Saturday, December 22, 2007

[G] A very special Christmas broadcast

| More

Official Google Blog: A very special Christmas broadcast



1957 was a very special year for the British Monarchy. It had already become an annual tradition for the monarch to issue a Christmas message to people in the United Kingdom and around the world. But fifty years ago this Christmas, Queen Elizabeth II's message was televised for the first time.

In her broadcast, the Queen spoke about the technological developments that allowed her image to appear in people's homes around the nation, saying that "I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct. That it is possible for some of you to see me today is just another example of the speed at which things are changing all around us."

This Christmas, fifty years later, we are thrilled to say that the British Monarchy is embracing another new technology by launching The Royal Channel on YouTube. By setting up the first ever channel from a monarchy, the Queen joins other world leaders including the French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the British Government in using online video to communicate with people around the globe.

Right now, you can visit The Royal Channel to see that first 1957 broadcast, along with other rare and previously unreleased archive footage. And at around 3pm BST on Christmas Day, this year's Christmas broadcast from the Queen will appear on YouTube as well as on television.

We're delighted to welcome the Queen to the YouTube community, and hope that you enjoy the unseen treasures on her channel as much as we have.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/very-special-christmas-broadcast.html

Friday, December 21, 2007

[G] Save some energy over the holidays

| More

Official Google Blog: Save some energy over the holidays



Here's a suggestion for everyone to save energy over the holidays (and at other times!): turn off your computer and monitor or put them into "sleep" mode when you're not using them.

Why? The typical desktop PC uses 100-200 watts even when it's idle. That's the equivalent of 1-2 bright incandescent (read: inefficient) light bulbs. (Note: new PCs that comply with the latest Energy Star specifications consume less than 50-60 watts when idle.)

You wouldn't leave your car running for hours when it's just sitting there. Most of us wouldn't leave a bright light bulb burning for hours when no one is nearby to need the light. So why leave your computer on?

If you're leaving your office for the holidays, turn off your PC. If it consumes 100 watts, that will save 2.4 kWh/day, or over 25 kWh for the next 11 days through January 1st. In California, that will stop about 40 kg of CO2 from being put into the air, and save about $2.50. For every 1 million people who do this, that will stop 40,000 tonnes (metric tons) of CO2 from being emitted, and save $2.5 million. In many areas, it will reduce emissions even further, and save even more money.

The same issue applies at home: turn off your computer or put it to sleep when you're not using it. The automatic power management settings on most computers will put them to sleep automatically after a specified idle period.

If you use a screensaver, set it to "blank" the screen and put the monitor in sleep mode after a few minutes. Screensavers don't have any benefit (other than being nice to look at) on modern displays, and they consume as much or more energy as just about anything else you could ask your computer to do.

You might be thinking, "why now?" This isn't just an issue for the holidays, but this is a good time to remind people. In general, when you're not using your computer, turn it off or put it to sleep. Most computers can go to sleep quickly, and then wake up with all your work exactly as it was when you put it to sleep -- so there's no downside.

If you want to do even more to save energy with your computers and to help the entire IT industry move to higher energy efficiency, check out the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, which we co-founded last June to create a positive "virtuous circle" between the supply of and demand for energy-efficient computers. More than 140 companies, universities, governments, and nonprofits, along with thousands of individuals, have pledged to buy energy-efficient computers and to use automatic power management tools to save energy. As more people make the same commitments, the volume of energy-efficient computers sold will increase, and the very modest price premium they demand today should drop.

Have a great holiday season!

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/save-some-energy-over-holidays.html

[G] Tracking election coverage

| More

Google News Blog: Tracking election coverage



I'm a bit of a junkie for political news, and of course I follow elections. The U.S. section of Google News covers a broad range of topics that are of interest to a national audience; thus, typically, few stories pertain to elections. There is no simple query that I can use in the News search box that will give me a broad and current selection of stories related to the elections. To provide direct access to extensive coverage of the candidates, the campaigns, and the issues, Google News has launched a new Elections section on our front page. This brings you the top stories on national, state, and local elections throughout the United States.

The Elections section appears on the front page along with all of the previously supported sections. If you've personalized your front page, you can add this new section with a single click of the button following the announcement at the top of the front page. If you navigate to the full Elections section, there is a gadget you can use to "Follow the Candidates." The candidates tab allows you to select the candidates you wish to track. The video, news, and blogs tabs allow you to find content specific to those candidates. The maps tab allows you to follow those candidates on the campaign trail. You can use the button below the gadget to add the gadget to your iGoogle page.

Now I can easily satisfy my appetite for election news, and as a big election season gets underway, I'm excited and proud to be working on the Google News Team to help keep others informed too.

URL: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/tracking-election-coverage.html

[G] 2007 Roundup

| More

Blogger Buzz: 2007 Roundup

2007 has been Blogger's most amazing year yet! As you'll remember, we began it just after we had taken the new version of Blogger out of beta. Here's a quick run-down of many of the fun things we did since then:
If you're not using any of these on your blog, click through to the various Buzz posts and Help articles that explain them, and check them out — they're really nifty. And many thanks for sticking with Blogger through the transition to the new version earlier this year — it's a powerful and scalable platform on which we'll be building lots of exciting new features in 2008!

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/12/2007-roundup.html

[G] Season's greetings

| More

Inside AdWords: Season's greetings

As 2007 wraps up, we'd like to take a moment to send you our warmest wishes for the holiday season. We'll be taking the next week off, but look for us again in January when we'll countdown our annual top 10 must-read posts from the past year. And before we go, here's this year's holiday doodle, featuring someone you may recognize along with his new friend:


Have a warm and wonderful holiday!


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/12/seasons-greetings.html

[G] 'tis the season

| More

Official Google Blog: 'tis the season



The holiday season is a time for reuniting with friends and family, reveling in stories and sentimentalities, cozying up to a cup of warm cocoa, listening to a fire slowly pop and fizzle. It's a time when we ease ourselves out of our routines, and have a moment to share our joys with those who are nearest to us. And the season affords us a unique opportunity to step back and empathize with people who face hardships throughout the world.

This season, Googlers everywhere are not only celebrating the joys of the holidays; quite a few of us have joined together to give back to our local communities. Whether it's helping kids craft public service announcements, contributing to toy drives, gathering donations for food banks, working with high schoolers on their college apps, writing get-well cards for sick children, or pitting teams of chefs against one another for charity, Googlers have made it a point to get creative.

We've assembled pictures from these events in this album, and encourage you to find a way to give back in your own community.




URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/tis-season.html

[G] A worldwide celebration

| More

Google LatLong: A worldwide celebration



As a member of the Maps team, I'm constantly impressed with the creative and meaningful ways people are using our mapping tools. My heart was warmed this morning when I read this post on the Official Google Blog. Readers are invited to add to a map created by the blog team and encouraged to add their personal holiday stories and traditions, punctuated with videos and photos.

Add a video of your kids squealing as they tear through wrapping paper, or pictures of the holiday morning you spent tobogganing with the family. Paste in your holiday wish list and direct your family members to it. Whatever you decide to do, just don't forget to take a peek at the other placemarks across the map. It's a fantastic time of year to celebrate the world around us.


View Larger Map

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/12/worldwide-celebration.html

[G] A Festivus for the webmasterus

| More

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: A Festivus for the webmasterus



If it's good enough for the Costanzas, it's good enough for Webmaster Central: it's time for a Festivus for the rest of us (webmasterus)!
Webmaster Central holiday photo
Our special celebration begins not with carols and eggnog, but by remembering some of the popular Webmaster Tools features—make that Feats of Strength—for 2007. This year, you gained the ability to chickity-check out your backlinks (<-- that's Festivus-inspired anchor text) and tell Google you want out with URL Removal. And let's not forget Message Center and IDNA support, perfect for those times when [a-zA-Z0-9\-] just doesn't cut it.

Feel the power! Festivus Feats of Strength!

Now comes our webmaster family's traditional Airing of Grievances. You can air your woes and "awww man!"s in the comments below. Just remember that bots may crawl this blog, but we humans review the comments, so please keep your grievances constructive. :) Let us know about features you'd like implemented in Webmaster Tools, articles you'd like written in our blog or Help Center, and stuff you'd like to see in the discussion group. Bonus points if you also explain how your suggestion helps the whole Internet—not just your site's individual rankings. (But of course, we understand that your site ranking number one for all queries in all regions is truly, objectively good for everyone.)

Last, there are so many Festivus Miracles to share! Such as the many helpful members of the discussion group from all around the world, the new friendships formed between Susan Moskwa, JohnMu, Wysz, Matt D, Bergy, Patrick, Nathanj and so many webmasters, and the fun of chatting with our video watchers, fellow conference attendees, and those in the blogosphere keepin' it real.

On behalf of the entire Webmaster Central team, here's to you, Festivus Miracle and Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2006—happy holidays. See you in 2008. :)

URL: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/12/festivus-for-webmasterus.html

[G] The gift of time

| More

Google Public Policy Blog: The gift of time



Has the end of the year crept up on you just as fast as it has on us? What we wouldn't give for a few extra days to wrap up our loose ends in 2007!

Never fear: we are extending the deadline for the Google Policy Fellowship program that we announced last month. Now students will have until Friday, January 11th to submit their application and postmark their letters of recommendations.

The Google Policy Fellowship program offers undergraduate, graduate, and law students the opportunity to spend the summer of 2008 contributing to the public dialogue on issues fundamental to the future of the Internet and its users, and exploring future academic and professional interests in Internet and technology policy.

Fellows will have the opportunity to work at public interest organizations at the forefront of debates on broadband and access policy, content regulation, copyright and trademark reform, consumer privacy, open government, and more. Participating organizations include: American Library Association, Cato Institute, Center for Democracy and Technology, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Internet Education Foundation, Media Access Project, New America Foundation, and Public Knowledge.

Check out all of the details and get started on your application now.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2007/12/gift-of-time.html

[G] We're taking a break, but you don't have to

| More

Official Gmail Blog: We're taking a break, but you don't have to



We've had a busy year re-coding Gmail and providing you with a slew of new features before this holiday season. Now it's time for a break. We'll be back in January, but until then, we've assembled a list of things you can do using Gmail in case you get bored over the holiday*:
  • Try one of three new chat features to keep in better touch: group chat with your family, reconnect with your long lost AIM friends, or add some spirit to your smiley.
  • Grab a video camera and share your Gmail story with the world.
  • Send out your holiday cards by email -- it's cheaper than stamps and they're searchable that way.
  • Change your labels to holiday colors to make your inbox more festive.
  • Playing with your iPhone this holiday season? Then try out free IMAP access and sync your Gmail inbox across devices.

Thanks for all the feedback you've given us this year, and we hope you enjoy the newest features. On behalf of the entire Gmail team, happy holidays and have a wonderful New Year. See you in 2008.

*Some of these features only work in the latest version of Gmail, now available for English IE7 and Firefox 2 users.

URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/were-taking-break-but-you-dont-have-to.html

[G] My Maps are Our Maps

| More

Official Google Blog: My Maps are Our Maps



The tools used for navigation and exploration are fraught with metaphorical possibility. A compass or telescope can be a powerful symbol for search, discovery, and the fearless embrace of the unknown. A map can tell you where you are, give you an idea of what lies ahead, and even better, give scale and breadth to your location. Maps connect us with the world in a way that is tangible, visual and now, even interactive.

And for any of the myriad places you can point to on a map, there are traditions, stories, pictures and memories -- each is as unique and fascinating as its teller. For this year's holiday season we've created a My Map for you to customize.


View Larger Map

Mark your place in the world with photos, video and stories that illuminate something about how you celebrate. Your stories can make for a considerably bigger map than any featuring geopolitical boundaries and highway markers; they can mark a human space of Chanukah candles, Christmas trees, family feasts and reunions great and small. We look forward to seeing how you make your mark.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/my-maps-are-our-maps.html

[G] Happy holidays from the AdSense team

| More

Inside AdSense: Happy holidays from the AdSense team

We'd like to send our warmest holiday wishes to all of our publishers around the globe. While you may not be catching snowflakes where you are, we hope you find a winter wonderland (or summer wonderland for our readers in the Southern Hemisphere?) wherever you're located this holiday season.

Our U.S. offices will be closed until Thursday, December 27th, so it may take us some time to respond to your emails. In the meantime, you can consult our Help Center for immediate answers, or spread holiday cheer by discussing your questions with other publishers on the Help Forum.

Happy holidays!


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/12/happy-holidays-from-adsense-team.html

[G] European govts embracing openness

| More

Google Public Policy Blog: European govts embracing openness



Openness is the key to innovation, and innovation is the key to future growth and development. So it is hardly surprising to see that governments all over the European Union -- in Norway, the Netherlands, and Germany -- are now moving to support both open standards as well as open source.

The Norweigan ICT minister Heidi Grande Røys just recently advertised a large national push for open source and open standards projects all over Norway. A national competence center for open source was also recently founded by a group of trade associations, municipalities and national government agencies. The objective of the center is to promote openness in projects as well as to make sure that institutions and support exists to sustain long-term development for open source. The Norweigan government also recently declared that they will only use open standards for government information, with the Open Document Format identified as the main alternative.

In September the Dutch Secretary of State of Economic Affairs, Frank Heemskerk, and the Dutch Secretary of State of Internal Affairs, Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, published the Action Plan Open Standards and Open Source Software. This plan, which sets the agenda for the public sector to use open source software from 2008 and a requirement to apply a "comply-or-explain and commit" principle for open standards, is a follow-up of the national competence center that was founded a couple of years ago.

When the plan was discussed in the Dutch Parliament on December 12, some political parties went beyond simply declaring their support and stated that the price of hardware and software should be unbundled and requested a legal obligation to use open source software. Heemskerk did not favour a legal obligation, but promised to set-up a hotline where complaints can be filed. On that same date Heemskerk also published a letter in the Financiele Dagblad that reiterated the commitment of the Dutch government to open standards and open source software, also based on the notion that this will reduce administrative burdens.

Germany has also had a long-standing involvement in open standards and free software. Prodded by a very active developer base and the oldest and largest industry association for free software, the Linux-Verband, the German government was the first to fund free software development with its support for GnuPG as early as 1999. Free software is recommended by the German Agency for Security in Information Technology (BSI) and adoption ranges from the German Foreign Ministry, which introduced free software to secure its lines of communication with all embassies around the world in 2003 and started using GNU/Linux on the desktop in 2006, over municipalities like Munich to regions like Friesland. Much of this adoption is driven by strategic considerations and security by transparency. Control of infrastructures, freedom of choice, markets and political independence are other driving factors of this evolution. It is hardly surprising then, that the German Foreign Ministry recently came out in strong support of the Open Document Format.

Clearly European governments are engaging more and more in open standards and open source software (perhaps inspired by European Commission research showing that these steps will stimulate the European economy). This trend is picking up momentum at a crucial time, as the European Commission conducts the midterm review of their i2010 programme for ICT policy in the European Union. Here's hoping that openness is front and center in their policy going forward.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2007/12/european-govts-embracing-openness.html

[G] New Toolbar adds accessible features

| More

Official Google Blog: New Toolbar adds accessible features



Last week Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer launched version 5 as a public beta. This version introduces a number of exciting features, such as making your Toolbar settings available from any computer that you log into with your Google Account, improved suggestions for broken links, as well as important changes that make Toolbar more accessible for assistive technology users.

This release adds support for Windows Accessibility APIs (used by screen readers, etc.) and enables keyboard navigation and access. From inside a browser with Toolbar installed, the global shortcut Alt+G places your cursor in the Google Toolbar search box. If you're using a screen reader, you'll hear "Google Toolbar Search". Pressing the Tab key brings keyboard focus to the button placed immediately after the search box, and right and left arrow keys move focus between buttons. More information on keyboard access is documented in the Toolbar Help Center (query 'accessibility').

Version 5 comes as a part of our ongoing efforts to enhance accessibility in our client-side and web applications, which is a matter I hardly need to mention is very important. Personally, I see my work that went into the Toolbar as an important step forward, as the product reaches a very large number of users and enables everyone to gain quick access to a multitude of useful features, through a unified UI. Adding keyboard navigation and other features that enhance the ease of access to these features benefit everyone.

We look forward to making further improvements to accessibility (including the installation process) in future releases. You can download the new Google Toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com/T5.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/new-toolbar-adds-accessible-features.html

Thursday, December 20, 2007

[G] Mapping at the speed of light

| More

Google LatLong: Mapping at the speed of light



Just the other day I was perusing the many fantastic customized maps people around the world have created using tools in the My Maps tab when I came across a map that made my face light up. As a child, I loved going on car rides with my family during the holidays, cruising through surrounding neighborhoods and checking out all the beautiful lights and decorations sprinkled throughout the area. That's why when I came across this map pinpointing the locations of holiday light displays put together by The Ledger, a newspaper in Florida, I was filled with glee!

The Ledger's map has markers spread throughout Polk County, just outside of Tampa, describing light displays in the area in detail. They've made their map open for collaboration and are inviting viewers to add placemarks of their own. So if you're in the area and are particularly proud of your holiday decorations, feel free to add them to the map. Just log into your Google account and hit "Edit."

And if you're not in Polk County, I encourage you to make a similar map for your area. Click on My Maps in Google Maps and use the tools in the upper left-hand corner to design a holiday map of your own. I wish this sort of technology had been around when I was a kid -- playing tour guide for my family with a detailed holiday display map might have made the season all the merrier.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/12/mapping-at-speed-of-light.html

[G] You Blog, We Listen

| More

Blogger Buzz: You Blog, We Listen

Two fixes just went live, before we sign off for a brief holiday break:
  • Unregistered commenters can once again provide an auto-linked URL [Help Group Thread]
  • Images in the Header page element will no longer be cropped vertically [Help Group thread]
We apologize for having broken these features for you. Your blogs and Help Group posts showed us the true extent to which you used and cared about these features, so please let us know if they're still being problematic.

Thanks for your patience!

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/12/you-blog-we-listen.html

[G] Decorate your desktop

| More

Official Google Blog: Decorate your desktop



This is the time of year when People Who Love to Decorate — you know who you are — can go all out. And while you're festooning your home and office, don't forget your computer desktop!

The Inside Google Desktop Blog has a guide to the latest holiday gadgets, with a picture of each one and tips on how you might use it. You can decorate a Christmas tree, listen to music, exchange ornaments with a friend, count down to the New Year, and more. They look right at home on your desktop, or you can put them in the Google Desktop sidebar or your iGoogle home page.

Take the Christmas Tree gadget, for instance. When you start it up, it's a simple tree with gently falling snow. With a few clicks you can add ornaments wherever you like. If you find the animated precipitation distracting, you can hide the snowflakes.

We hope you enjoy these gadgets. And happy holidays from the Google Desktop Team!

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/decorate-your-desktop.html

[G] A Googley Holiday Season

| More

Inside Google Desktop: A Googley Holiday Season



Season's greetings, everyone! To help ring in the New Year, we've got a great holiday present for you: an update to Google Desktop for Linux. The biggest addition in version 1.1.1 is support for 64-bit platforms, but we have also made many stability improvements that should be welcome to all of our existing users. Our team has worked hard over the past few weeks to get the new version out before the end of the year, and we're glad to have succeeded. So have fun with the new release, and have a wonderful holiday season — from all of us here at Google.

URL: http://googledesktop.blogspot.com/2007/12/googley-holiday-season.html

[G] Get your cricket scores here

| More

Official Google Blog: Get your cricket scores here



Around Google we look to add value for our users in various ways. One way to do this is through our 20% time (engineers can spend one day a week working on projects that are not necessarily part of their current job responsibilities -- an integral part of our philosophy). So the two of us decided to use our 20% time for something near to the hearts of many.

If you know what a silly mid-on is and what LBW stands for, chances are you're one of the tens of millions of cricket fans that just can't get enough of the latest scores. Well, we have good news: you can now get the latest cricket scores when you visit Google News India. There's more detail about this new feature on the Google News Blog.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/get-your-cricket-scores-here.html

[G] Cricket Scores in Google News

| More

Google News Blog: Cricket Scores in Google News



We're excited to share a new feature for Google News India: you can now get the latest cricket scores right on the front page! If there's a cricket match going on somewhere in the world (and there always is) you will have the latest information available. And if you want all the cricket news in addition to the latest scores while you're on the Google News front page, you can personalize Google News by creating a custom section. In fact, even if you don't read Google News India, but still want to get the latest cricket scores, simply add a custom section from the India edition to your edition, and you'll be able to see the latest cricket scores on your Google News front page wherever you live. Be sure to check out our Hindi News edition as well.

We hope this gives you your fill of cricket scores and more, so let us know what you think.

URL: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/cricket-scores-in-google-news.html

[G] Analysis: The FTC clears our acquisition of DoubleClick

| More

Google Public Policy Blog: Analysis: The FTC clears our acquisition of DoubleClick



(Cross-posted to the Official Google Blog)

Earlier today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cleared our acquisition of DoubleClick. This is obviously excellent news for both companies, and I would like to comment on its significance and what it means for us going forward.

Perhaps most importantly, the FTC's decision publicly affirms what we and numerous independent analysts have been saying for months: our acquisition does not threaten competition in what is a robust, innovative, and quickly evolving online advertising space. In fact, we firmly believe the transaction will increase competition and bring substantial benefits to consumers, web publishers, and online advertisers.

Looking at the FTC's clearance statement, a few key points jump out as noteworthy:
  • Transaction was cleared with no conditions. The FTC cleared the acquisition unconditionally, without demanding any changes in or commitments concerning the companies' business practices. This will allow us to remain flexible as we continue to innovate and provide the best services to our customers and users.

  • Google and DoubleClick are not competitors. The FTC stated that its "thorough analysis of the evidence showed that the companies are not direct competitors in any relevant antitrust market." Furthermore, the FTC concluded that the merger would not eliminate beneficial potential competition, writing that "it is unlikely that the elimination of Google as a potential competitor in the third party ad serving markets would have a significant impact on competition." We agree with both of these findings. Google and DoubleClick provide complementary services, and competition between the companies was not necessary to create benefits for consumers. To the contrary, consumers will benefit from the two companies working together and combining our resources.

  • Third party ad serving markets are highly competitive. The FTC noted that "the evidence shows that the third party ad serving markets are competitive," and said that "the evidence also shows that firms can and do switch ad serving firms when it is in their self-interest to do so." This is an important finding, because it means that ad serving customers will continue to benefit from innovation and product development by the many players in this space, and that they can always select the ad serving provider that offers them the best services.

  • Privacy not a part of the merger review. Though we strongly believe in protecting our users' privacy, the FTC clearance decision reaffirmed the law by noting that privacy concerns played no role in its merger review. This is an important principle, as privacy issues need to be addressed on an industry-wide basis, and not on a company-by-company basis. The FTC wrote, "although such issues may present important policy questions for the Nation, the sole purpose of federal antitrust review of mergers and acquisitions is to identify and remedy transactions that harm competition. Not only does the Commission lack legal authority to require conditions to this merger that do not relate to antitrust, regulating the privacy requirements of just one company could itself pose a serious detriment to competition in this vast and rapidly evolving industry." The FTC also noted, however, "that the evidence does not support a conclusion" that this particular transaction will harm consumer privacy.

  • Data combination wouldn't pose problems. The FTC rejected the suggestion from competitors that Google would combine user information with DoubleClick's customers' data to obtain an advantage in the market, writing that the data is owned by DoubleClick's customers and that "at bottom, the concerns raised by Google's competitors regarding the integration of these two data sets -- should privacy concerns not prevent such integration -- really amount to a fear that the transaction will lead to Google offering a superior product to its customers." Moreover, "a number of Google's competitors have at their disposal valuable stores of data not available to Google. For instance, Google's most significant competitors in the ad intermediation market, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Time Warner have access to their own unique data stores."

  • Advertisers and publishers aren't concerned. The FTC noted that "the clear majority of third parties expressing [competitive] concerns [about the deal] were Google's current or potential competitors." Additionally, Commissioner Jon Liebowitz noted in his concurring opinion that "my staff and I independently spoke with publishers and advertisers potentially affected by this deal and, somewhat surprisingly, they raised few anticompetitive concerns. In fact, many seem unruffled by the alternatives in the post-merger market." It is telling that while our competitors tried hard to come up with theories of how our customers and partners could be harmed by the deal, those customers and partners themselves did not agree with those theories. In fact, we know that many of these advertisers and publishers are excited about the transaction and look forward to benefiting from it.

But as I said at the outset, perhaps the most important aspect of the clearance decision is its recognition of the fact that both Google and DoubleClick do business in a competitive and rapidly evolving arena. Indeed, as the FTC noted, all of the recent acquisitions that have occurred in the online advertising space have confirmed this. "The entry and expansion of...well-financed competitors has transformed the ad intermediation marketplace over the last six months," the FTC wrote. "All of these firms are vertically integrated, and all appear to be well-positioned to compete vigorously against Google in this new marketplace."

I should also note that, separate from its clearance decision, the FTC this morning released some suggested principles to guide online companies engaging in online advertising. We support the FTC's effort to develop industry-wide standards in this area, and we are studying these proposals carefully.

Receiving clearance from the FTC is of course an important step forward, but it does not mean that we can now close the acquisition. For that, we must also receive clearance from European Commission (EC), which is still conducting its review. We are cooperating fully with the EC and are hopeful that they will soon reach the same conclusion as their U.S. counterparts.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2007/12/analysis-ftc-clears-our-acquisition-of.html

[G] Mac OS X Dashboard widget security issue

| More

Official Google Mac Blog: Mac OS X Dashboard widget security issue



If you've used our Gmail, Blogger, or Search History widgets recently, you might have noticed they're displaying a message asking you to download new versions. Here's why: Thomas Roessler of the W3C let us know about a security vulnerability in these widgets, and we've updated the widgets to fix the issues. To make sure you're covered, please download the new versions of your widgets:

To download the new Gmail and Blogger widgets, go to http://www.google.com/macwidgets.

To download the Search History widget, click here: download Search History widget.

Thanks, and sorry for the interruption.

URL: http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2007/12/mac-os-x-dashboard-widget-security.html

[G] Manage Ads gives you more ad functionality

| More

Inside AdSense: Manage Ads gives you more ad functionality

As we mentioned last week, we're constantly working to improve the new ad management feature. There's another wave of minor tweaks to this feature, inspired by your feedback as always.

Hide and seek
We've heard from more than a few of you that you'd like to see a 'delete' function on the Manage Ads page. To avoid deleting any ad unit that's currently serving impressions on your pages, we've now added a 'hide' function so you can avoid displaying ad units you prefer not to see on your Manage Ads page. Just click the 'Hide' link associated with a specific ad unit in the Actions column, and the ad will no longer appear when you view your Manage Ads page. Don't worry, hiding any active ad unit won't prevent it from generating revenue for you, and you can view your hidden ad units at any time by checking the box that says 'Show hidden AdSense units'.


Channel IDs for all
In addition to AdSense for content, you can now view the custom channel ID numbers associated with other AdSense products (e.g. AdSense for search and referrals). Visit the Channels page under the AdSense Setup tab, and select the tab corresponding to the product you'd like to view.


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/12/manage-ads-gives-you-more-ad.html

[G] Analysis: The FTC clears our acquisition of DoubleClick

| More

Official Google Blog: Analysis: The FTC clears our acquisition of DoubleClick



Earlier today, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cleared our acquisition of DoubleClick. This is obviously excellent news for both companies, and I would like to comment on its significance and what it means for us going forward.

Perhaps most importantly, the FTC's decision publicly affirms what we and numerous independent analysts have been saying for months: our acquisition does not threaten competition in what is a robust, innovative, and quickly evolving online advertising space. In fact, we firmly believe the transaction will increase competition and bring substantial benefits to consumers, web publishers, and online advertisers.

Looking at the FTC's clearance statement, a few key points jump out as noteworthy:
  • Transaction was cleared with no conditions. The FTC cleared the acquisition unconditionally, without demanding any changes in or commitments concerning the companies' business practices. This will allow us to remain flexible as we continue to innovate and provide the best services to our customers and users.

  • Google and DoubleClick are not competitors. The FTC stated that its "thorough analysis of the evidence showed that the companies are not direct competitors in any relevant antitrust market." Furthermore, the FTC concluded that the merger would not eliminate beneficial potential competition, writing that "it is unlikely that the elimination of Google as a potential competitor in the third party ad serving markets would have a significant impact on competition." We agree with both of these findings. Google and DoubleClick provide complementary services, and competition between the companies was not necessary to create benefits for consumers. To the contrary, consumers will benefit from the two companies working together and combining our resources.

  • Third party ad serving markets are highly competitive. The FTC noted that "the evidence shows that the third party ad serving markets are competitive," and said that "the evidence also shows that firms can and do switch ad serving firms when it is in their self-interest to do so." This is an important finding, because it means that ad serving customers will continue to benefit from innovation and product development by the many players in this space, and that they can always select the ad serving provider that offers them the best services.

  • Privacy not a part of the merger review. Though we strongly believe in protecting our users' privacy, the FTC clearance decision reaffirmed the law by noting that privacy concerns played no role in its merger review. This is an important principle, as privacy issues need to be addressed on an industry-wide basis, and not on a company-by-company basis. The FTC wrote, "although such issues may present important policy questions for the Nation, the sole purpose of federal antitrust review of mergers and acquisitions is to identify and remedy transactions that harm competition. Not only does the Commission lack legal authority to require conditions to this merger that do not relate to antitrust, regulating the privacy requirements of just one company could itself pose a serious detriment to competition in this vast and rapidly evolving industry." The FTC also noted, however, "that the evidence does not support a conclusion" that this particular transaction will harm consumer privacy.

  • Data combination wouldn't pose problems. The FTC rejected the suggestion from competitors that Google would combine user information with DoubleClick's customers' data to obtain an advantage in the market, writing that the data is owned by DoubleClick's customers and that "at bottom, the concerns raised by Google's competitors regarding the integration of these two data sets -- should privacy concerns not prevent such integration -- really amount to a fear that the transaction will lead to Google offering a superior product to its customers." Moreover, "a number of Google's competitors have at their disposal valuable stores of data not available to Google. For instance, Google's most significant competitors in the ad intermediation market, Microsoft, Yahoo!, and Time Warner have access to their own unique data stores."

  • Advertisers and publishers aren't concerned. The FTC noted that "the clear majority of third parties expressing [competitive] concerns [about the deal] were Google's current or potential competitors." Additionally, Commissioner Jon Liebowitz noted in his concurring opinion that "my staff and I independently spoke with publishers and advertisers potentially affected by this deal and, somewhat surprisingly, they raised few anticompetitive concerns. In fact, many seem unruffled by the alternatives in the post-merger market." It is telling that while our competitors tried hard to come up with theories of how our customers and partners could be harmed by the deal, those customers and partners themselves did not agree with those theories. In fact, we know that many of these advertisers and publishers are excited about the transaction and look forward to benefiting from it.
But as I said at the outset, perhaps the most important aspect of the clearance decision is its recognition of the fact that both Google and DoubleClick do business in a competitive and rapidly evolving arena. Indeed, as the FTC noted, all of the recent acquisitions that have occurred in the online advertising space have confirmed this. "The entry and expansion of...well-financed competitors has transformed the ad intermediation marketplace over the last six months," the FTC wrote. "All of these firms are vertically integrated, and all appear to be well-positioned to compete vigorously against Google in this new marketplace."

I should also note that, separate from its clearance decision, the FTC this morning released some suggested principles to guide online companies engaging in online advertising. We support the FTC's effort to develop industry-wide standards in this area, and we are studying these proposals carefully.

Receiving clearance from the FTC is of course an important step forward, but it does not mean that we can now close the acquisition. For that, we must also receive clearance from European Commission (EC), which is still conducting its review. We are cooperating fully with the EC and are hopeful that they will soon reach the same conclusion as their U.S. counterparts.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/analysis-ftc-clears-our-acquisition-of.html

[G] Accessibility mashups: AxsJAX fun with XKCD Comics

| More

Official Google Blog: Accessibility mashups: AxsJAX fun with XKCD Comics



From time to time, our own T.V. Raman shares his tips on how to use Google from his perspective as a technologist who cannot see -- tips that sighted people, among others, may also find useful.

Earlier this year, I blogged about the potential presented by accessibility mashups with respect to delivering web interfaces that are optimized to a user's special needs. More recently, my office-mate Charles Chen and I blogged about our work on AxsJAX as a framework for leveraging Web-2.0 for injecting accessibility enhancements into web applications.

As we head into the holiday season, we decided it was time to have some fun and generate a few laughs based on what we've worked on during the year. As chance would have it, Randall Munroe, the creator of the XKCD comic strip, visited our Mountain View campus to give an extremely entertaining talk. He even made a reference to blind hacker geeks! So the temptation was too hard to resist. We had to speech-enable his comic strip.

The XKCD comics are highly visual, with a short comment from the author accompanying many of the episodes. Having a detailed written description that is visible to everyone would spoil the comic for the average user; part of the fun is to understand the jokes purely from the sketches. At the same time, notice that indexing and searching online comics runs into the same challenge that blind users face: to be able to locate past episodes, one needs access to textual transcripts that capture the essence of each sketch. To help with the latter, fans of online comics like XKCD have created a search engine devoted to indexing comic strips, replete with full text transcriptions. This is an example of a social Web applications where fans can transcribe their favorite comics including XKCD.

In the Web 1.0 world, I would have to pull up an XKCD episode, then go to the site containing the transcripts, and finally find the associated transcript in order to make sense of the comic. But this is exactly where Web 2.0 mashups excel; mashups are all about bringing data from multiple Web sources into a single integrated view. Once we realized this, we were able to AxsJAX the XKCD site with a small amount of code. Now, I can browse to the XKCD comic site, and listen to each episode -- with the underlying AxsJAX-based mashup taking care of the minutiae of retrieving the relevant transcript and integrating it into the comic strip.

This approach leverages all that is powerful about web-based applications:

  • Distributed accessibility --- the XKCD author does not need to create the transcripts.
  • Transcripts can be integrated from across the web.
  • The accessibility enhancements do not spoil the fun for XKCD readers in general.
  • And with Open Source self-voicing plugins like Fire Vox, every XKCD user can listen to the strip when desired.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/accessibility-mashups-axsjax-fun-with.html

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

[G] Colored labels with filters: A new way to read your inbox

| More

Official Gmail Blog: Colored labels with filters: A new way to read your inbox



Colored labels make it easier to keep track of emails, and by using them with filters, I realized they can provide an almost entirely new way of visualizing my inbox based on context rather than order. By setting up filters so emails from certain senders (or on certain topics) automatically appear with colored labels, I can scan my inbox just by looking at the colors.

For example, I have filters that apply a red "Important!" label to emails sent to me by my manager, a purple "Vacation" label to emails that have "vacation" in the text, and a green "Industry News" label to emails that are sent to industry lists I subscribe to. Now when I open my email and see a bunch of red labeled messages, I know I have a lot of responding to do right away.

To set up a filter with a colored label, simply click the "Create a filter" link next to the search box. Add senders or certain words you want to keep a better eye on, click next, and assign a label by checking "apply the label" and choosing an appropriate one. Then just pick a label color by clicking the color swatch next to the label title in the left-hand navigation menu. Give colored labels with filters a try and see if it changes the way you read your inbox too.


URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/colored-labels-with-filters-new-way-to.html

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

| More

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



Great detective work, everyone. As always I am very impressed at the speed with which the blogosphere finds these updates. Here's a list of answers to the clues, as well as a more complete listing of updates.

1) A young boy living in this town designed the Alaska state flag 32 years prior to Alaska
gaining statehood.
-- 13 year old Benny Benson designed the current Alaska state flag while living in Seward, AK.

2) The incredible ruins of an old medieval castle, believed damaged during the Swedish
invasion of 1655, are now visible in Google Earth.
-- Ogrodzieniec, Poland

















3) On July 3, 1810, this city declared independence from Spain.
-- Santiago de Cali declared independence from Spain 17 days before the national revolt in Bogata. It wasn't until 1819 that Colombia won its freedom.

4) This city's metropolitan area is the most populous in the world, with over 35 million people.
-- Despite a national declining population, the greater Tokyo area has held this title since the 70's.

5) This city, known as the City of Peace for hosting many peace conferences, is a popular
tourist destination.
-- Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Check out the amazing Panoramio photos people have taken of this resort hot spot.

6) The oldest Polish cathedral, burial site of many famous Polish leaders, is now high res.
-- The Archcathedral Basilica of St. Peter and St. Paul in Poznan, was first constructed in the second half of the 10th century.

7) This Jersey city is now high res.
-- I said Jersey, not New Jersey. ;) Saint Helier, the capitol of Jersey (a British Crown Dependency located off coast of Normandy) is now high res.

8) Lawrence of Arabia and Cleopatra were both shot at this famous studio.
-- Atlas Studios in Ouarzazate, Morocco.














9) This city is also Ukraine's largest port.
-- Odesa, Ukraine

10) Though completely destroyed in an 1868 fire, this gold rush town was completely
restored by the government of British Columbia to act as a tourist attraction.
-- Barkerville, British Columbia
















11) This was the final port of call for the Titanic before it's ill-fated transatlantic journey.
-- Cobh, Ireland, where the Titanic picked up most of it's third-class passengers.

12) Bach, 38 at the time, was appointed the cantor for St Thomas' Church in this city
-- Leipzig, Germany

13) This deep-water port was constructed in the middle of a bay and is connected to the
mainland by the third longest bridge in the world.
-- You can view the incredible infrastructure development at the Yangshan deep-water port outside of Shanghai.











14) The element Hafnium is named after this city's Latin name.
-- Hafnium was named after Copenhagen's Latin name: Hafnia.

15) The picturesque port in this city has been painted many times over, and helped inspire
the Impressionist movement.
-- The port of Honfleur, France was painted by the likes of Gustave Gourbet, Claude Monet, and Johan Jongkind.

16) Famous as the site where Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in Brazil, this
city is now a tourist destination.
-- Pedro Álvares Cabral, thinking he had landed on an Island, originally named Porto Seguro The Island of the True Cross.

17) The imagery above the headquarters of my favorite search engine has been upgraded!
-- The Googleplex in Mountain View, California!















Here's a more complete list of imagery updates in this data push:
New high resolution:
Americas:

- Canada: Significant amount of British Columbia
- USA: Jefferson City (MO), Central Virginia, Tioga County (NY), Cayuga County (NY),
Jefferson County (NY), Broome County (NY),
- Brazil: Uberlandia
- Colombia: Cali, Pasto
- Mexico: Veracruz

Europe, Middle East and Africa:
- France: Le Havre, Dunkerque
- Poland: Poznan
- Russia: Yaroslavl, Ivanovo, Vladikavkaz, Volzhskiy, Barnaul
- Ukraine: Rivne, Odesa
- Morocco: Agadir
- Nigeria: Abuja
- Egypt: 2.5m imagery for eastern half of the country


Asia & Oceania:
- Japan: Kagoshima, Hamamatsu
- New Zealand: Manawatu Wanganui Province, Thames-Coromandel Province
- China: Guiyang, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan, Neijang, Anshun, Zhuzhou, Changde,
Jiaoijang, Sashi, Qinhuangdao, Mudanjiang
- Indonesia: Sukabumi, Surakarta

2.5m imagery for the eastern half of Egypt.

Updated Imagery:
Americas:
- Canada: Calgary
- USA: Bend (OR), Reno (NV), Googleplex (CA), San Miguel (CA), Paso
Robles (CA), Buellton (CA), Thousand Oaks (CA), Los Angeles (CA), Orange
County (CA), Denver (CO), Saint Louis (MO), Knoxville (TN), Chattanooga (GA),
Dayton (CA), Atlanta (GA), Desoto County (FL), Onondaga County (NY), Cayuga
County (NY), McAllen (TX), Sanger (CA), Bellevue (WA)

Europe, Middle East and Africa:
- France: Nantes, Lyon
- Germany: Sindelfingen, Ausburg, Leipzig, Aachen
- Denmark: Entire country
- Niger: Niamey
- Zimbabwe: Harare
- South Africa: Johannesburg
- Iran: Tehran

Asia:
- Japan:
Tokyo, Osaka, Nagano
- Thailand: Bangkok
- Vietnam: Hanoi

Antarctica: new 15m imagery

Updated Terrain:
Massachusetts

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/12/where-in-world-is-answers.html

[G] Desktop Gadgets for the Holiday Season

| More

Inside Google Desktop: Desktop Gadgets for the Holiday Season



Developer-elves have been busy creating new Desktop gadgets to celebrate the holidays. Here's a guide to the some of the most recent additions.



Christmas Tree
by Benjamin Schirmer

Deck your desktop with a one-of-a-kind tree. This tree starts out plain, with only animated snowflakes as decoration, but you can easily make it yours. Just right-click wherever you want to add a decoration. If you're not in the mood for animated snowflakes, you can easily turn them off.




Holiday Countdown 2007 Gadget
by Beepem

Count down to the holiday of your choice — Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus! Snowfall is optional.


Hanukkah Menorah
by Glenn Rivkees

It might seem a little late to feature Hanukkah gadgets, but we couldn't leave out this beauty. It's both a countdown to Hanukkah and a menorah that lights candles on the appropriate days. Hanukkah 2007 may be over, but this gadget tells me there are only 368 days until Hanukkah 2008!




CALGOT and MAIMAI Christmas Tree
by 12STUDIO Inc.

Here's the perfect desktop decoration and Christmas countdown gadget for fans of CALGOT and MAIMAI. The pretty images, animated star, sparkling highlights, and delicate snowfall help make this gadget an eye catcher.




CALGOT and MAIMAI Christmas Wreathe
by 12STUDIO Inc.

If you think the snails just aren't prominent enough in the CALGOT and MAIMAI Christmas Tree gadget, try this one.



Christmas Countdown
by Bijoy Thangaraj

This simple gadget counts down the seconds until Christmas.




Fancy Christmas Frame
by Bijoy Thangaraj

Click inside the frame to add a random decoration. Each decoration fades out over time, so you'll have a blank slate unless you keep clicking!



Merry X'mas
by Lahiru Lakmal Priyadarshana

Decorate your Google Talk buddy's tree! Here's how:

  1. Make sure you both have this gadget. (If not, your buddy will automatically get an IM saying where to get the tree.)
  2. Click the people icon (at the lower right) and choose an online Google Talk friend (one with a green icon).
  3. If necessary, click the item preview (at the upper right) so you see a star with a + sign.
  4. Click a decoration from the items palate (upper left).
  5. Click your tree to place the decoration.
  6. Repeat steps 4 & 5 as many times as you like.
  7. Click the Send button (upper right).


Countdown To New Year 2008
by Teodor Filimon

This holiday gadget displays a different picture and message every day until New Year's Day, 2008. You can have animated snow, listen to holiday songs, and even go shopping. On New Year's Eve, you'll get a countdown to midnight.


Want more seasonal gadgets? Check out the holiday gadget page.

Happy Holidays from the Google Desktop Team!

URL: http://googledesktop.blogspot.com/2007/12/desktop-gadgets-for-holiday-season.html

[G] Documents dress up and print out

| More

Official Google Docs Blog: Documents dress up and print out



A Google document's natural habitat is online, and in the past, this is where it stayed. While it was possible to print a Google document, it was admittedly difficult to predict what the printed page was going to look like -- kind of like stepping out for an evening without knowing what you're wearing until you get out the door, an option that makes staying in pretty tempting.

Not that staying in is a bad option, of course. If you're a Google document, home means being safe and instantly accessible, never having to worry about the life-threatening disaster of a hard drive crash, or the pain of packing up and moving as multiple versions are emailed to and from multiple collaborators -- in short, a life of leisure!

Because of this, there are many Google documents that will never want to leave their online oasis. However, there are also documents that need to make an appearance in the "real world."

We hear from students and teachers, lawyers and accountants. They all let us know that keeping and sharing their documents online made their jobs infinitely easier. But they also made it clear that the end result of their work needed to be a well-formatted paper document, printed and presented outside of Google Docs' online home.

We took this seriously, and now we're introducing better printing for Google documents and the option to set the following specifications for your printed documents:
  • Margins
  • Page numbers
  • Landscape or portrait page orientation
  • Legal, Letter, or A4 paper size

So, while documents will always make their home online, we're happy to announce that for those of you with a need, Google documents can now come out to play. Right out of your printer and on to your desk, or your boss's desk, or your teacher's folder, or your client's briefcase...printed documents are here!

URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2007/12/documents-dress-up-and-print-out.html

[G] New privacy tips video series

| More

Official Google Blog: New privacy tips video series



In order to give you the best possible information about the privacy settings for our products, we asked the engineers and product managers who actually designed them to explain how they work in a series of new videos we released today on our YouTube Privacy Channel. These videos feature Googlers sharing privacy tips, like how to use Google Chat's "Off the Record" feature, how to limit the number of people who can view your Picasa photos, how to unlist your phone number from Google search results, and how to make the details of your Google Calendar entries private.

Just as we're dedicated to innovation when it comes to making better, more useful products, we're also committed to finding new ways to educate you about how to control what information you share when using our products, and with whom. This series, along with the other videos on our YouTube Privacy Channel, are part of this awareness-raising effort. So watch the videos (including our very own blooper reel) and tell us what you think. And we'll be adding new videos to the Privacy Channel now and again, so be sure to check back.


URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/new-privacy-tips-video-series.html

[G] Holiday baking fun

| More

Official Google Blog: Holiday baking fun



Nothing evokes the spirit of the holidays more than the traditional foods that mark the season. Whether your holiday include latkes, a delicious butternut squash souffle, or even a deathless fruitcake, Googlers love to commemorate the occasion with food.

Last week I spent the afternoon baking Christmas cookies with a group of culinary-minded Googlers. Traditionally, this cookie is not just a festive holiday snack; it also makes a great homemade gift and an absorbing arts and crafts project. Our little get-together not only resulted in some melt-in-your mouth treats, but also allowed us to roll up our sleeves and get creative. Check out the photo album from our baking session, and try my recipe for buttery shortbread cookies.

Google Cookie Class

Buttery Shortbread Cookies

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix the following ingredients until smooth:
1-½ sticks unsalted butter (must be soft)
2-3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Then add the following ingredients and mix until smooth:
8 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 Tablespoon +1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add:
8 cups all-purpose flour.

Mix everything thoroughly until dough comes together. Gather to a ball and flatten to a disc.

Chill the dough until firm. You might want to prepare the dough in the evening before you plan on baking and chill it overnight.

When chilled, roll to ¼-inch thickness, and cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Sprinkle tops with assorted sugars, jimmies and sprinkles.

Bake at 325 degrees F for 10-12 minutes on either a sheet greased with vegetable oil spray or a cookie sheet pan with parchment paper. Edges will be golden when they are done.

You may also bake the cookies plain, cool them, and then brush with icing sugar. Cover the whole surface of the cookie.

Serves: 4 dozen.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/12/holiday-baking-fun.html

[G] Latest Tech B2B Industry Newsletter

| More

Inside AdWords: Latest Tech B2B Industry Newsletter

Before the ball drops on 2007, we've got one more AdWords Industry Newsletter to share. The latest issue of the Tech B2B Industry Newsletter has tips and resources to help you prepare your campaigns for the new year. You'll find the latest Tech B2B tips from an AdWords optimization specialist and learn how the content network can help you meet your marketing goals.

You can sign up to receive AdWords newsletters via email through your AdWords account.


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/12/latest-tech-b2b-industry-newsletter.html

[G] Making tracks on holiday shopping

| More

Google LatLong: Making tracks on holiday shopping



If you're anything like me when it comes to holiday shopping, you most likely have yet to put any effort into scavenging for unique gifts and treasures for your loved ones. Well, this year, I decided to make a change: I've started my holiday shopping early! I even did some research and came across a pretty cool shopping guide using Google Maps, put together by a fashion and design site called Jargol. Just click on "Shopping Guide" and select your city. From there, you can view shops tagged by category and neighborhood.

I found this especially useful when I was in New York earlier this month and had some free time to shop but no clue where to go. I wanted to dig up something out of the ordinary for my older sister, so I selected the New York-based map. From there, I narrowed it down to "avant-garde," which led me to nine different shops and, ultimately, one perfect gift. I'd tell you what it is, but my big sis is a snoop when it comes to uncovering her Christmas gifts.

Jargol has all sorts of cities mapped out, from Palm Springs to Berlin. So if you're scratching your head over places to shop, try it out. In fact, I think I'm going to give it another go. I'm hoping the "vintage clothing" tag on the San Francisco map might lead me to just the thing for my little sis.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/12/making-tracks-on-holiday-shopping.html

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

[G] The Ultimate Fate of Supplemental Results

| More

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: The Ultimate Fate of Supplemental Results

In 2003, Google introduced a "supplemental index" as a way of showing more documents to users. Most webmasters will probably snicker about that statement, since supplemental docs were famous for refreshing less often and showing up in search results less often. But the supplemental index served an important purpose: it stored unusual documents that we would search in more depth for harder or more esoteric queries. For a long time, the alternative was to simply not show those documents at all, but this was always unsatisfying—ideally, we would search all of the documents all of the time, to give users the experience they expect.

This led to a major effort to rethink the entire supplemental index. We improved the crawl frequency and decoupled it from which index a document was stored in, and once these "supplementalization effects" were gone, the "supplemental result" tag itself—which only served to suggest that otherwise good documents were somehow suspect—was eliminated a few months ago. Now we're coming to the next major milestone in the elimination of the artificial difference between indices: rather than searching some part of our index in more depth for obscure queries, we're now searching the whole index for every query.

From a user perspective, this means that you'll be seeing more relevant documents and a much deeper slice of the web, especially for non-English queries. For webmasters, this means that good-quality pages that were less visible in our index are more likely to come up for queries.

Hidden behind this are some truly amazing technical feats; serving this much larger of an index doesn't happen easily, and it took several fundamental innovations to make it possible. At this point it's safe to say that the Google search engine works like nothing else in the world. If you want to know how it actually works, you'll have to come join Google Engineering; as usual, it's all triple-hush-hush secrets.*



* Originally, I was going to give the stock Google answer, "If I told you, I'd have to kill you." However, I've been informed by management that killing people violates our "Don't be evil" policy, so I'm forced to replace that with sounding mysterious and suggesting that good engineers come and join us. Which I'm dead serious about; if you've got the technical chops and want to work on some of the most complex and advanced large-scale software infrastructure in the world, we want you here.

URL: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/12/ultimate-fate-of-supplemental-results.html