Saturday, January 31, 2009

[G] This morning's spam filter issue

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: This morning's spam filter issue

This morning there was a problem with the implementation of Google's malware filters. Gmail's spam engine uses those filters (among hundreds of other signals) to help protect our users from malware, and so between 6:00 a.m. PST and 8:00 a.m. PST, we mistakenly sent some legitimate mail to people's spam folders.

We're working to roll out an automated fix to put these legitimate messages back into your inboxes, and we expect this to happen within a day. In the meantime, if you were expecting a critical message this morning, please check your spam folder. (We tune our spam filters well enough that ordinarily you should never have to check your spam folder.)

We're very sorry for the inconvenience. We'll update this post as we have more information to share.

Posted by Rishi Chandra, Google Apps Senior Product Manager
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/01/this-mornings-spam-filter-issue.html

[G] This morning's spam filter issue

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Official Gmail Blog: This morning's spam filter issue

Posted by Brad Taylor, Software Engineer

This morning there was a problem with the implementation of Google's malware filters. Gmail's spam engine uses those filters (among hundreds of other signals) to help protect our users from malware, and so between 6:00 a.m. PST and 8:00 a.m. PST, we mistakenly sent some legitimate mail to people's spam folders.

We're working to roll out an automated fix to put these legitimate messages back into your inboxes, and we expect this to happen within a day. In the meantime, if you were expecting a critical message this morning, please check your spam folder. (We tune our spam filters well enough that ordinarily you should never have to check your spam folder.)

We're very sorry for the inconvenience. We'll update this post as we have more information to share.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/this-mornings-spam-filter-issue.html

[G] "This site may harm your computer" on every search result?!?!

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Official Google Blog: "This site may harm your computer" on every search result?!?!

If you did a Google search between 6:30 a.m. PST and 7:25 a.m. PST this morning, you likely saw that the message "This site may harm your computer" accompanied each and every search result. This was clearly an error, and we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused to our users.

What happened? Very simply, human error. Google flags search results with the message "This site may harm your computer" if the site is known to install malicious software in the background or otherwise surreptitiously. We do this to protect our users against visiting sites that could harm their computers. We work with a non-profit called StopBadware.org to get our list of URLs. StopBadware carefully researches each consumer complaint to decide fairly whether that URL belongs on the list. Since each case needs to be individually researched, this list is maintained by humans, not algorithms.

We periodically receive updates to that list and received one such update to release on the site this morning. Unfortunately (and here's the human error), the URL of '/' was mistakenly checked in as a value to the file and '/' expands to all URLs. Fortunately, our on-call site reliability team found the problem quickly and reverted the file. Since we push these updates in a staggered and rolling fashion, the errors began appearing between 6:27 a.m. and 6:40 a.m. and began disappearing between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m., so the duration of the problem for any particular user was approximately 40 minutes.

Thanks to our team for their quick work in finding this. And again, our apologies to any of you who were inconvenienced this morning, and to site owners whose pages were incorrectly labelled. We will carefully investigate this incident and put more robust file checks in place to prevent it from happening again.

Thanks for your understanding.

Posted by Marissa Mayer, VP, Search Products & User Experience
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/this-site-may-harm-your-computer-on.html

[G] Black History Month in The YouTube Screening Room

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YouTube Blog: Black History Month in The YouTube Screening Room

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month and, with the recent inauguration of Barack Obama, it is a particularly appropriate time to celebrate the achievements of African-Americans. To contribute to the celebration, we're partnering with Grey Goose to present a month of special programming in the YouTube Screening Room.



We're excited to kick things off with four films that offer unique accounts of moments or themes from African and African-American history. "Amandla! A Revolution in Four Part Harmony," a winner of the Audience Award at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, examines the central role black South African freedom music played in the long battle and triumph over Apartheid. "Electric Purgatory," which screened at 10 international film festivals, reveals the struggles some black rock musicians have faced as they try to build audiences in a sometimes-unfriendly industry. "Hungu," an expertly animated short, recounts a story from the ancient African oral tradition detailing how the merging of life and death gave birth to a beautiful musical instrument: the berimbeau. And "The 13th Amendment," a 2008 award-winning short documentary, follows a 90-year-old great-grandmother as she casts her first-ever vote for an African-American President.







On February 13, we'll continue the commemoration with a fresh program of content, presented by Grey Goose. Stay tuned for the details, but prepare to be inspired!



Happy viewing,

Sara P.

YouTube Film
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=Do7y6TunMVU

Friday, January 30, 2009

[G] Update to our privacy policy

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Google Public Policy Blog: Update to our privacy policy

Posted by Jens Meiert, Webmaster

We posted a small update to our privacy policy beginning on January 27th. The change lets users know that Google collects limited information about their interaction with our services in order to detect and combat security problems, spam, and fraud. The information collected is used only for these purposes and protects users from misconduct on Google services.

Due to an oversight, we didn't change the "last modified" date at the top of the privacy policy page. We're working quickly to fix this so that our users are informed about the change to our policy. It's important for us to be transparent, so we thank those who brought this to our attention and apologize for the omission.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/01/update-to-our-privacy-policy.html

[G] Google Toolbar in Firefox: a personalized new tab page

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Official Google Blog: Google Toolbar in Firefox: a personalized new tab page

Those of you who use Google Toolbar on Firefox are probably pretty familiar with the many features Toolbar 5 (beta) has to offer — from bookmarks to buttons and search box to "send to." We've added a couple more features to the Firefox Toolbar, so feel free to download this "second beta" to get all the latest and greatest Google Toolbar has to offer.

One of the features I'm really excited about is the new tab page. Now, when you open up a new tab, instead of the blank white page you see by default in Firefox, you will instead see small thumbnails of your favorite sites (up to 9), as well as recently-closed and bookmarked pages based on your browser history. You can edit the thumbnails, and all this data remains locally on your browser, which means none of the information about your most viewed sites or recently closed pages will be sent back to Google. If for whatever reason you don't like this updated new tab page, you can always change it back to a blank page or to the website of your choice through either your Toolbar or Firefox settings. Some tab extensions may conflict with this feature, and it currently isn't compatible with Firefox 2, so make sure you check your settings or visit the Google Toolbar help center if you are having any problems.


Next time you want to go to your favorite site more quickly or restore an accidentally closed tab, you don't need to type out the URL. Typing Ctrl + T or double-clicking to the right of your open tabs will open up the new tab page with all your favorite sites right at your finger tips.

In addition, this release now provides the ability for Hebrew- and Arabic-speaking users to access Toolbar 5 with robust right-to-left text support. We've also fixed some of the most reported bugs to give you a faster and more stable experience with this update.

We're always working on improvements and new features to Google Toolbar based on your feedback, so keep those suggestions coming.

Posted by Sergey Ryazanov, Software Engineer, Toolbar Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/google-toolbar-in-firefox-personalized.html

[G] Your Window to Davos

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YouTube Blog: Your Window to Davos

Over the last few months, thousands of you joined the Davos Debates at youtube.com/davos, and answered the four big questions the World Economic Forum posed to the YouTube community:



• Economy: Are you confident that global growth will be restored in 2009?



• Ethics: Should company executives have a code of ethics similar to doctors and lawyers?



• Environment: Will the environment lose out to the economy in 2009?



• Politics: Will the Obama Administration improve the state of the world in 2009?



Today on our homepage, we're featuring four mash-ups of your responses to the questions above, in addition to some of the videos submitted by those in attendance at the Forum. You can hear Kofi Annan respond to a young girl in South Africa who asked about development on her continent; poet Pablo Coehlo talk about his view of corporate ethics; or Prime Ministers from South Korea and Turkey speak to their citizens back home.



The mash-ups of your responses to the Davos Debates are being broadcast on a giant screen at the major plenary sessions here in Davos, bringing real-world context to the issues being discussed and debated by participants. In other words, your voice is being heard loud and clear here at the World Economic Forum, so keep submitting your videos and watching the responses on the Davos Debates channel.



Yours,



Steve Grove

YouTube News & Politics
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=U2Cw0QPNcVQ

Thursday, January 29, 2009

[G] What we did on our winter break

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Official Google Reader Blog: What we did on our winter break

After our big launch of the new look and feel, the Reader team took a breather and worked on tying up loose ends (don't worry, we also took some time off). We've just pushed a new release that includes the following set of fixes and tweaks:




  • Improvements to our rich mobile interface for iPhone, Android and other browsers, including a more compact page header, visual alignment tweaks and a faster loading time.

  • Links on the home page giving you easy access to your recently read and kept unread items.

  • Fixes for some "stuck" unread count issues.

  • Better handling of feeds and items with malformed URLs.

  • Less flickering when using the "Share with note" bookmark.

  • Fixing of errors when deleting lots of tags and folders.

  • Removal of extra image and backend requests, resulting in slightly faster loading times.



One other recent change is that we're now on Twitter. We've been fans of Twitter Search as a way of gathering feedback, but now we have a way of talking back. Feel free to send an @googlereader tweet to get our attention, and follow us for updates and quips.



Finally, we were honored to be nominated for a Bloggie. We encourage you to take a look at all the nominees in all the categories, it's a collection of some really great, subscribe-worthy, blogs

URL: http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2009/01/what-we-did-on-our-winter-break.html

[G] Annotations Made Easier

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YouTube Blog: Annotations Made Easier

Today, we are making it easier to add annotations directly to your YouTube videos. Simply login to YouTube, watch your video on the watch page and click on the video to start adding annotations. But don't worry - for those who need more control, you'll still be able to access the separate annotations editor.



We are also making it easier for your annotations to link to a variety of different YouTube pages. You'll be able to link to another video, channel page, playlist, group or search query. What's more, you'll even be able to link to a video response page or message window to prompt for feedback from your audience.



Happy annotating!


The YouTube Team
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=PqTYRSf2G4I

[G] Oh, deer: Street View and road safety reminders

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Google LatLong: Oh, deer: Street View and road safety reminders


Gathering the imagery for Street View requires quite a bit of driving; as such, we take safety very seriously. Unfortunately, accidents do happen -- as some people have noticed, one of our Street View cars hit a deer while driving on a rural road in upstate New York. Due to several user requests using the "Report a concern" tool, these images are no longer available in Street View. 

The driver was understandably upset, and promptly stopped to alert the local police and the Street View team at Google. The deer was able to move and had left the area by the time the police arrived. The police explained to our driver that, sadly, this was not an uncommon occurrence in the region -- the New York State Department of Transportation estimates that 60,000-70,000 deer collisions happen per year in New York alone -- and no police report needed to be filed. 

Because this is on our minds, we want to take the opportunity to share some reminders on how to avoid an accident and what to do should you find yourself in such a situation. Robert Sinclair from AAA New York suggests the following tips for drivers:
  • Pay extra attention during pre-dawn and dusk hours.
  • Slow down. If a deer runs in front of your vehicle, driving at or below the speed limit reduces the likelihood of serious injury to yourself and your passengers.
  • Buckle up. Your odds of walking away from a collision with a deer improve dramatically if you and all your passengers are wearing seat belts.
  • Use your high beams (when no oncoming cars are present) and watch for the reflection of deer eyes and silhouettes on the shoulders of roads.
If you won't be able to avoid colliding with a deer:
  • Don't swerve.  Few drivers die or are seriously injured in direct collisions with deer.  The greater risk is from veering into oncoming traffic, a tree, or off the road.
  • Brake until the last fraction of a second before impact, then let off your brakes.  This will cause the front of your car to rise, increasing the odds that the struck deer will pass underneath your car, rather than be lifted into your windshield.
  • If you do strike a deer, do not try to touch it or move it yourself.  Despite your kind intentions, an injured deer might panic and harm you. Contact police or other authorities for assistance.
We're sad that this accident occurred and we consider ourselves fortunate that our driver was not injured.

Posted by Wendy Wang, Street View Operations Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/01/oh-deer-street-view-and-road-safety.html

[G] A new year, a new traffic model for Ad Planner

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Inside AdWords: A new year, a new traffic model for Ad Planner

If you are looking for more site information to help plan your display advertising campaigns and understand audiences on the web, Google Ad Planner can help. Our goal is to provide you with the most accurate site information for better planning and decision-making, and we're excited to kick off the new year with an improved traffic estimation model as well as several other features.

The new traffic estimation model should help reduce some of the confusion that often surrounds tracking the number of unique visitors to your site. When creating campaigns, many advertisers use media planning tools, including Ad Planner, to look at unique visitors based on estimates of real world users. However, publishers typically rely on web server logs or web analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to measure unique visitors based on cookie counts. Discrepencies arise when these two types of unique visitors are compared. You can learn more about this topic by reading the IAB guidelines on Audience Measurement.

To address the various ways of measuring site traffic, we:
  • Added Unique Visitors (cookies), a new cookie-based metric, to help you cross-check and compare metrics, similar to Google Analytics unique visitor metrics.
  • Changed Unique Visitors to Unique Visitors (users) so it's clearer that you're reviewing estimated numbers of real world users.
  • Placed the Unique Visitors (cookies) and Unique Visitors (users) metrics on a site's profile page so you'll have a more comprehensive view of how a specific site can support your media planning. Learn how to make the most of these two metrics.
In addition, our new model improves our traffic estimates. You'll notice our page view estimates are now more accurate and consistent with web server measurements.

(Click image for a full-size version)

We've also added country demographics for Australia, Brazil, Japan, and Switzerland, which brings our demographics total to ten countries, with more coming in the future. In select countries we've also added a new demographics category, Children in Household, which can be used to research sites.

You've told us that defining an audience to fit your intended customers can be difficult. In response, we've created Pre-defined Audiences that represent commonly used audiences. Now you can experiment with different criteria without having to choose them manually.

This release represents only a fraction of what we're planning for 2009. Stay tuned for more Google Ad Planner announcements soon.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/01/new-year-new-traffic-model-for-ad.html

[G] Using _setVar? Here's an update on bounce rate and time on page

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Google Analytics Blog: Using _setVar? Here's an update on bounce rate and time on page

In the past we've received a lot of feedback from our users who have implemented the _setVar method requesting that custom visitor segments not affect bounce rates. You've asked for it and we've listened! Today we're modifying this feature so that the _setVar method no longer counts as an interaction hit with the result that you may see higher bounce rates and more accurate time on page metrics in your reports.

As a refresher, Google Analytics calculates bounces and durations based upon interaction hits. Now, interaction hits will only include pageviews, events, transactions and experiments (such as with Google Website Optimizer). Here's more on how this change to the _setVar method could affect your data:

Higher bounce rates in your reports


Let's say that you've used the _setVar method on your landing pages to segment member vs. non-member site visitors. Previously, if a visitor came to your site and triggered the _setVar call, but viewed only one page, this would not be counted as a bounce. With this change the user defined call will not send an interaction hit and overall bounce rates will increase as this single page visit will now be counted as a bounce.

More accurate time on page metrics

Time on page metrics are normally counted by the difference in time stamps which are set by interaction hits. Prior to this change, using _setVar would cause Google Analytics to calculate the time on page metric between the time of the pageview hit and the interaction hit of the user defined variable. Now, as user-defined hits are no longer counted as an interaction hit, time on page metrics should more accurately reflect the time between one pageview and the next.

Posted by Dai Pham, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/01/using-setvar-heres-update-on-bounce.html

[G] Valentine's Day & President's Day ad templates now available

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Inside AdWords: Valentine's Day & President's Day ad templates now available

Last week, we gave you a sneak preview of our seasonal display ad templates for Valentine's Day and President's Day. We're excited to let you know that these new templates are now available for you to use in your campaigns -- just visit the "Seasonal" section of the Display Ad Builder gallery in AdWords to get started.

We're always interested in your feedback and ideas for more template themes, so let us know if you're looking for something special. One of our advertisers, Jason Barnes of Superb Internet Corporation, helped us come up with the idea for easier, more timely display ad promotions. Jason and his team wanted a way to bring more relevancy to display ads, without the cost or lead time it would otherwise require, so he got in touch with us. Here's what Jason had to say:
Using Google's display ad builder is just a smoother process. Say we wanted to do a one-day holiday sale of 50% off, and the rest of the week, 30% off. That can be a hassle with standard image ad directories, but with the Display Ad Builder, we can easily swap in text if we have an image. It's a great time saver, and we'll definitely continue to use it that way.
You can adopt Jason's strategy of making quick text changes to your image ads in the Display Ad Builder, whether or not you decide to use one of our new seasonal templates.

If you're new to Display Ads, you can get started by clicking "Display Ad Builder" on the "Create an ad page" within a new or existing campaign. To learn more about creating and running display ads, visit our Display Ads 101 tutorial site.

Posted by Heather Lane, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/01/valentines-day-presidents-day-ad.html

[G] "And Together We Form Voltron" (or "How to Connect the Cloud")

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: "And Together We Form Voltron" (or "How to Connect the Cloud")

The 80's cartoon Lion Force Voltron featured a team of five pilots commanding five robot lions, which could be combined together to form Voltron, a powerful do-gooder whose whole was greater than the sum of his parts. At the Cloud Connect event last week a bunch of developers came together to create our own cloud version of Voltron by combining cloud services from Google, Amazon, and Salesforce.com to create applications that could do good for businesses and consumers.

The event started with Rajen Sheth, Senior Product Manager for Google Apps, making the case for why businesses should move their IT systems to the cloud to a panel of CIOs. Check out his presentation and leave a YouTube comment to let us know if you're convinced.

During the second day to we ran 30 or so developer-to-developer training sessions where we had Google engineers instruct on implementing Google App Engine, and GData and Google Maps APIs with the hope that they'd use our services when building their cloud-based apps.

And on the evening of the third day, we didn't boil the oceans, but coding teams did create some pretty sweet apps using only cloud services. One of the cooler ones was an socially-aware job search app for the iPhone which used Google App Engine, and Facebook and Google Apps APIs. Check out developer Claes Nygren's demo:

Cloud Connect did a great job of testing the ease of interoperability and data portability between cloud computing providers. We want companies to be able to use the best services for their needs across multiple providers, and ensure that we are more flexible than traditional on-premise software platforms.

There are two new ways that you too can play with robot action figures – I mean Google code. Test your app ideas in real-time at the new AJAX APIs Playground. Or register for Google I/O, Google's largest developer gathering, coming to San Francisco, CA from May 28 - 29, 2009.


Posted by Kevin Gough, Google Apps Team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/01/and-together-we-form-voltron-or-how-to.html

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

[G] Good tips for managing your data footprint

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Google Public Policy Blog: Good tips for managing your data footprint

Posted by Betsy Masiello, Economics Analyst

Just in time for Data Privacy Day, Robert Mitchell at Computerworld posted 12 good tips for managing your information footprint online. A consistent theme: protecting your personal information offline is as important to maintaining your privacy as protecting it online. Mitchell offers a number of useful tips to keep in mind whenever you share personal information, and suggests tools that can help you manage your privacy.

Perhaps most important is his advice to "know what's out there about you" - you can only take steps to protect your data privacy if you know what data is already out there!
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/01/good-tips-for-managing-your-data.html

[G] Updates from Googlers Contributing to Open Source Projects

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Google Open Source Blog: Updates from Googlers Contributing to Open Source Projects

By Leslie Hawthorn, Open Source Team

You may recall some of our previous posts about Google employee contributions to Open Source during their 20% time. While many engineers spend their 20% time on releasing code created internally at Google, many more spend their time contributing to external projects just to scratch their own itch. We're pleased to bring you some updates about what our engineers have been doing over the past few months:

For all you version control geeks out there, you'll be interested to know that Ben Collins-Sussman has been working on rewriting Subversion's HTTP protocol. While the rewrite will still be WebDAV compatible, he's busy removing all of the DeltaV formalities that cause numerous extra requests. Once complete, users should see much faster network traffic when speaking to an Apache server. For more details, check out the write up on Ben's blog.

Continuing his work on WHOPR, a scalable whole program optimizer for GCC, Diego Novillo reports that the complier can now build several Google applications with link-time optimizations enabled. Diego and the rest of the WHOPR team are handling code generation bugs and performance problems with generated code. They expect to be showing steady performance improvements over the next couple of months.

Frank Mayhar recently submitted a patch to remove the journaling dependency from ext4. The patch has been accepted and should be merged very soon. You can find more details and the actual patch submitted in the kernaltrap.org list archives.

Shiki Okasaka continued development on the ES Operating System, releasing some new source tarballs. Included in the latest release were a number of contributions made by Google Summer of Code students. The switchover to the new Web IDL standard from OMG IDL for the system interface definitions is in preliminary stages and some progress has also been made on the implementation of the project's TCP/IP stack. The latest release also contains the Web IDL based preliminary RPC runtime for x86 linux, allowing for testing and combination of multiple ES software components running in separate processes on Linux, a substitute for the ES kernel natively running on a PC.

Tim Hockin contributed to a number of different systems software projects. Work continued on the recently released prettyprint project. Tim has been exploring languages to use for prettyprint's runtime, Javascript being the top contender for now. He has also worked on improvements to ACPID, including a lot of code clean up and a minor release. Tim also has a patch in his review queue to add netlink support to this completely flexible, totally extensible daemon for delivering ACPI events. He's also done some more work to whip the MCE Daemon into shape and is looking at promoting it for various distros.

These are just a few of the many contributions that have taken place over the past few months, and we'll be bringing you regular news about what Googlers are up to in the wide world of Open Source. Happy Hacking!
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/01/updates-from-googlers-contributing-to.html

[G] Introducing Measurement Lab

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Google Public Policy Blog: Introducing Measurement Lab

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

Posted by Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, and Stephen Stuart, Principal Engineer

When an Internet application doesn't work as expected or your connection seems flaky, how can you tell whether there is a problem caused by your broadband ISP, the application, your PC, or something else? It can be difficult for experts, let alone average Internet users, to address this sort of question today.

Last year we asked a small group of academics about ways to advance network research and provide users with tools to test their broadband connections. Today Google, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, and academic researchers are taking the wraps off of Measurement Lab (M-Lab), an open platform that researchers can use to deploy Internet measurement tools.

Researchers are already developing tools that allow users to, among other things, measure the speed of their connection, run diagnostics, and attempt to discern if their ISP is blocking or throttling particular applications. These tools generate and send some data back-and-forth between the user's computer and a server elsewhere on the Internet. Unfortunately, researchers lack widely-distributed servers with ample connectivity. This poses a barrier to the accuracy and scalability of these tools. Researchers also have trouble sharing data with one another.

M-Lab aims to address these problems. Over the course of early 2009, Google will provide researchers with 36 servers in 12 locations in the U.S. and Europe. All data collected via M-Lab will be made publicly available for other researchers to build on. M-Lab is intended to be a truly community-based effort, and we welcome the support of other companies, institutions, researchers, and users that want to provide servers, tools, or other resources that can help the platform flourish.

Today, M-Lab is at the beginning of its development. To start, three tools running on servers near Google's headquarters are available to help users attempt to diagnose common problems that might impair their broadband speed, as well as determine whether BitTorrent is being blocked or throttled by their ISPs. These tools were created by the individual researchers who helped found M-Lab. By running these tools, users will get information about their connection and provide researchers with valuable aggregate data. Like M-Lab itself these tools are still in development, and they will only support a limited number of simultaneous users at this initial stage.

At Google, we care deeply about sustaining the Internet as an open platform for consumer choice and innovation. No matter your views on net neutrality and ISP network management practices, everyone can agree that Internet users deserve to be well-informed about what they're getting when they sign up for broadband, and good data is the bedrock of sound policy. Transparency has always been crucial to the success of the Internet, and, by advancing network research in this area, M-Lab aims to help sustain a healthy, innovative Internet.

You can learn more at the M-Lab website. If you're a researcher who'd like to deploy a tool, or a company or institution that is interested in providing technical resources, we invite you to get involved.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/01/introducing-measurement-lab.html

[G] Introducing Measurement Lab

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Official Google Blog: Introducing Measurement Lab

When an Internet application doesn't work as expected or your connection seems flaky, how can you tell whether there is a problem caused by your broadband ISP, the application, your PC, or something else? It can be difficult for experts, let alone average Internet users, to address this sort of question today.

Last year we asked a small group of academics about ways to advance network research and provide users with tools to test their broadband connections. Today Google, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Institute, the PlanetLab Consortium, and academic researchers are taking the wraps off of Measurement Lab (M-Lab), an open platform that researchers can use to deploy Internet measurement tools.

Researchers are already developing tools that allow users to, among other things, measure the speed of their connection, run diagnostics, and attempt to discern if their ISP is blocking or throttling particular applications. These tools generate and send some data back-and-forth between the user's computer and a server elsewhere on the Internet. Unfortunately, researchers lack widely-distributed servers with ample connectivity. This poses a barrier to the accuracy and scalability of these tools. Researchers also have trouble sharing data with one another.

M-Lab aims to address these problems. Over the course of early 2009, Google will provide researchers with 36 servers in 12 locations in the U.S. and Europe. All data collected via M-Lab will be made publicly available for other researchers to build on. M-Lab is intended to be a truly community-based effort, and we welcome the support of other companies, institutions, researchers, and users that want to provide servers, tools, or other resources that can help the platform flourish.

Today, M-Lab is at the beginning of its development. To start, three tools running on servers near Google's headquarters are available to help users attempt to diagnose common problems that might impair their broadband speed, as well as determine whether BitTorrent is being blocked or throttled by their ISPs. These tools were created by the individual researchers who helped found M-Lab. By running these tools, users will get information about their connection and provide researchers with valuable aggregate data. Like M-Lab itself these tools are still in development, and they will only support a limited number of simultaneous users at this initial stage.

At Google, we care deeply about sustaining the Internet as an open platform for consumer choice and innovation. No matter your views on net neutrality and ISP network management practices, everyone can agree that Internet users deserve to be well-informed about what they're getting when they sign up for broadband, and good data is the bedrock of sound policy. Transparency has always been crucial to the success of the Internet, and, by advancing network research in this area, M-Lab aims to help sustain a healthy, innovative Internet.

You can learn more at the M-Lab website. If you're a researcher who'd like to deploy a tool, or a company or institution that is interested in providing technical resources, we invite you to get involved.

Posted by Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist, and Stephen Stuart, Principal Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/introducing-measurement-lab.html

[G] Vancouver in 3D

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Google LatLong: Vancouver in 3D


Growing up in Vancouver during its mushrooming period, which began in the mid-'80s, I witnessed a small city's downtown core give way to a cosmopolitan urban center (or "centre," as we write) of glass towers. Approaching the peninsular downtown, encased by rugged mountains and the Pacific, any local still feels awe at its newfound density and how much it's grown.

Yesterday, more than 1400 buildings in Vancouver became visible in Google Earth's "3D Buildings" layer. With the 2010 Winter Olympics just a year away, I'm especially excited that you can now get a richer sense of Vancouver's distinctive splendor, which marries advanced urban development with a dramatic coastal landscape. You can see places like Moishe Safdie's colosseum-like Library Square, the waterfront Canada Place (with its "Five Sails"), and Olympic venues such as the domed B.C. Place stadium. 

I think you'll see why this city is routinely voted one of the world's most livable:



To those seeing Vancouver for the first time, I hope you'll realize it's a city worth visiting (I'd suggest in the summer, when it rains less). To the other Vancouverites, I hope this rich, rain-free view of your home makes you appreciate it even more.

Posted by Tamara Micner, Canada Communications Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/01/vancouver-in-3d.html

[G] Add on to AdSense

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Inside AdSense: Add on to AdSense

Do you regularly work with your webpages and AdSense implementation, tinkering with HTML or PHP and creating images and code on the fly? If you do, Firefox add-ons can help streamline the process of creating webpages. Here are some in particular that you may find useful:

ColorZilla
This extension tells you which RGB or hex color you're looking at, to help you make sure you created that logo for your business with just the right shade of blue, for instance. The tool also creates custom color palettes while you're browsing, so you can use them in your designs.

MeasureIt
Like the name says, use this add-on to measure the width and height in pixels of any element you see on a webpage. It's very simple to use, and you can define how much space you have left for that AdSense ad unit on the right-side. :)

IE View
Do you frequently use Internet Explorer to check how your website renders on that browser? This add-on allows you to view the way any page would look if it were opened in IE, without the hassle of opening another browser. You can also see pages that aren't Firefox-friendly much more easily.

WebDeveloper toolbar
This all-in-one toolbar gives you quick control over things like JavaScript display, form and CSS elements, screen resizing (so you know what your website looks like in smaller resolutions), HTML validation, and much more.

Hopefully, we'll soon have a similar set of add-ons for Chrome, and we'll be sure to share them with our readers.

What are your favorite add-ons for web developing? Leave us a comment below.

Posted by Laura Prado - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/01/add-on-to-adsense.html

[G] Google University Research Awards

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Official Google Research Blog: Google University Research Awards

Posted by Juan Vargas, University Relations

For most people, the word "Google" evokes associations of Internet search, free apps, and advertising--a far cry from our roots in research and academia. Google, however, has not lost sight of that fundamental relationship. Many of our offices (or "campuses") are located near local universities, and we maintain a working environment many consider to be collegiate: informal, collaborative, and home to expert lectures not only about science and technology, but also about literature, the economy, world peace, green energy, fitness, etc.

But these aspects are only one component of our enduring partnership with academia. Given the unique technical challenges we face, from the beginning we've often recognized the need for a strong relationship with the research community. One of the key ways we interact with this community is through the Google Research Awards Program

Started in 2005, the program seeks to identify and support leading-edge research in strategic areas of engineering and computer science. Professors from universities worldwide submit proposals three times per year that are evaluated by a team of Google engineers and scientists. 

Like Google itself, the program is global in scope: in the most recent round of submissions, nearly a third came from outside of the United States. During that round, we received 149 proposals and we ultimately decided to fund about a third of the projects.

A challenging aspect of running an awards program is making the funding decisions. We want to ensure that every proposal is reviewed by the best experts in the field. Luckily, we're fortunate to have many people at Google with the right expertise who help us make those decisions. 

As Alfred Spector, VP for Research, explains, "The winning proposals not only get financial support from Google, but also receive the extra benefit of being assigned a Google liaison who maintains a special relation with the professor during the life of the award, contributes to the research, and ensures that the outcomes are valuable to Google and academia." One example of this is the recent paper featured on the Google Research home page, by Phil Long and Rocco Servedio from Columbia University titled "Random Classification Noise Defeats All Convex Potential Boosters." 

The following are some highlights from other recently-funded projects: 

Social Networks Research Through CourseRank
Hector Garcia-Molina, Stanford University
Hector Garcia-Molina and his team at Stanford are pursing research on social networks and web usability by using and expanding CourseRank, a course evaluation and recommendation system for the Stanford community. As of June 2008, CourseRank has over 6,700 users and over 134,000 course evaluations. In addition to providing a service for Stanford students, it provides useful data to learn about social networks. Dr. Garcia-Molina plans to use CourseRank to investigate problems such as spam, trust, recommendations with complex objects, and the nature of social interactions. You can see a video with student testimonials and a demo here.

Energy-Efficient Storage Architectures for Data Centers
Sudhanva Gurumurthi, Mircea Stan, University of Virginia
Drs. Gurumurthi and Stan from the University of Virgina have developed a new disk drive architecture called "Intra-Disk Parallelism" that they hope will reduce the energy consumption of data center storage systems by over 60% while providing high performance to applications. This architecture extends conventional disk drives by using multiple I/O requests and by provisioning additional hardware resources to enhance the parallel capabilities even further. Details of their research were published at the 2008 International Symposium on Computer Architecture (ISCA). The conference paper has also been selected to appear in the IEEE Micro special issue on Top Picks from Computer Architecture Conferences.

Finding Better Spoken Dialog System Metrics
Maxine Eskenazi, Carnegie Mellon University
When the number of calls to spoken dialog systems mounts into the thousands, or millions, it is impossible to listen to every call. Prof. Eskenazi and her team at CMU are studying new metrics that could improve the performance of those systems. Dr. Eskenazi hopes this research will help illuminate how best to cope with advances in tuned speech recognition and new synthetic voices.

Interested in learning more about the Google University Relations and our Research Awards Program? Please visit our web site where scholars can learn more and submit proposals.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2009/01/posted-by-juan-vargas-university.html

[G] Do more with less -- Part 2 of 3

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Inside AdWords: Do more with less -- Part 2 of 3

Last week we talked about how Website Optimizer can help you convert a higher percentage of your website visitors (getting you more conversions with the same amount of clicks). This week we'll see how you can get more conversions from your existing AdWords campaigns and keywords with the Conversion Optimizer. We're also happy to announce that the Conversion Optimizer is now available to all campaigns using AdWords' free Conversion Tracking tool that also have at least 30 conversions in the last 30 days. So, if you were previously unable to use the Conversion Optimizer in AdWords, you may now be eligible to use it.

Whether you want visitors to fill out a form, sign up for an account, or buy a product, you want the people who click on your AdWords ad to complete some action on your site. The Conversion Optimizer, a free AdWords feature, helps you get the most conversions for your ad spend by using your conversion tracking data to improve your advertising efficiency. It does this by optimizing the placement of your ads in each auction based on the likelihood of a conversion. This process helps to avoid unprofitable clicks and to get you conversions without requiring you to spend as much time managing your bids - thus saving you money and time (which is particularly useful during a down economy).

For example, say you advertise on the keywords 'shoes' and 'brown leather shoes'. If the Conversion Optimizer determines that people who search for 'brown leather shoes' buy more shoes on your website than people who search for 'shoes', it will adjust your bids so you can appear higher on the page for the more profitable term and lower for the less profitable term.

You might already adjust your keyword bids with the goal of increasing your conversions or decreasing your costs, but the Conversion Optimizer is able to adjust bids using additional factors that are otherwise unavailable. This includes varying bids by broad match query, user location, and the particular search or content partner sites where the ad is appearing. These extra adjustments enable many advertisers to achieve double-digit percentage increases in conversions while paying the same price or less for each conversion.

To learn more or to get started, check out the Conversion Optimizer page. And remember to visit www.google.com/domorewithless to find a list of other Google resources that can help you achieve your advertising goals -- even in a downturn.

Posted by Amanda Kelly, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/01/do-more-with-less-part-2-of-3.html

[G] Food Trends to Watch for in ‘09

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Official Google CPG Blog: Food Trends to Watch for in ‘09

Posted by Anastasiya Blyukher,  Proposal Coordinator, CPG Central

According to an article from MediaPost's Karl Greenberg, Market research firm Mintel says that 54% of people who dine out regularly are cutting back on this expense because of the economy.  Though consumers are trading restaurant booths for their dining room tables, they are by no means sacrificing on quality when it comes to what they eat.    Below are several of the trends that Mintel predicts will steer consumers’ palates in ’09:

  • Comfort food – In these difficult times, consumers are seeking comfort food – food that is braised, grilled, slow baked, or poached.
  • Cocktail Revival & Innovation – According to Mintel, we'll see a comeback in classic cocktails, plus some innovation with ingredients like ginger, cucumber, and chili pepper, paired with gin, tequila, pisco, and framboise.
  • Fresh Ingredients – This year, consumers will seek more organic and locally-grown foods.
  • Mediterranean Cuisine – Food from this region is a rising trend among Americans, and consumers will satisfy these tastes with more specific - and authentic - dishes.
  • Research of food's origins and prep – In 2009, consumers will increasingly take interest in the origins, health benefits, and preparation techniques of their food.
Less time in restaurants means more time in the kitchen, which means more time spent online searching for recipes.  Increasing visibility during these searches is sure to make your brand a main ingredient in home-cooked meals – and home-mixed cocktails – all year long. 


URL: http://google-cpg.blogspot.com/2009/01/food-trends-to-watch-for-in-09.html

[G] Raising data privacy awareness

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Google Public Policy Blog: Raising data privacy awareness

Posted by Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel, and Jane Horvath, Senior Privacy Counsel

For the second year, the U.S. and Canada are joining 27 European countries to celebrate Data Privacy Day today. As we explained last year, the lack of understanding about online data protection is a global issue. As increasing amounts of data get uploaded to the Internet every day, it becomes more and more important for people to understand the benefits and risks of online communications and to learn how to use available tools to control and manage the information they share online.

To mark this special day of awareness, we are supporting an event hosted by the Information Technology Association of America called "Data Privacy Day: Increasing Privacy Awareness and Trust." We'll join U.S. and European government officials and key members of the privacy community on Capitol Hill to discuss how to increase public awareness about data privacy. This event is a part of our ongoing constructive dialogue with regulators and legislators, consumer and industry groups, and think tanks and privacy advocates to discuss how to protect user information.

Our efforts to raise data privacy awareness extend beyond the public policy arena; we aim to connect directly with our users, too. We're committed to protecting users' online privacy by following the principles of transparency and choice. We're transparent about the data we collect, and we design products that give people control over the information they share. Earlier this year, we revamped our Privacy Center, where we offer information, tips, and videos that explain Google's privacy practices and show people how they can control what data they share.

The Privacy Center also includes a link to a series of blog posts about how we use data to improve our products and services for our users. We recently translated the Privacy Center into multiple languages so that we can better serve people all around the world. We're also continuously working on innovative services and features that make information available to people in new ways, but with built-in privacy controls. For example, we introduced privacy-protective face-blurring for Street View earlier this year. And the launch of our browser, Google Chrome, included a feature for surfing the Internet in "incognito mode."

For the coming year, we want to improve our privacy practices even more by engaging in further dialogue with people who use our products and services, offering up easier-to-understand policies, and providing more privacy tools and controls. We hope that you'll take a few minutes on Data Privacy Day to explore our Privacy Center and learn about our commitment to this important issue.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/01/raising-data-privacy-awareness.html

[G] Raising data privacy awareness

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Official Google Blog: Raising data privacy awareness

For the second year, the U.S. and Canada are joining 27 European countries to celebrate Data Privacy Day today. As we explained last year, the lack of understanding about online data protection is a global issue. As increasing amounts of data get uploaded to the Internet every day, it becomes more and more important for people to understand the benefits and risks of online communications and to learn how to use available tools to control and manage the information they share online.

To mark this special day of awareness, we are supporting an event hosted by the Information Technology Association of America called "Data Privacy Day: Increasing Privacy Awareness and Trust." We'll join U.S. and European government officials and key members of the privacy community on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to discuss how to increase public awareness about data privacy. This event is a part of our ongoing constructive dialogue with regulators and legislators, consumer and industry groups, and think tanks and privacy advocates to discuss how to protect user information.

Our efforts to raise data privacy awareness extend beyond the public policy arena; we aim to connect directly with our users, too. We're committed to protecting users' online privacy by following the principles of transparency and choice. We're transparent about the data we collect, and we design products that give people control over the information they share. Earlier this year, we revamped our Privacy Center, where we offer information, tips, and videos that explain Google's privacy practices and show people how they can control what data they share. The Privacy Center also includes a link to a series of blog posts about how we use data to improve our products and services for our users. We recently translated the Privacy Center into multiple languages so that we can better serve people all around the world. We're also continuously working on innovative services and features that make information available to people in new ways, but with built-in privacy controls. For example, we introduced privacy-protective face-blurring for Street View earlier this year. And the launch of our browser, Google Chrome, included a feature for surfing the Internet in "incognito mode."

For the coming year, we want to improve our privacy practices even more by engaging in further dialogue with people who use our products and services, offering up easier-to-understand policies, and providing more privacy tools and controls. We hope that you'll take a few minutes on Data Privacy Day to explore our Privacy Center and learn about our commitment to this important issue.

Posted by Peter Fleischer, Global Privacy Counsel, and Jane Horvath, Senior Privacy Counsel
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/raising-data-privacy-awareness.html

[G] More computing, less power

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Official Google Blog: More computing, less power

In the fall we posted information about the efficiency of Google data centers and promised to update this information every quarter. We've now collected data for the fourth quarter of 2008 and published them to our sustainable computing website. Specifically, we're keeping track of the efficiency of any Google-designed data center with an IT load of at least 5 MW and a time-in-operation of at least 6 months. In Q4 our average power and cooling overhead in these facilities was 16%, bringing the overhead for the trailing 12 months to 19% (down from 21% a quarter earlier). For comparison, a recent EPA report put the overhead of the average enterprise data center at 100% or higher. We're very happy to have further improved our efficiency, and a number of factors contributed to that result.

First, efficiency is affected by seasonal weather patterns — cooler weather is better than hot weather, and several of our facilities benefited from that in Q4. Also, we continually review our efficiency metrics so that we notice, for example, that one of our data centers is not performing consistently with others of similar size and locale. So we'll take a closer look at optimizing that facility. Are we using fans to cool spaces that don't need to be cooled? Is the thermostat at the right set-point? Can we reduce the time the chillers need to run while keeping the machines operational? So we apply lessons we've learned from better-performing data centers to other facilities, and several such improvements took place in Q4. For the nitty-gritty technical details, visit our data center efficiency page.

While we've made a lot of progress in data center efficiency, we're still learning. As we continue to explore ways to use the least amount of power to do the most amount of computing, we'll continue to share our data and best practices with you. In early March we will participate in the CeBIT conference where we plan to disclose more details on our sustainability efforts as part of this year's theme of "Green IT." Stay tuned.

Posted by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/more-computing-less-power.html

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

[G] Mastering Motion Charts - Trend Analysis

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Google Analytics Blog: Mastering Motion Charts - Trend Analysis

Motion Charts make it possible for you to perform both high-level analysis (such as identifing long-term trends) and targeted analysis (aimed at gauging the impact of a specific change or event).

In today's post, we'll focus on identifying trends. Here are some examples of high-level trends you might want to examine using motion charts:
  1. How the value of a keyword changes over time
  2. How targeting traffic from a channel improves (or decreases) the quality of your visitors over time
  3. How landing page optimization affects visitor behavior
  4. How engagement metrics relate to your conversion rate
  5. How your visitor profile changes over time
To get to Motion Charts, just click "Visualize" at the top of any report that has a table with two or more values. Reports from which you can launch Motion Charts include New vs. Returning Visitors, Languages, Referring Sites, Keywords, Top Content and many, many others.
When to use a motion chart instead of just a graph

A standard graph shows data across two dimensions, (X-axis and Y-axis). On the other hand, Motion Charts let you look at data across up to five dimensions (X-axis, Y-axis, Color, Size and Time). If you're having flashbacks to high school math class, don't panic! Let's look at an example. We'll use Motion Charts to spot a trend of increasing visits from users of Internet Explorer on the Windows operating system.

Example: Spotting a trend in the Browser / OS Report

Start by navigating to the Browser and OS Report.


Next, click the "Visualize" button at the top of the report.

We'll select Visits for the X-axis, and % New Visits for the Y-axis. The chart loads a view of the data for the first day of the period. Notice that the bubble for Internet Explorer/Windows starts well on the left side of the chart:


After clicking play, the chart begins to change. Midway through the period, the "Internet Explorer / Windows" bubble has moved and now hovers near the middle of the chart. The other bubbles stay to the left, showing that the increase is not a trend across all the browser/OS combinations.



By the last days of the period being charted, the Internet Explorer / Windows bubble has moved to hover in the far right corner, representing a substantial increase in both Visits and % New Visits.


Thanks to the Motion Chart, this trend was easy to spot. Here's the real question though, what do you do with an observation like this?
  1. The project manager may budget additional time for quality testing in Internet Explorer vs other browsers due to the change.
  2. The marketing manager may use the insight to refine his or her understanding of the audience for the site, adjusting the sales copy to match known preferences of Windows users.
  3. The advertising manager may conclude that the company's new Mac-focused campaign was actually reaching the wrong audience and adjust accordingly.
Useful tips when looking for trends with motion charts
  • Focus on those bubbles that move more gradually. Often these are the bubbles based on the largest amount of data and are less likely to be thrown off by random, one-time occurrences.
  • Use the trails feature to visualize a bubble's path across time steps. You can turn on trails by hitting the "Trails" checkbox shown below.


  • Change your timescale from days to weeks when looking for longer-term trends. To change the time-scale on your motion chart, navigate back to the report you want to visualize, select the middle button next to the “Graph by” label on the upper-right hand corner of the graph and then click "Visualize" to return to the motion chart.
  • Focus on trends that let you take action. If you're easily able to make adjustments to your advertising mix but not your sales copy, then you may want to start your analysis by looking at keyword trends and campaign performance rather than landing page optimization.
  • Check out some of the other resources on Motion Charts to sharpen your skills:
What do you use motion charts for?

Have you ever used motion charts to spot a keyword or site usage trend? Add a comment and tell us about it!

Posted by Jessica Hullman of PureVisibility, a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant.
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/01/mastering-motion-charts-trend-analysis.html

[G] Announcing offline access in Gmail Labs

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Announcing offline access in Gmail Labs

With each passing day, the moments when I'm disconnected from the Internet become fewer and fewer. For me, one of the last meaningful barrier. Although wi-fi is being offered by more airlines, there are still plenty of flight routes where Internet isn't an option, at least for now. And this poses a problem for those of us who get a lot of our work done online.


So what can you do the next time you're bracing yourself for that long flight? Well, we've been cooking up a feature in
Gmail Labs, our testing ground for Gmail features, that should help: offline Gmail. If you enable offline access, Gmail will load in your browser even when you don't have an Internet connection. You can read messages, star, label and archive them, compose new mail and more. Messages ready to be sent will wait in your Outbox until you're online again.

Remember, we're still working out kinks, which means you might see some issues that aren't completely ironed out. But this is a major step along the way. It's built on the Gears platform, which has already been used to offline-enable Google Docs, Google Reader, and a number of other third-party web applications.

So if you're feeling lucky, here's how to get started with offline Gmail:

  1. Sign in to Gmail and click 'Settings'.
  2. Click the 'Labs' tab and select 'Enable' next to 'Offline Gmail'.
  3. Click 'Save Changes.'
  4. In the upper righthand corner of your account, next to your username, there will be a new 'Offline' link. Click this link to start the offline synchronization process.

Standard Edition users can follow these instructions immediately, while Premier and Education Edition users will first need their domain admins to enable Gmail Labs from the Google Apps admin control panel.

Watch this overview video of offline Gmail:



Posted by Joyce Sohn, Google Apps Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/01/announcing-offline-access-in-gmail-labs.html

[G] OpenGSE Released

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Google Open Source Blog: OpenGSE Released

By Wenbo Zhu, Software Engineering Team

Something that may be of interest to Open Source enthusiasts is the recent release of the Open Google Servlet Engine (OpenGSE). Once upon a time engineers within Google developed their own fast, lightweight servlet engine which we referred to as simply the "Google Servlet Engine" or GSE. Many of Google's products, both internal and public facing, use the GSE, including GMail and Google Calendar. The OpenGSE code base conceptually consists of an inner-core which focuses on raw HTTP processing and a shell which wraps that inner core and provides the servlet spec compliance, which we've termed the "compliance shell." This approach was taken originally just because it made the coding easier, but it was found that this "compliance shell" can wrap our internal corporate version, the Google Servlet Engine, and enable it to pass all of the servlet spec compliance tests that OpenGSE passes! While we weren't anticipating this outcome, it was an excellent unintended side effect and will help improving the functionality of our internal systems, as well.

While opening the code and removing all Google specific dependencies, it was necessary to ensure that the code base still behaved like a servlet engine: invalidated sessions are unable to store objects, etc.. The only thing available to us for servlet compliance testing which didn't require signing legal agreements or paying money - we like doing more with less here at Google - was a (now dormant) project called Watchdog . The Watchdog suite of tests was written quite a few years ago and only checks servlet spec 2.3 compliance (to some extent). We decided to investigate how difficult it would be to add a few extra tests to check for 2.5 spec compliance. The tests were added and the code-base was tweaked further to pass those tests. The client-side of the original watchdog tests consisted of a custom ANT task which writes results to System.out. All of these client-side custom ANT task invocations were transformed into individual JUnit test methods which makes IDE development much, much easier and more pleasurable.

During a casual conversation with some of my fellow engineers, they suggested that perhaps the best way to think of OpenGSE is as a suite of servlet spec compliance tests with a "reference servlet engine" that passes these tests. The "toy" servlet engine supplied with the test suites would have the same core http processing code (as far as possible) as the servlet engine which powers GMail etc. For folks outside of Google, there's really no compelling argument to drop Apache Tomcat/Jetty, etc. in favor of OpenGSE's reference servlet engine, but anyone interested in servlet engine and servlet spec compliance would have a fantastic learning resource available to them. For Googlers, using a "compliance shell" wrapped internal GSE for their project means that future Open Sourcing of their project becomes that much easier.

Special thanks goes to Mike Jennings who took the initiative, led this Open Source project throughout 2007-2008 and managed to get the first version of OpenGSE out in 2008, as well as Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis, the two original authors of GSE.

We hope that you will find OpenGSE as useful as we have. Check out the code and send us your feedback in our Discussion Group.
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/01/opengse-released.html