Friday, December 31, 2010

[G] Google blogging in 2010

| More

Official Google Blog: Google blogging in 2010

On the last day of 2010, it’s time for us to reflect on the past year of Google blogging. This year, we published 454 posts (including this one) on the Official Google Blog—7 percent more than 2009. Those posts had an astonishing number of readers: 24,768,052 unique visitors stopped by this year, more than 70 percent more than last year. (The huge increase is mostly due to this year’s April Fools' post, which benefited from a link in a prominent location; more on that below.) People come to the blog from all around the world; the top countries sending visitors in 2010 were the U.S., U.K., Canada, India and Germany, but readers came from dozens of other places as well.

The top posts this year run the gamut from policy changes to product arrivals:
  1. A different kind of company name - 10,604,183 unique pageviews, more than 30 percent of the year’s total. Our April Fools' Day post about changing our company name to “Topeka” had a crazy-high number of pageviews, in large part because there was a link to our humble blog on Google’s homepage that day. That’s a lot of eyes!
  2. A new approach to China - 924,335. We post about our new approach to business in China; we will no longer censor search results on Google.cn.
  3. Introducing Google Chrome OS - 653,803. This post introducing our open source operating system was published in July 2009 (and was the top post of 2009), but continued to draw readers this year. (This month, we launched a pilot program for Chrome OS notebooks.)
  4. Think big with a gig: our experimental fiber network - 483,399. We announce our plan to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States.
  5. Update on Google Wave - 469,164. We share the news that we don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product.
  6. Introducing Google Places - 341,136. The Local Business Center (the tool that enables business owners to manage their presence on Google) becomes Google Places.
  7. Announcing Google TV: TV meets web. Web meets TV - 314,991. At Google I/O, we unveil a new experience for television that combines your familiar TV with the freedom and power of the Internet.
  8. Our new search index: Caffeine - 271,393. Our new indexing system provides 50 percent fresher results for web searches than our last index, and is the largest collection of web content we‘ve offered.
  9. A new approach to China: an update - 228,591. In March, we stop censoring our search services on Google.cn, redirecting users from there to Google.com.hk for uncensored search in simplified Chinese. (Later, we introduce a landing page for Chinese users that links to Google.com.hk.)
  10. Introducing Nexus S, with Gingerbread - 220,482. We introduce Gingerbread, the latest version of the Android platform, and Nexus S, the next Android device from the Nexus line of mobile products.
Other popular posts included Google’s new look, the ability to change the background image on your Google homepage, Google Instant, a playable PAC-MAN doodle, the ability to call phones from Gmail and—oh, that—cars that drive themselves.

In 2010, we kept up with our search and apps series, and introduced a few new ones: about small businesses using Google’s products, updates from YouTube, great Google stories from users and a bunch of new “Search On” videos. We also shared our thoughts on the future of display advertising. We had fun with giant photo collages and other wall art, got into the spirit of the World Cup and shared a new kind of musical experience built for the modern browser. We shared imagery of Haiti after the January earthquake and the Gulf of Mexico after the oil spill. We also talked about how Google Earth played a role in the discovery of a rare hominid ancestor in South Africa, celebrated quite a few milestones, and gave you a glimpse of the bzzz-iest Googlers on campus at the Hiveplex.

In December, we revamped our blog directory so you can more easily find the exact place to get the news you’re looking for; you can sort by category, language or region. We revamped our Twitter directory too, and added new directories for our Facebook pages and YouTube channels.

Speaking of Twitter, this was our second year of tweeting officially on @google. We crossed the 2,000-tweet mark earlier this month and now have more than 2.6 million followers. Our Twitter family grew by leaps and bounds as well—you can now follow Google on more than 100 Twitter accounts posting news of all kinds, from API updates for developers to product news in countries around the world. Twitter was also our biggest referrer to this blog in 2010 (excluding Google search, Google properties such as google.com/places and Feedburner)—followed closely by Facebook.

As always, we’re grateful to all of our readers for keeping up with us over the year, and we’re looking forward to bringing you more news in 2011!

Posted by Emily Wood, Google Blog Editor
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/google-blogging-in-2010.html

Thursday, December 30, 2010

[G] Geek Time with Chris DiBona

| More

Google Open Source Blog: Geek Time with Chris DiBona



The end of the year is always a great time to take a moment and look back at the developments of the past twelve months. Two members of the Google Open Source Programs Office, Chris DiBona and Jeremy Allison, sat down together for a review of open source accomplishments in 2010, and the conversation is shared with you here. Chris is the Open Source Programs Manager at Google, which means he directs Google’s open source compliance, releasing, and outreach efforts. He reveals lots of insights into Google’s approach towards open source and the influence of open source on technology and business.

The video of their discussion is separated into five parts, with descriptions below.
Part 1
Chris and Jeremy discuss their favorite open source projects of 2010, including GoogleCL, Android, Chromium, Chrome OS, and WebM. Together they ponder the future of computing, debating whether or not 2011 will be “the year of the Linux desktop.”

Part 2
Chris explains how Google decides what software to open source and under which licenses. He also mentions tools such as Make Open Easy (MOE) that are used to help engineers release and maintain their code. The topic eventually turns to license defragmentation, and Chris describes his efforts to streamline the number of licenses that Google releases under. In the process he shares his theory about what makes open source projects succeed.

Part 3
Chris and Jeremy talk about Google Summer of Code, its history, and the impact it has on the open source community.

Part 4
Chris and Jeremy are old friends who met in the 90’s at a Silicon Valley Linux Users Group meeting. While reminiscing about the early days of Silicon Valley, they discuss the modern role of user groups, both here and abroad. Chris visited Qatar, Egypt, and Jordan earlier this year, and he compares the tech atmosphere in those countries to Silicon Valley in the late 90’s, with both open source and entrepreneurship developing simultaneously.

Part 5
Chris gives an overview of his career and explains how he came to be the Open Source Programs Manager at Google.
Happy New Year, and see you in 2011!

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/12/geek-time-with-chris-dibona.html

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

[G] And a happy new year!

| More

Inside AdSense: And a happy new year!

A merry end to the holiday season from your friends in AdSense! A few of us from our North America team are pictured below to send some additional cheer. Hope you have a great end to 2010 and a fantastic start to 2011!


Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/12/and-happy-new-year.html

Monday, December 27, 2010

[G] Free transaction processing for Google Grants recipients continues through 2011

| More

Official Google Checkout Blog: Free transaction processing for Google Grants recipients continues through 2011

We’re thrilled to announce that as part of the Google Checkout for Non-Profits program, free transaction processing for Google Grants recipients will be extended through 2011.

So if you’re part of the Google Grants program, you’ll be able to use Google Checkout to accept donations without paying transaction processing fees in the coming year. We hope many non-profits take advantage of this benefit through the next year as they raise funds to advance their causes.

Please read more about (and join!) the Google Checkout for Non-Profits program. For more information about other Google tools for non-profits, check out for Google for Non-Profits site.

Posted by Satyajeet Salgar, Product Manager
URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2010/12/free-transaction-processing-for-google.html

Saturday, December 25, 2010

[G] 10 of our favorite AdWords innovations from 2010

| More

Inside AdWords: 10 of our favorite AdWords innovations from 2010

As 2010 comes to a close, we’ve been reflecting on the ways that AdWords and online advertising as a whole have evolved over the past year. From the launch of new search ad formats on Google.com to Search Funnel reports that illustrate search behavior leading up to a sale, 2010 saw a number of new developments that we hope have made AdWords an even more powerful and effective way to reach your customers.

Here are 10 of our favorite new ad innovations from 2010:
  1. AdWords Campaign Experiments: Experiment with bid, keyword, ad group and placement changes, then measure how they impact your campaign performance.
  2. Search Funnels: Understand the Google.com search ad click and impression behavior leading up to a conversion.
  3. Product Ads: Highlight your most relevant products with pictures and prices directly on the search results page with Product Listing Ads and Product Extensions.

  4. Product Listing Ads


    Product Extensions

  5. AdWords Call Metrics: Include a Google Voice phone number in ads that appear on Google.com, and measure the number of phone calls generated by your AdWords campaigns.

  6. Call Metrics

  7. Click-to-call Phone Extensions: Make it easier for potential customers to reach you by including a clickable phone number in ads that appear on mobile phones with full Internet browsers.

  8. Click-to-call phone extensions

  9. Display Campaign Optimizer: Save time and increase conversions on the Google Display Network with this new automatic bidding and targeting tool.
  10. Enhanced CPC: A bidding option that automatically adjusts the Max CPC bids that you’ve set based on the likelihood that your ad will convert, leading to more conversions and higher profit.
  11. Broad Match Modifier: A keyword match type giving you more potential traffic than phrase match with comparable ROI.
  12. AdWords Automated Rules: Save time by scheduling automatic changes to your AdWords account based on criteria that you specify.
  13. Remarketing: Show your ads to users who’ve previously visited your website as they browse sites across the Google Display Network.
You’ll always find the latest features at Google Ad Innovations, a place to explore new Google advertising technologies, watch short video demos, and try out select new tools. We have even more in store for 2011 and look forward to sharing these innovations with you soon!

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/12/10-of-our-favorite-adwords-innovations.html

[G] There's still time to meet your 2010 resolution to become Google AdWords certified

| More

Inside AdWords: There's still time to meet your 2010 resolution to become Google AdWords certified

Long lines at the shops got you down? Dreading yet another ugly sweater party or family cookie exchange? Kicking yourself for not becoming Google AdWords certified in 2010?

No need to fret, there’s still plenty of time left in the year. To become Google AdWords certified, you'll need to pass the Google Advertising Fundamentals Exam and one of the three advanced exams (Search Advertising, Reporting and Analysis, or Display). You can register for exams here, and take them from the comfort of your own office or home -- the perfect activity to do while sitting in front of a cozy fire waiting for mysterious, magical home invaders to bring you gifts. As a bonus, you’ll be able to give your company the holiday gift of another certified individual to add to its profile page!

We’ve made it easy for you to prepare for the exams. The AdWords Learning Center offers text lessons (some with interactive modules) for each topic on the exam, which you can review at your own pace. In addition, if you can’t quite squeeze in training this year, we have numerous AdWords Seminars for Success in early 2011 in a number of major cities throughout the US.

For more information, please visit the Google AdWords Certification Program homepage.


Posted by Nathania Lozada, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/12/theres-still-time-to-meet-your-2010.html

[G] Take a Survey, Win a Blogger shirt, Be Fashionable

| More

Blogger Buzz: Take a Survey, Win a Blogger shirt, Be Fashionable

Our ears are always open to your feedback, whether it's a request for a new feature you'd like to see, a suggested improvement to the latest release from Draft, or input during a usability study.

In that spirit, we're hoping that you'll once again help us out us by taking a quick survey about our existing monetization features. And to make it a little more fun, we'll be sending out a handful of shiny new Blogger T-shirts to a lucky bunch of survey-filler-outers (chosen at random of course!).

Thanks for the help in advance! And for those who don't win a shirt, keep an eye out for other ways to get your hands on one in the future.

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2010/12/take-survey-win-blogger-shirt-be.html

[G] Blogger Dubbed the Most Reliable Blogging Service on the Web

| More

Blogger Buzz: Blogger Dubbed the Most Reliable Blogging Service on the Web

Posted by The Blogger Team

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and we certainly have reason to celebrate after the folks at Royal Pingdom conducted an independent study of blogging services on the Web and found that Blogger was without question the most reliable. In fact, Blogger was the only service of all those tested that delivered 100% uptime. You can read the full article here.

Our favorite quote:
“Since Blogger was the only service with zero downtime overall, we skipped the chart here. We hope you don’t mind. It simply wouldn’t have been very interesting.”
When it comes to reliability, we certainly like being uninteresting!
URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2010/12/blogger-dubbed-most-reliable-blogging.html

Friday, December 24, 2010

[G] Battle of the Demos: Musical Holiday Edition

| More

Official Google Blog: Battle of the Demos: Musical Holiday Edition

Nothing brings out holiday spirit like caroling around town or sharing a good time with friends. But when you combine both of those fun activities with Google technology, Weezer, Greyson Chance, and Demo Slam, you get Battle of the Demos: Musical Holiday Edition.

This winter season, Weezer and Greyson Chance stepped to into the Demo Slam arena to show the world their most creative tech demos. We know they can both sing, but who will win in a battle of technology?

Spending his Christmas home in Oklahoma City, Greyson Chance figured he could combine Google Local Search and caroling to spread some musical cheer around town:



Weezer is known for their adoring fans (well, at least one adoring fan authoring this post). Check out this slam that gets the whole crowd involved:



Head over to demoslam.com to vote and help decide whether a voice search performed by 3,000 people or crooning through the streets of Oklahoma City will reign supreme.

Posted by Laura Melahn, Weezer Fan Club and Amanda Kelly, Greyson Chance Cheer Squad
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/battle-of-demos-musical-holiday-edition.html

[G] Notes from the 2010 LLVM Developers' Meeting

| More

Google Open Source Blog: Notes from the 2010 LLVM Developers' Meeting

My name is Lang Hames, and I am a PhD student at the University of Sydney where I research aggressive register allocation techniques. Last year I completed a six month internship with the LLVM team improving their register allocation infrastructure, and last month Google sponsored my attendance at the 2010 LLVM Developers’ Meeting.

I had a fantastic time at the meeting. Californian hospitality always makes me feel right at home, and it was great to see all my friends from previous Dev Meetings and my internship with the LLVM team.

The meeting was huge this year, with over 190 attendees and such a abundance of talks it was impossible to make it around to everything on the day. It's a good thing the entire proceedings are up on the web. The talks this year were impressive and diverse, including introductions to major new LLVM-family projects, new applications leveraging LLVM technology, and targets ranging from GPUs to FPGAs.

A few of my favourite talks:

Doug Gregor, a member of the Clang team at Apple and code owner of the Clang libraries, gave a great talk on "libclang: Thinking Beyond the Compiler.” (PDF) libclang is the Clang compiler's functionality packaged as a library. It lets you parse source, access diagnostics, examine ASTs and even find code completion targets. This raises the really exciting prospect of building new development tools on top of a feature complete front-end. Imagine having syntax highlighting, code-completion and cross-reference all handled by the same parser that's in the compiler. It's difficult to over-state how cool this is, and I say that as an optimization guy (I thought the front end was just there to feed me CFGs). I'd highly recommend checking out a copy of Clang and playing with it. Doug's talk included plenty of code snippets, and I've found reading through them to be a great way to get started.

Craig Silverstein of Google gave a talk on "Implementing Include-what-you-use Using Clang” (PDF). Include-what-you-use is the principle that C/C++ source files should directly #include header files that provide declarations/definitions that they use, rather than relying on transitive #includes. Building on Clang, Craig has developed a tool to analyse C++ code to detect and correct violations of this principle. This looks like a really handy and great example of what you can build on top of libclang.

Howard Hinnant of Apple introduced us to libc++ (PDF), a new C++ standard library built from the ground up with C++0x in mind. It has a lot of cool features, including fast default constructors, minimal memory footprints for default constructed objects, and fast move constructors. Dependence on libstdc++ is no barrier to trying it out: you can happily link your project against both libraries (libc++ uses inline namespaces to avoid confusion over ABI incompatible objects). One feature I thought was particularly neat was the adaptive sort: the sorting algorithms in libc++ automatically recognize partially sorted ranges and optimize their behavior to exploit the partial sorting for better performance. Howard's test cases showed impressive speedups (over 2x in a lot of cases). I'm really looking forward to trying this out in some of my code.

Greg Clayton, also of Apple, introduced LLDB (PDF), a debugger built on Clang and LLVM libraries. This looks incredible and deserves a blog post of its own, but I'll mention a few of my favorite features here. By building on libclang, LLDB is able to parse complex C++ expressions, up to and including multi-line expressions with local variables and control flow. It has been built from scratch to support a multicore, multithreaded world, with per-thread state and runtime control. Symbolic breakpoints allow you to set breakpoints with everything from File and Line to regular expressions (great for breaking on getters, setters, handlers, etc). Finally, following LLVM's design philosophy all this functionality will be available via a C-API, with python bindings provided too. Looks like another excellent base for new developer tools, and I can't wait to see what people do with it.

Other talks I particularly enjoyed included Nadav Rotem's talk (PDF) on using LLVM for C-to-Verilog synthesis (aka building circuits out of C-code). Nadav ran us though some of the optimizations necessary to prepare LLVM IR for efficient hardware synthesis. Xuejun Yang's talk, "Hardening LLVM with Random Testing" (PDF), was also fantastic. Xuejun's team have developed a system for generating expressive, unambiguous C programs with defined meanings which can be used to test compiler correctness. Since March, 2008 they've helped find and fix over 170 bugs in LLVM.

Slides and videos of the talks I mentioned, and many others, are available on the LLVM Dev Meeting 2010 website. I highly encourage you to check them out.

The Dev Meeting doesn't stop at the talks of course. It's an invaluable opportunity to meet and swap ideas with other LLVM developers. I got a chance to meet Jakob Olesen and Andy Trick, who have been doing great things with LLVM's register allocation framework (my PhD research area). I also chatted with some of the Google devs who are using Clang to tackle issues such as include-what-you-use in the Google codebase. Finally I attended “Birds of a Feather” meetings on LLVM optimizations, and on the progress that's been made (and plans for the future) in building Linux with Clang.

Many thanks to Google, Apple, Qualcomm, and the Qualcomm Innovation Center for making such an amazing event possible. I'd also like to add very special thank you to Google for sponsoring me to attend this event. At the end of the day I walked out amazed at what has been achieved in the last year, and how active the LLVM community has been. I look forward to trying out all these new tools for myself, and I can't wait for next year!

By Lang Hames, LLVM Developer
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/12/notes-from-2010-llvm-developers-meeting.html

[G] Now on YouTube: googleOSPO

| More

Google Open Source Blog: Now on YouTube: googleOSPO

You may have noticed that this blog has been featuring more videos recently. Today we are launching a new YouTube channel, googleOSPO, to organize videos relating to Google and open source in one place. There are playlists of Google Tech Talks that feature open source projects, Googlers speaking at open source conferences, and of course original content like Jeremy Allison’s Geek Time series.

In addition to our new channel, our student programs channel continues to grow with videos, screencasts, and presentations from our Google Summer of Code community. As the Google Code-in program wraps up, we hope to add more videos from those participants as well. Both channels will have content added on a regular basis, so subscribe if you don’t want to miss anything!

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/12/now-on-youtube-googleospo.html

[G] Happy holidays from AdSense

| More

Inside AdSense: Happy holidays from AdSense

Wishing you a very happy holidays from all of us in AdSense! Our team in Dublin is pictured below to send you extra season's greetings.



Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/12/happy-holidays-from-adsense.html

[G] Dashing through the snow... with NORAD and Google

| More

Google LatLong: Dashing through the snow... with NORAD and Google

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

Every Christmas Eve, children all over the world ask themselves—and their parents—questions about Santa’s magical journey. How does Santa visit so many children in one night? Will he eat the cookies I left out? How does he fit all those presents into his sleigh? These childhood mysteries are part of what makes the Santa tradition so special.

There’s one timeless question that we’re proud to say we can help answer: Where in the world is Santa at this very moment? Thanks in part to recent advances in warp-speed GPS technology and some very clever elves (elveneering?) NORAD Tracks Santa is once again prepped and ready to go.

Starting tomorrow, December 24 at 2:00am EST, visit www.noradsanta.org to follow Santa as he journeys around the world delivering presents to children in more than 200 countries and territories. There are a few different ways to find the jolly old man in his unmistakable red suit over the course of the day, so feel free to track him using any of the following methods:
  • See Santa on a Google Map: On your home computer or laptop, visit www.noradsanta.org and choose your preferred language. You’ll see a large Google Map on the page displaying Santa’s current location and his next stop. Click the video icons to watch “Santa Cam” videos, and click the gift icons to learn more about each city.

  • Watch Santa fly with the Google Earth Plug-in: From www.noradsanta.org, click on the link Track Santa in Google Earth. You'll see Santa steering his sleigh right on the webpage. If you don't have the Google Earth plug-in, you can get ready by downloading it ahead of time.

  • Follow Santa on your phone: Track Santa from your mobile phone by opening Google Maps for mobile and searching for [santa]. Or, visit m.noradsanta.org on your phone’s browser.

  • Subscribe to his YouTube channel: Santa’s home on YouTube is at http://www.youtube.com/noradtrackssanta. That’s where you can find videos from his journey throughout the night.

  • Get real-time information about Santa’s location: Use Google’s Realtime Search to get updates from social networks, news and micro-blogs like Twitter at @noradsanta, and keep up with news about his journey on this Facebook page.
For any techie questions you might have, we’ve also put together some helpful tips and tricks about all the cool ways you can experience Santa’s journey. Now that you know how to follow Saint Nick on Christmas Eve, it’s our tradition to tell the story of how this all started...

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) first began to track Santa in 1955 when a misprinted advertisement in a Sears & Roebuck catalogue mistakenly led callers expecting a Santa-hotline to the NORAD commander-in-chief's telephone. Embracing the spirit of the season, NORAD used its satellite and radar capabilities to offer callers sleigh-location updates, and has tracked Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve ever since. Then in 2004, Google started tracking Santa on Google Earth as a 20% project, which in 2007 grew into a partnership with NORAD, adding the mapping technology of Google Maps and Google Earth to the NORAD experience. Over the years, other Google teams have also joined in the holiday fun (YouTube, Google Voice’s www.SendACallFromSanta.com and Google SketchUp).

As we approach this year’s Christmas Eve adventure, Santa was able to take a break from the preparations to visit the New York Stock Exchange this past Monday. His helpful elves kept everything at the North Pole on schedule while folks from Google and NORAD attended the Closing Bell ceremony, and stood alongside Santa from Macy’s going over last minute details about tomorrow’s big ride.

Santa with NORAD, Google and members of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation (that’s me, the tall guy in the back row clapping)

So don’t forget to visit www.noradsanta.org tomorrow morning starting at 2:00am EST when Santa embarks on his flight. From all of us here at Google, happy holidays and here’s to a very happy New Year!


Posted by Brian McClendon, Original Google Engineering Elf
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/12/dashing-through-snow-with-norad-and.html

[G] Dashing through the snow... with NORAD and Google

| More

Official Google Blog: Dashing through the snow... with NORAD and Google

(Cross-posted from the Lat Long Blog)

Every Christmas Eve, children all over the world ask themselves—and their parents—questions about Santa’s magical journey. How does Santa visit so many children in one night? Will he eat the cookies I left out? How does he fit all those presents into his sleigh? These childhood mysteries are part of what makes the Santa tradition so special.

There’s one timeless question that we’re proud to say we can help answer: Where in the world is Santa at this very moment? Thanks in part to recent advances in warp-speed GPS technology and some very clever elves (elveneering?) NORAD Tracks Santa is once again prepped and ready to go.

Starting tomorrow, December 24 at 2:00am EST, visit www.noradsanta.org to follow Santa as he journeys around the world delivering presents to children in more than 200 countries and territories. There are a few different ways to find the jolly old man in his unmistakable red suit over the course of the day, so feel free to track him using any of the following methods:
  • See Santa on a Google Map: On your home computer or laptop, visit www.noradsanta.org and choose your preferred language. You’ll see a large Google Map on the page displaying Santa’s current location and his next stop. Click the video icons to watch “Santa Cam” videos, and click the gift icons to learn more about each city.

  • Watch Santa fly with the Google Earth Plug-in: From www.noradsanta.org, click on the link Track Santa in Google Earth. You'll see Santa steering his sleigh right on the webpage. If you don't have the Google Earth plug-in, you can get ready by downloading it ahead of time.

  • Follow Santa on your phone: Track Santa from your mobile phone by opening Google Maps for mobile and searching for [santa]. Or, visit m.noradsanta.org on your phone’s browser.

  • Subscribe to his YouTube channel: Santa’s home on YouTube is at http://www.youtube.com/noradtrackssanta. That’s where you can find videos from his journey throughout the night.

  • Get real-time information about Santa’s location: Use Google’s Realtime Search to get updates from social networks, news and micro-blogs like Twitter at @noradsanta, and keep up with news about his journey on this Facebook page.
For any techie questions you might have, we’ve also put together some helpful tips and tricks about all the cool ways you can experience Santa’s journey. Now that you know how to follow Saint Nick on Christmas Eve, it’s our tradition to tell the story of how this all started...

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) first began to track Santa in 1955 when a misprinted advertisement in a Sears & Roebuck catalogue mistakenly led callers expecting a Santa-hotline to the NORAD commander-in-chief's telephone. Embracing the spirit of the season, NORAD used its satellite and radar capabilities to offer callers sleigh-location updates, and has tracked Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve ever since. Then in 2004, Google started tracking Santa on Google Earth as a 20% project, which in 2007 grew into a partnership with NORAD, adding the mapping technology of Google Maps and Google Earth to the NORAD experience. Over the years, other Google teams have also joined in the holiday fun (YouTube, Google Voice’s www.SendACallFromSanta.com and Google SketchUp).

As we approach this year’s Christmas Eve adventure, Santa was able to take a break from the preparations to visit the New York Stock Exchange this past Monday. His helpful elves kept everything at the North Pole on schedule while folks from Google and NORAD attended the Closing Bell ceremony, and stood alongside Santa from Macy’s going over last minute details about tomorrow’s big ride.

Santa with NORAD, Google and members of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation (that’s me, the tall guy in the back row clapping)

So don’t forget to visit www.noradsanta.org tomorrow morning starting at 2:00am EST when Santa embarks on his flight. From all of us here at Google, happy holidays and here’s to a very happy New Year!


Posted by Brian McClendon, Original Google Engineering Elf
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/dashing-through-snow-with-norad-and.html

Thursday, December 23, 2010

[G] First Holiday Gift: iGoogle Gadget

| More

Google Analytics Blog: First Holiday Gift: iGoogle Gadget

The holidays are here, true believer. And we're stuffing your stocking with 3 posts-containing-gifts, and this is the first. The other two will come next week and are delivered by our very own Santavinash Claus.

Close your eyes and get ready - wait, don't close them actually - keep reading, because here it is: a gadget, because you love gadgets. But not just any gadget....As part of our efforts to make your analytics data more accessible, we are announcing the release of the Official Google Analytics Gadget. With it, you can get a quick snapshot of your website traffic and marketing effectiveness directly from your iGoogle homepage. Access any of your analytics profiles and view any of these standard reports, including Visitors, Traffic Sources, Content and Goals, in 7, 30 and 90 day periods.

It's a handy dashboard for Google Analytics.

Users can now add the Official Google Analytics Gadget to their iGoogle homepage here, or by searching the iGoogle Gadgets Directory.


The gadget can also be added multiple times within your iGoogle homepage to view multiple reports at once.


We must thank CPG Brand Marketers for encouraging the development of this iGoogle Analytics Gadget. They are using iGoogle as a Brand Digital Dashboard to mine search trends, news, consumer feedback, and more, in order to help make strategic investment decisions. Now they can easily add Google Analytics data to their brand digital dashboards.

Enjoy, and happy holidays!

Posted by Patrick Tedjamulia, Google CPG Team and Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/12/first-holiday-gift-igoogle-gadget.html

[G] Last Web Analytics TV For 2010 - Out With A Bang

| More

Google Analytics Blog: Last Web Analytics TV For 2010 - Out With A Bang

Well, it’s the last episode of Web Analytics TV for 2010. In this series with Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski, you ask and vote on your favorite web analytics questions via the Google Analytics Google Moderator site and we answer them.

In this episode, we award Lloyd in Capetown for his great question on how bounce rate is calculated and how AJAX sites can effect it. Lloyd, just send us an email and we’ll send you an autographed, personalized, copy of Web Analytics 2.0.

Here is the list of last weeks questions which we answered this week.

In this action-packed episode we discuss:
  • (0:27) How you can see the top landing page report by keyword.
  • (1:22) Calculating Avg Time to complete a goal.
  • (2:11) The recommended way to do internal campaign tracking.
  • (3:17) Creating funnel reports for different user types.
  • (5:19) How page title and URL are used in unique pageview calculations.
  • (6:40) Why you see google as a referral in Google Analytics.
  • (8:25) Can you use GA to track social networking links without link shorteners?
  • (9:28) Using canonical URLs to differentiate multiple links on a page.
  • (10:52) Calculating bounce rate for AJAX sites.
  • (13:34) Getting campaign data into Google Analytics without using URL parameters.
  • (14:43) Google Analytics campaign attribution and direct traffic.
  • (15:54) Working with Custom Variables in website templates.
  • (17:07) Using Ecommerce tracking for tracking conversions.
  • (19:02) Is there a way to see data broken down by day of the week?
  • (19:48) How tabbed navigation effects funnel abandonment.
  • (21:21) How to track various form selections.
  • (22:23) Fnding Average number of items per order in Google Analytics.



Here are the links to the topics we discuss:
As always, if you need help setting up Google Analytics or leveraging the advanced configuration options, we recommend hiring a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

If you found this post or video helpful, we'd love to hear your comments. Please share them via the comment form below. And, if you have a question you would like us to answer, please submit a question and 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.

Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/12/last-web-analytics-tv-for-2010-out-with.html

[G] Optimize And Analyze For Mobile, part 3

| More

Google Analytics Blog: Optimize And Analyze For Mobile, part 3

This is part 3 of a timely 3 part guest post on mobile analytics strategy and implementation by Feras Alhlou at E-Nor, a Certified Partner in Northern California. Here's part 1, which explained how to look for trends in mobile traffic to your website, and here's part 2 about giving your reports more dollar power.

3. Act on your ROI
At this point, you are equipped with your positive trends and the (hopefully high!) revenue numbers generated on mobile devices. You’ll hopefully get additional time/resources to better assess and improve your mobile presence and mobile marketing initiatives.

But, we still have some more ground to cover, including more segmentation. Let's ratchet up your insights:

More Segmentation.
For your mobile traffic (viewable via an advanced segment or a profile you make specifically for mobile traffic), segment by medium (traffic channel) or campaign (e.g. Back To School Campaign). Take a look at these two metrics:

Bounce rate by medium:

click to enlarge

And conversion rate by medium:

click to enlarge

Do more with Google AdWords.
You notice in the reports above that your cpc (paid-search) traffic from mobile devices is not as prevalent as other mediums. Your results show that your mobile site is experiencing a high bounce rate and a low conversion rate - a good indicator that something is very wrong either on your landing page, or in your ads. Either your ads are not bringing in the right traffic, or you're scaring traffic away.

What you're most likely doing is proving that your site is not optimized for mobile device visits.

Fortunately, you can further back this data up within AdWords. Google AdWords now allows more visibility into campaign performance from different devices. In AdWords, in your Campaign reports, click on ‘Device’ in the Segment drop-down.

click to enlarge

In this situation, in the last cell in the rightmost column, you notice a 0.03% conversion rate for your mobile devices (compared to 0.52% on the non-mobile devices) and you know exactly where the problem is.

To fix the awfulness in the conversion rates, here are a few tips:
  • create a separate campaign for your mobile devices
  • send traffic to a custom landing page (or to your mobile site if you have one),
  • and/or better target the mobile traffic (by device, or using the click-to-call feature).
Last but not least and for tor the technically inclined, and to get a more comprehensive perspective on your mobile presence, take a look at the code site page on mobile. If you're developing for a mobile platform, you can use Google Analytics to track the following:
  • Activity on websites specially tailored for low-end mobile devices
  • Activity on standard websites accessed from high-end mobile devices
  • User engagement with a native iOS or Android application (using the Google Analytics mobile SDK)
In addition, there are a number of new niche analytics solutions specifically built for mobile, so keep on the lookout, and see if a specific tool has a feature that you really need. And, for more analytics tips and insights, follow @ferasa on twitter or check out the E-Nor blog.

Happy Analyzing!


Posted by Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team and Feras Alhlou, E-Nor
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/12/optimize-and-analyze-for-mobile-part-3.html

[G] Dashing through the snow... with NORAD and Google

| More

Official Google Mobile Blog: Dashing through the snow... with NORAD and Google

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog and Lat Long Blog)

Every Christmas Eve, children all over the world ask themselves—and their parents—questions about Santa’s magical journey. How does Santa visit so many children in one night? Will he eat the cookies I left out? How does he fit all those presents into his sleigh? These childhood mysteries are part of what makes the Santa tradition so special.

There’s one timeless question that we’re proud to say we can help answer: Where in the world is Santa at this very moment? Thanks in part to recent advances in warp-speed GPS technology and some very clever elves (elveneering?) NORAD Tracks Santa is once again prepped and ready to go.

Starting tomorrow, December 24 at 2:00am EST, visit www.noradsanta.org to follow Santa as he journeys around the world delivering presents to children in more than 200 countries and territories. There are a few different ways to find the jolly old man in his unmistakable red suit over the course of the day, so feel free to track him using any of the following methods:
  • See Santa on a Google Map: On your home computer or laptop, visit www.noradsanta.org and choose your preferred language. You’ll see a large Google Map on the page displaying Santa’s current location and his next stop. Click the video icons to watch “Santa Cam” videos, and click the gift icons to learn more about each city.

  • Watch Santa fly with the Google Earth Plug-in: From www.noradsanta.org, click on the link Track Santa in Google Earth. You'll see Santa steering his sleigh right on the webpage. If you don't have the Google Earth plug-in, you can get ready by downloading it ahead of time.

  • Follow Santa on your phone: Track Santa from your mobile phone by opening Google Maps for mobile and searching for [santa]. Or, visit m.noradsanta.org on your phone’s browser.

  • Subscribe to his YouTube channel: Santa’s home on YouTube is at http://www.youtube.com/noradtrackssanta. That’s where you can find videos from his journey throughout the night.

  • Get real-time information about Santa’s location: Use Google’s Realtime Search to get updates from social networks, news and micro-blogs like Twitter at @noradsanta, and keep up with news about his journey on this Facebook page.
For any techie questions you might have, we’ve also put together some helpful tips and tricks about all the cool ways you can experience Santa’s journey. Now that you know how to follow Saint Nick on Christmas Eve, it’s our tradition to tell the story of how this all started...

NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) first began to track Santa in 1955 when a misprinted advertisement in a Sears & Roebuck catalogue mistakenly led callers expecting a Santa-hotline to the NORAD commander-in-chief's telephone. Embracing the spirit of the season, NORAD used its satellite and radar capabilities to offer callers sleigh-location updates, and has tracked Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve ever since. Then in 2004, Google started tracking Santa on Google Earth as a 20% project, which in 2007 grew into a partnership with NORAD, adding the mapping technology of Google Maps and Google Earth to the NORAD experience. Over the years, other Google teams have also joined in the holiday fun (YouTube, Google Voice’s www.SendACallFromSanta.com and Google SketchUp).

As we approach this year’s Christmas Eve adventure, Santa was able to take a break from the preparations to visit the New York Stock Exchange this past Monday. His helpful elves kept everything at the North Pole on schedule while folks from Google and NORAD attended the Closing Bell ceremony, and stood alongside Santa from Macy’s going over last minute details about tomorrow’s big ride.

Santa with NORAD, Google and members of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation (that’s me, the tall guy in the back row clapping)

So don’t forget to visit www.noradsanta.org tomorrow morning starting at 2:00am EST when Santa embarks on his flight. From all of us here at Google, happy holidays and here’s to a very happy New Year!


Posted by Brian McClendon, Original Google Engineering Elf
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/12/dashing-through-snow-with-norad-and.html

[G] Android In Spaaaace!

| More

Official Google Mobile Blog: Android In Spaaaace!

Here at Google, we’re all about exploration. It’s no surprise that some of our favorite products are built to let you explore the world in ways never before possible. Google Maps lets you find your way all around the world. Google Earth lets you explore the planet in detail, complete with trees and oceans. And Google Sky Map lets you explore the skies right from your Android device. Well, we wanted to do a little exploring of our own, so we decided to venture into near space, with the help of some Androids.

Recently, we travelled to Ione, CA and sent seven payloads up, up, and away into near space, each equipped with a Nexus S. We took some cues from others who have sent homemade weather balloon rigs far up, and we wanted an opportunity to collect some interesting data about the sensors in Nexus S – GPS, gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer. We also couldn’t resist what looked like a great way to spend a weekend. Sending the balloons up also gave us an opportunity to capture some stunning imagery and videos of Earth. Take a look at unaltered footage of an Android at over 100,000 ft above the Earth’s surface:




The Rig
How did we get our little Android commanders that high up? Well, first the Android platform provides a robust development environment and Nexus S has a great set of embedded sensors, both of which made it easy for us to write the apps we needed for this project. Going forward with other similar projects we have an open environment that we can modify at any level necessary. We then worked with UCSC student Greg Klein to prepare each of the payloads, which were housed in foam coolers. We secured a nylon load line to the cooler and attached to it a radar reflector, a parachute, and finally, a weather balloon. Every payload had an APRS transmitter attached to a GPS that was known to work at high altitudes, as well as batteries for power. The remainder of each payload was different for each balloon: some had digital cameras taking pictures and some had video cameras mounted at various angles (up, down, and at the horizon).

These phones were running a variety of apps: Google Maps for Mobile 5.0 (with offline map data) which allowed us to see what was directly below the balloon, Google Sky Map to see if we could identify the real stars in the backdrop, Latitude to report location when the phones had a data connection, and our own custom sensor logging app that sampled all the available sensors on the device. We even manned our payloads with some special astronauts: small Android robots, and boy did they fly. Check out an in-depth look at how we prepared and launched the payloads:




What We Found
The payloads collected a lot of data, and many reached high altitudes, with the highest topping out at 107,375 ft., over 20 miles high, or over three times the height of an average commercial jet. We also clocked one of the payloads at 139 mph at its fastest.

In tracking the sensors on each of the phones, we observed that the GPS in Nexus S could function up to altitudes of about 60,000 ft. and would actually start working again on the balloon’s descent. We also saw that Nexus S could withstand some pretty harsh temperatures (as low as -50˚C). Some interesting data we collected:
Maximum Speed: 139 mph
Maximum Altitude: 107,375 ft (over 20 miles, over 30 km)
Maximum Ascent Rate: 5.44 m/s
Average Flight Duration: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Average Descent Time: 34 minutes

By analyzing all the collected data, we were able to find some interesting trends. For instance, we determined the speed and altitude of the jet stream: about 130mph at 35,000 ft.

In the end, the team recovered all of the payloads sent up, we even recovered the payload we sent as a test a week prior to the actual launch. We had a blast taking Android all the way up to near space. If your interested in launching a balloon of your own, click here for more info. We have more exciting things coming your way as we use the openness of the Android platform to experiment here at mission Android headquarters.

*Special thanks to Arshan Poursohi, Greg Klein, and Tommy Nourse for all their help.

Posted by Zi Wang, Captain, Mission Android Headquarters
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/12/android-in-spaaaace.html

[G] Dashing through the snow...with NORAD, YouTube and Google

| More

YouTube Blog: Dashing through the snow...with NORAD, YouTube and Google

Every Christmas Eve, children all over the world ask themselves—and their parents—questions about Santa’s magical journey. How does Santa visit so many children in one night? Will he eat the cookies I left out? How does he fit all those presents into his sleigh? These childhood mysteries are part of what makes the Santa tradition so special.



There’s one timeless question that we’re proud to say we can help answer: Where in the world is Santa at this very moment? Thanks in part to recent advances in warp-speed GPS technology and some very clever elves (elveneering?) NORAD Tracks Santa is once again prepped and ready to go.



Starting tomorrow, December 24 at 2:00 a.m. EST, visit www.noradsanta.org to follow Santa as he journeys around the world delivering presents to children in more than 200 countries and territories. There are a few different ways to find the jolly man in his unmistakable red suit over the course of the day, so feel free to track him using any of the following methods:


  • Subscribe to his YouTube channel: Santa’s home on YouTube is at http://www.youtube.com/noradtrackssanta. That’s where you can find videos from his journey throughout the night. This “Commander's Holiday Message” offers a peek of what to expect:





  • See Santa on a Google Map: On your home computer or laptop, visit www.noradsanta.org and choose your preferred language. You’ll see a large Google Map on the page displaying Santa’s current location and his next stop. Click the video icons to watch “Santa Cam” videos, and click the gift icons to learn more about each city.




  • Follow Santa on your phone: Track Santa from your mobile phone by opening Google Maps for mobile and searching for [santa]. Or, visit m.noradsanta.org on your phone’s browser.




Get real-time information about Santa’s location: Use Google’s Realtime Search to get updates from social networks, news and micro-blogs like Twitter at @noradsanta, and keep up with news about his journey on this Facebook page.



For any techie questions you might have, we’ve also put together some helpful tips and tricks about all the cool ways you can experience Santa’s journey. And now that you know how to follow Saint Nick on Christmas Eve, it’s our tradition to tell the story of how this all started...



NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) first began to track Santa in 1955 when a misprinted advertisement in a Sears & Roebuck catalogue mistakenly led callers expecting a Santa-hotline to the NORAD commander-in-chief's telephone. Embracing the spirit of the season, NORAD used its satellite and radar capabilities to offer callers sleigh-location updates, and has tracked Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve ever since. Then in 2004, Google started tracking Santa on Google Earth as a 20% project, which in 2007 grew into a partnership with NORAD, adding the mapping technology of Google Maps and Google Earth to the NORAD experience. Over the years, other Google teams have also joined in the holiday fun (YouTube, Google Voice’s www.SendACallFromSanta.com and Google SketchUp).



As we approach this year’s Christmas Eve adventure, Santa was able to take a break from the preparations to visit the New York Stock Exchange this past Monday. His helpful elves kept everything at the North Pole on schedule while folks from Google and NORAD attended the Closing Bell ceremony, and stood alongside Santa from Macy’s going over last minute details about tomorrow’s big ride:


Santa with NORAD, Google and members of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation 


that’s me, the tall guy in the back row clapping)



So don’t forget to visit www.noradsanta.org tomorrow morning starting at 2:00 a.m. EST when Santa embarks on his flight. From all of us here at Google and YouTube, happy holidays and here’s to a very happy New Year!



Brian McClendon, Original Google Engineering Elf, recently watched “Picasa 3.8 Face Movie.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/x4gEDCe6IYE/dashing-through-snowwith-norad-youtube.html

[G] Dashing through the snow...with NORAD, YouTube and Google

| More

YouTube Blog: Dashing through the snow...with NORAD, YouTube and Google

Every Christmas Eve, children all over the world ask themselves—and their parents—questions about Santa’s magical journey. How does Santa visit so many children in one night? Will he eat the cookies I left out? How does he fit all those presents into his sleigh? These childhood mysteries are part of what makes the Santa tradition so special.



There’s one timeless question that we’re proud to say we can help answer: Where in the world is Santa at this very moment? Thanks in part to recent advances in warp-speed GPS technology and some very clever elves (elveneering?) NORAD Tracks Santa is once again prepped and ready to go.



Starting tomorrow, December 24 at 2:00 a.m. EST, visit www.noradsanta.org to follow Santa as he journeys around the world delivering presents to children in more than 200 countries and territories. There are a few different ways to find the jolly man in his unmistakable red suit over the course of the day, so feel free to track him using any of the following methods:


  • Subscribe to his YouTube channel: Santa’s home on YouTube is at http://www.youtube.com/noradtrackssanta. That’s where you can find videos from his journey throughout the night. This “Commander's Holiday Message” offers a peek of what to expect:





  • See Santa on a Google Map: On your home computer or laptop, visit www.noradsanta.org and choose your preferred language. You’ll see a large Google Map on the page displaying Santa’s current location and his next stop. Click the video icons to watch “Santa Cam” videos, and click the gift icons to learn more about each city.




  • Follow Santa on your phone: Track Santa from your mobile phone by opening Google Maps for mobile and searching for [santa]. Or, visit m.noradsanta.org on your phone’s browser.




Get real-time information about Santa’s location: Use Google’s Realtime Search to get updates from social networks, news and micro-blogs like Twitter at @noradsanta, and keep up with news about his journey on this Facebook page.



For any techie questions you might have, we’ve also put together some helpful tips and tricks about all the cool ways you can experience Santa’s journey. And now that you know how to follow Saint Nick on Christmas Eve, it’s our tradition to tell the story of how this all started...



NORAD (North American Aerospace Defence Command) first began to track Santa in 1955 when a misprinted advertisement in a Sears & Roebuck catalogue mistakenly led callers expecting a Santa-hotline to the NORAD commander-in-chief's telephone. Embracing the spirit of the season, NORAD used its satellite and radar capabilities to offer callers sleigh-location updates, and has tracked Santa's whereabouts on Christmas Eve ever since. Then in 2004, Google started tracking Santa on Google Earth as a 20% project, which in 2007 grew into a partnership with NORAD, adding the mapping technology of Google Maps and Google Earth to the NORAD experience. Over the years, other Google teams have also joined in the holiday fun (YouTube, Google Voice’s www.SendACallFromSanta.com and Google SketchUp).



As we approach this year’s Christmas Eve adventure, Santa was able to take a break from the preparations to visit the New York Stock Exchange this past Monday. His helpful elves kept everything at the North Pole on schedule while folks from Google and NORAD attended the Closing Bell ceremony, and stood alongside Santa from Macy’s going over last minute details about tomorrow’s big ride:


Santa with NORAD, Google and members of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation 


that’s me, the tall guy in the back row clapping)



So don’t forget to visit www.noradsanta.org tomorrow morning starting at 2:00 a.m. EST when Santa embarks on his flight. From all of us here at Google and YouTube, happy holidays and here’s to a very happy New Year!



Brian McClendon, Original Google Engineering Elf, recently watched “Picasa 3.8 Face Movie.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/x4gEDCe6IYE/dashing-through-snowwith-norad-youtube.html

[G] Appy Holidays from the Chrome Web Store

| More

Google Chrome Blog: Appy Holidays from the Chrome Web Store

The winter holidays are my favorite time of the year: I get to spend quality time with friends and family and eat lots of delicious food. However, between booking airplane tickets, sending greeting cards and looking for the perfect gifts, the pre-holiday season can be busy...and even a bit stressful. This year though, I feel much more in control thanks to the apps I discovered in the Chrome Web Store’s Holiday collection.

If you are looking for last minute holiday gifts, try Gilt for Chrome. Within the app, you can find the latest designer fashion items on sale and search for specific items and sizes like “men’s shoes size 11.”



I also recommend Amazon Windowshop. You can use the app to browse through millions of products in a slick way. For example my cousin really likes cupcakes: a search in the app shows me cupcake related products organized across categories like books, groceries and clothing, helping me find unique gifts.



For those of you still planning your trip home, check out Hipmunk. Hipmunk sorts all available flights to your destination by “agony” -- a mix of price, duration, and number of connections. You can see all the flights that meet your needs in a single view.



Finally, if you are late like I am in sending holiday cards, I suggest checking out Stupeflix Video Maker. In the app you can select a theme (my favorite one is “Celebrate”), insert pictures, text, and music, and create a free 60-second greeting that you can email or post on YouTube and Facebook. Or, you can simply create beautiful photo slideshows with DropMocks and comemories.

There are hundreds more apps to discover at the Chrome Web Store.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Christos Apartoglou, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2010/12/appy-holidays-from-chrome-web-store.html