Friday, November 20, 2009

[G] This week in search 11/20/09

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 11/20/09

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 brought a number of new features to the fore.

Google Translate
The biggest and most visible release this week was our update to Google Translate. New changes to the interface help you translate instantly and see translations as you type. We have also introduced both input and output transliteration: for selected languages, our tool will show you letter by letter how a word or phrase appears in a different language as you type. We have also added text-to-speech, so you can figure out how to pronounce new words as you learn them.

Rich snippets in Japanese
On the topic of international launches, at our Searchology event in May we announced the launch of rich snippets, which webmasters can use to help Google show more useful information from the page. For example, if you are thinking of trying out a new restaurant and are searching for reviews, rich snippets could include things like the average review score, the number of reviews, and the restaurant's price range. Starting this week, this feature is available in Japanese.

Flu shot finder now on results pages
Following in the footsteps of last week's launch, we have now added our flu shot finder to the search results page.

Example searches: flu shot, h1n1 shot, flu vaccine

Site hierarchies in search results
Google usually shows a green web address, or URL, at the bottom of each search result to let you know where you're headed. Tuesday we began rolling out an improvement that replaces the URL in some search results with a hierarchy showing the precise location of the page on the website. The new display offers valuable context and new navigation options. For example, on the eHow.com result below, you can see that this page is in the Martial Art Techniques section.

Example searches: venn diagram, how to punch harder, hodgkins lymphoma, keurig

Hope you enjoyed this week's new features. Stay tuned for more!

Posted by Marissa Mayer, VP, Search Products & User Experience
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/this-week-in-search-112009.html

[G] Uniting for a cause

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Google LatLong: Uniting for a cause


At an event organized jointly by the United Nations and Google at Google's office in New York, 80 United Nations delegates from more than 20 UN agencies, met with various Google product teams to explore how Google's wide array of products and services can further the UN mission and help foster innovation and new thinking. Google's Alfred Spector and the U.N.'s Choi Soon-hong, the first Chief Information Technology Officer (CITO) for the United Nations, both gave inspirational keynote addresses. We discussed products and tools including Google Earth & Map Maker, Flu Trends, visualization APIs, public data search, and much more.


One consistent theme was the desire to increase momentum in efforts to collaborate and share information publicly in ways that will help all U.N. agencies and other humanitarian organizations meet new challenges in an increasingly networked society. This same theme was echoed in the workshop that Google hosted in Washington DC with over 20 international humanitarian organizations last month.


Google's Map Maker Product Manager Lior Ron made two exciting announcements at the event. On the heels of our recent announcement of the Latin America Mapping competition, Google will be launching a global mapping competition in partnership with UNICEF. The competition will run December 15 - January 31, and Google will donate $50k to UNICEF that will go toward programs that empower young people through technology in the home country of the competition winner.


The other announcement is that Map Maker data for Southeast Asia is available for download for non-commercial uses. The 9 Southeast Asian countries where Map Maker is open for editing that are now included in the Map Maker download program are Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.


The Map Maker download license is available for non-profits, government agencies, and individuals to create and enhance their own non-commercial map-related projects as long as attribution is given back to Map Maker. We started this data download program with the Africa dataset over the summer. See our new Map Maker partner showcase page to learn how several United Nations agencies have used Map Maker data to further their humanitarian missions.


Posted by France Lamy, Google.org
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/11/uniting-for-cause.html

[G] Google Apps highlights – 11/20/2009

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 11/20/2009

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label "Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

Over the last two weeks, we've made improvements across Google Apps, some geared for individuals, others meant for business customers.

Green Robot icon in Gmail Labs
The green, orange and red chat bubbles in Gmail signal if your contacts are online, idle or unavailable, but as more people sign in from mobile devices, it's becoming harder to tell when someone is actually online at a computer or just connected with their phone. The Green Robot feature in Gmail Labs helps you spot when you might want to tailor your exchanges with more succinct messages for people who are signed in with Android-powered devices. Look for the green beaker icon at the top of Gmail to enable Green Robot and other Labs features.


Site templates
On Tuesday we launched templates for Google Sites. The templates gallery is filled with useful example sites ranging from wedding websites to corporate intranets, which you can copy and customize so they're just right. This lets you create a useful, visually appealing collaborative workspace in seconds. And if you have a great site other people would find useful, you can submit it to the gallery. If your business uses Google Sites, templates you submit stay private within your company.


More overflow storage for less
If you're using Google Apps to store photos and manage large volumes of personal email, you'll be happy to hear we're now offering more extra storage for less. Our new overflow storage plans start at $5 per year for 20 GB. For the most avid shutterbugs, the 16 TB plan is enough space for roughly 8 million high resolution pictures!


Improvements to Sync for Outlook
Last week, we released an update to Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, our tool that lets companies stop running Microsoft Exchange while still letting some employees use the familiar Outlook interface. Now, employees can sync multiple calendars between Outlook and Google Apps, and look up free/busy information from Exchange for co-workers who haven't migrated to Google Apps yet.

Google Apps Premier Edition innovation – Year in review
Businesses using Google Apps not only save money compared to running their own email systems, but also their employees get access to innovation at a much faster pace than with conventional business technologies. We've launched over 100 improvements to Google Apps in the last year, and on Thursday I hosted a webcast to recap noteworthy recent updates for businesses, including push email, contacts and calendar support for BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile and Android, Sync for Microsoft Outlook, offline access and more. If you missed the webcast, you can watch it on YouTube.

Who's gone Google?
This week I'm pleased to welcome a new crop of companies, schools and public agencies that have recently switched to Google Apps, including Delta Hotels, Michigan State University, the City of Orlando and the Office of the New Mexico Attorney General. The Motorola Mobile Devices Division deployed Google Apps to its employees this week, and the Los Angeles City Council recently voted unanimously to move 30,000 city employees to Google Apps.

We hope these updates help you get even more from Google Apps. For details and the latest news in this area, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/google-apps-highlights-11202009.html

[G] Saluting Google Power Posters

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Saluting Google Power Posters

Thousands of administrators visit the Google Apps Help Forum every day in need of advice and technical knowledge. The heart and soul of this community are known as the Google Apps Power Posters: LMckin51, Jim McNelis, jlee, ScienceMan, Benjamin, FrankM, Ingraye, Anurag Bhatia, DLW, and Amit.

These superstars volunteer their valuable time freely to provide their expertise and share their knowledge of Google Apps with users on the Help Forum.

The Power Posters come from diverse backgrounds: we have an environmental engineer, a college freshman, and a website administrator who helps out at his local church, but they all share the same passion for the product and zeal to help users:

"For all of the time I have invested in helping others on the forums, the knowledge and friendships that have come from these experiences have been more rewarding than I would have ever imagined." - Jim McNelis

"I first visited the Help Group to learn how to setup something (I no longer remember what). I found my answer almost immediately. Just as important, I found other users with questions I could answer. After that first 'thank you' from a fellow user, I was hooked." - DLW

"I love it when as all the gears snap into place and things just start to work. Almost like magic." - Ingraye

On the first anniversary of the Google Apps Help Forum, we would like to take this opportunity to show our appreciation for their efforts. Between them they have answered more than 25,000 posts since it launched in November 2008 - a mammoth achievement.

The entire Google Apps community thanks our Power Posters for their hard work, dedication and passion!

We'd also like to dedicate this post to the late techlover, who was a constant inspiration to our Power Posters and is still sorely missed.

Posted by Jolly Ngemu and , Google Apps Advisors team



URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/11/saluting-google-power-posters.html

Thursday, November 19, 2009

[G] Announcing the Chromium OS Open Source Project

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Google Chrome Blog: Announcing the Chromium OS Open Source Project

Today we released Chromium OS, the open source project behind Google Chrome OS. Google Chrome OS is an operating system that is intended for people who spend most of their time on the web. It aims to provide a computing experience that is fast, simple and secure. The Chromium OS project as you'll see it today is comprised of the code that has been developed thus far, our early experiments with the user interface, and detailed design docs for many parts that are under active development.

To learn more about what Google Chrome OS is, watch this short video:


To get a feel for the Google Chrome OS user experience, you can watch the demo from this morning's announcement event.



Posted by Kan Liu, Product Manager
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2009/11/announcing-chromium-os-open-source.html

[G] Two webinars now up on the Website Optimizer YouTube channel

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Two webinars now up on the Website Optimizer YouTube channel

It's a great week for the Website Optimizer YouTube channel. On the heels of Dan Siroker's talk, How we used data to win the election, we just posted two recorded webinars. The first webinar is Planning and Running your First Experiment with Website Optimizer. David Booth, one of our authorized consultants, gives an outstanding presentation that guides you through setting up your first test. Along the way, he shares lots of great insights, case studies, and tips for increasing your conversion rate.



The second webinar is about the Website Optimizer Experiment Management API and is aimed at a more technical audience. In this webinar, Website Optimizer engineers Erika Rice-Scherpelz and Gary Kacmarcik explain how to use the API. We also have a demonstration from Ken Colborn, also a GWO authorized consultant, on how he's integrated Website Optimizer with their Motivity CMS platform.



Grab some popcorn and enjoy.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team
URL: http://websiteoptimizer.blogspot.com/2009/11/two-webinars-now-up-on-website.html

[G] More new imagery in November

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Google LatLong: More new imagery in November


We just launched new imagery for Google Earth and Google Maps. Check to see if any of your favorite places has gotten an update! You can download this KML for viewing in Google Earth or you view the updates in Google Maps. Or you can view the updated areas highlighted in red below:

Updates are noted with a red frame

You can also share your cool new imagery finds with us using Twitter! After looking at the updates in the viewer above, tweet your cool finds and add the #GEarthIMG hashtag to your tweets. Here's one interesting example of a tweet we saw last time we updated our imagery:

@8ctagon #GEarthIMG @gsightseeing Historical Imagery in Dakar 1942. Planes in flight 14.706837°-17.4, 16356°".

For some added fun, point the Twittersphere to the precise location using a Google Maps link. In a few weeks time, we'll follow things up with a round-up of tweets from those of you using the hashtag and share them with all of you. We'll also be re-tweeting some of your finds from @googleearth.

Posted by Matt Manolides, Senior Geo Data Strategist
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/11/more-new-imagery-in-november.html

[G] New Google News for mobile

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Google News Blog: New Google News for mobile

Posted by Ankit "Chunky" Gupta (Software Engineer) and Alok Goel (Product Manager)
[cross-posted from the Official Google Mobile Blog]

At Google, we are committed to giving you a consistent user experience across products and devices, and we really value the feedback you've given us about Google News for mobile. Today we're excited to announce a completely new Google News offering for iPhone, Android, and Palm Pre users. (We already offer a mobile-optimized version of Google News for other phones, such as Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and S60, and more improvements will be coming to those in the near future)

This new version provides the same richness and personalization on your phone as Google News provides on desktop. Our new homepage displays more stories, sources, and images while keeping a familiar look and feel. Also, you can now reach your favorite sections, discover new ones, find articles and play videos in fewer clicks. If you are an existing Google News reader on desktop, you will find that all of your personalizations are honored in this mobile version too.

Google News for mobile is now available in 29 languages and 70 editions.

So pick up your mobile phone and point your browser to http://news.google.com to catch up on news anytime and anywhere. Feel free to check out more information or leave feedback in our Help Center.




URL: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/new-google-news-for-mobile.html

[G] Innovation in accessibility

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YouTube Blog: Innovation in accessibility

Creating captions for your videos on YouTube becomes much easier today, thanks to automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology.

Auto-Timing:
Upload a transcript (a simple file with the text of what's said in the video), and through speech recognition technology we'll turn it into synchronized captions. Timing is the toughest part of creating captions, but now this should be much easier. The technology works best for videos with good sound quality and clear spoken English.

Auto-Captions: We use the same speech recognition technology to create machine-generated captions (which can then be translated into 51 languages). You can see auto-caps in action right now on a range of educational channels, such as UC Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Yale, UCLA, Duke, UCTV, Columbia, PBS, National Geographic, Demand Media, UNSW and most Google channels, including YouTube's. Click on the menu button at the bottom right of the video player, then click CC and the arrow to its left, then click the new "Transcribe Audio" button. In time, we hope to expand this feature for many more YouTube videos.

Auto-caps is a continued step towards YouTube's goal of making video accessible everywhere (web, mobile, TV) and to everyone (other countries, languages, alternative access modes). It's also an example of using technology to enhance the video experience. For more details, please check this post on the Google Blog.

To learn more about how to use auto-caps and auto-timing, check out our help center article and this short video:



Hiroto Tokusei, Senior Product Manager, recently watched "
(HD) 夜のゆりかもめ(新橋→豊洲) 01."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/uO4ABGbaJbM/innovation-in-accessibility.html

[G] Building blocks: 3D models with detailed facades

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Google LatLong: Building blocks: 3D models with detailed facades


With tools like SketchUp and Building Maker, modelers around the world have been creating remarkably high-quality 3D buildings for Google Earth -- just check out any of our Featured Modelers to see the impressive work they've been doing. We've also had local governments contributing models of their entire city - like Amherst, Massachusetts and Washington, DC - through our Cities in 3D program.

At Google, we've also been busy working on expanding our 3D coverage. Last week, we added detailed 3D models for Valencia, Spain. Many of these were Google-created models and before that, across the Atlantic, we released models in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to adding entirely new areas, we've been tinkering with ways to make richer, detailed 3D models. If you zoom into downtown Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Berkeley, or Stockton you'll now notice that our 3D coverage is now much more extensive and a lot more vibrant.
San Diego, CA

Berkeley, CA

The buildings in these five California cities now have detailed facades, meaning that you can see storefronts and architectural details like you would if you were walking down the street. We've constructed these models by using imagery from Street View, similar to the way that users can make photo-textured models in SketchUp 7.1.

With these models in Google Earth, you can go in one swoop from viewing the globe through an astronaut's eyes to virtually browsing the shops in San Francisco's Chinatown or San Diego's Gaslamp District.

Showing is always better than telling, especially for an interactive and vivid experience like this, so go explore the models in Google Earth. To kickstart your exploration, check out this video preview of what awaits you:



Posted by Christian Frueh and Manish Patel, 3D Modeling Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/11/building-blocks-3d-models-with-detailed.html

[G] Automatic captions on YouTube

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Google Public Policy Blog: Automatic captions on YouTube

Posted by Pablo Chavez, Managing Policy Counsel

Today, here in D.C., we announced the preliminary roll-out of automatic captioning in YouTube, an innovation that takes advantage of our speech recognition technology to turn the spoken word into text captions. We also announced that if you have a transcript of your video, you can upload it to YouTube and we'll time the captions for you.

This is useful for anyone who is deaf or hearing impaired, but it will have broader effects as well. For example, YouTube captions can be automatically translated, making video more accessible across languages. And while we've had the ability to manually caption videos for a while, automatic captions and automatically timed transcripts lower the barriers and, we hope, helps open YouTube to everyone.

Indeed, with 20 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, captioning YouTube through purely manual means would be very difficult. That's why we're excited about today's announcement. Please note that only 13 YouTube channels will feature automatic captions at this time so that we can gather feedback, but all video owners will be able to upload transcripts and automatically time them. Ken Harrenstien, the software engineer who led this project, describes today's announcements in more detail on the Official Google Blog.

Click here for more pictures of the event.

This morning's introductions were also exciting because over 60 accessibility leaders from the National Association of the Deaf, Gallaudet University, AAPD and other organizations joined us to be the first to learn about these new features. We made the announcement in our Washington office, in fact, just so that they could be here to give our engineers their direct feedback.

Have a look at the video below to learn more about what was announced today, and check back here tomorrow for full video from the event. You can bet it'll be captioned—we'll be uploading the transcript of the event to YouTube, which will turn it into captions that are timed just right.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/11/automatic-captions-on-youtube.html

[G] New Google News for mobile

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Official Google Mobile Blog: New Google News for mobile

At Google, we are committed to giving you a consistent user experience across products and devices, and we really value the feedback you've given us about Google News for mobile. Today we're excited to announce a completely new Google News offering for iPhone, Android, and Palm Pre users. (We already offer a mobile-optimized version of Google News for other phones, such as Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and S60, and more improvements will be coming to those in the near future)

This new version provides the same richness and personalization on your phone as Google News provides on desktop. Our new homepage displays more stories, sources, and images while keeping a familiar look and feel. Also, you can now reach your favorite sections, discover new ones, find articles and play videos in fewer clicks. If you are an existing Google News reader on desktop, you will find that all of your personalizations are honored in this mobile version too.

Google News for mobile is now available in 29 languages and 70 editions.

So pick up your mobile phone and point your browser to http://news.google.com to catch up on news anytime and anywhere. Feel free to check out more information or leave feedback in our Help Center.




Posted by Ankit "Chunky" Gupta and Alok Goel, Mobile News Team
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/11/new-google-news-for-mobile.html

[G] Chromium OS Now Open Sourced

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Google Open Source Blog: Chromium OS Now Open Sourced

In July we announced that we were working on a project called Google Chrome OS, an open source operating system based on the Google Chrome browser and built for today's web. For the past few months we have been working hard on developing a solid foundation and today we are excited to announce the Chromium OS open source project.

You can read more about our open source announcement at the Chromium Blog, or get involved directly at chromium.org. We look forward to working with the open source community to help shape the future of personal computing.

By Martin Bligh, Software Engineer
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/11/chromium-os-now-open-sourced.html

[G] Make Sure You Update your Payment Preferences

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Google Affiliate Network: Make Sure You Update your Payment Preferences

Affiliate publishers have new payment options through the integration with AdSense. As we head into the busy holiday season, please take a few minutes to check on the status of your payment preferences.

Publishers can view payments that have been posted to your AdSense account in the Google Affiliate Network platform; on the "Home" page click "Payments." This view captures all payments and a detailed breakdown of your earnings per advertiser.

Payment information is stored in your AdSense account and Google lets you select your desired form of payment. Publishers can currently choose to be paid by electronic funds transfer, check, Western Union Quick Cash or Rapida. Check out the Help Center for a detailed overview your options.

Note if you see a message in your AdSense account prompting you to complete your payment information, it's important you act quickly. This message means that there is some information missing in your payment profile and action is required to avoid payment delays.


URL: http://googleaffiliatenetwork-blog.blogspot.com/2009/11/make-sure-you-update-your-payment.html

[G] Cool. Even Batman uses Google.

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Official Google Blog: Cool. Even Batman uses Google.

When I first started at Google, Craig Nevill-Manning, engineering director here in New York, said to me: "The Google homepage doesn't belong to us. It belongs to the millions of people who use it." Besides the fact that Craig can make one of those insanely cool leaf patterns in his latte, I find the simple truth of his statement inspiring. I often refer to it as a guidepost for our work.

So when we got together with the search team to brainstorm ways to talk about our latest innovations (like music in search results), we decided to feature them through stories inspired by our users. Because while we're proud of the innovations we're making in search, we're proudest of the things people use search to accomplish. In other words, the best search results don't show up on a webpage — they show up in somebody's life.

So in that spirit, we made a bunch of videos. There's one about grandma dipping her toe into technology. One about friends taking a Kerouac inspired road trip. And yes, there's even one about Bruce Wayne.

Here's the first one:



You can see them all here.

As they say in the movies, all the characters in these videos are fictional, any resemblance to persons alive or dead are purely coincidental.

We hope you enjoy them.

Posted by Robert Wong, Google Creative Lab
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/cool-even-batman-uses-google.html

[G] Releasing the Chromium OS open source project

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Official Google Blog: Releasing the Chromium OS open source project

In July we announced that we were working on Google Chrome OS, an open source operating system for people who spend most of their time on the web.

Today we are open-sourcing the project as Chromium OS. We are doing this early, a year before Google Chrome OS will be ready for users, because we are eager to engage with partners, the open source community and developers. As with the Google Chrome browser, development will be done in the open from this point on. This means the code is free, accessible to anyone and open for contributions. The Chromium OS project includes our current code base, user interface experiments and some initial designs for ongoing development. This is the initial sketch and we will color it in over the course of the next year.

We want to take this opportunity to explain why we're excited about the project and how it is a fundamentally different model of computing.

First, it's all about the web. All apps are web apps. The entire experience takes place within the browser and there are no conventional desktop applications. This means users do not have to deal with installing, managing and updating programs.

Second, because all apps live within the browser, there are significant benefits to security. Unlike traditional operating systems, Chrome OS doesn't trust the applications you run. Each app is contained within a security sandbox making it harder for malware and viruses to infect your computer. Furthermore, Chrome OS barely trusts itself. Every time you restart your computer the operating system verifies the integrity of its code. If your system has been compromised, it is designed to fix itself with a reboot. While no computer can be made completely secure, we're going to make life much harder (and less profitable) for the bad guys. If you dig security, read the Chrome OS Security Overview or watch the video.

Most of all, we are obsessed with speed. We are taking out every unnecessary process, optimizing many operations and running everything possible in parallel. This means you can go from turning on the computer to surfing the web in a few seconds. Our obsession with speed goes all the way down to the metal. We are specifying reference hardware components to create the fastest experience for Google Chrome OS.

There is still a lot of work to do, and we're excited to work with the open source community. We have benefited hugely from projects like GNU, the Linux Kernel, Moblin, Ubuntu, WebKit and many more. We will be contributing our code upstream and engaging closely with these and other open source efforts.

Google Chrome OS will be ready for consumers this time next year. Sign up here for updates or if you like building your operating system from source, get involved at chromium.org.

Lastly, here is a short video that explains why we're so excited about Google Chrome OS.



Posted by Caesar Sengupta, Group Product Manager and Matt Papakipos, Engineering Director
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/releasing-chromium-os-open-source.html

[G] Ready, set, map: Latin America Map Maker competition

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Google LatLong: Ready, set, map: Latin America Map Maker competition


This past Saturday, we launched the first ever
mapping competition in Latin America during a live session on Map Maker at the Campus Party Mexico 2009. The competition officially kicked off at the event in Mexico city, where tech enthusiasts from all over the country got to know first about the Map Maker competition.

Participating in the Campus Party allowed us to enjoy not only a warm welcoming from our Mexican audience but also learn about their sincere interest in improving the geographical data for their country. Our presentation included a demo on Google Map Maker main features like how to add points of interest, moderate changes from other users or edit driving directions.



There was time to discuss the brand new Google Maps Mexico (htttp://maps.google.com.mx/) and all the new & exciting possibilities Mexican users have in their country: looking for addresses, points of interest or local businesses, photos and reviews from other users, creating your own maps with My Maps, adding your business to the map through the Local Business Center or exploring one of the seven first Latin American cities available in Street View (Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara, Puebla, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel).

The Campus Party started in 1997 in Spain as an event for passionate Internet users and since then, it has become an essential meeting point for those interested in understanding new information technologies. Nowadays, there are four different yearly editions of the event at Valencia, São Paulo, Bogotá and Ciudad de México and almost 40.000 registered campusers worldwide.

Now, you can map the areas you know best in Latin America and possibly win a prize while you are at it! The Map Maker competition runs from November 14th until December 15th and all Latin American lovers are invited to participate. You can find all the details, Terms & Conditions and the entry form for you and your team members at http://mapmaker.google.com/competition.

We were also excited to announce the prizes for the winners of the Map Making competition. Winners will be based on those with the biggest volume and highest quality of edits and moderations during the Map Maker competition; among others, 100 laptops for a university or school from the winning city, a netbook for each member of the best team or a laptop for the top individual contributor. Winners will also enjoy an all included trip to the 2010 Super Mappers Conference, which will be an amazing opportunity to share your mapping passion with other top contributors and to get to know the Google team.

Crea tu mundo con Google Map Maker (in Spanish):



Because you know your neighborhood better than anyone, put it in the map and let the competition begin!

Posted by Genoveva Descalzo, Consumer Operations & Latin America Competition Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/11/ready-set-map-latin-america-map-maker.html

[G] Depth and Discovery: Powering Visualizations with the Google Analytics API

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Google Analytics Blog: Depth and Discovery: Powering Visualizations with the Google Analytics API

We're always really excited to see what developers are building with Google Analytics. Here's an amazing visualization using the API from our friends at Juice Analytics. Now, this is what we're talking about when we say this stuff is "Off the charts!" (The API team t-shirt slogan). :-)

At Juice, we work with web analytics APIs large and small, from Google, comScore and Omniture. The Google Analytics API is our favorite. It powers the world's best, most widely deployed analytics site. And it powers Juice products like Concentrate (innovative search analytics) and Vasco de Gapi (a tool for exploring the Google Analytics API).

We were approached by the Google Analytics API team to explore new ways of looking at data with the API, and we were excited by the possibilities. We've been working on our own visualization framework, JuiceKit, that integrates the power of the Flare Visualization Library with Adobe Flex.

The result is Analytics Visualizations, two visualizations powered by the Google Analytics API that are free to use. You just need a Google account with access to Google Analytics data to explore your own data. Here are the details about the visualizations, called Referrer Flow and Keyword Tree.

Referrer Flow

Curious about what sites are linking to you and what content is benefitting the most? The Referrer Flow visualization answers those question and shows how results change over time. It's a stream of daily treemaps showing pageviews and bounce rates for various groupings of your website's pages. You can group by combinations of page title, referrer and url.
Here is a brief video introduction:



Clicking on the treemap will filter all the data by the page, referrer or url that you clicked on. Click again to clear your filter.

Keyword Tree

A list of top keywords isn't enough to really understand how people are searching and finding your site. The Keyword Tree visualization displays the most frequently used search keywords and how they are used together. Here's a video overview:



You'll see a frequently used search term at the center and the words and phrases that are most often used in combination with that word. Pick a different starting word by typing into the box in the upper right or selecting from the top word across the bottom of the screen. The words are sized by their frequency of use and colored by bounce rate (or % new visitors or average time on site). Roll over a word to see details about that combination of connected words.

Depth and Discovery

In designing these visualizations we focused on the question: how can we let users uncover the unexpected? That means designing targeted visualizations focused on limited well-defined issues. The Referrer Flow monomaniacally focuses on a single question "What pages are people viewing on your site and where are they coming from?" The Keyword Tree is laser-focused on word ordering and what that means for keyword performance.


The Google Analytics reporting tool is a great general-purpose reporting solution. It gives the advanced users everything they need to answer specific questions. However, its generality means it has limited ability to focus on two issues; depth and discovery.

The Google Analytics API is Google's solution to this problem. It's an opportunity both for businesses like ours that can create new ways of analyzing data, and for large sites that can use the API for integration, custom analytics, and more.


Thanks, Juice! We continue to be impressed by the new solutions developers are bringing to market by leveraging the Google Analytics Platform. If you have developed a useful new tool or integration on top of Google Analytics, drop us an email at analytics-api@google.com. If it's innovative and useful we'll highlight it to our readers on this blog.


Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics API Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/11/depth-and-discovery-powering.html

[G] Automatic captions in YouTube

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Official Google Blog: Automatic captions in YouTube

Since we first announced captions in Google Video and YouTube, we've introduced multiple caption tracks, improved search functionality and even automatic translation. Each of these features has had great personal significance to me, not only because I helped to design them, but also because I'm deaf. Today, I'm in Washington, D.C. to announce what I consider the most important and exciting milestone yet: machine-generated automatic captions.

Since the original launch of captions in our products, we’ve been happy to see growth in the number of captioned videos on our services, which now number in the hundreds of thousands. This suggests that more and more people are becoming aware of how useful captions can be. As we’ve explained in the past, captions not only help the deaf and hearing impaired, but with machine translation, they also enable people around the world to access video content in any of 51 languages. Captions can also improve search and even enable users to jump to the exact parts of the videos they're looking for.

However, like everything YouTube does, captions face a tremendous challenge of scale. Every minute, 20 hours of video are uploaded. How can we expect every video owner to spend the time and effort necessary to add captions to their videos? Even with all of the captioning support already available on YouTube, the majority of user-generated video content online is still inaccessible to people like me.

To help address this challenge, we've combined Google's automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology with the YouTube caption system to offer automatic captions, or auto-caps for short. Auto-caps use the same voice recognition algorithms in Google Voice to automatically generate captions for video. The captions will not always be perfect (check out the video below for an amusing example), but even when they're off, they can still be helpful—and the technology will continue to improve with time.

In addition to automatic captions, we’re also launching automatic caption timing, or auto-timing, to make it significantly easier to create captions manually. With auto-timing, you no longer need to have special expertise to create your own captions in YouTube. All you need to do is create a simple text file with all the words in the video and we’ll use Google’s ASR technology to figure out when the words are spoken and create captions for your video. This should significantly lower the barriers for video owners who want to add captions, but who don’t have the time or resources to create professional caption tracks.

To learn more about how to use auto-caps and auto-timing, check out this short video and our help center article:



You should see both features available in English by the end of the week. For our initial launch, auto-caps are only visible on a handful of partner channels (list below*). Because auto-caps are not perfect, we want to make sure we get feedback from both viewers and video owners before we roll them out more broadly. Auto-timing, on the other hand, is rolling out globally for all English-language videos on YouTube. We hope to expand these features for other channels and languages in the future. Please send us your feedback to help make that happen.

Today I'm more hopeful than ever that we'll achieve our long-term goal of making videos universally accessible. Even with its flaws, I see the addition of automatic captioning as a huge step forward.

* Partners for the initial launch of auto-caps: UC Berkeley, Stanford, MIT, Yale, UCLA, Duke, UCTV, Columbia, PBS, National Geographic, Demand Media, UNSW and most Google & YouTube channels.

Posted by Ken Harrenstien, Software Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/automatic-captions-in-youtube.html

[G] What's cooking with iGoogle...

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Official Google Blog: What's cooking with iGoogle...

We're both huge foodies, and we always love spending time in the kitchen with friends and family, especially around the holidays. Particularly during this season, many of us turn to Google when searching for recipes. But, in addition to spicing up your recipe repertoire, Google can be a huge resource in the kitchen. From helping you with sugar measurements, to jump starting ideas for unique Thanksgiving table settings, the web has made becoming a culinary master much easier.

Since many of us love to celebrate great food, we're excited to announce that we've partnered with a variety of top chefs and food industry experts to bring you some elegant new, food-focused iGoogle themes and gadgets. iGoogle is all about personalization and freshness, and in that spirit, these unique themes are sure to delight the chef in all of us. Be sure to check out our iGoogle gallery, where you'll find some tasty new themes from chefs like Alton Brown and Paula Deen, food artists like Carl Warner and James Parker and even famous bakeries like New York City's Crumbs Bake Shop and Magnolia Bakery.

In addition to these taste bud tantalizing themes, we've also partnered with many top food industry names to build a suite of new gadgets for your iGoogle page. For example, Supercook lets you input various ingredients you have on hand, then gives you some great recipes you can whip up. And if you're feeling like a night out at a new restaurant, Urbanspoon will help you pick a restaurant on the fly — all from your iGoogle page.

We hope this new element of gourmet iGoogle personalization will get you even more interested in enhancing your cooking and dining experiences. Here's to some great new food with family and friends this holiday season!


Posted by Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Products and User Experience and Brittany Bohnet, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/whats-cooking-with-igoogle.html

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

[G] Hub for parents launches

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YouTube Blog: Hub for parents launches

YouTube and Kodak have teamed up to launch For Mom, a robust resource for anyone raising children today. The videos housed on this channel cover everything from cooking and parenting tips, to the best toys and games for kids, to easy ways to maintain your own health and beauty routine. There are even responses to some of life’s most difficult questions, like how much to pay the tooth fairy:



Browse through For Mom (and come back often!) for more videos from YouTube partners who know a thing or two about parenting, including Better, Parents TV, Lifetime and popular mommy bloggers who expertly find humor in what's often called the hardest job on earth.

Sadia Harper, Howto & Style Manager, recently watched "Things My Kids Will Never Know."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/b0RuZqFAeQY/hub-for-parents-launches.html

[G] Take advantage of advanced reports

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Inside AdWords: Take advantage of advanced reports

For a long time, the Report Center has been the place to go to find detailed data about your campaign performance. Reports with dimensions like geographic performance and time of day can give you new insights through metrics that aren't available on the campaigns tab.

But there can be drawbacks to using the Report Center: customized reports take time to set up and run, and you have to navigate back to the Campaigns tab to take action on any insights you discover.

We're addressing these issues by better integrating advanced performance data into campaign management. Now, instead of running a placement performance report, you can manage your automatic placements on the Networks tab. Rather than run a search query report, you can use the "See search terms" option on the Keywords tab to see which searches are bringing up your ads. And if you prefer to look at your reports in a spreadsheet program, you now have the option to download nearly every table in your account (look under the "More actions..." menu above each table).

You can also use new segmentation functions to slice and dice your data directly within campaign management. Click on the "Filter and views" menu above your statistics, then choose the "Segment by" option to see different the levels of detail available for display.


The segmentation options available to you differ depending on whether you're looking at keywords, ad groups or campaigns. If you're looking at keywords, you can segment by match type. If you're looking at campaigns or ad groups, you can segment by network to quickly compare your performance on Google and search partner sites to your performance on the Content Network.

In addition to these segmentation options, we've recently introduced time-based segmentation for your campaigns, ad groups and keywords. Now you can break out statistics by day, week, month, quarter or year to isolate changes in your performance. For example, if your performance summary graphs show a sharp decrease in clicks, segmenting by day can show you changes in other statistics that might explain why your drop in traffic occurred.

You can also segment by day of the week. This option is helpful if you're looking for help with ad scheduling. Try segmenting your performance for the past few months: if your performance is dramatically different on a given day of the week, you can modify your bids to account for the change in user behavior.

We'll be bringing even more data from the Report Center into the Campaigns tab over the coming months. So next time you're searching for insights you can use to improve your performance, you won't have to look very far.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/11/take-advantage-of-advanced-reports.html

[G] A deeper look at channels: URL channels (Part I of III)

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Inside AdSense: A deeper look at channels: URL channels (Part I of III)

As many of you know, channels are a great tool for tracking the clicks and impressions on your ad units, as well as figuring out which ad placements, sizes, and colors generate the most revenue. With that in mind, three of our very own Mountain View-based AdSense optimization specialists have created videos showcasing best practices for setting up channels within your AdSense account.

In the first episode, Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo talks about URL channels which can help you track revenue on a specific URL or domain. You'll learn how to set up a channel within your AdSense account, what metrics you can track using channels, and how to use that data to increase your earnings by generating more clicks on your ads.



You can find more information about URL channels in our Help Center. Check back next week, when we'll cover custom channels.

Posted by Dia Muthana - Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/11/deeper-look-at-channels-url-channels.html

[G] Google Earth 5.1 is now out of beta

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Google LatLong: Google Earth 5.1 is now out of beta


Two months ago, we released the beta version of Google Earth 5.1.  The 5.1 release focused on one of our most important features: performance. The power of Google Earth is the seamless, immersive 3D fly-throughs that give you a sense of being "there," so we made a lot of adjustments under the hood to make flying around the globe faster and smoother. Today, after a few more tweaks and bug fixes, we're proud to say that we're ready to remove the beta tag.

This release also includes the Google Earth browser plug-in for Mac users, all in the same installation. Both Mac and PC users can explore all of the exciting Google Earth sites that our developers have made without having to mess around with another installation. You can search for universities,  or perhaps fulfill your secret fantasy of being the captain of a giant shipping vessel. Now these and many more Google Earth web applications are just a click away.

Download the latest version today at http://earth.google.com.

Posted by Peter Birch, Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/11/google-earth-51-is-now-out-of-beta.html

[G] Google Earth for iPhone version 2.0

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Official Google Mac Blog: Google Earth for iPhone version 2.0

By Scott Knaster, Google Mac Team

There's a nice update to Google Earth for iPhone and iPod touch available now. You can read all about it in the Google Mobile Blog and you can grab the update in the App Store.
URL: http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2009/11/google-earth-for-iphone-version-20.html