Friday, November 27, 2009

[G] This week in search 11/27/09

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 11/27/09

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 Thanksgiving week, and just in time for the holiday season, we give thanks to you, our users, with two new search features.

Holiday Interfaces
Last Friday, we started showing off our seasonal spirit with holiday-themed result pages. For the weeks surrounding various holidays in late November and December, results for seasonal queries will be adorned with decorative dividers. Try searching eid-ul-adha sometime in the next week, and your results will be separated from right-hand ads by a chain of crescent moons. In a few weeks, a search for [hanukkah lights] or [christmas trees] will also result in delightful holiday-themed pages. Put a cuddly knit sweater on your browser when you search!

Mobile Movie Results
For those of you who who plan to head to the movies this week, we've launched a mobile version of Google Search results for movies, making it even easier to find the latest holiday blockbuster playing in your area. From the web browser on your iPhone, Palm WebOS, or Android-powered device, simply search for [movies], and then tap on the "More movies" link. From there, you can either browse a list of movies or select the "Theaters" button to view a list of the ones near you.

With the added functionality to play trailers right on your phone, access movie ratings, find the closest theatre, and view upcoming showtimes, this new search feature is sure to make entertainment options on the go much easier. Here's a 1.25-minute video about it:

Hope you enjoy these new features. Stay tuned for more next week!

Posted by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow

[G] Update your tax forms this holiday weekend

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Inside AdSense: Update your tax forms this holiday weekend

We hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Here in the U.S., we on the AdSense Team are spending the Friday after Thanksgiving enjoying holiday shopping, American football, and leftovers.

On this vacation day, we'd like you to remind you that tax season is approaching quickly, so you may wish to take a moment to review your address information and even re-submit your tax information to make sure it reflects your most current tax standing.

If you haven't entered tax information before, you can choose a form directly or follow our handy tax wizard within your account. If you're updating your tax information, feel free to click the 'change your tax information' link.

In addition, now would be the perfect time for our publishers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico to verify their bank accounts for Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) payments. If you're eligible for a payment at the end of December, you have until December 15, 2009 to select your bank account for payment, so we hope you give it a try!

Posted by Elizabeth Ferdon - AdSense Payments Team

[G] The Apertium Project's First Google Summer of Code

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Google Open Source Blog: The Apertium Project's First Google Summer of Code

The Apertium Project works on open-source machine translation and language technology. We try to focus our efforts on lesser-resourced and marginalized languages, but also work with larger languages. To date, we have released translators for 21 language pairs, covering languages spoken by 1.1 billion people, ranging from English (est. 500m speakers) to Aranese (est. 4,000 speakers). A similar number of additional language pairs are in development. The Apertium software is licensed under the GPL, but in addition (a rarer situation in the machine translation field) so is the data for all these language pairs. This means that the data can be re-used by other language projects (e.g. in developing spelling or grammar checkers, thesauri, etc).

This was our first year in Google Summer of Code and we were very fortunate to receive nine student slots. We filled them with some great students and are pleased to report that out of the nine projects, eight were successful.

The completed project were:

A translator for Norwegian Bokmål (nb) and Norwegian Nynorsk (nn)

This project was accepted as part of our "adopt a language pair" idea from our ideas page. Some work had already been done on the translator but it was a long way from finished. Kevin Unhammer from the University of Bergen was mentored by Trond Trosterud from the University of Tromsø. The final result, after an epic effort, is a working translator (and the first free software translator for nb-nn) that makes a mistake in only 11 words out of every 100 translated, making using the system for post-edition feasible.

One of the key aspects of Kevin's work was the re-use and adaptation of existing open source resources. Much of the bilingual dictionary was statistically inferred from the existing translations in KDE, using ReTraTos and GIZA++ (created by Franz Och). In addition to this, Kevin used the Oslo-Bergen Constraint Grammer, contributing fixes not only to that, but to the VISL CG3 software itself. After the GSoC deadline, Kevin has continued his work, including incorporating some changes from feedback from the Nynorsk Wikipedia.

A translator for Swedish (sv) to Danish (da)

Another language pair adoption, Michael Kristensen, who had previously done some work on this translator, was mentored by Jacob Nordfalk, the author of our English to Esperanto translator. As there are very few free linguistic resources for Swedish and Danish the work was pretty much started from scratch, although we took great advantage of the Swedish Wiktionary. The translator is only unidirectional, from Swedish to Danish, and it has an error rate of around 20%.

The completion of this translator is something of a triumph for Apertium. Begun back in 2005, the project had been neglected for many years. This was the first translator for the Apertium platform that focused on non-Romance languages.

Multi-engine machine translation (MEMT)

Gabriel Synnaeve was mentored by Francis Tyers to work on a module to improve the quality of machine translation by taking translations from different systems and merging their strengths and discarding their weaknesses. The two systems focused on in the initial prototype are Apertium (rule-based MT) and Moses (statistical MT) but it can easily be extended to more. The idea behind the system is that for some languages there is often not one MT system which is better than all others, but some are better at some phrases and some are better at others. Thus, if we can combine the output of two or more systems with different strengths/weaknesses, we can make better translations.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the MEMT project is its potential for use as a research platform for future work on hybrid machine translation, by allowing the researcher to focus only on the algorithms they wish to implement. During the project, Gabriel was joined by Francis in person for a 'mini-hackathon', which, despite something of a farcical start involving requests made on IRC for phone calls across Europe on behalf of two people who were in the same city, lead to a greater degree of functionality and modularization in the code.

Highly scalable web service architecture for Apertium

Víctor Manuel Sánchez Cartagena
worked with mentor Juan Antonio Perez-Ortiz on a highly-scalable web service architecture, or, Apertium for Cloud computing. Initially targeting Amazon's EC2, as well as standalone servers, the scalable web service allows the use of multiple translation services on multiple physical or virtual servers, scaling to meet the translation demands of users, from a single user-facing service, which implements the Google Language API.

The core of the system is the translation router, which controls the flow between user and translation server, based on a variety of factors, including the availability of the language pair, the current load on the server, as well as providing a framework to allow these factors to have different priorities on a per-user basis. It also takes into account the cost of each translation request. The project is a complete package; as well as the router, it includes a translation daemon, and convenience scripts to ease the rollout of server instances.

In addition to his work on his project, Víctor is also serving as an organiser for the FreeRBMT workshop.

Conversion of Anubadok

Abu Zaher was mentored by Kevin Donnelly and Francis Tyers to convert Anubadok, an open-source MT system for English to Bengali to work with the Apertium engine. This was an ambitious project and not all of the goals were realised, but we were able to make the first wide-coverage morphological analyser / generator for Bengali and a substantial amount of lexical transfer, so the project was a great success.

Zaher is also looking at improving the Ankur spell checker with information from his analyser / generator, so the work done is already being reused; there is also interest in using the data to create a Bengali stemmer, for more efficient searching/indexing of Bengali texts, and a number of tools which were created to model the various aspects of Bengali inflection will certainly prove useful in other areas of NLP for Bengali.

Apertium going SOA

Pasquale Minervini's work was motivated by the needs of Informatici senza Frontiere to have a translation engine that would fit into a Service-Oriented architecture. To this end, Pasquale, mentored by Jimmy O'Regan, designed an XML-RPC-based server that efficiently contains the Apertium pipeline, and layered it with JSON (still under development), SOAP, and CORBA services, which, as well as making Apertium more buzzword compliant, gives a greater range of options to programmers wishing to integrate Apertiums translation services into a wider range of architectures. This is undoubtedly a popular project idea: Alexa's keywords for Apertium show 'apertium going soa' and 'deadbeef apertium' (deadbeef is Pasquale's IRC nick) in 2nd and 4th place for search keywords leading to Apertium.

Because of the potential overlap between their projects, in the first weeks of their GSoC work, Pasquale and Víctor agreed on the Google Language API as a standard for their projects to communicate; Pasquale took this agreement one step further by implementing the 'language detection' feature of the API - something previously unavailable in Apertium. In addition to that, Pasquale also contributed memory leak checks against the Apertium platform, as well as other fixes, and has helped another (non-GSoC) student in the goal of porting Apertium to Windows.

Trigram part-of-speech tagging

Zaid Md. Abdul Wahab Sheikh
was mentored by Felipe Sánchez Martínez to improve our part-of-speech tagging module to use trigrams instead of bigrams, as well as implementing changes to the training tools to create data for it.

Apertium was originally designed for closely related languages, but is growing to meet the challenges of translating between more distant languages. One of the unique aspects of Dr. Sanchez's work on Part-of-Speech tagging is the use of target language information which allows an accurate tagger to be trained using much less data than usual, provided that it is trained on bilingual text. Zaid's work builds on Dr. Sanchez's work with first-order Hidden Markov Models, extending it to second-order HMMs, similarly to TnT. This enables more accurate translation between more distant languages, using the same methods, so that the rest of the Apertium system can continue to grow.

Java port of lttoolbox

Raphaël Laurent worked with Sergio Ortiz Rojas to port lttoolbox to Java. lttoolbox is the core component of the Apertium system; as well as providing morphological analysis and generation, it also provides pattern matching and dictionary lookup to the rest of Apertium, so a Java port is the first step towards a version of Apertium for Java-based devices. Raphaël finished an earlier line-for-line port contributed by Nic Cotrell, first making it work; then making it binary compatible.

As it stands currently, lttoolbox-java can be integrated into other Java-based tools, facilitating the re-use of our software and our extensive repository of morphological analysers. Tools such as LanguageTool, the open source proofreading tool, also make extensive use of morphological analysis, but OmegaT, the open source CAT tool, could use it for dictionary look-up of inflected words; it could even be used with our own apertium-morph tool: a plugin for Lucene that allows linguistically-rich document indexing.


On the 2nd and 3rd of November, we held the first FreeRBMT workshop, which was heavily inspired by the Google Summer of Code program, both as a way for students and mentors to meet in person, and to provide the students with an opportunity to present peer-reviewed papers about the work they completed during the program. The entire proceedings are available from the University of Alicante; in particular, we would like to highlight the papers which were successfully presented by the students who took part in GSoC:

Apertium goes SOA: an efficient and scalable service based on the Apertium rule-based machine translation platform; Minervini, Pasquale

Development of a morphological analyser for Bengali; Faridee, Abu Zaher Md.; Tyers, Francis M.

An open-source highly scalable web service architecture for the Apertium machine translation engine
; Sánchez-Cartagena, Víctor M.; Pérez-Ortiz, Juan Antonio

Reuse of free resources in machine translation between Nynorsk and Bokmål; Unhammer, Kevin; Trosterud, Trond

A trigram part-of-speech tagger for the Apertium free/open-source machine translation platform
; Sheikh, Zaid Md Abdul Wahab; Sánchez-Martínez, Felipe

In addition, the following paper was presented by the mentors of a successful project (Michael, the student, was unfortunately too busy to participate in its writing):

Shallow-transfer rule-based machine translation for Swedish to Danish; Tyers, Francis M.; Nordfalk, Jacob

We would like to thank Google for providing us with the opportunity to participate in the Summer of Code program; in particular, Leslie, Cat, and Ellen, for making it run so smoothly. We would also like to make special mention of two students: Ankitha Rao and Daniel Beck, who, despite being unsuccessful in their applications, continued to work on their proposed projects (an English to Hindi translator, and a module for multi-word units, respectively). Finally, we would like to thank all of the students, mentors, and administrators who contributed their time and skill to Apertium.

By Francis Tyers and Jimmy O'Regan, Summer of Code Mentors for the Apertium Project

[G] The new Black (Friday)

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Official Google Blog: The new Black (Friday)

The traditional kick-off to the holiday shopping season, Black Friday, has arrived. If you're anything like us, you'll be seeking out the newest, coolest products and best deals today as you make those special holiday purchases.

Using Insights for Search, we took a look at some of the holiday gifts that were most searched for this year: Zhu Zhu Pets, Nerf N Strike, Mindflex and the "Twilight" soundtrack were at the top of kids' wishlists, while netbooks, mini notebook computers and mp3 players will (hopefully) fill our "bigger" stockings.

But it's not just about keeping up with the latest and greatest this holiday. The Internet can be a great holiday shopping resource, making it easy not only to find information on the hottest items for this year's holiday shopping season, but also to track down the best prices for those items. You can see this as holiday shoppers are searching more than ever for deals online. Search terms like coupons, promo codes, free shipping and black friday sales have all increased recently. And, as more people turn to their mobile devices to search for deals, coupons are now also available on the go.

In recent years, we've also seen the proliferation of websites dedicated to Black Friday deals — these sites saw a 21% increase in visits during the week of Thanksgiving last year. You can find these sites easily with a search on Google for [black friday sites].

Retailers are increasingly responding to these deal-seeking shoppers. In fact, 60% of retailers report that they are increasing their promotional efforts during this holiday shopping season.* JCPenney, for example, is already promoting their 4 a.m. doorbuster sales and even offering wake-up calls from Cindy Crawford, Rascal Flatts and Kimora Lee Simmons to ensure we don't sleep through the savings. We also love their YouTube homepage ad today, and hope that it encourages some happy holiday purchases (and keeps some significant others out of the proverbial doghouse).

And in-store sales are not the only places to save this year. Many of us will opt out of crowded malls in favor of cuddling up to our laptops, and retailers are taking their sales to the web during this traditionally in-store focused weekend. In fact, 40% of retailers are increasing free shipping offers during this holiday shopping season* — so watch for those deals both in-store and online!

If you're interested in reading more about the holiday shopping season, including what shrewd retailers are doing and how you can take advantage of the same, check out the Google Retail Blog for insights from the Retail industry team.

Now after all this talk of shopping, it's time to get started!

* OTX/Google 2009 Holiday Retailer Survey, May 2009. (Q20) Which of the following advertising tactics has your company used or does your company plan to use in 2009? n=600

Posted by John Mcateer, Managing Director, U.S. Sales

Thursday, November 26, 2009

[G] YouTube Community Gives Thanks to Those That Help the Hungry

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Community Gives Thanks to Those That Help the Hungry

Earlier this month, as part of YouTube Video Volunteers, we asked you to create a short video for the nonprofit organization of your choice tackling the issue of hunger in America. Today, we're featuring the top three submissions, chosen by our partner Feeding America and curator David Arquette, on the YouTube homepage in honor of Thanksgiving, to recognize the important work that is being done to feed those in need.

We were surprised and excited by the range of videos submitted. For example, partner bigedude33 penned an original song about the Food Bank of Central New York, while HavilahTower lent her voice to the Capital Area Food Bank in Texas:

Filmmakers like CassieJaye and nsmith345 powerfully depicted the faces of American citizens being helped by their local food pantries, while vlogger Shawn Ahmed went inside the L.A. Regional Food Bank to demonstrate exactly how they provide support to the Los Angeles community:

To view all Video Volunteer submissions for this month, please visit And be sure to check the channel again next week when we kick off another Video Volunteers round, focusing on human rights, with curator Morgan Freeman.

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched "Charter for Compassion"


[G] Happy Thanksgiving

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Inside AdSense: Happy Thanksgiving

We'd like to wish all our U.S. publishers a very Happy Thanksgiving. As always, we'd like to give thanks to our Inside AdSense readers for your participation and support. If you're traveling, we hope your journey is safe, and wish you a fun holiday weekend with your family and friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Dia Muthana - AdSense Publisher Support

[G] Tip: New tab from the omnibox

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Google Chrome Blog: Tip: New tab from the omnibox

If you've ever wanted to search or navigate without disrupting the page you're currently reading, you've probably opened a new tab to do so. This means either clicking the "new tab" button at the end of the tabstrip, or using the "new tab" menu item or keyboard shortcut (ctrl-t).

A little-known shortcut can help you do this even faster.

If you type something in to the omnibox and hold down the Alt key while you press enter, the resulting page will open as a new tab at the end of your tabstrip, leaving your previous page untouched.

This way you can skip creating a new tab, and go straight to typing in what you want.

Posted by Peter Kasting, Software Engineer

[G] Giving Thanks

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YouTube Blog: Giving Thanks

Last week, ABC News' Good Morning America asked you to share videos about what you're thankful for. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, many of you have answered their call andinvited others on YouTube to create their own "thankful for" lists.

You're thankful for lots of stuff, including your families, your good health, and the everyday things in your life that often go unnoticed. Some of you even shared deeply personal storiesabout why you're grateful.

We're running a special spotlight on the homepage today to showcase some of these videos, and this morning, Good Morning America featured a selection on television in honor of today's holiday. Take a look here.

Happy Holidays -- with thanks.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "Thankful'" sung by 'SAT'


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

[G] Save on holiday shopping

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Save on holiday shopping

With the holiday shopping rush underway, Google Checkout can help you find great deals this season. Over 900 Checkout stores including,, and are offering exclusive discounts of $5, $10, or $20 on what you buy through December 17th.

What's more, it's easy to find places to save as you shop quickly and securely with Checkout. You can either search for products on and look for the Google Checkout promotion badge, or browse participating stores on our new Checkout deals page. Good luck out there!

Posted by Anita Barci, Product Marketing Manager

[G] Alicia Keys Live! on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Alicia Keys Live! on YouTube

If you were one of the millions who tuned in to watch U2 perform live on YouTube last month or if you just love music, you should put this in your calendar: On December 1, R&B superstar Alicia Keys will be performing at an intimate theater in New York City in honor of World AIDS Day. We'll be live-streaming the event worldwide and encouraging viewers to donate to Alicia's charity of choice, Keep a Child Alive.

Here's Alicia's special message about the concert and what it hopes to achieve:

This show, presented by American Express, will start at 8 p.m. (ET) on Tuesday, December 1. Tune in here to watch Alicia live and help raise funds for children with HIV/AIDS.

Michele Flannery, Music Manager, recently watched "Song of Mable" by Matryomin Ensemble Mable


[G] Google Search by voice: Now in Times Square!

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Search by voice: Now in Times Square!

If you've been to Times Square in New York City over the past couple weeks, on any day from 12:30-2:00pm or 6:30-8:00pm, you may have noticed that Google Search by voice is powering Times Square's largest combined displays -- the Reuters Sign and the NASDAQ sign. Anyone can call 888-376-4336 and say the name of a business or a location that they want to search for, like "museum of modern art" or "pizza". Then, the query and local search results from Google will appear on one of the two electronic billboards. This is all part of Verizon's "Droid Does" campaign and has been developed in partnership with Reuters and R/GA, a digital advertising agency.

On Black Friday, Times Square's gigantic interactive search-by-voice demo will be running for 20 hours straight. So if you're in the area and have a chance to take a break from your shopping, or if you want to see your next shopping destination displayed on a Google map on the huge signs, give the demo a try and let us know what you think. And for those of you that aren't in Manhattan on that day, you can still watch the action via webcam.

I flew out to New York last week to try it myself. R/GA gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of the setup, and I was impressed by how they pulled this off. A caller's voice is sent through the phone system, directly into a small farm of real Droids running voice search that are connected to the big outdoor electronic displays! R/GA developers made use of the Android voice recognition API just like any Android developer can.

It's been quite a ride for the search by voice team -- from launching on the iPhone about a year ago, to our launches on BlackBerry and Android, and on S60 in Mandarin Chinese, to powering billboards in Times Square. We're thankful for the chance to work on technology that excites us and that can help more of you search faster and more easily on your phone. And we hope you've been noticing the ongoing improvements in the accuracy of our voice recognition. We can't wait to show you what we have in store for next year.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Posted by Mike LeBeau, Senior Software Engineer

[G] Episode # 3 - Rapid Fire Web Analytics Q and A with Avinash and Nick

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Google Analytics Blog: Episode # 3 - Rapid Fire Web Analytics Q and A with Avinash and Nick

This is the third video in our recent Rapid Fire series where you share your most burning questions via the Google Analytics Google Moderator site and we answer them!

Generally we want to focus on your questions about key metrics and analysis techniques, but this week we get a little technical.

In this episode we discuss:
  • How to group referrals from common sources
  • How to setup Google Analytics to track multiple web sites and view all the aggregate data in one profile
  • Strategies to track websites that support different languages
  • The value of using Google Analytics on You Tube partner channels
  • Troubleshooting discrepancies in Google Analytics Data
  • Best practices for implementing E-commerce tracking for E-commerce sites
  • Simplifying customizing the date range in GA
  • How to track segments of users who interact with internal referrals/cross sell campaigns
  • Tracking Social Media campaigns

Here are links to resources we discussed in the video:
If you found this helpful, we'd love to hear your comments.

If you have a question you would like us to answer, please submit a question or vote for your favorite question in our public Google Moderator site. Avinash and I will answer your latest questions in a couple of weeks with yet another entertaining video.

Please add your thoughts about the Q&A via comments below. Thanks!

Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics Team

[G] 31 Google Maps tips for smooth sailing through the holiday season

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Google LatLong: 31 Google Maps tips for smooth sailing through the holiday season

With families coming together, the start of the ski season, and weekly shopping trips becoming acceptable, there's a lot to love about the holiday season. What's that? Gridlocked traffic? Fully booked hotels? Can't find the perfect gift? Oh my, the holidays are rough!

To help kick off your season right, we've put together a list of 31 Google Maps tips for life to help you to save time, look smart, and manage your travels efficiently. Start with the tips that are right for you, based on what type of expert you'd like to become: a Local Expert, Ace Navigator, Global Explorer, or Business Owner. You can try a tip a day for a month, or blast through them all at once.

Here are my favorite tips from each section:

Local Expert Tip #3: Just keep searching
It's rare that you leave the house with only one goal in mind. More often you're heading to one place, like a party across town, but you need to pick up your contribution at the grocery store and get gas along the way. In Google Maps, you can see multiple searches layered on the map all at the same time. When you do two or more consecutive searches, you'll notice a blue bar at the bottom of the left panel. Click on it to expand the widget, which allows you to turn on both searches at once.

The markers on the map are color-coded, so you can tell which search is which. This is perfect for helping you pick the most efficient route to accomplish all your goals.

Ace Navigator Tip #4: Check live and predictive traffic information
Traffic patterns are hard to decipher when you're driving out-of-town. For both highways and arterial roads, Google Maps provides live and predictive traffic information for any day of the week and time of the day, based on past conditions and live crowdsourcing. Plan your departure times to avoid traffic jams!

Global Explorer Tip #6: A page for every place
No matter how far from home your travels take you, with Google Maps on your side you can become an expert even in a foreign locale. By clicking on the "More Info" link in a business listing, easily learn more about any place on the map with information ranging from photos to reviews to store hours. A Place Page is like a webpage for every place in the world, organizing all the relevant information about it. Who wants blueberry pancakes in New York? I've never been there, but I'd now recommend Clinton Street Baking Co, which has the "best blueberry pancakes ever!" according to reviews.

Cross your fingers that the economy is recovering, but even so, holiday shoppers are likely to be on the lookout for bargains. Google Insights for Search shows that searches for coupons are still up. By claiming your Google business listing through Local Business Center, you can create coupons that will appear alongside your business listing on Google Maps. Let Google users print your coupons and bring them to your business, or even show your coupons on mobile phones to attract customers on the go.

Enjoy our new tips for life, and next time you find someone lacking in holiday cheer, just share with them one of 31 ways to save time, look smart, and manage their travels more efficiently, like you.

Posted by Laura Melahn, Product Marketing Manager

[G] Iraqi Government on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Iraqi Government on YouTube

Governments, heads of state, and leaders from around the world are on YouTube, including the Pope, the Royal Family, and Queen Rania, and presidents from the United States to France, South Korea to Estonia. Today we're especially pleased to announce that the Iraqi Government has launched a dedicated YouTube channel, at Learn more from Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki:

Earlier this year, I visited Baghdad as a guest of the U.S. State Department to engage in conversations about the role of technology in Iraq. In discussions with elected officials, private companies and NGOs, I routinely heard the desire to connect with fellow citizens, Iraqis outside the country's borders, and cultures across the world. But it wasn't just the Iraqi Government who expressed an interest in YouTube — I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of awareness from a wide variety of Iraqis. One young student told us she uses YouTube to understand what is really happening in her country based on the variety of opinions, citizen journalism and news reports uploaded to the site. There was little difference between her examples and those we often hear in other countries, which speaks to both the global community on YouTube and the universality of the video experience.

Just this past week, our CEO Eric Schmidt traveled to Iraq to meet with government officials there about the challenge and opportunities they face. While in Iraq, Eric shot this video for Citizentube:

We hope that by launching on YouTube, the Iraqi Government and their citizens will also find it easy to use YouTube to engage in such conversations, and bring their proceedings, policies and ideas to a larger audience around the world.

Hunter Walk, Director of Product Management


[G] Iraqi Government on YouTube

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Official Google Blog: Iraqi Government on YouTube

(Cross-posted from the YouTube Blog)

Governments, heads of state, and leaders from around the world are on YouTube, including the Pope, the Royal Family, and Queen Rania and presidents from the United States to France, South Korea to Estonia. Today we're especially pleased to announce that the Iraqi Government has launched a dedicated YouTube channel, at Learn more from Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki:

Earlier this year, I visited Baghdad as a guest of the U.S. State Department to engage in conversations about the role of technology in Iraq. In discussions with elected officials, private companies and NGOs, I routinely heard the desire to connect with fellow citizens, Iraqis outside the country's borders, and cultures across the world. But it wasn't just the Iraqi Government who expressed an interest in YouTube — I was pleasantly surprised by the high level of awareness from a wide variety of Iraqis. One young student told us she uses YouTube to understand what is really happening in her country based on the variety of opinions, citizen journalism and news reports uploaded to the site. There was little difference between her examples and those we often hear in other countries, which speaks to both the global community on YouTube and the universality of the video experience.

Just this past week, our CEO Eric Schmidt traveled to Iraq to meet with government officials there about the challenge and opportunities they face. While in Iraq, Eric shot this video for Citizentube:

We hope that by launching on YouTube, the Iraqi Government and their citizens will also find it easy to use YouTube to engage in such conversations, and bring their proceedings, policies and ideas to a larger audience around the world.

Posted by Hunter Walk, Director of Product Management

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

[G] Google Apps Premier Edition Innovation – Year in Review

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: ​Google Apps Premier Edition Innovation – Year in Review

Google Apps is helping millions of companies save money, but more importantly, Google Apps helps businesses move beyond the slow, multi-year innovation cycle typical of legacy technologies. We’ve released over 100 significant improvements and updates over the last year, and businesses automatically have access to these updates without having to manage complex and costly upgrades.

Last week I hosted a webcast titled Google Apps Premier Edition Innovation – Year in Review to spotlight the most important improvements we’ve made recently. You can watch the replay below or see it on YouTube.

Innovation happening across the web is rapidly translating into better business email tools, more efficient collaboration choices for coworkers, and more secure, higher reliability technology for companies. We’re excited about what’s in store for Google Apps, and to keep up with future developments, you can subscribe to the Google Apps Updates RSS feed, or sign up for email alerts.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

[G] Get movie trailers and more with Google Search for mobile

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Get movie trailers and more with Google Search for mobile

Heads up, movie fans -- today we've launched a mobile version of our new Google Search results for movies, which makes it easier to plan a trip to the movies. Just go to in the web browser on your iPhone, Palm WebOS, or Android-powered device, search for "movies", and then tap on the "More movies" link. From there, you can either browse a list of movies or select the "Theaters" button to browse a list of theaters near you.

Our new movie listings page now includes buttons to play trailers right on your phone, ratings and categories, movie posters, upcoming showtimes, and a concise list of the nearest theaters and their distances from you. We keep information on this page succinct so you can quickly browse through shows and showtimes to help you decide which movie to see. If you want more details about a specific movie, just touch the poster or movie title and you'll see our new movie details page that has a synopsis of the movie, a more detailed list of showtimes, the cast and crew, and pictures. Watch our trailer for a quick demo:

When you browse by theater, you'll see a map of the theaters nearest to you. Then, just tap on the link to any particular theater to see what shows are playing there and what times they're playing. Of course, you can also search for specific movies or theaters and see their listings right away. Try searching for recent movies like "New Moon" or "Where the Wild Things Are" or search for "glendale 18 los angeles".

If you enjoy searching for movies with Google nearly as much as we have during testing, then this will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Our new search results for movies are available in English in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. As always, let us know your feedback. This conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Posted by Nick Fey, User Experience Designer, Google mobile team

[G] Google Affiliate Network Winter Holiday Retail Insights

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Google Affiliate Network: Google Affiliate Network Winter Holiday Retail Insights

As we head into the busy holiday shopping season our water-cooler conversations turn to prognostications about the upcoming seasonal peak. With a vast publisher network helping consumers find offers and product information, the affiliate channel is typically a very accurate reflection of ecommerce trends, particularly during peak shopping seasons. And of course the most interesting change during the holiday season, we (online marketers), really look forward to Mondays!

Cyber Monday is a widely accepted phenomenon and it's dueling with its offline counterpart, Black Friday, for attention from shoppers and advertisers. But November 30th is just the first of the exciting Mondays during the online shopping season. The most important indicator of the holiday shopping peak is the calendar. It all depends on where the holidays fall relative to shipping deadlines. Google Affiliate Network captures a summary of our advertisers shipping deadlines to help affiliate publishers with their optimization schedules. Publishers can access the shipping deadline calendar in the Google Affiliate Network user interface. Sign in and visit the announcements section on the publisher home page.

During the holiday season we see activity accelerate around the first of November and that trend continued this month. We look at four key indicators: visits, conversions, average order size and conversion rate. Visits peak first, with the spike in conversions lagging by 2-3 days. Conversion rates peak just before the average shipping deadline as last minute shoppers move into transaction mode. Average order size has proven to be a good indicator of the overall e-commerce environment, as in 2008 we saw the average order size drop pretty significantly over previous holiday seasons. The consensus at Google Affiliate Network is that we'll see the most significant spike in volume on November 30th but we anticipate the following Mondays (Dec. 7th and Dec 14th) will rival Cyber Monday in overall volume and conversion rates will peak on Monday, December 14th as the shipping deadlines loom.

Note: Data presented represents "Google Affiliate Network's Same Store Sales" to illustrate affiliate channel trends. The trend data is based only affiliate programs in place during the previous year, it does not include new advertisers and excludes certain anomalous publishers.

[G] The Iterative Web App: A new look for Gmail and Google mobile web apps

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Official Google Mobile Blog: The Iterative Web App: A new look for Gmail and Google mobile web apps

On April 7th, we announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iPhone and Android-powered devices. Among the improvements was a complete redesign of the web application's underlying code which allows us to more rapidly develop and release new features that users have been asking for, as explained in our first post. We'd like to introduce The Iterative Webapp, a series where we will continue to release features for Gmail for mobile. Today: A new look for our buttons and toolbars.

Some of you noticed and asked us about recent changes we made to Gmail for mobile and a few of our other mobile web apps. If you use the web browser to access Gmail, Latitude, Calendar, or Tasks on your Android-powered device or iPhone, you'll see that we freshened up the look of the buttons and toolbars.

We never want the buttons and toolbars of Google apps to compete with your content; rather, they should compliment them. So the headers and buttons are now darker, to better show the content of your emails and calendar entries.

We also made the all the buttons a bit larger, for easier button-tapping.

To try these apps yourself, point your mobile browser to Gmail (, Calendar (, Latitude (, Tasks (, or just go to from you phone and find all these web apps under the 'more' link.

Is this an improvement? Let us know what you think.

by Charles Warren, User Experience Designer, Google Mobile

[G] More Information about Malware Details

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Google Online Security Blog: More Information about Malware Details

Posted by: Lucas Ballard, Anti-Malware Team

A month ago we announced the release of a new Webmaster Tools feature that helps webmasters identify malicious content that has been surreptitiously added to their sites. We've been working on improving the quality of the feature since it launched, and yesterday we released some changes that should make the information even more useful. Most of the changes have occurred behind the scenes, but the end result is that we can provide more data, with higher accuracy, and do so more quickly. If your site is receiving a malware warning for Google search results, please visit Webmaster Tools for more details about the problematic code that our automated systems have discovered.

We will continue to improve the feature over time and welcome feedback via comments on this blogpost. If you are a webmaster of a compromised site and use the feature to help clean your site, please include feedback in the comment field of the appeal request.

[G] New search ad formats

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Official Google Blog: New search ad formats

At Google, we're committed to giving you the information you want — regardless of the form in which it might appear.

Text is often useful, but sometimes videos and pictures are a more effective way to receive information. For example, if you want to learn a magic trick, a video showing you how to perform the trick is likely the best result. So over the past few years, we've blended videos, images, maps and more into the search results on

It also makes sense to provide you with richer types of information in the ads. If you're looking to buy your mom a new handbag for the holidays, for instance, you might want to see pictures, prices, the addresses of boutiques in your area and a map of how to get there — all within the ad.

To provide a better search ads experience, we've been developing and testing a variety of new ad formats. These formats are focused on giving you the information you need, while retaining what you love about Google advertising: that the ads are relevant and useful.

If you’re in the U.S. you may have already seen a number of these ad formats when searching on Google.

Some of them include visual elements. For example, if you’re curious about the movies that are playing this holiday season, you might see an ad with a video that lets you watch a trailer.

You might also see an ad with more links so you can quickly find a specific page in an advertiser’s website. If you're researching airfare to visit your relatives for the holidays, it saves time to go directly to Priceline's page about booking flights, rather than the general homepage or rental car page.

Or, if you’re trying to find a holiday bouquet to bring to your dinner party hostess, you might see an ad that shows your local florist's location on a map and provides driving directions.

Other new ad formats might help you find all the addresses and locations of a chain store in your area. So if you're vacationing abroad this season and have a craving for something familiar, the ad might show you all the nearby Pizza Huts that can deliver to your hotel.

And starting today, you might spot ads that include images and prices for specific products. When shopping for the ski outfit your nephew has been hinting about all year, you might see pictures from the retailer’s inventory to help you quickly determine if they have the color and style you had in mind.

Still other ad formats may introduce new ways of presenting information, such as Comparison Ads, which allow you to specify exactly what you're looking for and to compare rates and prices in a single location. With the approaching new year comes resolutions to get things in order, so you might want an ad that lets you see side-by-side refinancing offers.

While we experiment with new formats, we'll remain loyal to our core principle: that getting the right ad to the right person at the right time matters. As we continue to think up innovative ways to give you the information you want, you’re likely to see even more ad formats until we pinpoint the most useful, relevant and engaging ones. We’ll keep trying new things until we discover the “perfect” ads that improve your overall search experience.

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, VP, Product Management