Webmaster Central to test your site against the robots.txtanalysis tool using these two test URLs:

Earlier versions of the tool would have reported this:

The improved version tells you more about that robots.txt file:

We also want to make sure you've heard about the new unavailable_after META
tag announced by Dan Crow on the Official Google Blog a few weeks ago. This allows for a more dynamic relationship between your site and Googlebot. Just think, with, any time you have a temporarily available news story or limited offer sale or promotion page, you can specify the exact date and time you want specific
pages to stop being crawled and indexed.

Let's assume you are running a promotion that expires at the end of 2007. In the headers of page, you would use the following:

CONTENT="unavailable_after: 31-Dec-2007 23:59:59 EST">

The second exciting news: the new X-Robots-Tag directive, which adds Robots Exclusion Protocol (REP) META tag support for non-HTML pages! Finally, you can have the same control over your videos, spreadsheets, and other indexed file types. Using the example above, let's say your promotion page is in PDF format. For, you would use the following:

X-Robots-Tag: unavailable_after: 31 Dec
2007 23:59:59 EST

Remember, REP META tags can be useful for implementing noarchive, nosnippet, and now unavailable_after tags for page-level instruction, as opposed to robots.txt, which is controlled at the domain root. We get requests from bloggers and webmasters for these features, so enjoy. If you have other suggestions, keep them coming. Any questions? Please ask them in the Webmaster Help Group.


Fetch your docs, find your code

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Official Google Mac Blog: Fetch your docs, find your code

by Greg Robbins, Mac Software Engineer

The collection of Google Data APIs continue to grow, and the Google Data APIs Objective-C Client Library is growing too. If you're a Mac software developer, you'll find that today's release of version 1.2 of the library sports new capabilities for your users and greater convenience for you.

Your application can now use the library to browse and upload documents and spreadsheets to Google Docs & Spreadsheets. If you write utilities for Google Calendar, your software can create new calendars and add subscriptions to calendars. The library now also supports the new Calendar Gadgets. For development tool builders, we have added support for Google Code Search. Finally, the Picasa Web Albums interfaces include a richer set of query parameters, allowing searches across all public photos in everyone's albums.

To ease your development effort, Google Data APIs Objective-C Client Library now has built-in support for logging of its server http transactions. All of its GData objects permit arbitrary developer-defined properties and keys, so it's easy to hang custom data off of the GData objects. And because developers may want to subclass the standard GData objects, the library allows your subclasses to be instantiated as surrogates instead of the standard GData classes when parsing XML.

A variety of bug fixes and other small improvements are also present in the latest release, many of them suggested by developers who use the library. Check out the release notes, download the new version, and let us know what you think.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Namaste India!

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Namaste India!

Happy 60th birthday, India! We can't wait to celebrate, but we're going to wait a few days for the formal unwrapping of our gift to Indian users. Check back and we'll have news shortly.


Celebrating India and the Internet

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Celebrating India and the Internet

Two days ago, India's Ministry of Tourism commemorated Independence Day by announcing the creation of a brand channel on YouTube. The channel, which promotes its "Incredible India" campaign, features a range of video content promoting India's past, present, and future promise. The government is one of the first to use our global platform in this way.

Today (August 15 in New Delhi), the 60th anniversary of India's independence, is a perfect opportunity to salute India's government for its commitment to the Internet, to expanding connectivity to all Indians (no matter how rural or impoverished), and to ensuring that the Internet remains a platform for innovation, expression, and communication for all Indians.

The Tourism Ministry isn't the only ministry displaying forward thinking about the Internet. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology -- after extensive consultations with industry and the public -- announced a set of proposed amendments to the Information Technology Act of 2000. While these amendments would certainly move India's technology laws in the right direction, we want to highlight some reservations we have, and some suggestions for improvement we have made. In particular, the proposed draft of one section of the Act -- Section 79, dealing with intermediary liability -- requires a second look. Though it's well-intentioned in nature and many of its objectives are welcome, two clauses could inhibit the growth of the Internet in India by creating an unfriendly and burdensome environment for neutral platforms like search engines, blog hosts, auction sites, message boards, and video sharing services.

Section 79(2)(a)(iii), for one, could potentially strip immunity from any intermediary that exercises any control over content on its network. This would call into question the ability of an intermediary to undertake responsible self-regulatory measures, such as deleting posts, comments, or videos that violate posted terms of service. Indeed, it would call into question even graphical reformatting for access on mobile devices. By removing the liability protections upon any act of editorial control -- including socially responsible self-policing and take-downs -- the proposed Section runs counter to the Government's stated objectives.

Meanwhile, the proposed section 79(3) requires removal of offensive content after merely "receiving actual knowledge of such material." It puts an unrealistically heavy burden on the intermediary to decide correctly, by itself and without the benefit of an authoritative judicial determination, whether the material in question is offensive or not.

Finally, due process safeguards should be added, even when notices about content are sent by the Central Government itself. As currently drafted, Section 79 does not require a hearing by the affected parties or any judicial involvement in these cases. Given the high volume of notices Internet platforms will continue to confront in a world of ever-growing content generated by users, the legislation should ensure that notifications are credible and legitimate before they trigger removals.

Meanwhile, the the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is currently considering a Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill. We applaud the I&B Ministry's willingness to engage in structured and open dialogue with the broader Internet community on the proposed bill. Here again, we want to highlight our concerns about the legislation. As drafted, the Bill could be read to apply television-specific regulations to the Internet, which is an entirely different medium built on different technology with different capabilities and therefore requiring an entirely different regulatory approach. The grafting of television-era regulations onto the Internet would result in an artificially and needlessly crippled Internet sector in India.

The better course would be to exclude Internet and mobile platforms from the scope of the bill altogether, allowing them to be continue to be regulated by the existing Information Technology Act of 2000. Stringent content control and other ill-fitting regulations of the type proposed in the bill will stifle technological development and discourage domestic innovation, especially in sectors like Internet and mobile video. Thanks to the power of Internet technology to enable individual filtering and blocking decisions, we've urged the Indian government to pursue a course of restrained action, confident in the knowledge that that effective tools are available to flag and block inappropriate and unwanted content according to the particular standards of each Indian family and individual.

Internet technologies have democratized the production of culture, opinion, news, and educational information, giving individual users unprecedented power to create, publish, and distribute content. This could be an especially dramatic advantage for emerging economies such as India, which, as it enables ever greater numbers of Indians in every city and village to get online, will benefit from the Internet's ability to afford ordinary Indians the same power to speak and be heard as any individual anywhere in the world. For our part, Google seeks to remain a neutral platform on which users have the freedom to create, to express, and to communicate. To that end, we think it is imperative that the laws and regulations governing the Internet be written carefully and with an appreciation for the unprecedented challenges posed by this new world of democratized, user-generated content.

We're delighted that the government of India is taking the time to struggle with these difficult legal and regulatory issues as it seeks to strengthen the Internet in India -- and that it is taking advantage of Internet services like YouTube to present breathtaking videos of truly Incredible India to the world at large (Seriously, you should check them out.)

Happy 60th Birthday India!


Planning a trip using Google Maps

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Google LatLong: Planning a trip using Google Maps

I just returned from a vacation in Europe, and I found two Mapplets invaluable for planning my trip:

Wikimapia Layer is a website where people have have annotated millions of places all over the world, and you can now view these annotations on Google Maps using their Mapplet. After zooming in on a location such as [Prague], I would then go to the "My Maps" tab and turn on the Wikimapia Layer to find out where interesting sights such as the Old Town, Prague Castle, and the Charles Bridge were located. Hotel Search -- is an online hotel reservation service that has especially good coverage in Europe. Using the Mapplet, I was able to find out which hotels were available and compare their rates and proximity to the locations I was most interested in seeing. Using this, I found the Hotel Modrá Růže, which I highly recommend if you're ever visiting Prague.

Note: If you're traveling within the US, you can also try the or Orbitz Hotel Search Mapplets.


Your success stories wanted

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Your success stories wanted

We have several case studies on the Google Analytics website that show varied real world examples of Google Analytics use. And recently, the AdWords team put together a great new case study video (below) with furniture and accessories company Carolina Rustica which touches on their use of Google Analytics. I know many other people have equally compelling stories that can go into much greater depth about how they have had success using GA. If you are one of them, please tell us your story. When you do, please also indicate if you would be a good candidate for a video case study.


Gmail video deadline extended to Friday, 8/17

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Gmail video deadline extended to Friday, 8/17

Just a quick update to let you know we've extended the deadline for entries to our Gmail collaborative video to this Friday, August 17th. We've received a bunch of requests to extend the deadline, so we wanted to give people a bit more breathing room to get those last edits in. You can check out all the submissions (over 1000 now!) here. Some of them are just amazing - we've been blown away by the creativity and effort behind so many of the clips. Check out these:

Gmail par avion:

Email in a bottle:

Gmail cereal!

Gmail handstand delivery:


Monday, August 13, 2007

Hyperpolyglotic Gmail

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Hyperpolyglotic Gmail

According to Wikipedia, the world's most accomplished hyperpolyglot is Ziad Fazah. This guy can readily communicate in 58 (f-i-f-t-y e-i-g-h-t) languages. Wow.

Well Mr. Fazah, while we're not quite up to your standard yet, you better watch out -- because Gmail is now available in 41 languages, and don't think we're going to stop there.

If you're multilingual, feeling adventurous, or if you just want to test how well you know the Gmail user interface, try changing your account language settings. Sound a little risky? Don't worry - it's easy. You can change the language through the Settings menu. Get a taste of what hyperpolyglotic Gmail has to offer:

How many of these language UIs do you recognize?


(Non-)Secrets of WWDC

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Official Google Mac Blog: (Non-)Secrets of WWDC

by Mike Morton, Mac Team Engineer

Each summer for more than 25 years, thousands of developers have flocked to Northern California to attend Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference (which everyone calls WWDC). It's a week of lectures and labs, schmoozing and socializing, and it concentrates Apple geekery on a scale unmatched by anything else.

Recently most of Google's Mac developers attended WWDC at San Francisco's Moscone Center. As usual, we learned a lot of cool new stuff and, also as usual, Apple asked everyone not to talk about the stuff we learned: only the Steve Jobs keynote speech is public information. So instead, I'd like to tell you about the experience of attending the keynote and the rest of WWDC.

The build-up

So what's the attraction? Isn't all of Apple's developer info available on the web? Yes, eventually, it is. But WWDC offers early information, in depth and in person. Some presentations are quite small and informal, and there are labs staffed by Apple engineers where you can ask questions or ask for help.

On top of that, there's the social component. We all know the cliche that engineers are asocial, but the truth is that most of us really aren't. WWDC gives everyone a chance to see old school friends, former colleagues, and meet cyber-friends and -colleagues for the first time. I tend to look at nametags as people whiz by, just in case I spot a name I recognize under a face I've never seen.

There's organized socializing, too, in the form of WWDC-sponsored parties and events held by companies, organizations, and individuals. Many folks believe that the technology industry exists to give us all a chance to drink beer, and they take good advantage of the opportunity.

Well before the conference starts, Apple posts a detailed schedule on its website. The schedule usually has some slots labeled TBA (to be announced). This usually means that Steve Jobs is going to tell us some big news on Monday, and those sessions later in the week will fill in the details. I plan my schedule in advance, meticulously choosing talks and other sessions like a first-year college student trying to plan all four years in advance. It's fun, but nearly pointless, because you can't know what's in the TBA sessions.

Lining up

Experienced attendees fly in a few days before to shake the jet lag. This time, I didn't: I walked into my hotel in the city about one minute past midnight on the first day of the conference. Still, I didn't need my alarm to get up early, because the first day of WWDC is a big deal. I guess everyone else thought so, too, because when I arrived at Moscone Center at 7:00 a.m., the line outside was two blocks long and growing fast.

They let us in without too much of a wait, and registration went quickly. Everyone gets a badge, and tries not to lose it during the week — security folks really do check them every time you come in.

Then we line up again. There's only one event the first morning: Steve Jobs' keynote. Waiting two to three hours in line means lots of time to reconnect with old friends and exchange business cards with new ones. Sitting up front is a big deal. When the doors finally open, some folks want those seats badly enough that they will sprint the entire length of the auditorium. Since some of them don't get much exercise, let alone running while lugging a laptop, the resulting race isn't exactly the human drama of athletic competition. For me, this is when WWDC really begins, and I like to call it The Running Of The Geeks.

The Keynote

Nobody rallies the troops like Steve Jobs, and… this year's keynote began with nobody like Steve Jobs. It was John Hodgman ("I'm a PC" in Apple's ads) on video, claiming to be Steve Jobs, telling us that Apple was disbanding and… well, you can watch it for yourself.

When the real Steve walked on stage, he wasted no time in telling us that Apple was doing well. He showed some upcoming games, previewed a bunch of features of Leopard… and then showed Safari running on Windows. That last was my favorite, not for the technical or marketing implications, but for the moment when he sat down at a Windows box, paused, and said (almost to himself) "This is odd".

After the keynote, everyone headed to lunch, then to a "Mac OS X State of the Union" talk (the only one in that time slot), a survey of major changes affecting developers. By the end of Monday, regular sessions have begun, and I try hard to pay attention as I realize I'm at the beginning of a week full of new things to absorb.


There are things to do nearly every evening: Monday night was a reception hosted by Apple Developer Connection. Tuesday night was the Apple Design Awards, which left a lot of people Wednesday morning saying "Did you see that cool BART widget?!". Later that evening was Stump The Experts, a sort of quiz show featuring impossibly hard tech trivia questions (but looking on the web for answers isn't cheating). Thursday night is a big party — for many years it was held on the Apple campus, but this year it was outdoors in San Francisco.

For my money, the best entertainment of the week is Apple engineer James Dempsey, who performs original songs about Apple's latest technology. I still remember laughing through Model View Controller when he did it live. This year I missed his two new songs, I love View and Release Me. If you don't think these performances are hilarious — well, maybe you're not nerdy enough (take that as you will).

Eventually it's Friday

WWDC always feels like a long week, but it's great fun. When it ended, I wanted to get home and start working on cool Google products using everything new in OS X!

Getting into the shuttle from the hotel to SFO, I realized all four of us were carrying WWDC bags. Somehow we managed to not get them mixed up as we rushed for our flights. Now that might have been interesting.


192 t-shirt designs (and counting!)

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192 t-shirt designs (and counting!)

On July 16th, we launched a Gmail t-shirt design contest with Needless to say, we're psyched to see the quality of work that is pouring in. At last count, we had 192 submissions from designers around the world. Now, with under a week left to submit designs (contest ends Aug. 16th), I'd like to encourage everyone to submit a design. Or, if you're like me, and drawing stick figures is an accomplishment, then you can help score designs too!

Here are samples of some fun designs from the contest that recently finished scoring:

Everything's connected - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Home Is Where The Hub Is - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

.... . .-.. .-.. --- (hello) - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever

Hangin' on the Line - Threadless, Best T-shirts Ever


Maps for Educators

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Google LatLong: Maps for Educators

David Bellel, a semi-retired computer coordinator from the New York City public school system, has created a series of video maps that can be used by social studies teachers to educate kids on the history of various neighborhoods in New York City.

Queen's Jazz Trail -- Homes of Jazz Greats and other notables in Queens, NY.

Famous & Infamous Manhattan: East Village -- A tour based on "A Colorful Walking Tour of New York's Most Notorious Crime Sites" by Andrew Roth.

In David's own words: "I've found in my years as a NYC public school teacher that many kids' knowledge of the city only extends to the 10 square block area of their neighborhoods. Perhaps the creation of libraries of city-wide Quicktime VR movies can provide some help in broadening their horizons."

To learn more about David's work, check out his website.


Malware reviews via Webmaster Tools

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Malware reviews via Webmaster Tools

In the past year, the number of sites affected by malware/badware grew from a handful a week to thousands per week. We noted your suggestions to improve communication for webmasters of affected sites -- suggestions mentioned in our earlier blog post "About badware warnings" as well as the stopbadware discussion group. Now, Webmaster Tools provides malware reviews.

If you find that your site is affected by malware, either through malware-labeled search results or in the summary for your site in Webmaster Tools, we've streamlined the process to review your site and return it malware-label-free in our search results:
  1. View a sample of the dangerous URLs on your site in Webmaster Tools.
  2. Make any necessary changes to your site according to's Security tips.
  3. New: Request a malware review from Google and we'll evaluate your site.
  4. New: Check the status of your review.
    • If we feel the site is still harmful, we'll provide an updated list of remaining dangerous URLs
    • If we've determined the site to be clean, you can expect removal of malware messages in the near future (usually within 24 hours).

We encourage all webmasters to become familiar with Stopbadware's malware prevention tips. If you have additional questions, please review our documentation or post to the discussion group. We hope you find this new feature in Webmaster Tools useful in discovering and fixing any malware-related problems, and thanks for your diligence for awareness and prevention of malware.


Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series: Michael Still

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Google Code - Updates: Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series: Michael Still

Tired of your current DVR? Prefer to DIY? If so, please join us for Michael Still's upcoming presentation on Practical MythTV . Michael, one of Google's Site Reliability Engineers and MythTV developer, will be joining us on Thursday, August 16th, to discuss this powerful, open source personal video recording software. Michael will also discuss some of the current challenges with obtaining television guide data in the United States and highlight some forthcoming features.

Like all sessions of the Open Source Developers @ Google Speaker Series, Michael's presentation will be open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 PM at our Mountain View campus; guests should plan to sign in at Building 43 reception upon arrival. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome and encouraged to attend. Michael's presentation will also be taped and published along with all of the public Google Tech Talks.

For those of you who were unable to attend our last session, you can watch the video of Raph Levien's recent presentation Lessons from Advogato.