Saturday, March 27, 2010

[G] Release notes: Facebook Connect, real-time sharing, subscriber stats

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YouTube Blog: Release notes: Facebook Connect, real-time sharing, subscriber stats

In addition to some changes to our new video page, which we reported in a separate post, here are some things that have launched recently:

Invitation to Facebook Connect: You've been able to connect your YouTube account to your Facebook account for a while now in order to AutoShare or to find friends to subscribe to. Less known is that the YouTube homepage can show you the YouTube videos your friends are sharing on Facebook; we've kept this under the radar while we've ramped up support. But now, when you log in to your YouTube account, you'll get a prominent invitation in the Recent Activity module (see below) to connect to Facebook, which we highly recommend that you do. In fact, we hope to integrate more social networks with YouTube going forward: knowing which videos your friends are sharing on social platforms is one of the best ways to discover those clips that you, in turn, just might feel compelled to pass along. That's how we found this gem, a lovely virtual choir.

Real-time sharing: AutoShare lets you effortlessly share videos from YouTube to Twitter, Facebook or Google Reader. What you might not have known is that until recently, it took about 10 minutes for those items to get pushed out from YouTube to these platforms. Now these actions happen instantly, in real time.

Partner Program expands again: Exciting! Users in Israel and Mexico can now become members of the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). To sign up, click here.

Subscribers tab in Insight: The number of subscribers you have is an important metric for many YouTube users, as it indicates how many people love your videos so much that they want to be sure never to miss one. (Speaking of which, we commend Nigahiga, who recently hit 2 million subscribers to become YouTube's No. 1 most subscribed channel of all time. But, we digress.) Insight, YouTube's analytics tool, recently added data about the evolution of your subscriber numbers over time, broken down into new subscriptions and unsubscriptions per day. Head over to your account's Insight area to check it out.

Planning our April Fool's Day joke: What joke? :) We just wanted to see if you were reading this far.

The YouTube Team


Friday, March 26, 2010

[G] This week in search 3/26/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 3/26/10

This is one of a regular series of posts on search experience updates. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

This week we're highlighting a few recent internationalization projects, as well as some improvements to the way you conduct your searches. Here's a summary.

Improved Google Suggest interface & internationalization
In 2008, we launched Google Suggest to help you formulate queries, reduce spelling errors and save keystrokes. Since then, we've made a number of visual changes to Suggest for English-speaking users of, including:
  • Boldface search suggestions to make it faster to scan the list of suggestions and find what you're looking for
  • Adding the "Google Search" and "I'm Feeling Lucky" buttons to the box so they're still accessible even when the Suggest box is open
  • Removing the result counts, which previewed the number of results for each search, to simplify your experience
Given the popularity of these changes, we've just rolled them out in 50 languages across all 170 domains where Google Suggest is available. No matter where you are, we hope you find that Suggest is now faster and easier to use.

Real-time search in more languages
As you've probably noticed, on our search results page for in English now includes a dynamic stream of real-time content from popular sites like Facebook, FriendFeed, Jaiku,, MySpace and Twitter. Since we launched real-time search, we've continued to make significant improvements in the relevance technology. As of today, real-time search is available in 40 languages. Now when you're visiting family in Puerto Rico, or if you speak German and live in Switzerland, you'll be able to see live updates from people on these popular sites as well as news headlines and blog posts published just seconds before.

Refinements for local searches
Whether you're looking for info close to home or while you're traveling, it's now easier to find things to do in the cities you're searching for on Google. Now when you search for a city name, we'll show you popular query refinements for places in those cities. We've found that people like to explore several places during a trip, so when we show one point of interest, we'll also show you related points of interest. For instance, if you're looking for food or a place to stay, you'll also see some of the top category and neighborhood refinements to help you choose a place. This new feature will be rolling out over the next couple days for 200 U.S. cities, and in the coming weeks we'll expand coverage to more cities internationally.

Example searches: [maui], [pikes place market] and [restaurants berkeley california]

Lists in Bookmarks
This week we introduced lists in Google Bookmarks, an experimental feature that helps you easily share sites with friends. With lists, you can sort and categorize your Google Bookmarks or starred search results. Once you've created a list, you can share it with specific friends or make it publicly visible and searchable (lists are private by default). Based on the content of your list, we'll also generate suggestions for related links, so you can discover more helpful info related to a list you're already building. We’re launching lists as an experimental feature, and it is available at or by clicking the "Starred results" link on your search results page. From there, select the links you want to share and click “Copy to list.”

Example lists: [welcome to lists] and [seattle sites]

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more search improvements next week.

Posted by Ben Gomes, Distinguished Engineer

[G] Tomorrow night, turn off your lights!

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Official Google Blog: Tomorrow night, turn off your lights!

Tomorrow from 8:30 to 9:30pm local time, hundreds of millions of people around the world will switch off their lights and participate in Earth Hour, the largest climate awareness event ever held. As climate change will effect people on every continent, we think a united, global call for action to address the problem is needed.

At Google we’re working hard to be part of the solution for the climate crisis. A first step was pledging to be a carbon neutral company. Our web-based services run in some of the world’s most efficient data centers, we deploy renewable energy where viable, and we buy high-quality carbon offsets to address the emissions we can’t otherwise eliminate.

Even with these efforts, however, there remains an urgent need for clean, affordable electricity. To that end we have a team of engineers working to develop technology breakthroughs that will help make carbon-free electricity an economically viable alternative to electricity from coal.

We’re also putting our experience with organizing information to work, so we can enable others to do projects in the sustainable space. We recently announced, for example, Earth Engine, a computational platform that enables global-scale monitoring and measurement of changes in the Earth’s forests. And we’re working with our peers through Climate Savers Computing to cut the power used by computers in half.

We also want to help you achieve your personal energy reduction targets. Most people don’t know their own direct energy footprint, so we launched Google PowerMeter to give detailed, near real-time information about home energy usage. We also like to encourage everyone to set their computer’s power management to avoid wasting electricity when it’s not being used.

It’s tools like Google PowerMeter that my parents wish they had years ago when I was a teenager and living under their roof. They were often exasperated to find the lights on in rooms I’d just left, and it took years for them to convince me that I could choose something to eat without standing in front of the fridge with the door wide open. The point is, I had to learn to become a steward of the environment. We can help many more people take steps toward better care of the environment, and make that learning curve easier to climb.

Turning off the lights won’t solve the climate crisis, but it’s a start. Earth Hour gives individuals a simple, meaningful way to participate in a global call for change. As U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated, “Earth Hour is a way for the citizens of the world to send a clear message — they want action on climate change.”

So I hope you’ll gather your friends and family and join me, and hundreds of millions of others, in turning off the lights. And please include the light in the fridge.

Posted by Erik Teetzel, Google GreenKeeper

[G] Google Apps highlights — 3/26/2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights — 3/26/2010

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.

We've been busy over the last couple weeks launching updates to make Google Apps more useful, whether you use Google Apps at work, at school or at home.

Smart Rescheduler Lab in Google Calendar
If you’ve ever tried to schedule time with a group of people who have packed agendas, you know how hard it can be to find a good meeting time that works for everyone. With the Smart Rescheduler, Google Calendar can sift through the details for you. When you need to reschedule an appointment, Smart Rescheduler quickly compares people’s calendars and ranks potential meeting times based on criteria like attendees, schedule complexity, conference rooms, and time zones. You can enable Smart Rescheduler by going to “Labs” under “Settings” in Google Calendar.

Suspicious account activity alerts
To help keep Gmail users and the data in their accounts safer, on Wednesday we launched a new security feature to alert you if our systems detect suspicious activity in your account. When something unusual is identified, you’ll see a warning notification near the top of your inbox. You can choose to view a log of recent activity, and if it looks like your account has been compromised, you can change your password immediately. (And while we’re on the topic of security, we encourage you to brush up on our tips to keep your account safer.) We know that security is also a top priority for businesses and schools, and we plan to bring this feature to Google Apps customers once we have gathered and incorporated their feedback.

Contact delegation
Businesses using Google Apps can use a feature called email delegation, which lets employees appoint delegates who are allowed to read, send and manage email on their behalf. For example, this allows executive assistants to handle email for their managers. As of last Monday, delegates can also access and manage contacts. Now, a delegate can pick contacts from the manager’s contact list when composing a message on behalf of the manager, and keep the manager’s contacts up-to-date.

Google Apps Migration for Microsoft® Exchange
Millions of companies and schools have switched to Google Apps, and we hope to help millions more “go Google” in the near future. To make the transition as smooth as possible, we’ve released Google Apps Migration for Microsoft® Exchange, a server-to-server migration utility that brings email, contacts and calendar data from a legacy Microsoft® Exchange system to Google Apps. This makes the transition more seamless for employees, faculty and students. When they sign in to Google Apps, they’ll see the messages, contact information and calendar appointments from the old system right in Gmail and Google Calendar.

Who’s gone Google?
The number of businesses and other organizations using Google Apps continues to shoot up, and we hit another big milestone by crossing the 25 million user mark. Among those are the 7,000 employees at Konica Minolta, who are using Google Apps to help the company move fast and be more productive.

We’re excited to welcome another string of schools and universities too, including the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the College of William and Mary. Marshall University has a particularly great story: their technology group challenged themselves to deploy Google Apps to over 50,000 students in less than 24 hours – quite a feat when it typically takes large organizations months or even years to make major technology changes. We hope Marshall’s nimble approach inspires others to make the switch!

I hope you're enjoying the latest round of new features, whether you're using Google Apps with friends and family, with colleagues or with classmates. And don’t forget, you can always check the Google Apps Blog for more details and the latest news in this area.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

[G] Next steps for our experimental fiber network

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Google Public Policy Blog: Next steps for our experimental fiber network

Posted by James Kelly, Product Manager

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog.)

Since we announced our plans to build experimental, ultra high-speed broadband networks, the response from communities and individuals has been tremendous and creative. With just a few hours left before our submission deadline, we've received more than 600 community responses to our request for information (RFI), and more than 190,000 responses from individuals (we'll post an update with the final numbers later tonight). We've seen cities rename themselves, great YouTube videos, public rallies and hundreds of grassroots Facebook groups come to life, all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities.

We're thrilled to see this kind of excitement, and we want to humbly thank each and every community and individual for taking the time to participate. This enthusiasm is much bigger than Google and our experimental network. If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access.

So what's next? Over the coming months, we'll be reviewing the responses to determine where to build. As we narrow down our choices, we'll be conducting site visits, meeting with local officials and consulting with third-party organizations. Based on a rigorous review of the data, we will announce our target community or communities by the end of the year.

Of course, we're not going to be able to build in every interested community — our plan is to reach a total of at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people with this experiment. Wherever we decide to build, we hope to learn lessons that will help improve Internet access everywhere. After all, you shouldn't have to jump into frozen lakes and shark tanks to get ultra high-speed broadband.

Thanks again to all the communities and citizens that submitted a response. We feel the love, and we're honored by your interest.

[G] Improve your account structure to improve your results

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Inside AdWords: Improve your account structure to improve your results

Taking a little time to organize your account can help you to better target your potential customers. It can also save you time and effort when it comes to managing your advertising.

The video below will show you how a few minor changes to your account structure can make a big difference to your advertising performance.

(click to view video)

Use these simple tips to structure your account for success, and keep an eye out for the rest of our series of short video clips which we'll post over the coming weeks!

Did you find this video useful? We'd love to hear your feedback, so let us know. For more information on improving your account structure, visit this article in the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Emily Williams, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Announcing the Google Apps Marketplace YouTube channel

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Announcing the Google Apps Marketplace YouTube channel

Hot on the heels of our Google Apps Marketplace release, we're pleased to announce today a new YouTube channel,

The Apps Marketplace YouTube channel showcases videos from Marketplace vendors. Ranging from funny to informative, from cartoons to screencasts, these videos are meant to convey the benefits of extending Google Apps with integrated apps that work seamlessly with Gmail, Calendar, Docs and more. We're happy to already have more than a dozen videos in the channel and over 60 integrated app vendors in the Marketplace, and look forward to more great things as the Marketplace grows.

Please enjoy these examples of our Marketplace vendors' hard work. Thanks for the videos, guys!




To get started using great apps like these, visit, or watch our own short demo video explaining how the Marketplace works.

Are you a developer? Visit and start building.

Posted by Chris Kelly, Google Apps Marketplace team

[G] Next steps for our experimental fiber network

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Official Google Blog: Next steps for our experimental fiber network

Since we announced our plans to build experimental, ultra high-speed broadband networks, the response from communities and individuals has been tremendous and creative. With just a few hours left before our submission deadline, we've received more than 600 community responses to our request for information (RFI), and more than 190,000 responses from individuals (we'll post an update with the final numbers later tonight). We've seen cities rename themselves, great YouTube videos, public rallies and hundreds of grassroots Facebook groups come to life, all with the goal of bringing ultra high-speed broadband to their communities.

We're thrilled to see this kind of excitement, and we want to humbly thank each and every community and individual for taking the time to participate. This enthusiasm is much bigger than Google and our experimental network. If one message has come through loud and clear, it's this: people across the country are hungry for better and faster Internet access.

So what's next? Over the coming months, we'll be reviewing the responses to determine where to build. As we narrow down our choices, we'll be conducting site visits, meeting with local officials and consulting with third-party organizations. Based on a rigorous review of the data, we will announce our target community or communities by the end of the year.

Of course, we're not going to be able to build in every interested community — our plan is to reach a total of at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people with this experiment. Wherever we decide to build, we hope to learn lessons that will help improve Internet access everywhere. After all, you shouldn't have to jump into frozen lakes and shark tanks to get ultra high-speed broadband.

Thanks again to all the communities and citizens that submitted a response. We feel the love, and we're honored by your interest.

Posted by James Kelly, Product Manager

Thursday, March 25, 2010

[G] Introducing the Google Books Help Forum

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Inside Google Books: Introducing the Google Books Help Forum

Posted by Agnes Taterode, Google Books Support Team

Got a question about using Google Books, or curious about promoting your books on Google for free? The Google Books Help Forum is now available for questions of all shapes and sizes. With so many readers and partners out there, we wanted to provide a place for folks to help one another use Google Books.

The Help Forum is also a place for our team to share tips and answer questions, as well as a great way for us to receive feedback and suggestions for improving Google Books. Don’t understand a feature? Want to ask for help promoting your book on Google Books? Or have you found an incredible older book and want to share it with fellow readers? The Google Books Help Forum is the place to do it. Our team of Forum guides is looking forward to meeting you.

Please come over and join the discussions at the Google Books Help Forum!

[G] New video page adds comments highlight view and ratings improvements

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YouTube Blog: New video page adds comments highlight view and ratings improvements

Over the past couple of weeks, we've been busy iterating on the new video page design based on your feedback, and we're excited to share some new developments before the page is rolled out to everyone soon. Remember to opt-in here to get a preview of these new features:

Highlights view on comments

Many of you indicated that comments could use an overhaul and hoped that was a part of the redesign. We're happy to say that it is. Today, we're introducing a "highlights view" of comments which summarizes top rated comments, uploader comments, video responses and recent comments in a single "front-page story" that you can drill into for more detail. You can see an example on this video and this one. We're continuing to make the highlights better as we learn how people interact with it, so please let us know what you think in the comments below.


We've also made some improvements to the new like/dislike ratings system. When you like a video, we let you know how many people liked it and disliked it. To help you remember the best videos you've encountered, there's a new area housing all the videos that you liked, called (surprise, surprise) "Videos I Liked." In addition, we listened to your feedback and no longer tie 'Liking' something to your Favorites, which you use more for personal saving. Favoriting a video is now the first option when you click "save"; you can continue to save videos to your Favorites in this manner or create another playlist just by typing in the name. Finally, throughout the site, you'll occasionally see a video marked 'Most Liked' to give you an indication that this is a video other people loved, that you may want to check out. We surface popular videos in many ways, and we hope Most Liked becomes a reliable signal that helps you find quality videos to watch.

For quick refresher on the overall video page design, check out this video produced by TheWillofDC:

And if you've opted in but want to go back to the old page, you can opt out here.

Peter Bradshaw, Software Engineer, recently liked "SOIL & "PIMP" SESSIONS 'Summer Goddess'," and Tyler Morse, Software Engineer, recently liked "Bottle Bank Arcade - -" 


[G] Imagery update

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Google LatLong: Imagery update

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

Updates are noted with a red frame

Also included in this batch is a large amount of bathymetric data along the Southern California Coast, so make sure to visit both land and sea when you're checking out the updates.

Posted by Matt Manolides, Senior GIS Strategist

[G] More Courses and More Colleges - YouTube EDU Turns One

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YouTube Blog: More Courses and More Colleges - YouTube EDU Turns One

A college education is something many people take for granted, but only about 1% of the world actually gets one. A year ago today, YouTube EDU ( launched with a very simple mission: deliver some of the world’s greatest university courses to anyone with an Internet connection and a screen.

Whether it’s Salman Rushdie reading poetry by the last mughal king to Emory University students, or a lecture in electrical engineering at UC Berkeley, YouTube EDU has helped some of the oldest institutions on the planet blaze a trail into the 21st century by opening up a rich and empowering corpus of video content to aspiring students everywhere.

YouTube EDU is now one of the largest online video repositories of higher education content in the world. We have tripled our partner base to over 300 universities and colleges, including University of Cambridge, Yale, Stanford, MIT, University of Chicago and The Indian Institutes of Technology. We have grown to include university courses in seven languages across 10 countries. We now have over 350 full courses, a 75% increase from a year ago and thousands of aspiring students have viewed EDU videos tens of millions of times. And today, the EDU video library stands at over 65,000 videos.

We have also rolled out new products to make this coursework more accessible, including adding automated captions and auto-translation to videos spoken in English. In just a few clicks, you can generate captions and translate courses into one of 50 different languages.

At the end of the day, YouTube EDU is about using the democratic nature of the Internet and the power of video to make higher learning accessible to all. We’ve heard from thousands of users like trainerstone, who writes: “Thank you so much for your videos. I live in provincial Philippines and have very little access to the arts and academic stimulus.” But perhaps one user put it best: “This is what the Internet was created for.”

Here’s to another great year of great educational content on YouTube. Until then, keep watching and keep learning.

Obadiah Greenberg, Strategic Partner Manager, recently watched “Khan Academy on PBS NewsHour.”


[G] Tips for exploring the Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Tips for exploring the Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile

We’ve previously given you a few tips on using Google Buzz for mobile, and today we’re focusing on the Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile. As many of you have found out, location puts a different spin on Google Buzz, adding context to posts and letting anyone find relevant public posts in a natural way -- on a map! We wanted to share some tips on a few creative ways we’ve seen you using the Google Buzz layer.

Explore the world around you
Are you curious if there’s anything interesting going on nearby? Enable the Buzz layer in Google Maps, then select any icon from the map or open the list view to see all the posts from the map area you’re viewing. We’ve found patients chatting from different hospital rooms, neighbors discussing a power outage, and even some public flirting. Here are a few more awesome examples we’ve stumbled upon:
  • A father hearing his baby’s first heartbeats at the hospital
  • Status updates of a rooftop fire being put out in San Francisco
  • Shooting of the TV show “Trauma” on location
  • Photos of the stadiums being built for the World Cup in South Africa
Ask questions and get answers
If you’re exploring a new area and looking for tips, post a question, and someone browsing Buzz in the area may be able to provide a quick answer. A few weeks ago on President’s Day, I was hanging out in the Russian Hill neighborhood of San Francisco. Rather than take my chances, I posted a question asking what the parking rules were. A friendly local soon informed me that I’d be free of parking stress -- meters were enforced but permit parking was not.

Share a picture worth a thousand words
Even if you could type 100 words a minute from your phone, sometimes a picture tells a different story than words could ever describe. Google Maps for mobile or the Android Buzz widget lets anyone share a picture of their favorite dish or the funny street sign they’ve found. Just attach a photo to your post or take a new one before posting. We’ve found great cases of citizen photo journalism on the public Google Buzz layer, such as traffic accidents blocking roads and location-tagged Picasa Web Albums showing the earthquake recovery in Haiti.

Give tips or learn about places
Google Buzz posts you create in Maps will always include your location (i.e. “My Location”) by default, but you can easily change the approximate location to a specific place, such as a restaurant. For example, change the post’s location and select the restaurant from the suggestions list before posting to give a recommendation or tip. Alternatively, you can search for the restaurant in Maps and select the Google Buzz option from the search results page (the post’s location will automatically be the restaurant). Now, people reading your post will know that your recommendation is about that exact restaurant, and your recommendation will be available for anyone browsing that restaurant’s search results page.

...and one reminder
Because we built Google Buzz in Maps for mobile to let you share information about places with the world, posts from Maps are always public to the web and include a location, either your approximate one or a specific place you choose.

To get started, install the latest version of Google Maps 4.0+ on your Android 1.6+, Windows Mobile, or Symbian S60 phone (BlackBerry coming soon; see availability details) by visiting on your phone and going to Layers > Buzz from the Maps main menu. From Android, iPhone, and iPod touch devices, you can also use the Nearby view and map just like the Maps layer.

Visit our Help Center to learn more or tell us your feedback and questions in our Help Forum. Give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page!

Posted by Chris Nguyen, Product Marketing, Google Mobile Team

[G] Bridging the gap: Introducing the AdWords Content Specialist team

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Inside AdSense: Bridging the gap: Introducing the AdWords Content Specialist team

Do you ever wonder who at Google helps advertisers understand which websites are relevant for their placement-targeted ads?

I'm happy to say that this is one of my goals and also one of my team’s goals. My name is Lindsey Kurz, and I manage a team that helps advertisers understand how to best use AdSense sites in the Google Content Network to reach their marketing objectives. We focus on educating advertisers of all sizes on Content Network best practices, and how they can find success running campaigns on AdSense publisher sites.

You, our publishers, help our advertisers by offering high-quality inventory. My team’s job is to help advertisers understand how to make the best use of that inventory. One example of how we do this, is by helping advertisers understand how to connect with users of a site. For example, when someone’s reading an article, what kind of ad do they want to see? Chances are, they're browsing for information, so an ad promoting how to “learn more” may perform better than an ad asking them to “buy now." My team helps advertisers understand these differences to create the most relevant ads for your users. These ads then go through our targeting algorithms and standard ad auction to compete to appear on your pages.

Look for more posts from my team over the next few weeks. We’re excited to share with you more details about what we suggest to advertisers. We’ll talk about the specific recommendations we provide, such as advising advertisers to use a Placement Performance Report to optimize a Google Content Network campaign, along with more broad suggestions, like changing messages to reach different audiences.

Posted by Lindsey Kurz - AdWords Content Specialist Manager

[G] City of Orlando: cutting costs while advancing our infrastructure in just two months

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: City of Orlando: cutting costs while advancing our infrastructure in just two months

Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Conrad Cross, CIO of the City of Orlando, Florida. In November, the city announced it had Gone Google. Last month Orlando became one of the first cities in America to switch all of its employees to Gmail. Cross has been CIO at the City of Orlando since December of 1999 and has been leading the Google Apps deployment that took only two months and is resulting in more than 60% savings.

Join Conrad for a
live webcast on Wednesday, March 31, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT / 7:00 p.m. GMT. He'll talk about moving 3,000 city employees to Google Apps. Please note that registration will occur on a third party site.

Like many city departments, the City of Orlando is facing an aging infrastructure juxtaposed with budget cuts and high demand for more advanced infrastructure services such as mobile access to email. We were using a Lotus Notes® email system and paying for numerous servers in City Hall, so we needed to find a different way of doing business.

This situation was all exacerbated by the fact that our IT department was recently whittled down from 84 workers to 69 this year. We determined after analyzing Google Apps that we could achieve significant savings and move into the cloud very quickly.

If we were to keep our current system, we estimated it would cost $133 a year for each of its 3,000 employees – or $399,000 including annual software licenses. Google charges $50 per user, or $150,000 delivering more than 60% in savings. In return, everyone from city planners to police officers will now use a web-based email system similar to Google's popular Gmail, but without the advertisements that support the free consumer version.

Google servers will store all city email and run the application, and Google technicians in Google data centers will make sure it runs smoothly. Google will also help us more securely host records such as sensitive law-enforcement and legal documents by mustering greater resources and expertise than we could on our own.

After considering the cost and feature advantages, we made the decision to move to Google Apps. We were able to move to Google Apps in less than 60 days, a major accomplishment. When the mayor cornered me in the hallway, I was nervous – but then he told me how excited and supportive he was about the switch. We're now on board with Google Apps and we don't have to worry about constant upgrades or implementing new innovations, and the cost-savings we're achieving are impressive.

My message for other city governments is: do the analysis and determine what your costs are. If the savings are compelling, then move quickly - you'll see the move into the cloud is relatively fast and painless—and ultimately very cost-effective.

We’re eager to share our experiences about the nuances involving our transition to Google Apps, including what the main concerns were across the city in making the move and how we address them.

Please join us for this live event:

City of Orlando Cuts Costs by Over 66% by Moving Email and Apps into the Cloud
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
11:00 a.m. PDT / 2:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 p.m. GMT

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps team

Find customer stories and research product information on our resource sites for current users of
Microsoft® Exchange and Lotus Notes®/Domino®.

[G] Google Mobile App now available for BlackBerry Storm

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Mobile App now available for BlackBerry Storm

If you have a BlackBerry Storm or Storm2, and have been wondering when you'd have access to Google Mobile App and features like search by voice, then we hope you'll be happy with today's news. We're launching a new version of Google Mobile App for BlackBerry Storm and Storm2.

This version contains all of the useful features of Google Mobile App, but is tailored for BlackBerry touchscreen devices. You can search using your voice instead of typing your query. Just hold the green button and speak your query in English, Mandarin Chinese, or Japanese. You can also use Google Mobile App to search your BlackBerry's email and contacts. To find an email, you can search for the name of the person who sent you an email, or a phrase from the body of the message. If you'd rather Google Mobile App not search your email and contacts, you can turn off Phone Search in the options screen. Information about your contacts and content from your emails is accessible only on your device; Google Mobile App does not send this data to Google.

The weather OneBox

hold the green key to start search by voice

Google Mobile App also includes a few other conveniences to make searching easy, such as Google Suggest and search history. Google Mobile App also links to other Google services, such as Google Maps and Gmail, so you can access them quickly.

Google Mobile App is available in seven languages in more than twenty countries.

To download Google Mobile App to your BlackBerry, visit in your BlackBerry's browser. If you have any questions or comments, or if you want to learn more, please visit our help center.

Posted by Mark Brophy, Software Engineer

[G] Now available: Reach the right audience through remarketing

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Inside AdWords: Now available: Reach the right audience through remarketing

Imagine you’re a travel company, and you’re trying to excite users during the holiday season about deals to tropical Caribbean destinations. Users may come to your website, browse the offers and think about booking a trip, but decide that the deal is still not cheap enough. Then, they continue to browse the web. If you later decide to offer discounted deals to the Carribean, how do you reach these users who have already expressed interest in travelling there?

To help you do this, this week we're rolling out a new feature called remarketing. Any AdWords advertiser can use remarketing to reach users as they’re browsing the web on sites within the Google Content Network. Remarketing is a simple way to connect with users, based on their past interactions with your website.

We opened a trial of remarketing last March as part of our interest-based advertising beta. We’ve received a tremendous response from the hundreds of advertisers who’ve been using it in recent months, across all industries - including automotive, retail, local and finance. We’ve seen that remarketing has worked well for many different kinds of advertisers - whether they’re looking to boost brand awareness, or drive clicks and sales, and whether they use display or text ads. For example, if you’re a search advertiser, you can use remarketing to create an integrated campaign strategy. After driving traffic to your site with search ads, you can then remarket to those users who reach your site by showing them tailored ads on sites throughout the Google Content Network.

You can easily set up and create a remarketing campaign through the new “Audiences” tab in AdWords. A remarketing campaign allows you to take advantage of the same features and reports you can use today in AdWords - it’s just a new way to reach the best audience for your ad.

Here’s an example of how it works. Let’s say you’re a basketball team with tickets that you want to sell. You can put a piece of code on the tickets page of your website, which will let you later show relevant ticket ads (such as last minute discounts) to everyone who has visited that page, as they subsequently browse sites in the Google Content Network. In addition to your own site, you can also remarket to users who visited your YouTube brand channel or clicked your YouTube homepage ad.

You can also run a number of remarketing campaigns at the same time. For example, you could offer discount game tickets to users who’ve previously visited your tickets page, advertise VIP hospitality packages to users who clicked on your “How to get to the arena” page, and advertise a sale on team merchandise to users who previously visited your YouTube brand channel.

Remarketing is a great way for businesses to reach users who are likely to be highly receptive to their ads and special offers. It helps advertisers and websites get higher returns. For example, Intercontinental Hotels Group has used remarketing to reach potential customers who have visited one of their hotel websites:

Ad by InterContinental Hotels Group using remarketing to offer incentive to users

It also means more relevant and useful ads for users, and more opportunities for your customers to receive special offers and discounts that may be of interest to them. As we announced when we launched our beta of interest based advertising, we want to put users in control of the ads they see, so anyone can opt-out of remarketing by using the Ads Preferences Manager. Our remarketing product complies with industry standards developed by self-regulatory groups such as the NAI and IAB and IAB UK.

To get started with a remarketing campaign, check out the information we’ve put together.

Posted by Aitan Weinberg, Product Manager

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

[G] GNOME Usability Hackfest

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Google Open Source Blog: GNOME Usability Hackfest

Google recently sponsored the GNOME Usability Hackfest, which took place in London. With over 30 GNOME design and usability experts attending on some days, it was an unusually large, exciting and dynamic event. As GNOME 3.0 is just around the corner, people took advantage of the opportunity to build bridges within the GNOME usability community, and re-think the desktop paradigm.

Highlights for me included:

In the last few days at the event, I spent a fair amount of time cleaning up the GNOME Usability Project Wiki so it is more clear and straightforward. I also did a lot of coordination with the Dev8D conference organizers to arrange for GNOME speakers at their event, and made arrangements for Antonio Roberts from the Dev8D community to attend the GNOME Usability Hackfest and participate on Thursday the 25th.

The GNOME Usability team has posted a great deal of blog posts, articles, and photos highlights about the work done at this hackfest and as more attendees post their notes, they will be updated onto the GNOME Planet blog aggregator. You can see my blog for more photos and a full report on the event. Many thanks to Google for sponsoring this event.

By Brian Cameron, GNOME Foundation Board Secretary

[G] Find the places you care about in Google Earth

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Google LatLong: Find the places you care about in Google Earth

On March 19, we announced some changes to the Google Earth layers panel intended to make browsing easier (with more descriptive icons, including more than 40 different icons to indicate place types). We also made some changes to the way layers are organized, with the goal of making it easier to find and control our top three layers:

We made the recent changes as part of our continual attempt to streamline and simplify the browsing experience, particularly for casual (or brand new!) Google Earth users. But we know we also have a very loyal community of users who weren’t happy with the changes. One of the most common complaints was that we removed the ability to individually select certain layers (such as “Parks” or “Transportation”), which now appear in our default-on “Places of Interest” layer.

We’ve been listening, and today we released some changes to make these separate layers available again in Google Earth. You can now once again expand the “Labels” folder:
You can also find “Parks and Recreation Areas” under “More,” as well as specific place categories like schools or coffee shops in our new “Place Categories” folder:

Finally, we’re working to restore our separate “Transportation” layers in the near future, and appreciate your patience while we make the required changes.

We'd like to make some further changes in the future to streamline the Ocean, Gallery, and Global Awareness content in our Layers panel, but we realize that many of you have very specific interests and want to easily find the information you care most about. In the interest of making these changes as painless as possible, we invite you to make suggestions about how best to organize the Layers panel in Google Earth.

Posted by Matt Holden, Product Manager, Google Earth Team

[G] Testifying before the Congressional - Executive Commission on China

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Google Public Policy Blog: Testifying before the Congressional - Executive Commission on China

Posted by Alan Davidson, Director of Public Policy

This afternoon I’m testifying before the Congressional - Executive Commission on China on our new approach in China and what led to it.

As we’ve said, figuring out how to make good on Google’s promise to stop censoring search on has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including our users in China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe our new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from is a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced.

I look forward to discussing this, as well as the impact censorship has on Internet users around the world, with members of the committee. You can read my written testimony here.

[G] Spring Into Green

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Official Google CPG Blog: Spring Into Green

Posted by Elizabeth Mills, CPG Account Manager

Green, eco-friendly, organic, natural, sustainable – no matter the term, more and more of today’s consumers make simple, informed decisions about the products they bring into their homes. Forty-nine percent of consumers report searching for environmentally friendly products at least some of the time when making an online purchase [i], and 34 percent of Americans use internet searches to research and to determine whether the brands they’re buying are socially responsible [ii].

What aspects of "Green" do consumers really care about? Do consumers value products that are animal friendly (not tested on animals)? Environmentally friendly? How would consumers prioritize various green attributes of their CPG products? According the trends Mintel Global New Products Database, it looks like packaging has increased significantly in importance from 2007 to 2009. Not being tested on animals, is still the most important.

New Product Introductions Making Selected Ethical Claim, US (2004-2009)

Source: Mintel GNPD

Investing in and promoting awareness of social responsibility is paying off in the CPG world. Fifty-seven percent of adult internet users in the United States report being willing to spend more on environmentally friendly products [iii]. Companies are capitalizing on this burgeoning market with new products and positioning strategies: As other beauty categories saw sales declines in 2008 and 2009, natural and organic personal care sales increased seven percent; across strong-performing household categories, significant increases came from positioning new or existing products as sustainable [iv].

As a CPG marketer, ask yourself:
  • How is my company or my brand making strides toward being more environmentally-friendly or socially responsible? How am I communicating this to my consumers? Do users searching for eco-friendly product lines see ads for my product?
  • Do consumers associate my brand with social responsibility? Am I adequately supporting my offline investments by promoting awareness and engaging consumers online?
  • Am I conveying how using my brand means taking a simple step toward a greener lifestyle? Am I positioning my product line as an alternative using paid search and the Google Content Network?

Whether you've been marketing green products for years or you've launched your first eco-friendly line, make sure you're leveraging online as an ecosystem for informing and empowering consumers to go green with your brand.

[i] DoubleClick Performics Green Marketing Research survey 06/2008
[ii] eMarketer, "How Green Marketers Can Lure Consumers" 5/13/2009
[iii] eMarketer, *The Center for Media Research April, 2009
[iv] Mintel GNPD, 2009