Friday, February 8, 2008

[G] Promoting useful information and web pages

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Google Custom Search: Promoting useful information and web pages



Webmasters often want the ability to promote specific information or web pages when users search for specific things via their Custom Search Engine (CSE).
Here are some examples where this is useful:

* You have a travel site, and want to draw attention to a spring promotion above the search results for keywords "hawaii", "maui", "kona". You want a nice image of the beach and the three most popular packages listed right on top.
* You've created a soccer search engine, and you want soccer fans to quickly get to the results of the Cup of Nations tournament in Ghana for queries [africa], [ghana], and [cup of nations]
* Your company just launched a brand new product, and you'd like people to know about it via a headline link to your product blog post when they search for older products in the same category.

We've always had the ability to do this in Custom Search (via a feature called Subscribed Links) but now, we've tried to make it a little easier for you.

When you go to to the control panel for your CSE, you'll see a new option in the "Preferences" section towards the bottom of the "Basics" tab. Selecting this option will enable your Subscribed Link to be triggered in your CSE for the keywords you've specified. If you don't already have a Subscribed Link defined, you can create one in minutes. Just specify the trigger keywords, the summary text you'd like displayed, and the URL of the target web page when the link is clicked.


When visitors search on your CSE using the special trigger keywords, your special link will show up right on top of the results, where they won't miss it.

You can manage your Subscribed Link via the Subscribed Link console. Check the developer documentation for advanced options. Remember that subscribed links display differently on your CSE (above the results) versus on Google.com (inline).

URL: http://googlecustomsearch.blogspot.com/2008/02/promoting-useful-information-and-web.html

[G] Finding files with Google Desktop on Leopard (or, fun with AppleScript)

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Official Google Mac Blog: Finding files with Google Desktop on Leopard (or, fun with AppleScript)



Last spring I wrote a blog post about using AppleScript with Google Desktop. It described how you can combine the speed of Google Desktop with the power of AppleScript to search your Mac in a variety of ways.

Recently I was writing some scripts that use Google Desktop to search for files on Leopard and I ran into an issue. It appears that AppleScript on Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5.1) has some problems with the term "file", which is also a type in AppleScript. Google Desktop uses "file" as a type to search for, as in the following example:

search for "Hasselhoff" restrict to file

which should restrict my search to any file containing the term "Hasselhoff". This works great on Tiger, but on Leopard you get:

Google Desktop got an error: Can't make file into type constant.

Well, according to the AppleScript manual, I should be able to turn the term "file" into its chevron-wrapped type and get the script to compile (you can get more info in Apple's documentation). For Google Desktop, that chevron-wrapped type would be «constant tyreFile».

So we get the ugly, but runnable:

search for "Hasselhoff" restrict to «constant tyreFile»

and when this is compiled Script Editor happily turns this back into:

search for "Hasselhoff" restrict to file

which appears great. The problem is that the next time you compile it you get back to:

Google Desktop got an error: Can't make file into type constant.

Sigh. Even more depressing is that according to the AppleScript documentation, there is no way to coerce anything useful into a constant, so we can't store «constant tyreFile» as a string and coerce it at runtime. So what is a desperate AppleScripter to do? Luckily we can run another script at runtime, in the same namespace as our tell block, using the "run script" scripting addition from AppleScript's "Standard Additions". Now we can do something like this:

set restrictType to run script "«constant tyreFile»"
search for "Hasselhoff" restrict to
restrictType

It's not super fast, and it certainly isn't pretty, but it will compile and run consistently on both Tiger and Leopard. Here's hoping this will be fixed in the future, but until then, this technique should come in handy for other edgy AppleScript situations.

URL: http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2008/02/finding-files-with-google-desktop-on.html

[G] Avinash Wins Award For Great Content

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Google Analytics Blog: Avinash Wins Award For Great Content

Congratulations to my friend and resident Analytics Evangelist Avinash Kaushik on his 2008 SEMMY award. Avinash won in the Analytics category for his post entitled Web Analytics Demystified. Avinash's goal with this post and its complement Web Metrics Demystified is to help new users learn to think like seasoned analysts, but even experienced practitioners will learn something new.

For more witty and inspiring posts, with commentary from many of the brightest minds in web analytics, check out Avinash's blog Occam's Razor. Also, be sure to go hear Avinash speak if you get the chance. I've always found it to be an entertaining and highly informative experience.


URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2008/02/avinash-wins-award-for-great-content.html

[G] Google Translation + Gmail help people communicate

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Official Google Blog: Google Translation + Gmail help people communicate



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. - Ed.


Language barriers can be a primary source of accessibility problems on the web, and automatic translation, though not perfect, provides a useful solution.

We recently made our machine translation technology accessible from within Gmail and Google Talk, which gives mail and IM users instant access to translation capabilities at the point where they might most need them, e.g., when communicating with friends and colleagues around the world. If you find yourself wanting to translate a few words or short phrase, you can IM an appropriate chat-bot to obtain an immediate translation. As an example, the Google translation bot for going from English to Chinese is available as en2zh@bot.talk.google.com. In general, translation bots are named using two-letter codes for the source and target language.

Surfacing machine translation in this manner is a great example of how Web 2.0 mashups bring together useful services to create solutions that are bigger than the sum of their building blocks. I've blogged here in the past about the potential presented by web mashups for users with special needs. Using our work on AxsJAX to inject accessibility enhancements into Web applications, my officemate Charles Chen and I recently augmented Google Talk to produce appropriate spoken feedback when used with adaptive technologies such as self-voicing browsers.

The combination of machine translation, instant messaging and AxsJAX-enabled spoken output produces an interesting result that is obvious after the fact: when I use Google IM to message a translation bot, I now hear the result in the target language. This makes for a very interesting chat buddy -- one who can act as my personal interpreter!

And let's not forget that little translate this page within Google search results. Next time you find that some of the documents in your search results are non-English, try clicking on that translate link. You'll be able to specify the source and target languages to obtain an automatically generated translation. A nice thing about the translated page is that when you follow any links from that document, the newly retrieved document will be automatically translated. Thus, if you find an article in German that matches your query and you're an English speaker, you can translate from de|en (that's German to English using two letter language codes) and as you read the translated English version, following links from that document will result in their being automatically translated to English.


URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/google-translation-gmail-help-people.html

Thursday, February 7, 2008

[G] Google Analytics 101 (Part 2)

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Inside AdWords: Google Analytics 101 (Part 2)

In Part 1 of Google Analytics 101, we talked about what Google Analytics is, how it helps site owners, and how to sign up. At the end of the sign-up process, we arrived at the Analytics Settings page, which is where you administer your account and make important changes. Let's take a closer look around it (we've numbered the screenshot to make it easier to follow).



(Click on the image for a full-size version)

(1) This picture is of an account that hasn't finished code installation. At the top you'll notice the box with the yellow exclamation mark that says the tracking code hasn't been detected. This box will go away once your code is installed. If you need to look at your code again, click the 'Check Status' button to get it.

(2) This grey-headlined box in the middle of the page contains your Website Profiles. Here's the first of some important Analytics definitions: a profile is a set of rules that determines what data shows up in your Analytics reports. The rules for a particular profile include user access levels, advanced configurations, and most importantly, the website being tracked. You can have as many profiles as you want, meaning that you can track multiple domains each with their own profile. Or, you can track one domain with multiple profiles to look at different sets of data. For now we'll stick with one domain and one profile. You have to have at least one profile per Google Analytics account at all times.

(3) To the right of the Website Profiles box are links to our Help Center. These common FAQs in the Help Center fill in a lot of details if you're having trouble setting up, or just feel like poking around.

(4) Underneath the Website Profiles box are links to add more profiles, manage user access, and create filters for your data. These tools, when properly set up, allow you to control what data shows up in your reports, making it easier to focus on certain segments of traffic. We'll give these options individual attention in the future.

That's it for this installment on Analytics Settings. In Part 3 we'll introduce the reports, as well as feature a certain statistic that web analytics experts often say is the one of the single most useful around.


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/google-analytics-101-part-2.html

[G] From style makers to mapmakers

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Google LatLong: From style makers to mapmakers



Who loves New York? Gucci does. And they're willing to bet lots of other people do too. The CEO and the creative director used our Maps API to highlight some of their favorite places on guccilovesny.com. And they're inviting people to take part. You can upload your favorite spot to the site for a chance to get featured on the map. Now if only Madonna would upload some photos from the fundraiser she threw in NYC last night...

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/02/from-style-makers-to-mapmakers.html

[G] Driving up placement targeting earnings

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Inside AdSense: Driving up placement targeting earnings

Carsurvey.org is a car review website published by CSDO Media Limited. Initially inspired by some of the earliest experiments in user-generated reviews, the site now hosts almost 100,000 English-language car reviews submitted by visitors from across the globe.

From 1997 to 2000, founder Steven Jackson ran the site as a hobby. However, the growing hosting costs became significant, so Steven opted to run ads to cover them. He joined the AdSense program and was impressed with the initial results, which were further improved by carefully optimising the location, colour and size of the ads. By 2005, the time demands of running a popular website while holding down a day job were no longer sustainable. The steady revenue from AdSense was a major factor in Steven's decision to leave his old career and devote himself full-time to running Carsurvey.org.


AdSense offered Steven many advantages. Its global reach matched Carsurvey.org's diverse user base, and the fact that it separated the selling of ad space from the management of the site was very important to maintaining the sites' independence and credibility. Steven says, "AdSense allows me to focus on running Carsurvey.org for visitors. As long as Carsurvey.org provides a useful service, AdSense helps pay the bills."

Ad placements

As a regular reader of Inside AdSense, Steven was quick to pick up on improvements to the custom channel feature, which allows advertisers to target specific site areas using ad placements. He updated his AdSense HTML code to highlight his site via ad placements and focused on the most important pages and locations within Carsurvey.org. This made the site more appealing to advertisers, as they could begin to target specific page locations and sections. In addition, it gave more prominence to Carsurvey.org in the AdWords site tool, as you can see in the image below.


Medium rectangles

In addition to implementing the ad placements, Steven also tried another AdSense optimisation tip and added more image-enabled 300x250 medium rectangle units to his site. Though initially skeptical, as using those units would mean both changing the page layout for all of Carsurvey.org and displaying fewer ads per page, Steven decided to give the change a try.

Accelerating revenue

The improvements were gradual at first, but soon Steven's revenue climbed as advertisers began targeting specific ad placements on Carsurvey.org, namely the new 300x250 units in prime locations. Within a few months, Steven saw his placement targeting revenue grow up to six times its previous level; it now represents 60-80% of his overall earnings.

"I can definitely recommend experimenting with the ad placements and image enabled ads, especially in the 300x250 and skyscraper formats recommended by Google. I thought Carsurvey.org was pretty well optimised, but this just shows that experimenting with AdSense ad placements and testing out new features can really pay off," says Steven.


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2008/02/driving-up-placement-targeting-earnings.html

[G] Google Docs now for teams

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Official Google Docs Blog: Google Docs now for teams

Bill Kee, Associate Product Marketing Manager

You already know that Google Docs is built to make sharing and collaborating on documents easy for everyone. And of course the people we collaborate with the most are those around us in the workplace or at school. Being part of the same organization can make for special cases of sharing – like wanting to allow anyone at your company to view or edit a document, but not wanting to share with the world at large.

Because we're always looking for ways to make collaboration better, we're launching a new way to use Google Docs, along with other collaboration tools like Google Calendar and Talk, that optimizes all of those tools for members of the same organization. It's called Google Apps Team Edition, and anyone with an email address from their work or school can sign up right now. There's no hardware, software or setup involved, and no burden for IT administrators.
After confirming that you belong to a company or school, you can start collaborating with your group and invite others from your organization who haven't joined yet. You can then start creating and sharing documents with your team members. Give it a try at www.google.com/apps.

URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2008/02/google-docs-now-for-teams.html

[G] Try Google Apps Team Edition with Google Talk

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Google Talkabout: Try Google Apps Team Edition with Google Talk

It goes without saying that instant messaging has become integral to communicating in the workplace and at school. Chat helps us to share ideas instantaneously with co-workers and classmates. That's why Google Talk has always been a part of Google Apps, our package of applications built for collaborating within organizations. We're happy to announce today that we've made it even easier for you and your co-workers or classmates to start using Google Apps and Google Talk. It's called Google Apps Team Edition, and if you have an email address from your employer or school, you can sign up right now.

With Google Apps Team Edition, you and members of your organization get Google Docs, for creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and Google Calendar, for coordinating your schedule. When you use Google Talk with Google Apps Team Edition, your contacts list will automatically include the other people at your organization using Google Apps Team Edition. And since Team Edition recognizes your connection to co-workers or classmates, it makes sharing documents and calendars easier too. Give it a try by visiting www.google.com/apps.



Bill Kee
Associate Product Marketing Manager

URL: http://googletalk.blogspot.com/2008/02/try-google-apps-team-edition-with.html

[G] Going local

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Official Google Blog: Going local



One of the strengths of Google News is the diversity we can provide by crawling thousands of sources from around the world. Recently, we've also focused on building on the strength of our local news sources. Today you can do just that: find local news by typing your city name or zip code. As always, we'll bring you results from multiple sources. The biggest change is that top stories in your local area will appear at the top of your results. Our ranking system will take into account the location of the source so we can promote the local sources for each story.

There's more information about this on the Google News Blog and our help pages. We encourage you to try it out yourself as we keep working to bring you a better news experience.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/going-local.html

[G] Have Gmail do your laundry

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Official Gmail Blog: Have Gmail do your laundry



Gmail has a lot of great features, but maybe there's this one thing that you really wish it could do. Well, we'd like to know what it is. We're constantly building and testing new features, and many -- like free automatic forwarding, signature options, and IMAP access -- have been brought to you by popular demand.

So do you want colorful background themes? We'll look into it. Want Gmail to do your laundry? Well, it never hurts to ask. If you'd like to suggest a feature, click "Help" at the top of any page in your Gmail account. On the right side of the Gmail Help Center, you'll see a "Let us know" link in the "Suggest a feature" box. I work on the team that regularly reviews and analyzes the requests you make, and I look forward to seeing your ideas.

URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/have-gmail-do-your-laundry.html

[G] Super Tuesday wrapup

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Google Public Policy Blog: Super Tuesday wrapup



(Cross-posted at Official Google Blog)

On Super Tuesday, voters couldn't cast their ballots online, but we were excited to see so many people turn to the Internet to participate in the election. Americans and many others from around the world sent a clear message on Tuesday -- and we heard you! Here are some of our favorite highlights:
  • "Tweets" from politically-engaged Twitter users spanned a wide range of expressions. You spoke your mind: "In addition to Super Tuesday, today is also Fat Tuesday. Super Fat Tuesday -- finally, a day I can relate to!" (ejacqui, UK); you reported election results: "Can someone please explain why 10% of Californians are voting for Edwards? Don't they read the news?" (paul_irish, Boston, MA); you relayed conditions at the voting booths: "CA Precincts are worried about running out of ballots." (mizlit, Montara, CA).

    Of course, we had a favorite:
  • Searches for [super tuesday results] hit the top of our Hot Trends list early in the afternoon and stayed number one through much of the night. Related terms like [primary results], [where do i vote] and [super tuesday exit polls] were also in the top ten for significant chunks of time. Senator Obama turned out to be the most widely-searched candidate of the day, and [health care] emerged as the most popular policy issue.
  • Voters, news organizations, and candidates submitted hundreds of videos to YouTube's YouChoose08 Super Tuesday site, providing for an interesting integration of unique content all on one platform. Check out some of the top videos uploaded by voters, news organizations, and the candidates themselves. And here's one of the videos we thought captured the moment well:


URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2008/02/super-tuesday-wrapup.html

[G] Super Tuesday wrapup

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Official Google Blog: Super Tuesday wrapup



On Super Tuesday, voters couldn't cast their ballots online, but we were excited to see so many people turn to the Internet to participate in the election. Americans and many others from around the world sent a clear message on Tuesday -- and we heard you! Here are some of our favorite highlights:
  • "Tweets" from politically-engaged Twitter users spanned a wide range of expressions. You spoke your mind: "In addition to Super Tuesday, today is also Fat Tuesday. Super Fat Tuesday -- finally, a day I can relate to!" (ejacqui, UK); you reported election results: "Can someone please explain why 10% of Californians are voting for Edwards? Don't they read the news?" (paul_irish, Boston, MA); you relayed conditions at the voting booths: "CA Precincts are worried about running out of ballots." (mizlit, Montara, CA).

    Of course, we had a favorite:



  • Searches for [super tuesday results] hit the top of our Hot Trends list early in the afternoon and stayed number one through much of the night. Related terms like [primary results], [where do i vote] and [super tuesday exit polls] were also in the top ten for significant chunks of time. Senator Obama turned out to be the most widely-searched candidate of the day, and [health care] emerged as the most popular policy issue.

    • Voters, news organizations, and candidates submitted hundreds of videos to YouTube's YouChoose08 Super Tuesday site, providing for an interesting integration of unique content all on one platform. Check out some of the top videos uploaded by voters, news organizations, and the candidates themselves. And here's one of the videos we thought captured the moment well:






    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/super-tuesday-wrapup.html

    [G] It's all about teamwork

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    Official Google Blog: It's all about teamwork



    Raise your hand if you'd have a hard time getting things done without the Internet. Arranging a reunion with school friends? You can figure out schedules, vote on a venue, share a map, post pictures and videos and later share everything with those who couldn't make it, and all without leaving your chair. It's become so easy to coordinate and share with friends and family that we've wondered why the same couldn't apply to teams of co-workers at work or classmates at school.

    That's why we're launching Google Apps Team Edition. Now you and your co-workers or classmates have a new way to share documents, spreadsheets, presentations and calendar information online. Just sign up with your work or school email address. After confirming that you belong to that organization, it's easy to invite others people from your company or school and start collaborating. There's no hardware, software or setup involved (and no burden for IT folks).

    Of course, organizations need a level of security and control that individuals don't have to worry about. Team Edition enables co-workers and classmates to choose to share information just with each other, and not with outsiders, and it lets IT departments actively manage Google Apps, so admins can customize the Google Apps experience for users, including who should have access and which applications are available. You can learn more about all the administrative capabilities on the admin site for Google Apps.

    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/its-all-about-teamwork.html

    [G] Data retention in Ireland

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    Google Public Policy Blog: Data retention in Ireland



    Data retention requirements have been controversial in Ireland and will likely remain so as the Irish government moves to introduce new legislation shortly.

    At present, data retention for telecomms providers in Ireland is governed by the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences) Act 2005. The basic requirements are that, subject to a request from the police, service providers (fixed or mobile) must retain traffic and/or location data for a period of 3 years. The police request must be for the purpose of fighting crime. The content of this legislation has been controversial here, with the Data Protection Commissioner airing concerns about the length of retention periods.

    New EU data retention legislation was agreed on in 2006 and seeks to harmonise the obligations on service providers to retain certain data for the purpose of fighting serious crime. The directive also expands the scope of data retention requirements to include a number of internet services. The period of retention is to be not less than six months and not more than two years. Member states were required to implement the legislation no later than 15 September 2007, although many availed of a derogation period.

    We have previously blogged about the directive and raised concerns with its scope (which services are covered and which are not), the potential for inconsistent implementation and the difficulties this would raise for a global internet player like Google, and how the costs of compliance are going to be covered.

    The Irish government took a legal challenge against the directive to the European Court of Justice, arguing that the wrong process was used to pass the directive. To make matters even more complicated an Irish privacy advocacy group (Digital Rights Ireland) has filed a legal case against both the current Irish law and the EU directive.

    With the Irish government's legal challenge underway and a lack of progress across the EU on transposition, the Directive seemed to be going nowhere fast. But recent media reports state that the Irish government is now set to convert the directive into Irish law. This has caught many observers by surprise and has drawn criticism from the Data Protection Commissioner and the ISP Association of Ireland.

    Ireland looks set to be amongst the first countries to transpose the directive. Concerns have been expressed that sufficient time may not be available for a full debate to discuss the very complex issues involved. There is also a real risk that a rushed transposition process could produce legislation which negatively impacts on consumer privacy and is harmful to the internet and telecomms sector. Our view is that it is vital that the reasonable concerns of privacy advocates and industry are taken into account. Google is going to take advantage of the current window of opportunity to get our views across, and we hope that other interested parties will do likewise.

    URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2008/02/data-retention-in-ireland.html

    Wednesday, February 6, 2008

    [G] We've lost a giant

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    Official Google Blog: We've lost a giant



    Josh Lederberg, whose pioneering work laid foundation stones for modern genetics and biotech -- and then for space biology and artificial intelligence -- passed away on February 2. His creative and deep thinking on these subjects helped generations of scientists blaze trails in information and bio-sciences. Even more important, his thoughtful approach to new ideas has contributed to dialog on such critical matters as disarmament, genetic engineering, and public health policy.

    In technology circles, he'll be remembered among other things for the expansion of the role of computers for scientific research. While at Stanford he and Edward Feigenbaum developed a computer program called DENDRAL, now recognized as the first expert system for use in science. He was also an early proponent of Digital Libraries. I have benefited in many ways from his tutelage. At one point, after briefing him on the possibilities of the idea of a Digital Library, he looked at me and said "Do something!" I could not have had better advice.

    As a child, Josh said he wanted to be "like Einstein." His Nobel Prize and National Medal of Freedom attest to just how far he got. We will miss him greatly, but his legacy of thoughtful advice will sustain many friends and colleagues well into the 21st century.

    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/weve-lost-giant.html

    [G] J-walking with Reader

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    Official Google Reader Blog: J-walking with Reader


    Google Reader Keyboard (inspiration)
    Google Reader is well-known for its keyboard shortcuts. When going through thousands of blog posts, news items, photos, etc. a day, it's important to do this as efficiently as possible. Many users find that using the keyboard is one way of accomplishing that goal.

    The "j" key (which takes you to the next item) is perhaps the most well-known keyboard shortcut. However, there are many more keys to press, and I was curious to see just how much they were tapped in Google Reader. A quick analysis later, I came up with a simple top-10 list, and I thought it would be fun to share. The units here are "milli-Js", where 1,000 milli-Js are equivalent to all the presses "j" received.

    KeyDescriptionPresses
    jnext item1,000.00 milli-Js
    nitem scan down324.18 milli-Js
    kprevious item139.49 milli-Js
    mmark as read/unread43.91 milli-Js
    ttag item37.48 milli-Js
    pitem scan up31.30 milli-Js
    shift-nnext subscription23.09 milli-Js
    vview original17.98 milli-Js
    oexpand/collapse item16.81 milli-Js
    sstar item15.45 milli-Js

    Of course, Reader has more than the 10 shortcuts listed above -- you can see them all in this list. Additionally, in some ways, the most important shortcut is not "j", but "?" (that is, shift-/). It shows you a cheat-sheet of all the other shortcuts.

    Partly based on the data we gathered, and in our quest to make Reader as keyboard-accessible as possible, we've actually added a few more with the latest release. You can use "a" to open up the "Add subscription" form, "g" then "d" to go to the "Discover" page, and "g" then "f" to go your friends' shared items. If you have any other keyboard shortcuts you would like, feel free to mention them in our forums.


    URL: http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2008/02/j-walking-with-reader.html

    [G] All News is Local

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    Google News Blog: All News is Local



    Something you already know about Google News is that we crawl thousands of sources from around the world. This means you get as many different perspectives on a story from many perspectives. A while back, we started thinking about how to bring this same diversity of sources to local news, so that "local" doesn't necessarily mean "limited".

    Today we're releasing a new feature to find your local news by simply typing in a city name or zip code. While we're not the first news site to aggregate local news, we're doing it a bit differently -- we're able to create a local section for any city, state or country in the world and include thousands of sources. We're not simply looking at the byline or the source, but instead we analyze every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located.

    You can see an example with the latest news from Duluth, Minnesota:


    As always, results will be clustered with multiple sources on a story. The top stories for a given area will be at the top of your results. Our article rankings will also take into account a publication's location so we can promote all the local sources for each story.

    This feature is still a bit of an experiment for us, which is why today it's only available in English. But we hope to launch this in other languages and editions soon. Please let us know what you think!

    URL: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/all-news-is-local.html

    [G] Stop sharing spreadsheets, start collecting information

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    Official Google Docs Blog: Stop sharing spreadsheets, start collecting information


    Today we're asking you to do something new: stop sharing spreadsheets.

    Well... only sometimes, and only in certain situations. See, we've noticed that, in some cases, you want to collect just a tiny bit of information from dozens, scores, or even hundreds of users or more. Some of them are Google Docs users. Some of them are not. Either way, you don't always want them all mucking around with the whole spreadsheet and you're tired of telling those new to Google Docs that they don't need to switch to Gmail just to use Docs (huh? you didn't know that either?).

    We're really excited to bring you forms! Create a form in a Google Docs spreadsheet and send it out to anyone with an email address. They won't need to sign in, and they can respond directly from the email message or from an automatically generated web page. Creating the form is easy: start with a spreadsheet to get the form, or start by creating the form and you'll get the spreadsheet automatically.

    Responses are automatically added to your spreadsheet. You can even keep a closer eye on them by adding the Google Docs forms gadget to your iGoogle homepage, created by software engineers Valerie Blechar and Sarah Beth Eisinger (in her first month at Google!). It lists your recent active forms, with new responses highlighted. Add this gadget to your iGoogle page: Add to Google

    At Google, we've already been using it for signups, surveys, and miscellaneous mischief. And we can't wait to see what you do with forms in Google Docs.

    P.S. Navigate all the extra data you're collecting with the new freeze columns feature. It's been our most requested feature for twelve months, but we hope you'll cut software engineer Eric Bogs a break since he's only been here for a few!

    URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2008/02/stop-sharing-spreadsheets-start.html

    [G] What's India searching for online?

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    Official Google Blog: What's India searching for online?



    In December 2007, for the first time in India, we released a list of most popular and fast rising searches, i.e. the Google Zeitgeist. But you don't need to wait till this December to know what was popular this year; we've just unveiled Google Trends and Google Hot Trends on Google India Labs, giving you a chance to find out what India is searching for on Google by the hour.

    What's on our collective mind as we search for information? What's interesting to people right now? Hot Trends will tell you. At a glance, you'll see the huge variety of topics capturing our attention, from current events to sports to political issues to the latest Bollywood gossip. Hot Trends aren't the search terms people look for most often; those are pretty predictable, like [weather] or [games]. Instead, the Hot Trends algorithm analyzes millions of searches to find those that show an unusual and fairly sudden increase in popularity. The outcome is the Hot Trends list. Hot Trends is updated throughout the day, so check back often.

    For example, the #1 Hot Trends result on January 9, 2008, was 'tata new car' because of the auto expo going on then. The associated web results and associated news search results give you more context and insight into why people were searching for 'tata new car'. You can see these results by changing the date range on the top left hand corner of the Hot Trends page. As you can see, 'tata new car' has a Hot Trend status of 'spicy' -- a measure of its popularity.

    Together with Hot Trends, we also launched Google Trends for India. You can view search patterns and interest in their favorite topics. You can compare the popularity of multiple queries (e.g. different Bollywood stars) and see which cities and states search for them the most.

    Looking ahead to what 'Valentines Day' might mean to us, keep checking out Hot Trends and Trends for insights into the mind of India

    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/whats-india-searching-for-online.html

    Tuesday, February 5, 2008

    [G] Application delay

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    Inside AdSense: Application delay

    As you may know, we regularly update our systems to maximize performance. But last week we experienced a few issues during the update, which caused a delay in processing new applications.

    We'd like to let you know that everything is back to normal, and we're working hard to get the backlog processed. If you've been waiting to hear back about your application, please be assured that we'll get back to you soon. Thanks for your patience in the meantime.


    URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2008/02/application-delay.html

    [G] Be part of the Super Tuesday action

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    Google Public Policy Blog: Be part of the Super Tuesday action



    (Cross-posted at Official Google Blog)

    They don't call it Super Tuesday for nothing! Today marks an exciting day in the race to the U.S. Presidency: voters in 24 states will choose their party candidates. This will be the largest number of primaries taking place at one time in the history of the U.S. electoral system.

    We've joined forces with Twitter to give you instant updates on Super Tuesday. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, you can send a simple text message about your voting experience. Huge turnout? Taking too long in line? Did you just vote for the first time? We want it all, if you can keep to 140 characters or less. (And if candidates can keep their posts to 140 characters, anyone can.)

    Throughout the day, you can watch Twitter updates from across the country:



    Twitter posts are only one piece of the Google Super Tuesday Map, a one-stop shop to follow the action today. You can find the latest YouChoose '08 videos, Google News election headlines and primary state results down to the county level. The Google News team is also in on the action. In addition to all the latest stories from thousands of sources in our new election section, they've also put together a gadget that tracks the progress of the candidates in each of the 24 states (of course, the numbers here are not real; they're meant to show you how it may look after the polls close).



    Super Tuesday gives us a chance to try out new features and to see how people are using technology to participate in elections. This coming Thursday, we'll post a roundup of highlights. Send suggestions our way to elections at google dotcom.

    Update: Gadget results in example are not real numbers or projections.

    URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2008/02/be-part-of-super-tuesday-action.html

    [G] Following the polls on Super Tuesday

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    Google News Blog: Following the polls on Super Tuesday



    If you somehow escaped US electioneering up to this point, you probably won't today, Super Tuesday, when 24 states choose their candidates for the fall election. This will be the largest number of primaries going on at one time in the history of the U.S. electoral system.

    Over the last few weeks and months, there has been a massive volume of news coverage, statistics and polls -- and there will be even more today. Our mission is to help organize all of it for you, so you can find what you're looking for. There are a number of ways Google can help you keep track of all the candidates and issues -- from Maps with the latest results, to YouTube videos from voters across the country. You can read all about these initiatives on the Google Blog.

    Of course, we want to do our part as well. In addition to all the latest stories from thousands of sources in our new Elections section, we've also put together a gadget that tracks the progress of the candidates in each of the 24 states. Here's an example of how it might look; please note these are not actual results!


    In addition to providing up to date information about the results on all the candidates as the polls close, you'll also be able to view this information on Google Maps. You can see the results across the United States, within a particular region, and even as specific as a particular county.

    So check it out and let us know what you think.

    URL: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/following-polls-on-super-tuesday.html

    [G] Spreadsheet chart publishing gets political

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    Official Google Docs Blog: Spreadsheet chart publishing gets political



    We've seen plenty of examples of how Google spreadsheets are published on other sites - either with simple links or with embedded sheets and charts. In fact, I even created another blog just to keep a list of some interesting ones, since people are always pinging me to either say "Hey JR, give me some examples of how people are using spreadsheets to share information", or, "Hey JR, check this one out!".

    Well, today we saw another example worth blogging about. It's topical, it's professional, it's useful, it's fast - it's political... In covering Super Tuesday Poll results, Reuters used Google spreadsheets to generate and publish result charts for their web site. The image included here is a screen shot from their main 2008 Elections Page, which actually had 8 embedded charts last time I looked. We didn't do anything special to help Reuters do this, in fact, we came across this by chance just watching the results on their site.

    If you've got interesting data you want to share, check out the publishing options in Google Docs, and even learn how to publish charts.

    URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2008/02/spreadsheet-chart-publishing-gets.html

    [G] A Super Tuesday for business

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    Official Google Blog: A Super Tuesday for business



    For those of us who joined Google from Postini, one of the most exciting possibilities was to learn how to operate at Google scale. As a young company, we were accustomed to moving quickly. But now that we're here, we're seeing speed in a whole new dimension: how to quickly make complex technology products accessible and useful to all kinds of businesses. We didn't understand all the implications of Google's resources. (Frankly, we still don't!) But over last couple months the picture has started to come into focus, and now our customers get the benefit of our innovation and scale.

    Today we announced three new security products that deliver anti-spam, outbound message filtering, transport encryption and archiving and discovery for any email system, from Lotus Notes to Microsoft Exchange to Novell Groupwise. The new services are part of the Google Apps platform, which makes it easy for you to use all the messaging, collaboration and security products at once, or to adopt what you need and grow over time.

    Read more on the Enterprise Blog or just get started.

    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/super-tuesday-for-business.html

    [G] Super day for a super map

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    Google LatLong: Super day for a super map



    We've done it before and we're doing it again, this time in a much bigger -- dare I say super -- kind of way.

    Today, we announced our Super Tuesday map, a one-stop shop for elections-related news and results. Included in the map are results by county, an embeddable map code for your website or blog, a Super Tuesday YouTube layer of geo-tagged user videos, Google News election headlines, as well as Twitter updates from around the country. Google Maps aficionados will be able to pan around the nation and view all 24 primary state results in real time.

    Super Tuesday will be extremely important for the remaining presidential candidates, as it will play a role in determining who will receive their party's nomination. We put together this map to help you follow all of the excitement on the campaign trail.

    And if you're looking for something to do while you await more results, embed the map onto your website or blog, create your own Super Tuesday video on YouTube, send text messages to Twitter, or spend your time reading up on the action in Google News.


    URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/02/super-day-for-super-map.html

    Monday, February 4, 2008

    [G] Be part of the Super Tuesday action

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    Official Google Blog: Be part of the Super Tuesday action



    They don't call it Super Tuesday for nothing! Today marks an exciting day in the race to the U.S. Presidency: voters in 24 states will choose their party candidates. This will be the largest number of primaries taking place at one time in the history of the U.S. electoral system.

    We've joined forces with Twitter to give you instant updates on Super Tuesday. Instead of sitting on the sidelines, you can send a simple text message about your voting experience. Huge turnout? Taking too long in line? Did you just vote for the first time? We want it all, if you can keep to 140 characters or less. (And if candidates can keep their posts to 140 characters, anyone can.)

    Throughout the day, you can watch Twitter updates from across the country:



    Twitter posts are only one piece of the Google Super Tuesday Map, a one-stop shop to follow the action today. You can find the latest YouChoose '08 videos, Google News election headlines and primary state results down to the county level. The Google News team is also in on the action. In addition to all the latest stories from thousands of sources in our new election section, they've also put together a gadget that tracks the progress of the candidates in each of the 24 states:



    Super Tuesday gives us a chance to try out new features and to see how people are use technology to participate in elections. This coming Thursday, we'll post a roundup of highlights. Send suggestions our way to elections at google dotcom.

    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/be-part-of-super-tuesday-action.html

    [G] Learn about Landing Page Optimization

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    Google Analytics Blog: Learn about Landing Page Optimization

    In case you're interested, VKI Studios, a Google Analytics and Website Optimizer Authorized Consultant in Vancouver, is running a webinar called "Landing Page Optimization: a process using Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer" on February 5 (tomorrow!) with Tom Leung, Product Manager for Google Website Optimizer.

    You can register here to listen in.

    Landing page optimization is especially practical as marketing budgets tighten up: if your company is talking about decreasing online advertising, traffic to your site can also decrease, which makes increasing conversions more crucial than usual. The beginning of the year is a great time to take a look at your site with the user experience and your message in mind.


    URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2008/02/learn-about-landing-page-optimization.html

    [G] Super Tuesday on YouTube

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    Official Google Blog: Super Tuesday on YouTube



    Tomorrow is the biggest day in the primary presidential race thus far, and we've created a central location to follow the action on video. We're pulling in video clips from voters, candidates, and news organizations across the country on a Google map as part of our You Choose '08 platform.



    This is the first presidential election in which YouTube has given voters the same power to broadcast the events as the big broadcasters have. Already we're seeing terrific content uploaded to the map as voters in 24 different states prepare for the polls. Seeing all these great videos on one map gives the most diverse narrative of the campaign trail that we've ever seen. Scroll across the map and zoom in to see videos from your area, and keep an eye out for gems like these:



    Stay tuned to You Choose '08 after Super Tuesday as we will continue to bring more and more great political video content from voters, candidates, and news organizations as the political drama thickens.

    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/super-tuesday-on-youtube.html

    Sunday, February 3, 2008

    [G] Yahoo! and the future of the Internet

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    Official Google Blog: Yahoo! and the future of the Internet



    The openness of the Internet is what made Google -- and Yahoo! -- possible. A good idea that users find useful spreads quickly. Businesses can be created around the idea. Users benefit from constant innovation. It's what makes the Internet such an exciting place.

    So Microsoft's hostile bid for Yahoo! raises troubling questions. This is about more than simply a financial transaction, one company taking over another. It's about preserving the underlying principles of the Internet: openness and innovation.

    Could Microsoft now attempt to exert the same sort of inappropriate and illegal influence over the Internet that it did with the PC? While the Internet rewards competitive innovation, Microsoft has frequently sought to establish proprietary monopolies -- and then leverage its dominance into new, adjacent markets.

    Could the acquisition of Yahoo! allow Microsoft -- despite its legacy of serious legal and regulatory offenses -- to extend unfair practices from browsers and operating systems to the Internet? In addition, Microsoft plus Yahoo! equals an overwhelming share of instant messaging and web email accounts. And between them, the two companies operate the two most heavily trafficked portals on the Internet. Could a combination of the two take advantage of a PC software monopoly to unfairly limit the ability of consumers to freely access competitors' email, IM, and web-based services? Policymakers around the world need to ask these questions -- and consumers deserve satisfying answers.

    This hostile bid was announced on Friday, so there is plenty of time for these questions to be thoroughly addressed. We take Internet openness, choice and innovation seriously. They are the core of our culture. We believe that the interests of Internet users come first -- and should come first -- as the merits of this proposed acquisition are examined and alternatives explored.

    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/yahoo-and-future-of-internet.html