Friday, September 11, 2009

[G] Using Google Analytics To Identify High-Performing Keywords

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Google Analytics Blog: Using Google Analytics To Identify High-Performing Keywords

The topic of using Google Analytics to optimize your PPC keyword buys never gets old. We have posted about it here a bunch. It's putting your PPC money where your analytics mouth is, uh, for lack of a better metaphor and is one of the core reasons to use web analytics. Recently, a Google blog called Solutions for Southeast Asia wrote a post about this topic, covering the techniques to use Google Analytics and AdWords to find and add the most effective unused keywords. It's a great post - definitive and very thorough, going from soup to nuts, expanding on these steps:

Step 1: Ensure Goals and E-commerce Tracking are set up
Step 2: Access the Keywords Report
Step 3: Export non-paid keywords to a spreadsheet
Step 4: Expand the list of keywords using other Google products
Step 5: Download a list of keywords that you are already advertising on
Step 6: Identify keywords you are not advertising on
Step 7: Expand on these keywords and start advertising


For explicit directions on each of these steps, take a read of the article. You and your website will benefit. Of special note - step 4, which we've pasted in below. As you can see, Vinoaj, the author, gives you an extensive list of Google products that can help you refine or expand your keyword list. Some of them you've probably never even heard about, but will simply take your targeting to the new levels, especially when budgets are tight but you want to grow your business as Q4 approaches.

To consider more keyword options, consider using some of Google's other free products to discover more opportunities: Google Insights for Search, Google Trends, Site Search reportsin Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, and even the new Wonder Wheel. If you are an AdWords user take a look at the Keyword Tool, Search-based Keyword Tool, Search Query Performance reports, and more. Once you have identified additional keywords you would like to advertise on, add it to your list of keywords from Step 3.

Happy analyzing!

Posted by Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/09/using-google-analytics-to-identify-high.html

[G] Make History with the National September 11th Memorial & Museum

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Google LatLong: Make History with the National September 11th Memorial & Museum

[cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

The anniversary of September 11th evokes difficult memories here in New York and all over the world. The events of the day left an indelible mark on many New Yorkers, including me. The offices of my startup were at 30 West Broadway, right next door to 7 World Trade Center, so I was downtown that morning. I saw the planes hit and then watched, shocked, from the West Side Highway as the towers fell. It was a terrible day for all who were there, an impossible day for those who lost friends and loved ones and a shared experience of loss and grief for New York and the world.

Today I'm proud that Google is part of the launch of Make History, a website created by the National September 11th Memorial & Museum in partnership with design firm Local Projects. Make History is a participatory archive that invites people to share their experiences of 9/11 and its aftermath in an effort to preserve the memories of that time. The Museum has created a collaborative storytelling tool that makes innovative use of Street View through the Google Maps API. The Make History site allows people to place and then share their photos and videos in geographical context, collectively piecing together the history that was witnessed, one photo and video at a time.

To participate, simply go to the site and click "Add Your Story." You'll be asked to write about your experience of 9/11 and share your photos and videos, and then to place them at the spot where they were captured.



To power the Make History website, the Museum is using App Engine and leveraging the power of cloud computing. By taking advantage of the scalability of Google's infrastructure, the Museum can focus on building great applications and telling important stories — not on how many servers they will need.

The developer community that uses our tools and APIs is a source of inspiration for all of us at Google who work on platforms, partnerships and developer outreach — and Make History is a powerful example of why we all do what we do. This September 11th, as we sit with our memories of the day, we're honored to have been able to help enable the creation of such a significant and deeply moving archive.

Posted by Jill Szuchmacher, New Business Development
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/09/make-history-with-national-september.html

[G] When You Just Can't Wait: Helping Users Shop Offline

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Official Google Base Blog: When You Just Can't Wait: Helping Users Shop Offline

A few days ago, a friend of mine needed to get a protective sleeve for her brand-new laptop. She found an online retailer, but didn't want to damage her laptop while waiting for the sleeve to ship. So she used Google Maps to find the retailer's nearest store location, and got her sleeve the same day. She's not alone - most shopping still occurs in-store, where you can interact with items in person, pick up bulky products, and avoid shipping charges. So to help users find merchants who have store locations, we've launched the "nearby stores" feature in Google Product Search. For retailers that have stores close by, users will be able to get more information on the nearest store locations. They can then call a store to make sure the item they want is in stock and buy that last-minute birthday gift - or that laptop sleeve.

We're going to continue refining this feature in the next few weeks, so check it out and make sure you submit your local store information if you haven't already - the instructions are in this blog post. Additionally, please consider submitting the online only attribute, to let us know which items you only sell online and do not stock in stores.

Posted by Paul Lee, Business Product Manager, Google Product Search
URL: http://googlebase.blogspot.com/2009/09/when-you-just-cant-wait-helping-users.html

[G] Looking Back on 9/11 in Remembrance and Service

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YouTube Blog: Looking Back on 9/11 in Remembrance and Service

Today, in honor of 9/11, many Americans are using YouTube to share their stories and forge connections with fellow citizens. Some, like this user, are hoping to create community by uploading their experiences from the day, and encouraging fellow YouTube users to do the same. Others are speaking out in remembrance of loved ones they lost eight years ago:



At the same time, other citizens are choosing to commemorate 9/11 through service. Today marks the first official "9-11 Day of Service," a nationally-recognized event that aims to capture the sense of unity and compassion among Americans that followed September 11, 2001. Learn more about the initiative here:



Tens of thousands of volunteers are expected to turn out to paint and refurbish homes, run food drives, improve schools, reclaim neighborhoods, and support and honor veterans and first responders as part of the Day of Service. To learn more about the effort, click here or to find a service event near you, please visit www.allforgood.org.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched "102 Minutes That Changed America"


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/7PJtcrOXTUg/looking-back-on-911-in-remembrance-and.html

[G] JohnsonDiversey goes greener with Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: JohnsonDiversey goes greener with Google Apps

Editor’s note: John Matthews is Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Director, Office of the President, for JohnsonDiversey. The company is a global provider of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions and serves customers in the lodging, food service, retail, health care, and food and beverage sectors. One of four companies founded by the Johnson Family, JohnsonDiversey is located in Located in Racine, Wisconsin and has a long-standing history of dedication to enviornmental, health, and safety leadership.

Our CEO, Ed Lonergan, has challenged all employees to live by strong sustainability principles in everything they do. Last spring, we migrated over 11,000 global employees to Google Apps from Lotus Notes/Domino and Microsoft Outlook, moving us 73 tons closer to our goal of achieving an 89,000-ton reduction in carbon emissions by the year 2013. When we achieve our 89,000-ton reduction in carbon emissions, it will place us back at where we were in 2003, even as we continue to grow our business and add additional resources.

In addition, optimizing our IT infrastructure by moving to Google Apps has allowed us to decommission eight servers and avoid buying four more. As we reduce this reliance on hardware, we also gain a better and easier messaging and collaboration platform.

Google’s innovation in data center design and maintenance means that Google achieves more energy efficiency than our company could on its own – and Google’s commitment to carbon neutrality also reinforces our goals as a member of the World Wildlife Fund's Climate Savers program. The alternate IT solution would have increased our server count by 12, more than doubling our server count. This would have raised our CO2 emissions by 111 metric tons.

Beyond helping JohnsonDiversey achieve sustainability goals, Google Apps also helps us better communicate and collaborate. Our employees and contractors speak more than 26 languages across approximately 170 locations in 70 countries. Now, we all have the ability to literally work off the same page – wherever we are – with tools like Google Docs and Google Sites.

We also avoided significant capital outlays in upgrading from our on-premise Lotus Notes/Domino solution while improving our internal service levels with Google's commitment to be up and running 99.9% of the time.

Environmental stewardship is not only the right thing to do. It also makes good business sense. Our choice of Google Apps is a case in point. It's helped us reduce costs and advance our IT efficiency. If your enterprise is striving to reduce its environmental footprint and streamline IT infrastructure, hear how we did it at a livewebcast featuring our IT team.

You can learn more about our company and our use of Google Apps here:



Our IT team will host a live webcast next week
on Thursday, September 17, 2009, 2:00 p.m. EDT / 11:00 a.m. PDT on how Google Apps is helping us meet both our sustainability and business goals.

We'll also share perspectives from our IT team on the deployment in a blog post we'll publish next week.

John Matthews, SVP, Corporate Affairs
Director, Office of the President, JohnsonDiversey

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps team

Find customer stories and product information on our resource sites for current users of Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes/Domino.

URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/09/johnsondiversey-goes-greener-with.html

[G] It's a date!

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Blogger Buzz: It's a date!

by Ross Peter Nelson, Software Engineer, Google Calendar

Do you have an event you'd like to invite your readers to?  Thanks to Blogger Gadgets, this is now a piece of cake.  Click the Customize link in the toolbar, and go to the Layout tab.  There, you'll see the Add a Gadget link. The Event Gadget is currently one of the featured gadgets, or you can add it directly by clicking "add your own" and entering the URL http://www.google.com/ig/modules/calendar/socialevent/bloggerevent.xml.  You'll then be taken to a configuration page that lets you enter information about your event. Once you click Save, it will be visible on your blog for everyone to see.

The gadget allows your readers to indicate whether they are going to attend the event, and lets them see which of their FriendConnect friends will be there too. In addition, anyone with a Google Calendar account can simply click a link to have that event added to their Google Calendar.

You can add multiple events to your blog as long as you give each one a different title or ID, and we'll keep track of who's attending which one.

This is one of many features announced as part of Blogger's 10th birthday. Happy Birthday!
URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2009/09/its-date.html

[G] What technology can do for economic recovery

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Google Public Policy Blog: What technology can do for economic recovery

Posted by Pablo Chavez, Managing Policy Counsel

Later this month, members of the G-20 will travel to Pittsburgh to talk about the health of the international economy and the institutions that manage it.

Now's your chance to have your voice heard by joining Google CEO Eric Schmidt in a discussion on what technology can do for economic recovery.

We're hosting this talk with the Pittsburgh Technology Council on Wednesday, September 23 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. If you'll be in town, click here for more information on joining us.

Got a question for Eric but can't make it to PA? Submit your question now through Google Moderator or vote on the questions that others submit -- we'll ask the top rated questions at the event.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/09/what-technology-can-do-for-economic.html

Thursday, September 10, 2009

[G] Tasty New Google Summer of Code Stats

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Google Open Source Blog: Tasty New Google Summer of Code Stats

It's time for more tasty statistics about Google Summer of Code 2005 - 2009. After much crunching and gathering, we have added the 2009 Accepted Students by School data to our published statistics page. Here are some highlights...

* We had a total of 591 schools represented this year, including 199 new schools, and a small but interesting number of "distance learning" schools. (These make tabulation interesting. If the student is studying remotely should the school, a.k.a the place of study, be the country where the school is - or where the student is?) This brings our total numbers of schools represented during the 5 years of the GSoC program to 1382.

* The 591 schools in 2009 are in a total of 81 countries, including seven countries that have not participated in past years. These include Kazakhstan with two participating students, and the following new countries with one participating student each: Comoros, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Moldavia, Morocco, Nigeria.

* For all you anxious alumni out there, here's the good part - which school has the most number of students participating. University of Moratuwa in Sri Lanka continues to dominate the field with 22 students accepted.

Top 10 Schools in 2009 by # of Accepted Students

Sri Lanka - University of Moratuwa - 22
Brazil - University of Campinas / UNICAMP - 12
China - Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences - 11
Romania - Polytechnic University Of Bucharest - 11
Poland - Gdansk University of Technology - 10
Austria - Vienna University of Technology - 9
India - Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani, Goa campus - 9
Sweden - Royal Institute of Technology - 9
India - Institute of Technology, Banaras Hindu University - 8
Singapore - National University of Singapore - 8

And for comparison:

Top 10 Schools 2005 - 2009 by # of Accepted Students


Sri Lanka - University of Moratuwa - 79
Brazil - University of Campinas / UNICAMP - 37
Canada - University of Toronto - 34
Austria - Vienna University of Technology - 31
China - Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences - 30
United States - University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - 28
Poland - Wroclaw University of Technology - 27
Hungary - Budapest University of Technology and Economics - 21
Canada - Carleton University - 21
Romania - Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi - 20


We hope you find these numbers to be of interest - there's lots more to see online.

Here's where we ask for the readers help: as you review the list of schools, please keep your eyes open for any duplicates, misspelling or missing institutions. We did our best, but as you can imagine, the report represents a bunch of small bites of data, we had more than several languages to parse, and we always try to respect each student's wishes as to how their school is designated. If you find something that looks wrong to you, especially in the 2009 data, please let us know in the comments section so we can take a look and correct as needed.


By Cat Allman, Google Open Source Programs
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/09/tasty-new-google-summer-of-code-stats.html

[G] Google Books hearing: congressional reaction and behind the scenes video

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Google Public Policy Blog: Google Books hearing: congressional reaction and behind the scenes video

Posted by Adam Kovacevich, Senior Manager, Public Policy Communications

There have been a few stories written already about this morning's House Judiciary hearing and David Drummond's announcement about opening up the Google Books program to even more competition.

Of course, everyone expected that some of the witnesses would praise the agreement and others would criticize it. But one of the most interesting things about the hearing were the reactions from Members of Congress. We gathered a few from news reports and our notes (unfortunately there's no official transcript available yet):

Rep. John Conyers, Chairman, House Judiciary Committee
“The settlement has, in my view, has been fair to copyright holders.” (Wall Street Journal) "A library available to every household with an Internet connection -- this could be the greatest innovation in book publishing since the Gutenberg press." (CNET) "Google is in this position not because they have engaged in anticompetitive behavior, but because they have built a better mousetrap in the eyes of mousetrap purchasers." (our notes)

Rep. Zoe Lofgren
"What I look at in this settlement is really the private sector achieving what we failed to achieve [with orphan works legislation]... I own a Kindle and I use it all the time, but one of the things that we're going to see here is for the first time some competition for Amazon because if we have an open source effort and a clearance of rights, you're going to have for the first time some heavy-duty competition." (our notes)

Rep. Brad Sherman
"I think the only thing that's irresponsible is to tell the people of the world they're not going to have access to all the knowledge in all the books for which authors cannot be found. That's what's irresponsible. Now when Congress doesn't act, maybe that's irresponsible. If you try to prevent others from acting, that may be irresponsible. If you choose not to act yourself, that's irresponsible. The overriding message here is this knowledge needs to be made available and I hope that we do that as quickly as possible. (our notes)

Rep. Lamar Smith
"[The settlement is a] novel and innovative way for people to acquire knowledge" (our notes)

Rep. Mel Watt

"The best protection of the prerogatives of the legislative branch is for us to legislate. Since we have haven't done very effectively the legislation on the orphaned works, it's hard for me to condemn the courts to have a case before it that determines what can be done and can't be done with orphaned works." (CNET)

We also filmed this behind the scenes video at the hearing. Check out the commentary from Chris Danielsen from the National Federation for the Blind, Judith Platt from the Association of American Publishers, Alan Davidson from Google's public policy team, and Dan Clancy, engineering director for Google Books.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/09/google-books-hearing-congressional.html

[G] Make History with the National September 11th Memorial & Museum

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Official Google Blog: Make History with the National September 11th Memorial & Museum

The anniversary of September 11th evokes difficult memories here in New York and all over the world. The events of the day left an indelible mark on many New Yorkers, including me. The offices of my startup were at 30 West Broadway, right next door to 7 World Trade Center, so I was downtown that morning. I saw the planes hit and then watched, shocked, from the West Side Highway as the towers fell. It was a terrible day for all who were there, an impossible day for those who lost friends and loved ones and a shared experience of loss and grief for New York and the world.

Today I'm proud that Google is part of the launch of Make History, a website created by the National September 11th Memorial & Museum in partnership with design firm Local Projects. Make History is a participatory archive that invites people to share their experiences of 9/11 and its aftermath in an effort to preserve the memories of that time. The Museum has created a collaborative storytelling tool that makes innovative use of Street View through the Google Maps API. The Make History site allows people to place and then share their photos and videos in geographical context, collectively piecing together the history that was witnessed, one photo and video at a time.

To participate, simply go to the site and click "Add Your Story." You'll be asked to write about your experience of 9/11 and share your photos and videos, and then to place them at the spot where they were captured.





To power the Make History website, the Museum is using App Engine and leveraging the power of cloud computing. By taking advantage of the scalability of Google's infrastructure, the Museum can focus on building great applications and telling important stories — not on how many servers they will need.

The developer community that uses our tools and APIs is a source of inspiration for all of us at Google who work on platforms, partnerships and developer outreach — and Make History is a powerful example of why we all do what we do. This September 11th, as we sit with our memories of the day, we're honored to have been able to help enable the creation of such a significant and deeply moving archive.

Posted by Jill Szuchmacher, New Business Development
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/make-history-with-national-september.html

[G] Congress examines the future of digital books

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Google Public Policy Blog: Congress examines the future of digital books

Posted by Johanna Shelton, Senior Policy Counsel

Our Senior VP for Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer David Drummond is testifying this morning at today's House Judiciary hearing on "Competition and Commerce in Digital Books", and here's some of what he'll say about the Google Books settlement:
  • Nothing about the settlement changes our firm belief that copying for the purpose of indexing is a fair use that is encouraged by existing copyright law precedents.
  • The settlement is structured to make it easier for anyone – including Google’s competitors – to clear rights and license out-of-print books. Nothing in it makes it any more difficult for others to license these books.
  • The settlement mostly affects only a very small segment of the book world – in-copyright, out-of-print books, which represent less than three percent of the commercial book market. Even though commercial demand may be low, we still believe it’s important to our culture and our literary history for people to be able to find and read these books, and for rightsholders to be able to market and sell them.
  • The settlement is a strong complement to, and not a substitute for, orphan works legislation, which Google supports. An “orphaned” book is an abandoned book. Many out-of-print books, however, are not abandoned, and the registry created by the settlement will resolve legal disputes between authors and publishers over digital rights for older books.
You can read David’s written testimony, letters of support written to the court, what people have been saying about the settlement, and the full settlement agreement.

We believe strongly in an open and competitive market for digital books. That’s why we worked hard with authors, publishers, and libraries to create a settlement that will provide rightsholders with choice and compensation, lower barriers for other entrants, and complement orphan works legislative efforts.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/09/congress-examines-future-of-digital.html

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

[G] Coming soon: Finding your friends on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Coming soon: Finding your friends on YouTube

YouTube has always been a place for you to share and enjoy videos with family and friends. Soon, we'll be making it even easier for you to find people you know on the site. We'll start by launching a "You may know these people" suggestions box on the homepage over the next few weeks that shows you the YouTube channels of people who might be your acquaintances, and lets you easily connect and subscribe to them.

How will we make the suggestions? If you've logged in to YouTube and sent a video to a friend's email address, or if you have your YouTube account linked to a Gmail account, we will use this information to help identify your friends who already have YouTube channels. You'll only see channels whose owners have allowed themselves to be found by others who have their email address.

Want to see if you've previously allowed your channel to be found by others who have your email address, or want to change your settings? Just log in and visit the "Privacy" section of My Account. Look for the checkbox at the top that says "Let others find my channel on YouTube if they have my email address."

Elizabeth Windram, Senior User Experience Designer, recently watched
"Folding-Time at Burning Man 2005: One Month at The Man"


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/cSIBFShiFYg/coming-soon-finding-your-friends-on.html

[G] Play voicemails right from Gmail

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Google Voice Blog: Play voicemails right from Gmail

I spend a lot of time in Gmail and love how Google Voice email notifications let me see voicemails in my email inbox. I can scan the transcript quickly, and when I want to hear the voicemail, it is just a click away on my computer.

However, something always seemed a little off when I clicked "Play message" and it opened up a new browser window. Wouldn’t it be better if the voicemail just played in the email? Now that is possible in Gmail. You have to turn on the Google Voice player in the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, but after that you are good to go. When voicemails come in, click on the play button, and you can listen to the whole message, adjust volume and everything right inside the Gmail message. To read more check out the post on the Gmail blog.









We hope you like this new feature. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment in our forum.

Posted by Robert Dong,
Software Engineer
URL: http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/play-voicemails-right-from-gmail.html

[G] AdWords system maintenance on September 12th

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Inside AdWords: AdWords system maintenance on September 12th

On Saturday, September 12th, 2009 the AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 10AM to 2PM PST, for maintenance. While you won't be able to sign in to your accounts during this time, your campaigns will continue to run as usual.

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

We'll continue to update you via the blog as we always have, but please make note of the September 12th date and of our scheduled maintenance further down the road.

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/09/adwords-system-maintenance-on-september.html

[G] Lights, Camera, Action!: YouTube Videos in Google Product Search

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Official Google Base Blog: Lights, Camera, Action!: YouTube Videos in Google Product Search

Video product reviews are getting a lot of buzz right now, as shoppers increasingly turn to the web to help them figure out what to buy. We're excited to announce that we are including relevant and high quality YouTube video reviews on a number of our product pages in Google Product Search. Videos include reviews from sources like USA Today, Wired, and Digital Trends, and they appear above the "Similar Items" section of the page. For example, see the product page for this Nikon D90 camera.

We'll be periodically reviewing content for inclusion in this feature. While we can't guarantee that submitted videos will be selected, please do the following if you'd like a video to be considered:
  • Add the "youtube" attribute to your data feed. In this attribute include the YouTube video ID for each one of your products with a related YouTube video review. Video IDs are the values that follow the 'v=' in the YouTube URL of the video.

  • Include UPC, ISBN, brand, and MPN information in the tag of your YouTube video review.
So grab some popcorn and pull up a comfy chair - it's time to go shopping!

Posted by Paul Lee, Business Product Manager, Google Product Search
URL: http://googlebase.blogspot.com/2009/09/lights-camera-action-youtube-videos-in.html

[G] Now S-U-P-E-R-sized!

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Official Google Blog: Now S-U-P-E-R-sized!

Search, that is. For us, search has always been our focus. And, starting today, you'll notice on our homepage and on our search results pages, our search box is growing in size. Although this is a very simple idea and an even simpler change, we're excited about it — because it symbolizes our focus on search and because it makes our clean, minimalist homepage even easier and more fun to use. The new, larger Google search box features larger text when you type so you can see your query more clearly. It also uses a larger text size for the suggestions below the search box, making it easier to select one of the possible refinements. Over the past 11 years, we've made a number of changes to our homepage. Some are small and some are large. In this case, it's a small change that makes search more prominent.

Google has always been first and foremost about search, and we're committed to building and powering the best search on the web — now available through a supersized search box.


Before and after on Windows XP, running Google Chrome. Click on the image for a larger view.

Posted by Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products & User Experience
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/now-s-u-p-e-r-sized.html

[G] New in Labs: Play Google Voice messages in Gmail

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Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Play Google Voice messages in Gmail

Posted by Vincent Paquet, Google Voice Product Manager

Google Voice helps you manage your communications with a unique phone number that rings all your existing phones, a single voicemail inbox with online access and automated transcription, and lots of handy features like the ability to block spammy calls and easily record personalized greetings for your callers. Think of it as Gmail for your phone calls and text messages (watch this video to learn more). Google Voice is currently available via invitation, which you can request here.

For those of you who already use Google Voice, you're probably used to receiving voicemail notifications via email. A couple of minutes after someone leaves a voicemail on your Google Voice number, you'll receive an email showing who called, an automated transcript of the voicemail, and a link to play the message. You can click the link to listen to the message right from your computer.

Previously, clicking "Play message" opened a new page in your browser, but starting today, you can play voicemails right in Gmail. Just turn on the Google Voice player from the Gmail Labs tab under Settings and whenever you get a voicemail notification, the player will appear right below the message itself.


Best of all, your message status will stay synced: messages played from Gmail will appear as read in your Google Voice inbox and won't be played again when you check new messages via your phone. If you already use Google Voice, try it out and let us know what you think. If you don't have a Google Voice account yet, sign up for an invitation and we'll get you one ASAP.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/09/new-in-labs-play-google-voice-messages.html

[G] New Website Optimizer feature: Experiment Notes

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: New Website Optimizer feature: Experiment Notes

Part of running a good experiment is documenting what you are testing and the results. We released a new feature today called experiment notes, which helps you include documentation as part of your testing. For any of your experiments you can now add your own annotations.


What you put in your note depends on what stage your experiment is in. If you're still designing your experiment you might include your testing hypothesis or some variations you're considering. As your experiment is running, you might include any external factors that might have an impact on your conversion rate. And as your experiment concludes you might include some thoughts on why variations performed as they did.

Experiment notes are also great if you have several teams coordinating on a Website Optimizer experiment. For example, your IT team might update the note once they've installed the Website Optimizer tags on the test page. Your creative team can then start creating variations in Website Optimizer and update the note.

You'll find experiment notes on the Settings page for any experiment. Leave us a "note" in the comments to let us know what you think.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team
URL: http://websiteoptimizer.blogspot.com/2009/09/new-website-optimizer-feature.html

[G] Google Earth 5.1: Think fast

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Google LatLong: Google Earth 5.1: Think fast


When we released Google Earth 5 earlier this year, we packed it full of amazing new features. We opened up two-thirds of the planet to exploration by letting you dive into the oceans; with historical imagery, we added the ability to go back in time to see how our planet has changed over the years; with touring, we made it easy for anyone to create and share guided, narrated stories; and with 3D Mars, we made it easy to leave Earth's orbit and explore the Red Planet.

But here at Google, we've realized that one of the most important features of all is speed. One of our key design principles is "fast is better than slow." So for the newest version of Google Earth, we've been hard at work making it faster.

We've made a lot of adjustments under the hood, like improving memory utilization so we can show more buildings, layers, and user content. We improved our shaders (that's graphics-speak for small programs that run inside your graphics processor) to make the atmosphere draw faster. We also worked to reduce stuttering (known as frame drops) to provide an even smoother experience as you fly around the globe. When we draw imagery, we now use compression technology to use less memory and graphics resources. We know that waiting for a program to start-up can be really frustrating, so we improved our start-up time by 25%. In our Google Earth API (which allows developers to include Google Earth right in their websites), we have made API calls significantly faster, which means that our developers can now do even more.

What does all of this mean to you? A faster, smoother experience when you're flying around the globe. Download the latest version (Google Earth 5.1), head on over to Paris, and turn on the road layer without fear of slowing things down. Or turn on one of the Rumsey Map layers from our gallery and see the world as it was drawn by Cassini in 1790 without missing a beat. Or quickly take a look at US airplanes in flight with a Google Earth overlay from Flightwise.


We've also made another exciting change with the release: our browser plug-in is automatically included when you install Google Earth (PC-only for now.) This means that once you've downloaded Google Earth 5.1, you can explore all of the exciting Google Earth sites that our developers have made without having to mess around with another installation. You can learn about endangered marine species, or perhaps practice landing a lunar rover before your next big expedition. Now these and many more Google Earth web applications are just a click away.

Download the latest version of Google Earth at http://earth.google.com, and fly around the globe faster than ever before.

Posted by Peter Birch, Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/09/google-earth-51-think-fast.html

[G] Endless Summer of Code ... Google Style

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Google Open Source Blog: Endless Summer of Code ... Google Style

While many students might be spending their summers backpacking around Europe, working at an investment bank, or catching up on their studies, our Google Summer of Code™  2009 students Udai Gupta and Johan Hilding were helping to transform technology in the fight against global poverty through their work with the Grameen Foundation, a global organization working to end poverty through microfinance and other initiatives to strengthen local business and social institutions. Udai and Johan recently concluded their projects with the Mifos Initiative, an Open Source information technology platform built by the Grameen Foundation to help microfinance institutions more effectively deliver financial services to the poor.  Sponsored and provided a stipend by Google, they spent their entire summer making stellar contributions to advance testing and quality assurance in the Mifos platform, improving the quality of our software for our customers and making it easier for developers around the world to contribute code to our platform.

Udai, a recent Bachelor’s of Technology recipient from the LNM Institute of Information Technology India and Johan, a second year-student attending the Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan (KTH)  in Stockholm, Sweden, both applied to the Mifos Initiative to learn about testing, agile development, and pair programming all while helping to deliver a flexible technology solution to the microfinance industry.  Lead by their mentors, Jeff Brewster from the Grameen Technology Center in Seattle, Washington, USA and Adam Monsen, working remotely out of Minnesota, they collaborated across the globe with our entire community of microfinance practitioners and technology professionals.  

With their work stretching across so many time zones and physical and cultural borders, at times it was challenging for Johan and Udai to work while being so far away.  Technology like Google Groups, IRC, Skype, and TokBox were instrumental in bridging the communication divide; yet, it was the steadfast commitment and passion to work late into the night that made successful collaboration possible.  

Through Google’s commitment to the Open Source community, the Grameen Foundation has been able to utilize Udai and Johan's skills to make enormous contributions to the Mifos Initiative.  Udai’s major accomplishments throughout the summer included standardizing the naming conventions of our unit and integration tests, making these tests run independently of one another and optimizing the MySQL database to improve overall performance of these tests. His efforts helped lay the foundation for greater modularity in Mifos which will allow our community to build new functionality more effectively, enabling microfinance institutions to release new products and pioneer new technologies like mobile banking to serve the poor.  

Udai Gupta

At the same time, Johan helped to triple the number of acceptance tests in Mifos, allowing us to do more frequent releases with the assurance that no code is breaking. His improvements to the acceptance test infrastructure from making drop-down boxes language independent, to making tests run in different locales are a huge value-add to our international customer base. His work will be utilized significantly as the Mifos team delivers an Arabic version of Mifos in their upcoming release.  

Johan Hilding

With Google Summer of Code 2009 now complete, Johan, like the majority of the more than 1000 students who contributed to one of 150 different projects, will be returning to his studies at KTH in Sweden.  However, for Udai this marks the beginning of a new path for him as he will be moving to Bangalore, India for the next 12 months to continue contributing to Mifos and supporting one of its leading customers, Grameen Koota.  The Grameen Foundation hopes to participate in future instances of Google Summer of Code and we invited all folks interested to join our community at www.mifos.org/developers. You too can help to change poverty one line of code at a time!

By Adam Monsen, Mifos Summer of Code 2009 Mentor and Software Engineer, Grameen Foundation
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/09/endless-summer-of-code-google-style.html

[G] You Might As Well Jump!

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Blogger Buzz: You Might As Well Jump!

by Sean McCullough, Software Engineer, Blogger

It's time to announce another Blogger Birthday feature! Many users have been asking for an easy way to implement "Read more" links on their blog's index page. In fact, for years bloggers have been implementing "Read more" jump breaks themselves by manually editing their HTML --- a process that was complicated and error prone.

Today we are excited to announce our latest birthday present: Jump Breaks.

With Jump Breaks you can show just a snippet of your post on your blog's index page. Blogger will insert a "Read more" link to the full post page where your readers can keep reading.



There are a couple of ways to insert a "Read more" jump to your posts. If you use the new post editor (available on Blogger in Draft, or by enabling it via the Settings tab), you'll notice the "Insert jump break" icon in the editor's toolbar. Click this icon and the "jump break" will be inserted into your blog post at your cursor's position.


If you don't use the new post editor, you can still insert a jump break in Edit HTML mode by adding <!-- more --> where you want to position the jump break.

Want to change the "Read more" text to something more your style? No problem. You can edit the "Read more" text by clicking Layout and then Edit the Blog Posts widget.

One more note, the Jump Break feature does not change how your post appears in your feed. You can configure post feed options by going to Settings | Basic | Site Feed, and editing Allow Blog Feeds
Happy Birthday from Blogger!
URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2009/09/you-might-as-well-jump.html

[G] Guest post: Michelle Madhok, the founder and CEO of SheFinds

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Official Google Docs Blog: Guest post: Michelle Madhok, the founder and CEO of SheFinds

Guest post: Michelle Madhok, the founder and CEO of SheFinds Media, a New York, NY company that publishes editorial websites that help women shop online, recently used Google Docs spreadsheets to manage her site's relaunch. Here's what she told us about her experience:

The five employees at SheFinds Media write, manage and promote all of the content on SheFinds.com and MomFinds.com, which keeps us pretty busy - so we outsource a lot of the tech work to other firms.

We recently re-launched our flagship site, SheFinds.com, and the process was bumpy to say the least. All three parties working on the re-launch - the SheFinds staffers, our SEO firm, and our design and development agency - were finding random bugs, broken links, and failed redirects on the new site. After a few days of incessant back-and-forth e-mails about fixing one-off issues, our inboxes were stuffed and the whole team was confused about who was assigned what responsibilities.

Switching the process over to Google Docs streamlined the whole thing. We listed all the bugs and errant links in a spreadsheet, color-coded the status of each issue, and added comment columns so everyone could see the nitty gritty of each problem without doing a dozen inbox searches.


Our Google Doc also made managing the whole process a lot less stressful, since I knew all the items were accounted for and nothing would be overlooked.

We're re-launching MomFinds.com in a few weeks, and I can say right now, there will be a Google Doc up and waiting when the site goes live - I anticipate some of the same re-direct and broken link issues, and I'm glad to be prepared to solve them in an organized way from the outset. The tool makes coordinating information from three different companies in three different locations logistically simple - we're happy to have discovered it the first time around.

Posted by: Michelle Madhok, Founder and CEO, SheFinds Media
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/09/guest-post-michelle-madhok-founder-and.html

[G] Tip: Even more control over opening links

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Google Chrome Blog: Tip: Even more control over opening links

In the previous tip, we covered middle-clicking and ctrl-clicking to open links in new tabs. There are even more shortcuts you can use to take total control over where links open. Feel free to try these:

Shift-click: Opens a link in a new window (just like right-clicking and selecting "Open link in new window")


Shift-middle-click (or shift-ctrl-click): Opens a link in a new tab, and switches to that tab immediately


Alt-click: Saves the contents of a link to your computer


With these shortcuts, you can quickly handle links no matter how you wish to use them. Enjoy!

Posted by Peter Kasting, Software Engineer
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2009/09/tip-even-more-control-over-opening.html

[G] Site maintenance on Saturday, September 12

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Inside AdSense: Site maintenance on Saturday, September 12

This Saturday, our engineers will be performing routine site maintenance from 10am to 2pm PDT. You'll be unable to log in to your AdSense and Ad Manager accounts during this time, but we'll continue serving ads to your pages and tracking your clicks, impressions, and earnings as usual. In addition, your ad targeting won't be affected.

We've converted the maintenance start time for a few cities around the world:

Ottawa - 1pm Saturday
London - 6pm Saturday
Kolkata - 10:30pm Saturday
Manila - 1am Sunday
Auckland - 5am Sunday

If you'd like to learn more about what goes on during these maintenance periods, check out this Inside AdSense post.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/09/site-maintenance-on-saturday-september.html

[G] Mapping for disasters with UNOSAT

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Google LatLong: Mapping for disasters with UNOSAT


Seasonal floods are currently affecting West Africa. Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Benin, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Mali, Liberia and Guinea are all experiencing significant damage to infrastructure and agriculture due to heavy rainfall causing floods in numerous locations. More than 350,000 people have been impacted thus far.

Based on requests from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the
Space Charter - created to acquire imagery in the wake of disasters - was activated, and UNITAR/UNOSAT started satellite mapping. UNITAR/UNOSAT is formally recognized by the Space Charter as “Charter User Intermediary” -- this status grants the privilege “to act as gateway for request submissions on behalf of UN users related with humanitarian actions”. Imagery from Space Charter members was sent to UNOSAT within a few hours after being taken. A dedicated technical team immediately started the analysis, and turned this near real-time satellite imagery into useful information products, which were disseminated to a range of users in the field, at national & regional offices, and in headquarters. This rapid mapping production chain ensures all relevant parties simultaneously receive the same crucial information as quickly as possible.

One important component in this process was the use of the Google Map Maker data to clearly map the transport networks, allowing emergency managers to plan and implement relief assistance. For example, they could avoid roads that are marked on the maps as likely to be flooded by comparing satellite flood layers with road layers.


Satellite image derived flood map showing current situation in Niger - flooded areas in red.

Courtesy: UNITAR/UNOSAT & International Charter Space and Major Disasters

We've been pleased to hear positive feedback directly about this combination of the UNITAR/UNOSAT imagery with Map Maker data directly from those in the field -- as one simply stated, "Thumbs up!"


Posted by Einar Bjorgo, Head, Rapid Mapping, Applications and User Relations, UNITAR/UNOSAT; France Lamy, Program Manager, Google.org
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/09/mapping-for-disasters-with-unosat.html