Friday, February 15, 2008

[G] Holiday dressing debrief

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Official Google Docs Blog: Holiday dressing debrief

Posted by: Jen Mazzon, Google Docs Product Manager

The Valentine's Day-lovefest dressing on Google Docs gave me an extra spring in my step all day yesterday. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the user group comments, blog posts and emails about people's reactions to our "pinked up" Docs Home.

Two repeated questions I saw were: "How can I keep my pinkified Docs Home?" and "How can I get rid of my pinkified Docs Home?"

Answer#1: You can get that Google Docs lovin' feeling all year round (or at least for a while) at http://docs.google.com/?holiday=vday

Answer#2: Well it's gone now. It went away on its own after a mere 24 hours of pinkification (sigh!)

But I have some questions for YOU. For example:
  • What was your first reaction on seeing the pink Docs Home?
    • Did you laugh aloud hysterically (that's what I did, actually) or cry out in alarm?
    • Did you feel a warm, loving feeling wash over you, or did it leave you cold?
  • Do you think we should celebrate more holidays via creative Docs Home dressing?
    • If so, how frequently and which holidays?
    • If not, would you be cool with a simple "bah humbug" option to switch off the celebration?
So I've put some of my burning questions into an informal user survey, which, of course, leverages our new forms feature. Please take 3 minutes to tell us about your reaction to our first ever holiday celebration in Google Docs.

URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2008/02/holiday-dressing-debrief.html

[G] Additional users: The more, the merrier

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Additional users: The more, the merrier



We've been hearing from our merchants that they'd like to be able to add more users to existing accounts, and to set the account privileges for those new users. Today we're taking the first steps toward enabling that kind of functionality, by making it possible for account administrators to add multiple users to their Google Checkout accounts while still maintaining sole control of important account and payment-related information.

Additional users will be
able to view order-related information in your account, perform order searches, and view your order inbox. However, these users will not be able to take any actions on the orders, view payments, or modify account settings.

To invite new users, simply log in to Google Checkout and click "Settings" on the top navigation. Then, on the left-hand side, click "Users." From this screen you'll be able to send invitations to your employees.

URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2008/02/additional-users-more-merrier.html

[G] Ready for the weather

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Google LatLong: Ready for the weather



I'm headed to the mountains for the weekend, so I just checked the weather conditions for my route using one of my favorite sites, weatherbug.com. If you look up your local weather (or the weather of wherever you may be going this holiday weekend), you have the option to "change tracking station." This brings you to a great use of our Maps API -- a Google Map where you can choose from thousands of weather monitoring sites around the world. These micro-stations feed real-time temperature, wind, and precipitation data of the exact location you're looking for directly to your desktop.

Looks like I may encounter wind and some snow. I'll pack my chains and consider that a small price to pay for the predicted knee-deep powder tomorrow!

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/02/ready-for-weather.html

[G] Top Conversion Optimizer tips

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Inside AdWords: Top Conversion Optimizer tips

The Conversion Optimizer is a bidding feature that allows you to set a maximum cost-per-acquisition (CPA) instead of a maximum cost-per-click (CPC), helping you save time and maximize profits. We recently held a series of Conversion Optimizer webinars, which you can watch on YouTube. To help you get more out of your Conversion Optimizer campaigns, we've compiled a list of top tips based on the most common questions we received from our webinar attendees.
  1. A campaign must have 200 or more conversions per month as tracked by AdWords conversion tracking to be eligible for the Conversion Optimizer. If none of your campaigns reach this level, check out these tips to increase your conversion numbers.

  2. Conversion Optimizer works on a campaign level, not at the account level. You can enable Conversion Optimizer for eligible campaigns by following these steps. Keep in mind that you can't use Conversion Optimizer with a brand new campaign -- it needs the conversion history to work correctly.

  3. Once you activate the Conversion Optimizer, you should check its performance periodically to ensure that it's delivering what you expect. Keep in mind that normal variations in campaign performance can make it difficult to interpret short-term changes. You can change your bids as often as you like.

  4. The Conversion Optimizer works on a maximum CPA, not an average CPA. While we aim to avoid any conversion that costs more than your maximum CPA bid, changes in your conversion rate may cause your average CPA to exceed your maximum CPA.

  5. Keep in mind that if you choose a CPA lower than the recommended maximum CPA bid, you are likely to get less traffic than you did with your old CPC bids. It's a good idea to start with this recommendation and adjust based on the results you observe.

  6. If you choose to opt out of the Conversion Optimizer, your campaign will revert to the previous CPC bids you were using. (So, there's nothing to stop you from giving it a try!)

  7. Conversion Optimizer campaigns cannot yet be modified with the AdWords Editor, but we're aware that this is a common request from our advertisers.

  8. The Conversion Optimizer does not work with Google Analytics conversion data, but it's fine to use AdWords conversion tracking and Analytics at the same time.

  9. The tool does not impact your keywords' Quality Score, which is calculated in the usual way regardless of the bidding option you are using.

  10. It's best not to turn on the Conversion Optimizer for the first time right after you've made major changes to a campaign, as your conversion rate may not have yet stabilized to reflect the updates. Similarly, while you are running the Conversion Optimizer, it's best to avoid major campaign changes that are likely to impact conversion rate (or to pay careful attention after making them to evaluate their impact).
We hope this information has piqued your interest about the Conversion Optimizer. Please visit the Conversion Optimizer website for more information, including FAQs and details for upcoming webinars.


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/top-conversion-optimizer-tips.html

[G] DITL Volume 1: News' First Engineer

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Google News Blog: DITL Volume 1: News' First Engineer



As one of the first engineers assigned to Google News, I'm excited to kick off the inaugural Day in the Life ("DITL") post. Over the next few months, we hope to bring you a unique window into the world of Google News by publishing more DITL posts from other people who work on News. Our team is diverse and passionate, and we hope that we can show that to you in this series of posts. I've worked on Google News for over three years, and have seen a lot of amazing innovations. So enjoy my description of a typical day here for me at Google....

9:30am: Get into work and check my email. At Google we have engineers from all over the world, so I often receive code reviews and/or questions from those working in India or China. I starred them in my email inbox so I'm reminded to get back to them later in the day.

10:00 - 11:00 am: Attend the News team weekly meeting. Our team's product manager sets a unique agenda every week. We normally use this meeting to do project presentations so the team can learn what each engineer is working on. Sometimes we review recently launched features and forecast upcoming launches. This is also where we sync up with our international offices.

11:30am: The Google News Frontend team meets so each team member can provide a status update on their project tasks and reveal any dependencies that might be holding up their progress.

12:00pm: Usually my office-mates Dan and Chris start to initiate lunch. They like to browse the menus of different cafes on campus and usually pick the one with the best dessert. Once a location is decided, we gather the rest of the team to join us.

12:10pm: We've arrived at Off the Grid cafe. After getting our food, we sit, eat, and chat about the future of online journalism and how we can make Google News better.

1:00pm: After lunch, I like to block off an hour to do code reviews. A code review is when someone else other than the author examines the code for correctness and readability. News has many remote engineers so many code reviews come from India or China. I try to complete these by the end of the day, so they do not have to wait another 24 hours to hear a response.

2:00: Attend a meeting with UX (User Experience) designers, our product manager, and other engineers to discuss design specifications for a new feature. We come up with use cases and list out pros and cons of various solutions. In the end, our goal is to build a feature that is useful.

3:13pm: I'm pager-holder for the week and the pager goes off. The pager goes off when something requires immediate attention since News is 24/7 and every minute counts. The team has built numerous useful monitoring tools and status pages which I use to debug the issue.

4:04pm: Our product manager comes into our office to check on the status of a feature release planned for this week. I inform him that all the pre-launch procedures are being followed and we should be on schedule for launch. He leaves with a big smile.

4:30pm: I get some coding time and work on the implementation for the feature launches I'm responsible for.

6:33pm: An engineer from other project drops by my office to ask questions about how to integrate their product into Google News. I share my experience with him from when we did similar integrations with Google Finance and Archive News Search.

7:00pm: I go grab dinner from No Name cafe and eat at my desk.

8:20pm: I finish replying to some emails before getting on the Google shuttle and head home.

9:30pm - 12am: I normally stay online during this time since this is when some international engineers are getting into work. I try to be available to answer questions using gChat. It is also a good time to get some work done before the new day starts.

URL: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/ditl-volume-1-news-first-engineer.html

[G] Site maintenance on Saturday, February 16

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Inside AdSense: Site maintenance on Saturday, February 16

Our engineers will be performing routine site maintenance from 10 am to 2 pm PST tomorrow, February 16th. While you'll be unable to access your account during this time frame, your ad serving won't be affected and your reports will continue to track data as usual. Here's the start time of the maintenance for a few cities around the world:

London - 6 pm Saturday
Bucharest - 8 pm Saturday
Mumbai - 11:30 pm Saturday
Manila - 2 am Sunday
Brisbane - 4 am Sunday

Enjoy the weekend!


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2008/02/site-maintenance-on-saturday-february.html

Thursday, February 14, 2008

[G] Roses are red...

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Inside AdWords: Roses are red...

For Valentine's Day, we wanted to write you a sonnet but we've found that it isn't as easy as Shakespeare made it look. So instead, we took the traditional approach. Here's a Valentine's day poem from each of us...enjoy!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
We love our readers
...Yes, we mean you. :) (Vivian)

Roses are red
Violets are purple
Our readers are as sweet
As fine maple syrple. (Blake)

Roses are red
violets are mauve
Inside AdWords readers
Are pretty darn suave. (Trevor)

Roses are red
So are your lips
We're glad you read
our AdWords news and tips. (Feng)

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
Google offers a number of business solutions that help advertisers increase their ROI, most of which are free. Check them out here. (Christian)

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Happy Heart Day...
From the Inside AdWords crew. (Heather)


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/roses-are-red.html

[G] Roses are red...

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Inside AdWords: Roses are red...

For Valentine's Day, we wanted to write you a sonnet but we've found that it isn't as easy as Shakespeare made it look. So instead, we took the traditional approach. Here's a Valentine's day poem from each of us...enjoy!

Roses are red
Violets are blue
We love our readers
...Yes, we mean you. :) (Vivian)

Roses are red
Violets are purple
Our readers are as sweet
As fine maple syrple. (Blake)

Roses are red
violets are mauve
Inside AdWords readers
Are pretty darn suave. (Trevor)

Roses are red
So are your lips
We're glad you read
our AdWords news and tips. (Feng)

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
Google offers a number of business solutions that help advertisers increase their ROI, most of which are free. Check them out here. (Christian)

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Happy Heart Day...
From the Inside AdWords crew. (Heather)


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/roses-are-red.html

[G] Shall we compare thee to a summer's day?

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Inside AdSense: Shall we compare thee to a summer's day?

It's that time of year again: St. Valentine's Day, when we profess our love to those nearest and dearest to us. We weren't sure how effective it would be to send publishers perfumed checks or chocolate-covered PINs; instead, here's our oh-so-original ode to you:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
We heart AdSense publishers,
Especially blog readers like you.

(Hm, we have a long way to go before dethroning Shakespeare.) And finally, since you've often seen members of the Mountain View team on our blog, we'd like to change it up this time with a photo of a few members (and Cupids) of our Dublin team:


(Languages represented in above photo: Dutch, English (UK), Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish)

Happy Valentine's Day!


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2008/02/shall-we-compare-thee-to-summers-day.html

[G] A Valetine Treat from Google

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Official Google Blog: A Valetine Treat from Google





This recipe pairs well with Roederer Estate, Anderson Valley Brut sparkling wine for a Valentine's day treat for two.

Ingredients:

Yields about 4 cakes

1 tbsp. butter (You may substitute olive oil.)
4 shallots, minced
¼ cup mayonnaise
1 fuji apple, peeled and grated on a cheese grater, juice reserved
1 tsp. lemon juice, fresh
2 tsp. tarragon, minced
2 tbsp. parsley, minced
1 cup Dungeness crab meat, picked free of shells
¼ cup breadcrumbs, finely ground
Tabasco sauce
kosher salt

cooking oil (rice bran, canola, vegetable, etc.)
metal heart shaped cookie cutter, large size (About 4-6 oz)

Roast Pepper Sauce:

8 oz. pimento peppers in the jar (You may substitute with Spanish piquillo peppers,
or 3 each red bell peppers roasted over an open flame, peeled and seeded), chopped into 1-inch pieces
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar (You may substitute with any vinegar)
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. butter (Optional)

Procedure:

In a sauté pan, sweat the shallots in butter over medium-low heat until sweet, but with no color forming. This will take about 5 minutes. When sweet, allow the shallots to cool in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the mayonnaise, grated apple with juice, lemon juice, herbs, and picked crab to the mixing bowl.

With a spatula, gently fold the mixture together, so as not to break up any whole crab meat. This will give the cakes a better texture. Fold the mixture just until evenly mixed. Add enough breadcrumbs to bind the cakes. You might need more or less breadcrumbs than stated,
depending on the moisture of the crab. Season the cakes with salt and Tabasco to taste. Using a teaspoon, spoon crab mixture into a metal, heart-shaped cookie cutter. Gently press the crab into the mold. Repeat this process until all cakes are molded. Keep the crab cakes refrigerated until ready for service. Prepare the sauce.

To prepare the sauce, place the prepared peppers into a small non-reactive sauce pan with the vinegar and water. Bring contents to a simmer and transfer to a bar blender. Add the butter to the blender, cover and puree the sauce until it is smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

To finish the crab cake, heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat, add a teaspoon of cooking oil, and sear the crab cake over medium heat until golden brown. This will take 1-2 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the crab cake over and repeat for 1-2 minutes until the crab cake is golden brown on both sides and warm in the center. Piercing the center of the crab cake with a toothpick and feeling the temperature of the toothpick under your lip will give you a good idea how warm
the cake's center is.

To plate the crab cake, pour about two heaping spoonfuls of warm pepper sauce over a warmed plate. Place the warm crab cake over the sauce and garnish with baby mixed greens (mâche, upland cress) and/or freshly picked herbs (Italian parsley, chervil, tarragon, chives…). Enjoy!

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/valetine-treat-from-google.html

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

[G] Love is in the air...and in Google Earth!

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Google LatLong: Love is in the air...and in Google Earth!



There's plenty to love about Google Earth, like being able to explore the universe, track the weather, and watch YouTube videos in the place they were made. But it's our imagery that's at the, well, heart of the matter.

As you can imagine, the Google Earth team is always on the lookout for good views from the air. That's why we are so pleased to find, just in time for Valentine's Day, that the world seems to be filled with hearts! See for yourself by downloading this KML file and clicking the Play button: there are heart-shaped islands, heart-shaped pools - and for those of you who keep an eye out for "other-worldly" activity, there's even a crop heart. Just think of it as our virtual valentine to you!



A field in deepest rural Wiltshire, UK has a mysterious heart in the middle of it



This natural heart shaped island can be found off the coast of Croatia near Turkljaca



5 miles from Brampton, Ontario (Canada) this heart shaped lake is tucked away among the trees



URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/02/love-is-in-airand-in-google-earth.html

[G] New version of Gmail soon available in 37 languages

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Official Gmail Blog: New version of Gmail soon available in 37 languages



Tonight, we're starting to roll out the new version of Gmail in 37 languages.* As we first announced when we launched in English, this version, available for IE7 and Firefox 2, has an entirely new code base, which allows us to add new features more rapidly and share components with other Google applications (we now use the same rich text editor as Groups and Page Creator, and the contact manager can be seen in several Google apps). So if you were using English, you can now change your default language from the Settings menu to take advantage of a bunch of features that have recently launched in your preferred language, including:


One side effect of this change is that it may disrupt some third-party Gmail extensions -- unsupported scripts that directly modify Gmail's code. If you don't use them, you don't need to worry about this. But if you do, we've contacted a number of the developers behind some popular extensions and many of them have updated their scripts, so make sure you're using the latest version or check back with them if you encounter any issues.

*The newest version of Gmail is not yet available for Croatian, Icelandic, Hebrew or Arabic, but you can continue using the older version in these languages. The newest version also is not yet available for Google Apps for your domain.

URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/new-version-of-gmail-soon-available-in.html

[G] Mapping with Google Spreadsheets

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Google LatLong: Mapping with Google Spreadsheets



On the Google Earth Outreach team we're always looking for ways to help non-profits share their stories. One great way to spread your message is by creating a layer for Google Earth or Maps. You probably know by now that placemarks can be created using something called KML. Most people think this file format is really hard to use, but with the help of Google Spreadsheets and a little imagination, you too can create your own layers. And to make creating placemarks in Maps and Earth even easier, we've just released our new and improved Spreadsheet Mapper 2.0 tool. Instead of getting bogged down maintaining a bunch of KML code, this tool lets you:
  • Create up to 400 placemarks.
  • Use our six ready-made balloon designs to create great-looking placemarks.
  • Create and share your own balloon designs by using a simple HTML templating system.
Ready to dive in? Check out the tutorial, which includes a YouTube video to help you follow along.

For added inspiration, see how the folks from Edge of Existence used this tool to showcase their top 100 most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) mammalian and amphibian species. And it's not just for organizations; we encourage anyone who is looking to create their own layer in Maps or Earth to try it out.


URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/02/mapping-with-google-spreadsheets.html

[G] Introducing the Google Business YouTube channel

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Inside AdWords: Introducing the Google Business YouTube channel

If you read the Inside AdWords blog to learn the latest features and tips relating to AdWords, you'll be interested in knowing about the new Google Business YouTube channel.

On this channel, you can watch Fred Vallaeys, our AdWords Evangelist, discuss conversion tracking and bid management, learn the basics of ad quality, receive tips on how to brainstorm negative keywords, or view a webinar on the AdWords Conversion Optimizer.

In addition to videos on AdWords, the channel also features videos of other Google business solutions like Google Analytics and Website Optimizer. The videos are currently organized into different playlists by product and by topic.

We hope you'll enjoy watching (and hearing) our very own product experts explain the different ways Google can help your business. We would love to know your suggestions and feedback as we continue to develop more content for this channel.


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/introducing-google-business-youtube.html

[G] What is a "balanced approach" to copyright reform?

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Google Public Policy Blog: What is a "balanced approach" to copyright reform?



Everyone who advocates one form of copyright reform or another says that they want a "balanced approach." Who is opposed to balance, after all? But what exactly does balance mean? What interests are being balanced?

We view copyright balance as finding ways for copyright holders to receive fair compensation, encouraging them to create new amazing songs, movies, and software, while allowing consumers and businesses the right to use, enjoy, make fun of, mash-up, experiment, play around with, and otherwise innovate with those same copyrighted works.

Here in Canada, where there is an ongoing debate about how to best implement the WIPO Copyright Treaty, Google has joined with a number of other Canadian and international companies who have a shared vision of balanced copyright. The Business Coalition for Balanced Copyright has issued a two-page position paper calling for a "balanced 'package' approach for a strong Canadian copyright regime." Admittedly not the snappiest title, but even so the document includes an important list of issues that the Canadian government ought to consider as integral to copyright reform.

The coalition's proposed package of reforms includes, among other things, expanding Canada's fair dealing provisions – permitting commonly accepted uses of copyrighted works including: parody, mash-ups, time-shifting and place-shifting. More importantly, the coalition is calling for fair dealing to be made more flexible. Canada's current approach to fair dealing ossifies the tiny and exhaustive list of exceptions to copyright and as such stifles cultural and technological innovation.

This balanced approach to copyright reform is the same approach that we follow in practice. Every day Google helps content owners unlock value in their works. Every day Google helps consumers express themselves in unexpected, innovative ways. Flexible exceptions and limitations, which encourage creativity and innovation, are integral to balanced copyright law.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-is-balanced-approach-to-copyright.html

[G] Google Docs, will you be my valentine?

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Official Google Docs Blog: Google Docs, will you be my valentine?

Steven Saviano, valentine-o-rific Google Docs Engineer

Dear Google Docs,

It's (almost) Valentine's Day and I have something to ask you.

Lately, I can't get you out of my mind, let alone off my computer screen. The way you allow me to edit my documents from anywhere, and even share them with a friend or two, has amazed my heart. I think I have fallen in love.

Your recent summer makeover has made you even more gorgeous — revamping your Docs Home and adding presentation support.

Not only do you have beauty, you have brains as well. You recently launched Forms, allowing me to quickly gather and analyze data, thanks to the genius of all your spreadsheet formulas and charts. You are multilingual, available in more than 38 languages. You are even great with my friends, especially when we need to collaborate on our plans for an upcoming weekend trip.

You have everything that I would ever look for in a document collaboration suite.

Google Docs, will you be my valentine?

Love,
-- Steven

P.S. Just for February 14th, enjoy our Valentine's Day themed Docs Home. Everyone deserves a little love on that special day — even your docs.

P.P.S. This dressing doesn't appear by default for some countries and for Google Apps domains. If for whatever reason your Docs Home isn't dressed up, click here.


URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2008/02/google-docs-will-you-be-my-valentine.html

[G] Global marketing challenge now underway

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Official Google Blog: Global marketing challenge now underway



It's well known that online advertising is becoming increasingly important to the marketing mix. Now we're giving 21,000 students the chance to experiment and gain hands on experience of this medium -- and to empower small local businesses to harness the power of the web to attract more customers. In a vast global academic competition, business students from 466 universities in 61 countries will participate in the Google Online Marketing Challenge.

The competition offers student groups $200 vouchers to spend on Google AdWords™ advertising so that they can work with a local business they choose to devise effective online marketing campaigns. The teams will outline a strategy, run the campaign, assess their results, and recommend ideas to further develop the businesses' online marketing.

Students will have three weeks to mastermind their strategy, and will pit their marketing minds against thousands of others worldwide. During this period, the various teams will submit two competition reports: one before they begin the Challenge, and one after the campaign has ended. An international panel of professors will judge the entries, and will choose winners based on the success of the campaigns and the quality of the reports.

We'll post an update once the winners are announced in July. Read more about the Challenge.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/global-marketing-challenge-now-underway.html

[G] Rep. Markey's net neutrality legislation

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Google Public Policy Blog: Rep. Markey's net neutrality legislation



Today, Rep. Ed Markey and Chip Pickering introduced bipartisan legislation to help preserve Internet freedom and explicitly make "net neutrality" a guiding principle of U.S. broadband policy. The bill would affirm that the Internet should remain an open platform for innovation, competition, and social discourse, free from unreasonable discriminatory practices by network operators. It would also require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to solicit input on the nation's broadband policy from ordinary Americans by conducting eight "broadband summits" around the country and seeking comments online.

As we've discussed before on this blog, innovation has thrived online because the Internet's architecture enables any and all users to generate new ideas and technologies, which are allowed to succeed based on their own merits and benefits. Some major broadband service providers have threatened to act as gatekeepers, playing favorites with particular applications or content providers, demonstrating that this threat is all too real. It's no stretch to say that such discriminatory practices could have prevented Google from getting off the ground -- and they could prevent the next Google from ever coming to be.

While regulations on certain types of discrimination is one way to help preserve the Internet's openness, other remedies including expanding broadband competition and market-based initiatives may be important complements. Rep. Markey's legislation sets a sound course towards properly putting all the options on the table, by adopting the proper general principles and asking the FCC to address the right kinds of questions.

As important, Internet users themselves will get a chance to answer those questions. From the start, the heart and soul of the movement for net neutrality has been the grassroots -- the thousands and thousands of ordinary Americans who have already spoken up for Internet freedom on sites like Save The Internet and beyond.

Net neutrality is too often painted as just about particular companies' competing interests, but that's missing the point. Rather, net neutrality and broadband policy are -- and should be -- about what's ultimately best for people, in terms of economic growth as well as the social benefit of empowering individuals to speak, create, and engage one another online using the wide panoply of innovations available to them. In other words, broadband policy should come from the bottom up.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2008/02/rep-markeys-net-neutrality-legislation.html

[G] Your content on Google Maps

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Google LatLong: Your content on Google Maps



Our goal is to create the world's most comprehensive virtual atlas -- the best, most complete map of the earth. This is no easy task, and we know we can't accomplish it without the help of our users, because nobody knows a neighborhood better than the folks who live in it.

In April of 2007, we launched a feature called My Maps that lets anybody create a map quickly and easily just by pointing and clicking. We wanted to enable all the world's local experts to map our their neighborhoods, their hobbies, their interests.

Over the past 11 months, people have created more than 9 million My Maps, encompassing a total of 38 million placemarks. That's an impressive 1 new placemark created every second! We never anticipated that people would become so interested in mapmaking, which used to be accessible only to priests, scholars, and academics.

To give you a better sense of what's being created, we've put together a page that randomly displays My Maps, showcasing ones that were recently edited or added. We've seen everything from hotels in Havana to birthplaces of the 2008 presidential candidates to the aftermath of an oil spill to bird-watching spots in Oklahoma. We hope that this new page helps you discover some fascinating maps too.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/02/your-content-on-google-maps.html

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

[G] What if... you could have your doodle on the Google homepage for a day?

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Official Google Blog: What if... you could have your doodle on the Google homepage for a day?



Today, we're excited to announce the Doodle 4 Google competition.

Every once in awhile, we redesign the logo (a.k.a. Google Doodle) on our homepage to commemorate special birthdays and events. Dennis Hwang draws these Google Doodles (check out this cool time-lapse video of Dennis creating the latest one):



However, with the Doodle 4 Google competition, we're making an exception...

Doodle 4 Google gives U.S. students in grades K-12 the opportunity to design a doodle for the Google homepage. Students will be asked to draw a doodle that best represents the theme "What if...?" We ask ourselves this question every day when we build our products, so we thought we would ask the same of the future doodlers.

A panel of expert judges and Googlers will select 40 regional winners, who will be invited to the Googleplex in Mountain View, California, in May. Four national finalists will be announced as the result of a public vote. From there, Dennis will select one lucky student whose doodle will be on the Google homepage for a day in the U.S. This winner will also receive a $10,000 college scholarship and a technology grant for his or her school.

Check out www.google.com/doodle4google for more details. All you need to do to get started is to have a teacher or principal register your school. Registration closes on 3/28/08, and entries must be postmarked by 4/12/08.

So gather those art supplies. All it takes to enter is a drawing on paper using your favorite medium (crayons, markers, colored pencils, whatever!) -- and encourage your kids to enrich us all with their imaginative vision. We look forward to seeing the creative doodles that are submitted!



URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/what-if-you-could-have-your-doodle-on.html

[G] Updates and Bug Fixes for Feburary 12th

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Blogger Buzz: Updates and Bug Fixes for Feburary 12th

Today's release brings a number of updates to Blogger:
  • Clearer identity options on the comment form, which now highlights some of the more popular OpenID providers more obviously.
  • Posts with more than 200 comments have them split across multiple pages.
  • Layouts blogs now have a "Layouts" tab instead of "Template."
We also made fixes to address bugs and other problems, including:
  • Better Persian translations and other BiDi layout fixes
  • A fix to the long-standing incorrect label counts bug
  • Safari 3 support for the Layouts template editor pages
  • Faster loading times for the post editor
  • Improved international support in the post editor's date and time fields
  • Compatibility fixes for Picasa's BlogThis! button
Nevertheless, there are two new issues that you should know about:
(Curious about other problems? Browse and vote at the Known Issues blog.)

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2008/02/updates-and-bug-fixes-for-feburary-12th.html

[G] You are connected to mountaintop removal

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Official Google Blog: You are connected to mountaintop removal



[From time to time we invite guests to blog about initiatives of interest, and are very pleased to have Mr. Kennedy join us here. – Ed.]

In 1810, Thomas Jefferson wrote to a contemporary, "No one more sincerely wishes the spread of information among mankind than I do, and none has greater confidence in its effect towards supporting free and good government." Almost 200 years later, Google provides us all with unprecedented access to the world's information. In Appalachia, nonprofit organizations are using that information in innovative new ways to reveal the destruction caused by mountaintop removal coal mining, and to demand for the people of Appalachia the "free and good government" that Jefferson envisioned.

If the American people could see what I have seen from the air and ground during my many trips to the coalfields of Kentucky and West Virginia: leveled mountains, devastated communities, wrecked economies and ruined lives, there would be a revolution in this country. Thanks to Google Earth, you can now visit coal country without ever having to leave your home.

Every presidential candidate – and every American – ought to take a few seconds to visit an ingenious new website created by nonprofit organizations in Appalachia that lets you tour the obliterated landscapes of Appalachia. By entering your zip code into this amazing new website, you learn how you're personally connected to mountaintop removal. Americans from Maine to California can see these mountains and the communities that were sacrificed to power their home. This puts a human face on the issue by highlighting the stories of families living in the shadows of these mines.

The site uses Google Maps and Google Earth as interfaces to a large database of power plants and mountaintop removal coal mines. A November 15, 2007 article in the Wall Street Journal highlighted the site as one of the most cutting-edge uses of these powerful tools. And today, the Google Earth Outreach program is launching a featured case study about this project, along with additional resources for nonprofit organizations, in order to help spread the word and make these tools even more accessible to the public.

Each day coal companies detonate 2500 tons of explosives – the power of a Hiroshima bomb every week – to blow away Appalachian mountaintops to reach the coal seams beneath. Colossal machines then plow the rock and debris into the adjacent river valleys and hollows, destroying forests and burying free-flowing mountain streams, flattening North America's most ancient mountain range. According to the EPA, 1,200 miles of American rivers and streams have already been permanently interred, leaving behind giant pits and barren moonscapes, some as large as Manhattan Island. I recently flew over one 18 square-mile pit – Hobet 21 – which you can now tour in Google Earth.

We are literally cutting down the historic landscapes where Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett roamed and that are so much the source of American's values, character and culture.

Mountaintop mining poisons water supplies, pollutes the air, destroys hundreds of miles of North America's most ancient and biologically diverse hardwood forests and permanently impoverishes local communities. For too long, this devastation has been hidden in the remote poverty-stricken communities of Appalachia. This new website finally exposes this national disgrace for every American to witness. Wherever you live, you have a connection – and a responsibility.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/you-are-connected-to-mountaintop.html

[G] The six Rs of Google Earth Outreach

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Google LatLong: The six Rs of Google Earth Outreach



As part of the Google Earth Outreach team, we're big fans of the three Rs of environmentalism: reduce, reuse, recycle. We also abide by another important set of Rs: release, revise, repeat. By trying out new ideas, listening to feedback, and making changes, we think we'll do a better job of helping out our partners.

In that spirit, today we've updated our site to include some new content. Over the course of the week we'll show you around in detail, but for now, here's a quick tour:

"Getting Started" guide: Since launching the Google Earth Outreach program last June, we've seen a growing interest from nonprofits in using Google Maps. So we've created this step-by-step guide to help organizations get started using Maps, Earth, or both.

Case Studies: Today you'll find a few new ones featured. The "Ecology of the Ancient Bristlecone Pines" looks at how researchers use Google Earth in their fieldwork studying bristlecone pines in the White Mountains of California. The "EDGE of Existence" case study describes the making of a KML showing the 100 most endangered mammals on earth. (The KML code was generated from a spreadsheet by our new Spreadsheet Mapper 2.0 tool. Stay tuned for more on that!) We've included an update to the Neighbors Against Irresponsible Logging (NAIL) case study describing how Google Earth helped them win their environmental battle to save a redwood forest. Finally, we're pleased to publish an update from Appalachian Voices, describing their new and innovative "MyConnection" site, which shows individuals how they are personally connected to mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia. Come back soon to read what Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has to say about this initiative.

Tutorials: In addition to the new Spreadsheet Mapper tool and tutorial (which we'll be telling you more about tomorrow), we want to let you know about our new Collaborate on Your Maps tutorial that highlights the collaborative mapping capability introduced recently to MyMaps -- potentially very useful for volunteer groups and nonprofits.

And last but not least, since our program is designed to help the nonprofit community make the most of our mapping tools, we thought we ought to have a map of that community right on our homepage. If your organization is using Maps or Earth - or thinking about doing so - you can add your organization to our map in just a couple of minutes. This is a small first step toward more actively involving our partners in our site to share ideas, challenges, and successes
.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/02/six-rs-of-google-earth-outreach.html

[G] AdWords system maintenance on February 16th

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Inside AdWords: AdWords system maintenance on February 16th

On Saturday, February 16th, the AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PST due to scheduled maintenance. While you won't be able to sign in to your accounts during this time, your campaigns will continue to run as usual.

AdWords system maintenance typically occurs on the second Saturday of each month during the above times -- with this month being an exception to that rule, as previously noted in our January maintenance update.

We'll continue to update you via the blog as we always have, but you may want to take note of our intended dates and times to help you plan for any scheduled downtimes further down the road.


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/adwords-system-maintenance-on-february.html

[G] 7 must-read Webmaster Central blog posts

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: 7 must-read Webmaster Central blog posts

Our search quality and Webmaster Central teams love helping webmasters solve problems. But since we can't be in all places at all times answering all questions, we also try hard to show you how to help yourself. We put a lot of work into providing documentation and blog posts to answer your questions and guide you through the data and tools we provide, and we're constantly looking for ways to improve the visibility of that information.

While I always encourage people to search our Help Center and blog for answers, there are a few articles in particular to which I'm constantly referring people. Some are recent and some are buried in years' worth of archives, but each is worth a read:

  1. Googlebot can't access my website
    Web hosters seem to be getting more aggressive about blocking spam bots and aggressive crawlers from their servers, which is generally a good thing; however, sometimes they also block Googlebot without knowing it. If you or your hoster are "allowing" Googlebot through by whitelisting Googlebot IP addresses, you may still be blocking some of our IPs without knowing it (since our full IP list isn't public, for reasons explained in the post). In order to be sure you're allowing Googlebot access to your site, use the method in this blog post to verify whether a crawler is Googlebot.
  2. URL blocked by robots.txt
    Sometimes the web crawl section of Webmaster Tools reports a URL as "blocked by robots.txt", but your robots.txt file doesn't seem to block crawling of that URL. Check out this list of troubleshooting tips, especially the part about redirects. This thread from our Help Group also explains why you may see discrepancies between our web crawl error reports and our robots.txt analysis tool.
  3. Why was my URL removal request denied?
    (Okay, I'm cheating a little: this one is a Help Center article and not a blog post.) In order to remove a URL from Google search results you need to first put something in place that will prevent Googlebot from simply picking that URL up again the next time it crawls your site. This may be a 404 (or 410) status code, a noindex meta tag, or a robots.txt file, depending on what type of removal request you're submitting. Follow the directions in this article and you should be good to go.
  4. Flash best practices
    Flash continues to be a hot topic for webmasters interested in making visually complex content accessible to search engines. In this post Bergy, our resident Flash expert, outlines best practices for working with Flash.
  5. The supplemental index
    The "supplemental index" was a big topic of conversation in 2007, and it seems some webmasters are still worried about it. Instead of worrying, point your browser to this post on how we now search our entire index for every query.
  6. Duplicate content
    Duplicate content—another perennial concern of webmasters. This post talks in detail about duplicate content caused by URL parameters, and also references Adam's previous post on deftly dealing with duplicate content, which gives lots of good suggestions on how to avoid or mitigate problems caused by duplicate content.
  7. Sitemaps FAQs
    This post answers the most frequent questions we get about Sitemaps. And I'm not just saying it's great because I posted it. :-)

Sometimes, knowing how to find existing information is the biggest barrier to getting a question answered. So try searching our blog, Help Center and Help Group next time you have a question, and please let us know if you can't find a piece of information that you think should be there!


URL: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/02/7-must-read-webmaster-central-blog.html

[G] New Open Source Programs blog

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Official Google Blog: New Open Source Programs blog



Since its inception in 2005, our Open Source Programs Office has been responsible for maintaining license compliance within Google. And over the past three years, our mission has grown encompass even more activities that we hope are useful to our colleagues in the open source community: project hosting, releasing Google created code and funding open source development. We've also continued to get students involved in open source, recently debuting the Google Highly Open Participation Contest for secondary schoolers as a complement to our university program, Google Summer of Code.

When you have this much good news to share, you just have to create your own blog --so we did. Come check out the new Google Open Source Blog for regular updates on all of the above and, if you like what you see, subscribe.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/new-open-source-programs-blog.html

[G] A dozen more cities in Street View

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Google LatLong: A dozen more cities in Street View



We're happy to bring you Street View in 12 more cities today. This effectively doubles our Street View coverage. And there are many new sights to explore, including our first glacier, the "drive-in" Mendenhall glacier in Juneau, Alaska:


View Larger Map

If you find glaciers too icy, consider the slightly warmer Great Salt Lake:


View Larger Map

And where do you think we found this grand railway station?


View Larger Map

Street View coverage has expanded to include:
  • Albany and Schenectady, NY
  • Boise, ID
  • Juneau, AK
  • Kansas City, MO (home of the railway station!)
  • Manchester, NH
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Research Triangle Park (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill), NC
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Salt Lake City, UT
And don't forget, you can easily embed Street View panoramas, like the ones above, in your own web pages and blogs. So explore, embed, and enjoy!

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2008/02/dozen-more-cities-in-street-view.html

[G] eTail 2008: Come see us

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Official Google Checkout Blog: eTail 2008: Come see us



This week (February 11-14) the Google Checkout and Google Product Search teams are headed to Palm Desert, California, for the eTail 2008 conference. If you're planning to attend, please stop by and visit us at booth #64. We'll be on hand to explain how Google Checkout and Google Product Search can help you manage listings, drive leads, increase conversions, and reduce costs.

See you there!

URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2008/02/etail-2008-come-see-us.html

[G] Google search on Nokia phones

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Official Google Blog: Google search on Nokia phones



At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, we announced a partnership with Nokia that will bring Google search to hundreds of millions of Nokia phones. There's more detail on the Google Mobile Blog.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/google-search-on-nokia-phones.html

[G] Share the love with iGoogle

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Official Google Blog: Share the love with iGoogle



From time to time, people share stories with us that are too good to keep to ourselves. Here's one that an iGoogle user named Heather recently shared about how Gadget Maker helps her connect with her boyfriend Christopher.
"My boyfriend lives in Memphis and I live in Manhattan. We've each created a custom gadget for each other that we update every morning. Generally it's a compliment, or song lyrics, or something related to an inside joke. It takes us 2 minutes to update every morning and helps us to stay connected in a small way every day. We also both have a countdown gadget on our homepage, which counts down the days until our next visit with each other. Thank you for helping 'keep the magic alive' with my boyfriend, even if he's not here in person!"
As Valentine's Day approaches, we wish Heather and Christopher the best. May their countdown go extra-fast this week. Heather shared one of her gadgets with us:



If you're part of our gadget developer community, perhaps hearing about interesting and unique ways people are using gadgets will help spark some creative ideas. But whether you are HTML-savvy or not, and you want to show your sweetie how much you care, it's very easy to be able to create gadgets. Just visit the Google Gadget Center or Gadget Maker and give it a try.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/share-love-with-igoogle.html

Monday, February 11, 2008

[G] Survey says: love at first ping

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Official Google Blog: Survey says: love at first ping



In the spirit of Hallmark and chocolate roses, we recently took a special interest in Valentine's worthy tidbits about how Gmail has helped spur romance -- as it did for Jordan Burleson, who told us:
"Gmail is the new Cupid. Gmail's green chat light meant 'go' for love in my life. My girlfriend and I used ... it for projects and homework at first, but then for flirting, pinning down a location for a first date, emoticon hearts and more."
In other cases, email has helped maintain long distance relationships, like that of long-time Gmail user Meagan Coleman:
"My husband and I met in 2004. He's from Macedonia and I'm from the USA...Since we met, Gmail has been archiving our long-distance relationship from the beginning! It's very sweet to be able to read those messages that we wrote to each other 3 years ago."
Curious about how common emailing love letters really is -- and to learn more about how people use email to communicate with friends, family, and co-workers -- we recently worked with Nielsen Online to conduct a national survey examining how people think about and use webmail.* The survey affirmed that email is an increasingly important part of our most intimate and personal interactions, and that younger people are leading the charge: they are more likely to use email for everything from sending love letters to ending relationships.

Love is in the inbox
  • 1 in 3 survey respondents noted having emailed a love letter
  • Young people indicated they were less averse to showing their affections over email than older adults: only 14% of 18-24 year olds considered email love letters bad behavior, compared to 43% of respondents over the age of 55
  • Men were more likely than women to have asked someone out via email (26% versus 16%)
  • While 31% of 18-24 year olds thought asking someone out on a date via email was poor form, 42% of respondents aged 55+ felt the same way
Breaking up is hard to do; some get help from email
  • 1 in 3 male respondents considered "break-up emails" neutral to good email etiquette, whereas only 1 in 7 female respondents agreed
  • 8% of men and 6% of women said they had broken up with someone over email
Whether you're sending hearts this year or breaking them, we hope you have a happy Valentine's Day.

* The online survey, commissioned by Google, was conducted by Nielsen Online from September 24th to October 15th, 2007, with a sample of 1,713 webmail users over the age of 18. "Webmail user" was defined as someone who uses AOL Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/survey-says-love-at-first-ping.html

[G] Seattle Conference on Scalability 2008

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Official Google Blog: Seattle Conference on Scalability 2008



We just announced on our Research Blog that we're holding the second scalability conference in Seattle on Saturday, June 14. We had a hunch we weren't the only ones who liked to sit around and brainstorm solutions for hard problems, and it turns out we were right. We met so many great people at the 2007 gathering that we've decided to do it again.

If you work with scalable systems and would like to give a presentation at this year's conference, we'd love to hear from you. Visit our Research blog for more details on how to submit a proposal.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/seattle-conference-on-scalability-2008.html

[G] All Your iFrame Are Point to Us

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Google Online Security Blog: All Your iFrame Are Point to Us



It has been over a year and a half since we started to identify web pages that infect vulnerable hosts via drive-by downloads, i.e. web pages that attempt to exploit their visitors by installing and running malware automatically. During that time we have investigated billions of URLs and found more than three million unique URLs on over 180,000 web sites automatically installing malware. During the course of our research, we have investigated not only the prevalence of drive-by downloads but also how users are being exposed to malware and how it is being distributed. Our research paper is currently under peer review, but we are making a technical report [PDF] available now. Although our technical report contains a lot more detail, we present some high-level findings here:

Search Results Containing a URL Labeled as Harmful


The above graph shows the percentage of daily queries that contain at least one search result labeled as harmful. In the past few months, more than 1% of all search results contained at least one result that we believe to point to malicious content and the trend seems to be increasing.

Browsing Habits

Good computer hygiene, such as running automatic updates for the operating system and third-party applications, as well as installing anti-virus products goes a long way in protecting your home computer. However, we have been wondering if users' browsing habits impact the likelihood of encountering malicious web pages. To study this aspect, we took a sample of ~7 million URLs and mapped them to DMOZ categories. Although we found that adult web pages may increase the risk of exploitation, each DMOZ category was affected.

Malicious Content Injection

To understand if malicious content on a web server is due to poor web server security, we analyzed the version numbers reported by web servers on which we found malicious pages. Specifically, we looked at the Apache and the PHP versions exported as part of a server's response. We found that over 38% of both Apache and PHP versions were outdated increasing the risk of remote content injection to these servers.

Our "Ghost In the Browser [PDF]" paper highlighted third-party content as one potential vector of malicious content. Today, a lot of third-party content is due to advertising. To assess the extent to which advertising contributes to drive-by downloads, we analyze the distribution chain of malware, i.e. all the intermediary URLs a browser downloads before reaching a malware payload. We inspected each distribution chain for membership in about 2,000 known advertising networks. If any URL in the distribution chain corresponds to a known advertising network, we count the whole page as being infectious due to Ads. In our analysis, we found that on average 2% of malicious web sites were delivering malware via advertising. The underlying problem is that advertising space is often syndicated to other parties who are not known to the web site owner. Although non-syndicated advertising networks such as Google Adwords are not affected, any advertising networks practicing syndication needs to carefully study this problem. Our technical report [PDF] contains more detail including an analysis based on the popularity of web sites.

Structural Properties of Malware Distribution


Finally, we also investigated the structural properties of malware distribution sites. Some malware distribution sites had as many as 21,000 regular web sites pointing to them. We also found that the majority of malware was hosted on web servers located in China. Interestingly, Chinese malware distribution sites are mostly pointed to by Chinese web servers.

We hope that an analysis such as this will help us to better understand the malware problem in the future and allow us to protect users all over the Internet from malicious web sites as best as we can. One thing is clear - we have a lot of work ahead of us.

URL: http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2008/02/all-your-iframe-are-point-to-us.html

[G] Show us your supermodel(ing) talents

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Official Google Blog: Show us your supermodel(ing) talents



The Google 2008 International Model Your Campus Competition is now live! Here's another opportunity for you to show off your 3D modeling skills, and this time students around the world can compete. You can team up with other students, or take the project on yourself. Just model your school's campus buildings in Google SketchUp, geo-reference them in Google Earth and submit them by uploading to the Google 3D Warehouse. You may enter this competition if you're a student at a higher education institution almost anywhere in the world.

Entries are due by June 1st, 2008. Check out what last year's winners modeled to get inspired, then visit the competition site to register. Good luck and happy modeling.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/show-us-your-supermodeling-talents.html

[G] Valentine's gadgets

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Inside Google Desktop: Valentine's gadgets



When I was a kid, Valentine's Day meant a lunch bag full of chalky candies and paper cutouts. While candy and paper hearts are still options, now you can celebrate digitally with Desktop gadgets. Here's a romantic rundown of some sugar-free recent additions.

Daisy-gadget
By Teodor Filimon

This gadget brought back childhood memories of playing "she loves me, she loves me not" in the schoolyard. It's pretty accurate — she loves me not. :( But if I choose the "Always perfect ending" mode from the Options dialog, then she loves me, after all.

Windows

Love Quotes
By Bijoy Thangaraj and Narasimhan DL

Warm your heart this Valentine's Day with inspirational love quotes. My favorite: "Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence."

Mac, Windows

Love Meter
By Vishnu.S

Type in two names, and the gadget calculates a love compatibility score.

Mac, Windows

Sweethearts!
By Bijoy Thangaraj and Narasimhan DL

A lovely photo frame for you and your sweetheart.

Drag and drop your pictures onto the gadget. Watch what happens when you fill the frames!

Windows

Valentine's Day Countdown
By Vishnu.S

This gadget is for you lucky people with big plans this February 14th.

Mac, Windows
For yet more gadgets, see last year's Valentine's Day post. Happy Valentine's Day from the Google Desktop Team!

URL: http://googledesktop.blogspot.com/2008/02/valentines-gadgets.html

[G] This year's scalability conference

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Official Google Research Blog: This year's scalability conference



Managing huge repositories of data and large clusters of machines is no easy task -- and building systems that use those clusters to usefully process that data is even harder. Last year, we held a conference on scalable systems so a bunch of people who work on these challenges could get together and share ideas. Well, it was so much fun that we've decided to do it again.

This year, the conference is taking place in Seattle on Saturday, June 14. (Registration is free.) If you'd like to talk about a topic on scalable or large-scale systems that is near and dear to your heart, we'd love to hear from you. Potential topics include:

Development, deployment and production:
  • Systems, environments and languages for building, deploying and debugging complex datacenter-scale apps, or for allowing teams of collaborating engineers to work together on such apps more effectively
Mobile applications:
  • Unique challenges of scaling services for mobile devices
  • Location-aware scaling techniques
  • Experiences designing scalable apps involving mobile devices
Of course, you've probably got more ideas. Send a 500-word abstract of your 30-minute presentation to scalabilityconf@google.com no later than Friday, April 11 , and we'll post registration details in the next couple of months.

URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2008/02/this-years-scalability-conference.html

[G] Audio Ads Webinars: sign up now

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Inside AdWords: Audio Ads Webinars: sign up now

Later this month, specialists from the Audio Ads team will host three free online webinars. Join us for tips on how to set up an effective radio campaign and optimization ideas. A few members of the Audio Ads product team will also join us as guest speakers, offering ways to help you more easily track the impact of your Audio Ads campaigns.

The webinars will take place February 20-22. Registration closes 12:00pm PST on Thursday, February 14, so sign up now. The content of each webinar is the same -- please pick the date that works best for you. Once you sign up, we'll email you login information to access the webinar.

If you aren't familiar with Audio Ads, we encourage you to join us to learn more. You can also check out a collection of sample 30-second radio ads, played on AM and FM radio stations across the U.S. using Google Audio Ads. All of the ads listed were created by specialists in the Google Ad Creation Marketplace.

See you soon!


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2008/02/audio-ads-webinars-sign-up-now.html

[G] orkut going more social

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Official Google Blog: orkut going more social



Starting this month, we're enabling developers to make their social applications available to orkut users. We'll start ramping up to more than 50 million people over the next few weeks.

To prepare for this growth, we're now accepting social applications. For a while now, developers have been able to write, test, and play with applications on orkut. Later this month, however, we're going to start rolling them out to orkut users. OpenSocial developers can submit their completed applications (deadline: Feb. 15).

To help developers ready their applications, we're offering engineering support and training. We've scheduled orkut hackathons on Feb. 14-15 from 10 am-6 pm at the Googleplex in Mountain View and via videoconference in New York. For more information or to RSVP, please email hackathon.rsvp@gmail.com. If you can't attend, we hope to see you in the OpenSocial forums or on chat (irc://irc.freenode.net/opensocial).

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/orkut-going-more-social.html

[G] Lucky number ten

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Inside AdSense: Lucky number ten

Two weeks ago, we let you know that the PIN and phone verification processes would be automatically triggered at $10, rather than $50. Along those same lines, we've also updated how it works to choose a form of payment and enter tax information in your account. Because we don't pay out earnings of less than $10, you'll only be able to choose a form of payment and enter your tax info once your earnings reach $10. When you first sign up for AdSense and log in to your account, these options won't be available yet.

So when it comes to payments, consider 10 your new lucky number. Once you receive your PIN or a notice to verify your phone number, you'll know it's also time to head to your account and enter your tax information and select your form of payment. Then you'll be on your way to receiving your first payment -- lucky you!


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2008/02/lucky-number-ten.html

[G] Grand engineering challenges for the 21st century

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Official Google Blog: Grand engineering challenges for the 21st century



Over the course of centuries, engineering of all kinds has transformed our lives -- and the field continues to have the potential to improve the quality of life for every person on the planet.

This coming Friday (February 15), the US National Academy of Engineering will post a list of "grand engineering challenges" for the 21st century on a special site, which has already garnered many comments from the public. To create the list, the Academy assembled a special committee that includes some of the most innovative names in engineering, including our own Larry Page.

I think we will see on the list such things as renewable, sustainable and affordable energy, reduction of dependence on petroleum, desalinization, vastly improved food production, greenhouse gas reduction, and affordable and sustainable housing -- but these are just my guesses. No matter which challenges are selected, we know that attention to detail and daring goals are the twin drivers of innovation.

Please visit the site, contribute your ideas and have a look February 15 to see what the experts have decided are the grandest of the grand challenges for engineering in this century.

Of course, I hope "Internet for Everyone" makes it onto the list, but if it doesn't, it's still on mine :-).

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/02/grand-engineering-challenges-for-21st.html