Saturday, February 13, 2010

[G] A new Buzz start-up experience based on your feedback

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Official Gmail Blog: A new Buzz start-up experience based on your feedback

Posted by Todd Jackson, Product Manager, Gmail and Google Buzz

We've heard your feedback loud and clear, and since we launched Google Buzz four days ago, we've been working around the clock to address the concerns you've raised. Today, we wanted to let you know about a number of changes we'll be making over the next few days based on all the feedback we've received.

First, auto-following. With Google Buzz, we wanted to make the getting started experience as quick and easy as possible, so that you wouldn't have to manually peck out your social network from scratch. However, many people just wanted to check out Buzz and see if it would be useful to them, and were not happy that they were already set up to follow people. This created a great deal of concern and led people to think that Buzz had automatically displayed the people they were following to the world before they created a profile.

On Thursday, after hearing that people thought the checkbox for choosing not to display this information publicly was too hard to find, we made this option more prominent. But that was clearly not enough. So starting this week, instead of an auto-follow model in which Buzz automatically sets you up to follow the people you email and chat with most, we're moving to an auto-suggest model. You won't be set up to follow anyone until you have reviewed the suggestions and clicked "Follow selected people and start using Buzz."



For the tens of millions of you who have already started using Buzz, over the next couple weeks we'll be showing you a similar version of this new start-up experience to give you a second chance to review and confirm the people you're following. If you want to review this list now, just go to the Buzz tab, click "Following XX people" and unfollow anyone you wish. If you don't want to share the lists of people who are following you and people you are following publicly on your profile, you can opt out at any time from the edit profile page.

Second, Buzz will no longer connect your public Picasa Web Albums and Google Reader shared items automatically. Just to be clear: Buzz only automatically connected content that was already public, so if you had previously shared photos in an "Unlisted" album or set your Google Reader shared items as "Protected," no one except the people you'd explicitly allowed to see your stuff has been able to see it. But due to your feedback Buzz will no longer connect these sites automatically.

Third, we're adding a Buzz tab to Gmail Settings. From there, you'll be able to hide Buzz from Gmail or disable it completely. In addition, there will be a link to these settings from the initial start-up page so you can easily decide from the get go that you don't want to use Buzz at all.



It's been an exciting and challenging week for the Buzz team. We've been getting feedback via the Gmail help forums and emails from friends and family, and we've also been able to do something new: read the buzz about Buzz itself. We quickly realized that we didn't get everything quite right. We're very sorry for the concern we've caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback. We'll continue to do so.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-buzz-start-up-experience-based-on.html

[G] User Experience Manager Shares Her TED Sketchbook

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YouTube Blog: User Experience Manager Shares Her TED Sketchbook

This week, I've been in Long Beach, CA, attending the TED Conference. If you're not familiar with it, TED is an annual gathering of thought leaders from all aspects of life: science, music, education, health care, politics, environmentalism, entreprenurialism, technology, design, and more. The goal of the conference is to share "ideas worth spreading." A few years back, the TED organizers decided to share videos of these talks with the world, and we are delighted that they host them on YouTube, as well as their own site, TED.com. If you've never seen a TED talk video before, you're in for a treat. There is truly something for everyone. 




Each year while attending the conference, I take careful notes of the session in my sketchbook. It's the best way for me to ensure that I really pay attention to what's being said and also that I absorb as much of the ideas and information as possible. As it turns out, people have told me that my sketchbooks are a pretty nice way to "page through" the conference, so I'd like to share my notes from the 2009 conference with the YouTube community. For the talks that have been posted online, I've linked from the name of the speaker to the talk on YouTube. Here are just a few of my favorites from last year's conference:

Let me know if you enjoyed seeing the notes; I'm taking more this week at the conference and will be happy to share those too! And if you're interested in TED, check out this playlist of talks, curated by 2010 TED Prize Winner Jamie Oliver.

Margaret Gould Stewart, User Experience Manager, recently watched "Rethink Scholarship at Langara 2010 Call for Entries."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/yxIZSO6j56Q/user-experience-manager-shares-her-ted.html

[G] 500 Videos from Davos Now With Captions

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YouTube Blog: 500 Videos from Davos Now With Captions

You may have recently seen all of the videos uploaded for the 2010 YouTube Davos Debates. Because the audience for these videos is truly global, we want to make them accessible and available to as many people as possible. We've now added captions for over 500 videos from The Davos Debates. Try a Google search for captioned video on thedavosquestion to see some of the results.

To turn on captions, hover over the arrow-shaped icon in the lower right corner of the YouTube player and click the caption button. Captions on The Davos Debates videos can also be automatically translated right in YouTube: choose "Translate Captions" from the caption menu to try machine translation to 50 different languages.

You can learn more about captions and subtitles here.

Naomi Bilodeau, YouTube Captions team, recently watched, "The YouTube Davos Debate: "Redesigning an Important Cause."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/MGy51cQsj-A/500-videos-from-davos-now-with-captions.html

Friday, February 12, 2010

[G] Quincy Jones asks you to join the "We Are the World" Chorus

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YouTube Blog: Quincy Jones asks you to join the "We Are the World" Chorus

It was 25 years ago when a star-studded supergroup, led by Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, came together to lend their voices to support an important cause. This song, "We Are The World" topped the charts and was the first-ever single to be certified multi-platinum. Within a year, nearly $50 million dollars were raised for Africa's humanitarian fund.

Today, YouTube, in partnership with Visa, presents "We Are The World 25 for Haiti" featuring more than 75 musicians and celebrities, including Miley Cyrus, Barbra Streisand, the Jonas Brothers, P!nk, Lil' Wayne, members of the Jackson Family and others singing to raise funds for earthquake relief in Haiti. Back in 1985, the original "We Are the World" aired on MTV and was sold on vinyl; the 25th anniversary edition can be viewed on the We Are The World YouTube channel, where there's a "Donate Now" button to help Haiti.



We asked Grammy award winning producer Quincy Jones a few questions about the project. His answers are below, including his call for YouTube viewers to join the chorus by uploading their own version of a classic verse.

YouTube's Five Questions with Quincy


YT: What about the old version of "We Are The World" (WATW) still makes the song relevant today?

QJ: "First and foremost Lionel and Michael wrote a great song. There is a saying that “a great song can make a bad singer sound good, but the greatest singer in the world can’t make a bad song a hit.” The message of ‘We Are The World’ is universal and timeless. It’s a message of caring for and helping those who are less fortunate, especially when catastrophic events take place as in the case of the earthquake in Haiti. Haiti was far from being in the best place on the planet before the earthquake, but when that happened, it just destroyed the country. How can you look at those images and not stand up and do something? Everyone recognized the need right away, it wasn’t hard to get mobilized."

YT: What's the importance of using YouTube to get the "WATW 25 for Haiti" message to a wider audience?

QJ: "Are you kidding me? When we talked about the coming ‘information age’ a decade ago, most people didn’t understand the immediate impact that it would have. With the stroke of a key on your keyboard or cell phone, images and messages can be transferred all around the world to hundreds of millions of people in seconds. That’s an enormous amount of power, how can you not try and harness that resource to help people in need."

YT: How can "WATW 25 for Haiti" viewers on YouTube get further engaged to take action towards social change - in the case of Haiti in particular?

QJ: "Well, first you can ‘Download to Donate’, but I would love to see everyone take it to the next level and get involved on a more personal level by posting video responses. But it doesn’t stop there. As long as you pay attention and are aware of what is going on in Haiti and places like Haiti around the world, there are always ways to get involved. People who are suffering and in need will never turn their backs on someone offering them a compassionate hand."

YT: YouTube viewers are encouraged to make their own videos with original lyrics based on the WATW chorus: what tips would you give these rising producers?

QJ: "I don’t know that I can give any tips, but I can tell you that I’m really looking forward to seeing the different interpretations that people come up with. There are some really talented, creative and funny people out there."

YT: What's your favorite YouTube video?

QJ: "Without a doubt I think it has to be the prisoners in the Philippines dancing to ‘Thriller.’ It’s amazing that more than 25 years later, that song and those albums..’Off The Wall,’ ‘Thriller’ and ‘Bad’…still hold up. No matter where I go in the world, in every club, at midnight the DJ’s come with songs from those albums. It’s a perfect example of what I said earlier, a great song is universal and timeless."

Watch, sing along and donate your support.

Michele Flannery, Music Manager, recently watched Rock n' Roll Birdies
Ramya Raghavan, Non-Profits Manager, recently watched "Too Late to Apologize - A Declaration"


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/_Wgmq5yYPpQ/quincy-jones-asks-you-to-join-we-are.html

[G] Streamlined analysis tools in your Campaigns tab

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Inside AdWords: Streamlined analysis tools in your Campaigns tab

Over the last several months, we've been introducing new ways to analyze and segment your campaign data. As we continue to introduce more data types, we want to make sure that it's easy for you to access these reporting controls. That's why we've introduced a new analysis toolbar in the Campaigns tab of your account. This toolbar consolidates key functionality from the "Filter and views" and "More actions" menus, and appears at the top of each of your data tables:

You can use the toolbar to quickly apply a filter to the data you're viewing or customize the columns on each tab. You can also gain important insights into performance across different networks or time periods by using the "Segment" option:

Controls to show or hide paused or deleted campaigns and ad groups are also now available in this toolbar:

Just like the integration of the popular Search Query and Placement Performance Reports in the Campaigns tab, our hope is that this new toolbar will further streamline reporting and help you to get the most out of your AdWords data and your advertising campaigns.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/02/streamlined-analysis-tools-in-your_12.html

[G] Sweets for My Sweet

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Official Google CPG Blog: Sweets for My Sweet

Posted by Jenny Liu, Industry Marketing Manager, CPG

They say that people are cooking more and eating out less, a trend which may even carry over to Valentine's Day this year. So what will people be cooking up in the kitchen?

A peek at Google Insights for Search trends reveals some popular entrees, desserts and even breakfasts on the menu:

Couples are getting into the mood with fine cuts of meat like filet mignon and seafood, and experimenting with interactive recipes, like fondue.


No Valentine's Day is complete without dessert. Chocolate cake and chocolate fondue are extremely popular, but let's not discount non-chocolate favorites like cheescake, red velvet cake and decorated V-day sugar cookies!

Perhaps because desserts take time to bake, cool and perfect, recipe searches for these dessert items started to spike several days earlier than non-dessert items.


But Valentine's Day doesn't just stop with a romantic dinner; we see evidence of couples continuing the celebration with breakfast. The most popular item on that menu is the pancake, followed by eggs and french toast. Interestingly, crepes and waffles trended neck and neck last year.

Whatever you may have on the menu, we hope it is romantically delicious!
Have a wonderful Valentine's day!
URL: http://google-cpg.blogspot.com/2010/02/sweets-for-my-sweet.html

[G] Introducing Google Maps Labs, your passport to a world of new features

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Google LatLong: Introducing Google Maps Labs, your passport to a world of new features


We are pleased to announce the launch of Maps Labs, a set of opt-in features that add useful functionality to Google Maps. Labs allow us to quickly experiment with new Google Maps features, add new ways of interacting with the map, or just try out something wacky. If a Lab proves popular it may become a standard feature of Google Maps in future.

To activate individual Labs features, click on the green conical flask icon at the top right of the screen. This will bring up a list of Labs that you can enable. If you're logged in with your Google account, we will remember which Labs you have enabled when you next visit Google Maps.
To get started we have a range of useful Labs available today. You can enable the Aerial imagery that we recently launched in the Google Maps API. You can zoom in to a particular location just by dragging a box around it using the new Drag 'n' Zoom control. You can browse nearby businesses with the What's Around Here button and test your world geography with our Where in the World game. Or in case you still yearn for the days when you could turn paper maps upside down we even have Rotatable Maps.
We chose not to offer a lab that replicates the experience of struggling to fold a map back up though. If you really miss that, we can't help you.

Because they're experimental, Labs may not be quite as robust as some other features on Google Maps. In fact there's a chance they could change, break, or disappear at any time. Just in case, we've provided an escape hatch. If you discover that a Labs feature causes you problems use this link to disable all Labs and select just those you want to keep: http://maps.google.com/maps?ftr=0.

We hope Labs enhance your Google Maps experience and look forward to adding more in the future. To keep up to date with the latest Labs, get help with a particular Labs feature, or even suggest new Labs, check out the Maps Labs Google group.

Posted by Thor Mitchell, Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/02/introducing-google-maps-labs-your.html

[G] Google acquires Aardvark

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Official Google Blog: Google acquires Aardvark

When you need an answer to a very specific question, sometimes the information just isn't online in one simple place. For example, let's say you want to know if there's snow on Skyline Boulevard on a given day or the best time of year to plant beans in the Bay Area. You might find weather reports and planting guides on many different sites, but for these kinds of questions, a person with the right expertise can be a lot more useful than a webpage.

That's why we're excited to announce that we've acquired Aardvark, a unique technology company that lets you quickly and easily tap into the knowledge and experience of your friends and extended network of contacts. Aardvark analyzes questions to determine what they're about and then matches each question to people with relevant knowledge and interests to give you an answer quickly.

We're very impressed with the Aardvark team and the technology they've worked hard to build, and we're looking forward to collaborating to see where we can take it. You can learn more about Aardvark's underlying technology and premise by reading this paper recently co-authored by founder Damon Horowitz.

In the meantime, Aardvark is available today in Google Labs, so give it try!

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director of Product Management, Search
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/google-acquires-aardvark.html

[G] Want to be a Favorite Place on Google?

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Google LatLong: Want to be a Favorite Place on Google?


Since
announcing our Favorite Places on Google program in December, we've seen a lot of of excitement from the 190,000 businesses selected. That also led to questions from other business owners wondering how their business can become part of the next wave. Well, we're now getting ready to unveil the next batch of Favorite Places, so I wanted to make sure we gave some tips to all those (in the US) who are interested in being eligible before the March 1st deadline:

  1. Log in to Local Business Center with your Google account (or create a new one) at google.com/lbc
  2. Enter information for your business listings and verify that you are the business owner or authorized business listing manager by 12am PST on March 1. This means that you need to enter the PIN number that you receive by mail or by phone call by this deadline. You should allow 5-10 business days for your pin to arrive by mail - so get going now! If you are given the option to verify your listing by phone, the PIN will be delivered to you by an automated phone call within seconds. (Be sure to be ready to write it down).
  3. If you're identified as a Favorite Place, expect your decal with custom QR code to arrive within a few weeks. We'll let everyone know when the mailings have started to go out. You can learn more about the selection process here.

If you verified your listing between the middle of October 2009 and now, you can relax: your listing is already eligible to be recognized as a Favorite Place. Of course, registering with the Local Business Center won't guarantee you'll get one of the coveted stickers, but it is necessary for you to be considered! Retail chains are now eligible to participate - just make sure to request verification after you've
uploaded your bulk feed. If you haven't requested verification for a feed that you've already provided, do it here.

In case you're wondering how you could possibly become a Favorite Place on Google with only a couple weeks of having your listing verified: in most cases your business has already been listed on Google for some time through various other data sources, and we have data on how that listing has performed. But when you claim the listing for your own business, it's the best indication to us that your business information is correct.

Businesses which verified their listing prior to October 2009 were already considered for the first wave of Favorite Places on Google, and won't be eligible for another decal at this time. However, if you were already recognized as a Favorite Place and your sticker has since been lost, damaged, or otherwise misplaced, you can request a replacement with this form.



Posted by Ryan Hayward, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/02/want-to-be-favorite-place-on-google.html

[G] Let the games begin!

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Let the games begin!

The festivities begin this Friday in Vancouver, and we're all holding our breath to see who brings home the gold. Perhaps you're rooting for Lindsey Vonn or Shaun White or Sven Kramer. No matter who your favorite athlete is, you can keep up with the latest news on your phone.

Just do a search for the name of your favorite sport, and you can see the latest info about game results, schedules, medal count, and more right above the search results. On Android and iPhone devices, our Real Time Search feature will also reveal the latest updates related to the games within the same search results. (We're offering the same info and more for people searching on computers.) Looking for something more in-depth? Follow along using Google News for mobile. You can find quick links by going to google.com/games10/m on your phone.



Posted by Nitsan Oz and Igor Tsvetkov, software engineers
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/02/let-games-begin.html

[G] Best in Jest Returns

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YouTube Blog: Best in Jest Returns

Comedy fans are rarely starved for laughs on YouTube, especially when there's a new edition of Best in Jest, our long-running comedy program. B.I.J. is back for three weeks of concentrated comedy capers, sponsored by Warner Brothers' Cop Out, starring Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan.

When compiling this edition of the program, we noticed that comedy on YouTube seems to be evolving: the most popular comedy videos are often collaborations between visible personalities like TheStation's ShayCarl and KassemG. While scripted comedy is going strong, YouTube "star power" seems to be in the driving seat. Does a great comedy video need a successful face to make it shine, or do channels like TheLandline demonstrate that sketches don't need celebs to make a splash? Is your favorite comedy creator being overlooked, or do videos with online stars feel more like a uniquely YouTube experience?

Let us know in the comments what you think of the state of comedy on YouTube these days and who's worth noting. We'll spotlight the most interesting suggestions in the comedy section soon.

Mark Day, Senior Associate, Ad Programs, recently watched "The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre's Take on Star Wars."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/YFZqkF8Dr7k/best-in-jest-returns.html

Thursday, February 11, 2010

[G] Imagery update

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Google LatLong: Imagery update

We've just finished pushing out an imagery update for Google Earth and Google Maps, check to see if any of your favorite places has gotten an update! You can view the updated areas highlighted in red below. Alternatively, you can download this KML, for viewing in Google Earth or you view the updates in Google Maps.






Updates are noted with a red frame

Also included in this update is additional Haiti imagery from January 25th.


Posted by Matt Manolides, Senior Geo Data Strategist
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/02/imagery-update.html

[G] Millions of Buzz users, and improvements based on your feedback

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Official Gmail Blog: Millions of Buzz users, and improvements based on your feedback

Posted by Todd Jackson, Product Manager for Gmail and Google Buzz

It's been just two days since we first launched Google Buzz. Since then, tens of millions of people have checked Buzz out, creating over 9 million posts and comments. Plus, we're seeing over 200 posts per minute from mobile phones around the world.

We've had plenty of feature requests, and some direct feedback. In particular there's been concern from some people who thought their contacts were being made public without their knowledge (in particular the lists of people they follow, and the people following them). In addition, others felt they had too little control over who could follow them and were upset that they lacked the ability to block people who didn't yet have public profiles from following them.

Like Gmail's chat service, Buzz helps you create a social network by automatically setting you up to follow the people you email and chat with most. You can change, delete or add any contacts you want to follow.

So here is some more information about how Buzz works, and some immediate improvements we are making today based on your feedback.

The first time you create a post or comment in Buzz, we ask you to create a limited public profile (at a minimum it's just your first and last names). We do this so we'll know what name to display next to your posts — and so the people you follow know who you are. As you do this, we notify you that the lists of people you follow and the people following you will be displayed on your public profile. You can view, edit, and even hide these lists. The lists of your followers/people you follow are not made public on your profile until after you go through this profile creation step.

That said, we heard from people that the checkbox for choosing not to display this information was too hard to find, and based on this feedback, we've changed the notice to make it very clear. We will roll these changes out to all Gmail users later today.

1. More visible option to not show followers/people you follow on your public profile
If you don't want to share the lists of people who are following you and people you are following publicly on your profile, you can always opt out during the profile set-up when you first use Buzz or at any time from the edit profile page. We are making this option more prominent in the set up process, to ensure everyone who wanted to hide these lists can do so easily.



2. Ability to block anyone who starts following you
We are making it easier to block anyone, by adding "Block" links to the list of people following you. Previously, you were only able to block people from following you after they had created a public profile. Now, you can block anyone, regardless of whether or not they've already created profiles for themselves.



3. More clarity on which of your followers/people you follow can appear on your public profile
Initially, we showed you a list of all the people who would be following you once they created a public profile. However, only those contacts who had already created a public profile would show up on your public follower list. We're making this clearer by explicitly distinguishing which of your followers have public profiles and will show in your public list of followers. With this change you'll be able to see who is on the public list of followers that everyone else sees.



We designed Buzz to make it easy to connect with others and have conversations about things that interest you, and it's great to see millions of you doing this already. It's still early, and we have a long list of improvements on the way. We look forward to hearing more suggestions and will continue to improve the Buzz experience with user transparency and control top of mind. For more information about the choices you have when using Google Buzz, please visit our Help Center.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/millions-of-buzz-users-and-improvements.html

[G] Bid ideas now in the Opportunities tab

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Inside AdWords: Bid ideas now in the Opportunities tab

Over the past few months, you may have visited the Opportunities tab to get customized keyword and budget ideas for optimizing your account. Now we're adding more functionality to the Opportunities tab with the introduction of bid ideas. Bid ideas, based on bid simulator data, will help you raise or lower your bids on specific keywords to improve your AdWords ROI. Whether you wish to decrease overall costs or increase traffic to your website, customized bid ideas can help you determine exactly which bids to adjust to make the most of your advertising budget.

You’ll see bid ideas in your account if we determine there's an opportunity for you to:
  • receive significant additional clicks without a significant increase in cost
  • save money without sacrificing a lot of clicks
Bid ideas will be visible in some accounts starting today, and available in all accounts in the coming weeks.


Bid ideas are shown with their estimated cost, impression, and click impact. When you click on a bid idea, you'll see a graph showing clicks versus cost for a range of bid amounts. The graph will include your keyword's current bid (marked in gray) and the proposed bid (marked in yellow). If you're raising a bid, consider whether the extra clicks and impressions are worth the potential added cost. If you're decreasing a bid, consider whether the saved cost is worth the potential loss of clicks and impressions.

The estimates you see are variations on your past performance over the last 7 days and are not attempts to predict or estimate future performance. Also, traffic patterns are always subject to fluctuation, so keep in mind that your future performance may shift over time. If you have reason to believe that next week's traffic will be significantly different from the last week, due to seasonal reasons for example, then it's a good idea to incorporate that information when selecting your bids.

While this tool doesn't know enough about your advertising goals to make a recommendation of which specific bid is best for you, it does provide useful data and gives you bid ideas to consider. We suggest that you use the data we provide to gain insight into how different bids could affect your performance. If you'd like even more information on bid ideas, including information on how they're generated, you can read our detailed article in the AdWords Help Center.

You should think of the Opportunities tab as your homepage for account optimization. You can view all your customized optimization ideas in one place, allowing you to make informed decisions before adjusting your account. We suggest checking the Opportunities tab every few weeks to look for new ideas. Continue to look out for new features in the coming months as we work to make the Opportunities tab an even more robust resource.

Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/02/bid-ideas-now-in-opportunities-tab.html

[G] A new look for Google Search for mobile

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Official Google Mobile Blog: A new look for Google Search for mobile

We're always looking for ways to improve your user experience with our products. If you use Google Search with a web browser on your Android-powered device or iPhone, you'll see some changes to the look of the buttons and toolbars to a style you may now be familiar with on Mobile Gmail, Latitude, Calendar and Tasks. As with these Google apps, the color contrast of the style now adds more focus to the search results of the page, and the header controls are bigger to make them easier to touch.

The Google logo has been moved up to the top of the search results page, allowing us to increase the width and height of the search box. You can now more easily touch the larger box to enter a new search, the new big bold font makes it easier to see what you have entered, and the wider box helps you see more characters at once.


We have also given our homepage some love. While this got the bigger search box last month, we have created a new search button beside the search box rather than below, so when search suggestions appear, they no longer hide the button.


Just go to www.google.com on your phone to try it out, and let us know what you think.

Posted by Nick Fey, User Experience Designer, Google Mobile
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/02/new-look-for-google-search-for-mobile.html

[G] A view into Tehran

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Google LatLong: A view into Tehran


Today marks the 31st anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, and with it a new round of demonstrations has presumably arisen. With tight controls of media and Internet access, it's very hard for those outside of Iran to get a clear picture of what's going on on the streets of Tehran and around the country.

Thanks to our partners at GeoEye, we're able to share with you one independent view: from 423 miles in space, via the IKONOS satellite. The road in the heart of the image is Azadi Road in the heart of Tehran. It was taken at 10:47 AM local time on February 11, and shows huge throngs in the streets:



If you prefer to view this imagery on your desktop you can download the KML file.

In addition to this view from above, hundreds of videos from on the ground are finding their way around government lockdowns on websites such as YouTube and providing witness to the world. For a selection of these views, visit CitizenTube, a blog about citizen journalism maintained by our colleagues at YouTube.


Posted by Jesse Friedman, Associate Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/02/view-into-tehran.html

[G] Thanks for your feedback on the AdSense Dory

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Inside AdSense: Thanks for your feedback on the AdSense Dory

Back in December, we invited you to submit and vote on product ideas for AdSense. Thanks for participating and voicing your opinions! We received over 600 ideas, and now, we'd like to follow up on what we're doing with them.

We've sorted through and categorized your ideas, which ranged from suggestions such as additional ad format types to new payment methods, and we recently shared them with the Product Management team. Our product managers are now looking into a number of these ideas and are evaluating whether they can be incorporated within our current product roadmap. We're focused on responding to your feedback, but it might take a little time before you see the features we choose to include because product changes require time to build and test across all the accounts and languages we support. We appreciate your patience in the meantime.

Also, we noticed a few ideas on the Product Ideas page that relate to existing features in AdSense, so we'd like to take a moment to highlight some of them here:

  1. You suggested: Show a list of sites displaying ads from a specific publisher ID to prevent malicious activity.

    We recommend: Try the Allowed Sites feature to protect your account. You can enter the URLs of sites you own, and earnings from only those sites will be recorded in your account. When you opt in to this feature, we'll also show you a list of URLs that haven't been added to the Allowed Sites list, but where your ad code is appearing. Please keep in mind that if you create additional sites in the future and would like to earn from them, you'll need to add the URLs to the Allowed Sites list in order to be credited for valid activity.

    To get started with this feature, visit the 'Allowed Sites' page under your AdSenseSetup tab. You can also find more information in our Help Center

  2. You suggested: Create an index of AdSense sites so AdWords advertisers can easily find sites to target.

    We recommend: Try the Publisher Center within Google Ad Planner to provide advertisers with information about your sites. You can claim sites you own, customize their descriptions, and add categories that describe your content. In addition, you can share your Google Analytics data to provide advertisers with insight into your traffic levels. Recently, we added the ability to display a clickable badge on your site that will take interested advertisers directly to your Ad Planner profile. Any publisher can use this feature, but please note that the interface is currently only available in English.

    To claim your sites in Ad Planner, follow our instructions and visit our Help Center.

  3. You suggested: Enable more flexible Custom Search options.

    We recommend: Try the Google AJAX Search API or the new Custom Search Themes feature for additional customization options. These features will allow you to control the branding of the search box and change or enhance the look and feel of your search results to match your site.

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Thanks again for all of your ideas and votes -- stay tuned to Inside AdSense for the latest news and product updates.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/02/thanks-for-your-feedback-on-adsense.html

[G] Hundreds of new protest videos flood YouTube on anniversary of Iranian revolution

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YouTube Blog: Hundreds of new protest videos flood YouTube on anniversary of Iranian revolution

Scores of fresh protest videos from Iran are appearing on YouTube today, as pro-reform protesters take to the streets in Tehran on the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution. This marks yet another outbreak of protests since the disputed election last June.

Within hours of the protesters hitting the streets of Iran today, videos began streaming onto YouTube that document the large crowds chanting anti-government slogans and violent clashes with anti-riot police forces. Once again, these extraordinary videos provide an exclusive window into what's taking place on the ground, as foreign press have been banned from the country. YouTube remains blocked in Iran, but dissidents are passing videos to friends out of the country and using Internet circumvention technologies to post the footage, according to news reports and correspondence with those on the ground.

We're tracking the videos on Citizentube, and here's a selection that have come in so far today. A playlist can be found here.

A young man is dragged and beaten by members of the Basij police forces:




Protesters face-off against the the police:




Citizens flee from tear gas:




Security forces stand in the streets, armed and ready:




Protests in the Metro in Tehran:




Large groups gather in the streets to demonstrate:




Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "Mass Rallies, Protests in Iran"


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/lNMImMrxwxI/hundreds-of-new-protest-videos-flood.html

[G] Simple wedding planning with Google Docs

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Official Google Docs Blog: Simple wedding planning with Google Docs

Cross posted on the Official Google Blog

We all want important life moments — like graduating from school, getting married or having your first baby — to be perfect. For many couples, your wedding is a chance to celebrate with everyone you care about; it's also the largest, most complicated party you'll ever host. From tracking guest RSVPs, to picking the right florist, DJ and caterer, to coordinating every last detail with your wedding party, it's no surprise that the process can become overwhelming and expensive.

After proposing to the woman of my dreams with 100 red roses, six months ago I started planning my own wedding. My fiancee and I decided to use Google Docs to manage every aspect of our wedding, starting with shared budget, guest list, to-do list and venue-tracking spreadsheets and keeping all our docs in our "Wedding" shared folder. I ended up talking to other couples who planned their weddings using Google Docs and discovered I wasn't alone in thinking that it helped save time and avoid headaches.

Today, I'm happy to share this knowledge in the form of over 20 wedding templates available in the Google Docs template gallery. These tools make it easy to estimate and track your wedding budget, collect addresses for invitations, compare vendors and much more. For example, take a look at the address book template below. Instead of emailing hundreds of guests and copy/pasting hundreds of addresses into a spreadsheet, you can send a Google form and collect addresses in a spreadsheet automatically:


Because these documents, spreadsheets and forms live online in the cloud, you can easily get help by sharing them with your parents or bridal party, and you can access them from the bakery, bridal shop or anywhere around town using your smartphone. Plus, you never have to worry about versions and email attachments, because everything is always up to date.

Having the tools to plan a wedding is a good start, but you also need to know what questions to ask when interviewing vendors and which factors to consider when inviting guests or choosing music. To give you a leg up, we've teamed up with StyleMePretty, a popular wedding blog, to add tips from wedding experts to each template. Style Me Pretty is also hosting a sweepstakes and asking engaged couples to share their wedding planning experiences: one randomly selected winner will receive free consultation with celebrity event planner Michelle Rago and a $500 gift certificate to Wedding Paper Divas.

We're excited to give more engaged couples tools to make the wedding planning process easier and more fun. To learn more about simplifying wedding planning with Google Docs and Style Me Pretty, check out docs.google.com/wedding.

Posted by: Peter Harbison, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/02/simple-wedding-planning-with-google.html

[G] Simple wedding planning with Google Docs

| More

Official Google Blog: Simple wedding planning with Google Docs

(Cross posted on the Google Docs Blog)

We all want important life moments — like graduating from school, getting married or having your first baby — to be perfect. For many couples, your wedding is a chance to celebrate with everyone you care about; it's also the largest, most complicated party you'll ever host. From tracking guest RSVPs, to picking the right florist, DJ and caterer, to coordinating every last detail with your wedding party, it's no surprise that the process can become overwhelming and expensive.

After proposing to the woman of my dreams with 100 red roses, six months ago I started planning my own wedding. My fiancee and I decided to use Google Docs to manage every aspect of our wedding, starting with shared budget, guest list, to-do list and venue-tracking spreadsheets and keeping all our docs in our "Wedding" shared folder. I ended up talking to other couples who planned their weddings using Google Docs and discovered I wasn't alone in thinking that it helped save time and avoid headaches.

Today, I'm happy to share this knowledge in the form of over 20 wedding templates available in the Google Docs template gallery. These tools make it easy to estimate and track your wedding budget, collect addresses for invitations, compare vendors and much more. For example, take a look at the address book template below. Instead of emailing hundreds of guests and copy/pasting hundreds of addresses into a spreadsheet, you can send a Google form and collect addresses in a spreadsheet automatically:


Because these documents, spreadsheets and forms live online in the cloud, you can easily get help by sharing them with your parents or bridal party, and you can access them from the bakery, bridal shop or anywhere around town using your smartphone. Plus, you never have to worry about versions and email attachments, because everything is always up to date.

Having the tools to plan a wedding is a good start, but you also need to know what questions to ask when interviewing vendors and which factors to consider when inviting guests or choosing music. To give you a leg up, we've teamed up with StyleMePretty.com, a popular wedding blog, to add tips from wedding experts to each template. StyleMePretty is also hosting a sweepstakes and asking engaged couples to share their wedding planning experiences. One randomly selected winner will receive free consultation with celebrity event planner Michelle Rago and a $500 gift certificate to Wedding Paper Divas.

We're excited to give more engaged couples tools to make the wedding planning process easier and more fun. To learn more about simplifying wedding planning with Google Docs and Style Me Pretty, check out docs.google.com/wedding.

Posted by Peter Harbison, Product Marketing Manager, Google Docs
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/02/simple-wedding-planning-with-google.html