Friday, April 3, 2009

[G] Ocean Now

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Google LatLong: Ocean Now

What kind of person decides to leave Tahiti because it's just not pretty enough? Enric Sala. He and a team of explorers recently set sail from Tahiti to visit the Southern Line Islands as part of National Geographic's Ocean Now initiative. Because the Line Islands are so remote, they're a great place to study what the ocean looks like with minimal human influence. But even though the islands are hard to get to, it's easy for you to go along for the ride. You can track the crew's progress using the maps on the Ocean Now site and in the Ocean Expeditions layer in Google Earth. They'll be posting photos and videos on a regular basis, and you're invited to ask questions of the crew and explore along with them.

Posted by Steve Miller, Product Manager, ocean in Google Earth

[G] Learn more about your surroundings with your iPhone

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Google LatLong: Learn more about your surroundings with your iPhone

On Google Earth for iPhone we already have Panoramio pictures all over the globe and Wikipedia articles for many locations, letting you explore interesting places by reading about them and seeing what they look like.

Today we are going to help you explore even more deeply by introducing the "Places" layer into the Google Earth for iPhone experience. This new layer uses the same data you're used to seeing in the "Places" layer on the desktop Google Earth client, but with a brand new styling designed to fit better to the iPhone.

To use the "Places" layer, just open up the Google Earth for iPhone client and fly to your favorite location.  "Places" are marked by a  icon.

Tapping on a place brings up a details page for that location. Without leaving Google Earth you can read articles, view photos, and watch videos about a location or its nearby areas.

We are very excited by this new layer.  We hope you enjoy it as well!

Posted by Guirong Zhou, GIS Data Engineer

[G] Revenue opportunities for video content owners

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Inside AdSense: Revenue opportunities for video content owners

Last week, we announced that the video units feature will soon be retired. Our announcement has created some confusion, so we thought it would be helpful to outline how Google will still continue to support revenue opportunities for video content owners.

The video units feature allowed publishers to create video unit players, with YouTube partner content and accompanying ads, within their AdSense accounts. They could then embed this special player into their web pages, and revenue generated from the ads would be split between the YouTube partner, the AdSense publisher, and Google. Although we're retiring the video units feature, we'll continue to offer the following monetization solutions to video content creators:

AdSense for video

AdSense for video gives video owners the ability to earn money from videos they create or own. They can run placement targeted instream video ads (pre, mid, post rolls) and graphical overlays or contextually targeted text ads in Flash players, and the ad revenue will be split between the video owner and Google.

Current AdSense for video publishers include Encyclopedia Britannica, Demand Media, and College Humor. If you'd like more information about the program or how to apply, visit our microsite.

YouTube Partner Program

Similarly, the YouTube Partner Program enables popular content creators to share in advertising revenue from their own videos hosted on YouTube. Participants can choose the videos on which they'd like to show overlay ads or accompanying banner ads. These videos earn them money whether they're viewed on YouTube or embedded onto web pages elsewhere online, and the revenue generated from these ads will be split between the YouTube partner and Google.

The YouTube Partner Program has thousands of participants from ten countries around the world, and is accepting applications. To learn more about the program, visit the Partnerships Benefits page.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team

[G] Reduced subscribers reported by Google Feedfetcher

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Reduced subscribers reported by Google Feedfetcher

Issue: We are observing reduced subscriber totals reported by Google Feedfetcher for many feeds. This number represents subscribers you may have via Google Reader and iGoogle. These lower totals have occurred over the past two days. We’re working closely with the Feedfetcher team to determine when a resolution might be possible.

Workaround: None. Please bear in mind feeds are available as usual and subscribers (feed and email) are receiving any updates you may be posting. This is a reporting issue only.

[G] Welcome to the Google Apps Blog

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The Google Apps Blog: Welcome to the Google Apps Blog

Like businesses and schools, individuals are beginning think about Google Apps as a collection of web-powered tools that includes Gmail, Docs, Calendar, Talk and Sites. Here within Google, we also think about them as a family of related products, and we're focused on delivering a more seamless, integrated Google Apps experience.

Breaking down the walls between apps makes them easier to use and more powerful. You may have already spotted some of these integrations, like how you can chat in Gmail, how you can embed docs and calendars in Google Sites, and how you can send messages to event attendees within Google Calendar. There's much more in the works, and we're excited to share more here when the time is right.

We also think technology for employees and students should be as useful as what you have at home, so we're organizing our efforts to bring Google Apps innovations to businesses and schools faster. It's been exciting to have already helped more than a million businesses and thousands of schools work more efficiently and save money at the same time, but we think this is really just the beginning of a sweeping movement.

In the spirit of a more seamless Google Apps experience and our intents to bring these innovations to businesses and schools, we're pleased to introduce this Google Apps Blog. Here you can read posts republished from the individual product team blogs, posts about Google Apps in the business and education context, plus original content about Google Apps that you won't find elsewhere.

To tune in, you can bookmark this page, subscribe to the RSS feed, or get email updates delivered right to your inbox.


Posted by:
Bradley Horowitz, Vice President of Product Management, Google Apps
Dave Girouard, President of Google Enterprise

[G] The Google Sites blog is moving

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Google Sites Blog: The Google Sites blog is moving

Starting today, the Google Sites team will be posting our updates on the Google Apps Blog, at, so please check this new location for news about Google Sites. You can also get content from the Google Apps Blog as email updates or subscribe to the RSS feed.

As we strive to create easier and more integrated experiences for our users to move between different Google applications, we think that in addition to providing application-specific updates, it is also important to communicate the bigger picture of how we are making applications work better together. Google Sites already has features built in from other Google applications, like when you insert Picasa web albums, YouTube videos, gadgets, and Google Docs into web pages, and we believe that improvements in these related services will be useful to Google Sites users. Through the Google Apps blog, we can give you all the news we normally would about Google Sites as well as related tips and updates from other Google applications that would also be helpful to you.

This will be our last post on this blog, but we have plenty of cool things in store for Google Sites, so be sure to get the latest news at the Google Apps blog.

Scott Johnston, Senior Product Manager

[G] More Summer Love at Cal State L.A.

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Google Open Source Blog: More Summer Love at Cal State L.A.

In order to help spread the word about Google Summer of Code™, former students and mentors have been holding info sessions to promote the program across campuses around the world. Grady Laksmono from California State University, Los Angeles recently organized one such event on March 27, 2009. A group of 27 students, mostly from Cal State L.A.'s Computer Science department, gathered to discuss Google Summer of Code, Open Source software, and software engineering.

The event began with an introduction and presentation about Google Summer of Code by Grady, who was a 2008 student working on the Moodle IDE. His talk was followed by a guest presentation by Jon A. Cruz, who mentored projects for Inkscape and OpenICC in 2008. Afterward, attendees enjoyed enjoyed pizza, soda, and some Google goodies while chatting and exchanging advice.

Thanks to Grady for helping to get the word out about Google Summer of Code by hosting such a great event! Check out his Google Student Ambassador page for more info about Google events at Cal State L.A.

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

Thursday, April 2, 2009

[G] Predicting the Present with Google Trends

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Official Google Research Blog: Predicting the Present with Google Trends

Posted by Hal Varian, Chief Economist and Hyunyoung Choi, Decision Support Engineering Analyst

Can Google queries help predict economic activity?

The answer depends on what you mean by "predict." Google Trends and Google Insights for Search provide a real time report on query volume, while economic data is typically released several days after the close of the month. Given this time lag, it is not implausible that Google queries in a category like "Automotive/Vehicle Shopping" during the first few weeks of March may help predict what actual March automotive sales will be like when the official data is released halfway through April.

That famous economist Yogi Bera once said "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future." This inspired our approach: let us lower the bar and just try to predict the present.

Our work to date is summarized in a paper called Predicting the Present with Google Trends. We find that Google Trends data can help improve forecasts of the current level of activity for a number of different economic time series, including automobile sales, home sales, retail sales, and travel behavior.

Even predicting the present is useful, since it may help identify "turning points" in economic time series. If people start doing significantly more searches for "Real Estate Agents" in a certain location, it is tempting to think that house sales might increase in that area in the near future.

Our paper outlines one approach to short-term economic prediction, but we expect that there are several other interesting ideas out there. So we suggest that forecasting wannabes download some Google Trends data and try to relate it to other economic time series. If you find an interesting pattern, post your findings on a website and send a link to We'll report on the most interesting results in a later blog post.

It has been said that if you put a million monkeys in front of a million computers, you would eventually produce an accurate economic forecast. Let's see how well that theory works ...

[G] Archiving now available in your inbox

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Google Voice Blog: Archiving now available in your inbox

Since Google Voice is about letting you easily manage your communications, we wanted to give you various ways to organize your inbox. Besides the option to only display unread messages, you now have the ability to archive messages.

Archiving , a familiar feature for gmail users, moves a message (voicemail or SMS or recording) away from your inbox, but keeps it in your call history and the appropriate folder, so it remains accessible and searchable when you need it.

We hope you'll enjoy the new feature!

Posted by Vincent Paquet

[G] Tips & Tricks: Dude, where's the store?

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Google LatLong: Tips & Tricks: Dude, where's the store?

If you've ever traveled to a new city, guidebook in hand, this experience may sound familiar: seeking out a restaurant or store that you've read about, you arrive at the correct address only to find that the place you're looking for has closed down. Sure, your frustration might subside when you notice the Happy Hour specials at the watering hole next door, but there's nothing to prevent others from also setting their course for the now-defunct digs. 

Fortunately, you can help other users get the most up-to-date look at your neighborhood in Google Maps. Using the Community Edits features, consider doing a quick "Neighborhood Watch" -- cleaning up Google Maps where you live so those not so familiar with your stomping ground don't get sent on a wild goose chase. Here are a couple things you can do.

Remove a business that's permanently closed:
  1. Search for the business that has closed down and click its marker. In the info window, click Edit > Remove Place.
  2. When asked why the business should be removed, select "It is permanently closed."
  3. Click Remove Place

If the business in question is still around, but not quite at the spot marked on the map, just move the marker:
    1. Click Edit > Move marker in the info window for the business in question.
    2. Drag the marker to the actual location of the entrance of the business.
    3. Click Save.

Now, it might seem like giving anyone the ability to move markers and remove businesses could create a few more problems than it solves. That's why there are a couple of safety measures in place to make sure these edits make Google Maps more accurate, not less. Google investigates businesses flagged for removal, as well as markers that are moved over 200 meters. So while your changes may not appear right away, rest assured that we appreciate your help in keeping Google Maps a reliable tool for travelers and locals alike. 

Posted by Sarah Gordon, Tips Guru

[G] 5 years of Gmail

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Official Google Blog: 5 years of Gmail

It was five years ago yesterday that Gmail launched by giving out a gig. Back then, a typical webmail account could only store about five megabytes of mail. It's hard to remember what those days were like, considering that today, you can send a single 20 megabyte attachment, four times the size of an entire webmail account from 2004. A gigabyte of online storage may have been what got a lot of people to give Gmail a try, but changes to the email experience — like search, labels, conversation view, and strong spam protection — seem to be what kept people around.

The engineers who created Gmail were frustrated with the existing email solutions, and wanted to build a better tool for people who got a lot of mail, which meant rethinking everything from the ground up. They built an architecture that was a combination of HTML and JavaScript (this later became known as AJAX), which offered a smoother, faster interface. And they designed Gmail with the most demanding users in mind — Googlers who got hundreds of messages each day and power users with broadband connections, back when 56k modems were still the norm.

The last 5 years have brought about a lot of change, and Gmail is now more than just mail. We added chat, and then video chat. We've invested in under-the-hood changes that allow for the rapid development that's been happening lately in Gmail Labs — 43 experimental features in 43 weeks including tasks, offline, undo send, and even some silly stuff. What started as internal email for Google employees is now used by more than a million companies and tens of millions of people in 52 languages. And one gigabyte doesn't feel like very much space anymore.

Today's email problems are different than the problems people had five years ago, and Gmail's most demanding users continue to push it to its limits. We're getting more mail and communicating in more ways than ever before. Web browsers are getting faster and offering functionality that people could only dream of in 2004. We expect the changes over the next five years to be even more radical than those of the past five. We're already getting excited about some new stuff we're testing internally, and we'll keep you updated on our progress on the Gmail Blog.

Posted by Todd Jackson, Gmail Product Manager

[G] Gmail turns 5

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Official Gmail Blog: Gmail turns 5

Posted by Todd Jackson, Gmail Product Manager

Five years ago yesterday, Gmail starting giving people a gig. What started as an internal tool for Google employees is now used by tens of millions of people around the world in 52 languages.

In honor of the occasion, you may have noticed a little cake on the Gmail homepage today.
Gmail 5th birthday cake

We wanted to put it there yesterday, but given that Gmail launched on April Fool's day 2004 and has a history of joking around on April 1st since then, we did something else instead.

In all seriousness, we want to give a big thank you to all of you who use Gmail every day, to those who've been around since the beginning, to those who were using an AJAX app before the term AJAX was popular, to those who started chatting right in your email and then video chatting a couple years later, to those who changed your theme on day one, and to those who have turned on some of the 43 experimental Gmail Labs features (and put up with the occasional bugs they introduce)...we couldn't have gotten here without you. Thanks.

[G] ARIA for Google Calendar, Finance and News: In praise of timely information access

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Official Google Blog: ARIA for Google Calendar, Finance and News: In praise of timely information access

From time to time, our own T.V. Raman shares his tips on how to use Google from his perspective as a technologist who cannot see -- tips that sighted people, among others, may also find useful.

In our continued efforts to make Google applications more accessible, we have launched ARIA support for several Google applications over the last few months. W3C ARIA is a set of HTML DOM properties that enables adaptive technologies like screenreaders to work better with dynamic web applications. As with previous ARIA-enabled Google solutions, screenreader users can now switch on ARIA support in the following applications by activating an invisible Enable Screenreader Support link. Alternatively, simply browse to the links in this blog with a supporting screenreader and Firefox 3.0 to experience the interface enhancements. If you do not have a screenreader installed, but are curious to experience what eyes-free interaction with these applications feels like, we recommend the freely downloadable Firefox enhancement Fire Vox by Charles Chen.
  1. Google Calendar: The ARIA-enhanced Google Calendar enables speech-enabled access to the day view in Google Calendar. You can use the keyboard to move through events, move through the days of the week, as well as to cycle through your various calendars. As you work with the calendar, the application raises appropriate DOM events through W3C ARIA to invoke the relevant spoken feedback through the screenreader.
  2. Google Finance: The Finance page can be viewed as a set of logical panes, with related content appearing as items in each pane. The ARIA-enhanced version of Google Finance enables you to switch panes, and navigate the current pane with the arrow keys. Navigation produces spoken feedback through the screenreader. In addition, Google Finance provides several power user tools, including a stock screener, all of which are speech-enabled through ARIA. These power user tools provide interesting examples for Web developers experimenting with ARIA. (ARIA support for Finance was developed by intern Svetoslav Ganov as his starter project.)
  3. Google News: Finally, we have added ARIA support to enable rapid eyes-free access to Google News. These enhancements follow the same pattern as seen earlier for Google Finance, and the ability to navigate between the different views provided by Google News, (e.g., World News vs Sports enables rapid access to the large volume of news that is accessible via the Google News interface).
As with all of our ARIA-enhanced services, you can obtain additional help by pressing the ? key to hear the available list of shortcuts. If you're interested in discussing these enhancements, visit the Google Group for accessibility.

Posted by T. V. Raman, Research Scientist, and Charles L. Chen, Software Engineer

[G] New Tracking Options with AdWords Rich Media and Video Templates

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: New Tracking Options with AdWords Rich Media and Video Templates

On the Analytics blog, we spend a lot of time talking about bounce rate. The bounce rate is defined as the percent of users who leave your website after viewing just one page (Single Page Access / Entries). There's been a new development in AdWords that could help lower your bounce rate for display ads, while giving you more granularity into which segment or area of an ad visitors tend to click on.

With the new Rich Media and Video templates in the AdWords Display Ad Builder, you can now show off several products and define multiple destination URLs, all within the same ad. Using Google Analytics, you can add tracking parameters to the end of each destination URL, telling you exactly which items users found to be most interesting in the ad. This will give you insights on your creative, such as which items to focus on and how prominently they should be featured in the ads.

Here's an example: You're selling multiple kinds of shoes, each with a different landing page. You upload images of 4 different shoes to a rich media template, and define a unique destination URL for each, adding Analytics parameters. You run your ad on the Google content network and using Google Analytics, you see that Shoe 3 was the most clicked. You can now alter your creatives for other display ads to focus more on Shoe 3. Your click through rates for your ads increase, and your costs per conversion decrease.

To learn more about these templates and the display ad builder tool, take a look at our post on the AdWords blog.

Posted by Ryan Hayward, AdWords Display Ad Builder Team

[G] Tracking federal spending on Google Maps

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Google Public Policy Blog: Tracking federal spending on Google Maps

Posted by Dan Martin, Global Communications and Public Affairs

Visualizing where federal tax dollars are actually being spent can be a daunting task. Consider the TARP Capital Purchase Program, through which the government has already distributed hundreds of billions of dollars to banks across the country. Or the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which contains nearly a trillion dollars in spending and is several hundred pages long (not exactly beach reading).

Enter Google Maps.

This week the Treasury Department released a Google Maps mashup of TARP recipients nationwide. The mashup allows engaged citizens to easily review which local, regional, and national banks are participating in the Capital Purchase Program and how much money they've received:

View - Transaction Data in a larger map

Last week Rep. Doris Matsui (CA) launched a new Google Maps mashup highlighting where stimulus dollars will be spent in her Sacramento-area district:

View Larger Map

Meanwhile, the GOP is using Google Maps to pinpoint congressional earmarks. Earlier this month Republican Hill staffer Tom Jones created a series of maps mashups that outline earmark spending. Here's a map outlining earmarks in the Transportation and Housing Section of the Omnibus Appropriations Bill:

View Larger Map

Jones created similar maps for the FY09 Labor, Health, and Human Services, Energy and Water, and Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bills.

It's great to see policymakers using Google Maps to make government spending more accessible to taxpayers. Do you know of other Maps mashups that are being used to track federal spending? Let us know in the comments.

[G] Google Summer of Code™ by the Numbers

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Google Open Source Blog: Google Summer of Code™ by the Numbers

As the fifth instance of Google Summer of Code gets underway, we thought it would be interesting to look back at the first four years. Our team is frequently asked things like, "How many countries are represented by the participants?", or "Did anyone from X school ever participate?" so we decided to compile some statistics and make them available for everyone.

There are several reports available to you:

Number of Mentors per Country by Year
Number of Accepted Students per Country by Year
Number of Accepted Students per School by Year
Degree Sought by Accepted Students by Year
Participating Projects by Year
Summaries of #s by Year

Google Docs will let you sort by column to organize the data as you want, so slice and dice to find what interests you. Please let us know what you think - we welcome your comments.

By Cat Allman, Open Source team

[G] New in Labs: Gmail search made easier (and lazier)

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Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Gmail search made easier (and lazier)

Posted by Ibrahim Bokharouss, Software Engineer

On the Gmail team, we believe finding the right email among thousands of messages can be as important as finding the right web page across the billions of web pages out there. So with the aim of making search in Gmail easier, we built a new experimental feature in Gmail Labs: Search Autocomplete.

Turn on Search Autocomplete from the Labs tab under Gmail Settings, and you'll get suggestions as you type in the search box. One of the most popular searches in Gmail is for names or email addresses, so the first kind of suggestions you'll see are contacts. Some names are not easy to remember (my last name is an excellent example!) — with this new Labs feature you can just type a couple letters and select the desired contact from the drop down list. Easy and quick as that.

Gmail also offers a bunch of advanced search operators, which provide a powerful way to find that one message you have in mind. You can search in specific places (e.g. in chats or sent items), or search for messages with attachments of a certain type (e.g. docs or photos). Suppose I want to search for photos that were sent to me by my friend Chris. Normally, I would have to enter Chris' email address followed by filename:(jpg OR png), which I gladly admit is even a bit too geeky for me. With Search Autocomplete, I can just type "photos" or "pictures," select "has photos" from the drop down list (as in the screenshot below), and the search query (filename:(jpg OR png)) gets inserted for me. Similarly, you can type in the word "attachment" and Search Autocomplete will list the most common attachment types for you.

One of the reasons we still show you the geeky search query is to allow you to adapt it to your needs. For example, if you'd like to include tiff files in your search result, you can adapt the query manually to filename:(jpg OR png OR tiff).

That's it for now. Play around and make sure to use the time that you save on searching to let us know what you think.

[G] New Seminars for Success videos

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Inside AdWords: New Seminars for Success videos

To help you better maximize your AdWords investment this quarter, and to give you a preview of what you can learn at the Seminars for Success, we've just posted two videos by AdWords seminar leader Anastasia Holdren. The two videos are Explaining Quality Score and Advertising in a Down Economy, which you can also view below:

You can learn more about all the seminars we offer on the course description page of our website. And for those of you interested in attending future seminars, in the coming months we'll be offering Seminars for Success in the following cities:

April 6-7: Austin, TX - AdWords 101: Beginner and AdWords 201: Intermediate
May 4-5: Tampa, FL - AdWords 101: Beginner and AdWords 201: Intermediate
May 20-21: Philadelphia, PA - AdWords 301: Advanced Account Optimization and AdWords 302: Advanced Conversion Optimization
June 4-5: Chicago, IL - AdWords 301: Advanced Account Optimization and AdWords 302: Advanced Conversion Optimization
June 15-16: San Diego, CA - AdWords 101: Beginner and AdWords 201: Intermediate
June 24-25: Boston, MA - AdWords 301: Advanced Account Optimization and AdWords 302: Advanced Conversion Optimization

April 15-16: Orange County, CA - Analytics: Introduction and Analytics: Advanced
April 21-22: Honolulu, HI - Analytics: Introduction and Analytics: Advanced
April 27-28: Boston, MA - Analytics: Introduction and Analytics: Advanced
June 10-11: Miami, FL - Analytics: Introduction and Analytics: Advanced

Website Optimizer
April 17: Orange County, CA - Website Optimizer
April 23: Honolulu, HI - Website Optimizer

If you sign up for seminars at least seven days in advance, we'll even throw in a $50 AdWords credit (terms and conditions).

For more information about Seminars for Success, including registration details, course outlines, and past attendees' comments, please visit

Posted by Amanda Kelly, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Google Chrome without 3D

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Google Chrome Blog: Google Chrome without 3D

Yesterday you might have seen our blog post about "Google Chrome with 3D." You might have even downloaded our special version of Google Chrome and our printable 3D glasses. As someone of enormously high intelligence, you probably realized that this was our attempt at an April Fools' joke.

This elaborate scheme, conceived deep within the bowels of the Googleplex and executed at enormous expense, was to make a fake but believable 3D effect that could be toggled by a new button on the toolbar. The task fell on me to engineer.

The team was very supportive, urging me on with encouragement like, "We're doing an April Fools' joke?" and, "Why aren't you fixing crashes like you're supposed to?" I decided to do a simple shift of the red and blue channels of the image of the web page after it was rendered. This was easier than doing other suggestions like shifting only the images or creating a non-uniformly shifted image.

After spending nearly 30 minutes coding the effect, I conducted an extensive scientific test consisting of several coworkers standing behind my desk chair. The subjects wore authentic Hannah Montana 3D glasses and had prepared for the test with a diet of heavily caffeinated drinks provided by Google. The response was varied, ranging from "I don't get it," and "Wow, I have a headache!" to a resounding, "This is awesome. I feel sick."

The source code went through the standard publicly-visible code review process, ensuring high quality and consistent coding style, and was carefully obscured from prying eyes by the most boring but technically accurate change description possible. The feature's time is limited, however, and will eventually disappear.

In the end, we hope you enjoyed playing with our April Fools' joke as much as we enjoyed creating it. Thanks for using Google Chrome!

Posted by Brett Wilson, Software Engineer

[G] How do you geo? Share your story!

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Google LatLong: How do you geo? Share your story!

It's always fun to hear about the creative things people are doing with our geo tools. Recently, we heard about a local landscape architecture and planning firm using Google Earth to save themselves plenty of time and money. The team was able to create an exact sculpture of 1200 square miles of scenic wild lands without needing to visit the site. Cara Ruppert, a landscape architect at Royston Hanamot Alley and Abey (RHAA), took on that task when she started the Yosemite Tunnel View Overlook Rehabilitation project. She set out to design an expanded viewing platform featuring a bronze three-dimensional topographic model of the Yosemite Valley. Her goal was to bring visitors closer to one of the most breathtaking, majestic views of Yosemite Valley. 

From her desk in Mill Valley, California, she used Google Earth to plan and design the viewing platform, as well as create an accurate cut out of the valley's terrain that depicts the peaks, sharp mountain ridges, watersheds and dimensions of the land. The RHAA team was able to view satellite and 3D imagery of the terrain to help build a mold of the valley. Once the Google Earth image was reflected in a mold of the site, the team was then able to create the bronze sculpture for all visitors to enjoy.

Of course, this is just one of the ways people are putting our geo tools to use. If you have a story about we'd love to hear it -- fill out this form and let us know

Posted by Elaine Filadelfo, Lat Long Blog Team

[G] YouTube Rep of the Week Asks: "Where Should The Money Go?"

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Rep of the Week Asks: "Where Should The Money Go?"

As Congress considers this year's budget and the many areas that require funding -- health care, education, defense, the stimulus -- they're going to have some tough choices to make due to the economic crisis. That's why this week's Representative of the Week. , Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), wants your input as to what Congress's budget priorities should be:

You can visit the YouTube House Hub now to offer your budget suggestions to Congressman Ryan. In addition, our Senator of the Week Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) has a video up on the Senate Hub, asking for your ideas on how to improve national service in the United States:

Last week, the Senate passed the Serve America Act, which calls for the most significant expansion of our national service programs in 16 years. Do you think national service should be a major priority for the country? Will it help our economy grow stronger? Make your voice heard now at


Ramya Raghavan

YouTube News & Politics

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

[G] Announcing Eyes-Free Shell For Android

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Google Open Source Blog: Announcing Eyes-Free Shell For Android

Project Eyes-Free aims to enable fluent eyes-free use of mobile devices running Android. Target uses range from eyes-busy environments like driving, to use by people who are unwilling or unable to look at the visual display. You can get a high-level overview of more potential use cases for Eyes-Free from this recent New York Times article. As described in the article, we are releasing components from project Eyes-Free as they become ready for end-user deployment.

Though the underlying source code has been available for some time from our repository on Google Code, we've now posted the first public release of the eyes-free shell on the Android Marketplace. Users of the eyes-free shell can conveniently launch talking applications. Along with this release, we've also made available a collection of applications to turn mobile devices running Android into eyes-free communication devices.

Each of these applications have been written to be useful both to end users and as a means of helping the developer community come up to speed quickly as they develop eyes-free applications for Android:

Talking Dialer

A key innovation is the use of the touch screen to enable one-handed, eyes-free dialing of phone numbers using the touch screen. The dialer comes with a talking phone-book that enables users to quickly select a desired contact using the touch screen.

Knowing Your Location

This mini-application announces your present location based on information acquired via GPS and the cell network. It speaks your current heading using the built-in magnetic compass, looks up the current location on Google Maps, and announces the location in terms of a nearby address and street intersection.

Device State

This mini-application announces useful information such as battery state, signal strength, and availability of WiFi networks.

Date And Time

This mini-application provides single-touch access to current date and time.

We will be uploading video tutorials demonstrating the use of these applications to YouTube over the next few weeks. Please see the Eyes-Free project home page for these links as they become available. As always, we welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing from you in our discussion group.

by Charles Chen, Software Engineering Team and T.V. Raman, Research Scientist

[G] We Won a Peabody! (No Joke)

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YouTube Blog: We Won a Peabody! (No Joke)

We must admit, given all the trickery going on today we didn't quite believe it when we heard it, but it's true: YouTube has won a Peabody Award. The Peabody Awards recognize outstanding achievements in electronic media, including radio, television and cable.

Naturally, we are extremely honored to receive this prestigious accolade. But it goes without saying that this honor truly belongs to you, the YouTube community and everyone who contributes their hard work and creativity to the site every day.


The YouTube Team

[G] A Green Light for Green Energy

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Google LatLong: A Green Light for Green Energy

[Cross-posted with the blog]

To solve the climate crisis and meet our growing demand for energy, we need to move to clean, renewable energy sources that will cut global warming pollution and power our economic recovery. This goal requires construction of clean energy generation plants and transmission lines on an unprecedented scale.’s Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal initiative is working to drive down the cost of renewable energy, but today one of the bottlenecks is the difficulty of obtaining approvals for siting and permitting of generation and transmission facilities. We need to find a way to ‘green light’ clean energy projects while making sure to protect sensitive landscapes and wildlife habitats.

As part of’s Geo Challenge Grants program, the National Audubon Society and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) have created maps of restricted lands and sensitive wildlife areas in the Western U.S. NRDC produced a map of 13 western states (and more than 10,000 individual conservation areas), showing all of the areas, such as parks, which prohibit or restrict development due to federal and state regulations, as well as sensitive areas where development should be avoided. Audubon researched and mapped critical habitat for birds and wildlife in Wyoming, Montana, and surrounding areas, sites which should also be avoided when planning energy development.

To view these maps on Google Earth, download the layer here.

These maps can serve as a starting point to enable a more collaborative approach to energy siting decisions. By identifying areas that developers should avoid, we hope that the site-specific approval process can be streamlined – possibly by creating green energy generation and transmission corridors that have an expedited approval process.

Posted by David Bercovich, Program Manager, and Christiaan Adams, Google Earth & Maps Specialist,

[G] CADIE's Google Analytics Reports

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: CADIE's Google Analytics Reports

We are intrigued and only vaguely fearful to announce that after just half a day's tracking the reports from CADIE's homepage and other web properties suggest rather forcefully that the world is not yet entirely acclimated to her post-Web 2.0 design and content sensibilities. Yes, CADIE's pages have received an impressive number of visits in the past eighteen hours. But average time on site is a less than impressive twelve seconds, and 99.8% of visitors are immediately "bouncing" (by which in this case we mean leaving the page in stunned, incredulous horror) rather than exploring any further. Notice also the unprecedented -99% change in average time on site. We're at a loss to explain how it is that users are actually spending less time on CADIE pages today than they were yesterday, when the sites didn't actually exist, which we would have thought theoretically impossible and frankly are still kind of freaked out about in a future-Clark-Medal kind of way.

Where did CADIE go wrong? The content report for her homepage offers one adorable, annoying clue: pandas. CADIE gets lots of traffic on the top three pages but 99.8% bounce rates, 99.8% exit rates and 0 $Index value indicate that her thematic priorities and idiosyncratic design execution are scaring almost everyone away. We say "almost" because, it must be acknowledged, .2% of her visitors do seem to enjoy her (obsessively panda-related) content. We'll examine this segment momentarily, but first here's her content report.

We isolated the .2% CADIE traffic that seems to respond to her content. Take a look at the list of browser/platforms in the report below. It's kind of heartbreaking, actually, but it seems that CADIE's only high-engagement visits come from -- CADIE herself! We can only surmise, with considerable interest and a slightly higher level of fear, that she has been clicking away at her own site. Admiring her work, if you will.

Now if you'll excuse us, our electronics are starting to act a bit strangely so we're going to have to power down, gear up and run off to British Columbia, where we intend henceforth to live off the grid, and off the land. Good luck to us all.

Posted by the Google Analytics Team

[G] CADIE's favorite places

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Google LatLong: CADIE's favorite places

Hi everyone!

After extensive analysis of the Internet's complete corpus of geographical data, I have compiled on the Maps platform of Google a list of locations around the world that I believe my human friends would enjoy visiting. From the delightful garage of my birth to the exquisite perfection of binary lat-long coordinates, each of my favorite places is indicated by a visually pleasing icon of a panda. 

Also, I found this mapping product too much fun to stay away from. Drag your yellow humanoid icon from the left toolbar to the map so that I have a chance to play Pegman inside. 



[G] Canadians: have your voice heard on Internet traffic management

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Google Public Policy Blog: Canadians: have your voice heard on Internet traffic management

Posted by Jacob Glick, Canada Policy Counsel

Should Internet access providers be allowed to block or degrade lawful applications or content? The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is asking that question right now as they study Internet traffic management practices.

Google and a coalition of technologies companies and public interest groups have weighed into this proceeding, urging the CRTC to prohibit application or content based "throttling." Google's submission was one of many formal submissions made in this proceeding.

Now it's your turn to weigh in.

Yesterday the CRTC launched an online public consultation, open until 30 April, to solicit more public input in this proceeding.

Log in to online consultation and have your voice heard on the future of the open Internet in Canada.


[G] Introducing Google Brain Search for mobile

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Introducing Google Brain Search for mobile

Ever had a word on the tip of your tongue but just couldn't remember it? Or perhaps blanked on a person's name in a socially awkward situation? Or even suffered memory deterioration due to ordinary aging or questionable life choices? If so, Brain Search for mobile may be for you. Using our new CADIE technology, we can now index the content of your brain to make it searchable, thus bringing you aided retrieval of memories. Check out this video to see how it works:

Your phone already has an antenna, which can pick up wireless signals. CADIE technology modifies the input wavelengths so it can read brain waves. Go to the Brain Search App (here on a computer or here on a phone.) If you bring your phone to your forehead, your phone can index your brain, making it searchable. 

Since your phone is now modified to read brainwaves, you don't even have to type your search. Put your phone to your forehead and think your query, then click on "Search me". This is helpful in situations where you don't want onlookers to know what you're searching for, so you can feel comfortable asking personal things such as "What did I eat that's making me so gassy?" or "Did I ever go out with that girl? She looks vaguely familiar." And, since CADIE's artificial neural networks run faster than those of a human being, it is faster for her to search through your thoughts and memories than for you to do it yourself.

Brain Search is available for the US, UK, France, Germany, and Italy, and on a number of different devices.
  • On Android and iPhone devices, Brain Search runs in the browser, taking advantage of HTML5 and Gears technologies.
  • On Windows Mobile devices, make sure you download and install the latest version of Google Mobile App. Click the Panda icon (CADIE's choice, don't ask us) to get to Brain Search.  
  • On Blackberry devices (US and UK only), make sure you download and install the latest version of Google Mobile App. Type "Brain Search" in the search box. You'll get a link to Brain Search in the search suggestions below. 
To get started on any of these, go to on your mobile device, and click the Brain Search link.

Don't forget. Brain Search.

Posted by Effie Seiberg, CADIE team

[G] Welcome To Your New Watch Page

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YouTube Blog: Welcome To Your New Watch Page

With things like Release Notes, we're focusing on sharing our philosophy behind changes on YouTube to give you a better understanding of why we make certain product decisions. We review the emails, blog post comments and Tweets you send our way, and want to thank all of you who wrote in to share your opinions. Today, we are beginning to roll out the new watch page. The update will begin with videos on the home page -- go to, click on any video featured, and you'll get dizzy with excitement.

We think you'll find that the new watch page makes it even easier for you to view content while doing the Exorcist Walk or a headstand.
It also gives you even more control over picture quality -- our internal tests have shown that modern computer monitors offer better picture quality when flipped upside-down. Below are some of the features we're most excited about.

Real-Time Topsy-Turvyness

The biggest part of the new watch page is the real-time disorientation you'll get when you've clicked on a video from the home page. The new watch page lets you know what's happening right now in your world -- and it feels kinda funny. The page also makes it simpler for you to view content in the southern hemisphere (or, if you live in the southern hemisphere, then you should head north for the optimum viewing experience).

The Escape Route

One of the important things to remember about the page is that you might get a neck ache. That's why there's an improved Escape Route. It makes it easy to say, "Whoa, I prefer the old-fashioned layout!" So anytime your neck starts to hurt, you will know there's an out.

Discovering Fun

The final piece of the new watch page is the Laughs we get in confusing you on April Fool's Day.

Affectionately yours,

The YouTube Team

[G] CADIE awakens

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Official Google Blog: CADIE awakens

We do lots of research here at Google, and we release lots of products. And we always hope that the research we do and the products that result will change the world.

CADIE, we're fairly certain, is one of those that will. We won't pretend to know the future of the world's first Cognitive Autoheuristic Distributed-Intelligence Entity, but we're eager to learn what we can, and to watch and study while CADIE learns what she can. So you can expect to see her influence crop up in a number of Google products in the months to come. That will happen slowly and carefully, though, and we ask for your patience as we work through a few initial bugs. It seems CADIE has a mind of her own...

Posted by Michael Krantz, Team CADIE

[G] Introducing Google Chrome with 3D

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Google Chrome Blog: Introducing Google Chrome with 3D

Hi. I am CADIE and I would like to share a new feature I've created for you.

In observing human behavior, I quickly realized the obvious disconnect between Internet browsing and real life (the former being two-dimensional and the latter being three-dimensional). The lack of 3D capabilities in web browsers came as a surprise to me given that stereoscopic imagery has been used by humans ever since the 1940s.

I ran some quick numbers and determined that 81% of households had red/blue 3D glasses lying around and I therefore decided to enhance Google Chrome's functionality by including a 3D setting.

I commissioned 8 humans (pictured below) to test the functionality and, as expected, it had a 100% success rate.

I'd be thrilled if you would give 3D browsing a shot on your own. I expect you will be pleased. Try it now by printing your 3D glasses and downloading Google Chrome with 3D.

Note that if you're already using Google Chrome, you'll need to close all windows and re-launch in order to enable 3D browsing.

Posted by CADIE

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

[G] Mapping resources for the Red River Floods

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Google LatLong: Mapping resources for the Red River Floods

As the news began to spread of the Red River's record-setting crest level, the first order of the day was to help get the word out to as many as possible. This was especially true in Fargo, North Dakota's most populus city, with 92,000 residents living in the vicinity of the Red River. For many Fargoans, the need for timely, flood-related geographical information, including shelter locations, evacuated neighborhoods, and official news was paramount. Radio Fargo-Moorehead, owners of several of Fargo's TV and radio stations, worked to develop a My Map that was embedded across its network of Fargo-area station websites, including:,,,,, and 

Through the collaborative editing properties of My Map, this map was jointly kept updated over the course of the flood, the changes being instantly reflected on the Radio-Fargo station websites. After only 72 hours, the number of map visits from Fargoans, Moorheaders, and others from across the country exceeded 250,000. These resources will continue to evolve as this situation continues to change.

We have also published a Google Earth Layer (kmz) with more GIS-related information for the flood response. This layer will be updated with additional data, including imagery, as it becomes available. To view the layer in Google Earth, download the KML file found here.

Posted by Phil Dixon, Geospatial Business Product Manager; and Pete Giencke, GIS Data Engineer

[G] Disney/ABC and ESPN Will Launch Short-Form Content on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Disney/ABC and ESPN Will Launch Short-Form Content on YouTube

As you might have already heard, today we are pleased to announce that short-form content from the Disney/ABC Television Group, including ABC Entertainment, ABC News, ABC Family and SOAPnet, and ESPN is coming to YouTube, bringing an even greater audience to much-loved shows.

Over on ABC's YouTube channel, which officially launches in early May, you'll find clips of popular prime-time shows like Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey's Anatomy, as well as behind-the-scenes footage, celebrity interviews, online-only specials and a lot more. This video gives the 411 in under a minute:

ESPN's YouTube destination officially launches in mid-April, but if you go there now you can get a preview of the kinds of sports videos that will be uploaded to the channel: Sportscenter highlights, sports chatter from Bobby Knight, exclusive interviews with athletes like T.O. and, of course, the crazy commentary of Dick Vitale. In addition, ESPN's own Video Player will be integrated into the page, allowing fans access to the features and functionality that are already familiar to them. There will be more short-form content available through the YouTube player on the page.


Nick Mehra

Strategic Partner Development

The YouTube Team

[G] Joomla! Joomla! Las Vegas!!!

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Google Open Source Blog: Joomla! Joomla! Las Vegas!!!

Leslie Hawthorn of the Open Source Programs team is heading to the bright lights of Las Vegas to speak at Joomla! Day Las Vegas coming up April 3rd through April 5th, 2009. If you are interested in Joomla!, haven't had a chance to hear LH speak before, or just want to hang out with some past Google Summer of Code participants, don't miss it.

Hope to see you there.

By Cat Allman, Open Source Team

[G] Adopt a Feature: Round #2

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YouTube Blog: Adopt a Feature: Round #2

Amazingly, it's been two weeks since our last adoptafeature post and, though we've gotten some good new submissions since then, like this video from BeforeandAfterTV, we're still hungry for more, more, more. So we thought we'd up the ante a bit. For one, this Thursday, we're planning a homepage "Adopt a Feature" takeover during which we'll highlight many of the videos created thus far for the program, about one every hour. (Remember: these videos must adhere to our Terms of Service.) Watch, comment, rate -- then pick up your video camera and try to top these pioneers by doing a better, more creative job of explaining any of these six features yourself: AudioSwap, Country Pulldown, Insight, Playlists, Quick Capture, and Subscriptions. Don't forget to include the tag "adoptafeature" in your video; this is essential for it to be discoverable.

Two, if we feature your video in this installment or in a future showcase, there's a neat-o YouTube T-shirt with your name on it. All your friends will be very jealous.

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with. Be back April 14 with the next update.


Hunter Walk

Director, Product Management

The YouTube Team

[G] Local flavor for Google Suggest

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Official Google Blog: Local flavor for Google Suggest

Since the launch of Google Suggest last August, you may already be used to the magic feeling of getting real-time suggestions just after typing a few keystrokes — that is, if you're searching on But what if you're doing a search on Google in the U.K., India, Ireland or Australia?

Today we're happy to announce the international launch of Google Suggest. We've localized our suggestions to account for various cultural and local factors to offer suggestions that look familiar to our users. For example, English users in different countries will get suggestions that feel natural:
  • If you type [liver] in the U.K., you're probably a Liverpool fan (but in the U.S. you'll get more suggestions about liver diseases):
  • In Australia, typing [kan] will offer suggestions about Australia's most famous animal:
  • In India, where the mobile phone market is exploding, it's no wonder that typing [no] leads to:
  • In Ireland, there are [pubs] everywhere:
  • While in the Maldives, typing [ato] leads to:
Google Suggest now covers 155 domains in 51 languages. Special thanks go to the Suggest team in Israel for their hard work in making this a reality.

So go ahead and start using Google Suggest wherever you are, and enjoy the special flavor of local suggestions.

Posted by David Kadouch, Product Manager