Saturday, March 6, 2010

[G] Hosting a viewing party for the OSCARS®

| More

Official Google Docs Blog: Hosting a viewing party for the OSCARS®

Last year, I planned an OSCARS® viewing party with my friends. To add some friendly competition and figure out who was coming, I collected people's predictions for the winners and their RSVP information with a Google form ahead of time. I found the process really easy, so this year I created a Google form for the 2010 OSCARS® and made it a template that anyone can use to plan their own viewing parties:


If you're getting together with friends for OSCAR NIGHT® tomorrow, check out this template in the Google Docs Template Gallery. Happy viewing!

Posted by: Natalie Schwartz, Google Creative Lab

“OSCAR®,” “OSCARS®,” “ACADEMY AWARD®,” “ACADEMY AWARDS®,” “OSCAR NIGHT®,” “A.M.P.A.S.®” and the “Oscar” design mark are trademarks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science.
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/03/hosting-viewing-party-for-oscars.html

Friday, March 5, 2010

[G] Make Contact with Google at SIGCSE 2010

| More

Google Open Source Blog: Make Contact with Google at SIGCSE 2010

Next week several Googlers will be attending and presenting at the 41st ACM Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education (SIGCSE 2010). From March 10-13, Leslie Hawthorn and Cat Allman from the Open Source Programs Office will be in Milwaukee, WI, USA to talk about Google’s open source student programs, Google Summer of Code™ and the Google Highly Open Participation Contest. Check out Google’s vendor session on Friday to hear more from Leslie and Cat. Leslie will also be speaking at a roundtable and panel discussion with Hal Abelson from the Google App Inventor team at the Humanitarian FOSS Symposium on Wednesday.

If you are interested in learning more about Google’s activities in computer science education, make sure to attend some of the talks we have scheduled or drop by the Google booth!

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/03/make-contact-with-google-at-sigcse-2010.html

[G] Join Jeremy Piven’s “Video Volunteers” Entourage for Global Development

| More

YouTube Blog: Join Jeremy Piven’s “Video Volunteers” Entourage for Global Development

Jeremy Piven is best known as the sharp-tongued Ari Gold on HBO’s Entourage, but today he’s taking a break from berating Vince and the boys to give the YouTube community a glimpse of his softer side by signing on as a Video Volunteers curator.

This month, YouTube, Piven and the ONE Campaign are asking you to make videos supporting a nonprofit working on an issue related to global development, such as extreme poverty, access to clean water and sanitation, and preventing disease. With International Women’s Day on March 8 and World Water Day on March 22, it’s an ideal time to tackle some of the problems crippling citizens in developing nations. Piven agrees:



Once you’ve created a video for a nonprofit of your choice dealing with global development, submit it to the gadget at www.youtube.com/videovolunteers. Remember: the video has to be about an organization, not just an issue. Piven and the ONE Campaign will pick their top three videos to go on the YouTube homepage at the end of the month.
Happy filming!

Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism Manager, recently watched “Spread the Word to End the Word.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/RZkNtujtFTU/join-jeremy-pivens-video-volunteers.html

[G] A new way to edit places on Google Maps

| More

Google LatLong: A new way to edit places on Google Maps


Back in 2008, we started opening Google Maps up to user edits. With the launch of Place Pages in September, we decided it'd be a lot easier if editing had its own page too. Today, we're pleased to announce a new, easier way to edit places on Google Maps.
If you find something incorrect or missing on the Place Page for a business -- maybe they have a new website or moved to a bigger location down the block -- just click "Edit this place":


You'll then access a single, dedicated page where you can edit the business listing details about that place.

If you happen to stumble across a problem that you don't know how to fix, no worries. You can always report a problem directly to Google instead of attempting to edit it yourself. Just look for the Report a problem link in the "more" menu and tell us what's wrong, then we'll take on the job of tracking down the right information. Also, if you're the owner of the business, you can click the "Business owner?" link to supply additional information and see your dashboard.

We realize that you know your own neighborhood best, so we hope this makes it simpler and more streamlined for you to pass that local knowledge along to all your fellow Google Maps searchers.

Posted by Steve Kirkham, Associate Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-way-to-edit-places-on-google-maps.html

[G] Is YouTube Buggin'? Check Out Our Current Site Issues Page

| More

YouTube Blog: Is YouTube Buggin'? Check Out Our Current Site Issues Page



Ever encounter an issue on YouTube and wonder whether you're the only
one experiencing it? There are two places you can go to find out more
about the situation:



1. If you see your issue on the Current Site Issues page, it means that the bug has been reported to YouTube and that our engineers are working on a fix.









2. We also suggest taking a look at the Popular Discussions section of the Help Forum. The team frequently posts bug acknowledgments, new feature information and useful Help Center articles here.













If you don't see your problem reported in either place, you can always visit the Help Forum and chat with other users to find out if they're experiencing a similar issue or know a work-around for the situation.



The User Support Team recently watched "The Famous Chicken Danceoff."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/eEGeVOb2wN8/is-youtube-buggin-check-out-our-current.html

[G] Google Analytics API Case Study: Dolby Laboratories automates analytics reporting with Shufflepoint

| More

Google Analytics Blog: Google Analytics API Case Study: Dolby Laboratories automates analytics reporting with Shufflepoint

We're really excited to see how companies can grow their businesses around the Google Analytics API. Today, we're publishing a case study that illustrates how Shufflepoint, Inc. has used the Google Analytics API to build an innovative product offering which has helped Dolby Laboratories become more productive.

ShufflePoint uses the the API to provide enterprise integration tools, and they've developed a SQL-like query language for Google Analytics. Dolby Laboratories uses GAQL and other ShufflePoint tools to simplify their web analytics workflow, one that incorporates spreadsheets with complex rollups, filters, and intermediate table calculations as well as annotated presentations.

The Challenge:

"Our [analysis] process gives us a lot of flexibility between analysis and presentation," explains Dolby's web analyst. "But, manually consolidating site data into the spreadsheets was time and labor intensive." To streamline the process, the team at Dolby turned to tools from ShufflePoint.


The Results:

"With GAQL and Excel Web Queries, we solved our immediate need for our reports to be updated dynamically" said Dolby. "Our team’s learning and decision making process has really sped up since engaging Shufflepoint. They improved our custom reports, which we used to do manually within Google Analytics, by combining it with the automation and flexibility of using Google Analytics’ Data API.”

A New Business Opportunity

"ShufflePoint has its roots in Excel and PowerPoint, and our capabilities here are a true differentiator in the marketplace," says Chris Harrington, CTO at ShufflePoint. "It's great to take something like the Google Analytics API and develop unique solutions that hit a home run for clients like Dolby. The Google Analytics Data API has opened up new possibilities for us -- there are so many kinds of value-adds that you can create for companies out there. It's a new business opportunity.

Read the whole story in our client case study site.

Here are some screenshots of the Shufflepoint product using the API.













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

Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics API Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/03/google-analytics-api-case-study-dolby.html

[G] Google Docs welcomes DocVerse

| More

Official Google Docs Blog: Google Docs welcomes DocVerse

(Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog)

The future of productivity applications is in the cloud. We've always believed the web is the best platform for creating and sharing information, and Google Docs has already helped millions of people become more productive. But we recognize that many people are still accustomed to desktop software. So as we continue to improve Google Docs and Google Sites as rich collaboration tools, we’re also making it easier for people to transition to the cloud, and interoperate with desktop applications like Microsoft Office.

For example, we recently made it possible to use Google Docs to store and share any type of file that you have on your computer, not just the ones you create online. Today we’re excited to announce another step towards seamless interoperability: we have acquired DocVerse.

DocVerse is a small, nimble team of talented developers who share our vision, and they’ve enabled true collaboration right within Microsoft Office. With DocVerse, people can begin to experience some of the benefits of web-based collaboration using the traditional Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint desktop applications.

A huge "welcome" to the DocVerse team and their customers! Current DocVerse users can keep using the product as usual, though we’ve suspended new sign-ups until we’re ready to share what's next. Stay tuned!

Posted by: Jonathan Rochelle, Group Product Manager
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/03/google-docs-welcomes-docverse.html

[G] Low-Impact Operating System Tracing

| More

Google Open Source Blog: Low-Impact Operating System Tracing

The Google Open Source Team has the privilege of funding some really great projects in the Open Source space. Mathieu Desnoyers, a student at Ecole Polytechnique, recently defended his Ph.D. thesis, which we helped to fund. The topic of his thesis was "Low-Impact Operating System Tracing."

The open source projects he created as part of his work were two-fold: Linux Trace Toolkit Next Generation (LTTng), a LGPLv2.1/GPLv2 tracer for the Linux kernel; and Userspace RCU library (liburcu), a highly-scalable user-space synchronization library, distributed under the LGPLv2.1 license.

Mathieu was kind enough to send us this summary of his research:


Computer systems, both at the hardware and software-levels, are becoming increasingly complex. Tracing is the key to solving some or all of this increasing complexity. In the case of Linux, used in a large range of applications, from small embedded devices to high-end servers, the size of the operating system kernels are increasing, libraries are being added, and major redesign of existing software is required to benefit from multi-core architectures. As a result, the software development industry and individual developers are facing problems whose resolution requires an understanding of the interaction between applications and all components of an operating system.

In my thesis, I propose the LTTng (Linux Trace Toolkit next generation) tracer as an answer to the industry and open source community tracing needs. The low-intrusiveness of the tracer is a key aspect of its usefulness because we need to be able to reproduce problems occurring in normal conditions. In some cases, users leave tracers active at all times in production, which makes the tracer overhead definitely critical. Our approach involves the design of synchronization primitives that meet the low-impact requirements. The linearly scalable and wait-free RCU (Read-Copy Update) synchronization mechanism used by the LTTng tracer fulfills these requirements with respect to data read. A custom-made buffer synchronization scheme is proposed to extract tracing data while preserving linear scalability and wait-free characteristics.

By measuring the LTTng impact, I demonstrate that it is possible to create a tracer that satisfy all the following characteristics: low latency, deterministic real-time impact (wait-free), small impact on operating system throughput and linear scalability with the number of cores. Experiments on various architectures show that this tracer is portable.

I propose a general model for superscalar multi-core systems with weakly-ordered memory accesses to perform formal verification of the RCU correctness and wait-free guarantees by model-checking. The LTTng
buffering scheme is also formally verified for safety and progress. Formal verification demonstrates that these algorithms allow reentrancy from multiple execution contexts, ranging from standard thread to non-maskable interrupts handlers, allowing a wide instrumentation coverage of the operating system.


Many thanks to Mathieu for sending us this report. You can download the full dissertation for more details.

By Carol Smith, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/03/low-impact-operating-system-tracing.html

[G] Google Docs welcomes DocVerse

| More

Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Docs welcomes DocVerse

​The future of productivity applications is in the cloud. We've always believed the web is the best platform for creating and sharing information, and Google Docs has already helped millions of people become more productive. But we recognize that many people are still accustomed to desktop software. So as we continue to improve Google Docs and Google Sites as rich collaboration tools, we’re also making it easier for people to transition to the cloud, and interoperate with desktop applications like Microsoft Office.

For example, we recently made it possible to use Google Docs to store and share any type of file that you have on your computer, not just the ones you create online. Today we’re excited to announce another step towards seamless interoperability: we have acquired DocVerse.

DocVerse is a small, nimble team of talented developers who share our vision, and they’ve enabled true collaboration right within Microsoft Office. With DocVerse, people can begin to experience some of the benefits of web-based collaboration using the traditional Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint desktop applications.

A huge "welcome" to the DocVerse team and their customers! Current DocVerse users can keep using the product as usual, though we’ve suspended new sign-ups until we’re ready to share what's next. Stay tuned!

Posted by Jonathan Rochelle, Group Product Manager, Google Apps team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/03/google-docs-welcomes-docverse.html

[G] Working on a more collaborative writing process with Apps Edu

| More

Official Google Docs Blog: ​Working on a more collaborative writing process with Apps Edu

Cross posted on the Google Enterprise Blog

​While feedback and revision are crucial steps to successful writing, it’s not always easy to do in practice. Keeping track of revisions, deciphering edits, and arranging reviews can keep us from repeating this editing cycle more often.

The collaborative nature of Google Apps can help evolve the writing process with easy sharing and anytime, anywhere collaboration. Add in built-in reference tools, autosave and revision history, and ready-made templates, and Google Docs – part of the Google Apps suite – becomes a powerful platform for writing.

We’ve developed our first Google Apps Topic Review to highlight some of these features and stories from teachers in the classroom, and we shared and revised this paper using the same principles of collaboration.

If you’re attending this year’s ASCD conference (held from March 6-8 in San Antonio, Texas) we’ll be featuring presentations from Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps Education Edition customers, and Google Apps Education team members about other ways Google Apps can help in the classroom. View our teaching theater schedule and stop by to visit us in Booth #626.

For more information about how to start using Google Apps Education Edition at your school, visit www.google.com/a/edu.

Posted by: ​​Dana Nguyen, Google Apps Education team
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/03/working-on-more-collaborative-writing.html

[G] Working on a more collaborative writing process with Google Apps Edu

| More

Official Google Enterprise Blog: Working on a more collaborative writing process with Google Apps Edu

While feedback and revision are crucial steps to successful writing, it’s not always easy to do in practice. Keeping track of revisions, deciphering edits, and arranging reviews can keep us from repeating this editing cycle more often.

The collaborative nature of Google Apps can help evolve the writing process with easy sharing and anytime, anywhere collaboration. Add in built-in reference tools, autosave and revision history, and ready-made templates, and Google Docs – part of the Google Apps suite – becomes a powerful platform for writing.

We’ve developed our first Google Apps Topic Review to highlight some of these features and stories from teachers in the classroom, and we shared and revised this paper using the same principles of collaboration.

If you’re attending this year’s ASCD Conference (held from March 6-8 in San Antonio, Texas) we invite you to hear presentations from Google Certified Teachers, Google Apps Education Edition customers, and Google Apps Education team members about other ways Google Apps can help in the classroom. View our teaching theater schedule and stop by to visit us in Booth #626.

For more information about how to start using Google Apps Education Edition at your school, visit www.google.com/a/edu

Posted by Dana Nguyen, Google Apps Education team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/03/working-on-more-collaborative-writing.html

Thursday, March 4, 2010

[G] Google and the Tor Project

| More

Google Open Source Blog: Google and the Tor Project

When it comes to code, Google's support has made a big difference to the Tor Project. Providing privacy and helping to circumvent censorship online is a challenge that keeps our software developers and volunteers very busy. The Google Summer of Code™ brings students and mentors in the open source community together to write code for three months every year. A lot of coding got done in a few months in 2009, and Tor was lucky to get a group of students who kept on working past the summer months to improve existing projects and support users. Tor also works on Libevent with Google.

All of these changes in software are very exciting, but who is it all for? Why is anonymity online so important? Companies like Google have privacy and opt-out policies, but not everyone has this stance. Corporations, nations, criminal organizations and individuals want your information. Companies collect information on your web browsing habits and sell it or are sloppy when it comes to protecting it from identity thieves. Others can threaten lives, from repressive nations tracking down outspoken journalists, to abusive spouses or stalkers who want to find out where their victims are hiding; from enemy military forces trying to find a communications link, to criminals who know when law enforcement is watching online.



Political upheaval sparks protests and renewed efforts to control the flow of information online. Interest in censorship circumvention also rises. In 2009, use of Tor increased, as users tried to get around national firewalls during the elections in Iran, and after the introduction of national Internet filters in other countries.



In times of relative political stability, governments routinely filter out international news outlets, information on reproductive health, religion, human rights and other topics deemed unfit. Women blogging about things considered mundane elsewhere, like being forbidden to drive or shop alone, are harassed by authorities. On the one hand, technology has made it easier to crack down on dissent, but the right technology can influence policy in good ways. In Mauritania, the use of censorship circumvention software after 2005 became widespread enough to prompt the government to stop filtering, since it was becoming a waste of time.

Even people living in countries where free speech is protected by law need anonymity for political activities. People blogging about political views that differ from the prevailing attitudes in a small community may lose a job or face boycotts if they run a business. In a company town, writing about the misdeeds of the company that employs your neighbors may be dangerous. Telling people about corruption could lead to harassment from guilty officials.

When someone finds the courage to leave an abusive relationship, the support of victims' advocates is vital. The Internet can help a survivor find counseling, shelter, and encouragement from people who have gone through the same process. Sadly, stalkers are also using technology to find their victims. Abusers monitor web browsers to see if a victim is planning to leave. Information about a shelter's location can be found in email headers, forcing abuse survivors to relocate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, over one in four people who are stalked experience some sort of cyberstalking. Though some software in a stalker's toolkit is installed on a home computer, IP addresses can reveal which internet cafe or library someone uses to get online. Even if you don't have a stalker, hiding your IP address can be a good idea. Kids and adults alike are advised not to tell strangers where they live, but an IP address can reveal it for them.

Sting operations fail if criminals can tell that the police are connecting to message boards and chat from a government network. The information disappears. Insurgents may be looking for soldiers connecting to their defense department's computers back home. Anonymous tip lines are not so anonymous if someone telling authorities about crime is the only person in the neighborhood connecting to a government website. Without anonymity, going after organized crime can be dangerous to officers and their families.

Some companies do not reveal how much they know about their customers, or who sees the information. Some Internet Service Providers feel entitled to sell data collected from their subscribers to marketers. Though they claim that the information is not tied to any particular users, it is easy to find someone based on their search history. Information about visits to banking websites, searches for details on pre-existing health conditions, or other sensitive online activity could be damaging in the wrong hands; whether made available through carelessness or commercial interest.

Privacy online can protect people offline whether they are organizing protests, covering the news, blowing the whistle on threats to public health, or just blogging about daily life. In the "real world" assaults on privacy like peeking in windows, opening mail, or breaking and entering are obvious crimes. In the online world, however, assaults on privacy are subtle and unyielding. These threats to your health, your wealth and your well-being have no "opt-out" button. They have no "scrub my data" option. Your online activities, e-mails, bank transactions and everything else can be used to trace where you are and who you are. Using software like Tor gives ordinary citizens more choice about the information they reveal online.

For more information about online privacy and circumventing internet censorship, visit the Tor Project's website.

By The Tor Project
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/03/google-and-tor-project.html

[G] Celebrating Innovation in the YouTube Screening Room

| More

YouTube Blog: Celebrating Innovation in the YouTube Screening Room

Whether it's utilizing new techniques, telling a story in a novel way or focusing on a groundbreaking subject, filmmaking is a craft in which innovation takes center stage. So it's with great pleasure that we introduce a new round of films in the Screening Room, courtesy of Lexus, celebrating convention-breakers, thought-provokers and envelope-pushers.




To start, we've got four very different films. "Papiroflexia" (Spanish for "origami") is the animated tale of Fred, a chubby man with a passion for paper folding, who wants to change the world with his art. The documentary short "Kung Fu Wang" explores the life of a martial arts master whose real contribution to society is not what you think. In "Little Minx Exquisite Corpse: Cara," a less-than-glamorous actress in Los Angeles might not be exactly what producers are looking for, but why should something like that stand in the way? And in "Windowbreaker," a pair of young siblings build a home-alarm system to protect themselves against a group of neighborhood burglars.




Stay tuned because in two weeks, we'll have a new round of innovative shorts.




Nate Weinstein, Entertainment Marketing Associate, recently watched "Muni Fight."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/FduViL123Mg/celebrating-innovation-in-youtube.html

[G] New Default Size for Embedded Videos

| More

YouTube Blog: New Default Size for Embedded Videos

A video's life on YouTube is just the beginning; embedding gives it a life off of the site. Just look at your favorite blogger and they're likely to be embedding YouTube content in their posts. In fact, almost every popular video on the site is first made famous by embeds on the Web. That number can be as high as 50% of views in the first 48 hours, kicking off a great cycle.



We offer a few size choices when you grab a video's embed code. The default size used to be on the smaller side -- smaller than the size displayed on YouTube.com -- but as of today, we're defaulting to a larger size, one that's the same size of a video on YouTube.com (either 480x385 if 4:3 video, or 640x385 for 16:9 content). These new defaults were selected because they will give the majority of people the best possible viewing experience and because they better match our current video encoding sizes.



When you click on the embed
code, the space below it will expand and reveal customization options,
like so:









You can choose the following for your embedded player:


  • The color and size

  • Whether or not to include related videos

  • Whether or not to display the player border

  • Whether or not to play in HD by default -- triggers video resolutions of 1280x720 (720p) or 1920x1080 (1080p)


When using the "Play in HD" option, it's best to embed the player at a very large size (at least 1280x745) in order to accommodate the large size of the video. If you play HD video in a small player, the user's computer will have to scale down the video to fit within the player, costing the user extra CPU cycles and bandwidth, which may result in choppy playback. It's always best to play the video size that best fits the size of the video player. And if you want even better performance when watching HD content, you can choose to watch it in full-screen.



Geoff Stearns, Senior Web Developer, recently embedded "OK Go - This Too Shall Pass - RGM version."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/2VAFy1dDrKY/new-default-size-for-embedded-videos.html

[G] The future will be captioned: improving accessibility on YouTube

| More

Google Public Policy Blog: The future will be captioned: improving accessibility on YouTube

Posted by Hiroto Tokusei, Product Manager

(cross-posted from the Official You Tube Blog)

Tens of millions of people in the U.S. experience some kind of hearing impairment and recent studies have predicted that over 700 million people worldwide will suffer from hearing impairment by 2015. To address a clear need, the broadcast industry began running captions on regular video programming in the early 1970s. Today, closed captions on video are more prevalent than ever. But generating captions today can be a time-consuming and complicated process.

Making video easily accessible is something we're working hard to address at YouTube. One of the first steps we took was the development of a caption feature in 2008. In November of last year we released auto-captioning for a small, select group of partners. Auto-captioning combines some of the speech-to-text algorithms found in Google's Voice Search to automatically generate video captions when requested by a viewer. The video owner can also download the auto-generated captions, improve them, and upload the new version. Viewers can even choose an option to translate those captions into any one of 50 different languages -- all in just a couple of clicks.

Today, we are opening up auto-captions to all YouTube users. There will even be a "request processing" button for un-captioned videos that any video owner can click on if they want to speed up the availability of auto-captions. It will take some time to process all the available video, so here are some things to keep in mind:
  • While we plan to broaden the feature to include more languages in the months to come, currently, auto-captioning is only for videos where English is spoken.
  • Just like any speech recognition application, auto-captions require a clearly spoken audio track. Videos with background noise or a muffled voice can't be auto-captioned. President Obama's speech on the recent Chilean Earthquake is a good example of the kind of audio that works for auto-captions.
  • Auto-captions aren't perfect and just like any other transcription, the owner of the video needs to check to make sure they're accurate. In other cases, the audio file may not be good enough to generate auto-captions. But please be patient -- our speech recognition technology gets better every day.
  • Auto-captions should be available to everyone who's interested in using them. We're also working to provide auto-captions for all past user uploads that fit the above mentioned requirements. If you're having trouble enabling them for your video, please visit our Help Center: this article is for uploaders and this article is for viewers.
For content owners, the power of auto-captioning is significant. With just a few quick clicks your videos can be accessed by a whole new global audience. And captions can make is easier for users to discover content on YouTube.

Twenty hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Making some of these videos more accessible to people who have hearing disabilities or who speak different languages, not only represents a significant advancement in the democratization of information, it can also help foster greater collaboration and understanding.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/03/future-will-be-captioned-improving.html

[G] Improved Gadget Administration in Google Sites with the FSCT

| More

Official Google Enterprise Blog: Improved Gadget Administration in Google Sites with the FSCT

Thousands of businesses and schools have been using Google Sites as a collaboration platform for teams, classes, or entire intranets.

In the past year, we've helped simplify the site creation process with site templates and let businesses create domain-specific gadgets with private gadgets. Gadgets are snippets of code that can embed rich media, pieces of web content, or Google Apps products like Docs or Calendars, directly into Google Sites. One request we've received from Google Apps administrators is the ability to manage the types of gadgets available to users in the gadget directory.

Available to Google Apps customers, we're releasing an update to the Feed Server Client Tool (FSCT) – the same developer tool that enables private gadgets – to allow administrators to set which gadgets appear in the Sites gadget directory. Using the FSCT, businesses and schools can choose to explicitly select relevant gadgets for their domain's directory or blacklist inappropriate gadgets.

To find out more about using FSCT to manage your domain's gadgets in Google Sites, read the Help Center Article.

Posted by Jeffrey Harris, Associate Product Manager, Google Apps
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/03/improved-gadget-administration-in.html

[G] Over 4,000 developers at Google I/O 2010

| More

Official Google Blog: Over 4,000 developers at Google I/O 2010

As of today, this year's Google I/O conference has sold out and registration is closed. That means more than 4,000 developers will be joining us on May 19-20 at Moscone West in San Francisco.

Like years past, I/O will feature over 90 in-depth sessions and the opportunity to meet and learn from other developers, including those from the more than 160 companies that will demo in the Developer Sandbox. For those unable to attend, video recordings of technical sessions will be available on YouTube following the conference.

From now until May, we'll continue to list new speakers, new sessions, and new Sandbox participants on the Google I/O website. To keep up with the latest event info and details, follow us on Twitter.

Posted by Vic Gundotra, Vice President of Engineering
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/over-4000-developers-at-google-io-2010.html

[G] The Future Will Be Captioned: Improving Accessibility on YouTube

| More

YouTube Blog: The Future Will Be Captioned: Improving Accessibility on YouTube

Tens of millions of people in the U.S. experience some kind of hearing impairment and recent studies have predicted that over 700 million people worldwide will suffer from hearing impairment by 2015. To address a clear need, the broadcast industry began running captions on regular video programming in the early 1970s. Today, closed captions on video are more prevalent than ever. But generating captions today can be a time-consuming and complicated process.



Making video easily accessible is something we're working hard to address at YouTube. One of the first steps we took was the development of a caption feature in 2008. In November of last year we released auto-captioning for a small, select group of partners. Auto-captioning combines some of the speech-to-text algorithms found in Google's Voice Search to automatically generate video captions when requested by a viewer. The video owner can also download the auto-generated captions, improve them, and upload the new version. Viewers can even choose an option to translate those captions into any one of 50 different languages -- all in just a couple of clicks.



Today, we are opening up auto-captions to all YouTube users. There will even be a "request processing" button for un-captioned videos that any video owner can click on if they want to speed up the availability of auto-captions. It will take some time to process all the available video, so here are some things to keep in mind:


  • While we plan to broaden the feature to include more languages in the months to come, currently, auto-captioning is only for videos where English is spoken.

  • Just like any speech recognition application, auto-captions require a clearly spoken audio track. Videos with background noise or a muffled voice can't be auto-captioned. President Obama's speech on the recent Chilean Earthquake is a good example of the kind of audio that works for auto-captions.

  • Auto-captions aren't perfect and just like any other transcription, the owner of the video needs to check to make sure they're accurate. In other cases, the audio file may not be good enough to generate auto-captions. But please be patient -- our speech recognition technology gets better every day.

  • Auto-captions should be available to everyone who's interested in using them. We're also working to provide auto-captions for all past user uploads that fit the above mentioned requirements. If you're having trouble enabling them for your video, please visit our Help Center: this article is for uploaders and this article is for viewers.


For content owners, the power of auto-captioning is significant. With just a few quick clicks your videos can be accessed by a whole new global audience. And captions can make is easier for users to discover content on YouTube.



Twenty hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute. Making some of these videos more accessible to people who have hearing disabilities or who speak different languages, not only represents a significant advancement in the democratization of information, it can also help foster greater collaboration and understanding.






Hiroto Tokusei, Product Manager, recently watched "How to Eat Stick Candy Fast."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/WZwwZhgZ4po/future-will-be-captioned-improving.html

[G] New tool for brand advertisers on the Google Content Network

| More

Inside AdWords: ​New tool for brand advertisers on the Google Content Network

Two types of advertisers run campaigns across the Google Content Network. The first group, direct response advertisers, measures the success of their campaigns by looking for clicks, traffic to their sites, and sales. In contrast, brand advertisers typically use display ads to raise awareness and purchase consideration for a product or service a person might buy down the road. Other advertisers are looking to achieve a combination of these goals.

On the Google Content Network, we've been focused on building new capabilities that make it a great place for brand advertising of all kinds. For example, last year we introduced frequency capping to enable advertisers to manage how often their campaign reaches the right users. We've also developed new innovative tools to measure the impact of brand campaigns. Today, in response to feedback from brand advertisers, we're announcing a new feature that allows these advertisers to reach their advertising goals more easily.

This feature, which filters out "below the fold" inventory, enables brand advertisers to be more selective about where ads appear. The new filter gives you the ability to show ads only in places that appear on the user's screen when the page loads, without requiring them to scroll down. Learn more in the Help Center.

With a host of different web browsers, monitor sizes, and screen resolutions, it’s hard for advertisers to predict where an ad will land, since the same placement may appear differently on each user's screen. To simplify the process for you, Google has implemented a statistically driven solution to determine which ads are above and below the fold. The statistically driven model only considers ads "above the fold" if they are completely on-screen when the browser window loads.

Our goal with this release is to give brand advertisers greater control over where their ads appear, and make the Google Content Network an even more powerful, controlled environment for running high performing brand campaigns.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-tool-for-brand-advertisers-on.html

[G] Disaster Recovery by Google

| More

Official Google Enterprise Blog: Disaster Recovery by Google

Will you be ready when disaster strikes? It's an uncomfortable question for many IT administrators, because answering it with confidence usually requires boatloads of money, immense complexity, and crossed fingers. Fortunately there's a better way.

Taking email as an example, consider a few of the ways that companies protect their data from disruption. Ideally a typical small business backs up its email. They have a mail server, and copy the data to tape at regular daily or weekly intervals. If something goes wrong, they go to the tapes to restore the data that was saved before their last backup. But the information created after their most recent backup is lost forever.

In larger businesses, companies will add a storage area network (SAN), which is a consolidated place for all storage. SANs are expensive, and even then, you're out of luck if your data center goes down. So the largest enterprises will build an entirely new data center somewhere else, with another set of identical mail servers, another SAN and more people to staff them.

But if, heaven forbid, disaster strikes both your data centers, you're toast (check out this customer's experience with a fire). So big companies will often build the second data center far away, in a different 'threat zone', which creates even more management headaches. Next they need to ensure the primary SAN talks to the backup SAN, so they have to implement robust bandwidth to handle terabytes of data flying back and forth without crippling their network. There are other backup options as well, but the story's the same: as redundancy increases, cost and complexity multiplies.

Google Apps customers don't need to worry about any of this for the data they create and store within Google Apps. They get best-in-class disaster recovery for free, no matter their size. Indeed, it's one of the many reasons why the City of Los Angeles decided to go Google.


How do you know if your disaster recovery solution is as strong as you need it to be? It's usually measured in two ways: RPO (Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (Recovery Time Objective). RPO is how much data you're willing to lose when things go wrong, and RTO is how long you're willing to go without service after a disaster.

For a large enterprise running SANs, the RTO and RPO targets are an hour or less: the more you pay, the lower the numbers. That can mean a large company spending the big bucks is willing to lose all the email sent to them for up to an hour after the system goes down, and go without access to email for an hour as well. Enterprises without SANs may be literally trucking tapes back and forth between data centers, so as you can imagine their RPOs and RTOs can stretch into days. As for small businesses, often they just have to start over.

For Google Apps customers, our RPO design target is zero, and our RTO design target is instant failover. We do this through live or synchronous replication: every action you take in Gmail is simultaneously replicated in two data centers at once, so that if one data center fails, we nearly instantly transfer your data over to the other one that's also been reflecting your actions.

Our goal is not to lose any data when it's transferred from one data center to another, and to transfer your data so quickly that you don't even know a data center experiences an interruption. Of course, no backup solution from us or anyone else is absolutely perfect, but we've invested a lot of effort to help make it second to none.

And it's not just to preserve your Gmail accounts. You get the same level of data replication for all the other major applications in the Apps suite: Google Calendar, Google Docs, and Google Sites.

Some companies have adopted synchronous replication as well, but it is even more expensive than everything else we've mentioned. To backup 25GB of data with synchronous replication a business may easily pay from $150 to $500+ in storage and maintenance costs- and that's per employee. That doesn't even include the cost of the applications. The exact price depends on a number of factors such as the number of times the data is replicated and the choice of service provider.

At the low end a company might tier the number of times they replicate data, and at the high end they'll make several copies of the data for everyone. We also replicate all the data multiple times, and the 25GB per employee for Gmail is backed up for free. Plus you get even more disk space for storage-intensive applications like Google Docs, Google Sites and Google Video for business. Other companies may offer cloud computing solutions as well, but don't assume they backup your data in more than one data center.

Here are a few of the reasons why we're able to offer you this level of service. First, we operate many large data centers simultaneously for millions of users, which helps reduce cost while increasing resiliency and redundancy. Second, we're not wasting money and resources by having a data center stand-by unused until something goes wrong – we can balance loads between data centers as needed.

Finally, we have very high speed connections between data centers, so that we can transfer data very quickly from one set of servers to another. This let us replicate large amounts of data simultaneously.

One of the most compelling advantages of cloud computing is its power to democratize technology. Whether it's a 25GB email inbox, Video for business, synchronous replication, or one of countless other advanced services, Google Apps gives companies of all sizes access to technology that until recently was available to only the largest enterprises. And it's available at a dramatically lower cost than the on-premises alternatives, without the usual hassles of upgrading, patching and maintaining the software.

No one likes preparing for worst-case scenarios. When you use Google Apps, you have one less critical thing to worry about.

Posted by Rajen Sheth, Senior Product Manager, Google Apps
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/03/disaster-recovery-by-google.html

[G] Attracting new brand advertisers to your site

| More

Inside AdSense: Attracting new brand advertisers to your site

We’re constantly focused on bringing new advertisers and more advertising spend to AdSense sites. One way to do so is to make it easier for brand advertisers to reach their goals on AdSense sites. Brand advertisers are focused on raising brand awareness and driving engagement, typically with display ads, for a product or service a person may buy in the future. Brand advertisers differ from direct response advertisers, who typically look for clicks and conversions from the campaigns they run on your site.

For example, an advertiser selling DVDs online may want users to click through and make purchases, while a brand advertiser for an upcoming summer blockbuster may want to generate awareness among users. Because of their campaign goals, brand advertisers tend to be more selective about the sites their ads run on, as well as where on the page their ads appear. We want to help these new advertisers compete for the portions of your ad space that are most attractive to them so that we can increase your earnings over time.

With that in mind, we're launching a new beta advertiser feature that we believe will help accomplish this goal. The new feature enables brand advertisers to target their ads to ad units that are immediately visible when a page is loaded -- in other words, the portions of the page a user can see without needing to scroll down. The ads that are immediately visible are called 'above the fold'; those that require a user to scroll down in order to be seen are called 'below the fold.'

In order to determine which ads are above and below the fold, we've implemented a statistically-driven model. The model takes into account various user experiences and situations, including different web browsers, monitor sizes, and screen resolutions, and only considers ads above the fold if they are fully on-screen when the browser window loads.

If you've placed your ad units above the fold, advertisers using this feature will now be able to reach your site in a new way. If you haven't, placing new ad units above the fold will enable them to do so. We believe this feature will help attract new brand campaigns to AdSense sites, bringing more revenue to publishers over time.

Posted by Aaron Rothman - Product Manager
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/03/attracting-new-brand-advertisers-to.html

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

[G] Curator of the Month: TechCrunch

| More

YouTube Blog: Curator of the Month: TechCrunch

Our curator of the month is TechCrunch, a blog dedicated to "obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies...as well as companies making an impact on the new Web space." They polled their whole crew to come up with a list of favorite videos focusing largely on tech, innovation, start-ups, Silicon Valley and, of course, a few unconventional subjects, like a pogo-ing CEO.



Here, Jason Kincaid explains the thinking behind their selection, which is featured on our homepage today:













You can find the full playlist here.



Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched "Life in Quarantine - Fully Sick Rapper."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/erZIdJMXA8c/curator-of-month-techcrunch.html

[G] Search your Android phone with written gestures

| More

Official Google Mobile Blog: Search your Android phone with written gestures

As mobile phones become increasingly powerful and can store more data, we've introduced new methods of search to get you to your content faster, such as search suggestions or search by voice. But sometimes, typing to get to the right search suggestion takes too long, and you may be in a quiet environment where speaking a query is inappropriate. Today we're pleased to announce Gesture Search, a new Google Labs application for Android-powered devices running Android 2.0 or above in the US. Gesture Search lets you quickly find a contact, an installed application, a bookmark or a music track from hundreds or thousands of items, by simply drawing alphabet gestures on the touch screen.

Say you want to call your friend Anne. Just open Gesture Search and draw letter “A”, and Gesture Search returns a list of items that have words starting with “A”. If your handwriting isn't all that neat, that's okay. If the "A" you draw looks a bit like an "H", as seen in the bottom left corner of the screenshot, "H" results will be brought up as well. If needed, you can also erase a query by crossing it horizontally: left to right erases the entire query, and right to left removes the last letter or space in the query. Now you can either scroll down the list to find Anne or write more letters to refine the search.



Additionally, Gesture Search improves search quality by learning from your search history, so Anne's contact info will jump to the top of the list the next time you write "A".

To download Gesture Search, search for it in Android Market. You can get more information on our Google Labs page. And as this is a Labs launch, we are particularly eager to get your thoughts and feedback in the comments below!

Posted by Yang Li, Research Scientist
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/03/search-your-android-phone-with-written.html

[G] Hopping on a Face Manifold via People Hopper

| More

Official Google Research Blog: Hopping on a Face Manifold via People Hopper

Posted by Sanjiv Kumar and Henry Rowley, Google Research

A few weeks ago we announced the launch of a new orkut application in Google Labs called People Hopper that lets you take your profile image and "morph" it into a friend's photo, using publicly available images from other orkut users along the way. No computer graphics tricks are used; every image along the transition comes from real orkut users.



The application hops across millions of public user images in orkut so that one image is smoothly transformed into another. First, faces are automatically detected in public profile images and normalized in contrast and size. Then, for each image, we find other public profile images that are similar to it. Finally, when you pick two faces, we just hop between similar public images, step-by-step, until the connection is made.

People Hopper was outcome of the following research question: Is it possible to learn a low-dimensional space (i.e. a manifold) in which all the human face images live? It is well-known in the machine learning community that to recover the true underlying manifold one needs a large number of samples from it. In 2008, we published a paper at CVPR in which we learned a face manifold using tens of millions of images, which is still the largest scale manifold learning study to date.

To be able to do manifold learning at such a large scale, we had to address two key issues: First, how to do nearest neighbor search in very large databases? We used spill-trees to speed up the search to construct the neighborhood graph. Second, how to do spectral decomposition of matrices which are hundreds of terabytes in size? We investigated sampling-based matrix decomposition methods to handle such matrices.

One way to visualize the quality of the manifold is to find shortest paths between pairs of faces in the manifold, and observe the smoothness of the transitions between them. This is exactly what People Hopper does. Curious? Try People Hopper on orkut now!

The quality of the face manifold depends on three main factors: the number of faces in the manifold, the appearances of those faces, and the similarity measure used for image matching. Since we cannot control the number or appearance of the faces in orkut profiles, it may happen that for a particular image there exists no visually similar image in the database. We plan to update our graph over public profile images frequently, so the quality of paths will change as users join orkut or update their profile images. Finding better contrast normalization and similarity measures is a topic of continuing research. Currently we don't use any face-specific features during this process, just simple image distances.

We are eager to hear your feedback on how we can make this application more fun and useful. Also, if for any reason you would prefer your profile image not to appear in any People Hopper path, you can choose to opt out by visiting our People Hopper homepage.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2010/03/hopping-on-face-manifold-via-people.html