Saturday, February 14, 2009

[G] With love, from me (the AdSense Crawler) to you

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Inside AdSense: With love, from me (the AdSense Crawler) to you

We recently caught up with our friend the AdSense Crawler, who wanted to share this poem with our publishers:

Red roses are fine for showing your love,
Kisses, jewelry, and chocolate, they’re okay.
Yet my heart skips a beat from none of the above,
Ask me what thrills and delights me and I’ll say:

Great content’s what contents me when I visit your site,
Stuff your truffles and send me a rich word bouquet,
Keep your flowers, give me phrases, they’re what excite!
Every day crawling your pages is Valentine’s Day.

- The AdSense Crawler

Happy Valentine's Day!

Posted by Julie Beckmann - Inside AdSense Team

[G] Judy's classics continue to Bloom

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Inside Google Book Search: Judy's classics continue to Bloom

Posted by Inbal Drukker, Online Team

My bookshelves at my parents' home are filled with children's literature, and one of my favorite authors growing up was Judy Blume, who turned 71 yesterday. On a recent trip back home, I spent quite some time in my old room, reflecting on books that affected me most as a child growing up in Israel. Yet this visit was different from previous trips back home. I was thinking about these books not just an adult but also as the parent of a newborn spending her first autumn at her grandparents' home. Which books will she be reading when she grows up? Will she join the family club of Judy Blume aficionados?

Looking back at my teen years, one of my favorite books was Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I was in awe of her ability to capture the confusion, angst, and the whole range of emotions I was feeling in those crucial years. In Deenie and Blubber, I learned how important acceptance is, while Tiger Eyes taught me about coping with death. I was fascinated by the tense friendships in Just as Long as We're Together. And as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, I connected on a very personal level with Blume's Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself which deals with antisemitism.

When my daughter turns 10, we'll share laughs reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge, and as she grows older I will introduce her to more of Judy Blume's work. As someone who cherishes her childhood books and who's helped preserve children's songs, I hope that generations to come will keep reading and learning from Judy Blume's classics. To Life, Judy Blume!

Friday, February 13, 2009

[G] Introducing the Google Conversion Room Blog

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Introducing the Google Conversion Room Blog

Today we'd like to showcase a new blog run by our colleagues in Europe, the Google Conversion Room. Visit the Conversion Room for more tips on boosting sales, leads and conversion performance on your website using Google tools.

You can read about implementing and using Google Analytics, Website Optimizer and AdWords conversion tools. The blog highlights upcoming events and trainings in Europe and includes features from industry experts and guest bloggers.

Below we've highlighted a recent post that we think you'll find interesting. In it, Brian O'Sullivan, Google Analytics Specialist, talks about the importance of measuring Key Performance Indicators in Google Analytics to better measure and exceed your business objectives.
Why not sign up to the Conversion Room site feed so you don't miss out on any future posts! In the meantime, we'll try and give you some of the highlights here on the Google Analytics blog. For foreign language resources, you can also check out the French and Japanese versions of the Google Analytics blog
Happy tracking!

Posted by Sebastian Tonkin, Google Analytics Team

[G] Software Construction Toolkit Released

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Google Open Source Blog: Software Construction Toolkit Released

By Randall Spangler, Software Engineer - Client Tools Team

If you've ever worked on a cross-platform software project, you know how often changes made on one platform break the build on other platforms. If you're using native project files (Xcode on Mac, makefiles on Linux, etc.), every developer needs access to every platform just to add a single source file. You can use a single makefile shared between all the platforms, but writing a makefile which "Does The Right Thing" on each platform is tricky. On all platforms, you need simple ways to express dependencies, run unit tests, and rebuild individual project components. You need to be able to extend the build tool to cover the 5% of your project that doesn't fit the usual build patterns. Oh, and the tool should be documented, tested, and free of charge.

To meet those challenges, we've written a cross-platform Software Construction Toolkit, built on the Open Source SCons build tool. It's written in Python, and builds on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

In addition to contributing fixes and enhancements back to SCons itself, we've released full source and documentation for the toolkit.

We always look forward to your feedback, so check out the code or an example project and send us your comments in our discussion group.

[G] My Maps, your love stories

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Official Google Blog: My Maps, your love stories

Flowers, chocolates and cards are all typically associated with Valentine's Day. But as someone with a bit of a crush on cartography, I wanted to find a way for people to express their love using maps. I rallied a few other hopeless romantics around here and, together, we created a My Map where you can mark the romantic places in your life. Whether it's the waterfall where you proposed, the Chinese restaurant where you had your first date with your sweetheart, the secluded beach where you got married, or simply the most romantic spot that comes to mind, we'd love to hear from you. You can even add photos and videos to illustrate your love story. (But make sure your story doesn't make Cupid blush, as this map is intended for all audiences.)

View Larger Map

And if you're still scrambling for a last-minute gift for your valentine this year, we hope this map will provide some inspiration. You can use My Maps or the new Touring feature in Google Earth to make a special map just for your loved one, showing all the important places throughout your relationship. Of course, some flowers probably wouldn't hurt either. :-)

Posted by Elaine Filadelfo, Google Blog team and self-professed map lover

[G] Website Optimizer, meet GA.js

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Website Optimizer, meet GA.js

Website Optimizer uses the Google Analytics Tracking Code to keep track of visitors and conversions. Until now, we used the older version of the code, called urchin.js. While this still works fine, Google Analytics has a newer version called ga.js. We made an update to Website Optimizer to allow you to use the newer version of the Google Analytics tracking code. All new experiments you create will use the ga.js tracking code.

This change won't affect any experiments currently running with urchin.js. You won't need to change your tags either. You may continue using Website Optimizer tags with urchin.js if you'd like. And if you're doing an advanced implementation of Website Optimizer, you may want read more about the Google Analytics Tracking Code.

And Happy Valentine's Day from the GWO team. Here's a little bit of statistical romance:
( - Boyfriend)

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team

[G] Green living at Google's D.C. office

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Google Public Policy Blog: Green living at Google's D.C. office

Posted by Dorothy Chou, Global Communications and Public Affairs

Google offices around the world are known for their great food, colorful lava lamps, and foosball tables -- but how do these buildings fit in with our commitment to "go green"? Eric Kuhn of the Huffington Post stopped by our office in Washington, D.C. to learn more:


[G] Edit Google Docs spreadsheets from your phone

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Edit Google Docs spreadsheets from your phone

Until today, you've only been able to view Google Docs spreadsheets on your mobile devices. Last night, we launched new capabilities to Google Docs for your phone that allow you to add new rows, edit existing cells, sort by columns, and filter by terms. Now you don't have to wait until you get to your computer to update a spreadsheet, whether it's your expense tracker, time sheet, or your wine rating spreadsheet.

To check out these new capabilities, just go to in your mobile browser and log in. If you are a Google Apps user, go to

Enhanced mobile access to spreadsheets is available on Android, iPhone (and iPod touch), and Symbian S60. You can read more about these enhancements on the Google Docs blog.

Posted by Andrew Chang, Marketing Manager, Google Docs team

[G] How do we love thee?

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Inside AdWords: How do we love thee?

Christian, Cynthia, Heather, Amanda, Emel, and Austin

How do we love thee?
Let us count the ways...

You always read us faithfully,
And send us feedback gracefully.
We really think you're pretty fine --
So will you be our Valentine?

Posted by Heather Lane, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Calling all business owners

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Google LatLong: Calling all business owners

As an avid Google Maps user, I find myself turning to the map to search for increasingly varied types of local information.  From simply locating an address to looking for a very specific type of business, I always check the map first.  

In fact, Google Maps was the only way I was able to find Ski Guides Hawaii, a small ski and snowboard rental operation that rents equipment to those looking for the ultimate adventure--skiing on the summit of Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano in Hawaii.  When I arrived to pick up my skis, the owner was amazed to hear that I'd found him on Google Maps.  Like many business owners, he didn't know about Local Business Center or realize that he could edit his listing on Google Maps.  

Local Business Center allows business owners to edit the content of their existing listing, or to add a brand new listing to Google's local database.  By ensuring that basic information is up-to-date and providing additional details, like photos, hours, and coupons, business owners can stand out on the map to attract more customers. To make the process even easier, we've put together a getting started video that walks through the sign up process and benefits of Local Business Center.  Enjoy, and share with your entrepreneurial friends!   

Posted by Laura Melahn, Associate Product Marketing Manager

[G] Add, edit, sort, and filter: Improved mobile access to spreadsheets

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Official Google Docs Blog: Add, edit, sort, and filter: Improved mobile access to spreadsheets

Over a year ago, we enabled view-only access to docs from mobile devices. This has come in handy for me because I use Google Docs spreadsheets to keep track of a lot of nerdy and not-so-nerdy things in my life. I've often found myself wanting to access my spreadsheet data on the go, when I'm not near a computer.

Today, I'm happy to announce that we've made mobile access even better by adding new capabilities with List View for spreadsheets. You can quickly view, edit, sort, and filter your spreadsheets on a variety of mobile devices including Android-powered devices like the T-Mobile G1, the iPhone and iPod touch, and the Nokia S60.

With Valentine's Day coming soon, I'd like to share two ways that List View is helping me to play cupid.

Last week I was trying to find some Broadway tickets to surprise my boyfriend for Valentine's Day. A friend of mine at a ticket agency publishes an online spreadsheet with a list of last-minute available tickets. From my iPhone, I was able to quickly access his spreadsheet to see upcoming shows:
Mobile List View showing all shows (sorted by "Show" column).  Shown in portrait mode on the iPhone.

From here, in just a few taps, I was able to filter down to tickets available on Valentine's Day:

Choosing a filter for the "Date" column.

I could see only the rows that matched my filter, and I eventually found a show that I knew that my boyfriend would like: "Billy Elliot The Musical" at 7pm with orchestra seats.

All rows matching the "2/14/2009" filter.

With tickets purchased, and a restaurant booked, I'm nearly set. Here's another example of how this enhanced mobile access will come in handy tomorrow night. A few of my friends and I like to think of ourselves as wine aficionados. We rate wines that we like (and don't like) in a wine diary and it's kept in a shared spreadsheet. On the T-Mobile G1 or the iPhone home screens, we all have shortcuts which link directly to the spreadsheet.

Mobile List View showing all wines. Landscape mode on the G1.   

While at a restaurant or wine bar, we can see each others' recommendations and note our likes and dislikes.  Here I can view and add a new entry:  

Mobile List View "Add row" widget on the G1.

Tomorrow night, mobile access to this spreadsheet will come in handy when presented with a big wine list, with my significant other looking at me across the table waiting for me to pick a wine (already).

Try this out by pointing your mobile device's browser to And if you use Google Apps, go to This feature is available in all 38 languages that are supported in Google Docs spreadsheets.

Posted by: Eric Bogs, User Interface Software Engineer

[G] The Black List in the YouTube Screening Room

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YouTube Blog: The Black List in the YouTube Screening Room

Two weeks ago, we kicked off a month of programming, sponsored by Grey Goose, in the YouTube Screening Room to celebrate Black History Month. Today, we're proud to reveal the next four videos in our lineup: excerpts from the critically acclaimed documentary series "The Black List."

"The Black List" features intimate portraits of some of America's greatest innovators, thinkers and cultural icons, who are also African-Americans. You'll hear from one of the world's greatest living comedians, Chris Rock; renowned entrepreneur and music marketing guru, Steve Stoute; tennis legend and current World No. 1, Serena Williams; and music mogul and founder of Def Jam Records, Russell Simmons.

Didn't get the chance to check out the first round of films? Don't fret -- they're still available in the YouTube Screening Room archive.

Prepare to be inspired,

Sara Pollack

YouTube Film

Thursday, February 12, 2009

[G] Oxford Geeks Run the Gamut from Hardware Hacking to Navigating Social Media

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Google Open Source Blog: Oxford Geeks Run the Gamut from Hardware Hacking to Navigating Social Media

By J-P Stacey, Oxford Geek

The most recent Oxford Geek Night had a record number of attendees — well over 150 — and filled the Jericho Tavern in Oxford to bursting point. Given they're a regular event and we've been holding them for two years now, it was really good to see them more popular than ever. In contrast to previous events, OGN10 hosted design and marketing keynotes, which meant we could cater to the more varied nature of the geek scene in Oxford. Elliot Jay Stocks, designer and writer for .net, launched into a history of type on the web, moving from the misleading nature of website tools listing every font on your local machine, through the sameyness of web-safe fonts, into replacement technologies such as sIFR and ultimately the future of embedded fonts in the browser and the @font-face CSS directive. Next, Sylwia Presley of 1000heads explained how an individual or organization could adapt to the existing ethics and mores of online social communities, specifically Twitter, and to what extent they could plough their own furrow while still being accepted by the community as a whole.

The two keynotes were supported by more technical microslot sessions. David Sheldon, fresh from investigations into scaling at online music distributors We7, explained the various problems inherent in multi-machine scaling, including such oddities as individual machines' garbage collection leading to a deadlock of the network, and the importance of adapting to your application's individual behaviour as Facebook have done. Drew Mclellan ran through RGBA colour support in modern browsers, using the experiences of the 24ways team last advent to show how new designs involving transparency can be made to degrade well for older browsers.

Tom Dyson demonstrated how the combination of live data from the National Grid might, via his home-made single-serving site, provide signals for hardware hackers to turn on household items like fridges whenever the UK power grid has spare capacity. We also had some great talks from Peet Morris and Tim Davies respectively, about the history of Microsoft culture circa Windows 3.0, and about the future of online culture for adolescents, how site design and application flow need to adapt to privacy and child-protection legislation and goals. Finally, Bruce Lawson spoke about BS 8878, the new British Standard for accessible websites. He explained how these non-binding standards dovetailed with UK accessibility law, and how they might be used internally to support good accessibility within top-down development management.

Our end-of-night book raffle was courtesy of Pearson Education, with a number of T-shirts thrown in by We7, and a couple of Sitepoint books donated by their author. As always we overran, and as always the Oxford geek community continued to chat, discuss, network and argue well into the night. Videos and slides from the evening will be up on the OGN site shortly. Thanks to Google's Open Source Team and our other sponsors, Oxford Geek Nights continue to be a free event, and the number of attendees at the first OGN of 2009 suggest that they'll also continue to be popular among the local geek crowd for some time to come.

[G] Facebook Your Blog

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Blogger Buzz: Facebook Your Blog

Over the years we've heard lots of great ideas for promoting your blog, and have been compiling them here as a handy reference. From simply adding links to enabling cool newer features such as Following, we're always happy to update the page when we stumble across something new.

Our latest addition comes from our friends at TypePad, who have put together a great video on How to add your blog feed to your Facebook profile. After trying this ourselves, we've found that integrating your blog feed into your Facebook profile can be a really effective way to keep your friends updated on the latest from your blog.

So if you've been looking for slick new ways to expand your blog's audience, check out the video and give it a shot!


[G] HD/HQ and Widescreen Options on Embedded Videos

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YouTube Blog: HD/HQ and Widescreen Options on Embedded Videos

You now have the option to watch embedded videos in high quality or HD (when those formats are available). The widescreen option is also available when you embed a video. You can use our handy how-to guide on optimizing your uploads to look their absolute best on YouTube.

As always, let us know how you find using this new feature. We'll use your feedback to make improvements as we roll out new features for embeds.


Nikhil Chandhok

Product Manager

The YouTube Team

[G] HD/HQ and Widescreen Options on Embedded Videos

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YouTube Blog: HD/HQ and Widescreen Options on Embedded Videos

You now have the option to watch embedded videos in high quality or HD (when those formats are available). The widescreen option is also available when you embed a video. You can use our handy how-to guide on optimizing your uploads to look their absolute best on YouTube.

As always, let us know how you find using this new feature. We'll use your feedback to make improvements as we roll out new features for embeds.


Nikhil Chandhok

Product Manager

The YouTube Team

[G] Reaction to the FTC's advertising privacy principles

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Google Public Policy Blog: Reaction to the FTC's advertising privacy principles

Posted by Pablo Chavez, Senior Policy Counsel

For the last year or so, the Federal Trade Commission has been looking at privacy questions surrounding online behavioral advertising. We've been pleased to be a part of that process, including testifying at the FTC's 2007 town hall meeting, submitting our own comments last year on the draft principles, and having extensive conversations with FTC staff.

Today, the Commission released the final version of its self-regulatory principles. The FTC principles underscore that in a fast-evolving space like the Internet, a self-regulatory approach is the best way to protect consumers and promote innovation.

We agree with the statements of Commissioners Liebowitz and Harbour that individual companies and industry generally can and should do more to protect user privacy. Google will continue to engage in efforts to develop strong self-regulatory principles and will will continue to advocate for comprehensive federal privacy legislation.

[G] Tour 3D models in the new Ocean layer

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Google LatLong: Tour 3D models in the new Ocean layer

[Cross-posted with the SketchUp blog]

For the exciting release of Google Earth 5.0, the Google SketchUp team built a series of 3D models to highlight the new Ocean layer. Google Earth 5.0 now allows you to navigate under the surface of the sea and explore the ocean floor to see shipwrecks, submarines, buoys, and much more. We've put together a placemark tour to help easily find the 3D models in the ocean. To access the tour, download the kml file from the Google Earth Gallery page. The tour will visit models such as the TitanicBatttleship BismarkAquarius underwater laboratory, as well as other submarines, shipwrecks, and dive destinations. Please make sure you have the latest version of Google Earth 5.0 and the 3D Buildings layer turned on.
You can also find these models in the Google Earth - Ocean Layer collection in the Google 3D Warehouse. The SketchUp team added over 80 3D models to the 3D Buildings layer including models of NOAA moored buoys taking wind, wave, meteorological, and oceanographic measurements around the coasts of the United States. 

Posted by Adam Hecht, 3D Data Specialist

[G] Happy trails with My Tracks

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Google LatLong: Happy trails with My Tracks

Last week you heard about the new GPS track functionality in Google Earth 5.0. Well, you now have another way to record and visualize your outdoor activities with today's launch of My Tracks. My Tracks is an application for Android-powered phones such as the T-Mobile G1 that makes use of the phone's built-in GPS to let you record your adventures, which you can then visualize and share using Google Maps. You can find out more about My Tracks in the video below and over on the Official Google Blog.

Posted by Dylan Casey, Product Manager and former professional cyclist

[G] Our new Help Forum, now in seven more languages

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Inside AdSense: Our new Help Forum, now in seven more languages

Back in October, we launched a brand new English Help Forum to make it easier for publishers to ask questions and share advice. Now, we're happy to announce that this Help Forum platform is available for publishers in seven additional languages: French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian. To start posting on these forums, sign in with your Google Account.

If you're using the new platform for the first time, some of the new features you'll notice include the ability to vote on a best response to each question, receive answers to your posted questions by email, and subscribe via RSS feed. We've also introduced more community-building aspects to the forum, such as a customizable profile page and a rating system that rewards you for your contributions. Finally, we've integrated a CSE search box on each page, which will allow you to find answers to your questions across the Forum, Help Center, and the blog.

Our Help Forums are also available on Google Groups in Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Slovak, and Turkish -- we'll be sure to let you know when we're able to migrate these languages to our new platform.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team

[G] Happy trails with My Tracks for Android-powered phones

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Official Google Blog: Happy trails with My Tracks for Android-powered phones

Today I'm pleased to announce the new My Tracks application for Android-powered phones such as the T-Mobile G1. My Tracks records tracks of outdoor activities using the phone's built-in GPS. It shows these tracks on a map and presents live statistics, including an elevation profile. And here's the best part: it lets you easily share your activities with friends and the world using Google Maps, as well as archive your training history with Google Docs.

Check out a ride from one of the My Tracks engineers (click to view larger):

Many GPS receivers require you to plug a separate device into a computer, install software, transfer, convert and upload your track to the web. With My Tracks, this has become a whole lot simpler. I no longer need to carry multiple devices when I go out for a ride, and I can easily share my rides on the spot with anyone I'd like by recording and uploading my track right from my phone and then sharing it out via email or even Twitter.

Here's a look at some of the things you can do with My Tracks:
  • Record and visualize GPS tracks while running, hiking, biking, skiing — or any other outdoor activity
  • Get live statistics, such as total/moving time, (average) speed, distance, and elevation profile
  • Send performance statistics to Google Docs to build a training history
  • Mark places and describe activities for others to discover via Google Maps
It's simple to get started. Just go to Android Market on your Android-powered phone and search for "My Tracks." Install the application and hit "Start recording" from the menu. This video shows you how it's done:

My Tracks was developed as a 20% project. On behalf of the entire team, we hope you enjoy using this application as much as we had fun developing it. And we're looking forward to seeing all of the creative ways people use it.

Posted by Dylan Casey, Product Manager and former professional cyclist

[G] YouTube Goes Offline

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Goes Offline

We are always looking for ways to make it easier for you to find, watch, and share videos. Many of you have told us that you wanted to take your favorite videos offline. So we've started working with a few partners who want their videos shared universally and even enjoyed away from an Internet connection.

Many video creators on YouTube want their work to be seen far and wide. They don't mind sharing their work, provided that they get the proper credit. Using Creative Commons licenses, we're giving our partners and community more choices to make that happen. Creative Commons licenses permit people to reuse downloaded content under certain conditions.

We're also testing an option that gives video owners the ability to permit downloading of their videos from YouTube. Partners could choose to offer their video downloads for free or for a small fee paid through Google Checkout. Partners can set prices and decide which license they want to attach to the downloaded video files (for more info on the types of licenses, take a look here).

For example, universities use YouTube to share lectures and research with an ever-expanding audience. In an effort to promote the sharing of information, we are testing free downloads of YouTube videos from Stanford, Duke, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and UCTV (broadcasting programs from throughout the UC system). YouTube users who are traveling or teachers who want to show these videos in classrooms with limited or no connectivity should find this particularly useful.

A small number of other YouTube partners, including khanacademy, householdhacker and pogobat, are also participating in this test as an additional distribution and revenue-generating tool.

So how do these downloads work? The video watch pages of the participating partners link to the download option below the left-hand corner of the video. To help you keep track of the videos you have previously purchased, we have created a new "My Purchases" tab under "My Videos."

If you are a partner who is interested in participating, you can find out more about the test and enter your information here.

Please do share your feedback with us by joining the discussion here.


Thai Tran

Product Manager

[G] Record your training routes with the My Tracks Android App

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Record your training routes with the My Tracks Android App

Just a week ago we announced Google Latitude, a new feature of Google Maps for mobile that lets you see your friends' locations. Today Dylan Casey, a former professional cyclist, announced another location-based service from Google. My Tracks is a new Android application that makes it easy to record your routes when cycling, running, hiking, or doing pretty much any outdoor activity.

Take a look at Dylan's post for some of the product details, and watch this demo:

Because the Android operating system supports background processes, you can run the My Tracks app while using other applications on your phone.

My Tracks also integrates with other Android applications to make it easy to share your routes. When you select "Share with friends," Android will allow you to share your track through other Android applications that can send messages. By default this is the Gmail application, but if you have installed other applications that can send messages, there will be more options. To demonstrate this we worked with the Twidroid team. It is now just as easy to tweet your tracks as it is to email them. Simply install the latest version of Twidroid available from Android market. Next time you share a track recorded with My Tracks, you can also tweet a link to your tracks!

To download My Tracks to your G1, go to Android Market and search for "My Tracks." And don't forget to check out the My Tracks website.

Posted by Leif Hendrik Wilden, Software Engineer

[G] Safer social networking and self regulation

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Google Public Policy Blog: Safer social networking and self regulation

Posted by Luc Delany, European Policy Associate

Although there are European laws in place to protect online users (remember, if an act is illegal offline it's illegal online also), legislative processes can be time consuming and have the potential to be out of date before they can be enforced. That's why self-regulation is a crucial tool for industry be able react quickly to immediate policy needs. We applaud the European Commission also for recognising the need for this approach.

On Safer Internet Day, earlier this week, Google signed up to support the "Safer Social Networking Principles" that were agreed between online service providers with the help of the European Commission through its Social Networking Taskforce. We think this is a great initiative and precisely the right approach to be taken to help protect young people on social networking services.

Obviously Google itself is not a social networking service but some elements of certain services do have social elements and we will endeavor to uphold the principles. On YouTube for example, we give users a wealth of safety information in our "Safety Tips" centre featuring tips and guidance on topics like teen safety, cyber citizenship, cyberbullying, hateful content, and privacy. We'll be making a full self-assessment of the principles and our services by April, along with all the other signatories.

The creation of the principles is another step in the developing the maturing self-regulatory approach to child protection on-line, building on initiatives such as Teach Today.

[G] Guru Challenge: Baked with Love

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YouTube Blog: Guru Challenge: Baked with Love

In our latest Guru Challenge, Duff Goldman and his Ace of Cakes crew asked you, the YouTube community of bakers, to show off your best cake creations for Valentine's Day. You baked countless cakes with love and the resulting videos blew us and the Food Network away. You tempted our taste buds with some irresistible recipes, and we're happy to share some of our favorite slices of baking goodness on the homepage today.

You demonstrated that the way to a man's heart is often through his stomach...

You showed us that an organic vegan cake can look just as mouthwatering as its less-healthy counterparts...

You even made a cake for those jilted lovers who might not be celebrating Valentine's Day this year...

Thanks to all who participated and shared your hard work and creativity. You've inspired us this Valentine's Day and confirmed that our community is filled with some of the best baking gurus on the Web.

Happy Valentine's Day,

Sadia Harper

YouTube HowTo & Style

[G] "The most important single work in science"

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Inside Google Book Search: "The most important single work in science"

Posted by Michael Williams, Bibliographic Evaluation Team Manager, University of Oxford

February 12th is the 200th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth, and 2009 marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of his seminal work On the Origin of Species.

An important book on evolutionary biology, it created widespread interest for its controversial ideas that contradicted the leading biology theories of its day. Famously called "the most important single work in science" by scientific historian Bern Dibner, On the Origin of Species revolutionized modern scientific thinking and established Darwin as one of the most influential thinkers of all time.

Only 1,250 copies of the book were printed, of which 1,170 were for sale. Such was the interest in the work that it is believed that all available copies sold on the day of publication. Copies of the first edition are therefore very rare.

With Darwin's anniversary approaching, the Bibliographic Evaluation Team (BET), which is responsible for preparing Oxford University's material for scanning, wanted to make sure that an Oxford copy of On the Origin of Species made it online. There are two first edition copies within the University Library, so we arranged for the Plant Sciences Library copy to be scanned in late January.

While the book was only away from the library for a day, preparing the catalogue metadata took much longer. Thanks to the hard work of the BET and our colleagues at Google, you can now search and read the full text of this classic book online.

On the Origin of Species
is one of many hundreds of thousands of Oxford University books now available through Google Book Search, and we look forward to bringing even more volumes online for scholars and enthusiasts alike.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

[G] Four changes to Gmail contacts

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Official Gmail Blog: Four changes to Gmail contacts

Over the past few days we've made a lot of small changes to Gmail's contact manager which, combined, should make it easier to organize the contacts you want and get rid of some of the cruft. Here's a quick summary:

1. Contact merge (and an important caveat about auto-complete)
Many of you may have seen Monday's blog post about Google Sync which mentioned contact merge. Nothing had been annoying me more than seeing several copies of "Jeff Jones" on my iPhone — only one of which actually contained his phone number. I now have one "Jeff Jones" which contains all of his contact information. To do this, select the contacts you want to merge and then click "Merge these..." as shown below:

Now that you can sync your contacts to a variety of devices, being able to merge contacts is more important than ever. Please note that as we mentioned on Monday, there's a known issue with merging contacts that affects address auto-complete, making merged addresses sometimes come up in a suboptimal order (e.g. auto-complete may bring up your friend's work address first even though you usually email their Gmail address). We're working on fixing this so the email address you use the most for any given contact will always come up first.

2. All Contacts
Instead of Suggested Contacts, you'll now see a group called All Contacts which, as the name would suggest, is where all of your contacts live and thus a good view for merging duplicate contacts. You can still see suggested contacts by clicking the "View Suggestions" button from My Contacts. From there, you can select frequently emailed contacts to add to My Contacts.

3. Remove people from My Contacts
You can finally move contacts out of the My Contacts group — especially useful if you're planning to sync your contact list to your phone. Prune the contacts you don't want synced to your phone from My Contacts (click "Groups" and then "Remove from My Contacts"), and they won't get synced.

4. Search across all contact fields
We've heard you loud and clear, and contact search now works much better: instead of just searching contact names and email addresses, it now includes phone numbers, notes fields, and mailing addresses as well. So, if you're visiting the Bay Area and looking for friends to catch up with, you could try typing "650" or "415" in the contact manager search box.

Please keep the feedback coming — we're working hard to make Contacts better and more useful for you.

Posted by Benjamin Grol, Product Manager, Google Contacts

[G] Broadband provisions in the economic stimulus package

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Google Public Policy Blog: Broadband provisions in the economic stimulus package

Adam Kovacevich, Senior Manager, Global Communications and Public Affairs

We're trying out a new feature on this blog -- video interviews with folks from Google's public policy team.

With a deal apparently struck today on the economic stimulus bill before Congress, I spoke this afternoon with Rick Whitt, who handles telecom policy issues for Google, about the bill's provisions to expand broadband deployment. Check it out:


[G] Tips and Tools for Expanding Keywords Lists

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Tips and Tools for Expanding Keywords Lists

You can use Google Analytics to find the best keywords and shift budget to the highest converting keywords, but what if you're looking to expand your keyword lists? In this post, we are going to look at how you can leverage other free Google tools to optimize your marketing campaigns beyond Google Analytics.

1) Take a look at the best performing keywords from your Google Analytics Keyword Report.

2) Input these keywords, along with your site's URL, into the Search-based Keyword Tool to find keywords not currently in your AdWords campaign. Suggestions from this tool are particularly useful because they're specific to the site and keywords you define, and are based on actual, past Google queries.

3) For each keyword identified, you can then use Google Insights for Search -- a tool that allows you to see trends in what the world is searching for -- to see where regional interest is highest and better optimize through geotargeting.
You can also enter your top-performing keywords from Google Analytics directly into Google Insights for Search to identify the top-related and rising searches. This can help you expand your keyword lists and keep them current by staying abreast of related search trends.
These are just a few examples of how you can capitalize on the many Google tools available for improving your website ROI, so start expanding and optimizing your possibilities today!

Posted by Lauren Usui, Insights for Search Team

[G] A social bar for your site

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Social Web Blog: A social bar for your site

While it's easy to add social features to your site with Google Friend Connect, you may have been wondering where to put all of the great gadgets. You need your users to sign in, to interact with your site, and to find those like-minded strangers... but pixels are precious, and you're not sure how to make more space alongside the wonderful content that brought people to your site in the first place.

The Friend Connect Team is here to help. We're happy to announce a new feature: the social bar. The social bar concentrates many of the basic social functions into a small strip at the top or bottom of your webpage. You can use it to complement your existing gadgets and put it on as many or as few of your webpages as you want.

With the social bar, your visitors will be able to see crucial info at a glance and engage with social features through convenient drop-down gadgets.
  • On the far left, visitors can join your site, see their identity, and edit their profiles and settings.
  • Your visitors can also delve into your site's activity stream to see what's happening throughout your site. It includes links to recent posts made anywhere on your site, helping other visitors quickly find where the hottest conversations are taking place.
  • The wall gadget can host a discussion for the whole site, a section of pages, or each individual page, letting your visitors easily read and leave comments.
  • Lastly, visitors can see the other members of your site, check out their profiles to see how like-minded they really are, and even become friends.

Watch the video below to learn how to add a social bar to your site.

You can also see the social bar in action on this example site that Mussie Shore created.

We hope your visitors (and your pixels) like the new social bar and will put it to good use.

Posted by Christopher Wren, Software Engineer, Google Friend Connect

[G] Eight Ways to Help Google News Better Crawl Your Site

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Google News Blog: Eight Ways to Help Google News Better Crawl Your Site

Posted by Abe Epton, News Online Operations Team

From time to time, publishers ask us what they can do to improve their listings in Google News. The following are eight of the most frequent, and useful, pieces of advice we give out. Why eight? Because at Google, we love powers of 2.

* Keep the article body clean

For various reasons, when crawling an article, Google News checks to make sure it can find the article body. If your article body is broken up by
tags, ads, sidebars or other non-article content, we may not be able to detect the actual article body, and reject your article as a result. In addition, if you place the beginning of your article's body near the title in the HTML, we'll be more likely to extract the correct title and snippet.

* Make sure article URLs are permanent and unique

If you reuse article URLs, our system may have difficulty crawling and categorizing your stories. In addition, make sure your article URLs have at least three digits that don't resemble a year (for example, 5232 is ok, but 2008 is not.) You can get around this requirement by submitting your articles in News Sitemaps. Also, please note that session IDs can confuse our crawler, and we may not realize that two distinct URLs actually point to the same page. You can learn more about some of these requirements here.

* Take advantage of stock tickers in Sitemaps

Google News Sitemaps allow publishers to specify stock ticker symbols for companies mentioned in individual articles. Using these symbols helps us better identify the subjects of your articles. You can read more about the format we use for this data here.

* Check your encoding

We occasionally see articles that declare themselves to be encoded in one format (say, UTF-8) and are actually encoded in another (say, ISO 8859-1). Don't do this. It hurts us.

* Make your article publication dates explicit

In order to help our crawler determine the correct date, please make the actual publication date of your articles explicit. You can do this by placing the article date and time in the HTML, between the title and the body. Also, you can remove other dates from the HTML of the article page, and add the required tag to articles in your News Sitemap. Dates on article pages can be in most common formats, but for sitemaps, we ask that you use the W3C format; e.g. 2008-12-29T06:30:00Z.

Note that the article times and dates displayed on Google News reflect the time at which we originally crawled the articles, and may not be the same as the publication date.

* Keep original content separate from press releases

If your site produces original content and distributes press releases that you'd like us to crawl, make sure to separate your original news content from your press releases by creating two different sections on your site. As you may know, Google News labels press releases distinctly in order to alert our users that the article they're about to read is a press release. If your original news sections have links to press releases, adding the rel="nofollow" attribute to all links that point to your press release articles will ensure that they're labeled correctly. You can learn more about this attribute here.

* Format your images properly

To help Google News identify your images and crawl them along with your articles, use fairly large images with reasonable aspect ratios and descriptive captions. Make sure to place them near their respective article titles on the page and make the images inline and non-clickable. Images in the JPEG format are more likely to be crawled correctly.

* Article Titles in Google News

In order for Google News to crawl the correct titles for your articles, make sure the title you want appears in both the tag and as the headline on the article page. In addition, don't hyperlink the headline on the article page - after all, your reader is already there! And it's always a good idea to have links that point to your articles use the article title as anchor text.

If you found these suggestions helpful, you might also want to check out our more general Webmaster Guidelines. The Webmaster Guidelines aren't necessarily specific to Google News, but much of the wisdom you'll find there can help make your site Google News-friendly. Our Publisher Help Center contains lots more information about many of these topics. And you can always check out the Google News Help Forum to give us feedback on these suggestions, and share other tips and advice with webmasters and News users.


[G] Australian fires update

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Google LatLong: Australian fires update

The Google Australia Blog continues to update its map of the Victoria fires, and it now includes recent satellite imagery from the Modis Rapid Response project at NASA/GSFC. You can also view the map, further information about the fires, and recent news on this site

Posted by Elaine Filadelfo, Lat Long Blog Team

[G] Introducing Google's new Social Web Blog

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Social Web Blog: Introducing Google's new Social Web Blog

We think the web is better when it's social. Currently, you have friends locked up in one or more social networks, social applications that work on only a few sites, and multiple usernames and passwords to remember. It can be better, and we are developing tools to make "any app, any site, any friends" a reality.

We are launching this blog for anyone interested or involved in helping to make the web more social. Whether you own a site and want to add social features to increase community engagement, or you're developing a great social application, this blog is for you.

We will write about social initiatives within Google, such as Google Friend Connect, as well as community efforts like OpenSocial. We plan to share some success stories, present tips and tricks, provide updates when there are new developments, and much more.

And we want to hear what you have to say. So join this site, leave a message on the wall, and add a song to the iLike playlist gadget. Tell us about what you've been doing to make the web more social, what you've seen others successfully do, or simply what you think about our posts. We look forward to hearing from you and keeping you updated on Google products that are helping the make the web more social.

Posted by Mendel Chuang, Product Marketing Manager, Google Friend Connect

[G] Feed serving and FeedBurner application outage

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Feed serving and FeedBurner application outage

Issue: FeedBurner stopped serving feeds for about 45 minutes today, starting at approximately 9:15am PST. Most feeds are being served again properly, but we are still working to restore full service. is not currently available and we are also working very hard to restore access to FeedBurner service management and analytics features.

The ability to move feeds from to Google Accounts is also temporarily suspended. In addition, FeedFlare links are not currently being displayed on feeds or sites. We will update this post with status updates as they become available.

Update (10:25am PST): is now back online, and FeedBurner feeds are being served properly again.

[G] FeedFlare not currently displaying

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: FeedFlare not currently displaying

Issue: If you use FeedFlare, be advised that these links are not currently displayed in your feed or on your website for Google-hosted feeds. We're working very hard to resolve this issue and bring FeedFlare back as soon as possible. If you could, please don't make any account setting changes, as the links will reappear automatically the moment we get things fixed. Thanks so much for your patience.

Workaround: None

Update (5-Feb 5pm CST):
FeedFlare are displaying again.

[G] Episode download link problems possible for some podcasts

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Episode download link problems possible for some podcasts

If you have a FeedBurner podcast:
  • whose media episodes are linked through


  • whose media episodes contain spaces in the filenames
listeners will not be able to download your episodes. We have a fix for this issue that will be put it in place early this week.

Workaround: Click your feed's title on My Feeds, visit Analyze » Configure Stats, and un-check the "Item enclosure downloads (podcast downloads)" box. Click Save to save this setting. Your download links should immediately work again. A side effect of this workaround is that some podcatchers may mark existing episodes as "unread" when the link is changed.

We will update this post once a fix is in place and you are able to check the downloads box again to resume download stats tracking. Please note that all of your existing download stats will be preserved.

Update: We now have this fix in place and all podcasts affected by this issue should work now work properly.

[G] Use Yahoo! Pipes? Hold off on moving your account to Google (for now)

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Use Yahoo! Pipes? Hold off on moving your account to Google (for now)

If you use Yahoo! Pipes as the "Original Feed," or content source, for one or more FeedBurner feeds, and you haven't already moved over to a Google Account, please postpone moving it (for now).

We are working directly with Yahoo! to restore Google-hosted feeds' access to Pipes as soon as possible, but until this fix is in place, FeedBurner feeds with Pipes sources moved to Google will stop working properly.

So…please hang in there. (If you've already moved to Google, your Pipes-powered feeds will start working again automatically once we resolve this issue.)

Update (5-Feb): It appears Pipes-powered feeds are working properly again; Yahoo! also mentioned the needed updates on their side.

[G] Subscriber statistics in will be delayed

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Subscriber statistics in will be delayed

There was a delay in starting FeedBurner's normal stats summary process. Publishers still managing feeds on the original website will not see subscriber stats summaries for 29-Jan on the Analyze tab, FeedCount chicklet, or in any AwarenessAPI call for subscriber statistics until early afternoon today (GMT -0600). We apologize for the delay in bringing these numbers your way and have the express trucks heading to the warehouse right now to fetch them.

Again, please note that this delay does not apply to publishers using Google Accounts.

Update (10:45a CST): Subscriber and reach numbers should now be back for all feeds.

[G] Reported 'Google Feedfetcher' subscribers should be back to normal

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Reported 'Google Feedfetcher' subscribers should be back to normal

If, after moving to a Google Account, you noticed a surprising drop in subscribers from "Google Feedfetcher," the system that reports subscribers and retrieves content for iGoogle and Google Reader, you should now see those subscribers returning to reports on your Analyze tab, in your FeedCount chicklet, and other places that display your feed subscriber count. (This is a belated follow-up to an issue that was reported late last week and originally mentioned in the FeedBurner Help Group.)

[G] Error "999" when viewing or burning a new feed

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Error "999" when viewing or burning a new feed

Publishers with Google-hosted feeds based on Yahoo! Pipes or Delicious feed content may see an "Error 999" reported when they attempt to view their feeds, or burn new feeds based on content from these sources. We are working with Yahoo! to resolve this issue, but a full resolution is not expected for several days.

This post will be updated once Google-hosted FeedBurner feeds work properly with Pipes and Delicious-based content.

UPDATE (30-Jan): Delicious feeds work properly with feeds hosted by Google again. Feeds using Yahoo! Pipes as their source are not yet working in the Google-hosted environment. We will post a new, separate update once access to Pipes source content has been restored.

[G] Accented characters may display improperly in feeds-by-email

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Accented characters may display improperly in feeds-by-email

We have discovered an issue that prevents emails delivered from Google-hosted feeds from always using UTF-8 encoding, which is usually the safest choice for ensuring the text displays correctly in its intended language. Currently, this means certain accented characters, like à, è, ú, and the like may display with garbled codes in some email clients.

A fix to ensure UTF-8 encoding is used throughout is in the works and will be deployed shortly. No changes in your account or feed settings are required.

[G] Error: feed URIs are already in use

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Error: feed URIs are already in use

Error: When migrating, some users will receive an error saying "Feed URIs are already in use."

Causes: Various.

Resolution:  We will be posting our resolution for this as soon as possible.  For now, if you receive this error, please wait until we update this post with our resolution.

[G] HTTP 502 Error code received on some feeds after migration

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: HTTP 502 Error code received on some feeds after migration

If you see a “502” HTTP Error when viewing your feed in a browser or feed reader, please note that this is a very general error code indicating that we can temporarily not access the content of your source feed. In nearly all cases, the error will disappear as soon as the feed has new posts added since you moved your account. This error usually occurs immediately after moving your feeds to a Google Account.

However, if the error persists for more than 24 hours, and you have added content to your feed, this is usually indicative of a problem with your ISP or hosting provider not allowing us to access your feed as often as we need in order to ensure proper updating of your feed. We see these errors and are filing support tickets with the responsible providers.

If you manage your own webserver, please whitelist the following IP addresses to have unrestricted access to your feed:

You may wish to report this IP address block to your service provider as well.

[G] Welcome to the Status Blog!

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Welcome to the Status Blog!

This blog is taking over for the Known Issues & Workarounds page found in the FeedBurner Help Group. (We wish that page well and thank it for its efforts on behalf of the nation.) As FeedBurner continues its integration into Google and more publishers begin moving their accounts and feeds to Google Accounts, we wanted to provide a specific place to learn about any broad issues that arise affecting publishers moving to, or already using, the new FeedBurner within Google.

As before, general product updates related to both AdSense for Feeds and other, non-monetizing FeedBurner services will be found in the AdSense for Feeds blog.

Please do subscribe to the feed, or get daily updates via email, so you can find out when any technical issues are occurring or useful workarounds are available.