Saturday, February 21, 2009

[G] Celebrate the Oscars on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Celebrate the Oscars on YouTube

As you might have heard, the 81st Annual Academy Awards are taking place this Sunday in Los Angeles. To celebrate, we're featuring a mix of funny, nerdy, and emotional videos dedicated to Oscar on the YouTube home page this weekend.



Today, we're spotlighting Oscar-inspired parodies and humorous videos from YouTube users Jimmy Kimmel, Chad Chad Vader (aka blamesocietyfilms), DC Lugi, and the Fine Brothers, who manage to give spoilers for all 80 Best Picture winners in less than five minutes:







On Sunday, the day of the ceremony, the YouTube home page will be devoted to "Oscars' Greatest Moments" and will feature 12 historic clips from the Academy's archives. Remember Halle Berry's emotional acceptance speech for Best Actress? Martin Scorsese's win, after losing for nearly 30 years? Roberto Benigni's freak-out? The streaker? Relive those moments on our home page and/or check out many others on the Academy Awards' official YouTube channel.



Best,

David McMillan

YouTube Entertainment
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=WbeWf1QteNg

[G] Today in History: Malcolm X is Assassinated, Peace Gets a Sign

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YouTube Blog: Today in History: Malcolm X is Assassinated, Peace Gets a Sign

In 1965, Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York
City by members of the Nation of Islam. Earlier this year, New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott revisited Spike Lee's eponymous
1992 biopic about the controversial leader:







In 1948, NASCAR is incorporated, giving birth to the popular culture of race-car driving. Watch as NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger takes Lenay from Red Bull First-Person out on the Hickory Motor Speedway for a driving lesson:







And in 1958, the Peace Symbol is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In 2008,
teenager Trevor Dougherty (aka maddogza
) organized a gathering of thousands to create a giant human peace
sign as a call for world peace:







Peace,

David McMillan

YouTube Entertainment
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=UnjKXYuK620

[G] Today in History: Malcolm X is Assassinated, Peace Gets a Sign

| More

YouTube Blog: Today in History: Malcolm X is Assassinated, Peace Gets a Sign

In 1965, Malcolm X is assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in New York
City by members of the Nation of Islam. Earlier this year, New York Times movie critic A.O. Scott revisited Spike Lee's eponymous
1992 biopic about the controversial leader:







In 1948, NASCAR is incorporated, giving birth to the popular culture of race-car driving. Watch as NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger takes Lenay from Red Bull First-Person out on the Hickory Motor Speedway for a driving lesson:







And in 1958, the Peace Symbol is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom, commissioned by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. In 2008,
teenager Trevor Dougherty (aka maddogza
) organized a gathering of thousands to create a giant human peace
sign as a call for world peace:







Peace,

David McMillan

YouTube Entertainment
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=UnjKXYuK620

[G] Tracking Olly

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Tracking Olly

Olly Hicks is attempting the ridiculous, the insane, the never-been-done. He is literally trying to row around the world. In a row boat. Alone. Well, he's mostly alone, but he's also bringing all of us with him by staying connected to the cloud and with the help of a handful of Google products. You can track his progress, read his blog, watch his videos, and even ask him a question at http://www.virginglobalrow.com. And Olly can see if anyone cares about his crazy adventure by checking out his Google Analytics reports.

So go visit his site and check out his progress. You'll notice that he's been stuck in a wind eddy and has been rowing around in circles for days and days. What a nut :) But we're with you Olly - go!

Posted by Brett Crosby, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/02/tracking-olly.html

Friday, February 20, 2009

[G] A change to our display URL policy

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Inside AdWords: A change to our display URL policy

Beginning the week of February 24, we'll implement a change to our AdWords policy regarding multiple display URL domains per ad group. Please read on to determine whether your AdWords account will be affected by this change.

In an effort to provide more relevant results and a high quality experience for our users, we've made the decision to disallow multiple display URL domains within a single ad group. Going forward, all display URLs within an ad group must have the same top-level domain. Please note that this amendment to our policy applies to all advertisers, regardless of previous exceptions or acceptability of any ad groups. 

For example, an ad group containing the following group of display URLs would comply with this policy because all URLs contain the same top-level domain, “example.com”:
  • www.example.com
  • www.widgets.example.com
  • www.example.com/widgets/redwidgets/
  • www.example.com/index.html
On the other hand, and ad group containing the following group of display URLs would not comply with our policy because their top-level domains don’t match:
  • www.example.com
  • www.example.widgets.com
As a result of this update to our display URL policy, we encourage you to make any necessary adjustments to your ads in advance of the change. This will ensure that they'll run without disruption as a result of future disapprovals related to this policy. Also, remember that your ad's display URL must match its destination URL (the URL of your landing page). All other requirements regarding our existing display URL policy and its enforcement will remain the same.

While we understand there are legitimate use-cases for multiple display URL domains within one ad group, we ask that you use separate ad groups for each domain. This will not only provide a better user experience for your potential customers, but will also allow you to better organize and track the various domains within your AdWords account.

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/02/change-to-our-display-url-policy.html

[G] A change to our display URL policy

| More

Inside AdWords: A change to our display URL policy

Beginning the week of February 24, we'll implement a change to our AdWords policy regarding multiple display URL domains per ad group. Please read on to determine whether your AdWords account will be affected by this change.

In an effort to provide more relevant results and a high quality experience for our users, we've made the decision to disallow multiple display URL domains within a single ad group. Going forward, all display URLs within an ad group must have the same top-level domain. Please note that this amendment to our policy applies to all advertisers, regardless of previous exceptions or acceptability of any ad groups. 

For example, an ad group containing the following group of display URLs would comply with this policy because all URLs contain the same top-level domain, “example.com”:
  • www.example.com
  • www.widgets.example.com
  • www.example.com/widgets/redwidgets/
  • www.example.com/index.html
On the other hand, and ad group containing the following group of display URLs would not comply with our policy because their top-level domains don’t match:
  • www.example.com
  • www.example.widgets.com
As a result of this update to our display URL policy, we encourage you to make any necessary adjustments to your ads in advance of the change. This will ensure that they'll run without disruption as a result of future disapprovals related to this policy. Also, remember that your ad's display URL must match its destination URL (the URL of your landing page). All other requirements regarding our existing display URL policy and its enforcement will remain the same.

While we understand there are legitimate use-cases for multiple display URL domains within one ad group, we ask that you use separate ad groups for each domain. This will not only provide a better user experience for your potential customers, but will also allow you to better organize and track the various domains within your AdWords account.

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/02/change-to-our-display-url-policy.html

[G] Tip: Manage several email accounts with Multiple Inboxes

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Official Gmail Blog: Tip: Manage several email accounts with Multiple Inboxes

A couple weeks back we launched Multiple Inboxes, an experimental feature in Gmail Labs that you can use to customize the different "inboxes" you see in one view when you log into Gmail.

If you forward all your work or school email to Gmail, you can use Multiple Inboxes to see your two accounts separately within the same browser window. Here's how:

1. Turn on Multiple Inboxes from the Labs tab under Settings.
2. Set up a filter to auto-archive all mail sent to your work or school address.
3. Customize one of your multiple inboxes to show mail sent to your other address. To do this, go to the Multiple Inboxes tab under Settings and set up one of the panes to search for mail sent to your other address.



4. (Optional) Use a "custom from" address so that replies will be sent from Gmail but as if they're from your other account. This way, your coworkers or classmates won't know the difference.

I use Multiple Inboxes to keep track of email sent to my college alumni address which I forward to Gmail. I used to filter, label, and auto-archive all these messages (my alumni frisbee team listserve gets tons of mail), but found that I rarely looked at the relevant labels. Now with a separate "inbox" I can see them easily without cluttering my primary inbox.

Posted by Zach Geller, University Programs Specialist
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/tip-manage-several-email-accounts-with.html

[G] Introducing Collaborative Annotations

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YouTube Blog: Introducing Collaborative Annotations

When we launched annotations last June, we had a hunch you'd find creative ways to use them and, sure enough, you put them vigorously to work, pushing the limits of information sharing, interactive games and storytelling.



Today, we are excited to bring a new twist to annotations: the ability to collaborate on them with other YouTube users. Now you can invite anyone you like to create speech bubbles, notes and spotlights on your videos.



Enabling Collaborative Annotations is easy. First, go to your annotations editor (which you can find in My Videos or by going directly to your video's watch page) and retrieve the special annotations link. Then send it out to your friends. Once they click on the link, they will be allowed to add annotations to your video. If you don't like what they write you can always delete their annotations, and you can also disable access to the annotations URL so that no more can be added. Naturally, you can edit or delete anything you write on someone else's video.



So please give it a whirl -- you can start by participating in the first collaborative sitcom, "Kevin N' George Must Die," created by students of the Nissan acting studio -- and let us know what you think. We can't wait to see how you take online collaboration to a whole new level.



Best,

Ryan Junee

Product Manager

The YouTube Team




P.S. Even though we think annotations are really cool and give you yet another reason to start interacting even more deeply with videos on the site, we realize some of you are "old school" and prefer to see just the video and nothing more. For this reason we've added a setting that lets you permanently disable annotations. Check out this Help Center article for more information.
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=cfPYFjnzJIk

[G] Mapping CO2 emissions

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Google LatLong: Mapping CO2 emissions


At Google, we make engineering decisions based on careful data collection and analysis. So when I tried, on my own, to understand deeper the issues of the global climate change, I realized that while general information is widely available, it's not easy to find detailed data. What exactly is my individual impact? How much greenhouse gases do people produce during various activities? How exactly do different localities compare to each other?

While several reports and inventories of human fossil fuel CO2 emissions in the US already exist, the most comprehensive one that I know of was produced by Project Vulcan, a team of scientists lead by Dr Kevin Gurney, an assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University. Vulcan data represent detailed emissions for all 50 US states in 2002.  Dr Gurney presented the most recent results of his work this week at a meeting of North American Carbon Program

The results produced by Project Vulcan are publicly available, but they are not easy to analyze for a non-scientist, so during my 20% time at Google I have created dynamic maps of the Vulcan data, broken down by sector. You can view the maps in your browser if you have Google Earth plugin installed, or you can load the data in Google Earth itself.

By looking at the data on a map, you can see for yourself what US states and counties have the highest and the lowest emission rates - absolute or per capita. You can notice where people burn more gasoline for driving, or where they use more fuel for heating and cooling their homes and businesses.

Here's a video with a Google Earth flythrough and a commentary explaining various data layers.


Finally, I would like to thank fellow Googlers Christiaan Adams, Frank Dachille, and Jake Knapp, and other individuals who provided feedback on this map!

Posted by Posted by Simon Ilyushchenko, Site Reliability Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/mapping-co2-emissions.html

[G] Mapping CO2 emissions

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Google LatLong: Mapping CO2 emissions


At Google, we make engineering decisions based on careful data collection and analysis. So when I tried, on my own, to understand deeper the issues of the global climate change, I realized that while general information is widely available, it's not easy to find detailed data. What exactly is my individual impact? How much greenhouse gases do people produce during various activities? How exactly do different localities compare to each other?

While several reports and inventories of human fossil fuel CO2 emissions in the US already exist, the most comprehensive one that I know of was produced by Project Vulcan, a team of scientists lead by Dr Kevin Gurney, an assistant professor of Earth and atmospheric sciences at Purdue University. Vulcan data represent detailed emissions for all 50 US states in 2002.  Dr Gurney presented the most recent results of his work this week at a meeting of North American Carbon Program

The results produced by Project Vulcan are publicly available, but they are not easy to analyze for a non-scientist, so during my 20% time at Google I have created dynamic maps of the Vulcan data, broken down by sector. You can view the maps in your browser if you have Google Earth plugin installed, or you can load the data in Google Earth itself.

By looking at the data on a map, you can see for yourself what US states and counties have the highest and the lowest emission rates - absolute or per capita. You can notice where people burn more gasoline for driving, or where they use more fuel for heating and cooling their homes and businesses.

Here's a video with a Google Earth flythrough and a commentary explaining various data layers.


Finally, I would like to thank fellow Googlers Christiaan Adams, Frank Dachille, and Jake Knapp, and other individuals who provided feedback on this map!

Posted by Posted by Simon Ilyushchenko, Site Reliability Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/mapping-co2-emissions.html

[G] Today in History: Kurt Cobain Is Born, John Glenn Orbits the Earth

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YouTube Blog: Today in History: Kurt Cobain Is Born, John Glenn Orbits the Earth

Kurt Cobain, front man for Nirvana, is born in 1967. Fast Focus TV posted this live performance of Nirvana's "Lithium," filmed at the Reading Festival in England just two years before Cobain's untimely death at the age of 27:







The Metropolitan Museum of Art opens in New York in 1872. In 2008, the Museum opened an exhibit dedicated to art and fashion inspired by comic book characters. Marvel.com sent one of their reporters to cover the exhibit:







And on this date in 1962, John Glenn becomes first American to orbit around the earth. Charlie Rose
sat down for an extensive interview with Glenn to look back on his accomplishments, both here on earth and above:







Till next time...

David McMillan

YouTube Entertainment
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=Qx5g029UITM

[G] Super 8 by Straight 8

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YouTube Blog: Super 8 by Straight 8

There are more options than ever before for low-budget filmmaking. Analog video, digital video, HD video, Photoshop, computer animation, multimedia formats...the list is long enough to keep any enterprising auteur busy for a lifetime.



Today, we'd like to pay homage to the granddaddy of all low-budget formats: Super 8 film. To those unfamiliar with the medium, Super 8 was popular in the 1960s and 70s for making home movies. It's still used in a lot of amateur and professional films because of its unique and beautiful characteristics, as well as its extreme affordability.



To see what we mean, check out the playlist below or watch the top three videos on our home page today, which were selected by Straight 8, the team behind the annual film festival focused on the world's best Super 8 content (click on their channel for information about how to enter):







Share your Super 8 home movies with the YouTube community by posting links in the comments below.



Cheers,

Nate Weinstein

YouTube Film
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=-8WkvFMjJ4o

[G] Map Making in your language on your website

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Google LatLong: Map Making in your language on your website


Over the last 7 months, map makers around the world have been busy mapping their locales using Google Map Maker. From Chile to Vietnam Google Map Makers added cities, villages, lakes, roads and businesses to the map. The resulting maps in 164 countries are some of the best ever seen for these regions.

We've taken another step in providing easy access to these maps by making Map Maker maps available in the Google Maps API and as static maps. If you have a Google Maps mashup that is primarily used in one of these countries or you simply want to embed a map in your blog post or web page, you can now serve these maps that are updated every day by switching a parameter in the API. Here's an example of the Map Maker static map of Reykjavik, Iceland (on the left) compared with what you will get from a vanilla static map (on the right). For reference, the URL used to generate this map is: http://maps.google.com/staticmap?center=64.14607,-21.945148&zoom=14&size=512x512&maptype=mapmaker-roadmap&key=MAPS_API_KEY&sensor=false

For more details on how to use these maps, see the Google Geo Developers Blog.

If all you want is to view the updated maps in Google Maps, you can now add this Mapplet to Google Maps and view the latest and greatest from the community.

Many Voices
Also keeping with our mission of making the world's geographic information universally accessible and useful, we are proud to announce that Google Map Maker is now available in 27 languages at mapmaker.google.com. This represents the primary or second language of more than a half billion people in the 164 countries covered by Google Map Maker.

Users can already add data in every language supported by your keyboard; simply switch to that language on your keyboard and start typing. For example if users name a road in two languages, we will render it in both languages - here is one such place in Pakistan.

Lastly, if you can't find your native language in this list, worry not! We've opened the Map Maker interface for translation to any language using the Google in Your Language program.

Posted by Lalitesh Katragadda, Map Maker Creator and Lior Ron, Google Maps Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/map-making-in-your-language-on-your.html

Thursday, February 19, 2009

[G] OpenStreetMap's New API Database Server

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Google Open Source Blog: OpenStreetMap's New API Database Server

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

A few weeks ago Mano Marks, a Geo Developer Advocate here at Google, informed the Open Source Programs Office of OpenStreetMap's server upgrade fundraiser. Recognizing the good work that OpenStreetMap does by providing free geographic data of the world, we were happy to respond. We donated 5,000 GBP to the cause, and along with contributions from around the world, OpenStreetMap exceeded their goal in a single week! Congratulations to OpenStreetMap for building such an active and devoted community.

If you are interested in a collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world, we encourage you to check out their site and see what all the excitement is about.
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/02/openstreetmaps-new-api-database-server.html

[G] Account moves unavailable to some publishers

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Account moves unavailable to some publishers

Issue: You have received an email from FeedBurner that instructs you to move your feedburner.com to a Google Account. However, when you sign in to feedburner.com, you are not prompted to take any action. Possible causes:
  • One or more of your FeedBurner feeds use Yahoo! Pipes feeds as their content source. Currently, feeds hosted on Google do not work reliably with Pipes, but feeds still hosted in the original feeds.feedburner.com environment do. We are still working directly with Yahoo! to resolve this issue permanently.

  • We may have detected that one of your feeds.feedburner.com feeds conflicts with a feed address in the Google-hosted system. We will be contacting you directly about this conflict and our resolution for it.
Workaround: Not quite yet. FeedBurner is working to resolve these account move scenarios as quickly as possible; Unless you are unable to move your account because of an address conflict, we will automatically restore the account move feature as soon as possible. We will most likely update this blog post when the Yahoo! Pipes issue is resolved, for example. Our apologies for this temporary inconvenience.
URL: http://feedburnerstatus.blogspot.com/2009/02/account-moves-unavailable-to-some.html

[G] Fontastic new options for your ad units

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Inside AdSense: Fontastic new options for your ad units

You've been asking for more control over the appearance of the ads on your sites, so we're happy to let you know that you can now change the font face of the text in ad units on pages in Latin-character languages. You can choose between Arial, Times, and Verdana font faces. Please note that while font options will appear in every account, they'll currently only be applied to ad units on pages primarily in Latin-based characters.

There are a few ways to customize the font face of your ad units. If you'd like to quickly change the font settings for every ad unit generated from your account, visit the 'Ad Display Preference' section of your Account Settings page to select a new account-wide font face. This will affect all units you've created in the past, regardless of whether you used the Manage Ads feature. By default, your ads are currently set to 'Standard AdSense font family', which we've found has performed well across browsers and displays.


However, you can also select custom font faces for specific ad units that you've created with the Manage Ads feature. When creating new ad units, you'll be prompted to select between the default 'Standard AdSense font family', your new account-wide font face (if you've selected one), or another font face. You can also change the appearance of existing ad units, by visiting the Manage Ads page of your account and updating your font choices for specific ad units. Once you've changed the font face of an ad unit away from the default, those selections will be maintained even if you change your account-wide settings later.


Just as with color and placement optimizations, we encourage you to test these new font options to find the best combination for your sites. For instance, you can try matching the font face of your ads to that of your sites. Enjoy the new font faces, and feel free to leave feedback in our comments field below.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/02/fontastic-new-options-for-your-ad-units.html

[G] Choose your own theme colors

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Official Gmail Blog: Choose your own theme colors

Since we launched themes for Gmail, many people have asked, not surprisingly, whether they can customize the look of their inboxes without having to use some advanced scripting magic. And while you can't make custom themes that change with the weather like some of the pre-set options, you can now choose your own Gmail colors.

Just click on the Settings link in the upper right hand corner of your screen, select the Themes tab, and find the "Choose your own colors" option at the bottom of that page. You'll be able to select colors for everything from the background of your inbox to link text.



So if you love purple, now you can stare at it every day. The color picker also allows people with visual disabilities to tweak Gmail into something more comfortable for them, whether it's increasing the contrast between colors or ridding their inbox of bright white.

If you ever get yourself into a state where your eyes start to hurt, the "Reset" button will let you revert to the defaults, so don't hesitate to try out crazy designs and share screenshots!

Companies that use Google Apps won't see the options for themes yet, but we're working on getting themes to you too.

Posted by Manu Cornet, Software Engineer
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/choose-your-own-theme-colors.html

[G] It's Girls Day at Google

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Official Google Blog: It's Girls Day at Google

Today we're celebrating Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, or Girls Day, as part of National Engineers Week (E-Week) in the U.S. For the second year in a row, we've partnered with the National Girl Scouts to bring girls to six Google offices around the country, where they'll participate in fun activities designed to educate them about engineering, specifically computer science. Googlers, many of them Google Women Engineers, are hosting the guests of honor and leading workshops covering all kinds of topics, including solar powered energy, image processing and a demo of Google Earth. At the end of the day, all of the participants will receive a limited edition "Introduce a Girl to E-Week" patch that they can add to their Scout sashes.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day participants in 2008.

Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day is just one important part of E-Week, which was founded by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE) and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. By the end of the week, Google offices will have hosted more than 600 students at events designed to expose them to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The students who participate in our E-Week events are from partner organizations that also focus on STEM education for girls, underrepresented minorities, and the economically disadvantaged. Here's hoping each of these students will walk away feeling inspired to pursue studies in these fields.

Posted by Demian Caponi, Global Diversity and Talent Inclusion team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/its-girls-day-at-google.html

[G] Today in History: Iwo Jima Anniversary, 131 Years Since the Phonograph

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YouTube Blog: Today in History: Iwo Jima Anniversary, 131 Years Since the Phonograph

U.S. lands on Iwo Jima in 1945. A reporter from St. Louis's ketc9 interviews veterans who fought in the Battle of Iwo Jima:







Thomas Edison patents the phonograph in 1878. makemagazine showcases a "replica" made out of a cup and needle:






The U.S. Senate approves a treaty outlawing genocide in 1986, 37 years after the pact had first been submitted for ratification. Cyr1216 speaks out on the issue -- and the complacency that can sometimes surround it -- as part of the vlogbrothers' Project for Awesome campaign:







Be back soon,

Mia Quagliarello

Senior Community Manager

The YouTube Team
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=ZMqXGktG1jc

[G] Another round of updates for Google Transit

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Google LatLong: Another round of updates for Google Transit


Many people around the world tell us that using Google Transit on the desktop or on their mobile makes using public transportation much more convenient for them. We haven't reached our dream of having coverage for all public transit agencies, but we've been working hard to keep getting closer to that goal. Today I am pleased to announce another significant update with the launch of several major updates for full schedule routing around the world and more than ten new cities in the Transit Layer.

As a reminder, with the Google Transit feature on Google Maps you can get step-by-step transit directions in your web browser and on your mobile phone, find transit stops in your area and view station information and schedules. In addition to that, the Transit Layer overlays public transportation lines visually on Google Maps, mostly in places where the local public transportation agency has not yet partnered with us to get their full schedule data online.

Transit full schedules launches
Recently we launched full schedules for Transit among others in Calgary, Hamilton, Edmonton, and York Region in Canada; East Midlands (UK)Houston (TX); 21 agencies in the state of Virginia, as well as a substantial data set in China, connecting all provinces with 3100 train lines, covering about 2700 stations and all major cities (for example, try Beijing to Shanghai). In all those cities you can route around with public transportation by using Google Maps on the desktop or your mobile.

Transit Layer launches
We're adding to the 50+ cities we launched at the beginning of this year. New cities include: AdelaideAtlantaBonnCalgary, Davis, CaliforniaHamilton, Canada, PilsenSacramentoTorinoToronto York region, and we've launched updates for Cape TownJohannesburg and Pretoria. In all those cities you can visually see public transportation lines on Google Maps and interact with the Layer by clicking on stations.

You can find more information about Google Transit and our current coverage at http://maps.google.com/transit.

Posted by Raphael Leiteritz, Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/another-round-of-updates-for-google.html

[G] New how-to videos for the AdWords display ad builder

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Inside AdWords: New how-to videos for the AdWords display ad builder

We've created four new videos to help you complete the most important and useful tasks with the display ad builder. Combined with the two videos we already had, the new videos help us cover a broader range of topics. Our library now addresses all of hte following issues, arranged by the order in which they'll arise:


If you're looking to get started with the display ad builder for the first time, you may find the first video on this playlist to be particularly useful:



Check out the individual videos above or go here to bookmark the playlist of all these videos.

To get started now, log into your AdWords account.

Posted by Austin Rachlin, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/02/weve-created-four-new-videos-to-help.html

[G] Washington plugs into the smart grid

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Google Public Policy Blog: Washington plugs into the smart grid

Posted by Michael Terrell, Google.org Program Manager

(Cross-posted from the Official google.org Blog)

Just one week after launching Google's energy information campaign, we kicked off our first joint smart grid event with GE, a larger clean energy collaboration we announced last fall. Our timing was fortuitous; the event took place just as President Obama signed an historic economic stimulus bill that includes $11 billion to modernize the electricity grid.

Getting energy information into the hands of consumers requires reworking the electricity grid to make it smarter. At Tuesday's event, hosted in Google's Washington office, experts explored what the fundamental elements of a smarter grid should be -- from empowering consumers with information, tools, and choices to manage their energy use, to creating an open system that encourages innovation, to enabling a massive scale up of renewable energy sources and plug-in vehicles. We also explored the government's role in accelerating these efforts. Our panelists were enthusiastic about the opportunity created by the stimulus, but also noted the government's challenge of getting the money out the door in an effective and efficient manner.

Some highlights from the event:
  • GE's film clip highlighting a smart grid project in Oklahoma
  • An appearance by Carol Browner, President Obama's senior energy official in the White House, who noted with delight the packed crowd of over 450 people
  • Former astronaut and current Googler, Ed Lu, making the case for open standards and user access to energy information on our technology panel
  • Our very own Dan Reicher shamelessly punning that "we want to help build a fridge to the 21st century," a play on Bill Clinton's '96 campaign mantra
To stay plugged into our energy information campaign and learn about developments along the road to a smarter grid, be sure to join our Google Group.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/02/washington-plugs-into-smart-grid.html

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

[G] Google Analytics helps Experience Project organize the human experience

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Google Analytics helps Experience Project organize the human experience

To prepare for the case study on Experience Project, we explored www.exeperienceproject.com and pored through stories to better understand the user base and intent of the website. What we found was something akin to a directory of human experiences ranging from chronic illnesses to pet ownership. With over two million shared stories on thousands of topics, the website is both informative and addicting. 

We sat down with Armen Berjikly of Experience Project to chat about his growing social experience website and usage of Google Analytics. Berjikly recounted a heartfelt story of a close friend diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and how Experience Project was built with the intent to connect people from all walks of life and share stories. 

For Experience Project team, Google Analytics has proven to be an effective tool to help decide where and how to spend time, resources, and energy. To help refine the site, the team turned to Google Analytics for a variety of their website goals including:

Learning about Users
Google Analytics has helped Experience Project understand demographic, geographic, and subject matter information about their users. After uncovering search trends, the team created tools for managing personal challenges, goal achievements, and dream interpretations to meet increasing demands of their users. 

Optimizing Advertising Revenue
As the site operates as a free service, maximizing advertising revenue is a key focus for Experience Project’s online marketing efforts. Through the Keywords Reports, Experience Project found that a large percentage of its members self-identified as dog and cat owners. Armed with this information, the team not only increased marketing on relevant keywords but also wooed pet-related advertisers with actual traffic and demographic metrics. To the delight of users, new functionality focused on pet ownership was built into the site.

Refining Product Development
Experience Project recently launched a new “Question and Answer” section on the site where users submit questions directly to the community. By using the Content Reports in Google Analytics, management and engineering can easily measure the success of the launch and user engagement. Key performance indicators include metrics on usage, return visits, and time spent on those pages which are all readily available.

By utilizing the growing feature set within Google Analytics, the management and engineering teams are able to make key product decisions and measure success. Simply put by Berjikly, “Google Analytics is easy to use, and it makes us more confident in our decisions.” 

With the help of Google Analytics, Experience Project has maximized online advertising, delivered features users want, cued in on trends, and more. With such a powerful feedback loop, Experience Project will continue growing the community and positively impacting the human experience.

To learn more about how Experience Project leveraged Google Analytics, read the full case study.

Posted by Melissa Hsieh, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/02/google-analytics-helps-experience.html

[G] Beyond Web-2.0

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Official Google Research Blog: Beyond Web-2.0

Posted by T.V Raman, Research Scientist

A little over a year ago, I gave a lightning talk at the W3C Technical Plenary in Boston where I looked forward to what came after Web-2.0. The key insight underlying that talk was that the Web was now mature enough for us to build Web technologies purely out of Web parts. Web-2.0 is a result of applying the Web to itself and is therefore better thought of as Web(Web()) or more concisely, Web2.

Today, we can build new web artifacts out of existing ones by aggregation (web mashups) and by projection (filtered views), and publish the resulting artifacts on the web by assigning them a URL. This leads to the insight that this web that is to come potentially consists of the power-set of all web content. These ideas, and their logical consequences are detailed in article entitled Toward 2^W --- Beyond Web 2.0 in the February edition of the Communications Of The ACM. You can also find a slightly more extensive blog I posted here.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2009/02/beyond-web-20.html

[G] A faster way to get to Docs and other Google Apps with Pack

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Official Google Docs Blog: A faster way to get to Docs and other Google Apps with Pack

We've invited Julie Farago and Mike Smith, Product Managers for Google Pack, to tell you about recent updates to Pack that might interest those of you who regularly use Docs and our other apps.


We think that you should be able to access your favorite web apps with the same ease and simplicity as desktop applications. Today, we took one small step in that direction.
 
As an option in Google Pack, you can now quickly install desktop access points to Docs, Calendar, and Gmail. These access points include placement in the start menu, shortcuts on the desktop, and a presence in add/remove programs. If you use Gmail, you can also make it your default mail handler. When you launch the apps from these access points, they run in a streamlined browser window via Google Chrome. You may have tried to customize this on your own but now it's even easier.

Try it out and tell us what you think by installing it from Pack.

Posted by: Julie Farago and Mike Smith, Product Managers for Google Pack
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/02/faster-way-to-get-to-docs-and-other.html

[G] Site maintenance on Saturday, February 21

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Inside AdSense: Site maintenance on Saturday, February 21

Our engineers will be performing routine site maintenance this Saturday, February 21st. While you won't be able to log into your AdSense or Google Ad Manager accounts between 10am and 2pm PST, we'll continue tracking your clicks, impressions, and earnings as usual. In addition, your ad serving won't be affected.

For our international readers, here's the start time of the maintenance in a few other cities:

London - 6pm Saturday
Cairo - 8pm Saturday
Mumbai - 11:30pm Saturday
Manila - 2am Sunday
Sydney - 5am Sunday

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/02/site-maintenance-on-saturday-february.html

[G] AdWords system maintenance on February 21st

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Inside AdWords: AdWords system maintenance on February 21st

On Saturday, February 21, 2009 the AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 10AM to 2PM PST, for maintenance. While you won't be able to sign in to your accounts during this time, your campaigns will continue to run as usual.

AdWords system maintenance typically occurs on the second Saturday of each month from 10AM to 2PM PST.

We'll continue to update you via the blog as we always have, but please make note of the February 21st date and our scheduled maintenance further down the road.


Posted by Heather Lane, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/02/adwords-system-maintenance-on-february.html

[G] Google Mobile App now available on Windows Mobile

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Mobile App now available on Windows Mobile

One of the most common questions we are asked on this blog is "When will this be available for my phone?". Well for all you Windows Mobile fans the answer is "now" for the Google Mobile App. Try it out by downloading it from http://m.google.com on your mobile phone.

Google Mobile App gives you faster searching on your Windows Mobile device, with easy access to your favorite Google applications from the Today screen. There's no need to wait for a browser to open to begin a search, and with search history available to reduce typing, you can get your search results with fewer clicks than before. For an even speedier experience, Pocket PC users can add the Google Mobile App to the start menu (Settings: Menus) or configure a hardware key (Settings: Buttons) to provide easy access from within any application on your phone.

How much faster is it? Well, our stopwatches show that Google Mobile App team members (who are mostly normal people, no superpowers were deployed during the timings) were able to get their search results for identical queries nearly 50% faster from Google Mobile App than from navigating to google.com in the mobile browser.

Check out more highlights of Google Mobile App on Windows Mobile in this video.



Google Mobile App is available for all devices running Windows Mobile in the US, UK, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany. (Check your phone model here to see if your phone is running Windows Mobile.) It is also available for iPhone, iPod touch and BlackBerry devices.


Posted by Craig Wilkinson, Google Mobile App engineer

URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/02/google-mobile-app-now-available-on.html

[G] Google Maps on Verizon's BlackBerry Storm now uses GPS for My Location

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Maps on Verizon's BlackBerry Storm now uses GPS for My Location

If you own a BlackBerry Storm on Verizon Wireless, we encourage you to download a brand new version of Google Maps for mobile that utilizes the Storm's internal GPS. The Storm is the first Verizon BlackBerry that makes it possible for My Location to access GPS location. After you install the new version on your Storm, you will notice improved accuracy for My Location and Latitude. Based on interest in certain Google Mobile User Forum threads, this functionality should be a welcome addition.

So if you have a Verizon BlackBerry Storm, just go to m.google.com/maps from your BlackBerry's browser to download the latest version of Google Maps to your device - and start getting hyper-accurate!

(Note: If you have an older BlackBerry on Verizon, even one with GPS like the BlackBerry 8130, this announcement unfortunately does not apply to you. The Storm is currently the only BlackBerry Verizon phone that makes GPS available to Google Maps. We hope you enjoy using My Location through network positioning or Wi-Fi, when available.)


Posted by Tom Dimopoulos, Consumer Operations Mobile
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/02/google-maps-on-verizons-blackberry.html

[G] Today in History: Pluto Is Discovered, Huck Finn Goes Rafting

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YouTube Blog: Today in History: Pluto Is Discovered, Huck Finn Goes Rafting

Pluto is discovered 79 years ago and is then declared not a planet in 2006. Lonelygirl15 ponders this and helps the celestial body "adjust to a new peer group":







Huckleberry Finn is first published in the U.S. in 1885. Tommyandtimmy condense the novel into a four-minute Lego masterpiece – clearly not your father's Mark Twain:







The Church of Scientology becomes incorporated in California in 1954. Hear what Scientologists say about their religion, from the <a href='http://www.youtube.com/user/churchofscientology">churchofscientology</a> channel:
<br><br>
<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/MKs-u0q467U&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/MKs-u0q467U&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>
<br><br>
Later,<br>
Mia Quagliarello<br>
Senior Community Manager<br>
The YouTube Team
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=r4vUyUftM0Y

[G] Your Thoughts on the Stimulus? Here's Your Direct Line to Congress

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YouTube Blog: Your Thoughts on the Stimulus? Here's Your Direct Line to Congress

A month ago, we announced that Congress has come to YouTube - you can now find your Senator's and Representative's YouTube channels at the Senate Hub and the House Hub. Now, we're making it even easier for you to engage with your leaders and tell them what you think.



Each week, we'll highlight a video from a member of Congress that solicits questions or input from you about the country's most pressing issues. Using Google's new Moderator tool, you'll be able to not only submit your own responses through text, but also vote on other people's responses -- allowing the best submissions to rise to the top.



Today, we're kicking off with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) who wants to know what you think about the economic stimulus package recently passed by Congress:







Do you think the stimulus package will succeed in creating more jobs for Americans? Was there something missing from the package? Head over to the Senate Hub to make your voice heard, then check back in a week to hear what Senator Cornyn has to say about the top responses.



Yours,

Ramya Raghavan

YouTube News & Politics
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=zeIgw4_4dWg

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

[G] Two Cool Integrations: Telephone Leads & Live Chat

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Two Cool Integrations: Telephone Leads & Live Chat

Today's post covers a more advanced topic, two low cost integrations with Google Analytics. The first is offline phone tracking, and the second is tracking live chat with your customers.

Both integrations protect your account privacy - neither one involves submitting your login and password to these other services.

Tracking Calls to Unique Sales Phone Numbers


Mongoose Metrics supplies toll free numbers in bulk for extremely cheap in case you'd like to use unique phone numbers to track campaigns or even different product orders. Even better though, Mongoose has created a way to track these offline phone calls within Google Analytics. You can see the phone number called, as well as the duration and date of the call. You can also integrate this with an email alerts system for sales management.

The service works by provisioning a trackable number and assigning that number to a hidden web page on your site containing your Google Analytics tracking code. When a phone call to the tracking number is connected, the technology will place a web browser visit to your hidden tracking web page and in this way insert the phone call event back into your Google Analytics account. Each phone call generates a unique visit which is clearly labeled inside of Analytics, as you can see in this screenshot:
(click to enlarge)

Example: Trackable Numbers and AdWords

Here's a practical example provided by Jeff Tirey, a VP at Mongoose Metrics. Imagine you manage the PPC campaigns for a mortgage broker. Your company purchases trackable numbers for use on Google AdWords campaign landing pages. The primary funnel for that campaign is the completion of a web form, which is tracked in Google Analytics. Currently, if a customer takes a secondary path by calling a phone number or browsing the rest of the site and then making a phone call, the data on that conversion is lost.

With Mongoose Metrics, the phone call conversion is preserved throughout the site via a cookie containing the unique trackable phone number. Mongoose Metrics provides the ability to correlate a PPC campaign to phone calls at a level of granularity determined by the campaign manager. It is possible to drill down, through Google Analytics, into campaign comparisons as well as keyword comparisons by mapping unique trackable numbers.

For more ideas on how to track offline conversions and the full impact of your website you can checkout this article by Avinash: Best Practices for Tracking Off-line Conversions.

Tracking Live Chat Interactions

LivePerson allows you to interact with your customers live via chat to offer real-time assistance and advice while a user is engaged with your website, a highly valuable service for helping customers, and also for learning about what their intention is. They created a robust integration with Google Analytics that is definitely worth a look. The integration shows you conversions after chat, and populates chat analytics data into a number of other reports, including
  • Map Overlay Report which displays volume and quality metrics of live chat interactions by geographic region
  • Search Engines Report: Reveals the sources and keywords that drive interactive chats (and resulting conversions)
  • Reverse Goal Path Report: Lists the navigation paths that lead to the most chats
Take a look at a screenshot which shows a "Live Chat" column:

(click to enlarge)
Regarding the integration, Philippe Lang, a VP at LivePerson, said, "Small and medium businesses want easy-to-use tools that demonstrate ROI so they can measure the success of their investments and maximize the efficiency of their marketing spend." For more information on LivePerson's integration with Google Analytics, please visit their integration page and check out this instruction PDF which shows info on set up and what reports will look like.

Posted by Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/02/two-cool-integrations-telephone-leads.html

[G] We'd love to hear your feedback

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Inside AdWords: We'd love to hear your feedback

Because your opinion matters to us, we've put together a short survey so you can tell us how we're doing and what you'd like to see more of on the Inside AdWords blog. We hope you'll take the time to let us know what's on your mind -- click to give us your feedback.

Posted by Christian Yee, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/02/wed-love-to-hear-your-feedback.html

[G] What's New for iPhone

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Official Google Mac Blog: What's New for iPhone

By Jason Toff, Google Mac Team

Over the past few weeks, a number of enhancements have been made to Google's offerings for the iPhone.  We wanted to highlight some of those improvements here.

Google Sync Beta
Google Sync allows you to get your Gmail Contacts and Google Calendar events to your phone.  Once you set up Sync on your phone, it will automatically begin synchronizing your address book and calendar in the background, over-the-air, so you can attend to other tasks. Sync uses push technology so any changes or additions to your calendar or contacts are reflected on your device in minutes.

Learn more on the Google Mobile blog or try Sync at m.google.com/sync.


Tasks
Tasks lets you easily create and manage to-do lists in Gmail and on your iPhone.  While on the go, you can view tasks, add tasks, and mark them as completed. These changes are automatically reflected in Gmail. Using your iPhone, you can also add, edit, and delete entire lists.

Learn more on the Gmail blog or get started with tasks at gmail.com/tasks.


Google Book Search
Over 1.5 million public domain books in the US (and over half a million outside the US) are now available for perusing on your iPhone.  You can search for a title, author, or subject. Or you can browse the list of "Featured books" and various categories like business, the classics, travel, and more.

Learn more on the Google Book Search blog or start reading at http://books.google.com/m.

Edit Docs
Last week, we launched new capabilities to Google Docs for your iPhone 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.

Learn more on the Google Docs blog or start editing at m.google.com/docs.
URL: http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2009/02/whats-new-for-iphone.html

[G] 1000 is the new 10

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Google LatLong: 1000 is the new 10


Ever wish you could see more than just ten local search results at once? Us too.

So we've added a search layer for local search results that activates when there are more relevant results than we can show on one page. Instead of just plotting the first page of business results on our map, we plot more of them as small circles. You can click on the circles to get more information about the businesses they represent. The top ten results will still appear in the left-hand pane and as pins on the map.
 
For example, there might be a coffee shop just around the corner from your house in Seattle, that didn't make it to the first page because Seattle has so many coffeehouses. You can now browse for it with the query: coffee in Seattle.


My coworker Berni, who travels a lot, says he's going to put this feature to use when visiting a new city -- for example, he can search for dancing sydney and look at where the results are clustered clustered to plan his night out. 


Or, you might be in New York and searching for places convenient to your particular subway line. Now you can visually scan the results with a query like wine pairing New York, then pan down into Brooklyn to see more options.

To visualize an even wider distribution, you could either zoom out from an existing query, or directly search for something like snow removal USA:

We're initially launching this feature for maps.google.com, but stay tuned for it to be available on other domains in the near future. 
Posted by Nina Kang, Staff Software Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/1000-is-new-10.html

[G] The Google Search Appliance: Providing Timely Information about the Peanut Product Recall

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: The Google Search Appliance: Providing Timely Information about the Peanut Product Recall

Editor's note: We always value learning how our customers use our products to meet critical business needs. Here's a case where those needs were especially critical. The FDA recently mobilized website search, powered by the Google Search Appliance (GSA), to address a major public health issue. The FDA sped information access to the public, removing barriers that could have made this type of information difficult to find.

Rajesh Sripada, a Certified Google Search Engineer with GlobalNet Services, Inc. – a fast-growing provider of web development and system integration solutions to business and government clients – explains the pivotal role of the GSA in providing this service. Thanks to Rajesh for sharing this story.

Did you think twice the last time you reached for a jar of peanut butter? You’re not alone. The ongoing salmonella outbreak in peanut products has sparked one of the largest product recalls in history. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proactively keeping the public up to date on recalled products, and they’re doing it with the help of the Google Search Appliance.

If you want to know whether the box of granola bars in your pantry has been recalled, simply visit the FDA web page and query for the type of product, like granola bars, or a brand name, to see whether the product has been recalled.

Previously, people would have had to scroll through a long list of products to try and locate the one they were looking for – a much more time-consuming process. Thanks to search, people can make fast, informed decisions.

GlobalNet Services, Inc. (GNSI) is a Google Enterprise Partner who manages and administers the intranet and Internet search for the FDA. For the peanut butter recall, GNSI is responsible for daily database and website updates to www.fda.gov. Information is available to the public through the Google Search Appliance (GSA), and visitors to the site can also download information in PDF and XLS files. The speed of the search appliance is crucial and the data in the GSA needs to be updated as soon as we receive it. Each night, the GSA re-crawls the database and refreshes any new information. This takes less than an hour and still allows late-night visitors to search for recall information.

In its first three weeks of existence, the peanut butter product search page received over 25 million page views, and the search appliance has handled the resulting search traffic with ease. This graph shows the number of queries per minute on the FDA search appliance. A spike like this happens every morning, with a sustained use of around 250 queries per minute for most of the working day. Public safety depends on the availability of this information, and the search appliance keeps it available. To help the search appliance handle the traffic, GNSI turns on caching during the day, and turns off caching at night to re-crawl the database.


- Rajesh Sripada, Certified Google Search Engineer, GlobalNet Services, Inc.

Posted by Dan Israel, Google Federal Team

URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/02/google-search-appliance-providing.html