Friday, October 9, 2009

[G] This week in search 10/9/09

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 10/9/09

This is part of a regular series of posts on search experience updates that runs on Fridays. Look for the label "This week in search" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

This week we made many small improvements to the functionality and usability of our search results. Here's an overview:

Quick, in-browser viewing of Google Docs
We've incorporated the "Gview" tool from Google Docs on search results. Instead of the old "View as HTML" view, PDFs on search results now have a "Quick View" link that shows you Gview's image-rendered version, which preserves tables and graphics from the document. This means you can view PDF documents quickly and easily right in your browser.
Example search: [1099] (note the "Quick view" links on the first two results)

An improved interface for local information in web search
We changed our interface for local business information when it occurs in search results. It's now much more readable (larger fonts) and friendlier to use (easier to click on just what you want).
Example search: [pizza palo alto]

Here are before and after shots for the search [bakeries san francisco]:

Click on either image for a larger version

Access to multiple providers in weather results
We also changed the interface for our weather results when they occur in web search. Now you'll see an array of different weather providers to choose from, including The Weather Channel, Weatherunderground and AccuWeather, if you want more detailed weather information. This way, you get the weather information you need, in the layout you prefer, from the service you choose.
Example search: [washington dc weather]

And here are before and after shots for the search [weather] (when done from the Googleplex, since the location is auto-detected):

Click on either image for a larger version

Public service information for searches related to poison control
While it's relatively infrequent, people do occasionally turn to Google during medical emergencies. Our goal in these cases is to get our users the help they need as quickly as possible. As of this week, searches related to [poison control] trigger a special result with the phone number for the poison control hotline.
Example searches: [poison control], [first aid bleach poisoning]

Search options panel for mobile
This week on mobile search, we added a Search Options panel so now you can get all of the same slice-and-dice functionality you have from your desktop when you search the web on your phone. Try doing a search from your phone and you will see an "Options" link on the righthand side above the results. Click on it and you see the same panel that you are accustomed to on search from your desktop.

Crawling AJAX
We also made an exciting announcement this week about making AJAX crawlable. Web applications are becoming increasingly popular, but much of what is contained with a web application is usually inaccessible to our crawlers and thus can't be found in our search. Our team has been busy working on techniques for how to crawl AJAX. This announcement just represents the start, as it's currently in the prototype phase, but it does demonstrate that we are constantly working on how to improve search — our features, ranking, and, in this case, our comprehensiveness. We're always very excited to include new content in our search to make our results even better.

Hope you enjoyed this week's features. Stay tuned for what's next!

Posted by Marissa Mayer, VP Search Products & User Experience

[G] Sex, conference calls, and outdated FCC rules

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Google Public Policy Blog: Sex, conference calls, and outdated FCC rules

Posted by Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel

Last month AT&T complained to the FCC about our policy of restricting outbound Google Voice calls to phone numbers in a small number of "rural" areas, just as other Internet applications do.

The reason we restrict calls to certain local phone carriers' numbers is simple. Not only do they charge exorbitant termination rates for calls, but they also partner with adult sex chat lines and "free" conference calling centers to drive high volumes of traffic. This practice has been called "access stimulation" or "traffic pumping" (clearly by someone with a sense of humor). Google Voice is a free application and we want to keep it that way for all our users -- which we could not afford to do if we paid these ludicrously high charges.

Today the FCC responded to AT&T's complaint by asking us for more information about Google Voice. Google Voice is a free web application, one intended to supplement and enhance existing phone lines, not replace them. The goal of Google Voice is to provide a useful, unified communications tool (including for, among others, soldiers and the homeless). Some have observed that Google Voice is "something a real phone company should have offered years ago."

Some have pointed out that AT&T's complaints are hypocritical given that in the past they have asked the FCC for permission to block calls to these rural areas as well. Why? For exactly the same reasons we restrict them -- the exorbitant termination rates. Of course, AT&T charges customers for their services and also receives hundreds of millions of dollars in universal service subsidies.

AT&T apparently now wants web applications -- from Skype to Google Voice -- to be treated the same way as traditional phone services. Their approach is what a former FCC chairman has called "regulatory capitalism," the practice of using regulation to block or slow down innovation. And despite AT&T's lobbying efforts, this issue has nothing to do with network neutrality or rural America. This is about outdated carrier compensation rules that are fundamentally broken and in need of repair by the FCC.

[G] Keeping Your Blog Secure

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Blogger Buzz: Keeping Your Blog Secure

While October is to many a month of candy and costumes, it also happens to be National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the U.S. In that spirit, we thought we'd take a minute to look at a few different things you can do to make sure both your content and account are secure on Blogger.

Third Party Code

Adding site counters, templates, and other third-party code to your blog can be a great way to add some flare to your content, but can also leave your blog vulnerable to malicious activity if you aren't familiar with its source.

Over the years we've seen a number of third party scripts disguise themselves as helpful add-ons, when in fact they are performing a malicious operation behind the scenes. For example, a site counter widget may indeed be providing your blog with helpful tracking data, but at the same time may also be discreetly sending that information to advertisers for the purpose of collecting the online habits of your readers. A blog template you downloaded from a third party site might include pop-up ads or links to known malware sites.

The good news though is that most of the add-ons you will run across are perfectly legitimate. To protect yourself from the small minority of add-ons that are nefarious we've put together a few tips to keep in mind when adding third party code to your blog:

Take a second to scan through and look for anything that seems out of place. For example, if you are adding a weather gadget to your blog and in the code notice that there are links pointing to unrelated sites, take that as a red flag and keep searching for another weather gadget. There is no reason that a weather gadget should include a snippet like <a href="">Make Money Online!</a>

Before saving new template code, always preview first. Malicious template designers may sometimes include pop-ups or other unexpected ads in the template code, which will usually be revealed with a quick preview. If anything unexpected shows up in the preview, go ahead and discard the new code by clicking Clear Edits.

Backup your template! Whenever making significant changes to your blog's template, it's always a good idea to backup your content just in case you need to revert any saved changes.

You can easily do this from the Layout | Edit HTML tab by clicking the Download Full Template link and saving the .XML file to your hard drive. You'll then be able to revert back to this downloaded version by clicking the Upload button, also right under the Layout | Edit HTML tab.

Look first to 'trusted' code repositories for a new template or widget. There are probably thousands of places across the web where you can find widget and template code, but before running a few random Google Searches it may be helpful to first check out some of the more widely known and trusted sources.

For templates, we've actually done a bit of scouting work already and collected a handful of great resources laid out here in a Buzz post from earlier in the year. That collection comes from a number of well-established designers, and should provide plenty of secure template options to dig though.

For widgets and other scripts, there are a handful of places worth your time. Mashable's 50 Great Widgets for Your Blog is a very nice compilation which covers a broad range of categories. Widgetbox is another great portal to countless widget creations, all organized into easily browseable categories. Finally, Blogger's own Gadget Directory has hundreds of gadgets to look through. Simply click the Add a Gadget link under the Layout | Page Elements tab to access them all.


Finally we thought it's worth touching on another security area which has proven problematic for some bloggers in the past, and that is your blog's Permissions settings.

Almost every day our support team runs into reports of users who've been locked out of their own blog, as the result of giving admin privileges to an unfamiliar blogger. As a general rule of thumb, it's probably a good idea to only grant admin privileges to another author if you know them personally. Remember, that giving another reader admin privileges means that they will be able to remove anyone else from the blog.

While this may seem like common sense to some, the line is much less clear for bloggers within tighter online communities. So please grant admin privileges with caution!

For more information about National Cyber Security Awareness Month, please check out the Stay Safe Online page as well as the security series on the Official Google blog.

[G] Quick Search Box for Android: Search your phone and the web

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Quick Search Box for Android: Search your phone and the web

I'm happy to announce Quick Search Box (QSB) for Android, a fast and versatile new system-wide search experience, available right from your phone's home screen. Since keystrokes are at a premium when you're typing on your phone, Quick Search Box provides suggestions as you type, making it easy to access whatever you're looking for by typing just a few characters.

Rather than giving you one search box for the web and another for your phone, QSB provides one single search box to let you search content on your phone, including apps, contacts, and browser history, as well as content from the web, like personalized search suggestions, local business listings, stock quotes, weather, and flight status, all without opening the browser. QSB even learns from your habits and provides faster access to the items you search for and use most often (by, for example, moving them higher on the suggestions list).

You can now also tap the microphone button next to the search box to search the web and call contacts by voice. The next time you want to search the web or call a friend, try speaking your query, like "pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge at sunset", or the name of a contact, like "Call Dave Burke, mobile phone", to save even more time. Note that voice search currently only works in English.

Finally, one of the coolest things about QSB is that it's not limited to searching what we think is useful - third party apps can also include suggestions in the list, making it faster to access the content you want from those apps, too. Look on Android Market for apps that support QSB, and enable their suggestions from the system search settings. (And if you're an app developer, check out our developer blog for more on how to leverage QSB for your app.)

We hope Quick Search Box will change the way you use your Android-powered phone by shortening the time and effort it takes to get the information you want while you're on the go. It's available in Android 1.6, so check it out and enjoy!

Posted by Mike LeBeau, Software Engineer

[G] MoinMoin's Google Summer of Code Wrap Up

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Google Open Source Blog: MoinMoin's Google Summer of Code Wrap Up

We at the MoinMoin Wiki software development team had a wonderful time with our participation in Google Summer of Code™ 2009. We greatly enjoyed collaborating with our students, hacking Python and Javascript code for the wiki engine. Thanks to Google's support, we had four student projects total, and three of them were successfully completed:

Christopher Denter, whom I mentored, worked on making MoinMoin's modular storage code production-ready by adding an access control middleware. Christopher's work in this area made MoinMoin safer and more flexible. He also worked on a router middleware - think of it as a kind of a wiki
"mount/fstab" - and a SQLAlchemy backend. Our users can now enjoy MoinMoin with MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, etc. Christopher's work was done directly in the repo that will become the 2.0 release of MoinMoin.

Alexandre Martani, mentored by Bastian Blank, worked on a realtime collaborative wiki editor based on Google's mobwrite. Multiple people can now choose to edit the same wiki page at the same time and they all see each other's changes shortly after typing. We hope that we can merge his code into the MoinMoin 2.0 repository soon.

Dmitrijs Milajevs, mentored by Reimar Bauer, worked on groups and dictionary code with modular backends. You can now fetch group definitions from wiki pages or a wiki, and preparations have been made to make an LDAP group backend possible as part of future development. Dmitrijs also refactored the search code to get rid of the unmaintained xapwrap library and use the new xappy library. All his work has already merged into the MoinMoin 1.9 main repo.

Thanks also to Alexander Schremmer for his contributions as a mentor. Unfortunately, his student's project did not work out, but in true community fashion he provided valuable help and feedback for the other students.

In case you're curious about when all this nice code will be released:

MoinMoin 1.9 will be released later in 2009 (likely in November). Please help us beta testing, translating and generally making the release ready.

MoinMoin 2.0 will not just 1.9 + 0.1, but a major rewrite of big parts of the code base. Right now, it's like a big construction site, so it'll naturally take some time until the release will be ready, likely 2010 or 2011. We'd be happy to have your help with it; if you enjoy coding in Python, playing with new features, cleanly refactoring code and working with a fun team, then do join us to make MoinMoin an even better wiki. Check out the MoinMoin 2.0 page for more details.

Many thanks to all the students and mentors as well as everyone in the community who helped or supported the process. It was a very productive summer and we are greatly looking forward to continued work with our new contributors!

By Thomas Waldmann, Google Summer of Code Mentor and Organization Administrator

[G] The Malware Warning Review Process

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Google Online Security Blog: The Malware Warning Review Process

written by Lucas Ballard and Ke Wang, Anti-Malware Team

As part of Cyber Security Awareness Month, Google's Anti-Malware Team is publishing a series of educational blog posts inspired by questions we've received from users. October is a great time to brush up on cyber security tips and ensure you're taking the necessary steps to protect your computer, website, and personal information. For general cyber security tips, check out our online security educational series or visit To learn more about malware detection and site cleanup, visit the Webmaster Tools Help Center and Forum.

Google's anti-malware efforts are designed to be helpful to both webmasters and website visitors. Google continuously scans our web index for pages that could be dangerous to site visitors. When we find such pages, we flag them as harmful in our search results, and also provide this data to several browsers so that users of these browsers will receive warnings directly. We undertake this process as part of our security philosophy: we believe that if we all work together to identify threats and stamp them out, we can make the web a safer place for everyone. While we believe these processes are important steps in helping to protect our users, we also understand the frustration felt by the webmasters of flagged sites. This is why we notify webmasters as soon as we discover that their sites have been compromised. Additionally, we provide webmasters with a tool to file a review once they have cleaned their site. The review process works as follows.

Part 1: The webmaster's job: The first step is site cleanup. The webmaster should remove all harmful content from the site. We realize that it can be tricky to find all the infections on a website, and webmasters should look thoroughly if the warning label persists. Keep in mind that if your site contains elements from another website that may have been compromised, it will remain flagged. This is because your site could still introduce harm to visitors. To prevent reinfection, the webmaster should also identify and fix the underlying software vulnerability that led to site compromise in the first place. For a guide on how to do this, visit

Once a webmaster has cleaned up the site, a Malware Review can be filed with Google's Webmaster Tools (please note that a Malware Review request is not the same as an Index Reinclusion request). The process for Malware Review is as follows:
  1. Log in to Webmaster Tools.
  2. From the Tool's home page click on the link to the site that is being flagged. This will bring you to the site's Dashboard.
  3. There should be a large red banner across the top of the dashboard that says "This site may be distributing malware." Clicking on the link that says "More Details" expands the dashboard to reveal a list of pages on the site that were found to be malicious.
  4. Below this list is a link that says "Request a review." A webmaster can fill out this form and click the "Request a review" button to initiate the review process.
More detailed instructions can be found here.

Part 2: Our job: Upon receiving a Malware Review request, an automated set of algorithms verifies that the site has been cleaned. These algorithms revisit a subset of both the malicious and non-malicious pages that were scanned when the site was originally flagged. Additionally, these algorithms test some pages that were not originally scanned. If none of the tested pages are found to be malicious, the site is deemed to be safe, and warnings are removed from search results. A typical appeal takes only several hours to complete, although in some cases the process may take up to one day.

In addition to processing appeal requests from webmasters, we also rescan compromised sites periodically.

We encourage webmasters of infected sites to quickly clean their web pages and proactively request reviews through Webmaster Tools. After the site has been thoroughly cleaned and reviewed, it will no longer show a warning on Google's search results pages or through the browsers making use of our data.

[G] New features for drawings in Google Docs

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Official Google Docs Blog: New features for drawings in Google Docs

We'd like to let you know about a few new features we added to drawings in Google Docs. Choose 'Insert Drawing' in any document, spreadsheet, or presentation to check them out.

Custom shapes and lines
You can now draw lines with multiple segments and create your own custom filled shapes. To try this, select 'Polyline' from the toolbar (to the right of the scribble tool). You can close shapes, fill them, and even move around points on a line by double-clicking the line.

We know many of you may be frustrated by the lack of ninja-related clip art in Google Docs presentations. Check out this example built with polylines:

Here is another example of a polyline.

And another.

Snap to Guides
When creating complex diagrams, drawings, and workflows, you usually want shapes to line up well, even when they're not right next to one another. Unfortunately, it's tricky to line up shapes by hand. Snap to Guides helps you align shapes with the canvas and with other shapes. This feature can be enabled by selecting 'Snap to Guides' from the edit menu.

Draw multiple lines
Finally, we made it easier to quickly draw a sequence of related lines. Now when you finish drawing a line, arrow, or scribble, you stay in line drawing mode so you can start a new line immediately. This new mode is always on, but you can return to the select tool by hitting escape or clicking the arrow on the toolbar.

Please let us know what you think on the help forum.

Posted by: Chris Nokleberg, Katie McGrath, and Steve Kobes, Software Engineers

[G] New in Google Squared: quality improvements, sorting and exporting

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Official Google Blog: New in Google Squared: quality improvements, sorting and exporting

Today we're launching a number of improvements to the amount and quality of information you can find with Google Squared, as well new tools to sort and export the data.

As we explained when we first launched Squared in Labs this summer, the product takes on a difficult technical challenge. It's a first step towards automatically extracting useful facts from all over the web and presenting them in meaningful way. It has the potential to be particularly useful for research questions where the answers may not live on a single website, but instead must be combined from many different pages.

Rather than return a list of the most relevant websites, Squared returns a "square" (or table) of facts, sourced from across the Internet. For example, if you search Squared for [us presidents], each row on the resulting table represents a particular United States President, and the columns include relevant facts about him, such as date of birth, a picture and a short description.

At launch, your first square could include at most 30 facts. With today's update, squares display four times as much data — up to 120 facts. For example, instead of seeing only five presidents and three categories, now you'll see a table with 20 presidents and up to six attributes.

The quality of the information is also better, because we're ranking based on both relevance to your query and whether we can find high quality facts. For example, in the past we would show you a column for "First Lady" even if the column only included a couple accurate names. Now we're actively filtering out items (rows) and attributes (columns) from the initial square if we haven't found enough accurate data. Perhaps more interesting, we built Squared to learn from edits and corrections, so as people have been improving their squares, Google Squared has gotten better for everyone.

In addition to improving the information in Squared results, we've also added the ability to sort columns, so you can rank, group and compare items. Squared will even convert units in the background to make sure the data is sorted properly. For example:
We've also added the ability to export data from Squared to a Google Spreadsheet or a CSV file, which should make it easier to do interesting things with the data. For example, you can build a square for [african countries], add more items and columns, and examine the relationship between the literacy rate and GDP per capita. Once you've built your square to contain all the information you need, you can export the square to Google Spreadsheets and create a rough scatter plot:

There's a lot left to do before Squared is ready to leave Labs — we're still working on improving quality as well as the user interface — but we hope that our recent improvements make it more useful. In its experimental stage, Squared demonstrates an important future direction in search: understanding structured data from across the web to build new tools for organizing and presenting information. Try it out, and let us know what you think.

Posted by Noah Weiss, Associate Product Manager, and Randy Brown, Software Engineer

[G] Sergey's op-ed in the New York Times

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Google Public Policy Blog: Sergey's op-ed in the New York Times

Posted by Mistique Cano, Manager, Public Policy Communications

In today’s New York Times, Google co-founder Sergey Brin discusses our efforts – through Google Books – to help people anywhere, anytime discover great works of history or rediscover history lost, like the electric car.

We think it’s an interesting read, we hope you check it out.

[G] A tale of 10,000,000 books

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Official Google Blog: A tale of 10,000,000 books

The fundamental reasons why the electric car has not attained the popularity it deserves are (1) The failure of the manufacturers to properly educate the general public regarding the wonderful utility of the electric; (2) The failure of [power companies] to make it easy to own and operate the electric by an adequate distribution of charging and boosting stations. The early electrics of limited speed, range and utility produced popular impressions which still exist.
This quotation would hardly surprise anyone who follows electric vehicles. But it may be surprising to hear that in the year when it was written thousands of electric cars were produced, and that year was nearly a century ago. This appeared in a 1916 issue of the journal Electrical World, which I found in Google Books, our searchable repository of millions of books. It may seem strange to look back a hundred years on a topic that is so contemporary, yet I often find that the past has valuable lessons for the future. In this case, I was lucky — electric vehicles were studied and written about extensively early in the 20th century, and there are many books on the subject from which to choose. Because books published before 1923 are in the public domain, I am able to view them easily.

But the vast majority of books ever written are not accessible to anyone except the most tenacious researchers at premier academic libraries. Books written after 1923 quickly disappear into a literary black hole. With rare exceptions, one can buy them only for the small number of years they are in print. After that, they are found only in a vanishing number of libraries and used book stores. As the years pass, contracts get lost and forgotten, authors and publishers disappear, the rights holders become impossible to track down.

Inevitably, the few remaining copies of the books are left to deteriorate slowly or are lost to fires, floods and other disasters. While I was at Stanford in 1998, floods damaged or destroyed tens of thousands of books. Unfortunately, such events are not uncommon — a similar flood happened at Stanford just 20 years prior. You could read about it in The Stanford-Lockheed Meyer Library Flood Report, published in 1980, but this book itself is no longer available.

Because books are such an important part of the world’s collective knowledge and cultural heritage, Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, first proposed that we digitize all books a decade ago, when we were a fledgling startup. At the time, it was viewed as so ambitious and challenging a project that we were unable to attract anyone to work on it. But five years later, in 2004, Google Books (then called Google Print) was born, allowing users to search hundreds of thousands of books. Today, they number over 10 million and counting.

The next year we were sued by the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers over the project. While we have had disagreements, we have a common goal — to unlock the wisdom held in the enormous number of out-of-print books, while fairly compensating the rights holders. As a result, we were able to work together to devise a settlement that accomplishes our shared vision. While this settlement is a win-win for authors, publishers and Google, the real winners are the readers who will now have access to a greatly expanded world of books.

There has been some debate about the settlement, and many groups have offered their opinions, both for and against. I would like to take this opportunity to dispel some myths about the agreement and to share why I am proud of this undertaking. This agreement aims to make millions of out-of-print but in-copyright books available either for a fee or for free with ad support, with the majority of the revenue flowing back to the rights holders, be they authors or publishers.

Some have claimed that this agreement is a form of compulsory license because, as in most class action settlements, it applies to all members of the class who do not opt out by a certain date. The reality is that rights holders can at any time set pricing and access rights for their works or withdraw them from Google Books altogether. For those books whose rights holders have not yet come forward, reasonable default pricing and access policies are assumed. This allows access to the many orphan works whose owners have not yet been found and accumulates revenue for the rights holders, giving them an incentive to step forward.

Others have questioned the impact of the agreement on competition, or asserted that it would limit consumer choice with respect to out-of-print books. In reality, nothing in this agreement precludes any other company or organization from pursuing their own similar effort. The agreement limits consumer choice in out-of-print books about as much as it limits consumer choice in unicorns. Today, if you want to access a typical out-of-print book, you have only one choice — fly to one of a handful of leading libraries in the country and hope to find it in the stacks.

I wish there were a hundred services with which I could easily look at such a book; it would have saved me a lot of time, and it would have spared Google a tremendous amount of effort. But despite a number of important digitization efforts to date (Google has even helped fund others, including some by the Library of Congress), none have been at a comparable scale, simply because no one else has chosen to invest the requisite resources. At least one such service will have to exist if there are ever to be one hundred.

If Google Books is successful, others will follow. And they will have an easier path: this agreement creates a books rights registry that will encourage rights holders to come forward and will provide a convenient way for other projects to obtain permissions. While new projects will not immediately have the same rights to orphan works, the agreement will be a beacon of compromise in case of a similar lawsuit, and it will serve as a precedent for orphan works legislation, which Google has always supported and will continue to support.

Last, there have been objections to specific aspects of the Google Books product and the future service as planned under the settlement, including questions about the quality of bibliographic information, our choice of classification system and the details of our privacy policy. These are all valid questions, and being a company that obsesses over the quality of our products, we are working hard to address them — improving bibliographic information and categorization, and further detailing our privacy policy. And if we don’t get our product right, then others will. But one thing that is sure to halt any such progress is to have no settlement at all.

In the Insurance Year Book 1880-1881, which I found on Google Books, Cornelius Walford chronicles the destruction of dozens of libraries and millions of books, in the hope that such a record will “impress the necessity of something being done” to preserve them. The famous library at Alexandria burned three times, in 48 B.C., A.D. 273 and A.D. 640, as did the Library of Congress, where a fire in 1851 destroyed two-thirds of the collection.

I hope such destruction never happens again, but history would suggest otherwise. More important, even if our cultural heritage stays intact in the world’s foremost libraries, it is effectively lost if no one can access it easily. Many companies, libraries and organizations will play a role in saving and making available the works of the 20th century. Together, authors, publishers and Google are taking just one step toward this goal, but it’s an important step. Let’s not miss this opportunity.

Posted by Sergey Brin, Co-Founder & President, Technology

(This first appeared in the New York Times, available here.)

[G] Y,000,000,000uTube

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YouTube Blog: Y,000,000,000uTube

Three years ago today, Steve and I stood out in front of our offices and jokingly crowned ourselves the burger kings of media. We'd just made headlines by joining with Google in our shared goal of organizing the world's information (in our case, video) and making it easily and quickly accessible to anyone, anywhere. Today, I'm proud to say that we have been serving well over a billion views a day on YouTube. This is great moment in our short history and we owe it all to you.

Looking back at those early days, we were committed to some basic principles that have since become fundamental tenants in the world of online video:
  • Speed matters: Videos should load and play back quickly.
  • Clip culture is here to stay: Short clips are voraciously consumed and perfect for watching a wide variety of content.
  • Open platforms open up possibility: Content creation isn't our business; it's yours. We wanted to create a place where anyone with a video camera, a computer, and an Internet connection could share their life, art, and voice with the world, and in many cases make a living from doing so.
Three years after the acquisition, our platform and our business continue to grow and evolve. We are still committed to the same principles that informed the site early on, but we know things have changed. As bandwidth has increased, so has our video quality. As we've started to see demand for longer, full-length content, we've brought more shows and movies to the site. There are now more ways than ever to make and consume content, and more of you are looking to turn your hobby into a real business. We're working hard to keep up with the fast pace of technology to bring you everything you would expect from the world's largest video site: better quality; a full spectrum of choices and tools for users, partners and advertisers; and ways to make the YouTube experience your own anywhere, anytime.

Chad Hurley, CEO and Co-founder


Thursday, October 8, 2009

[G] Yes, you can export data from AdWords, too

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Data Liberation: Yes, you can export data from AdWords, too

Check out the video that shows you how to export data from AdWords over on the Google Public Policy Blog.

Posted by Brian Fitzpatrick, Data Liberation Front

[G] Batter up! eMetrics DC, October 19-23

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Google Analytics Blog: Batter up! eMetrics DC, October 19-23

Come to the nation's capital and join us again this year at the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit in Washington, D.C. from October 19-23.

Ah, The Fall Classic. If you're stateside*, you may be aware that the baseball playoffs are in full swing. Full swing.

Bear with us here. Are you familiar with the expression, "Right in your wheelhouse"? In baseball, a wheelhouse is a hitter's powerzone. It's the part of a batter's swinging range in which they will make the best contact with the ball. It's the sweetspot. If a pitch is right in your wheelhouse it's basically that pitch that makes your eyes widen in anticipation. The ball is coming right where you want it, in the spot where you'll have the best chance of hitting it out of the park. Grip it and rip it.

Some hitters like a pitch inside and low, some like it level center right over the plate. Each hitter has a wheelhouse, and a pitcher should figure out where that is and keep the ball away from it. Our buddy Justin Cutroni, lifelong Red Sox fan and web analytics practitioner extraordinaire, knows a thing or two about this.

The term "wheelhouse" itself actually comes from even further back than baseball. A wheelhouse on a ship is where the captain commands the ship, also known as the bridge.

But, the phrase can also be used generally to refer to something that is in your area of expertise. For instance, "Analyzing website traffic is right in Justin Cutroni's wheelhouse." This is our usage.

Here's another one: "The eMetrics conference is right in Google Analytics' wheelhouse." You probably saw that coming, but it's true. We love this conference because it brings together a bunch of analysts, marketers, vendors, thoughtleaders and general wild cards who are agitating over the methods and tools that help them focus their organizations towards the best data-driven practices. Wire to wire, it's a good week of learning, arguing, networking and information sharing. We'll be there, and hope you will too!

Here's a discount code for 20% off a 1 and/or 3-day pass when you register for eMetrics:

In addition to our booth, here's some Google Analytics and Website Optimizer related things going on at the conference, including some breakout sessions we'll be hosting in conference room Beech. (We'll also have details about the following at our booth.)

Monday, October 19:
9am - 4:30pm Google Analytics Workshop in conference room Chestnut
This will be excellent and enriching. You'll be exposed to Google Analytics from soup to nuts in a small, hands on, high energy, classroom setting where you can get personal attention. You'll learn set up for your particular site, best practices, newest features and be exposed to other related products such as Google Website Optimizer. You need to register for this separately.
Instructor: Caleb Whitmore from Analytics Pros

Tuesday, Oct 20:
10:30-11am: Google Website Optimizer 101 in conference room Beech
Get acquainted with Google Website Optimizer and learn about a/b and multivariate testing on your site. "Conversion rate lift" will become part of your regular vocabulary.

2:30-3pm: Google Analytics main presentation in Plaza B&C
You'll hear some good stuff from our team, presented by the best speaker we know. We've been working hard to be ready for eMetrics and this should be a fun half hour. :)

3pm-3:30pm Deep dive! in conference room Beech
Google Analytics enterprise-level feature deep dive breakout session led by Phil Mui, senior Product Manager of Google Analytics. You'll love this. Phil has the style of the best professor/mentor/wizard you had at MIT. :-)

Wednesday, Oct 21
10:30-11am: Google Website Optimizer Techie Session in conference room Beech
Website Optimizer Engineers from the team will cover advanced topics and techniques to help you take it to the next level.

3:00 - 3:20: Meet the Google Analytics and Website Optimizer Partner Network in Conference Room Beech
Our authorized consultants will intro themselves and tell you what they do.

The conference is less than two weeks away. We hope you register and we see you there!

Posted by Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team

*If you're not stateside, think Cricket. Don't worry, we'll be talking World Cup next year.

[G] You Talking To Me?

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YouTube Blog: You Talking To Me?

If you don't know who Travis Bickle is, you probably should.

Widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, Taxi Driver paints a dark, gritty, and at times violent portrait of a lonely man in the urban jungle.  Now, courtesy of our friends at Crackle, you can watch the entire film on YouTube through next Sunday, October 18.

Even if you haven't seen the film yet, you may be familiar with some of the memorable quotes (like "You talkin' to me?  You talkin' to me?  Well, I'm the only one here.").  Well, if you think you've got a killer Bobby D. impression, now is the time to share it with the world.  Film yourself reenacting a scene from the movie, and post it as a video response to Taxi Driver.  The best impressions will be featured in a blog next week.

One quick note -- as you may know, Taxi Driver is rated R for violence and language.  This means that in order to watch it on YouTube, you'll need to be signed into your account and confirm that you are 17 years of age or older.

We'll be partnering with Crackle to bring you more great films in the future.  Be sure to stay on top of what's new by subscribing to their YouTube channel.


Nate Weinstein, Entertainment Marketing, just watched "Super Action Man."


[G] A bonus batch of Street View imagery

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Google LatLong: A bonus batch of Street View imagery

Yesterday we announced that Street View imagery is now available for more than 11 cities across Canada, as well as in the Czech Republic. It is always exciting to bring Street View to a new country and hear from all the folks who have been eagerly awaiting it -- the news proved so popular that global traffic to Street View doubled yesterday and there were 28 million views of Canadian images yesterday (nearly as many views as Canadians!). You can see what all our partners had to say and see pictures from the launch event on the @GoogleCanada Twitter account.

But another priority is to refresh and extend our coverage in places we've already been. Now that you've hopefully had the chance to explore some of the stunning new images, we also wanted to point out some updates to the United States and Japan that got a little lost in yesterday's new country excitement. We added new high-resolution imagery in several areas across the US, and have launched several special destinations in Japan through the Street View Partner Program.

We've updated our coverage in New York City, bringing you newer and more high-quality imagery. You can see the newly restored Guggenheim Museum, or take a look at the unique architecture of the Flatiron Building. I'm a big baseball fan, so I'm especially excited that we have the brand-new Yankee Stadium featured in Street View, just in time for the playoffs (go Yankees!):

We've also expanded our coverage around the Washington, DC metropolitan region, which is where I grew up. Now I can take a trip down memory lane by checking out the park where my dad taught me to play catch or wandering the streets of Old Town Alexandria. DC also has a new baseball stadium for the Nationals, which you can now see in Street View:

You'll also find updates here in San Francisco:

There are areas of new imagery across California, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, DC, Florida, and New York. Not all areas in these places have been updated, but we're still hard at work.

In Japan, with our Street View Partner Program, we've been able to add images of 10 popular tourist destinations and special attractions, such as the Sapporo Maruyama Zoo:

For a really global experience, tour around Huis Ten Bosch, a theme park in Japan modeled as a Dutch village:

Posted by Elaine Filadelfo, Lat Long Blog Team

[G] Meet the Google team at ad:tech

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Inside AdWords: Meet the Google team at ad:tech

Coming to ad:tech New York? So are we. We're organizing a number of sessions at ad:tech and its partner conference, Content Revenue Strategies (CRS), to help you get more out of your search and display spend with Google. Here's the lowdown:

The Google Ads Factory Tour, 11/4/09-11/5/09

The Factory Tour consists of two days of live workshops at ad:tech NY designed to provide you with a comprehensive overview of Google's latest measurement and optimization tools. You'll hear directly from the Google ads team and walk away with practical tips you can immediately use to improve your search and display performance.

On day one, we'll spend the morning highlighting recently released AdWords search optimization tools such as the Opportunities tab and Bid Simulator, and in the afternoon we'll take you through effective optimization techniques for text and display campaigns on the Google Content Network.

The second day we'll expand our scope to cover measurement tools such as Google Analytics and Website Optimizer, search ads quality, and advertising strategies for local and mobile campaigns.

The Factory Tour is open to all exhibit hall and conference passholders.

Content Revenue Strategies, 11/5/09

Formerly known as ADSPACE, CRS is the first and only expo dedicated to AdSense and contextual advertising. CRS will take place alongside ad:tech New York and offers sessions tailored to advertisers as well as small and medium sized publishers. Here you can attend sessions designed to help you maximize your performance on Google’s Content Network and emerging blog, video and social media networks.

Additionally, a team of AdWords and AdSense optimizers will be present at the conference and answer your questions. You can stop by our Optimization Lounge to receive customized performance tips for your campaigns, as well as share your product feedback and suggestions.

Both CRS and the Google Ads Factory Tour will be held in the Javits Center along with the rest of ad:tech NY. We recommend you register ahead of time to save on admission fees. Enter the promotional code 20EXNY9 to receive 20% off an ad:tech full conference pass. If you're only attending CRS, enter the code CRSGoogle to receive $100 off the price of your CRS conference pass.

Hope to see you next month in NYC.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Webinar on Basic Shooting Techniques: Join Us!

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YouTube Blog: Webinar on Basic Shooting Techniques: Join Us!

YouTube's Creator's Corner and Videomaker magazine are excited to bring you the first in a series of Webinars that explore the basics of video production and will help you take your videos to the next level. Videomaker offers intensive weekend courses here in Northern California, and they've generously offered to share their knowledge with the global YouTube community for free, as well as take your questions.

The first seminar will focus on "Basic Shooting Techniques" and it's scheduled for October 27, 2009, at 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET. Click here to register.

Because we want these sessions to be really useful for you, we want you to help us set the agenda. Below is a list of topics the class could cover. Vote in the poll in the top right corner of this blog to tell us which topic(s) you most want to know about. You can also submit and vote on specific questions here. We'll use the results of the poll and the most popular questions as a guide when structuring the Webinar. Again, here are the topics you can vote for:
  • Shopping for a camcorder: Learn what to look for before buying one
  • Button basics: Master the most important buttons on the camcorder and how each of them works
  • Light and filter it right: Creative tips on lights and filters that will improve the look of your videos
  • Microphone techniques: Get the best sound from your mic with the least amount of hassle
  • The art of composition: Simple composition rules to set your video apart from ordinary videos
  • Smooth moves: Handheld camera techniques
Finally, if you've got a strong preference for days of the week or times when you'd most likely be able to tune in to a Webinar, please let us know in the comments below, and we'll take that into consideration when planning future events.


Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, YouTube, and Jennifer O'Rourke, Managing Editor, Videomaker


[G] Picasa Web Albums integration, site feeds, and page templates in Google Sites

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Official Google Docs Blog: Picasa Web Albums integration, site feeds, and page templates in Google Sites

Many people use Google Sites as a way to keep friends and family updated on what's going on in their lives. Great photos add color and personality, which is why we've made it easier to insert your Picasa Web Albums photos into a site. The 'Insert' menu now includes an option to insert a photo.

You can also upload a photo directly to Picasa Web Albums from within Google Sites using the 'Upload Photo' tab in the insert dialog.

Note that Picasa Web Albums is not available in Google Apps, so this option will not appear for Google Apps users.

We've also made it easier for your friends and family to follow updates on your site. You can now access any announcement page as a feed by adding posts.xml to the end of that announcement page URL. For example, this is the feed URL for our sample ski club site:


Feeds are also available for site comments (add "comments.xml") and site activity (add "activity.xml"). Announcement and comment feeds follow the permission of the site and require authentication for private sites. This means online feed readers which don't support authenticated feeds won't be able to subscribe to private site feeds or site activity.

Lastly, we also added the ability to create custom page templates for a site. Creating a page template lets you define default content as well as settings, like layout, that other collaborators can use when they create a new page. For example, if you are working on an intranet site, you can create a department page template and use that template for each department page. This saves time and adds consistency to your site.

Posted by: Scott Johnston, Senior Product Manager, Google Sites