Friday, January 16, 2009

[G] Recap of Macworld 2009

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Recap of Macworld 2009

Last week the Google Mobile team joined Googlers from the Geo, YouTube and Mac teams at the 2009 Macworld Expo at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. This year, the Google booth featured fun giveaways, a YouTube upload booth, an Earth Surfer, and an iPhone charging station. Check out some pictures from the Google booth:



Along with demoing mobile products for the iPhone and iPod touch, we also shared the secret behind the hidden options in the Google Mobile App. If you didn't get a chance to stop by the booth at Macworld and haven't discovered the secret, you can get some hints from bloggers, tech sites, or vloggers.

We hope you enjoy the Bells and Whistles! Also, we wanted to give a big thanks to our users and the Mac Observer which gave the Google Mobile App the 2009 Editor's Choice Award!

Posted by Linda Tong, Product Marketing
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/01/recap-of-macworld-2009.html

[G] The short answer is.. you don't have to change your snippet

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Google Analytics Blog: The short answer is.. you don't have to change your snippet

If you've added a profile recently to your account or read a help article that discusses the tracking code, you may have noticed an addition to the tracking code snippet. You do not need to change the tracking code in your existing pages, although doing so will add a layer of functionality that I'll explain in a minute. Here is the updated snippet, with the additions in bold.

<script type="text/javascript">
var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");
document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));
</script>

<script type="text/javascript">
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-50020-1");
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}
</script>


So why the change? Adding the try and catch to the snippet removes the possibility that your visitor sees a JavaScript message that doesn't apply to her. It's a fairly rare occurrence because messages like these (frequently in the form of an alert box) can only appear if JavaScript messaging has been enabled on the browser. Most browsers have JavaScript messaging turned off by default, but sometimes people unintentionally turn it on. For those visitors who have enabled messaging, the try and catch will have the effect of halting any messages from the Google Analytics tracking code snippet.

As a best practice, we're including the try and catch in the snippet and updating our help materials to reflect this change.

Posted by Christina Park, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/01/short-answer-is-you-dont-have-to-change.html

[G] The short answer is.. you don't have to change your snippet

| More

Google Analytics Blog: The short answer is.. you don't have to change your snippet

If you've added a profile recently to your account or read a help article that discusses the tracking code, you may have noticed an addition to the tracking code snippet. You do not need to change the tracking code in your existing pages, although doing so will add a layer of functionality that I'll explain in a minute. Here is the updated snippet, with the additions in bold.

<script type="text/javascript">
var gaJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://ssl." : "http://www.");
document.write(unescape("%3Cscript src='" + gaJsHost + "google-analytics.com/ga.js' type='text/javascript'%3E%3C/script%3E"));
</script>

<script type="text/javascript">
try {
var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker("UA-50020-1");
pageTracker._trackPageview();
} catch(err) {}
</script>


So why the change? Adding the try and catch to the snippet removes the possibility that your visitor sees a JavaScript message that doesn't apply to her. It's a fairly rare occurrence because messages like these (frequently in the form of an alert box) can only appear if JavaScript messaging has been enabled on the browser. Most browsers have JavaScript messaging turned off by default, but sometimes people unintentionally turn it on. For those visitors who have enabled messaging, the try and catch will have the effect of halting any messages from the Google Analytics tracking code snippet.

As a best practice, we're including the try and catch in the snippet and updating our help materials to reflect this change.

Posted by Christina Park, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/01/short-answer-is-you-dont-have-to-change.html

[G] 100,000th knol published

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Official Google Blog: 100,000th knol published

A few weeks ago the 100,000th knol was published, and we figured now is an excellent time to reflect on the first five months of Knol's existence.

Knols are authoritative articles about specific topics, written by people who know about those subjects. Since the start of the project, we've seen articles written on everything from sinus infections and Arctic exploration to long distance motorcycle riding and the Amphilinidea.

The Knol interface is now available in eight languages (Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish) and we are excited that our users are helping us translate it into many more languages using the Google in Your Language console. Encouraging people to contribute their knowledge online is particularly important for languages with limited web content, and we are glad to see that knols have been written in 59 different languages to date. It has been very exciting to have people all over the world come forward to help improve online content in their language.

We have worked quickly to incorporate the features most requested by our early authors, such as usage stats showing reader activity on knols and rich media embedding (videos, spreadsheets, forms, slideshows, etc.). All of these improvements are tracked in our Announcement and Release Notes.

We are happy to see that most authors choose to accept moderated edits from their audience and that the volume of suggested edits from readers is steadily growing. So if you find yourself reading a knol and want to suggest an improvement, go ahead and press that edit button! You will be able to make the desired changes directly in the knol, and the author(s) will be able to review and act upon your suggestions. We look forward to seeing this new mode of online collaboration used more widely.

People visit Knol from 197 countries and territories on an average day, from the Aland Islands and Antarctica to Zambia and Zimbabwe. We welcome you to share your knowledge with the world and write a knol.

Posted by Cedric Dupont, Product Manager, and Michael McNally, Software Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/100000th-knol-published.html

[G] Share questions & answers in the Google Earth Help Forum

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Google LatLong: Share questions & answers in the Google Earth Help Forum


Earlier this week, we told you about the new Help Forum for Google Maps. Well the Google Maps enthusiasts aren't the only ones who will benefit from the new and improved help system: we're also unveiling the Google Earth Help Forum!

Just like the Google Maps help forum, our new forum should make it easier for you to find answers, share resources with others, and have your participation acknowledged. You can read more about the changes in Wednesday's announcement, or simply head over to the new and improved Help Forum to see for yourself. 

We really appreciate all the great discussions in our old Group, and we encourage you to check out the new Google Earth Help Forum!

Posted by Sandhya Vora, Google Earth Support Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/01/share-questions-and-answers-in-google.html

[G] Collaborating on Art, Crafts, and Google Docs, too

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Official Google Docs Blog: Collaborating on Art, Crafts, and Google Docs, too

What do girl-friendly skateboarding, making shoes out of a sweatshirt, and building a website have in common? They're all examples of classes that are offered by the Rock Paper Scissors Collective -- a volunteer-run organization based in Oakland, California dedicated to promoting creativity and collaboration in the community. Continuing our series on non-profits, we chatted with Mark Nicola, Volunteer Coordinator, about the organization and the work (and art) that they do for their local area.


Now in its fourth year of operation, the RPS Collective achieves their mission by providing classes, youth outreach programs, an art studio, a retail store, and exhibition space for the community to come together through art, crafts, and performance. High school students can take advantage of an internship program to explore their interest in art, fashion and entrepreneurship, while artists can apply to have their work displayed in the gallery or sold in the Collective's store. RPS Collective's popular art and crafts classes are open to the public, and over 50% of classes are either free or donation-based.

The RPS Collective started using Google Docs over two years ago to streamline their processes, and--true to their mission--to promote collaboration. Mark echoed the challenges faced by many non-profit organizations, "We have lots of meetings, but being volunteer-run, having lots of meetings is just really tough. We realized that we should be collaborating more online. And Google Docs is a really good way for us to do this." Today, Mark and his teammates use Google Docs to write grant proposals collaboratively, circulate how-to guides, and manage volunteers' schedules. 

Volunteers help with everything from operating the retail store, staffing gallery events, to teaching classes. For more information on volunteering at the RPS Collective, visit their website at www.rpscollective.com.

Posted by: Vivian Leung, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/01/collaborating-on-art-crafts-and-google.html

[G] Los colores bonitos, or how I learned to stop worrying and compare multiple feed metrics.

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AdSense for Feeds: Los colores bonitos, or how I learned to stop worrying and compare multiple feed metrics.

If you've been knocking about within FeedBurner using your Google Account, you may have noticed that the original "french fry" chart from the Analyze tab of the original feedburner.com is no more. This venerable bar chart, with its green picket fence of subscriber trend results, has been the first stop for many publishers when checking their feed analytics for years. In its place is new green-ness (and blue-ness) that communicates three times as much information in the same space, and sets the stage for more interesting reporting in the future. Here's a snapshot:



This 30-day view now offers the following information:
  • Daily subscriber totals (in green)

  • Daily reach totals (in blue)

  • The relationship between these two numbers over time
You can move the mouse over any day in the chart and see that day's specific totals for subscribers and reach, too. (Note that reach and subscribers are plotted with different y-axes: subscribers on left, reach on right).

The relationship between these numbers is the kicker:
  • Understanding that reach means people's taking action by viewing or clicking on items in your feed helps you understand how engaged your audience is.

  • The more often you post (especially with full text), the more often people are likely to view your current (and previous) updates, and even click-through to your site for related information.

  • Note the blue spikes in reach above; these are centered around new posts. Steady subscriber growth occurred as this site promoted and redirected 100% of its original feed traffic to its feed.
Don't forget to click the "See more about your subscribers" link below the main chart to view a detailed breakdown of your subscriber traffic:



Comparing this chart, day by day, can help you spot where subscribers are coming from (and from what source they have gone missing, should there be a sudden drop).

While we're on the topic: make sure you can actually get the reach statistic - meaning, make sure you turn on item-level stats for your feed! They're used to help calculate reach. Visit the Analyze tab, look for the "Configure Stats" option, and make sure the boxes shown below are checked:



(You can, of course, check "downloads," too, if you're a podcaster). As a reminder: to view all feed stats' reports and options, either click the "View Feed Stats" next to your feed's ad unit listing in the AdSense Manage Ads section, or sign into feedburner.google.com and click on your feed's title on My Feeds.

— Jessie Chavez, Software Engineer, and Matt Shobe, User Experience Designer, AdSense for feeds
URL: http://adsenseforfeeds.blogspot.com/2009/01/los-colores-bonitos-or-how-i-learned-to.html

[G] Building engineers

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Official Google Blog: Building engineers

We believe great ideas can come from anywhere and everyone. And we aspire to be an organization that reflects global diversity, because we know that a world's worth of perspectives, ideas and cultures leads to the creation of better products and services. We have more than a dozen employee-driven resource groups, from Gayglers to GWE (Google Women Engineers), that actively participate around the world in building community and driving policy at Google. This is the next post in our Interface series, which takes a look at valuing people's similarities and differences in the workplace. For more information on how Google fosters an inclusive work environment, visit Life at Google on our Jobs site. – Ed.

As someone who has been building technology for more than 15 years, I know firsthand what a positive impact building hardware or software with a small team in an agile environment can have. I was only exposed to this type of work during grad school, and have since been actively involved in getting young people interested in science and technology. This year Google has enthusiastically supported my initiative to bring a local group of girls closer to technology through the FIRST Robotics Competition.

"People claim that only with the perspective of years can you know how much influence a particular event has had on you," Tal Tzangen says and proceeds to explain how she is convinced her participation in the FIRST Robotics Competition last year has significantly changed the course of her life. Tal, a 17 year old girl from a rural part of Israel, was taking technology courses at her school, not because she was particularly interested in technology but because the other options seemed even less appealing to her. Although Israel is also known as "Silicon Wadi," Tal thought technology was "just for geeks." Last year she agreed to be a member of a newly forming FIRST team, not knowing what she was letting herself in for.

The competition involves 1,686 teams from more than 42,000 high schools spanning the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Turkey, and the U.K. Each team has six weeks to build a robot from a common kit of parts provided by FIRST. Then, they compete with other robots in a new game devised each year.

Before Tal knew it, she was "bit by the bug." During the weeks of preparation, she spent days and nights at school learning about robotics and teamwork with her peers and mentors. Her team had won the regional competitions and were seeking funding for the finals in Atlanta when I met her.

Tal, center, and her team members work on their robot's transmission system.

This year Tal is the captain of the Google-sponsored Thunderbolts team, and one of her goals has been to get as many girls involved as possible. As she puts it, "I certainly don't mind the company of my male peers, but I know that girls also have a lot to contribute in this domain." The current team includes 24 students, eight of them girls (last year there were only two). Recruiting girls has been challenging since there are very few in the technical track in high school. She has enlisted some pre-high school girls with the hope of serving as a role model to them. Likewise, she has encouraged the forming of a FIRST LEGO team (9-14 year olds) to ensure the "next generation" for the Robotics Competition.

The Thunderbolt team.

The world kickoff for this year's competition took place on January 3rd, followed by the Israeli kickoff the following day. Regardless of how far they get in the competition this year, Israel is a country where high tech, engineering, science and entrepreneurship thrive, and Tal and her Thunderbolts are a growing part of this culture.

Posted by Natalia Marmasse, Software Engineer, Haifa office
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/building-engineers.html

[G] Los colores bonitos, or how I learned to stop worrying and compare multiple feed metrics.

| More

AdSense for Feeds: Los colores bonitos, or how I learned to stop worrying and compare multiple feed metrics.

If you've been knocking about within FeedBurner using your Google Account, you may have noticed that the original "french fry" chart from the Analyze tab of the original feedburner.com is no more. This venerable bar chart, with its green picket fence of subscriber trend results, has been the first stop for many publishers when checking their feed analytics for years. In its place is new green-ness (and blue-ness) that communicates three times as much information in the same space, and sets the stage for more interesting reporting in the future. Here's a snapshot:



This 30-day view now offers the following information:
  • Daily subscriber totals (in green)

  • Daily reach totals (in blue)

  • The relationship between these two numbers over time
You can move the mouse over any day in the chart and see that day's specific totals for subscribers and reach, too. (Note that reach and subscribers are plotted with different y-axes: subscribers on left, reach on right).

The relationship between these numbers is the kicker:
  • Understanding that reach means people's taking action by viewing or clicking on items in your feed helps you understand how engaged your audience is.

  • The more often you post (especially with full text), the more often people are likely to view your current (and previous) updates, and even click-through to your site for related information.

  • Note the blue spikes in reach above; these are centered around new posts. Steady subscriber growth occurred as this site promoted and redirected 100% of its original feed traffic to its feed.
Don't forget to click the "See more about your subscribers" link below the main chart to view a detailed breakdown of your subscriber traffic:



Comparing this chart, day by day, can help you spot where subscribers are coming from (and from what source they have gone missing, should there be a sudden drop).

While we're on the topic: make sure you can actually get the reach statistic - meaning, make sure you turn on item-level stats for your feed! They're used to help calculate reach. Visit the Analyze tab, look for the "Configure Stats" option, and make sure the boxes shown below are checked:



(You can, of course, check "downloads," too, if you're a podcaster). As a reminder: to view all feed stats' reports and options, either click the "View Feed Stats" next to your feed's ad unit listing in the AdSense Manage Ads section, or sign into feedburner.google.com and click on your feed's title on My Feeds.

— Jessie Chavez, Software Engineer, and Matt Shobe, User Experience Designer, AdSense for feeds


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BurnThisRSS2/~3/Ef9jQPzMjh0/los-colores-bonitos-or-how-i-learned-to.html

[G] Don't let history pass you by

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Google LatLong: Don't let history pass you by


Back in November we launched the Ancient Rome in 3D Curriculum Competition alongside a brand-new Google Earth layer highlighting the historic city in breathtaking detail.



Whether you're putting the finishing touches on your submission or have yet to explore the new layer, you still have some time! Just be sure to register and upload your files no later than Monday, February 9th.

Bona Fortuna!

Posted by Anna Bishop, Google Earth Education Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/01/dont-let-history-pass-you-by.html

[G] Don't let history pass you by

| More

Google LatLong: Don't let history pass you by


Back in November we launched the Ancient Rome in 3D Curriculum Competition alongside a brand-new Google Earth layer highlighting the historic city in breathtaking detail.



Whether you're putting the finishing touches on your submission or have yet to explore the new layer, you still have some time! Just be sure to register and upload your files no later than Monday, February 9th.

Bona Fortuna!

Posted by Anna Bishop, Google Earth Education Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/01/dont-let-history-pass-you-by.html

[G] "Why I sleep better at night with Google Apps," by Camille Wehs, IT Director, City of Canton, GA

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: "Why I sleep better at night with Google Apps," by Camille Wehs, IT Director, City of Canton, GA

Note: We are pleased to welcome Camille Wehs, IT director for the City of Canton, GA, as our guest blogger today. The City of Canton recently selected Google Apps Premier Edition for its messaging and collaboration needs, saving more than $10,000 and untold IT hours. Members of the City of Canton team and will be on hand next week to talk about that experience in a webinar exploring how Google Apps can help businesses of all sorts reduce costs.


My name is Camille Wehs and I'm the IT director for the City of Canton, Georgia. Canton was the fifth-fastest growing city in the United States according to the 2005 US census. Since we are only 30 miles from Atlanta, we've experienced rapid growth in our residential population -- and have consequently witnessed a parallel increase in demand for our fire, police, water treatment, and zoning/planning services, all of which have been challenged by Canton's growth.

Our rapid population increase also put a strain on other parts of our city infrastructure. On the IT side of things, spam emails were overwhelming our security systems and our email server required constant maintenance. With only one IT person (me!)
serving 185 city employees, I spent a lot of time trying to ensure our IT infrastructure was keeping up with our growing needs for fast and effective communications and easy-to-use collaboration tools. In the end, my on-premise software couldn't keep up, so I moved our IT infrastructure to Google Apps. And I have to say, I've slept better since I did!


We now have a first-rate solution at a fraction of the price of our old one. Our employees have more functionality than they did before – instant messaging, video, and site publishing tools in addition to the basics of email, calendar, and word processing/spreadsheets. Because everything is hosted by Google "in the cloud" our employees can access their docs or mail from anywhere – a nice solution in the event of disaster. What I like most of all is that we can add or subtract user accounts as our budget dollars go up or down.

Many people have asked me about my experiences and I am happy to share lessons learned. Please join me for a webinar next Thursday, January 22, 2009, at 1:00 PM EST, 12:00 PM CST, 10:00 AM PST, where I will be on hand to answer questions about how we brought Google Apps into the City of Canton government offices and why that decision is helping us succeed.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps Marketing
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/01/why-i-sleep-better-at-night-with-google.html

[G] Supporting equality

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Official Google Blog: Supporting equality

In September of last year, Google announced its opposition to California's Proposition 8. While the campaign was emotionally charged and difficult for both sides, in the wake of the election many were concerned with the impact Proposition 8 could have on the personal lives of people they work with every day, and on California's ability to attract and retain a diverse mix of employees from around the world.

That's why we've signed an amicus brief (PDF file) in support of several cases currently challenging Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court. Denying employees basic rights isn't right, and it isn't good for businesses. We are committed to preserving fundamental rights for every one of the people who work hard to make Google a success.

Please join us in continuing to fight for equality for all Californians.

Posted by Kent Walker, General Counsel
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/supporting-equality.html

[G] Students and others find what they're looking for with Google Search

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Students and others find what they're looking for with Google Search

When you think about all that a university has to offer, you probably think of classes, curriculum, and alumni activities. But universities have much more to share. In fact, they provide information to a surprising number of communities – current and prospective students, faculty members, alumni, sports or team fans, and regional audiences interested in recreational or cultural events, to name a few.

All of this information is usually centralized on the university's web site – but structuring the diverse data these sites present in a way that makes it "findable" can challenge even the best web architects. That's where the Google Search Appliance (GSA) comes in. By powering a university website with search, the GSA lets any visitor type zero in on the information they're after without having to navigate page after page, or seek one-off answers through phone calls or emails.

Especially in these financially-stretched times, universities (and everybody else) appreciate the savings when successful website search minimizes follow-ups and employee attention and time.


Illinois State University, for example, uses the GSA to streamline the way that students find the latest information on classes and schedules. Their customized "Course Finder" delivers results through the familiar Google search box, so visitors already know how to search for answers. Users easily customize searches by departments, time slots, instructors, or other criteria – and, because the GSA reaches beyond website data for results, public information on the university's mainframes or servers is instantly findable.

Mark Troester, Illinois State University's Director of Web Support, says that using the GSA accelerates the speed at which information reaches visitors. “The Google Search Appliance saved enormous time and effort,” he says, “and integrated seamlessly with our existing IT infrastructure.”


The team at Illinois State University has offered to share their experience with GSA – along with updates on Google Apps and Security solutions on campus – at an upcoming webinar,
Google Search for Your School, on
January 21, 2009 at 11:00 AM PST. We hope you'll join us by participating in the webinar and learning what Google search can do for your website.

Posted by Vijay Koduri, Google Search Appliance Team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/01/students-and-others-find-what-theyre.html

[G] London OS Jam 11: Security

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Google Open Source Blog: London OS Jam 11: Security

By Tim Cox, Software Engineering Team

The usual mixture of free pizza, beer and talks recently made for another smashing London Google Open Source Jam. The topic was Security, and the talks showed just how wide-ranging the subject is:

  • Ben LaurieCaja, a framework for running untrusted Javascript

  • Ben Smyth — Security protocols and how to express them, and why online voting could work

  • Jon Cowie — The Sysadmin view of Security: Virtual Machines, Ruby on Rails, packages and the complexities of auditing it all

  • Sam Mbale — Trust between users of applications on social networking sites

  • Douglas Squirrel — Real world PKI. A play in 3 acts. With props!

  • Glyn Wintle — Your personal data isn’t safe, and online voting can’t work

  • Gervase Markham — Phishing for profit and more profit

  • Joe Walnes — Cross site scripting and injection attacks

Each talk was limited to 5 minutes, with some trying to run longer — but we have a gong for such cases — and some running shorter. Questions are encouraged at the end of the talk, and in many cases lead to a discussion later. Of course, the talks were only part of the evening. Many impromptu discussions, not limited to Security, created debate on everything from Australian politics to mobile phones to automated testing.

We hope our guests found the evening as fun and informative as we did. If you are in or around London, you are welcome to join us for the next Open Source Jam. Keep your eye on our London OS Jam site for an announcement of the next Jam.
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/01/london-os-jam-11-security.html

[G] Davos: Your Last Chance to Attend!

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YouTube Blog: Davos: Your Last Chance to Attend!

It's not often you're offered the opportunity to receive an all-expense-paid trip to meet with the world's top leaders and thinkers, just for speaking your mind. But thanks to the World Economic Forum and YouTube, you are. However - time is running out for the chance to attend this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.



Check out the Davos Debates YouTube channel now - and weigh in on the four key questions posed there. Then upload your video response to the question you find most interesting. WEF will choose the most compelling video submitted and then fly the maker of that video all the way to Davos to participate in forums with the heads of state, CEOs, and thought leaders from around the world. There are just 5 DAYS LEFT to submit your video - so enter today. The deadline is January 20th.







In addition to awarding a trip to the maker of the best video, WEF will play a selection of other videos submitted to the Davos Question channel at panel sessions throughout the Forum, where world leaders will listen to your thoughts and opinions as they debate these issues. So tell them your personal stories: how are the world's new challenges affecting your life, and what do you want to see your leaders do to make the world a better place?



The world economy may be in crisis, but its collaboration and fresh thinking from diverse sources that will move us towards the right solutions. Have your say today.



Yours,



Steve Grove

YouTube News and Politics
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=4g9tJYaVTmI

[G] A new layer of data access security for Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: A new layer of data access security for Google Apps

Helping businesses, schools and organizations keep information safe is critical, and we've been providing Google Apps customers with a spectrum of capabilities to help ensure that only authorized users have access to information accessible from the cloud, including SSL options, single sign-on capabilities, and administrative controls for how widely users can share and publish information from Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Calendar.

Today we're adding a new layer of security: the ability for administrators to set password length requirements and view password strength indicators to identify sufficiently long passwords that may still not be strong enough.


What's more, because the Google Account authentication system continuously sees new variations of password attacks from around the world, we can assess password strength in real-time and help administrators spot passwords that were relatively secure in the past that are more vulnerable to the latest patterns of attacks.

Premier and Education Edition administrators can access these features from the administrative control panel under 'Advanced Tools' > 'Advanced Password Settings'.

To help their users choose strong passwords, admins can share our password selection tips.

Posted by Eran Feigenbaum, Director of Security, Google Apps
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/01/new-layer-of-data-access-security-for.html

Thursday, January 15, 2009

[G] A new layer of data access security for Google Apps

| More

Official Google Enterprise Blog: A new layer of data access security for Google Apps

Helping businesses, schools and organizations keep information safe is critical, and we've been providing Google Apps customers with a spectrum of capabilities to help ensure that only authorized users have access to information accessible from the cloud, including SSL options, single sign-on capabilities, and administrative controls for how widely users can share and publish information from Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Calendar.

Today we're adding a new layer of security: the ability for administrators to set password length requirements and view password strength indicators to identify sufficiently long passwords that may still not be strong enough.


What's more, because the Google Account authentication system continuously sees new variations of password attacks from around the world, we can assess password strength in real-time and help administrators spot passwords that were relatively secure in the past that are more vulnerable to the latest patterns of attacks.

Premier and Education Edition administrators can access these features from the administrative control panel under 'Advanced Tools' > 'Advanced Password Settings'.

To help their users choose strong passwords, admins can share our password selection tips.

Posted by Eran Feigenbaum, Director of Security, Google Apps
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/01/new-layer-of-data-access-security-for.html

[G] Making your personalized homepage even more personal

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Official Google Blog: Making your personalized homepage even more personal

The holidays have passed, but if you're anything like me, you've got a gold mine of bear hugs and embarrassing moments captured on film. My holidays wouldn't be the same without Tabby, our family cat, who has been part of the winter festivities for 10 years. Over the holidays, we caught Tabby sticking out his tongue at the family get-together! Below is one of those prized moments I wanted to post everywhere, including on my personalized homepage:


Now, you too can capture memories and images on your iGoogle homepage by building a custom theme. We've just released our new tool for creating iGoogle themes. It's an easy way for iGoogle users to spruce up their personalized homepage without needing to know how to use XML, etc. All you need is an image, and we'll provide the rest.

The theme-building tool has a simple interface for uploading your photo from your desktop, Picasa Web Album, or the web. Once you've chosen a photo, the builder provides a basic set of tools to help you create your theme:
  • Image Cropping - Crop your favorite photo to fit your iGoogle theme
  • Color Schemes - Pick colors to complement your photo
  • Real-time Preview - See immediate feedback of your changes to swiftly fine-tune your theme
  • Public and Private Publishing - Choose who gets to see your original themes, whether it's just you, or if you want to share them with the world
Once your theme is created, it's immediately added to your iGoogle page for you to enjoy.

We hope you have fun customizing your iGoogle homepage with your favorite images, whether they're photos of your pets or places you've visited, drawings, designs, cartoons — or whatever else your heart desires.

Posted by Kathleen Ko, iGoogle Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/making-your-personalized-homepage-even.html

[G] New Free TV Ad Creation Solution

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Inside AdWords: New Free TV Ad Creation Solution

Now it's easier and more affordable to advertise your business on national television and reach new customers from within your AdWords account. 

Google TV Ads has partnered with SpotMixer to bring advertisers a new, free ad creation service. This means you can create your own TV commercial from a library of free images, audio and video content, or your own uploaded content. Simply access this service from the Submit Ad page when creating your Google TV Ads campaign.

To learn more and watch a demo video, check out the blog post on the Traditional Media Blog.

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/01/new-free-tv-ad-creation-solution.html

[G] Hear how Illinois State University uses Google Search

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Official Google Blog: Hear how Illinois State University uses Google Search

Search functionality is a critical part of higher education websites due to the diverse audiences that these sites serve. Current and prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other communities come to these sites to seek a wide range of information. Even with the best navigational scheme, it is a challenge to make all of this information findable, which makes accurate search a huge boost to website effectiveness.

Google Apps adoption in higher education has been steadily climbing (3 million users and counting), and we're really excited to see more and more universities using the Google Search Appliance (GSA) to power high-quality search on their websites. Like Google.com, the search appliance can search public pages on a website, but it can also find information in databases, content systems, business applications, and other sources, which opens up a whole range of options for making all kinds of information easily accessible. For example, Illinois State University uses the Google Search Appliance to create a "Course Finder" tool for their current and prospective students. This tool delivers up-to-the minute course information to more than 20,000 students, 1,000 faculty members, and the public at-large. It provides users with a friendly, easy-to-use interface for finding class and schedule data stored on the university's mainframe. Students can easily fine-tune searches to specify departments, time slots, and instructors, all using the familiar Google interface.

When Campus Technology, a leading publication addressing technology trends in universities, invited us to showcase the capabilities of the Google Search Appliance in an upcoming webinar, we immediately turned to our friends at Illinois State to share their great example. We invite you to join us online on Wednesday, January 21st, at 11:00 am PST, to hear Illinois State University talk about their experience with GSA. We'll also be sharing information about Google Apps for higher education, so if you're interested in that front, be sure to mark your calendars as well.

Posted by Vijay Koduri, Product Marketing Manager, Google Search Appliance
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/hear-how-illinois-state-university-uses.html

[G] Talking AdSense optimization in Google Ad Manager

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Inside AdSense: Talking AdSense optimization in Google Ad Manager

It can be tough to sell advertising in today's economy. It can be even tougher to figure out how to maximize revenue for each ad impression. Google Ad Manager, our hosted ad serving and management solution for publishers with small direct sales teams, was built to address these issues. Ad Manager helps publishers maximize the value of their ad impressions while reducing ad serving costs.

We enlisted the help of Nandu Ramani, Engineering Lead on Ad Manager, to talk about one of Ad Manager's features that helps publishers maximize the value of their ad impressions: AdSense price optimization.

What is the AdSense price optimization feature in Ad Manager?

Many publishers don't sell all of their ad inventory. In these situations, publishers might not serve any ads or might serve less valuable house ads, therefore losing potential earnings. The AdSense price optimization feature in Ad Manager provides an automated solution so publishers will always have an ad to serve in an undersold situation.

We also wanted to make sure that when a publisher runs multiple ad networks they are always showing the most valuable ads. For certain individual impressions, AdSense can provide the highest paying ad. When that's the case, an AdSense ad shows. When that's not the case, an ad from the highest paying alternative network will be shown.

How does the price optimization feature work?

In order for AdSense to compete against other ad networks, a publisher must manually enter a CPM for each configured network. We use the CPM entered to determine in real time, on a per impression basis, whether or not an AdSense ad will pay a publisher more. If the AdSense eCPM is greater than the CPM value entered for competing networks, then an AdSense ad will be shown. Additionally, AdSense will never compete with a publisher's directly-sold inventory. To enable the price optimization feature, all a publisher has to do is check a box when setting up inventory.

As a publisher, how much will I earn using AdSense price optimization?

It's hard to predict; the best way to find out is to opt your ad slots into AdSense price optimization and see how AdSense performs for you. With AdSense price optimization, Google will always serve the highest paying AdSense ad available, and will never lower the price of the winning ad, or reduce your earnings from it.

When should I use the AdSense price optimization feature?

We suggest you opt all of your ad slots into AdSense price optimization. AdSense ads will only appear if they're able to pay you more than the alternatives, so there's no risk of losing revenue.

We also recommend that you opt your premium placements into placement targeting so AdWords advertisers may specifically choose to bid for space on your website.

Sounds good. How do I get started?

If you already have an Ad Manager account, go into the inventory tab in your account. For each ad slot where you want to enable AdSense price optimization, click on the name of the ad slot, check the 'Maximize revenue of unsold and remnant inventory with AdSense' checkbox, and click 'Save.'

If you don't already have an account, get started today at http://www.google.com/admanager. Then, when you're setting up your inventory, make sure to opt all of your ad slots into AdSense price optimization.

For more information about AdSense in Ad Manager, check out the following video.

Posted by Stephen Kliff - Google Ad Manager Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/01/talking-adsense-optimization-in-google.html

[G] Coming Up Next... YouTube on Your TV

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YouTube Blog: Coming Up Next... YouTube on Your TV

Have you ever wanted to just sit on your couch and watch YouTube on your TV? Well, now that's possible via YouTube for Television, initially available through the Sony PS3 and Nintendo Wii game consoles at www.youtube.com/tv. Currently in beta, the TV Website offers a dynamic, lean-back, 10-foot television viewing experience through a streamlined interface that enables you to discover, watch and share YouTube videos on any TV screen with just a few quick clicks of your remote control. With enlarged text and simplified navigation, it makes watching YouTube on your TV as easy and intuitive as possible. Optional auto-play capability enables users to view related videos sequentially, emulating a traditional television experience. The TV Website is available internationally across 22 geographies and in over 12 languages.



As previously blogged, YouTube has partnered directly with major TV and set-top box manufacturers to bring YouTube into the living room. Still, very few such devices today contain a Web browser or provide access to YouTube. Our hope is that this site may help to accelerate an industry evolution towards open television access to Web video. Over time, we plan to add support for additional TV devices that provide Web browsers.



So grab some popcorn, gather your friends and sit back and enjoy the YouTube TV Website.



The YouTube Team
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=sDFlZe7FwJI

[G] Analytics Training in Las Vegas Next Week

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Google Analytics Blog: Analytics Training in Las Vegas Next Week

What happens in Vegas.. doesn't have to stay in Vegas. At least not when you're going there to attend the Google Analytics and Website Optimizer Seminars for Success! Spend one to three days learning about Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer. Come back armed with best practices and tips from the experts on how to use them to improve your business.

These courses are ideal for marketers, web designers, web analysts and anyone who wants to improve their online business savvy.

Introductory Course- Wednesday, January 21
The introduction and user training course is designed to provide a high-level overview of the products and will cover key features and reports. It's perfect for a marketer or account manager who is interested in learning more about how Google Analytics works, and who wants to understand how to use the information in reports to make decisions.

Advanced Course - Thursday, January 22
The advanced and technical implementation course is for those who need hands-on implementation training. This is a great class for those of you who need to install and set up Google Analytics on sites. You'll learn about and discuss different ways to set up Google Analytics to get the types of information that you need.

Google Website Optimizer - Friday, January 23
Learn how to make landing page testing work for you. You will hear from the experts on using Google Website Optimizer and testing the pages of your website to find out what works best for your visitors. Best practices will be covered, and you will leave with real hands-on experience running A/B/N and multivariate tests using Google Website Optimizer!

Capacity is limited. Register now: http://services.google.com/ads_inquiry/awseminars

We look forward to seeing you there!

Posted by Eva Woo, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/01/analytics-training-next-week-in-las.html

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

[G] Stopping development on Google Notebook

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Official Google Notebook Blog: Stopping development on Google Notebook

Posted by Raj Krishnan, Product Manager, Google Notebook

At Google, we're constantly working to innovate and improve our products so people can easily find and manage information. At times though, we have to decide where to focus our efforts and which technologies we expect will yield the most benefit to users in the long run.

Starting next week, we plan to stop active development on Google Notebook. This means we'll no longer be adding features or offer Notebook for new users. But don't fret, we'll continue to maintain service for those of you who've already signed up. As part of this plan, however, we will no longer support the Notebook Extension, but as always users who have already signed up will continue to have access to their data via the web interface at http://www.google.com/notebook.

If you haven't used Notebook in the past, we invite you to explore the other Google products that offer Notebook-like functionality. Here are a few examples, all of which are being actively improved and should meet your needs:
  • SearchWiki - We recently launched a feature on Search that will let you re-rank, comment, and personalize your search results. This is useful when you've found some results on Google Search that were really perfect for your query. You can read about how to use SearchWiki in this blog post.
  • Google Docs - If you're trying to jot down some quick notes, or create a document that you can share with others, check out Google Docs.
  • Tasks in Gmail - For a lightweight way to generate a todo list or keep track of things, we recently launched Tasks in Gmail Labs.
  • Google Bookmarks - For a tool that can help you remember web pages that you liked and access them easily, take a look at Google Bookmarks. You can even add labels to your bookmarks to better organize and revisit them.
While it's hard for us to make this announcement we believe it's the right decision for our users in the long run. And we're excited about all the new ideas we have for Docs, SearchWiki, Bookmarks and other products.
URL: http://googlenotebookblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/stopping-development-on-google-notebook.html

[G] Farewell, Google Catalog Search

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Inside Google Book Search: Farewell, Google Catalog Search

Posted by Punit Soni, Product Manager

In 2001, we launched Google Catalog Search as a demonstration of a new technology (called OCR if you're interested) that made it possible to search the full text of hundreds and soon thousands of product catalogs. In fact, we scanned them all ourselves in a small room (I think it might have been a closet actually) in one of our first buildings here in Mountain View. This was our first big effort to make offline information available online -- and we learned a lot.

For the Book Search team, Google Catalog Search is close to our hearts. Catalogs helped us better understand and refine the technology we use today to scan and make the full text of books available online. We also learned more about how users read scanned documents online, and how to best present this type of information to them.

It was a great experiment. Nonetheless, in recent years, Catalog Search hasn't been as popular as some of our other products. So tomorrow, we're bidding it a fond farewell and focusing our efforts to bring more and more types of offline information such as magazines, newspapers and of course, books, online.
URL: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2009/01/farewell-google-catalog-search.html

[G] Turning Down Uploads at Google Video

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Official Google Video Blog: Turning Down Uploads at Google Video

Posted by Michael Cohen, Product Manager

At Google, we like to launch early, launch often, and to iterate our products. Occasionally, this means we have to re-evaluate our efforts and make difficult decisions to be sure we focus on products that make the most sense for our users.

In a few months, we will discontinue support for uploads to Google Video. Don't worry, we're not removing any content hosted on Google Video -- this just means you will no longer be able to upload new content to the service. We've always maintained that Google Video's strength is in the search technology that makes it possible for people to search videos from across the web, regardless of where they may be hosted. And this move will enable us to focus on developing these technologies further to the benefit of searchers worldwide.

There are still great options for people who want to upload content to Google, and we invite them to explore YouTube's dynamic global community or Picasa Web Albums. If you have questions or need more information please read our FAQ page.

We're confident this decision is the right one for our users, and we're looking forward to making Google Video an even better place for you to search and find videos from all over the web.
URL: http://googlevideo.blogspot.com/2009/01/turning-down-uploads-at-google-video.html

[G] Inspiring Youth Through Robotics

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Official Google Docs Blog: Inspiring Youth Through Robotics

We continue our non-profit series in the state of Connecticut, where the temperatures today are below freezing and there's a good chance of snow tomorrow. The cold weather didn't stop Michael Sperber, Chair of Connecticut FIRST, from contacting us to tell us about how his organization uses Docs for event management, alumni outreach, and event surveys.


Connecticut FIRST is the Connecticut arm of FIRST, a not-for-profit organization that organizes robotics programs and competitions for young people ages 6 through 18. Young people are exposed to math, science, and engineering as they build their robots. Working in teams of at least 25 and guided by adult mentors, participants develop life skills such as teamwork and leadership.

The Connecticut organization has 33 FIRST Robotics Competition program teams consisting of over 1,000 high school students. Students are now busy building robots to compete in Lunacy, a competition where robots will have to navigate a low friction surface that simulates driving on the surface of the moon. Cool!

Michael has been involved in FIRST for over 12 years and uses Google Docs (as part of Google Apps) with over 10 others on the leadership team. Here are some things they're doing:
  • A volunteer coordinator tracks volunteer contact information in an online spreadsheet.
  • For an upcoming event, the leadership team has shared a spreadsheet to track invitation lists for VIPs. Michael told me, "Instead of sending attachments, it's much easier to do this online collaboratively."
  • They've recently discovered Forms and in the near future will be creating surveys to collect information from alumni to help build their alumni network.
To learn more about FIRST and its volunteer opportunities, visit the volunteer opportunities page.

Posted by: Andrew Chang, Marketing Manager
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/01/inspiring-youth-through-robotics.html

[G] The Globus Alliance's First Google Summer of Code

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Google Open Source Blog: The Globus Alliance's First Google Summer of Code

By Borja Sotomayor, Ph.D. Student, University of Chicago and Summer of Code Mentor

The Globus Alliance is a community of organizations and individuals developing fundamental technologies behind the "Grid," which lets people share computing power, databases, instruments, and other on-line tools securely across corporate, institutional, and geographic boundaries without sacrificing local autonomy. Globus currently hosts more than 20 projects, actively developed by a community of more than 100 committers, and spanning a variety of technology concerns on grid systems.

This was the first year that we have participated in Google Summer of Code™ and, despite being total newbies, we were fortunate to be given ten students to mentor. Overall, we couldn't be happier with how the summer turned out. Eight of our students made it through the program and, three months after the end of Summer of Code, most of the code produced by these students has either made it into the official Globus code repository or is in the process of being added. Most of the mentors feel that their students have become a part of the Globus community thanks to their participation in the program. One of our students has already been voted in as a Globus committer (Globus uses an open and meritocratic governance model — similar to Apache Jakarta's — where new committers are voted into projects based on their work).

Through their projects, our students addressed a variety of specific issues and needs across multiple fields, ranging from grid security to virtual machines. More specifically:

The Portal-based User Registration Service (PURSe) is a set of tools and Java APIs, developed for constructing portal-based systems that automate user registration, the creation of PKI credentials, and subsequent credential management. A typical PURSe-based portal allows users to register via a Web page and then use a username and password to obtain X.509 proxy certificates. Mehran Ahsant, mentored by Rachana Ananthakrishnan, developed a standalone Credential Translation Service (CTS), integrated with PURSe, to provide grid users with other formats of security credentials such as SAML assertions and X.509 certificates. The CTS is a standalone WS-Trust security token web service, capable of issuing security tokens as defined by the WS-Trust specification and translating tokens into another format when a token is not in a format or syntax understandable by the recipient.

The Virtual Workspace Service, one of several services that make up the Globus Nimbus cloud toolkit, was only capable of using Xen as a virtualization backend. Michael Fenn, mentored by Kate Keahey, set things straight by refactoring the existing code to allow multiple backends, and implementing a KVM backend.

Globus GridFTP is a high-performance, secure, reliable data transfer protocol which generally assumes the existence of a high-performance parallel file system, a relatively expensive resource. On the other hand, FreeLoader is a storage system that aggregates idle storage space from workstations connected within a local area network to build a low-cost, yet high-performance data store. Is this a match made in heaven? Hesam Ghasemi, mentored by Raj Kettimuthu, thought so, and modified GridFTP so it could use FreeLoader as a backend, potentially reducing the cost and increasing the performance of GridFTP deployments.

AliEn is the Grid infrastructure which is used by scientists participating in the ALICE experiment at CERN. Artem Harutyunyan, mentored by Tim Freeman, developed a set of scripts on top of Globus Nimbus to dynamically deploy an entire AliEn Grid site, enabling 'one-click' deployment of all the services necessary for ALICE job retrieval and their execution. Artem is still actively working on this project and has even submitted a paper on his work to the CHEP 2009 conference. Screenshots of ALICE jobs running on the University of Chicago's Nimbus science cloud can be seen here.

Globus GridFTP can help you move data fast. However, Mattias Lidman, mentored by John Bresnahan, thought this wasn't fast enough, so he developed a compression driver for the Globus XIO input/output library (which GridFTP depends on) to compress/uncompress data as it passes through it. He even wrote a performance study (PDF) showing that his driver is, in fact, totally awesome.

The Globus GridShib project integrates a federated authorization infrastructure (Shibboleth) with Grid technology to provide attribute-based authorization for distributed scientific communities. Joana Matos Fonseca da Trindade, mentored by Tom Scavo, contributed to GridShib by implementing a Holder-of-Key Single Sign-On profile handler for the Shibboleth Identity Provider. Her contribution was completely integrated into the GridShib development and distribution framework and Joana did such a great job that she was asked to join the GridShib project as a committer. More details on Joana's work can be found on the GridShib website and on the Globus wiki.

Swift is a system for the rapid and reliable specification, execution, and management of large-scale science and engineering workflows. One of its main components is SwiftScript, a simple scripting language that can be used to specify complex parallel computations. Milena Nikolic, mentored by Ben Clifford, improved the SwiftScript compiler by adding stronger type checking and type inference.

The OpenNebula virtual infrastructure engine, developed by collaborators of the Globus Alliance, can be used to dynamically deploy and re-allocate virtual machines on a pool of physical resources but lacks a "cloud-like" interface, like the one provided by Globus Nimbus. Nimbus, in turn, lacks the advanced resource management features provided by OpenNebula. William Voorsluys, mentored by yours truly, tackled this particular issue by working on integrating OpenNebula and Nimbus.


Many congratulations to all of our mentors and students for their tremendous success in our first Summer of Code!
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/01/globus-alliances-first-google-summer-of.html

[G] Google Checkout for Non-Profits in 2009

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Google Checkout for Non-Profits in 2009

Since we started Google Checkout for Non-Profits in late 2007, we have been excited by the enthusiastic response we've received from the non-profit community. Over the past year, we've made donation processing simpler and more convenient for thousands of non-profits, benefiting causes such as Myanmar (Burma) cyclone relief, China earthquake relief, Earth Day, and many more. And throughout 2008, we provided all of the donation processing for free, ensuring that 100 percent of contributions went toward supporting those causes.

We will be extending free donation processing for another year, until 2010. However, in an effort to bring more consistency to the eligibility guidelines for Google's non-profit offerings, only those non-profits who are also members of our Google Grants program will be eligible for free donation processing. All other non-profits will transition to Checkout's standard fee structure on March 1, 2009.

If your organization is already a Google Grants recipient using Checkout for donation processing, please make sure to link your Grants account with Checkout by February 15 to continue receiving free donation processing without interruption. If you are not yet a Google Grants recipient and you meet the guidelines for the program, we strongly encourage you to apply. If you apply for Google Grants by March 1, 2009 and you're accepted, we will retroactively credit you for any Checkout fees incurred while your application was pending. For anyone who falls outside of our guidelines or who decides not to apply for a Google Grant, we realize this news may come as a disappointment, and hope that you'll still find Checkout's ease of use and competitive rates compelling reasons to keep using our product.

For those of you who do become Google Grants recipients, we think you'll find both tools to be effective in helping you increase your online fundraising, and even better when used in concert. Watch this video to learn more about how Grants and Checkout work together for non-profits.

Posted by Prem Ramaswami, Product Manager
URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2009/01/google-checkout-for-non-profits-in-2009.html

[G] Changes to recruiting

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Official Google Blog: Changes to recruiting

As we made clear during our last quarterly earnings call in October, Google is still hiring but at a reduced rate. Given the state of the economy, we recognized that we needed fewer people focused on hiring.

Our first step to address this was to wind down almost all our contracts with external contractors and vendors providing recruiting services for Google. However, after much consideration, we have with great regret decided that we need to go further and reduce the overall size of our recruiting organization by approximately 100 positions.

We know this change will be very difficult for the people concerned, and we hope that many of them will be able to find new roles at Google. They helped build this company, new hire by new hire, and we are enormously grateful for everything they have done.

Posted by Laszlo Bock, Vice President, People Operations
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/changes-to-recruiting.html

[G] Changes to engineering

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Official Google Blog: Changes to engineering

At Google we recognized early on that branching out beyond Mountain View was key to building innovative products for users everywhere. That's why we put so much effort into hiring outstanding engineers in a wide mix of countries. Having offices distributed around the globe is critical to Google's long-term success, and today we have thousands of engineers working in 40 offices in more than 20 countries. It has enabled us to make significant improvements in our products and attract more users globally.

It has also presented unique challenges. The most difficult of these being to coordinate our efforts across all geographies, and provide engineers with significant, meaningful projects that make a real difference to people's lives. Last September we asked engineers in Phoenix, Arizona to move to other offices, and the vast majority have done so. This move enabled us to build larger and more effective teams, reduce communication overhead, and give engineers increased options for future projects. Today we are doing the same thing in Austin, Texas; Trondheim, Norway; and Lulea, Sweden. Our strong desire is to keep as many of these 70 engineering employees at Google as possible. However, we do recognize the upheaval and heartache that these changes may have on Google families, and that we may not be able to keep 100% of these exceptional employees.

Our long-term goal is not to trim the number of people we have working on engineering projects or reduce our global presence, but create a smaller number of more effective engineering sites, which will ensure that innovation and speed remain at our core.

Posted by Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President, Engineering & Research
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/changes-to-engineering.html

[G] User Choice and Music Licensing

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YouTube Blog: User Choice and Music Licensing

Music licensing can get very complicated, but we try to make your experience as simple as possible. We want you to have options when uploading videos with music in them. And if your video is subject to a copyright claim, you should have some choices too.



Previously, when a music label or other rights owner issued a copyright claim to block audio, the video was automatically taken down. Uploaders had two choices: dispute the claim or use our AudioSwap tool to replace the track with one from our library of pre-cleared music. Now we've added an additional choice. Instead of automatically removing the video from YouTube, users can choose to leave the video muted and live on the site, and many of them are taking that option.



Our content management tools have revolutionized the ways in which users and content owners are distributing, marketing, and making money from video online. As we continue to build out this system, we are working to find the right balance between encouraging creativity and free expression and respecting the rights of copyright holders and the law.



The YouTube Team
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=jCz__7k2AtI

[G] Announcing the Winners of the Website Workout Contest

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Google Analytics Blog: Announcing the Winners of the Website Workout Contest

Last April, we gave you a few tips on using Website Optimizer and Google Analytics to improve your business online. As a follow-up, we announced the Website Workout contest last June. Four businesses were selected to improve their conversion rates using the data they gained from Website Optimizer.

The results are in! Find out how the winners improved their conversion rates here. I think you'll be surprised how a small change can make a big difference. For more information on how to optimize your site, check out the Website Optimizer Blog.

Posted by Andrew Gomez, Business Marketing Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/01/announcing-winners-of-website-workout.html

[G] Announcing the Website Workout Winners

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Announcing the Website Workout Winners

In June we announced the Google Website Workout contest. We invited businesses who wanted to improve their website to tell us why their site needed to be "pumped up." We selected four winners and had them work with our consultants to improve their conversion rates using Website Optimizer. Along the way, we filmed their progress, and today we're pleased to announce the winners and share their experiences.

For each winner, we've put together a video highlighting the winner's business, the challenges they were facing, and how they used Website Optimizer to improve their site.

You can take a look at how one of our winners, Colonial Candle, increased sales by 20% by testing a few simple changes on their site



You can see all the winners at the contest site. You'll find out Extra Space Storage booked more units, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts increased reservations, and Team in Training focused their redesign efforts.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team
URL: http://websiteoptimizer.blogspot.com/2009/01/announcing-website-workout-winners.html