Thursday, December 31, 2009

[G] YouTube Blogging in 2009

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Blogging in 2009

Following the tradition of our Google brethren,we'd like to share our blog highlights and thank you, our loyal blogreaders, for making this the most successful year ever for the YouTubeblog.

This is our 284th post of the year, which is 13% morethan in 2008. In addition to more posts, we have more readers now --79% more, to be exact. The number of unique visitors jumped from 7.7million last year to 13.7 million in 2009.

We posted about new products, the evolution of our social features, a slew of live streamed events and much more, but what generated the most buzz was What You Watched and Searched for on YouTube in 2009, a listing of the year's Most Watched videos and fastest-rising search terms, and announcements regarding the launches of 1080p and Shows & Movies. New Channels Coming Soon, another much-read item, topped our record for number of comments on any YouTube blog post -- over 50K.

We introduced several new series this year, including Release Notes, a periodic rundown of changes to the site; Curator showcases, highlighting people with a knack for finding great videos; and Video Volunteers,which is about mobilizing the talents of the YouTube community to helpthose in need. We used the blog to showcase your impressiveachievements -- things like raising money to build wells in Africa, launching a label for YouTube musicians, and the historical milestone of the first user hitting 1 million subscribers -- as well as shed light on how YouTube is being used as a tool for free expression in Iran. We took you behind the scenes to offer insight into the thought that goes into product development here, and we shared some stats that were hard even for us to wrap our heads around. Maybe we did a little trash talking, too.

We also launched three new blogs this year: the Biz Blog for partners and advertisers, a Spanish-language blog, and the Creator's Corner blog for anyone who makes videos. And we finally moved onto to the Blogger platform, bringing us into the 21st century when it comes to blog technology.

Whew. It was a busy year but we wouldn't have it any other way. Have avery happy New Year, thanks for reading, and see you in 2010!

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched "Bacon Candy Party Sticks."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/IhZZWAohX8A/youtube-blogging-in-2009.html

[G] Five years of Google blogging

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Official Google Blog: Five years of Google blogging

It's time again for our annual wrap-up of blogging at Google. You may have noticed 2009 marked our fifth year here on the Official Google Blog — our first post was in April 2004 — and it was our busiest year yet. This is our 423rd post of 2009 — a 15 percent increase over last year. We're also pleased to note that a total of 14,493,472 readers stopped by this year, a 21 percent increase. You hail from all over: more than half of visitors are outside of the U.S. The other top countries are (in order) U.K., India, Canada, Germany and France.

What captured your attention this year? Here are the top 10 posts of 2009, by unique pageviews:
  1. Introducing the Google Chrome OS - 2,591,794 unique pageviews (more than 12 percent of the year's total). The announcement of our open source operating system received more than 4x the views of any other post.
  2. Went Walkabout. Brought back Google Wave - 639,225. Wave-mania struck after we introduced a new product for collaboration and communication at our Google I/O conference.
  3. Here comes Google Voice - 357,084. We released a preview of this application to help you better manage your voice communications.
  4. "This site may harm your computer" on every search result?!?! - 320,435. A short-lived error affecting Google search results led to confusion and concern; this post cleared it up.
  5. Email in Indian languages - 224,052. A transliteration feature in Gmail that makes it easier to type in Indian languages was a hit. More than one million readers of the blog in 2009 were from India — a 53 percent increase over 2008.
  6. Releasing the Chromium OS open source project - 217,424. A few months after announcing our operating system project, we open-sourced it as Chromium OS.
  7. Now you see it, now you don't - 165,329. We introduced a new, clean version of our classic homepage.
  8. Google Apps is out of beta (yes, really) - 164,319. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk all lost their beta tags (in Gmail's case, after five years!).
  9. Now S-U-P-E-R-sized! - 155,196. A "small" change increasing the size of the Google search box got a lot of attention.
  10. Introducing Google Public DNS - 143,122. We launched our public DNS resolver, which converts domain names into unique Internet Protocol (IP) numbers.
We also developed a few different series of posts this year: one on the power of measurement, for people who want to improve the performance of their websites; a weekly series focused on search; and another on the latest in the world of Google Apps.

As always, we had some fun in 2009, with grass-mowing goats and a panda-obsessed Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity (CADIE) on April Fools' Day. Our curiosity was piqued by Atlantis (or not) under the sea, constellations in Google Sky Map and a fresnel lens somewhere in between.

Finally, the Google Blog network continues to grow. This year, we welcomed blogs dedicated to Google Wave, Google New Zealand, Data Liberation, Google Voice, Google Arabia, Google Thailand, European Public Policy and Google Chrome — among others — to our blogging family.

Beyond the blogs, in February we jumped head-first into the Twitterverse, starting our @google account with a geeky tweet. Since then, we've tweeted more than 1,000 times, and are grateful to have gathered two million or so followers. That puts us in the company of @algore and @ashsimpsonwentz, and (today, at least) just 65,000 or so followers behind a certain @ladygaga (although we're pretty sure that gap is only going to grow — no way we can compete with her outfits). Around 75 other Google entities and teams have gotten into the Twitter act this year as well, so we built a directory to help you keep up with all the action. Twitter also was our biggest non-Google referrer to the blog in 2009, a clear sign of its rapid growth in popularity.

Thanks for sticking with us through all of our goings-on over the past 12 months. We look forward to having you back for more in 2010. In the meantime, happy New Year!

Posted by Emily Wood and Jordan Newman, Editors, Google Blog Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/five-years-of-google-blogging.html

[G] YouTube's Top 10 Launches of 2009

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YouTube Blog: YouTube's Top 10 Launches of 2009


Did
you know that we released more features in 2009 than in 2007 and 2008
combined? This made it the busiest year on record for the YouTube
product and engineering teams. Some of these launches, like support for
1080p, made sizable splashes, while others, like "trending topics" appearing at the bottom of the browse page,
went out with less fanfare. With so much going on, we wanted to pause
before the new year begins to review the things that hopefully made the
biggest impact on your overall YouTube experience:




  • Auto-Share - As part of our wider effort to integrate YouTube into the social and communication platforms you use every day, AutoShare automatically syndicates your YouTube activity to Facebook, Twitter and Google Reader.




  • 1080p - In November, we unveiled support for videos in 1080p (aka "full HD"). Want to test it out? Check out this video.



  • Auto-Speech Recognition - Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, coupled with YouTube's captioning system, makes videos more accessible to the deaf and hearing impaired. This same speech recognition technology can create machine-generated captions, which can then be translated into 51 languages.



  • Mobile Website for Smartphones - Watching videos on -- and uploading videos from -- cell phones is more popular than ever. To meet this demand, we launched a new mobile website designed to make using YouTube on smartphones like the iPhone, G1 and Palm Pre a lot easier.



  • YouTube XL - YouTube XL
    optimizes YouTube for large screens. In addition to offering larger
    text and simplified navigation, XL has a continuous play feature,
    allowing you to search for a topic, hit "play" and then kick back for
    an uninterrupted viewing experience.




  • VEVO - VEVO.com
    is a partnership that blends Google and YouTube's technology with music
    videos from a broad catalog of artists from Universal Music Group, Sony
    Music and EMI. The site hopes to redefine the way people watch and
    engage with music online, as well as change the way the digital and
    music industries do business with each other.




  • Feather - Feather
    is a stripped-down version of the page on which any video plays.
    Without all but the basic features, the page loads more quickly and
    videos play back faster. Give it a whirl in TestTube or click here.



  • 3D - In July, one of our engineers used his free time to implement easier viewing options for 3D videos on YouTube. Here's a brief overview video.



  • Real-Time Comment Search - In October, we released the ability to search YouTube comments in real-time.
    The comment appears on a continuously updated results page, and
    "trending topics" indicates the hottest topics of conversation on
    YouTube at that particular moment.



  • Shows & Movies - In April, we rolled out a destination sporting hundreds of movies and thousands of full-length TV episodes. Offerings have included film classics like Taxi Driver, Ghostbusters and the Spaghetti Western Trilogy, as well as current TV shows from broadcasters like C4 and Channel 5 in the UK.


Which
of these features is your favorite? Please use the poll in the top
right corner of this blog to let us know what you've found to be most
useful in '09, or leave a comment below if there's another feature that
had an important impact on your YouTube life.


Hunter Walk, Director, Product Management, and John Harding, Engineering Manager


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/E5vihTXY-qc/youtubes-top-10-launches-of-2009.html

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

[G] Ordinary Citizens, Extraordinary Videos

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YouTube Blog: Ordinary Citizens, Extraordinary Videos

[Cross-posted from the CitizenTube blog]

The images are grainy, often jerky and hard to follow (like most footage shot using hand-held cameras and cellphones), but the message is unmistakable: in the months since the disputed Iranian presidential election in June, the people of Iran have become fluent in the new language of citizen video reporting. What might have seemed an isolated moment immediately following the election, when we watched videos of Iranians marching, battling and even dying on the streets of Tehran, appears to have become an essential part of their struggle.

At YouTube, we have been watching week after week as new videos have appeared on the site within hours of every single protest or similar event reported from Iran in the past six months. Thousands of uploads have brought the fear and tension of these protests to YouTube, inviting millions of views around the world. It is as if the revolts that are taking place could not do so outside the eye of the camera.

Unlike traditional news footage from foreign correspondents (currently prohibited in Iran), these videos are the voice of the people — unfiltered, unedited and with a single, sometimes disturbing point of view. No professional film could capture the one-to-one feeling of watching an ordinary citizen's images of unrest in his or her own country.

We are constantly amazed by the videos our community uploads, whether from their own backyards or the streets of a faraway land. Armed with only a camera and a means to reach the Internet, anyone can ask another to bear witness to their lives. Given the nature of the YouTube videos from Iran, we may want to turn away from some of the images we see, but we keep watching, knowing that we are seeing through the eyes of a people who have discovered the power of information — despite the often extreme measures their government is using to try to stop them.

We will continue to provide the platform for you to see what they see, hear their voices and learn about their struggles. And we encourage you to join the global conversation. Leave a comment, upload your own response video or share a moving moment with someone else.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/hNxj4S1q92c/ordinary-citizens-extraordinary-videos.html

[G] Ordinary citizens, extraordinary videos

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Official Google Blog: Ordinary citizens, extraordinary videos

(Cross-posted from Citizentube and the YouTube Blog)

The images are grainy, often jerky and hard to follow (like most footage shot using hand-held cameras and cellphones), but the message is unmistakable: in the months since the disputed Iranian presidential election in June, the people of Iran have become fluent in the new language of citizen video reporting. What might have seemed an isolated moment immediately following the election, when we watched videos of Iranians marching, battling and even dying on the streets of Tehran, appears to have become an essential part of their struggle.

At YouTube, we have been watching week after week as new videos have appeared on the site within hours of every single protest or similar event reported from Iran in the past six months. Thousands of uploads have brought the fear and tension of these protests to YouTube, inviting millions of views around the world. It is as if the revolts that are taking place could not do so outside the eye of the camera.

Unlike traditional news footage from foreign correspondents (currently prohibited in Iran), these videos are the voice of the people — unfiltered, unedited and with a single, sometimes disturbing point of view. No professional film could capture the one-to-one feeling of watching an ordinary citizen's images of unrest in his or her own country.

We are constantly amazed by the videos our community uploads, whether from their own backyards or the streets of a faraway land. Armed with only a camera and a means to reach the Internet, anyone can ask another to bear witness to their lives. Given the nature of the YouTube videos from Iran, we may want to turn away from some of the images we see, but we keep watching, knowing that we are seeing through the eyes of a people who have discovered the power of information — despite the often extreme measures their government is using to try to stop them.

We will continue to provide the platform for you to see what they see, hear their voices and learn about their struggles. And we encourage you to join the global conversation. Leave a comment, upload your own response video or share a moving moment with someone else.

Posted by Olivia Ma, YouTube News and Politics
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/ordinary-citizens-extraordinary-videos.html

Monday, December 28, 2009

[G] FriendFeed subscribers not part of daily stats

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: FriendFeed subscribers not part of daily stats

Issue: FriendFeed subscribers are currently not appearing in daily subscriber count totals for all accounts. We are currently investigating this issue and will post updates as soon as possible.
URL: http://feedburnerstatus.blogspot.com/2009/12/friendfeed-subscribers-not-part-of.html

[G] Plan a trip in one click

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Google LatLong: Plan a trip in one click


Why should trip planning be any more complicated than opening your browser and entering the name of your favourite city? Six months ago we launched City Tours on Google Labs with the goal of making vacation planning as easy as searching the web. After all, Google knows the top sights in many cities around the world and we've been providing directions on Google Maps for years, so Google Labs seemed to be the perfect way to test out a combination of these two capabilities, with our computing power thrown in to sift through the thousands of possibilities.

Though City Tours is still in Google Labs, the purpose was clear and the demo was popular, so we've continued to work on it over the past few months to take into account the hundreds of suggestions from users all across the globe. Now you'll find several handy additions:


  1. Show complete walking directions. Until now, we've simply estimated the travel time between destinations based on the distance between them. Today, we start providing complete pedestrian routing information for every step of your tour, taking road types, bridges and bodies of water into account just like a regular Google Maps walking directions search. We still try to minimise the time you spend walking and we still won't recommend a visit to an attraction when we think it's closed but, now, the suggested tours are a whole lot closer to reality.

  2. Import a My Map as a tour - because we can't always guess what you want to see! Maybe last time before you went on holiday you created a My Map of all the things you wanted to see when you got there. Now, next time you're planning a trip, you can import that My Map into City Tours: we'll try to schedule a visit to every feature in your map, just as if you had entered the city name into City Tours' search box.

    Alternatively, maybe the last time you came home after holiday you created a My Map of the best attractions you saw. If you've made your My Map public and listed, once a user has found it they can import it into City Tours with its link and re-live your tour, customised - of course - for the dates on which they're visiting. In the mood for literature in the Big Apple? You'll want to try out this walking tour of New York bookshops.

  3. Finally, we've made a whole bunch of small user interface improvements both to help usability and make City Tours behave just a little more like the Google Maps site you're used to.


We're confident that these additions will make City Tours a whole lot more useful to a whole lot more people, although it should be noted that City Tours remains a Google Labs product and is still far from complete. We hope to continue tweaking and improving it over the coming months, continuing our goal of making planning a trip as easy as doing a Google search.


Posted by Trevor Johnston, Software Engineer, Google Zurich
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/12/plan-trip-in-one-click.html

[G] Think2010: Series recap

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Inside AdWords: Think2010: Series recap

We kicked off the Think2010 blog series 14 weeks ago with the idea of helping you prepare for the coming year by devoting one post each week to big-picture, forward-looking themes supported by actionable tips. Over the course of the series we've covered topics such as relevance, speed, experimentation and innovation. We've discussed the multiple roles that search can play, how to use data to better connect with customers, and the importance of staying focused on the fundamentals. We've also deliberately infused the series with perspectives from thought leaders both inside and outside of Google in order to give you a range of insights on the changing face of marketing. You can find a more in-depth version of this same conversation taking place on our Fast.Forward. YouTube channel.

As our series comes to a close this week and we prepare to usher in 2010, we'd like to thank you for reading and leave you with some parting thoughts. Here's what a diverse group of industry leaders have to say about the new marketing landscape and the vast opportunity that they believe lies ahead for 2010:


From the Think2010 team -- best wishes for a prosperous and successful 2010.

Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/12/think2010-series-recap.html

[G] One Week to Make Your Pitch to Attend Davos!

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YouTube Blog: One Week to Make Your Pitch to Attend Davos!

Is there one issue facing the world today that you feel passionate about? Have you always wanted to take your cause directly to people who have the power to do something about it, but lacked access to have your voice heard? Now is your chance to make your pitch - and win a spot at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where world leaders will gather to hear what you have to say about the issue that matters most to you.

There is just one week left to submit a video for the opportunity to go to Davos. Each year, heads of state, business leaders, and social entrepreneurs gather at the World Economic Forum to discuss the most critical challenges facing citizens and nations around the world. And this year, one of you will get direct access to a special panel of these leaders at the Forum, to let them know why your cause matters.

The submission deadline is Monday, January 4, 2010, and all videos should be no longer than three minutes. Speak clearly and from the heart. Five finalists will be selected by a judging panel comprised of Paolo Coelho, Arianna Huffington and Muhammad Yunus. These finalist videos will then go to public vote on January 8, with a winner announced on January 19.

This is the chance you've been waiting for... unprecedented access to the worlds most powerful leaders who can make a difference for your cause. Visit the Davos YouTube channel to submit your video and make your pitch to the world.




Steve Grove, News & Politics, recently watched Mahmoud Jabari - Davos Competition


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/NtNCpT2BH2I/one-week-to-make-your-pitch-to-attend.html

[G] Happy Holidays!

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Google Analytics Blog: Happy Holidays!

The Google Analytics team would like to shout "THANK YOU!" to our users. We are so proud of the people using this product. It's a pleasure to be associated with you and build Google Analytics for you.

Through interactions with you at meetings, conferences, in online forums, in the press, and in comments on this blog, we've discovered an intelligent, innovative and engaging group of people who are at the forefront of a fledgling industry. We couldn't be happier to be a part of this ecosystem.

And we appreciate all the feedback. Please continue posting comments, and we'll chime in too when we can.

Happy holidays!

Posted by The Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/12/happy-holidays.html

Sunday, December 27, 2009

[G] Shining a Light on Human Rights Abuses Through Film

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YouTube Blog: Shining a Light on Human Rights Abuses Through Film

From the Iran protests to the uprising of monks in Burma, YouTube has become a place where citizens can expose human rights violations and promote free expression. This month, we were excited to see many of you help the organizations that regularly combat injustice and abuse around the world, by creating a video for one of them through Video Volunteers.

Spurred by Morgan Freeman's heartfelt call-out video and International Human Rights Day, which occurred earlier this month, you submitted videos on behalf of nonprofits working on issues like conflict minerals, the situation in Darfur and sex trafficking:



Today, the top three selections will appear on the YouTube homepage to raise awareness of several pressing human rights issues. We're also featuring Morgan Freeman's "volunteer" video for Amnesty International, which uses claymation to discuss the power of words in fighting injustice:



We'll be back with another round of Video Volunteers in January and our spotlight issue will be the arts, so if you're an arts organization who would like a volunteer to create a video for you, please fill out this form and your opportunity will be posted to the Video Volunteers channel.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched "Maya Lin: Unchopping a Tree."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/cnpHkNEntxk/shining-light-on-human-rights-abuses.html

Friday, December 25, 2009

[G] Happy Holidays

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Inside AdSense: Happy Holidays

We'd like to send our best wishes to all our publishers around the world. Wherever you're spending this holiday season, we hope that it's filled with much love, warmth, and happiness.



Happy Holidays!

Posted by Dia Muthana on behalf of the Google AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/12/happy-holidays.html

[G] This week in search 12/25/09

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 12/25/09

This is part of a regular series of posts on search experience updates that runs on Fridays. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

Googlers are all about the holidays, and we're always delighted to bring some extra holiday cheer to the web. Here are some of this year's festive digital offerings for you.

Holiday Google doodles
As you likely noticed, the Google homepage has been adorned with a fun series of holiday postcards this week. From snowmen to festive palm trees, each doodle depicts a postcard with a fun seasonal scene. Did you miss any of them? Check out all five days at our holiday logo gallery.

NORAD tracks Santa
This week, in partnership with NORAD, we helped share the excitement of following Santa Claus's travels with Google Maps and the Google Earth plugin. At the NORAD Santa site, children have been following the jolly journey from chimney to chimney across the globe. Don't miss the fun YouTube video of Santa's trip last year, as well as some great holiday games to play, at NORADSanta.org.

From all of us at Google, have a safe and happy holiday season. We'll see you back here next year!

Posted by Andrew Schulte, Associate Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/this-week-in-search-122509.html

Thursday, December 24, 2009

[G] Template spotlight: Gift tags

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Official Google Docs Blog: Template spotlight: Gift tags

Once you've bought all your gifts and wrapped them, the last step is to label them. The holiday gift tag (string of lights theme) and holiday gift tag (snowflake theme) templates are perfect for adding that final touch. Simply customize the labels and print them out.



If you're looking for more themes, Avery Dennison also has some great gift tag templates to choose from.

Posted by: Peter Harbison, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/12/template-spotlight-gift-tags.html

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

[G] Looking sharp for the holidays

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Google Photos Blog: Looking sharp for the holidays

Posted by Thomas Kang & Jon Wray, Software Engineers

A helpful feature of Picasa Web Albums is that when you view photos, they're automatically resized to fit your browser. We always display the largest-size photo that will fit inside your browser window, up to 1600 pixels if you have a nice big display. This resizing happens behind the scenes and doesn't require any input from you.

Here's how it works: when you upload a photo to Picasa Web Albums, our photo servers store it and create a couple of smaller versions of the photo. Later, when you click to view a photo, your browser sends a request to the servers asking for the version that will fit best. If the size matches one of the stored versions, that one is served directly. But if the request is for some in-between size that doesn't exist, the servers create it on the fly. And of course, the resized photo always preserves the size ratio of the original so it's not distorted, and we don't scale photos to be larger than the original.


As you can imagine, all this server processing can get pretty intensive. Because loading your photos as quickly as possible is really important to us, until now we streamlined our servers to just resize the photo and send it out right away. But since we recently implemented some optimizations that
made Picasa Web Albums much faster overall, we decided to take advantage of the new speed improvements by doing a little extra processing to improve the look of our photos.

A well-known issue with all digital photos is that when a photo is resized, the sharp corners and edges look softer from the color blending that occurs. The standard fix for this is to apply a sharpening filter, which brings dulled edges back into razor-sharp focus. As long as you're careful not to over-sharpen, this can help resized photos look much clearer.

Original Image:

Sharpened Image:


From our extensive testing, we found that adding a little bit of sharpening can make a subtle but noticeable improvement in the visual quality of resized photos in Picasa Web Albums. So we recently added some logic to the server processing code that adds the appropriate amount of sharpening when necessary, before sending it out to the browser. We also reduced the image compression slightly to help preserve the clarity of the fine details in the photos that the sharpening brings out. To make sure you don't notice any latency impact on your Picasa Web Albums viewing experience, we're only applying sharpening to newly uploaded and smaller versions of resized photos for now. And just to be clear, we never alter your original photos – we just create new versions as needed whenever we resize and sharpen.

These sharpening and image compression improvements are our first step towards improving the quality of all images in Picasa Web Albums. We're committed to making your photos look as good as possible, and we're investigating other ways to improve the visual quality of your photos without impacting site performance or excessively altering the look of your original photos. On behalf of the entire Picasa team, happy holidays! Take lots of pictures as you gather with your friends and family to celebrate the season, and we'll see you next year.
URL: http://googlephotos.blogspot.com/2009/12/looking-sharp-for-holidays.html

[G] An update on our AdMob acquisition

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Google Public Policy Blog: An update on our AdMob acquisition

Posted by Paul Feng, Group Product Manager

Since we announced our plans to acquire AdMob, we've been excited about the positive reaction -- particularly from advertisers and publishers who have told us that they're enthusiastic about the possibilities for how the combination of AdMob and Google can improve the effectiveness of mobile display advertising.

As we said when we announced the deal, we don't see any regulatory issues with this deal, because the rapidly growing mobile advertising space is highly competitive with more than a dozen mobile ad networks.

That said, we know that closer scrutiny has been one consequence of Google's success, and we've been talking to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission over the past few weeks. This week we received what's called a "second request," which means that the FTC is asking for more information so that they can continue to review the deal.

While this means we won't be closing right away, we're confident that the FTC will conclude that the rapidly growing mobile advertising space will remain highly competitive after this deal closes. And we'll be working closely and cooperatively with them as they continue their review.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/12/update-on-our-admob-acquisition.html

[G] Indigenous Mapping: A new Google technology workshop for tribal peoples

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Google LatLong: Indigenous Mapping: A new Google technology workshop for tribal peoples


Indigenous people worldwide face special challenges in planning, policy and advocacy work. Issues such as cultural preservation, sovereignty, land use management, and handling mineral rights are just a few that they have to tackle. Recognizing this, we're happy to announce that Google and the Indigenous Mapping Network are teaming up to put on a two day workshop on the Google campus to teach people from native communities how to use Google's mapping technologies.

The mission of IMN has been to empower native communities by connecting them with the tools they need to protect, preserve, and enhance their way of life within their aboriginal territories. And they endeavor to bridge the gap between traditional "mapping" practices and modern mapping technologies.

On February 25th and 26th, 2010, Google and IMN will host a workshop on the Google campus for members and staff of indigenous groups who want to learn about Google geospatial and mobile technologies. This hands-on workshop will approach Google technologies with the special concerns of indigenous communities in mind, and will focus on the technical aspects of using Google Earth, Google Maps, Sketchup, Android mobile phones and Open Data Kit, among other technologies. Special attention will be given to:
We are very excited to be hosting this event, and look forward to a long relationship with IMN. For more information and to register for this workshop, go to the IMN website.

Posted by Mano Marks, Geo Developer Advocate, and Rebecca Moore, Manager, Google Earth Outreach
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/12/indigenous-mapping-new-google.html

[G] It's been real, 2009

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Official Gmail Blog: It's been real, 2009

Posted by Jason Toff, Associate Product Marketing Manager

Ah 2009...turning five, finally shedding that beta label, and adding more than 40 new features. As we wind down after a busy year, here's a look back at a handful of our favorite additions to Gmail.  We hope you enjoy trying them out as much as we enjoyed building them.
On behalf of the entire Gmail team, happy holidays! See you next year.

URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/its-been-real-2009.html

[G] Smarter holiday shopping with Google Chrome Extensions (beta!)

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Google Chrome Blog: Smarter holiday shopping with Google Chrome Extensions (beta!)

Since we launched extensions for Google Chrome on the beta channel for Windows and Linux a few weeks ago, we've seen over 1,000 extensions submitted to the gallery. Several of them have already become browser staples for me. But since I've been spending most all of my free time online doing holiday shopping this December, I found myself relying on a few extensions to find the perfect gifts and great deals.

If you're doing some last-minute holiday shopping in the coming days, one extension to try out is InvisibleHand. This extension discreetly notifies you if a product you are looking at on a particular online store is available for less from another retailer.

Also, the Google Checkout team recently released Promotion Notifier, an extension that alerts you if the online store you're browsing is offering special deals for purchases made through Google Checkout. If so, a notification banner pops up with details such as the discount amount and the minimum purchase required.



Another extension you might find useful is the one created by Woot.com. With just one click to the extension's icon, you can find some really memorable items that are on sale on a particular day at Woot.com (like night vision goggles!).

If you're on the beta channel for Windows or Linux versions of Google Chrome, visit the gallery to browse many more extensions (including extensions from eBay and Kaboodle) that might make last-minute online shopping faster, easier, and maybe a little less stressful. Happy Holidays!




Posted by Christos Apartoglou, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2009/12/smarter-holiday-shopping-with-google.html

[G] Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Track Santa and his sleigh with NORAD

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Google LatLong: Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Track Santa and his sleigh with NORAD

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

Sipping warm cider, watching the snow fall, unwrapping gifts — these holiday traditions always seem to produce many of the year's sweetest memories. Several years ago, we added another holiday tradition to our list — helping NORAD keep tabs on Santa every Christmas Eve.

NORAD's Santa-tracking dates back to 1955, when a Sears and Roebuck magazine ad in Colorado Springs accidentally directed readers to call NORAD instead of the 'Talk-to-Santa' hotline they were advertising. Embracing the holiday sprit, the folks at NORAD provided callers with Santa's location according to their radar and have tracked his journey ever since. Many years later, in 2004, the same holiday spirit inspired us to use Google Earth — it was called "Keyhole Earth Viewer" back then — to display Santa's voyage around the world on Christmas Eve. We hosted the entire tracker on a single machine and were excited to have an audience of 25,000 following St. Nick's flight with us that night.

Our scrappy Santa tracker has come a long way since 2004. We added "Santa-cam" videos for select locations around the world, 3D SketchUp models of Santa's sleigh and his North Pole home, the official feed of Santa's location from NORAD headquarters and several other improvements. With more technical resources to support this richer experience, and the wonderful efforts of our Santa-tracking team, 2008 was the biggest year ever for NORAD Tracks Santa — more than eight million people tuned in to track Santa last Christmas Eve.




As soon as he returned to North Pole last year, Santa and his elves began planning for his 2009 flight — and we were no different. We thought hard about the different ways we could improve the Santa tracker and after a year of planning, we think this year's will be the best one yet. As usual, we'll display Santa's location, according to NORAD, in Google Maps and Google Earth at www.noradsanta.org. But we've made a few improvements to make tracking Santa even easier. Namely, we'll display Santa's journey with the Google Earth Plug-in, directly on the NORAD Tracks Santa site, instead of using the Google Earth client. As a result, you'll be able to follow Santa in Google Earth's immersive, 3D environment directly within your web browser. For more information about the plug-in and why we chose to use this tool to track Santa, have a look at our blog post on the Google Geo Developers Blog.

We're also excited about the many different ways you can keep track of Santa's location this Christmas Eve. Like last year, Santa will be trackable by visiting m.noradsanta.org on a mobile device, or searching for "Santa" on Google Maps for Mobile, available for most mobile phones (read more on the Google Mobile Blog). Santa's location will also be updated on Twitter with @noradsanta and you can keep up with news about Santa's flight with our real-time search feature.

To track Santa, visit www.noradsanta.org starting at 2am ET on Christmas Eve. There, you'll see a Google Map that will display Santa's location over the course of the day. To visualize Santa in Google Earth, just click "Track Santa in Google Earth" and you'll see St. Nick flying through Google Earth in your browser. If you don't have the Earth plug-in, click here — it will be installed automatically when you download Google Earth 5.1.

We hope you enjoy tracking Santa with us this year. And on behalf of everyone at Google — happy holidays and have a happy new year!

Posted by Brian McClendon, VP Engineering and Bruno Bowden, Senior Software Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/12/now-dasher-now-dancer-track-santa-and.html

[G] Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Track Santa and his sleigh with NORAD

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Official Google Blog: Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Track Santa and his sleigh with NORAD

Sipping warm cider, watching the snow fall, unwrapping gifts — these holiday traditions always seem to produce many of the year's sweetest memories. Several years ago, we added another holiday tradition to our list — helping NORAD keep tabs on Santa every Christmas Eve.

NORAD's Santa-tracking dates back to 1955, when a Sears and Roebuck magazine ad in Colorado Springs accidentally directed readers to call NORAD instead of the "Talk-to-Santa" hotline they were advertising. Embracing the holiday spirit, the folks at NORAD provided callers with Santa's location according to their radar and have tracked his journey ever since. Many years later, in 2004, the same holiday spirit inspired us to use Google Earth — it was called "Keyhole Earth Viewer" back then — to display Santa's voyage around the world on Christmas Eve. We hosted the entire tracker on a single machine and were excited to have an audience of 25,000 following St. Nick's flight with us that night.

Our scrappy Santa tracker has come a long way since 2004. We added "Santa-cam" videos for select locations around the world, 3D SketchUp models of Santa's sleigh and his North Pole home, the official feed of Santa's location from NORAD headquarters and several other improvements. With more technical resources to support this richer experience, and the wonderful efforts of our Santa-tracking team, 2008 was the biggest year ever for NORAD Tracks Santa — more than eight million people tuned in to track Santa last Christmas Eve.



As soon as he returned to North Pole last year, Santa and his elves began planning for his 2009 flight — and we were no different. We thought hard about the different ways we could improve the Santa tracker and after a year of planning, we think this year's will be the best one yet. As usual, we'll display Santa's location, according to NORAD, in Google Maps and Google Earth at www.noradsanta.org. But we've made a few improvements to make tracking Santa even easier. Namely, we'll display Santa's journey with the Google Earth plug-in, directly on the NORAD Tracks Santa site, instead of using the Google Earth client. As a result, you'll be able to follow Santa in Google Earth's immersive, 3D environment directly within your web browser. For more information about the plugin and why we chose to use this tool to track Santa, have a look at our post on the Google Geo Developers Blog.

We're also excited about the many different ways you can keep track of Santa's location this Christmas Eve. Like last year, Santa will be trackable by visiting m.noradsanta.org on a mobile device, or searching for "Santa" on Google Maps for Mobile, available for most mobile phones (read more on the Google Mobile Blog). Santa's location will also be updated on Twitter with @noradsanta and you can keep up with news about Santa's flight with our real-time search feature.

To track Santa, visit www.noradsanta.org starting at 2am ET on Christmas Eve. There, you'll see a Google Map that will display Santa's location over the course of the day. To visualize Santa in Google Earth, just click "Track Santa in Google Earth" and you'll see St. Nick flying through Google Earth in your browser. If you don't have the Earth plug-in, click here — it will be installed automatically when you download Google Earth 5.1.

We hope you enjoy tracking Santa with us this year. And on behalf of everyone at Google — happy holidays and have a happy new year!

Posted by Brian McClendon, VP Engineering and Bruno Bowden, Senior Software Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/now-dasher-now-dancer-track-santa-and.html

[G] Follow Santa's Journey!

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YouTube Blog: Follow Santa's Journey!

Oooh, it's almost Christmas! And that means that Santa is about to leave his digs at the North Pole to embark upon his '09 World Tour, placing presents under the trees of good little girls and boys all over the planet. Where will he be, and when will he make it to your house?

You can find the answer at www.noradsanta.org. You see, every year, NORAD, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, tracks Santa's journey from the time he lifts off from his Arctic village to his final stop in Hawaii at the end of a looooooooong night. You can join the ride at Noradsanta.org or try m.noradsanta.org if you prefer to do your Santa tracking on a mobile phone. You'll also want to subscribe to the NORAD Tracks Santa YouTube channel, which will contain videos of many of his stops around the world, all captured by NORAD's Santa Cam network.

Take a peek at the fun that ensued last year and brace yourself for 2009's merry ride:



Jeff Martin, Santa Wannabe, recently watched "How to Grow a Beard in 3 Easy Steps!"


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/5Gp7GMHR4u8/follow-santas-journey.html

[G] Ho Ho Ho! Follow Santa's journey around the world on your phone

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Ho Ho Ho! Follow Santa's journey around the world on your phone

Like most kids, all I wanted to do on Christmas Eve was stay up and wait for Santa to arrive. One year, I went downstairs in the middle of the night and sat down in front of the Christmas tree to wait for Santa. Unfortunately, I soon fell asleep. When I awoke on Christmas morning the presents were under the tree and the milk and cookies I left out for Santa had been eaten. I had missed him. But next to the plate of crumbs, there was a note... from Santa himself! He thanked me for trying to wait up for him. I was so excited that I got a note from Santa that I forgot all about having fallen asleep and missing him. Every year after that I made sure to go to bed extra early to make sure that Santa stopped by.

This year, no one needs to go to bed early to make sure Santa comes over. Since NORAD is tracking Santa's journey around the world, you can find his current location on the 24th. If you see he's getting close by, just hop into bed. And if he's already passed by your house but you don't yet see presents (or coal!) under the tree, rest assured he'll be looping back once you're asleep. Read more about how NORAD tracks Santa on our Official Google Blog.

To make following Santa's journey even easier, you can find him on your phone too. Make sure you have Google Maps for mobile (available for most phones). Then just search! Just as you'd put in a query for "pizza" to find pizza places, or "San Antonio" to find it on a map, you can search for "Santa" to find where he is at the time. This way, you can stay up to date whether you're lounging by the fire at a ski lodge, stuck in traffic en route to Grandma's (get your kids to look it up for you!), or at the dinner table. To get started, go to m.noradsanta.org on your mobile phone, or just search for "Santa" in Google Maps for mobile on December 24th.


Posted by Matt Aldridge, Mobile Elf
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/12/ho-ho-ho-follow-santas-journey-around.html

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

[G] Template spotlight: Gift shopping list

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Official Google Docs Blog: Template spotlight: Gift shopping list

Keeping track of gifts can be overwhelming, especially when you're buying and delivering gifts for people in a lot of different places. If you haven't done all of your holiday shopping or deliveries yet, check out the holiday gift shopping list template. You can reference the list on the go from your mobile phone and update it from any computer.



Posted by: Peter Harbison, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/12/template-spotlight-gift-shopping-list.html

[G] Merry Music: MusicBrainz's Latest Summit and 10th Anniversary

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Google Open Source Blog: Merry Music: MusicBrainz's Latest Summit and 10th Anniversary

The yearly MusicBrainz summit serves an important function in building our community: we talk about issues facing MusicBrainz and we plan the road map for MusicBrainz projects. The summits are usually scheduled to allow as many people to attend as possible and this year we chose Nürnberg, Germany as our location. MusicBrainz contributor Nikolai "Pronik" Prokoschenko lives in Nürnberg and was our local contract and ended up planning most of the summit.

Pronik found us a conference room that we rented for the entire day, complete with open WiFi, which is important if you plan to have a room full of geeks. He also found us a cheap Gasthof that provided lodgings slightly better than a Hostel for a mere 20€ per person per night — a really good deal for Europe. The evening before the summit we all sat in the Gasthof and were treated to some confusing German/Greek cuisine with some of the most rude service any of us have ever encountered. But, our group is used to dealing with the crude Internet public, so we managed to laugh off the horrible service and still have a great time.

To our luck there was a grocery store right next door to our Gasthof and we commenced another successful crowd sourced breakfast. Four people were each given 20€ with the instructions to buy food/drinks that they would like to eat/drink for breakfast/lunch. No collusion was allowed between people! Once the shopping was complete we walked to the conference room, settled in and dove into the masses of food we'd collected. Many tasty bread rolls with jam, nutella, cold cuts and cheese were consumed. Of course we had fun things like a case of Bionade, juices, tea, gummy bears and chocolate. Crowd sourcing breakfast takes a potentially frustrating chore and makes it fun for everyone.


Plus, Pronik and his mate Kira brought a MusicBrainz decorated cake to celebrate 10 years of MusicBrainz!


As people were eating, we started to collect an unconference-like agenda of what people wanted to talk about. We decided to have a detailed state of the project talk including recent developments from meeting our customers in Europe. We also talked about current development processes and some of the problems associated with these processes. Oliver Charles, a 2008 Google Summer of Code™ student, gave an introduction on how to hack on the MusicBrainz server, based on his work from the last year.

Most of the time was spent discussing new features for once we release our much anticipated Next Generation Schema. At times we managed to get into deep philosophical discussions about what MusicBrainz is and what it should be. At other times we discussed light hearted topics with lots of joking. These summits do wonders for building our community and getting people on the same page. We manage to explore many topics and reach consensus on many points in one day instead of spending weeks on the same discussions online.

Finally, in the evening we cleaned up our space and retired to a local beer hall where we continued the discussion in a less formal manner. If you're interested, we posted all the session notes from the summit on our wiki. All in all, this event was fun and not much effort to put on — thanks to Pronik! On another happy note, 1/3 of the people in attendance were women, which is much better than most tech summits I've attended.

In total we spent about $1500, including all the food, drinks, lodgings and one person's travel costs. For a summit with 12 people, I think we did rather well! I call that Google's support well spent — thanks again for supporting MusicBrainz, Google!

By Robert Kaye, Executive Director, Metabrainz Foundation
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/12/merry-music-musicbrainzs-latest-summit.html

[G] Announcing our Q4 Research Awards

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Official Google Research Blog: Announcing our Q4 Research Awards

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education & University Relations and Jeff Walz, Head of University Relations

We do a significant amount of in-house research at Google, but we also maintain strong ties with academic institutions globally, pursuing innovative research in core areas relevant to our mission. One way in which we support academic institutions is the Google Research Awards program, aimed at identifying and supporting world-class, full-time faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest.

Our University Relations team and core area committees just completed the latest round of research awards, and we're excited to announce them today. We had a record number of submissions, resulting in 76 awards across 17 different areas. Over $4 million was awarded — the most we have ever funded in a round.

The areas that received the highest level of funding for this round were systems and infrastructure, machine learning, multimedia, human computer interaction, and security. These five areas represent important areas of collaboration with university researchers. We're also excited to be developing more connections internationally. In this round, over 20 percent of the funding was awarded to universities outside the U.S.

Some exciting examples from this round of awards:

Ondrej Chum, Czech Technical University, Large Scale Visual Link Discovery. This project addresses automatic discovery of visual links between image parts in huge image collections. Visual links associate parts of images that share even a relatively small, but distinctive, visual information.

Bernd Gartner, ETH Zurich, Linear Time Kernel Methods and Matrix Factorizations. This project aims to derive faster approximation algorithms for kernel methods as well as matrix approximation problems and leverage these two promising paradigms for better performance on large scale data.

Dawson Engler, Stanford University, High Coverage, Deep Checking of Linux Device Drivers using KLEE + Under-constrained Execution Symbolic execution. This project extends the recently built KLEE, a tool that automatically generates test cases that execute most statements in real programs, so that it allows automatic, deep checking of Linux device drivers.

Jeffrey G. Gray, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Improving the Education and Career Opportunities of the Physically Disabled through Speech-Aware Development Environments. This project will investigate the science and engineering of tool construction to allow those with restricted limb mobility to access integrated development environments (IDEs), which will support programming by voice.

Xiaohui (Helen) Gu, North Carolina State University, Predictive Elastic Load Management for Cloud Computing Infrastructures. This project proposes to use fine-grained resource signatures with signal processing techniques to improve resource utilization by reducing the number of physical hosts required to run all applications.

Jason Hong and John Zimmerman, Carnegie Mellon University, Context-Aware Mobile Mash-ups. This project seeks to build tools for non-programmers to create location and context-aware mashups of data for mobile devices that can present time- and place-approriate information.

S V N Vishwanathan, Purdue University, Training Binary Classifiers using the Quantum Adiabatic Algorithm. The goal of this project is to harness the power of quantum algorithms in machine learning. The advantage of the new quantum methods will materialize even more once new adiabatic quantum processors become available.

Emmett Witchel and Vitaly Shmatikov, University of Texas at Austin, Private and Secure MapReduce. This project proposes to build a practical system for large-scale distributed computation that provides rigorous privacy and security guarantees to the individual data owners whose information has been used in the computation.

Click here to see a full list of this round’s award recipients. More information on our research award program can be found on our website.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2009/12/announcing-our-q4-research-awards.html