Friday, October 26, 2007

[G] Custom channels up and running again

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Inside AdSense: Custom channels up and running again

Over the past few days, some publishers let us know that they were unable to view any data for their custom channels. Our engineers have now resolved the issue, and they're currently working on including the missing data from the past few days. Your custom channels should now be tracking data as normal. Please be assured that your aggregate reports, which are used to calculate payments, have not been affected.

Thanks for your patience, and for bringing this issue to our attention!


[G] About the Google Education Summit

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Official Google Blog: About the Google Education Summit

Since the dot-com bust in 2000, many colleges and universities nationwide have seen a decline (oftentimes quite dramatic) in computer science program enrollments. Many factors have been cited as possible causes including economic troubles in the high-tech sector, job off-shoring, the perceived image of computer science, and the growing complexity of programming. Recently, there's been a more critical examination of this crisis in computing, and stakeholders have proposed many targeted programs and curriculum changes to help stem the tide of students choosing not to pursue computing as a discipline.

In this vein, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently launched the CISE Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education (CPATH) program aimed at transforming undergraduate computing education. NSF has taken a multi-pronged approach, including what it describes as "community-building efforts that bring stakeholders together to discuss the challenges and opportunities inherent in transforming undergraduate computing education."

After conversations with some of our colleagues at NSF, we organized the Google Education Summit this summer, held in conjunction with our annual Faculty Summit. Its aim was to bring together a group of leaders in computer science education for presentations and discussions centering on how we can promote greater participation in computer science.

The Google Education Summit was attended by representatives from academia, NSF, CRA (Computing Research Association), and industry, including IBM, Intel, and Microsoft. This broad range of participants helped to foster a real discussion that showcased academic initiatives already in the works to address enrollment declines, as well as explore ways that industry and academia can work more cooperatively on the issue.

Many attendees reported that they enjoyed having an open dialog -- and sometimes heated debate -- with a variety of stakeholders. To share some of the ideas more broadly, all our Education Summit presenters have agreed to distribute their presentations under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. All of these files are in the PDF format.
Panel: Addressing enrollment declines and increasing participation by underrepresented groups in CS
Panel: How can academia and industry work together to address educational issues?
We hope you find these presentations insightful, and we look forward to further exploration of how we can work more effectively with educators to help increase participation in computer science.


[G] Webinar transcript now posted

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Inside AdSense: Webinar transcript now posted

In case you weren't able to attend our latest webinar, What's New with AdSense, you can now find a recording on our Help Center. Our support specialists cover the latest features such as Referrals 2.0 and Blogger inline ads and provide a refresher on the top AdSense support issues. You can also find recordings and transcripts of our previous webinars.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

[G] Wildfire relief donations

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Official Google Blog: Wildfire relief donations

Prem RamaswamiGoogle Checkout

Nearly one million people have been displaced by the devastating wildfires in Southern California. The Red Cross and Salvation Army are actively helping the victims of this disaster. If you'd like to contribute to their efforts, you can make a donation via our "Support Wildfire Relief" page.


[G] Master layer for Southern California fires imagery

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Google LatLong: Master layer for Southern California fires imagery

We have created a master layer in Google Earth that includes all of the imagery of the affected areas that we've published so far. The new layer includes imagery from MODIS (from 10/24) as well as updated fire perimeters from the San Diego EOC. And we'll incorporate new imagery as it becomes available.


[G] Subscribe to Comments - by email!

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Blogger Buzz: Subscribe to Comments - by email!

Last night we pushed a small-but-crazy-useful new feature for all Blogger blogs: subscribing to comments via email. This makes it a lot easier to stay in the conversational loop after you've commented on a post somewhere. For example, you could follow along with these discussions from some recent Blogs of Note:
You'll notice the new checkbox at the bottom of the Comment page, in the identity box:
In order to receive follow-ups via email, you'll need to post your comment using your Google Account. We only send comments to your verified Google Account so that someone else can't use this feature to send you email you didn't sign up for.


[G] Notification of security breaches in the EU

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Google Public Policy Blog: Notification of security breaches in the EU

California has a way of inventing things that turn out to be popular around the world (hey, not just Google). California passed the first so-called security breach notification law, in 2002. To date, 39 U.S. states have enacted laws that require notice if some form of personal information is compromised in a data security breach.

Since then, the trend has gone global. In August, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada issued guidelines on how to handle a security breach, which are just that – guidelines – but provide sensible recommendations for the handling of security breaches, including the notification to affected individuals where a breach creates a risk of harm. The logic behind the Canadian approach is that prompt notification to individuals in these cases can help them mitigate the damage by taking steps to protect themselves. New Zealand has followed a similar line by issuing guidelines on how to handle privacy breaches, which also focus on the role of notification to avoid or mitigate harm to individuals.

This trend is about to come to Europe too. The European data protection directives do not have any express provisions requiring companies that have suffered some sort of security breach to notify the individuals affected. The traditional thinking is that Europe does not need such a measure because there is already a well known obligation that calls for the adoption of appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect personal data against security breaches.

However, a European Commission consultation document of 2006 hinted at the prospect of security breaches notification obligations for providers of electronic communications networks and services, on the basis that network operators and ISPs, as the gatekeepers for users' access to the online world, carry a special responsibility in this regard. This was followed by recommendations made by the Article 29 Working Party to extend those obligations to "data brokers," banks and other online service providers. The Working Party went on to say that for important breaches, all customers of the communications provider – not just those directly affected – should be informed.

The European Commission is now expected to include a formal proposal introducing mandatory security breach notifications or otherwise, into its review of the EU's e-communications regulatory framework. Bearing in mind the experiences in other parts of the world and the latest thinking in jurisdictions like Canada and New Zealand, the risk of harm to the individual should be a determining factor in triggering notification obligations. Otherwise, the real risk is to trivialise notification obligations to such an extent that they become meaningless and ineffective in terms of data protection. In fact, the potential damage to consumers of a blanket notification obligation could be twofold: on the one hand, it can create unjustified anxieties and on the other hand, it may result in a lack of proper attention to more serious incidents.

Hopefully, the EU will benefit from other countries' experiences in this area and adopt a balanced and realistic regime. It will be important to ensure from the outset a harmonised implementation of well-defined principles across the 27 EU countries, to avoid a patchwork of diverging laws. The ultimate purpose of security breach notification obligations should be to contribute to the protection of personal information by ensuring that consumers know when there has been a serious security leak and helping them to take prompt and effective action to avoid harm.


[G] One year mark for Google Apps Education Edition

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Official Google Blog: One year mark for Google Apps Education Edition

It's been one year since we unveiled Google Apps Education Edition and we've seen great progress in that time. Thousands of educational institutions on six continents now use Google Apps, and have hundreds of thousands of active users. We want to thank our customers for providing feedback and having an open dialogue with us. Based on feedback from lots of folks, we have rolled in more than 40 product and feature updates in this first year, including:
By keeping in touch with key customers, we can make the changes and additions necessary to truly meet your needs. Our Google@School event was a great success in connecting with our customers and gathering feedback last year, check out the video:

And this year at the Educause conference in Seattle we're announcing the first Customer Advisory Board (CAB) for Google Apps Education Edition. They are:
These members represent a cross-section of the educational community as well as the range of institutions using Google Apps. We're meeting for the first time this week to address the needs and demands of all types of educational institutions.


[G] Dealing with Sitemap cross-submissions

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Dealing with Sitemap cross-submissions

Since the launch of Sitemaps, webmasters have been asking if they could submit their Sitemaps for multiple hosts on a single dedicated host. A fair question -- and now you can!

Why would someone want to do this? Let's say that you own and and you have Sitemaps for both hosts, e.g. sitemap-example.xml and sitemap-mysite.xml. Until today, you would have to store each Sitemap on its respective host. If you tried to place sitemap-mysite.xml on, you would get an error because, for security reasons, a Sitemap on can only contains URLs from So how do we solve this? Well, if you can "prove" that you own or control both of these hosts, then either one can host a Sitemap containing URLs for the other. Just follow the normal verification process in Google Webmaster Tools and any verified site in your account will be able to host Sitemaps for any other verified site in the same account.

Here is an example showing both sites verified:

And now, from a single host, you can submit Sitemaps for both sites without any errors. sitemap-example.xml contains URLs from and sitemap-mysite.xml contains URLs from but both now reside on
We've also added more information on handling cross-submits in our Webmaster Help Center.
For those of you wondering how this affects the other search engines that support the Sitemap Protocol, rest assured that we're talking to them about how to make cross-submissions work seamlessly across all of them. Until then, this specific solution will work only for users of Google Webmaster Tools.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

[G] A common misconception revisited

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Inside AdWords: A common misconception revisited

Today, we'd like to revisit a common misconception, about which we receive quite a few questions. In the first part of the post, we will very briefly cover the most important facts and in the second we'll take a more detailed look at four related questions.

The common misconception: Many advertisers believe that if they have no competitors for a keyword, their minimum cost-per-click (CPC) will automatically be lowered by the AdWords system to $0.01, the lowest possible CPC.

How it actually works: The minimum CPC for a keyword is not related to the number of competitors one has that keyword. Instead, minimum CPC is dependent on the Quality Score of the keyword, as it's used in the advertiser's account. This functionality was introduced in August 2005, when keyword bidding evolved to a quality-based model.

Are there really no competitors?
If you look for your ad and see no competitors, this does not necessarily mean that there are no others advertising on that keyword. For example, many advertisers choose to show their ads only during particular times of the day, so you will not necessarily see them when your ad appears. Or, while you might be targeting the entire United States, competing advertisers may be regionally targeting and not including the area in which you are located -- in which case you'll not see their ads.

Why doesn't Google show ads for every keyword?
We are often asked if we wouldn't prefer to make additional revenue, rather than allowing keywords for which no ads appear. In point of fact, Google would prefer to show no ads for a user's search query, rather than to show ads which provide a poor quality experience for users who click on them -- and which might damage long-term user trust in the the quality of information delivered by AdWords ads.

How do I lower my minimum CPC?
To achieve the lowest possible minimum CPC, make sure your keywords, ads, and landing pages provide an excellent user experience for those who search for those keywords, click on your ads, and visit your site. There is a great deal of useful information to help you reach this goal in the Ads Quality and Performance section of the AdWords Help Center -- so much so that we've heard advertisers say it takes a fair amount of time to read and absorb it. However, for those who truly wish to improve their Quality Score, improve the experience of potential customers who click on their ads and visit their sites -- and lower their Minimum CPCs -- this is likely to be time well spent.

Should I search for my ad on to see who my competitors are?
If you are an advertiser who searches for your own ad to judge the competitive landscape, we recommend using the Ad Preview Tool, rather than searching for your ad on Using this tool, you'll see your ad (and the ads of your competitors which are showing in the moment you check) as they actually appear on -- but you won't accrue an impression. Please take a look at this very straightforward tool here, and try a sample search. You may even want to bookmark the page.


[G] Southern California fire imagery

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Google LatLong: Southern California fire imagery

As the fires in Southern California continue to spread, our data providers have gathered updated imagery of the affected areas. We are making this imagery taken on October 22nd available as a Google Earth overlay, and will continue to update the imagery as it becomes available. Our thoughts are with the communities displaced by this tragedy.

Thanks to DigitalGlobe for their fast work.


[G] API, gadgets, and tabs, oh my!

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Official Google Blog: API, gadgets, and tabs, oh my!

Today, we're pleased to let you know about two new updates from Google Finance. First, we're releasing a new Google Finance tab on iGoogle. This new tab is a dashboard of financial gadgets which enable you to add, customize and share your Google Finance experience. But here's what's extra cool about these gadgets -- they now have communication skills and can "talk" to each other. When you make an update in one gadget, it automatically syncs with the other gadgets in the tab.

Second, if you're a gadget developer, we've made it a lot easier to make a gadget with market data. We're releasing a gadget API for market data which provides a framework for developers to display stock market information from the American, Nasdaq and New York stock exchanges within a gadget on Google properties. We believe this is the first free gadget API for market data for developers and hope you have fun with it.

Read more on the Google Finance blog.


[G] API, Gadgets, and Tabs, oh my!

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Google Finance Blog: API, Gadgets, and Tabs, oh my!

Today, we're excited to release a new Google Finance tab on iGoogle. This tab is a dashboard of financial gadgets which enables you to add, customize and share your Google Finance experience. But here's what's extra cool about these gadgets -- they now have communication skills and can "talk" or "sync" with each other.

As part of this release, we're introducing a bunch of new gadgets, including:

- Top Movers
- SnapQuote
- Related companies
- Company overview
- MiniChart
- Company Sector

Ready to see this tab in action?

But wait, there's more! If you're a developer, we just made it easier for you to make a stock market gadget with our new API. The gadget API for market data provides a framework so developers can display stock market information from the American, Nasdaq and New York stock exchanges within a gadget on Google
properties. Unfortunately, due to data licensing restrictions, we couldn't open this API for display on any platform. However, we believe this is a great start in providing easier access to stock market information and hope you have fun with it.

For more specific information, please refer to the following:

- gadget API for market data specs
- Inter gadget-communication documentation
- Discuss with other gadget developers

As always, please let us know what you think in the comments below!


[G] Google Desktop update for Leopard

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Official Google Mac Blog: Google Desktop update for Leopard

By Mark Sabec, Associate Product Marketing Manager, and Mike Pinkerton, Software Engineer

This Friday is a big day in the Mac world: Apple is releasing Leopard, its new operating system. And that means we've been working hard to ensure that all Google products for the Mac work seamlessly with Leopard as well as Tiger. So we want to let you know about an update for Google Desktop for the Mac that adds Leopard compatibility. You should install this Desktop update before upgrading from Tiger to Leopard to ensure that Desktop works properly on Leopard. If after you upgrade to Leopard, your Google Desktop appears to be functioning incorrectly, please look at the release notes for troubleshooting information.

To install the Google Desktop update, please visit the Desktop for the Mac home page.

All our other products for the Mac (Google Notifier, Picasa Web Albums Uploader, SketchUp, and Earth) will smoothly transition from Tiger to Leopard. We've also made sure that our Dashboard widgets for Gmail and Blogger are compatible with Leopard, too.


[G] Where in the world is ... (bonus edition -- Answers)

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Google LatLong: Where in the world is ... (bonus edition -- Answers)

Great job, everyone! I love following your collective blog entries tracking the updates, especially
the ones that find updated imagery totally unrelated to the hints I gave.

1) U.S. Route 91 turns into a much more famous stretch of road when it crosses into this town.
-- Las Vegas (The Las Vegas Strip)

2) Every year, this city plays host to the U.K.'s largest outdoor (temporary) ice rink.
-- Leeds, England (The Ice Cube)

3) Paradise: In this town you can surf or visit the world's most delicious book store, located in
an old Twinkie factory (with plenty of aging filling still in the pipes).
-- Cleveland (Anyone who watches "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" should have gotten that one right!)

4) The original name of this city was Terminus.
-- Atlanta, Georgia

5) The world's northernmost opera house is located in this town.
-- Umeå, Sweden

6) This major U.S. city is actually north of Canada.
-- Detroit, Michigan

7) A popular children's game show that promoted geographic knowledge was produced out of
this city.
-- Pittsburgh (Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?)

8) Don't let the name fool you -- this lake actually fills a 4,000ft deep caldera.
-- Crater Lake, Oregon

9) You can tour the Royal Navy's first iron-hulled, armor-plated warship in this town.
-- Portsmouth, England (HMS Warrior)

10) The historic fort in this city was restored based on an 1847 map published in Darmstadt,
-- Sacramento (Sutter's Fort)

11) As Halloween approaches, one might be interested in viewing the 'Ghost Capital of Britain.'
-- Derby, England

12) Now part of Germany, this city was once the capital of the Hanseatic League.
-- Luebeck, Germany

13) President Lincoln attended the dedication ceremony of the Soldier's National Cemetery in
this town.
-- Gettysburg, PA (President Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address at this dedication ceremony.)

Here's a more complete list of imagery updates in this data push:

New high resolution:
Americas: State of Oregon, State of Nebraska, State of North Carolina,
Western Mississippi, Much of Pennsylvania, Yakima County (WA),
Benton County (WA), Whistler (BC), San Jose (CA), Imperial County (CA),
Steamboat Springs (CO), Calhoun County (FL), Adams County (IL),
Washtenaw County (MI), Chemung County (NY), Cortland County (NY),
Castilla (Colombia)

Europe, Middle East & Africa:
- France: French Riviera, Avignon
- UK: Exeter, Brighton, Crawley, Essex, Colchester, Chelmsford,
Swindon, Cheltenham, Ipswich, Norwich, Peterborough, Leicester,
- Germany: Freiburg, Stuttgart, Waiblingen, Remseck, Kornwestheim,
Ludwigsburg, Saarbruecken, Chemnitz, Erfurt, Ratigen,
Munster, Hamburg, Luebeck
Umea (Sweden)
Borger-Odoorn (The Netherlands)

2.5m imagery for the entire countries of: Tunisia, UAE, Jordan, Syria, Lebannon, and Israel.

Updated Imagery:
Americas: Las Vegas (NV), San Francisco Bay Area (East Bay & North Bay),
Sacramento (CA), Victoria (BC), Salt Lake City (UT), Provo (UT), Edmonton (Alberta),
Atlanta (GA), Northern St Louis (MO), Detroit (MI), Cleveland (OH), Pittsburgh (PA),
Boston (MA), Montreal (Quebec), Guadalajara (MX), Buenos Aires (Argentina),
Belo Horizonte (Brazil), Fortaleza (Brazil), Montevideo (Uruguay)

Europe, Middle East & Africa:
- UK:
Plymouth, Torquay, Bournemouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, Gillingham
Southend, Basildon, Berkshire, Reading, Milton Keynes, Newport, Cardiff,
Swansea, Cambridge, Norfolk, Derby, Halifax, Leeds, Darlington, Dundee,
Warsaw (Poland), Stockholm (Sweden), Lippstadt (Germany), Magdeburg (Germany),
Paderborn (Germany), Rostock (Germany), Boeblingen (Germany), Casablanca (Morocco),
Bamako (Mali), Windhoek (Namibia), Ankara (Turkey), Kano (Nigeria)

Asia & Oceania: Novosibirsk (Russia)Tashkent (Uzbekistan), Ahmendabad (India),
Pune (India), Bangalore (India), Hyderabad (India), Perth (Australia), Brisbane (Australia)
Ulan Bator (Mongolia),

Updated Terrain:
Canada (20m and 90m) and Niagara Falls


[G] Google Tip of the Day gadget

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Official Google Blog: Google Tip of the Day gadget

One of the great things about working at Google is the breadth and depth of ideas that people come up with. Our development process is primarily bottom-up and driven by the enthusiasm of those same people, so these ideas are frequently translated into new products, services and features. A side effect is that these improvements are sometimes launched at such a pace that even Googlers have a hard time keeping up, and some of the best aspects can be lost in the shuffle.

We hate to see a good feature go unnoticed, so we have used some of our 20 percent time to create a new gadget to help you discover them. The Google Tip of the Day gadget highlights some of the lesser-known or recently added members of the Google lineup, providing short, easily digested descriptions and examples. A new feature is covered each weekday, and you can catch up on what has been previously shown as well.

Here's today's tip:

You can add the gadget to your iGoogle homepage, or generate code to embed it in your web page or blog.

We know that many of you have tips and tricks of your own; soon we'll be adding functionality so you can submit your own tips that can be featured in the gadget. For now, if you have a tip you'd like to share, you can post it in our Google Group for Tips.


[G] Free IMAP for Gmail

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Official Google Blog: Free IMAP for Gmail

When I joined Google a little over a year ago, I'd been working in the same field for several years and I wanted to do "something different." It seems I got my wish: together with an excellent team, I helped develop IMAP for Gmail. And today, we're starting to roll it out on every device, for free.

Plenty of devices you use every day can take advantage of IMAP, a technology that lets you keep all your email in sync automatically as you read and sort it. Your smart phone most likely supports it, as does your PDA, laptop, desktop computer, etc. To learn more about IMAP, please have a look at the Gmail Blog, which describes it in more detail, or the Gmail Help Center, which explains exactly how to set it up. And if you have an iPhone, check out our "What's New" page to learn how to start using IMAP in a matter of minutes. And remember, we're rolling out IMAP starting today, so if you don't see it in "Settings," don't worry, it will be there soon.


[G] Sync your inbox across devices with free IMAP

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Official Gmail Blog: Sync your inbox across devices with free IMAP

IMAP graphic

There are two online petitions I've signed in my life. One was for a "Xena: Warrior Princess" movie. The other, which I signed a few months before starting at Google, was for Gmail IMAP. As some of you know, IMAP is the best way to access your email from multiple devices (e.g. phone or desktop). It keeps the same information synced across all devices so that whatever you do in one place shows up everywhere else you might access your email.

For example, I can:
  • read an email in Gmail, then
  • move it to the "Starred" folder on my iPhone, then
  • archive it by moving it to "All Mail" in Thunderbird, then
  • see all of those changes on my Blackberry (or any of the above devices for that matter).
For the past few years, we've offered POP access, which is similar to IMAP but lacks one critical feature: your changes made on other devices aren't seen in Gmail when you log back in. Instead you are presented with a list of unread mail, and you must re-read and re-sort everything. For this reason, as soon as I started at Google, IMAP was one of the first things I asked about. Since then, I've seen countless blog posts, requests, chats, and just about everything else asking, "Are you guys ever going to do IMAP?" Well now I can say: Yes. Yes, we are doing IMAP. In fact, we are doing it for you for free on all devices and platforms.

As we roll out the feature over the next couple of days, you will be able to use Gmail at work, in your car, or just about anywhere on any device, and actions you take will be automatically synced with Gmail on the web (and remember it works the other way too: anything you do on the Web will be seen on your phone or in your mail client). Just click the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab in your Gmail "Settings" and turn it on. (Psst. If you don't see the "IMAP" in the "Forwarding and POP/IMAP" tab, then check back soon. We are giving it to users as fast as we can).

Now if only they'll make that Xena movie...


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

[G] Southern California fire maps

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Official Google Blog: Southern California fire maps

The devastating wildfires in Southern California have burned more than 373,000 acres of land; 350,000 homes have been evacuated. Lots of people have pulled together to make maps with information about the fires, including the burn zones, evacuation alerts, evacuation centers, safe areas, and closed roads. Here's a list of some of the most widely-used fire maps that our Google Maps team is aware of. We hope everyone is safe and that relief comes soon.

San Diego County Fires - KPBS is updating this map every 5 to 15 minutes with the latest information on the spread of the fire. It appears to be one of the most up-to-date and includes lots of information about evacuation alerts and evacuation centers. It also shows burn zones drawn on the map.

Los Angeles Times 10-23-07 Fires - Includes status updates on each of the fires, including the number of acres burned, percentage contained, the amount of property damage, injuries and evacuations. The LA Times is updating this quite frequently.

Wildfires in Southern California - Fire status updates, closed roads, evacuation alerts, and photos by the Los Angeles Daily News.

San Diego Under Siege: Witch Creek and Harris Fires info and maps - This map is focused on the Witch Creek and Harris fires. It appears to have been created by someone who lives in the area who is updating the map as more news appears on TV.

Fire Updates and Road Closures - This map is specifically about the fires in Santa Clarita, including road closures, burn zones, property damage, and injures.

Witch Creek Fire - This one is specifically about the Witch Creek fire. It doesn't seem to be getting updated as frequently now; apparently the creator had to leave.

The Orange County Register - Updates from the Register on each of the fires, including evacuated areas, start time, origin, property damage, etc.

Wildfire Photos - Photos from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Wildfire Videos - Videos from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

2007 Wildfires - Burn zones and evacuation centers from the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Los Angeles Times 10-22-07 Fires - Fire news from yesterday by the Los Angeles Times.

Malibu Wildfire Info From - Specific information about the fires in Malibu. Updates are based on news from the TV and web.


[G] Upcoming Website Optimizer online seminars

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Google Analytics Blog: Upcoming Website Optimizer online seminars

Aside from Google Analytics, one of my favorite marketing tools at Google is Website Optimizer. It is a multivariate testing platform that is both free and pretty easy to use. If you haven't tried Website Optimizer yet, now is a great chance to get your feet wet. Product Manager Tom Leung will be hosting two free online seminars next week. He knows this product inside and out and is a great presenter, so this will be worth your time.

The first online seminar, Introduction to Website Optimizer, will be geared towards those who are unfamiliar with website content testing and optimization. Tom will discuss the importance and benefits of optimizing your website design and content, and he'll provide a detailed introduction to Website Optimizer and review the product's latest features (including A/B Split testing and the ability to prune/remove tests).

The second online seminar, Website Optimizer: Creating & Launching Experiments, builds on the first and is designed for those who have previous experience with Website Optimizer or other site testing tools. Tom will give a step-by-step demonstration of how to successfully launch multivariate and A/B experiments, and he'll also answer your questions.

Other members of the Website Optimizer team will be available during the online seminars to chat individually with attendees and answer questions in real time.

Here is the schedule and registration information:

Introduction to Website Optimizer (New or inexperienced users)
Tuesday, October 30th, 2007 10:00 - 11:00am PDT
Register to attend.

Website Optimizer: Creating & Launching Experiments (Intermediate and advanced users)
Thursday, November 1st, 2007 10:00 - 11:00am PDT
Register to attend.

Once you've registered, you'll receive an email from WebEx with participation details.

Enjoy and happy testing!


[G] Where in the world is ... (bonus edition)

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Google LatLong: Where in the world is ... (bonus edition)

Surprise! I bet you weren't expecting another imagery update from the Google Earth/Maps team so quickly. ;-)

I'm very happy to announce that, today, we've published a large amount of new high-res imagery around the world. While in the previous post I spoke of 60cm imagery, this release has mostly aerial (higher-resolution) data, as well as some medium-resolution imagery for large swaths of land. Some of you were able to solve the last quiz within a few hours of posting it, so I'm going to throw in some more challenging clues this time around.

1) U.S. Route 91 turns into a much more famous stretch of road when it crosses into this town.
2) Every year, this city plays host to the U.K.'s largest outdoor (temporary) ice rink.
3) Paradise: In this town you can surf or visit the world's most delicious book store, located in
an old Twinkie factory (with plenty of aging filling still in the pipes).
4) The original name of this city was Terminus.
5) The world's northernmost opera house is located in this town.
6) This major U.S. city is actually north of Canada.
7) A popular children's game show that promoted geographic knowledge was produced out of
this city.
8) Don't let the name fool you -- this lake actually fills a 4,000ft deep caldera.
9) You can tour the Royal Navy's first iron-hulled, armor-plated warship in this town.
10) The historic fort in this city was restored based on an 1847 map published in Darmstadt,
11) As Halloween approaches, one might be interested in viewing the 'Ghost Capital of Britain.'
12) Now part of Germany, this city was once the capital of the Hanseatic League.
13) President Lincoln attended the dedication ceremony of the Soldier's National Cemetery in
this town.

I'll post the answers to these clues in a few days. Good luck, everyone!

As a teaser, here's what our new Niagara Falls image looks like...


[G] Featured Gadget: Time Around the World

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Inside Google Desktop: Featured Gadget: Time Around the World

This blog periodically features a Google Desktop gadget and a quote from someone who uses it. If you'd like to recommend a gadget, send us an email.

Jaime Brands of Google Sydney says: "For my work, I need to know the time in Auckland, San Francisco, Dublin, Hyderabad and Perth. I also need to know what time it is where friends and family are located around the world. This is a handy gadget that sits on my desktop and allows me to see the time in selected cities, and also allows me to compare time differences between cities when calendaring meetings."

If you'd like to create your own gadgets, then read about how this gadget was made and check out the new Gadget Designer.

More information | Download gadget


[G] Coming soon: Make ad changes without replacing code

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Inside AdSense: Coming soon: Make ad changes without replacing code

We're very excited to let you know about an upcoming feature that lets you easily manage your ad units from within your AdSense account. It isn't live yet, but here's a sneak peek so you'll know what to expect in the coming weeks. (We know many of you have been eagerly anticipating its arrival.)

This new ad management feature means that your ad unit settings (such as colors and channels) for new AdSense for content ad units will be saved in your AdSense account every time you generate ad code. Then, if you'd like to change any of these settings in the future, all you do is make the update within your account -- you'll no longer need to manually replace the ad code on all of your pages. For instance, you can quickly change the borders of all your 300x250 medium rectangles from red to blue with just a few mouse clicks. Fancy! We hope that this new feature will help you save time and will simplify the process of optimizing your ad units.

As we noted above, please keep in mind that the ad management feature isn't yet available in any publisher accounts. We'll be rolling it out in phases in the next few weeks, and we'll follow up with another post at that time to help you better understand how to use the feature. When you see the "Manage Ads" page appear under your AdSense Setup tab, you'll know the feature is available for you to use. Here's what it will look like:

Stay tuned to read more about this new feature!


Monday, October 22, 2007

[G] New Keyword Analysis page: diagnose your keyword's Quality Score

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Inside AdWords: New Keyword Analysis page: diagnose your keyword's Quality Score

Many advertisers have asked us to provide more information about the Quality Score for their keywords. So we've answered by recently launching a feature that does just that: the Keyword Analysis page.

The new Keyword Analysis page gives you a detailed breakdown of your keyword's Quality Score and how it might impact your ad's visibility. Specifically, you'll learn how keyword quality and landing page quality are performing and receive recommendations for improvement.

For example, let's say a keyword has a poor Quality Score because your landing page doesn't relate to your keyword. On the Keyword Analysis page, we'll alert you that your landing page quality is low and provide tips on how to improve it. You'll also see your Quality Score rating, your minimum bid, and whether your keyword is showing ads.

To launch Keyword Analysis page, click the magnifying glass icon beside any keyword in your account; then click one of the 'Details and recommendations' links.

(Click the screenshot for a full-size image)

And here's an example of the Details and recommendations page:

(Click the screenshot for a full-size image)

We'd appreciate your feedback on the Keyword Analysis page. If you'd like to share how the tool is working for you, just click the 'Send feedback' link on the Keyword Analysis page.


[G] Spotlight on Seattle

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Official Google Blog: Spotlight on Seattle

Our Seattle/Kirkland engineering office just celebrated its third birthday! And like our friends in New York who recently commemorated an anniversary, we too had a very special cake to mark the occasion, as you can see here.

This is the home of many great products, including Google Talk, Google Pack, Sitemaps, Site Optimizer, and Google Toolbar for Firefox. If we do say so ourselves, we have also made major contributions to the core search engine, Google Maps, Google's advertising technology, Video Search and Video Ads. There's all kinds of work going on in Google Seattle/Kirkland, and we're always looking for great people to help us out. So to celebrate our birthday, we're excited to announce that we just opened a Fremont office (just north of downtown) as the latest addition to our family of Seattle-area locations.

We don't like to brag here in the Pacific Northwest, but unlike Mountain View headquarters, we actually have a view of the mountains. Kirkland is a lovely city nestled on Lake Washington, with views of the water, the Seattle skyline, and of course Mount Rainier, which is by far the area's most impressive (and hopefully most dormant) volcano.

Kirkland features numerous great local restaurants, shops, sports bars, nightclubs, spas and salons. And we're just minutes from Seattle -- a beautiful city with a great music scene, two side-by-side stadiums, and a famous miniature replica of Toronto's space needle. Plus we have no state tax. Not that we would make a big deal out of something like that, but it's *definitely* not 8.75% like our neighbors to the south ...

What else can we tell you? We have three lovely ski resorts within an hour's drive, including Snoqualmie Pass, the nation's largest night-skiing facility. And the world-famous Whistler/Blackcomb resort is just a few hours' drive across the Canadian border. We're proud of our great football team and our great baseball team. Oh, and if you'd like to buy the Sonics, please contact Clayton Bennett.


[G] San Diego Fire Map

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Google LatLong: San Diego Fire Map

For those of you affected by the two wildfires in San Diego County, KPBS Online created a fire map that includes up-to-date news on the spread of the fire and shows the location of evacuated areas, Red Cross evacuation centers, and closed highways. They are also providing live radio coverage of the fire.

The Los Angeles Times is also tracking fires across Southern California in a map, found here.


[G] Helping law enforcement to combat online child exploitation

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Official Google Blog: Helping law enforcement to combat online child exploitation

To support law enforcement work in combating Internet-related crimes against children, last week we participated in the 6th Annual Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) National Conference in San Jose, California. Each year, the ICAC National Conference brings together hundreds of federal, state and local law enforcement investigators, forensic experts and prosecutors to participate in workshops and lectures that provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to investigate and prosecute online crimes against children.

My conference session, entitled "Google: Combating the Online Exploitation of Children," gave the attendees an overview of our products and tips for law enforcement agencies on how to work effectively with Google on child exploitation investigations.

ICAC Task Forces across the country are doing invaluable work in investigating and pursuing online child exploitation cases, and we're pleased to be sharing technical knowledge and resources with people working on the front lines in this battle. Government and industry interaction through the ICAC National Conference is critical to online child protection, and we plan to remain engaged with law enforcement in an effort to protect children on the Internet.


[G] AdSense Forum now in Arabic

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Inside AdSense: AdSense Forum now in Arabic

We've recently opened an AdSense Help Forum in Arabic. Drop by the new forum today to post your questions and share your AdSense expertise with other Arabic-speaking publishers. As with our other forums, a Google representative will participate in the discussions and occasionally contribute posts.

This launch brings the number of AdSense Help Forums up to 15. If you aren't yet one of the 54,000 publishers worldwide participating in the forums, we'd like to let you know that they're available in: Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish.

Join a forum today to meet and learn from other AdSense publishers!