Saturday, June 20, 2009

[G] Happy Father's Day, YouTube Style

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YouTube Blog: Happy Father's Day, YouTube Style

Set aside the lame ties, bad aftershave and other dubious gift ideas and deliver what dear old Dad really wants -- a laugh or two. On the homepage today we're sporting a spotlight module dedicated to Father's Day funnies. We've brought together comedians ranging from homegrown YouTube personalities like ShaneDawsonTV and Spricket24 to sketch comedy groups like TotallySketch and TheLandline. There's also historical humor from the VlogBrothers and the cheeky ventriloquism of JeffDunham.







Whatever your taste in comedy, we hope this collection of videos contains something you can forward on to Dad, to let him know how much you mean to him. It won't cost you a cent. After all, it is the thought that counts -- especially if it's a funny one.



Best,

Mark Day

YouTube Comedy
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=zK1vzmoGXxo

[G] Creating and giving presentations has gotten easier

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Official Google Docs Blog: Creating and giving presentations has gotten easier

If you haven't created a presentation in Google Docs in a while, you should consider trying out these recent enhancements:

Multi-shape formatting allows you select multiple shapes and/or text boxes, and format them all at once. To select multiple objects, hold down the Shift key while you click each object, or drag over all of the objects that you'd like to select. You can then change the fill color, line color, border weight, font size, etc.


Manipulation of text boxes got easier in some more ways, too. Text boxes now grow in size as you type and you can now vertically align the text within multiple boxes using a new Text Vertical Alignment button in the toolbar:


When you are giving live presentations, you now can better navigate to specific slides within your presentation. Click the Start Presentation button to launch into presentation mode. Then look for a toolbar at the bottom of the window. At any time, you can immediately jump to a different slide.


We love feedback, so visit our Help Forum to share your feedback on these and other features.

Posted by: Jen Mazzon, Product Manager
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/06/creating-and-giving-presentations-has.html

[G] Imagery update for Tehran

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Google LatLong: Imagery update for Tehran


Many of you have been letting us know through Tweets, emails, blog posts, message boards, and even an online petition that you're very interested in seeing recent satellite imagery of Tehran. Well, we've heard your requests and over the past few days have been working with our satellite imagery partner GeoEye to make this possible. We just received updated satellite imagery of Tehran, taken on Thursday the 18th at approximatly 11:18am local time. Below are some screenshots the updated imagery, you can view the entire image in Google Earth with this KML file.



The images above were taken from GeoEye's IKONOS satellite, which images at roughly 1-meter per pixel. We are continuing to work with GeoEye to see if we can provide a higher resolution update from the GeoEye-1 satellite, which would be at 0.5-meters per pixel, but this is subject to weather constraints. We'd like to thank GeoEye for making this imagery available to us and to thank our users for their advocacy.


Posted by Matt Manolides, Senior Geo Data Strategist
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/06/imagery-update-for-tehran.html

Friday, June 19, 2009

[G] Uploads Unplugged

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YouTube Blog: Uploads Unplugged

Since the new iPhone hit stores this morning, we've seen thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube from the new device. (If you didn't know, now you can shoot and upload videos to YouTube directly from your iPhone.)



To see just how easy it is to share your iPhone 3G S videos with the world, check out this video we shot with -- what else -- our new iPhone 3G S.







Now go upload some videos!



Tom Bridgwater

Software Engineer
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=CJcC5PcIVrQ

[G] How to find out "What's here"

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Google LatLong: How to find out "What's here"


On Google Maps, we try to label important places directly on the map tiles. But sometimes, it seems more helpful to just click on a point and ask "What's here?". Now you can do exactly that with an option we've added under the right-click menu. When you click on "What's here?", we give you the most relevant result representing that location, whether it's a specific address, a natural entity, or a place name.


This feature takes into account the zoom level you're looking at, and gives you the most appropriate geographical entity at that point. For example, if you're zoomed in closely on Manhattan, you can get the full address of a point by clicking on "What's here?". Additionally, by combining this with the "At this address" feature that you may have seen in the left-hand panel, you can also see a list of the businesses located at that place.

If you're a bit more zoomed out, you can get larger features, such as the names of the different Islands in the Galapagos Archielago - Isla Fernandina, Isla Isabela, Isla Marchena, Isla Guy Fawkes, and so on.


In the technical world, this feature is known as "reverse geocoding". It has been available in the Google Maps API for a couple of months now, so you can also put it to use if you're a developer.

Posted by Fernando Delgado, Product Manager and Diana Stroe, Software Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-to-find-out-whats-here.html

[G] An Update On What's Happening in Iran

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YouTube Blog: An Update On What's Happening in Iran

It has been one week since Iran's contested presidential election, and YouTube has been flooded with footage from the streets of Tehran and other cities, documenting the civil unrest that is unfolding there. In the past few days, many Iranians have participated in violent demonstrations, held silent rallies to protest the elections, and grieved for those killed as a result of deadly clashes with the Basij, Iran's auxiliary police force. In the past 36 hours, the foreign media has all but been expelled from the country, making the role of Iranian citizens even more critical in shedding light on what is happening there.




Yesterday, opposing candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi called for a day of mourning to honor eight of his supporters who have died since the protests began. As you can see in this clip, a massive number of protesters gathered (some reports are in the hundreds of thousands), dressed in black, to peacefully pay their respects to the fallen and demonstrate their perseverance in seeking justice. A candlelight vigil was held on Thursday night, and Mousavi himself addressed the crowd and urged his supporters to stand up against corruption. Yet due to the Iranian government's crackdowns on foreign media, this speech received no airtime, inside or outside of Iran. The only clip we've seen of it on YouTube lasts just 20 seconds, but it illustrates the incredible power and energy of the crowd amassed.









In stark contrast to Mousavi's speech, Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed the Iranian people today, insisting that they accept Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's victory. Khamenei told Iranians, "If there is any bloodshed, leaders of the protests will be held directly responsible." The speech was broadcast on national television, and footage is available here:









Continue to stay tuned for more...




Olivia Ma

YouTube News & Politics
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=TeMA8ery6zo

[G] Google Analytics Gets a New Site

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Google Analytics Blog |: Google Analytics Gets a New Site

We've given the Google Analytics site a refresh! Drawing upon insights from conversations with the Google Analytics community -- both online and in person, and from looking carefully at our own Analytics reports, we've reorganized the site to do a better job of exposing the information you're looking for. And, we've added a dash of visual style in the process.


How did we go about deciding what needed to be changed? The vast majority of visitors come to the site simply to log in to their accounts. After filtering these visits from our analysis, we looked at conversion rates -- new account sign ups-- and what content people looked at. It was clear that much important content, for example relating to training and professional services, was too buried for people to find. Although some visitors used the search box, we were surprised to find relatively few searches for education and professional services. Our guess is that not enough people know about these services, so we decided to create new sections for this content and address site navigation to make it more intuitive.

So, what is the result? Here are a few highlights.

The new updated Product area groups key features to help new and prospective users understand how the parts work together and how Google Analytics fits into the larger ecosystem of Google offerings that includes AdWords and Website Optimizer.

Considerable resources -- both free and fee-based -- are available to organizations using Google Analytics. The Support section provides a single point of access to these resources ranging from online communities to professional services offered by Authorized Consultant companies. You can quickly search our expanding global network for an Authorized Consultant in your region that specializes in the areas you'd like help with, whether that be installation assistance, consulting, customized training, or Urchin Software.

The Education section outlines ongoing opportunities to learn more about how to use Google Analytics more effectively. If you're an individual looking to develop skills for your career or a manager looking for cost effective ways to train your staff, you'll find the latest information you need on the Google Analytics IQ online course and test, Seminars for Success, and helpful videos.

Of course, the site won't be static. While we don't want to fall into the trap of trying to test everything, you may notice subtle site changes going forward as we use Website Optimizer to inform ongoing iterative updates.

We hope you like the new site and find it useful. Feel free to post a comment and let us know what you think. We'll share what we learn going forward. We're going to be working on the blog design and resources as well over the next couple of weeks.

Posted by Brett Crosby, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/06/google-analytics-gets-new-site.html

Thursday, June 18, 2009

[G] Google translates Persian

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Official Google Blog: Google translates Persian

Today, we added Persian (Farsi) to Google Translate. This means you can now translate any text from Persian into English and from English into Persian — whether it's a news story, a website, a blog, an email, a tweet or a Facebook message. The service is available free at http://translate.google.com.

We feel that launching Persian is particularly important now, given ongoing events in Iran. Like YouTube and other services, Google Translate is one more tool that Persian speakers can use to communicate directly to the world, and vice versa — increasing everyone's access to information.

As with all machine translation, it's not perfect yet. And we're launching this service quickly, so it may perform slowly at times. We'll keep a close watch and if it breaks, we'll restore service as quickly as we can.

We've optimized this service for translation between Persian and English. But we're working hard to improve Persian translation for the additional 40 languages available via Google Translate. If you see something you think is incorrectly translated, we invite you to click on the "contribute a better translation" link and we'll learn from your correction.

The web provides many new channels of communication that enable us to see events unfold in real-time around the world. We hope that Google Translate helps make all that information accessible to you — no matter what language you speak. So please visit Google Translate and try it out.

Posted by Franz Och, Principal Scientist
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/google-translates-persian.html

[G] New Interface Thursdays: Finding features from the previous interface

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Inside AdWords: New Interface Thursdays: Finding features from the previous interface

The basics of AdWords, such as bids, budgets, and Quality Score, haven't changed with the new interface. Still, every once in a while, you might find yourself asking, "Where did that go?" Here's a set of pointers to help you pick up where you left off in the previous AdWords interface.

Search my campaigns
In the previous interface, you could search your campaigns using a search box in the top corner of your account. In the new interface, we've replaced this functionality with text filters. You can now search for ads or keywords across your account by setting up a text filter. For searches you run often, you can save the filter to quickly access it at any time. Filters allow for more than just searching though, and you can read our earlier post to learn more about how filters can help you zero in on the data you care about most.

Keyword destination URLs
If you'd like to edit the destination URLs for individual keywords, you can do so by clicking the checkbox next to the keywords you'd like to edit, and then clicking on the "Edit" button at the top of the table. This will open up all keyword fields for editing, including the destination URL. If you'd like to see your destination URLs in your Keywords tab all the time, you can do so by customizing columns. By customizing columns, you can also find additional metrics like Quality Score that you might want to view and add them to the table.

Negative keywords
In the previous interface, you created negative keywords by adding a - sign to them. For example, you would add -free if you didn't want your ads to appear for searches containing the term free. Negative keywords were also mixed in with your regular keywords in your overall keyword list. With the new interface, negative keywords now have a home of their own. You'll find a section for negative keywords under your regular keywords in the Keywords tab. You can also view your campaign and ad group level negative keywords side by side.

Google Analytics and Website Optimizer
Where did the Analytics tab go? If you're looking for Google Analytics or Website Optimizer, you'll now find them under the Reporting tab at the top of your account.

Other questions?
If you'd like a side-by-side comparison of how to complete common tasks in new interface, we have a What's Changed page on the New Interface website.

Finally, we're providing webinars as another resource to help orient yourself in the new interface. The first webinar is tomorrow, June 19th at 11 AM PDT, and there's still time to register. We've scheduled the second webinar for June 26th also at 11 AM PDT.


We hope to see you at a webinar, and please continue to send us feedback on the new interface.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/06/new-interface-thursdays-finding.html

[G] Update regarding AdWords cost data reporting

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Update regarding AdWords cost data reporting

Do you have a Google Analytics account that:

  • is linked to AdWords and
  • has auto-tagging enabled and
  • does not have AdWords cost data applied?

If so, we have an important update on how your AdWords cost data is reported. If you are among the majority of users who do not meet all three of these conditions, you can stop reading now.

In early March, we changed how Google Analytics imports AdWords cost data to improve security and provide greater control and convenience. If you were an administrator on a Google Analytics account that was affected by this change (i.e. you either had auto-tagging enabled and/or had a linked account without cost data applied to some or all of your profiles), you received an email in March asking you to link your accounts and apply cost data to all linked accounts. This remains the best practice.

This change caused autotagged AdWords search traffic for which cost data had not been applied to be reported as "direct" traffic. We have now fixed this and Google Analytics now logs autotagged/non cost data traffic as source=google and medium=cpc. Only a small percentage of customers fall into this category, but if you were affected by this issue, as of midnight PST this morning you will see a drop in direct traffic and an increase in paid traffic, appropriately. Please note that organic and non-AdWords paid traffic remains unaffected.

For more information, please read this help center article on AdWords cost data importing.

Posted by Dai Pham, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/06/update-regarding-adwords-cost-data.html

[G] Dump the pump with new transit agencies in Google Maps

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Google LatLong: Dump the pump with new transit agencies in Google Maps


Did you know:
  • Individuals can achieve an average annual savings of over $8,000 by taking public transportation instead of driving and by living with one less car?
  • For every $1 invested in public transportation infrastructure, $6 is generated in economic returns to communities?
  • Public transportation saves 900,000 automobile fill-ups each day – or 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline per year?
  • Switching to public transportation can reduce individual carbon emissions by 20 pounds per day or 4,800 pounds per year?
This is why transit agencies around the country are celebrating Dump the Pump day, sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, today to encourage more Americans to take public transportation. Depends on where you are, you may get free passes from your local transit agencies today!

Now, you may wonder how you can plan a transit trip easily if you're not familiar with your local agency. The answer is - go to Google Maps. So far more than 100 agencies in the United States have made their data available in Google Maps through Google Transit Partner Program. Recently we have added several new agencies:
In addition, Los Angeles Metro, City of Edmonton, Houston Metro, and Calgary Transit have released their GTFS data feed to the public so that developers can create innovative transit to further promote the awareness of public transportation.

Now go to Google Maps on your computer or your cell phone, plan a transit trip, and go catch a train or bus. I bet your won't miss the congested highway or increasing gas price!

Posted by Jessica Wei, Strategic Partner Development Manager, Google Transit
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/06/dump-pump-with-new-transit-agencies-in.html

[G] GoogleServe: Thinking globally and serving locally

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Official Google Blog: GoogleServe: Thinking globally and serving locally

What do painting murals, teaching tech classes, and gardening have to do with Google? These are a few of the activities Googlers have participated in over the past few weeks as part of our second annual GoogleServe — a chance for Googlers to give back to their local communities through service projects. Over the past couple of weeks about 5,000 Googlers from 60 of our offices took a break from their regular jobs to participate in volunteer opportunities. We've found that community service helps to revitalize and deepen our connections with the communities where we live and work, as well as bring us closer together as a team. This year we partnered with nonprofits, schools and local governments across the world on a wide range of activities. Here's a glimpse at some of the projects that we recently participated in:
  • We cleaned beaches with the Surf Rider Foundation in Santa Monica, California and with the Irish Seal Sanctuary at Balbriggan Beach, Ireland.
  • We removed graffiti in Zurich, Switzerland with Beautiful Zurich.
  • We removed non-native plant species with Hands on Bay Area and the California State Parks Department in Half Moon Bay, California.
  • We painted murals with Team Up For Youth at the Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, California and with Ruach Tova at community centers in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel.
  • We prepped, packed, and sorted food for soup kitchens and homeless shelters with Resala in Cairo, Egypt and with the Greater Chicago Food Depository in Chicago, Illinois.
  • We led computer skills classes for NGOs in Beijing, China for senior citizens in Dublin, Ireland and for teens from orphanages in Krakow, Poland.
  • We refurbished computer labs at the Westview Middle School in Goose Creek, South Carolina and Schule Steinfeldstrasse in Billstedt, Hamburg, Germany.
Take a look at the photo album below to see Googlers in action. And if you're looking to give back to your community, websites like All For Good can help you find volunteer opportunities.



Posted by Seth Marbin, GoogleServe Global Leadership Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/googleserve-thinking-globally-and.html

[G] Release Notes: 6/18/09

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YouTube Blog: Release Notes: 6/18/09

Lately, the team has been pushing out features and fixes as they're ready in "mini-pushes" rather than waiting for the big, numbered releases that occur once a month. Here's what's gone out in the last few weeks:



* The Wonder of "Wonder Wheel": Next time you search for a video on YouTube you may notice a link on the right-hand side of the page labeled "Wonder Wheel." This is a new beta search option from Google.com, which we think has some cool potential as a way to navigate the vast range of videos on YouTube. You may have seen "also try" suggestions at the top of search results. Now we are letting you navigate across those suggestions graphically. Wonder Wheel displays searches related to the one you are searching like spokes on a wheel, allowing you to explore different search suggestions quickly. You can click on any of the wheel's spokes to see a new wheel with more related topics and browse new relevant video results to the right. Give it a try and let us know what you think!



* Improved Advanced Search: Let's say you want to narrow down your search for a video and be more precise about what you're looking for. Advanced Search allows you to specify many more details than our normal search, including when a video was uploaded, the location it came from, and its length. We've reworked Advanced Search to be easier to use and to better reflect the range of content on YouTube (lots of new stuff!).



* Remaining Time Display on Upload Progress Bar: In April, we launched the new progress bar with our Flash uploader. We added a small enhancement to the UI to show the estimated remaining time based on your file size and internet bandwidth. We hope this will give you a bit more info about the status of your upload.



* Download MP4 Files of Your Own Videos: Oh no! Your computer just crashed and you lost the original files of videos uploaded to YouTube. Don't panic. Find the video you want in "My Videos" and hit the "Download MP4" button to save the MP4 file of the video to your computer. You can download videos recorded with your webcam, too.



* A More TV-Like Experience: We recently launched a feature that hides the player control bar when you are in full screen for a more immersive, TV-like experience. (Speaking of which, read our blog post about YouTube XL for more about optimizing YouTube on large screens.) You can also "pop out" any video by clicking on the button in the top right corner, right above the video. The video will open in a new window, without any of the surrounding features or videos, for the simplest possible experience. (Please note: this feature won't work when embedding has been disabled by the uploader.)



* Mobile App in Six New Languages: A few months ago, we launched an all-new YouTube Mobile Application for fast, high-quality video streaming on Windows Mobile and Symbian Series 60 phones. Just two days ago, we released the App in French, UK English, Italian, Spanish, German and Dutch. To install it in your language, please visit m.youtube.com/app.



To comment on any of these features, leave a note below or head over to the Help Forum feedback and suggestions page.



Until next time,

The YouTube Team
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=wvt7aEaz38E

[G] Speeding up: the basics and Analytics

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Inside AdSense: Speeding up: the basics and Analytics

Today, we're kicking off a five-week educational series about speeding up your business in a slowdown. We'll be revisiting the basics of online publishing to help you grow your business, and we'll share tips about using AdSense and other Google products that you can apply to your business now. In the coming Thursdays, you can look forward to tips for making your site more user-friendly, bringing in more visitors, increasing your revenue potential, and attracting more advertiser budget. Along the way, we invite you to share your own suggestions for growing your business by leaving comments at the end of each post. You can also follow the campaign at www.google.com/ads/speedingup.

In today's post, you'll hear from Avinash Kaushik, Google's own Analytics Evangelist, about the importance of understanding your traffic, analyzing how your site performs, and using data to make decisions. Here are a few small to mid-sized ideas that -- in Avinash's own words -- can add up to remarkable results for your website. They're all things you can do today with free web analytics tools, like Google Analytics.



Idea #1: Discover what content and traffic sources keep people coming to your site again and again.

How many times does a visitor have to visit your site to be considered valuable? Use the Visitor Loyalty report in the Visitors section of Google Analytics to pinpoint the visitors who come to your site that many times or more. Put that data into an advanced segment and apply that segment to your core reports to understand things like where these valuable visitors come from and what content they consume. You can then use this information to optimize how you acquire new visitors and the content on your site for loyal visitors.


Idea #2: Figure out which pages to improve on your site.

Many people ask the question: "How do I know which pages on my site to improve?" Take a look at the Top Landing Pages report in the Content section of Google Analytics. This report tells you the first page people see when they enter your site. Sort this report by bounce rate. Bounce rate measures how many people come to your site, only see one page and leave right away (or as Avinash calls it: "I came, I puked, I left"). Once you identify which of your top landing pages are not able to get a single click from your visitors you know which pages need to be improved.


Idea #3: Find out where AdSense performs best on your site.

If you've linked your AdSense and Analytics accounts, the Top AdSense Content report in the AdSense section of Google Analytics will tell you where on your website AdSense ads get the most clicks. This is a win-win for your business and your customers, as it helps you identify what type of content to produce more of based on what content people are most interested in as well as where people most often click on your AdSense ads.


If you haven't already, link your AdSense and Analytics accounts in order to take full advantage of what Analytics can offer. If you don't yet have an Analytics account, you can sign up today.

Additional Resources:
Posted by Talia Brodecki - AdSense Product Marketing
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/06/speeding-up-basics-and-analytics.html

[G] Blogger is turning 10

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Official Google Blog: Blogger is turning 10

Google's about to have its second tenth birthday. In late August, Blogger will officially turn 10 years old. As our birthday draws near, we thought it would be interesting to share some fun facts about Blogger:
  • Every minute of every day, 270,000 words are written on Blogger
  • Millions of people worldwide use Blogger to publish to their blog each week
  • Almost two thirds of Blogger's traffic comes from outside North America (What's the #2 country after the U.S.? Brazil, followed by Turkey, Spain, Canada, and the U.K.)
  • The most popular sport for our bloggers? Soccer (that's football to the rest of the world), more than four times larger than the #2 sport, baseball
While we're really excited about this milestone, we want the focus to be on you and the remarkable stories that you and millions of people around the world document on Blogger. After all, blogs are one of the true building blocks of the web, constantly updated not only with news and personal stories, but any kind of information you can imagine. Just this week, there's an Iranian student documenting the minute-by-minute proceedings in Iran, while a British woman is uploading nightly blog posts from her satellite phone while rowing solo from Hawaii to Australia, while an American college student is running from Amsterdam to Athens with nothing but the pack on his back. There are literally millions more.

What's your story? Did your blog help you find a job? Learn a language? Interact with your fans? Master a new skill? Battle an illness? Turn a hobby into a career? We read as many blog posts as we can, and what we do read is often brilliant. But we want to know more — we want to hear from you about what Blogger has meant to you over the past decade.

Do what you do best: tell your story. Write a post, and then let us know about it by filling out this form. Keep an eye on Blogger Buzz, where we'll be sharing some of our favorites over the coming weeks.

To the millions who have depended on Blogger to help you tell your story, thank you. To those of you who have yet to tell your story, creating a blog couldn't be easier: just visit blogger.com to get started. We can't wait to see what the next ten years bring — and stay tuned for details about the tenth birthday itself.

Posted by Rick Klau, Product Manager, Blogger
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/blogger-is-turning-10.html

[G] Blogger is Turning 10

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Blogger Buzz: Blogger is Turning 10

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.)

Google's about to have its second tenth birthday. In late August, Blogger will officially turn 10 years old. As our birthday draws near, we thought it would be interesting to share some fun facts about Blogger:
  • Every minute of every day, 270,000 words are written on Blogger
  • Millions of people worldwide use Blogger to publish to their blog each week
  • Almost two thirds of Blogger's traffic comes from outside North America (What's the #2 country after the U.S.? Brazil, followed by Turkey, Spain, Canada, and the U.K.)
  • The most popular sport for our bloggers? Soccer (that's football to the rest of the world), more than four times larger than the #2 sport, baseball
While we're really excited about this milestone, we want the focus to be on you and the remarkable stories that you and millions of people around the world document on Blogger. After all, blogs are one of the true building blocks of the web, constantly updated not only with news and personal stories, but any kind of information you can imagine. Just this week, there's an Iranian student documenting the minute-by-minute proceedings in Iran, while a British woman is uploading nightly blog posts from her satellite phone while rowing solo from Hawaii to Australia, while an American college student is running from Amsterdam to Athens with nothing but the pack on his back. There are literally millions more.

What's your story? Did your blog help you find a job? Learn a language? Interact with your fans? Master a new skill? Battle an illness? Turn a hobby into a career? We read as many blog posts as we can, and what we do read is often brilliant. But we want to know more — we want to hear from you about what Blogger has meant to you over the past decade.

Do what you do best: tell your story. Write a post, and then let us know about it by filling out this form. Keep an eye on Blogger Buzz, where we'll be sharing some of our favorites over the coming weeks.

To the millions who have depended on Blogger to help you tell your story, thank you. To those of you who have yet to tell your story, creating a blog couldn't be easier: just visit blogger.com to get started. We can't wait to see what the next ten years bring — and stay tuned for details about the tenth birthday itself.
URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2009/06/blogger-is-turning-10.html

[G] Designing a lounge for the Day in the Cloud

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Social Web Blog: Designing a lounge for the Day in the Cloud

Accessing the web from 35,000 feet in the air is becoming more of a reality thanks to airlines like Virgin America, who recently rolled out in-flight WiFi across their fleet. Now that you can get online, even from the clouds, Google Apps and Virgin America are teaming up to co-host a timed online scavenger hunt called the Day in the Cloud Challenge on Wednesday, June 24th. Thousands of people in the air and on the ground that day will participate in a one-hour challenge which consists of a series of puzzles and trivia questions. The top 5 scorers will receive a "Year in the Cloud" prize package, which includes a year of free flights from Virgin America, free in-flight Wi-Fi, a netbook computer, and 1 terabyte of Google Account storage for Gmail and Picasa Web Albums.

When developing the site for the Day in the Cloud Challenge, the team needed a space where competitors could meet each other and hang out prior to (and during) the challenge. They turned to Google Friend Connect to provide this functionality.


They first developed The Lounge to fit the design of the rest of the site. Then they added a members gadget, giving it ample space so that competitors could learn more about each other. Below that, they placed a comments gadget to encourage spirited pre-game banter between the players. After embedding YouTube videos to give participants ideas for how to prep for the challenge, they used a Polls gadget to add engagement to the site, asking people what they really do to pass the time on a long-haul flight.

Visit The Lounge to engage in some banter, take the poll, and get ready for the challenge. On game-day (June 24th) check back to see site members discuss the game all throughout the day.

Posted by Mendel Chuang, Product Marketing Manager, Google Friend Connect
URL: http://googlesocialweb.blogspot.com/2009/06/designing-lounge-for-day-in-cloud.html

[G] Get to where you're going, faster

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Google Chrome Blog: Get to where you're going, faster

Google Chrome's New Tab page is designed to help you get to where you're going, faster. In the following video, I'll show you an overview of how it works and the newly added ability to remove items from the page.



Posted by Glen Murphy, Google Chrome team
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2009/06/get-to-where-youre-going-faster.html

[G] Celebrating the Ocean in Google Earth with our partners

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Google LatLong: Celebrating the Ocean in Google Earth with our partners


The last few weeks have certainly been busy for the Ocean in Google Earth team. On May 28 in Santa Monica, CA, Heal the Bay held their Bring Back the Beach 2009 fundraiser, supporting work to improve water quality and do beach health monitoring across California. This year, Heal the Bay wanted to celebrate with the theme “A Sea of Possibilities” to recognize those whose thoughts, words, and actions demonstrate the powerful impact of seizing tremendous opportunities for positive change. The Ocean in Google Earth team was honored to be receiving the "Walk the Talk Award" and hope this inspires even more people to use the Ocean in Google Earth to learn about the issues that face this part of our planet. Barry Gribbon, CEO of Homerun Entertainment, produced this great Ocean in Google Earth Awards video - check it out to learn more. You can also have a look at their 19th Annual Beach Report Card, which uses the Google Maps API, to see the most current information about the health of California's coastlines.

Then, this past Saturday, at the Aquarium of the Pacific's Annual Awards Gala in Long Beach, CA, Director Jerry Schubel presented their Ocean Conservation Award to the Ocean in Google Earth. The event honors individuals and organizations that take a leadership role in protecting the environment. In addition, the event raises money to support the Aquarium’s education and conservation initiatives, which include teacher training, environmental education, mobile outreach programs, scholarship funds, and propagation programs.


The entire Ocean in Google Earth team would like to thank our over 100 partners. This includes large media groups like National Geographic and the BBC; researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Scripps Institution of Oceanography; non-profits like the Cousteau Society; aquariums; universities; NOAA, the US Navy, the Australian Great Barrier Reef Park Authority, and other government groups. We've also had individual contributors like Ray Hollowell in Hawaii and Sheila McKenna in Bermuda who have added photos, videos and stories to the Ocean content layers in Google Earth. This also wouldn't be possible without the many Googlers who contributed their time. One of our fantastic engineers, Emil Praun, who was instrumental to solving the ocean and land boundary problem, was fortunate to be able to attend the event.

You may remember the story of how Ocean in Google Earth came to be, following a conversation between Sylvia Earle and John Hanke three years ago. And now, as of February of this year, hundreds of millions of Google Earth users can go take a dive and see the oceans for themselves. As a piece of software, Google Earth is only as good as what you do with it. A number of our partners have used this as a way to tell their stories, and now you can go explore and add your own photos and videos, and share what you find with others. We are very excited to continue to work with the ocean community to enrich this canvas and make it an even more powerful educational tool. The Aquarium of the Pacific is rolling out teaching kiosks which will have the embedded Google Earth plug-in featuring some wonderful ocean content.

As Sylvia always says, "With knowing comes caring, and with caring, there's hope."

Posted by Jenifer Austin Foulkes, Business Product Manager, Ocean in Google Earth
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/06/celebrating-ocean-in-google-earth-with.html

[G] New Features on Google Books

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Inside Google Book Search: New Features on Google Books

Posted by Brandon Badger, Product Manager, Google Books

Think about how you use a book. You want to read it, sure--but there are a host of other ways for you to interact with the words between the covers. You might want to flip through the pages to find an image. You might want to open right up to the table of contents so you can find your favorite chapter. And you might want to pass it along to a friend so they can have a look at it, too.


Today I'm excited to announce that we're rolling out changes to Google Books that give readers and book lovers everywhere new ways to interact with the words and images contained within the books we've brought online. We've also made it easier for users to share previews of their favorite books on their blogs or websites. Here's a tour of some of the enhancements we've made to the way you search, browse, and share the books that we've digitized:


1. Embeds and links - This new toolbar option allows you to embed a preview of a full view or partner book in any of your websites or blogs--all with a simple html snippet. It's a lot like the embed tag that makes it so easy to share YouTube videos. Programmers comfortable with API tools could accomplish this via our Embedded Viewer API, but this new solution is much easier for everyone to use. You can also choose to grab a URL link to email or IM to friends that takes them to the same book and page on Google Books. For readers, this means they can more easily share pages from books you love, while publisher partners can gain even more awareness across the web to promote their books.



2. Better search within each book - You've always been able to search inside books you find on Google Book Search. Now, for public domain and partner books, we've made it easier to see exactly where your search term appears within the book by showing you more context around the term, including an image from the part of the page on which it appears. You can click on those images to navigate directly to the pages inside the book. You can also sort your search results by relevance in addition to page order in the book or magazine.



In the search results bar, you'll find 'Previous' and 'Next' buttons that allow you to browse through search hits quickly and easily.



3. Thumbnail view - Click on the thumbnail view button in the toolbar to see an overview of all the pages in a public domain book or in a magazine. Clicking on a thumbnail image will take you to that page in the reading view (available for "full view" books).



4. Contents drop-down menu - Above the book itself, you'll find a Contents drop-down that allows you to jump to chapters within the book--or articles within a magazine. (In case you're wondering, we built this using the same structure extraction technology that supports our mobile version of Google Books.)



5. Plain Text Mode - We've made it easier to find our plain text versions of public domain books. If a book is available in full view, you can click the 'Plain text' button in the toolbar to see our HTML version of the text (derived via OCR for full view books). This is especially useful for visually impaired Google users, who can use this format for text-to-speech and other types of software.



6. Page Turn Button and Animation - In addition to scrolling through the book, you can now also click the page turn button at the bottom of the screen, even if you haven't yet finished the page. An animated line moves with the page turn to make it easier to keep track of your location in the text.



7. Improved Book Overview Page - On the Overview page you'll find an assortment of useful data about the book, including reviews, ratings, summaries, related books, key words and phrases, references from the web, places mentioned in the book, publisher information, etc.



We hope that you enjoy these improvements to Google Books. As always, feel free to provide feedback. Happy reading!

URL: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2009/06/new-features-on-google-books.html

[G] Upload Your Photos, Download Your Albums

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Official Google Mac Blog: Upload Your Photos, Download Your Albums

By Greg Robbins, Software Engineer

In December, the Picasa Web Albums Uploader added support for downloading a photo album to your Mac. We've recently updated the Uploader to include the ability to download all photos from all albums in your account. To start the download, sign in to your account with the Picasa Web Albums Uploader application and select the Existing Album tab. Holding down the Mac's Option key will change the title of the Download Album button to Download All. Then one click will bring all of your albums home.

This update also improves reliability of the uploader's iPhoto export plug-in. The uploader typically keeps itself up-to-date, but you can also get the latest version, 1.3.1, from the download page. Please let us know how it works for you in the Mac Uploader area of the Picasa Help forum.
URL: http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2009/06/upload-your-photos-download-your-albums.html

[G] This blog is being replaced!

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AdWords Retail Tips: This blog is being replaced!

Thanks to everyone who has been a loyal reader of this blog over the past year and a half. We've decided to replace this blog by launching a new retail blog which includes a range of topics relating to the retail industry and not just AdWords related news. Go ahead and check out the new Google Retail UK Blog where you can subscribe and give feedback. We will post to it regularly with news, insights and opinion relating to the retail industry as well as tips on making the most out of our tools. Here is a list of blogs that you might find interesting:
We hope you'll find some of the above blogs useful. Thanks for your time.

Visit the new Google Retail UK blog!

Posted by Dom Elliott, Product Marketing Team
URL: http://adwordsretail.blogspot.com/2009/06/this-blog-is-being-replaced.html

[G] The next edition of Google Books

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Official Google Blog: The next edition of Google Books

Today, we're launching a host of new features in Google Books that give you more ways to browse and share the content from the Google Books collection. For example, we've added a feature that allows you to embed previews of books in your blog or website, so you can share pages of your favorite books as easily as you would a YouTube video. We've also added a thumbnail view of full book and magazine pages and an improved way to search within books.

To read more, head on over to the Inside Google Book Search blog for a tour of these updates.

Posted by Brandon Badger, Product Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/next-edition-of-google-books.html

[G] Online advertising and user choice

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Google Public Policy Blog: Online advertising and user choice

Posted by Pablo Chavez, Managing Policy Counsel

Two subcommitees of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will hold a joint hearing this morning about online advertising. The focus of the hearing will be on industry practices and consumer expectations for advertising that's tailored to users' online activities, also commonly known as "behavioral advertising." Google Deputy General Counsel Nicole Wong will be testifying about our advertising products and our commitment to protecting the privacy of our users.

More specifically, Nicole will talk about interest-based advertising, which we launched in March in beta for our our AdSense partner sites and YouTube. Interest-based advertising uses information about the web pages people visit to make the online ads they see more relevant. Relevant advertising, in turn, has fueled the content, products and services available on the Internet today.

The most important point that Nicole will make is that consumers need and deserve greater transparency and choice when it comes to online behavioral advertising. Our launch of interest-based advertising includes innovative, consumer-friendly features that provide meaningful transparency and choice for our users — such as ads labeled 'Ads by Google,' a tool called the Ads Preferences Manager (which lets users view, add and remove the categories that are used to show them interest-based ads), and the choice to opt out of interest-based ads altogether.

You can read Nicole's complete testimony and you can watch a video about how interest-based advertising works on the Google Privacy Channel on YouTube:

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/06/online-advertising-and-user-choice.html

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

[G] Import your Google Analytics Goals into AdWords

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Import your Google Analytics Goals into AdWords

Last month we published a post showing how you can setup Goals in Google Analytics. Today you can now import your Google Analytics Goals and Transactions into your AdWords account to use as conversion actions. This lets you track campaign ROI and optimize your account for conversions directly inside the AdWords interface.

In the past, you needed to install a separate tracking code to make use of this feature (called AdWords Conversion Tracking). Today all you need is a Google Analytics account and a Goal that receives traffic from AdWords.

One of the benefits of importing your Google Analytics Goals and Transactions into AdWords is that you can use them with the Conversion Optimizer, an AdWords CPA bidding tool that has been shown to help advertisers get more conversions from AdWords. Conversion Optimizer makes it a lot easier to manage your AdWords bidding and maximize results.

For more information including step-by-step instructions on how to import your Goals, visit the Inside AdWords Blog.

Posted by Sebastian Tonkin, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/06/import-your-google-analytics-goals-into.html

[G] A picture is worth millions of voices

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Google LatLong: A picture is worth millions of voices


Every year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) gives assistance and shelter to millions of people forcibly uprooted from their homes. Some of them have lived in camps or ghettos for up to 20 years. The upcoming World Refugee Day on 20th June is an important opportunity for everybody to show solidarity.

Marie is a Burundian refugee in Rwanda. As a member of the Tutsi ethnic group, she and her family were attacked by Hutu rebels on several occasions. Now she and her family are waiting to be resettled; as she says, "I plan to work and start over my life with my family. It’s the most precious dream I have… to see them again."

Together with Google, UNHCR is putting refugees on the map - a virtual map - with a new Google Earth tour that shows UNHCR's refugee camp across the globe. Claudia Gonzalez-Gisiger from UNHCR says the tour is a powerful way for everyone to get aninsight into the desperate conditions in which refugees live.


The Google Earth tour, set to the Rolling Stone's classic track Gimme Shelter, kindly donated to UNHCR by ABCKO as part of the organization's flagship Gimme Shelter Campaign, gives a human face to refugees from seven different camps across Asia and Africa, allowing you a small insight into the lives of refugees like Marie. Documenting and mapping refugees can help focus public attention on human rights issues worldwide, and hopefully provide a voice for persecuted children, women and men.

Posted by By Hannah Freya Anderson, UNHCR; and France Lamy, Google.org
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/06/picture-is-worth-millions-of-voices.html

[G] Import your Google Analytics Goals into AdWords and use them with Conversion Optimizer

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Inside AdWords: Import your Google Analytics Goals into AdWords and use them with Conversion Optimizer

In order to track your return on investment (ROI) from AdWords, you need to be able to see which keywords, ads and campaigns lead to conversions on your site. If you use Google Analytics, you can now import your Google Analytics Goals and Transactions into your AdWords account to use as conversion actions. This lets you track the ROI from your AdWords campaigns directly inside the AdWords interface. In the past, you needed to separately install AdWords Conversion Tracking to make use of this feature.

If you're new to Conversion Tracking, a "conversion" happens when a visitor to your site completes a desired action (such as making a purchase or requesting a quote). A conversion is very similar to the concept of a Goal or Transaction in Google Analytics, and is crucial to assessing the ROI from your online advertising spend.

One of the benefits of importing your Google Analytics Goals and Transactions into AdWords is that you can use them with the Conversion Optimizer, an AdWords CPA bidding tool that has been shown to help advertisers get more conversions from AdWords. Conversion Optimizer makes it a lot easier to manage your AdWords bidding and maximize results.

Here's how to get started importing your Google Analytics Goals and Transactions into AdWords:

Link your Accounts, Enable Sharing and Setup a Goal

First you need to link your Google Analytics and AdWords accounts and create at least one Google Analytics Goal or track at least on Google Analytics Transaction. You'll also need to enable data sharing in Google Analytics by completing the following steps.
  1. Sign in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click "Edit Account and Data Sharing Settings."
  3. Make sure you've selected at least the "With other Google products only" options under "Share my Google Analytics data."
  4. Click "Save Changes" to finish.
Import your Goals into AdWords
  1. Navigate to the "Conversion Tracking" page from within your AdWords account.
  2. Click "Link your Analytics goals and transactions" from the Conversion Tracking table.



  3. Select the Goals or Transactions you want from the list.
  4. Edit the action name so you can identify the goals in your AdWords reports.
  5. Select "Link" from the bottom of the table to finish.
That's it! Your imported Goals and Transactions will show up in your account, along with AdWords conversion metrics. You can use this data to see which ads, keywords and campaigns are bringing in the best ROI and then optimize your campaigns based on this information.

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/06/import-your-google-analytics-goals-into.html

[G] Google Apps for Education webinar with Arizona State University

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Apps for Education webinar with Arizona State University

We're passionate about learning here at Google and always revel in the innovations that educators drive when they work with Google Apps. To share some of the latest innovations we've seen in this arena, we're hosting a free, live educational webinar to show the power of Google Apps Education Edition. In this session you'll hear directly from Arizona State University, the first school to deploy Google Apps Education Edition. Learn about their 2006 decision to go with Google Apps, the results they've seen so far, and their future plans for working and teaching with Google Apps. Details follow:

Google Apps for Education
Thursday, June 25, 2009
10:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT


We hope you'll join us to learn how Google Apps can help institutions like ASU save money and IT resources, all while making it easier for teachers to innovate and for students to learn and work together.

Read today's news about Google in education, and what schools are learning as they start using Google Apps.


Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps for Education marketing team


Get timely updates on new features in Google Apps by subscribing to our
RSS feed or email alerts.

URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/06/google-apps-for-education-webinar-with.html

[G] Free webinar: Google Apps Education Edition

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Official Google Blog: Free webinar: Google Apps Education Edition

Around the world, schools and universities continuously face the difficult challenge of reducing costs while improving the quality of education they provide. This challenge becomes even more critical in turbulent economic times. Not to mention the fact that this next generation of students – the "millennials" – brings a different set of expectations to campus. For example, they expect the ability to work together without sitting in the same room, they want to take their data with them wherever they go, they want to chat (over voice and video) with friends and family, and they expect instantaneous and unwavering access to the Internet.

By harnessing the power of technology, we think we can offer the education community the means to meet these expectations. Google Apps Education Edition is a free suite of hosted tools including mail, calendar, document, and site creation that helps campuses save money while providing a rich set of technology tools that will enable schools to better meet the demands of savvy students. Millions of students, staff, and faculty are using Google Apps today, with more signing up every day. A big welcome to some of the schools we've recently welcomed to the Google Apps family, including:
  • Allegheny College
  • Beloit College
  • Boise State University (for faculty and staff)
  • Clemson University
  • Cornell University
  • Georgetown University
  • Pittsburgh State University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Temple University
  • Truman State University
  • University of Alaska
  • University of California at Davis
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Sunderland
  • Wagner College
To share info about these latest innovations, we'd like to invite you to a free live customer webinar on Thursday, June 25 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. In this session you'll hear directly from Arizona State University, the first school to deploy Google Apps Education Edition, back in 2006. Key administrators will talk about their decision to go with Google Apps, the results they've seen so far, and their future plans for Apps. Whether you're a student, work at a school, or went to school, we hope you'll join us to hear about how Google Apps can help institutions like ASU save money and IT resources, plus make students' lives easier with a set of tools for working together.

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Apps EDU Marketing Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/06/free-webinar-google-apps-education.html