Friday, February 19, 2010

[G] A simple way for local businesses to enhance their listing

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Google LatLong: A simple way for local businesses to enhance their listing

We recently launched a trial, currently limited to the cities of San Jose and Houston, for a new ads feature in local search that allows business owners to enhance their listings. We've seen a lot of curiosity about this feature, so I wanted to take this opportunity to provide further information about it for everyone interested in learning more.

These enhanced listings allow business owners to highlight an aspect of their Local Business Center listing that they think best reflects what they have to offer their customers. The business owner can choose to enhance the way their listing appears in search results by including a link to point customers directly to photos, videos, website, coupons, directions, menu or reservations signup. Let's say a deli owner thinks the huge selection of imported cheeses really makes her deli stand out - she may want to give potential customers a quick way to see the menu on your website or a photo of your display case. Customers who access this relevant information can make an easier, more informed decision about which business to call or visit.

Here's an example for optometrist in San Jose, CA. Notice the yellow tag below the North Valley Optometry listing with a link to "View photos" of their business and the photo icon placed on the map:

These enhancements are an easy and straightforward way for businesses to emphasize information that may already be available on their Place Pages or websites, and to connect with interested, locally-based potential customers. When the listing shows up in your or Google Maps search results, the enhancement also appears alongside it. The enhancements do not affect the ranking of LBC listings, and we clearly indicate which parts of the search result are sponsored.

We hope both users and business owners find this feature useful, so we'll monitor the trial closely and may make changes. Based on the initial results, we may choose to expand it into additional areas. We don't have a specific timeline to share at the moment but we'll post again if and when we do. In the meantime, business owners can claim their listing in the Local Business Center, and those located in San Jose and Houston will see an invitation to enhance their listing for a flat fee of $25/month in the dashboard. Interested businesses outside these areas can be notified when enhanced listings come to their area by filling out this form.

Posted by Shalini Agarwal, Product Manager

[G] Google Apps highlights – 2/19/2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 2/19/2010

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

Over the last couple of weeks we've been busy adding new functionality to make communicating and sharing with Google Apps easier than ever, whether you use Google Apps for work, for school or at home.

Web clipboard for Google Docs
As more and more people are getting work done in the cloud with Google Docs, a common stumbling block has been copying and pasting formatted content between documents, spreadsheets and presentations. On Wednesday we made this a whole lot easier with a web clipboard for Google Docs. Just highlight what you want to copy, select from the web clipboard menu, move to your other Google Docs window and choose what you want to paste from the web clipboard menu. Your pasted content will retain its original formatting so you don't have to spend time reformatting.

New saving buttons in Google Docs
One of the most frustrating things about using traditional software is losing your work if something unexpected happens before you remember to save. Google Docs helps solve this problem by frequently saving your latest changes automatically. Still, we've heard from people that they want that extra reassurance that autosave is happening, and to be able to manually save their work more easily. New saving buttons in Google Docs do just that. The buttons let you know when your document is fully saved, in the process of being autosaved or has unsaved changes that haven't been picked up by autosave yet. Now, if there are unsaved changes the "Save now" button is clickable.

Google Buzz
Last week we launched Google Buzz, a new way to start conversations about things you find interesting, like photos, videos, webpages or whatever might be on your mind. Buzz lets you share right from Gmail, or from your mobile phone. You can connect other sites you use like Twitter, Picasa, and Google Reader, and you can post buzz privately or publicly. Since we released Google Buzz, we quickly made a number of improvements based on input from users, and we're committed to keep improving it. Individuals can use Google Buzz now, and we plan to make it available to businesses and universities using Google Apps within a few months.

Google Apps Script for Google Sites
Google Apps Script lets you create programmatic interactions between a whole variety of Google services including contacts, calendars, email, finance data, spreadsheets and more. Businesses often use scripts to automate repetitive processes. Last week, we added Google Sites to the list of products that you can control with scripts. Now, instead of manually updating the content in a site, you can use Google Apps Script to automatically populate pages in your site with calendar data, contact information and data from the other services that work with Google Apps Script. Scripts can even add attachments and be used to update the sharing preferences for your site.

Who's gone Google?
With 3,500 employees, Lincoln Property Company is one of the largest property management firms in the United States. Recently, Lincoln Property made the decision to switch to Google Apps from their complex and costly Novell Groupwise email infrastructure. Not only will they save an estimated $200,000 per year, they'll finally be able to equip every single employee with email, instant messaging and calendars — not just the 950 desk-based workers who previously had email access.

The Google Apps train keeps rolling in the education space as well. Seven million students around the world are now using Google Apps at school! DePauw University, Yale University, Davenport University and the College of William and Mary are just a handful of the most recent schools to switch to Google Apps.

Hope you're enjoying the latest round of new capabilities, whether you're using Google Apps with friends and family, with work colleagues or with classmates. For details and the latest news in this area, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

[G] RTEMS and Google Summer of Code 2009

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Google Open Source Blog: RTEMS and Google Summer of Code 2009

The RTEMS Project had 6 students accepted for Google Summer of Code™ 2009, with one additional student that was funded through the donation that Google gives to mentoring organizations in conjunction with a donation from OAR Corporation. We were extremely pleased with our students' results and their interaction with other projects, each other, and the community.

Xi Yang's project was to provide more RTEMS Board Support Packages (BSPs) that run on the free Skyeye simulator and to improve testing capabilities when using Skyeye. RTEMS uses Skyeye to test as well as GCC on ARM targets. Xi also implemented an LCD framebuffer driver for use with RTEMS.

Another student, Santosh Vattam worked on improving the Object Coverage of our test suites for a core part of RTEMS. Our initial coverage reports were generated for the SPARC/ERC32 using the closed source simulator TSIM. Santosh and I, his mentor, addressed cases which appeared to be test suite deficiencies while apparent simulator anomalies were passed on to Xi. During this, an obscure bug in RTEMS was uncovered and Xi and I worked together via chat to solve it. At the end of the summer, 3 SPARC and 2 ARM configurations were either at 100% or very close.

Santosh's project was a tie-in to the work of Roxana Leontie. Roxana operated under the same rules as Google Summer of Code but worked outside of the program. Her project was updating the Nano-X RTEMS port and providing a new RTEMS framebuffer device interface, and her first succesful demonstration was running the Nano-X Minesweeper program on RTEMS. As Roxanna progressed, Xi updated his LCD framebuffer driver to match her new interface.

Aanjhan Ranganathan's project was to provide a generic interface for RTEMS applications to use the Memory Management Hardware Unit available in most recent embedded processors for memory protection. His major tasks included studying the PowerPC MMU hardware architecture implementation and behavior, to propose a multi-level API design within the scope of RTEMS infrastructure. Most of the above tasks have been accomplished successfully and tested, but a lot of scope for further work exists.

Josh Switnick had a project which suffered from those unexpected "challenges" that make software development interesting. His project was to port RTEMS to the 8-bit AVR, as RTEMS had previously only been ported to 16- and 32-bit architectures. Mentors worked with Josh to produce a cross-toolset built with AVR specific libc support ported from AVR-LIBC to newlib, and to build the free AVR simulator simulavrxx. Josh produced a working port and is continuing to work to tidy up the loose ends.

Lucian Cocan's project was to continue the 2008 Google Summer of Code project of Real-Time trace. Lucian's initial work was to package the work into something that is suitable for a user. The tool was modelled on the command line tool, libtool, as it provided a simple yet consistent interface for the user. Lucian successfully produced traces for a number of the sample programs plus the example priority inheritance capture engine example.

JiSheng Zhang's project was to implement run-time dynamically loading relocatable object files or libraries into RTEMS, which is based on the IEEE Std 1003.1-2004 API (dlfcn.h) interface. Jisheng completed the basic functions of elf loader after the midterm, then he worked on figuring out how to get the dependencies included in the RTEMS kernel. Currently two tools are supported, i386 and sparc, and Jisheng is continuing to work on add other architecture support such as m68k, power pc, mips, and arm etc.

You can read my full report about our 2009 Google Summer of Code experience on the RTEMS wiki.

By Joel Sherrill, RTEMS Maintainer and Google Summer of Code mentor

[G] Release Notes: Nonprofit Program, Private Sharing, Streams

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YouTube Blog: Release Notes: Nonprofit Program, Private Sharing, Streams

News from the YouTube universe...


Nonprofit program launches in Australia and Canada: Like their American and British cohorts, nonprofits in Australia and Canada can now apply to become part of the YouTube Nonprofit Program. Members receive free branded channels, custom thumbnails, longer video uploads, and call-to-action overlays. For more information, and to apply, please go to

Easier private video sharing: You no longer need to be friends with someone in order to share a private video with them. You can either generate a special URL that up to 25 people can click on, or select the "Private share with YouTube users" option on the video's details page and write in the username(s), separated by a comma, with whom you'd like to share (see screenshot below). After you click "send," the recipient will see the video in his or her inbox.


Streams retired: Streams was an experimental product launched in TestTube, our ideas incubator, three years ago. We know some of you enjoyed watching videos while chatting with other users, but we've not been able to give Streams the time and attention needed to make it a more mainstream offering. Thus, we've decided to retire it for now as part of our pre-spring cleaning effort, though we hope to build other features that make it easier for you to share and talk about videos with friends.


Spotlight enhancements: The homepage spotlight is a periodic module featuring thematic or timely content selected by YouTube. (If you don't see it on your homepage, add it here.) Used to be we *had* to feature four videos and a channel in the module. But now we have a lot more flexibility: we can spotlight just one video, as we might in a breaking news situation, or multiple videos rotating randomly every time the page refreshes, as we might for a guest curatorship or spotlight featuring many contest entries. This might be hardly noticeable to you, but we're excited about the programming possibilities this change brings.


The YouTube Team


[G] System Maintenance Scheduled for Saturday, Feb 20

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Google Affiliate Network: System Maintenance Scheduled for Saturday, Feb 20

We will be performing system maintenance February 20; the interface will be unavailable at this time. Tracking will not be interrupted and reporting data will be restored shortly after the interface comes back online.

We anticipate the interface will be unavailable from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. CDT (GMT -6).

[G] Go Mobile! Series: Targeting options to make your mobile ads relevant

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Inside AdWords: Go Mobile! Series: Targeting options to make your mobile ads relevant

Last week, we showed you how to use Google Analytics to understand how mobile visitors interact with your website. We also showed you how to use that information to optimize your AdWords campaigns. This week, we'll show you how you can tailor your campaigns to reach the most relevant mobile audience.

What mobile device are they using?
Ensure that your ad is only displayed to the right mobile audience. For example, if you sell iPhone accessories, your ad is likely not relevant to Android device owners. With advanced mobile device targeting options, you can ensure that only users with an iPhone, as seen in this example, will see your ad.

Where are they located?
With Google Analytics, you can also see where your mobile traffic is coming from. If you notice that a lot of visits are coming from a place where you have a physical business location, you may want to display your business address or phone number alongside your ads. This makes your ads more relevant. It also provides mobile customers with the ability to click to call your business from within your text ad so they can take action right away.

We hope these tips help you mobile-ize your campaigns to help you reach the right audience while they're on-the-go.

Posted by Katrina Kurnit, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Up Six: Discount Office Items Switches to Google Commerce Search and Increases Revenue 6%

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Up Six: Discount Office Items Switches to Google Commerce Search and Increases Revenue 6%

Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Tim Horton, Co-Founder and CEO of, one of the largest office supply superstores on the internet. Offering more than 65,000 name brand office supplies, technology products and office furniture, is an Inc. 500 and Internet Retailer Top 500 company.

In late 2009 Tim and his team identified search as a problem area for their site and began researching eTail search solutions. When they saw a demo of Google Commerce Search, they decided to switch and were able to integrate the new solution within their existing UI in less than a month. Almost immediately, they saw sizable lifts in revenue, traffic, transactions, and average order size.

Tim will join Nitin Mangtani, Senior Product Manager at Google Enterprise on a live webcast Thursday, March 4 at 10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST to share his experience and answer questions about their decision to switch to Google Commerce Search.

When I co-founded Discount Office Items in 2003, our main objective was to offer customers a large selection, low prices, and top-notch customer service. Our site experienced rapid growth and high overall customer satisfaction, but our homegrown search was sluggish and returned irrelevant results.

In late 2009 we decided to evaluate Google Commerce Search and requested a demo. When we saw how fast we could recoup our spending and start making more money due to better, faster search, the decision to implement Google Commerce Search was clear. After the deployment process (which took just a couple of weeks including the winter holiday), we saw an immediate lift in revenue and traffic as well as transactions and searches done on our site.

More people are using our site search now to find the right products – Google Commerce Search works well and the results are highly relevant. Search was one of the weakest parts of our site. Now, it’s one of the strongest – all with less load on our servers and less time spent on maintenance for the IT staff.

Please join me and the Google Commerce Search team for this live webinar:

How Discount Office Items Increased Revenue 6% by Switching to Google Commerce Search
Thursday, March 4, 2010
10:00 a.m. PST / 1:00 p.m. EST

You can contact our sales team, download the datasheet, or learn more on our website.

Posted by Eric Larson, Enterprise Search Deployment Engineer

Thursday, February 18, 2010

[G] Shopping smarter with Google Shopper

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Shopping smarter with Google Shopper

We're happy to announce a new Android application called Google Shopper. Shopper lets you find product information quickly by using your phone's camera. It can recognize cover art of books, CDs, DVDs, and video games, along with most barcodes. You can also speak the name of the product you're looking for. Use Shopper to make smart decisions about what to buy, what price to pay, and where to buy it. You can star items for later and share them with friends. Shopper also saves your history so you'll always have product and price information at your fingertips, even when you don't have a signal.

Here's an example search based on the Effective Java: Programming Language Guide.

To see Google Shopper in action, watch this video:

To download Google Shopper to your Android-powered phone, scan the QR Code below, or search for "Shopper" on Android Market. You'll see a green icon for Shopper by Google. Click install and happy shopping!

For more information about Google Shopper, take a look at our Google Labs page. We hope you send us your feedback.

Posted by Daniel Switkin and Farhan Shamsi, software engineers

[G] Control your Buzz settings in Google Dashboard

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Google Public Policy Blog: Control your Buzz settings in Google Dashboard

Posted by Pablo Chavez, Managing Policy Counsel

Earlier this week, I noted some of the improvements we've made to Buzz based on some really helpful user feedback. We've made a few other efforts to make Buzz settings easier to manage, including adding Buzz to the Google Dashboard.

The Google Dashboard is a tool that summarizes data for each Google product you use and provides direct links to your personal settings. For Buzz, the Dashboard is another place to see how many people you're following, how many people are following you, and information about your recent posts as well as links to change your Buzz settings.

The Dashboard is just another way for users to find out more about products like Buzz -- and how to exercise choice and control over their information and their use of our products.

Check it out and let us know what you think.

[G] What are you doing tomorrow at 8am PT/11am ET?

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YouTube Blog: What are you doing tomorrow at 8am PT/11am ET?

Tune in tomorrow to where we'll be live streaming the Tiger Woods' press conference to the world at 8:00am PT / 11:00am ET. You'll also be able to access the press conference from a spotlight on the YouTube Homepage.

The YouTube Team


[G] May we recommend...

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Official Google Reader Blog: May we recommend...

Long time readers of our blog will note that we occasionally throw in links to crazy, interesting, and fun items in our posts. You may be wondering, “How can I find such interesting content to share?” Today we’re launching two new features that are designed to help you do just that:

  • Recommended items get personal - When we launched Popular items many of you wanted to see even more personalized recommendations. With the latest round of improvements, we’ve started inserting items selected just for you inside the Recommended items section. This is great if you’ve got interests that are less mainstream. If you love Lego robots, for example, then you should start to notice more of them in your Recommended items.

    Recommended items

  • Even more related feeds - If you’ve ever discovered a cool blog on, say, underwater basket-weaving and wanted to find more on the same topic, we’ve added a few easy ways to find related feeds. Hover over any of your subscriptions, click the menu and check out “More like this...” to see related feeds.

    Related feeds menu

    We’ll also show you related feeds when looking at the preview of any feed.

    Related feeds in preview mode

We hope these new features will help you find more content that interests you, whether that’s LOLcats or cooking.

As always, feel free to come visit our help forums or Twitter to leave us some feedback.


[G] Auto Pagination on Blogger

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Blogger Buzz: Auto Pagination on Blogger

by Vardhman Jain, Software Engineer, Mountain View

Latency is a word you hear a lot at Google. We are always looking for ways to make our products faster, because we have consistently found that faster page loads mean more satisfied users. This post is the first of an occasional series that will discuss ways in which we’re working to make blogs load faster for all users.

A few months ago, we took a look at ways to improve the performance of Blogger blogs, and noticed that many pages — particularly search results pages, label pages and archive pages — were taking longer to load than they should.

This has lots of implications. Users suffer — pages take longer to load, and for anyone around the world who pays for their bandwidth, they can incur unneccessary charges as their browser downloads more content than needed. You suffer, because as latency increases, pageviews go down. (See here for a study Google did last year for this phenomenon at

Starting today, we’re rolling out a change that affects how we paginate webpages on Blogger. We will dynamically adjust how much content to send to the browser depending on (a) the amount of HTML on the page being requested (in kilobytes) and (b) the number of images on the page. Users can continue to use “older posts” and “newer posts” navigation elements to see additional posts.

For major changes like this, we do incremental roll-outs so we can monitor performance as they progress. We expect the change to be fully deployed over the next week, and once fully deployed, we expect to see several results:
  • pages will load faster
  • pageviews, if impacted at all, may increase
We will keep an eye on things, and if we see anything unexpected, we will update this post. Otherwise, keep blogging - and we’ll keep working to make your blog faster for you and your readers!

[G] Site maintenance on Saturday, February 20

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Inside AdSense: Site maintenance on Saturday, February 20

This Saturday, our engineers will be performing routine site maintenance from 10am to 2pm PDT. You'll be unable to log in to your AdSense and Ad Manager accounts during this time, but we'll continue serving ads to your pages and tracking your clicks, impressions, and earnings as usual. In addition, your ad targeting won't be affected.

We've converted the maintenance start time for a few cities around the world:

London - 6pm Saturday
Johannesburg - 8pm Saturday
Hyderabad - 11:30pm Saturday
Ho Chi Minh City - 1am Sunday
Brisbane - 4am Sunday

If you'd like to learn more about what goes on during these maintenance periods, check out this Inside AdSense post.

Posted by Dia Muthana - Inside AdSense team

[G] Google Docs: the tool for the 21st century classroom

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Official Google Docs Blog: Google Docs: the tool for the 21st century classroom

Guest post: Tara Seale teaches 9th grade English in the Bryant Public School District and recently attended the Google Teacher Academy.

English teachers polled in the last decade of the last century about the one tool that they could not live without in their classrooms would probably select the overhead projector. In the first decade of the 21st Century, English teachers would probably choose a document camera, but in future decades, the tool will be web-based. I already teach in a web-based environment, and Google Docs is the web-based tool that has become the organizational center of my classroom.

I share assignments with my students as a view only file. Students make a copy of the file so they can annotate the directions. This is a weblink of an assignment: Expository Essay defining the word perseverance. This is an annotated copy of the assignment: Google Doc Annotated Copy of Expository Essay Assignment. No longer do I hear, "Mrs. Seale, can I have another copy of that assignment? I lost mine."

Docs also teaches organizational skills. Students create folders to keep up with assignments. The most important folder is the folder students share with the teacher. All graded writing goes into this folder, and it serves as a writing portfolio for the semester. I do not have to hunt student work; it is organized in a student folder. At the end of the day, I leave with just a laptop, no papers to lug around.

Each student folder is in a group class folder. The class folder contains each student's writing for the semester:

Each student's online writing portfolio folder is also shared with his or her parents. Parents can even comment on student work and participate in the revision and editing process.

For students, Google Docs is an invaluable tool in the writing process. Students do not need a flash drive to carry drafts to and from home. Also, students can share writing with peer editors. After peer editing, students move their final draft into their English 9 folder. As the final editor, I leave comments to assist the student in revising his or her final draft. It is satisfying to browse through the revision history and see that a student is considering each comment as they revise: Yea! They are really reading what I wrote! Usually, students do not read teacher comments that are hand written on paper, but it seems to work in Google Docs.

Recently, a student working at home asked if I could read her paper before she submitted it later that week. I left comments and asked questions on the Google doc as the student wrote and revised, and it turned into a successful tutoring session. Thanks Google Docs!

Posted by: Tara Seale, English Teacher and Instructional Technology Specialist

Editor's note: Google recommends you use Google Docs within the Google Apps Education Edition suite with your students.

[G] Google Voice, explained

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Official Google Blog: Google Voice, explained

(Cross-posted from the Google Voice Blog)

Google Voice is about giving you more control over your communications, through dozens of features — ranging from call screening to voicemail transcription to the ability to send and receive SMS by email.

While we've heard from users that they love our growing list of features, we're conscious of the fact that Google Voice can seem overwhelming to people trying it for the first time.

So we've created a short video that gives an overview of what Google Voice can do.

In addition, we've created a set of short videos that dive into more detail about ten features of Google Voice:
  1. Voicemail transcription
  2. One number
  3. Personalized greetings
  4. International calling
  5. SMS to email
  6. Share voicemails
  7. Block callers
  8. Screen callers
  9. Mobile app
  10. Conference calls
The videos show why you might want to use each feature and basic instructions for getting started. And each video focuses on just one topic so you can learn about the features that matter to you.

FFinally, we just launched our own YouTube channel at You can view all of the videos mentioned above in a custom video gadget we built for this channel, which will help you keep track of which videos you've already watched.

We hope these videos help you get the most out of Google Voice.

Posted by Jason Toff, Associate Product Marketing Manager

[G] Google Voice, Explained

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Google Voice Blog: Google Voice, Explained

Google Voice is about giving you more control over your communications, through dozens of features — ranging from call screening to voicemail transcription to the ability to send and receive SMS by email.

While we've heard from users that they love our growing list of features, we're conscious of the fact that Google Voice can seem overwhelming to people trying it for the first time.

So we've created a short video that gives an overview of what Google Voice can do:

In addition, we've created a set of short videos that dive into more detail about ten features of Google Voice:
  1. Voicemail transcription
  2. One number
  3. Personalized greetings
  4. International calling
  5. SMS to email
  6. Share voicemails
  7. Block callers
  8. Screen callers
  9. Mobile app
  10. Conference calls
The videos show why you might want to use each feature and basic instructions for getting started. And each video focuses on just one topic so you can learn about the features that matter to you.

Finally, we just launched our own YouTube channel at You can view all of the videos mentioned above in a custom video gadget we built for this channel, which will help you keep track of which videos you've already watched.

We hope these videos help you get the most out of Google Voice.

Posted by Jason Toff, Associate Product Marketing Manager

[G] AdWords system maintenance on January 20th

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Inside AdWords: AdWords system maintenance on January 20th

On Saturday, January 20th, 2010 the AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 10AM to 2PM PST, for maintenance. While you won't be able to sign in to your accounts during this time, your campaigns will continue to run as usual.

AdWords system maintenance typically occurs on the second Saturday of each month from 10AM to 2PM.

We'll continue to update you via the blog as we always have, but please make note of the January 20th date and of our scheduled maintenance further down the road.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew

[G] 5 Buzz tips

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Official Gmail Blog: 5 Buzz tips

Posted by John Costigan, Software Engineer

Now that people have been playing with Google Buzz in Gmail for a week and we've rolled out the improvements we announced here over the weekend, we wanted to let you know about some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Buzz. Here are five tips to get you started:

1. Format your posts. When posting in Buzz, you can format text just as you can in Gmail chat: *bold*, _italics_, or -strikethrough- all work.

2. View a summary of your own Buzz activity at The Google Dashboard provides a private, consolidated summary of the data associated with your Google account, as well as direct links to control your personal settings. As of today, Buzz has its own section on the Dashboard, so you can see how many people you're following, how many people are following you, and information about your recent posts, comments, and likes. You can also access your Buzz settings right there on the page.

3. Use an @reply to send a post directly to someone's inbox. If you want to make sure one of your friends sees a certain Buzz post, you can direct it to their inbox with an @reply. Type the "@" symbol followed by the first few letters of their name, and select their email address from the list. Only you'll see their Gmail address — other people will just see their name.

4. Try keyboard shortcuts to fly through buzz. Turn on keyboard shortcuts from Settings, and use "j" or "n" to scroll down the buzz tab, "k" or "p" to go back up, "r" to comment (same shortcut as reply in Gmail), and "shift + l" to like.

5. Mute posts so they don't get sent to your inbox. Comments on your posts and comments after your comments send buzz directly to your inbox. If you don't want a lively conversation to keep appearing in your inbox as people reply to it, you can mute it. Click the arrow in the corner of a buzz post and select "Mute this post."

If you have keyboard shortcuts turned on, you can also mute buzz that appears in your inbox by hitting the "m" key while you're reading it.

Check out our Help Center for more tips and answers to your common questions, and stay tuned for more here as well.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

[G] Powerful, Flexible, Secure and now approved by the US Federal Government

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Google Analytics Blog: Powerful, Flexible, Secure and now approved by the US Federal Government

This week, the US federal General Services Administration (GSA) has approved listing Google Analytics in its web site, which is a place for government agencies and services to find approved cloud computing applications. It's goal is to drive innovation and adoption of cloud-based apps in the government, and Google and the GSA have worked together to ensure that Google Analytics is compatible with the needs of US Federal agencies (e.g., Department of Homeland Security, NASA, FCC, and others).

We are very proud of and humbled by this listing and excited by the potential opportunities to serve US federal agencies and help them monitor and improve their website experiences. We understand that working with US Federal agencies includes a responsibility to protect our users and we would like to take this opportunity to further explain how seriously Google Analytics takes data security and protecting data privacy for our users, as detailed in our Terms of Service.

As an enterprise-class web analytics solution, Google Analytics not only provides site owners with information on their website traffic and marketing effectiveness, it also does so with high regard for protecting user data privacy. Privacy and security are core elements of Google's design and development processes, and we're proud to pass that benefit on to users of Google Analytics. Google's security philosophy is outlined here, and Google's commitment to protecting the information stored on its computer systems is outlined in the Google Code of Conduct.

We're gratified that the US Federal GSA has approved the listing of Google Analytics in its site. We will continue to work hard to ensure that we earn this approval in the years ahead.

Posted by Phil Mui, Sr. Product Manager, Google Analytics

[G] Announcing the winner of our Map Maker global competition

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Google LatLong: Announcing the winner of our Map Maker global competition

Google's first
Global Mapping Competition ran from December 15 - January 31, 2010 and the big moment has come: announcing the winner! The competition entrant who added the most universities, schools, hospitals, and medical clinics with high quality into Google Map Maker was (drumroll please...) Wayne Dell Manuel of the Philippines.

Already one of the top 10 all-time mappers, Wayne made hundreds of moderations and added more than 1500 qualifying map features (i.e. schools, universities, hospitals and medical clinics) during the course of the competition.
Google Map Maker is available in more than 175 countries and allows users to become "citizen cartographers" by adding and editing map features.

Wayne Dell Manuel at the 2009 Map Maker user conference in Bangalore, India.

Wayne first found out about Map Maker right here on this blog, "which is also where I found out about the competition," said Wayne. "For the competition, I added mostly government schools in the biggest island of the Philippines: Luzon. Government schools in the country tend to be used as temporary evacuation centers

during times of calamity such as typhoons and earthquakes which are common to the Philippines. It would greatly help in disaster planning and management."

Wayne's dedication to mapping his homeland is motivated by helping others: "After the devastating typhoon Ketsana (local name Ondoy), a volunteer group used Google Maps to map distress calls, among other things, to facilitate rescue operations. I was so happy to see the roads that I've helped map were used to locate the houses." Map Maker maps display in Google Maps for more than 140 countries and territories, including the Philippines.

As of late last year, Wayne's mapping contributions in the Philippines are also available as part of the Map Maker download program. Non-profits, government agencies and individuals can use the mapping data in the Philippines and more than 60 other countries for research, humanitarian relief and other non-commercial uses.

For his remarkable mapping efforts, Wayne has won a $50,000 UNICEF donation to benefit projects empowering young people through technology in the Philippines. Wayne will get a VIP tour of the local projects in the Philippines that are benefiting from the $50,000 donation, and he will also attend the upcoming Supper Mapper 2010 conference at Google's office in Zurich, Switzerland.

Congratulations to Wayne for winning the grand prize -- the $50,000 donation to UNICEF will go to projects in the Philippines!

Posted by Jennifer Mazzon, Maps Community Organizer