Saturday, April 10, 2010

[G] And the Nonprofit Video Awards go to...

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YouTube Blog: And the Nonprofit Video Awards go to...

Today, we are joining with See3 Communications to announce the winners of the Nonprofit Video Awards, a celebration of the best videos from organizations in the YouTube Nonprofit Program over the past year. The four victorious videos are spotlighted on the YouTube homepage today.



Over 750 videos were submitted to this year’s awards, ranging from quirky narratives about how life on another planet relates to equal rights on Earth to honest testimonials from young dancers. A judging panel of nonprofit and video experts narrowed the field down to sixteen finalists, of which four were selected by YouTube community voting. Over 17,000 votes were cast to determine the winners. Here’s a look at all of the finalist videos:







The four winners will receive a $2500 grant from the Case Foundation to continue their work, as well as be recognized by their peers at the Nonprofit Technology Conference, the largest gathering of its kind, in Atlanta today.



Ramya Raghavan, Nonprofits & Activism, recently watched “Greenwash of the Week


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/xefauzeUPcA/and-nonprofit-video-awards-go-to.html

Friday, April 9, 2010

[G] This week in search 4/9/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 4/9/10

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.

Here's what's happening this week in search:

Site speed in web search ranking
We made an announcement today about site speed and how it effects our search ranking algorithms. Check out the Webmaster Central blog for more information, including a number of free tools that you can use to increase the speed of your website.

Stars in mobile search
In early March, we announced stars in search, a feature that helps you mark and rediscover great content on the web. Recently, we extended this functionality to your mobile phone, so that you're able to view that same favorite content on the go. So, if you'd previously starred sites for [cheesecake recipe] when planning a meal at home, searching for [cheesecake recipe] on your phone in the supermarket will help you rediscover the recipe search results that looked enticing — no need to make a grocery list. Stars work both ways, so if you mark a search result while on your phone, you'll be able to see it later when you get to your desktop. This feature is currently supported on Android phones, iPhones/iPods and Palm WebOS devices in the U.S., and you need to be logged into your Google account for it to work.

Updates to Google Quick Scroll
In December we launched Google Quick Scroll, an extension for Chrome which uses Google's search capabilities to help you jump directly to the portion of the page that's relevant to your search query. Since December, we've brought Quick Scroll to all the languages and domains where Chrome extensions are available. We've also continued to make constant improvements to the tool, and recently we debuted a new version with a few useful updates.

Since Quick Scroll is all about getting you to information fast, it's important that it appear quickly. So we've reduced the time it takes for the tool to pop up so you don't have to wait as long. Also, if you've been using Quick Scroll for a while, you know that it doesn't appear for every result — just when Google detects that only a portion of the page is relevant to your query. Now, even if Quick Scroll doesn't appear after you click on a search result, an icon will show up in the address bar. Clicking on the icon will pop up the Quick Scroll box with an explanation of why it didn't trigger on that page.

Here's what it looks like:


Help for those who need it
A few months ago, we introduced a search feature that displays the toll-free U.S. poison control number when you search for related information. This got us thinking about other ways we can help people get clear information from Google search in times of crisis or distress. So we recently launched a feature that displays the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the top of the results page for certain search queries in the U.S. We hope this quick access to information helps people in emotional distress who may benefit from calling a suicide prevention hotline.

Stay tuned for more updates next week.

Posted by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/this-week-in-search-4910.html

[G] YouTube @ The Streamy Awards in Los Angeles

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YouTube Blog: YouTube @ The Streamy Awards in Los Angeles

This Sunday, April 11th, a handful of us here at YouTube will head to Los Angeles for this year’s second annual Streamy Awards. The Streamy Awards are presented by the International Academy of Web Television to honor great original Web programming and visionaries in online entertainment.



As part of the ceremony, our CEO and co-founder, Chad Hurley, will be presented with the Streamy Visionary Award that recognizes “leaders and innovators who have made a significant contribution to the digital entertainment community.” On behalf of the whole team at YouTube, we are honored to be part of this event and have you to thank for it.



The greatest honors, however, belong to the creators of content, many of whom we are privileged to have as partners nominated for their own Streamy Awards. NextNewNetworks, Rocketboom, Phil DeFranco, and so many others: YouTube applauds you, your boundless creativity, and your independent drive to move the digital entertainment industry forward. You are all already much more than winners -- you are reinventing the game itself.



The costs for filming and sharing original content are lower than ever. Today, anyone can record a video, add complex and sophisticated special effects and share it in 1080p Full HD with translatable subtitles to the world -- all at the fraction of the cost incurred 10 years ago. And as this market matures, the rewards for these original content creators and distributors will increase.



In the future, our community will play an even bigger role in inspiring and shaping the world through video. Viewership of original Web content grows larger and stronger every day, and the producers of the content ever more successful, as they continually hone and elevate their digital craft. Never before has talent possessed so much creative power and freedom. And never before has there been such an eager audience awaiting your vision.



Thank you and keep creating, uploading and playing.



Kevin Yen, Director of Strategic Partnerships, YouTube, recently watched ”2010 Streamy Awards Official Nominees Announcement


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/KPGA5nam14I/youtube-streamy-awards-in-los-angeles.html

[G] Interesting times for Video on the Web

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Google Open Source Blog: Interesting times for Video on the Web

If I told you that Google had helped fund an ARM code optimised version of the Theora video codec, most people’s reaction would be immediately to skip forward to the next blog entry. Audio and video codecs are the classic example of things that no one cares about, until they don’t work.

Ask most computer users what their preferred video codec is and they’ll look at you as if you asked what sort of motor they’d prefer in their washing machine. “We just want it to work!” they say. In this regard, it’s exactly the same for content creators and publishers. Every visitor to a website that can’t view a video is one set of eyeballs less for a message to get through to. It doesn’t matter how clever the advertising is, how much time is spent honing the message or how many clever viral tricks are deployed to attract surfers to the site, the moment the page opens up with a big blank box where the content should be, all that has been in vain.

So, publish video so it plays back on everything

Nice idea - but far from simple to achieve. At the moment there is no standard way to deploy video on the web. Some sites use Flash, but this restricts them to a viewing audience that have Flash players, instantly excluding most phones. Some use embedded Java players, but this restricts you to a viewing audience running on powerful enough devices to be able to decode video and audio in a virtual machine, excluding anything slower than a laptop. Still others rely on embedded native players (such as Windows Media Player), excluding every platform other than the intended one. Finally some sites just offer videos as links and farm the job out to whatever video playing software the user has (hopefully!) installed on his machine.

None of these meets the seamless “it just works” goal - and none of them looks like it will ever do so in future. Like it or not, the profusion of different web access devices out there means that this is only going to get harder and harder. Once it was enough to make sure your video was viewable on both PCs and Macs. Now you have Android, ChromeOS, iPhoneOS, Linux, Maemo, Symbian and umpteen others. Not only that, you have to cope with a range of processing powers, from desktops to laptops, to netbooks, PDAs and phones. The problem is exploding, not shrinking.

Fortunately, there is some good news in the form of HTML 5. This new version of HTML (the basic language used to write webpages) introduces a video element.

This will allow people to write their websites specifying the appearance of videos in a standard way. How the individual browsers choose to implement the playback is then up to them - whether they handle movies themselves or farm them out to embedded/external players is a decision made by the viewer, not forced back onto the content creator. The even better news is that support for this is already arriving - Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari have already rolled out HTML 5 support and other browsers won’t be far behind.

So, problem solved?

Well, sadly, no. Having a consistent way of publishing video is a great start, but there is still the issue of what format to use. There is no “one size fits all”. Are we surfing the site on a phone with a small screen? Or with a netbook? A desktop? Or on our new 150 inch QuadHD 3D LCD TV? Screen size, connection size and processing power all affect the decision here. In the same way that we’ve seen home video quality improve from VHS to DVD to BluRay, video on the web is going to get better and better. And that’s fine: existing web server technologies can tailor the video tags used to the browser/devices in use.

What is clear though, is that we need a baseline to work from - one standard format that (if all else fails) everything can fall back to. This doesn’t need to be the most complex format, or the most advertised format, or even the format with the most companies involved in its creation. All it needs to do is to be available, everywhere. The codec in the frame for this is Ogg Theora, a spin off of the VP3 codec released into the wild by On2 a couple of years ago. It scores quite well on both the quality and compression fronts, standing up respectably against it’s more popular rivals such as MPEG4, while actually being much simpler to decode. The overwhelming feature that makes it stand out from its rivals is the fact it’s free. Really free. Not just “free to use in decoders," or “free to use if you agree to this complicated license agreement," but really, honestly, genuinely, 100% free. The specification for the stream and encoder/decoder source is available for public download and can be freely used/modified by anyone. Theora was designed and is maintained with the overriding goal of avoiding patents. No other codec can come even close to claiming to be as patent or royalty free as Theora can, whilst still holding a candle to the alternatives.

So, what’s missing?

Video decode is a pretty CPU intensive task. In order to fulfill the dream of being able to work on every device some painstaking effort is required. The complexity of Theora is considerably less than that of many of its peers; other codecs often require dedicated hardware in devices to help achieve performance targets, but with careful coding Theora can be made to run without this. In fact, on desktop/laptops realtime decode can be managed by an embedded Java player (such as the excellent free Cortado), enabling video playback on browsers still waiting to have video tag support added. For the increasing range of PDAs, phones, netbooks, web tablets and media players out there though, this isn’t an option. Rather than having typical power hungry desktop processors in, these devices tend to be built using the much more frugal ARM processors. While these have increased in power in leaps and bounds in recent years, they still can’t compare with their larger cousins for raw computational grunt. These ARM based devices represent the single biggest class of devices still needing work for decent Theora playback. Any efficiency savings we can make feed back directly into being able to cope with larger screen sizes or giving longer battery life.

This is where Google's grant comes in - by helping fund the development of TheorARM (a free optimised ARM version of Theora), they are helping to hasten the day when video works everywhere on the web, for everyone. That’s got to be something to be pleased about. And now you can flick forward to the next blog post.

By Robin Watts, Pinknoise Productions Ltd
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/04/interesting-times-for-video-on-web.html

[G] A veritable boatload of read items

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Official Google Reader Blog: A veritable boatload of read items

Wow. Who knew your hunger for points and badges was so insatiable? While ReaderAdvantage™ was a joke, we actually ordered and are distributing Reader badges as part of the joke. Unfortunately, so many people ordered them that we ran through our stockpile a mere 27 minutes after we announced the program. Which got us to thinking... just how much do our users read?



A few stats about the badge submissions:


  • 13% of people who requested a badge ended up way over our “Totally Sweet” threshold of 314,159 items read...

  • 25% of you were Platinum (133,700 read items or more).

  • Even more amazing, four people had read over one million lifetime items.

  • One person had read more than two million items. (Holy cow.)






For comparison, the average Reader user reads about 105 items a day, which isn’t bad unless you want to get to the Totally Sweet level of over 314,159 lifetime read items - at that rate it’s going to take you over 8 years to get there. And if you’re aiming to join the (recently founded) One Million Club, we’re talking over 26 years. So, uh, time to start reading?



While we were at it, we took a look at what users are starring, sharing, and liking the most. While many of the most-starred items are reference posts, collections of tips, or tutorials from our friends over at Lifehacker, the most starred item lately is actually this hilarious video. That same video also shows up near the top of the latest and most liked or shared items, along with a collection of interesting images, designs, and bizarrely useless machines. It’s clear that the crowd is onto something here, so if you’re not getting these items in your current feeds, maybe it’s time to check out Reader Play or the Recommended items section in Reader.



P.S. We’re shipping the badges soon. Really.

URL: http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2010/04/veritable-boatload-of-read-items.html

[G] Information about AdSense ads and site speed

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Inside AdSense: Information about AdSense ads and site speed

Earlier today, our Websearch team announced that we now consider the speed it takes for a website to load when ranking it in Google search results on google.com. As an AdSense publisher and website owner, you may have questions about this change, so we'd like to take a minute to give you more details.

This change is part of our efforts to provide the best possible search experience for our users, as we've found that faster sites create happy users. Our internal studies show that visitors tend to spend less time on sites that respond slowly, and additional recent data shows that improving site speed also reduces operating costs. For these reasons, we're now taking site speed into account in our search rankings.

Site speed is just one of over 200 signals we use to determine search ranking, and because it's a new signal, it doesn't carry as much weight as the relevance of a page. In fact, less than 1% of all search queries on google.com are affected by the site speed signal. We launched this change a few weeks back after rigorous testing. If you haven't seen much change to your site rankings, then this site speed change possibly did not impact your site.

In general, a website would have to be particularly slow for its ranking to be affected. We look at the time it takes to load all components of a page that contribute to page speed, including images, rich media, and Javascript/HTML/CSS code.

AdSense is built to load ads quickly so there's no need to change your AdSense setup. Even so, we are working to speed up our ads products further. In addition, we also want to give you some suggestions of things you can do on your side, like enabling compression for your site, enabling caching of images, JavaScript, and CSS, and minimizing the size of your JavaScript with Closure Tools.

If you'd like to learn more about speeding up your website, or evaluate your site's speed, we encourage you to look at Site Performance in Webmaster Tools and try developer tools such as Page Speed, YSlow, and WebPageTest.org. Please note that at this time, the only way to determine whether your site has been affected is if you've seen a recent change in your search ranking.

For more information on this change, please visit http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html.

Posted by Richard Rabbat, Product Manager
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/04/information-about-adsense-ads-and-site.html

[G] Making the Web Faster

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Google Analytics Blog: Making the Web Faster

Today, our web search team announced how Google search now uses site speed as a factor in ranking. All things being equal, a faster loading site is better than a slower site.

With this announcement, we wanted to remind you about Google Analytics asynchronous tracking. The asynchronous tracking code has a faster load time and can improve site speed, especially on rich-media or script-heavy pages.

We encourage users to update to the asynchronous snippet to help make your site and the web faster. You can read up on how to implement the asynchronous snippet on our Google Code site. We also have a comprehensive list of migration examples to help you make the switch.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/04/making-web-faster.html

[G] Take three steps to keyword success

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Inside AdWords: Take three steps to keyword success

The keywords you’ve chosen in your AdWords account are critical to your advertising success. Potential customers won't be able to find your ad unless you've chosen the right keywords, which could lead you to miss out on valuable sales.

Check out the video below to see the three simple steps you can take to improve your keywords and make sure you're effectively reaching your potential customers.


Did you find this video useful? Let us know. If you would like even more keyword information visit our AdWords Help Center, which will give you all the tips you need to develop and improve your keywords.

Posted by Emily Williams, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/04/take-three-steps-to-keyword-success.html

Thursday, April 8, 2010

[G] Celebrating curators: "As seen on" comes to the video page

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YouTube Blog: Celebrating curators: "As seen on" comes to the video page

"As seen on" surfaces videos popular elsewhere on the Web, and now it also lives on the video page. In other words, if a blog or site is responsible for driving a significant amount of a video's views, that site will be credited on the page, as so:







What this means is that you can get recognition for sourcing videos that your readers love and helping those clips become popular on YouTube. It's another way all that hard work you put into building your readership can pay off and generate even more traffic for your blog or site. You might even get your site in front of a whole new audience via people who encounter it for the first time on YouTube.



We're currently experimenting with this functionality on a range of popular videos and plan on making it a permanent feature soon.




Dylan Trotter, Software Engineer, recently watched “Cycles,” and Adam Winkler, Software Engineer, recently watched “Chatroulette Endmost Piano Ode.m4v.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/fELGqq875AY/celebrating-curators-as-seen-on-comes.html

[G] Enjoy some quiet time with Do Not Disturb

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Google Voice Blog: Enjoy some quiet time with Do Not Disturb

Google Voice makes it easier for people to reach you by only having to call one number that rings all your phones. But sometimes you don’t want to be reached -- like if you’re in a meeting or watching a movie. To help you in these situations, you can enable the Do Not Disturb setting to send all callers straight to voicemail.



This setting can be toggled on or off from the Settings menu or by calling your Google Voice number. And starting this week, you can set a timer so that it only remains remains active for a set period of time.

We’re excited to continue to give you more control over your communications. As always, if you have suggestions for future improvements, please tell us!

Posted by Anthony Jawad, Software Engineer
URL: http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/enjoy-some-quiet-time-with-do-not.html

[G] Universal search features in Google Suggest for mobile

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Universal search features in Google Suggest for mobile

Last December on the Official Google Blog, we announced how universal search features in Google Suggest could show useful information while the user is composing a query from the Google home page. Today, we are bringing this same functionality to mobile phones so that getting answers while on the go is even faster and easier. For example, let's say you're flying to London and want to know: Is my flight on time? Or what is the exchange rate of the pound? As you type the flight "Ba 284" or "Usd in pounds", the answers are provided right below the search box, without having to wait for the results page. Other searches that show answers include weather (e.g., "weather london"), stock quotes (e.g., "intc"), current time (e.g., "time london"), calculator (e.g. "29*37") and unit conversion (e.g., "220 miles in km").
To try this yourself, go to google.com on your phone's browser and type your own query to see these special results under the search box. Note that if you don't see these results at first, try refreshing the page in your browser. The functionality is currently supported on Android-powered devices, iPhones/iPods and Palm WebOS devices in the US.

Posted by Toshi Tajima, Google Mobile Engineering Team
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/04/universal-search-features-in-google.html

[G] New in Labs: Nested Labels and Message Sneak Peek

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Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Nested Labels and Message Sneak Peek

Posted by Manu Cornet, Software Engineer

Labels are more flexible than folders because a given email can have several labels but can't be in several folders at the same time. A highly requested feature for labels, though, comes from the world of folders: the ability to organize labels hierarchically.

If you think this might be useful to you, go to the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, look for "Nested Labels," enable it and click "Save." You'll then need to name your label with slashes (/) to make it the child of another. For example, let's say you wanted to create a simple hierarchy with a "Home" label, and inside it a "Family" and a "Vacation" label. Just create three labels with the following names:

Home
Home/Family
Home/Vacation

You can then create "Home/Family/Kids," "Home/Pets," etc., to get something like the screenshot on the left. If you had the parent label "Home" before you don't have to create it from scratch.

You can create complex hierarchies of labels if that's the way you like to organize your mail, and you can expand/collapse labels to save space. You'll always be able to tell whether a given label contains unread messages in its collapsed child labels by looking at whether it's bold or not.

Please note that this lab doesn't play nicely with the "Hide Read Labels" lab. You might not get exactly what you expect if you have both labs enabled; for example, the collapse/expand icons won't always appear when they should.

Another highly requested feature is the ability to preview messages to get a glimpse on what they contain and maybe take immediate action without opening them.

This is exactly what "Message Sneak Peek" does. After you turn it on, right-clicking on a line in your inbox shows a preview pane with the message in it.

You can also use keyboard shortcuts for a faster sneak-peeking flow (enable keyboard shortcuts in Settings first if you haven't done so): hit 'h' to open a sneak peek card, then navigate with 'j' and 'k,' and dismiss the current card by pressing "Escape." Messages you peak at will stay unread (or it wouldn't really be a sneak peek, would it?).

Happy nesting and peeking!
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/new-in-labs-nested-labels-and-message.html

[G] Custom variables webinar available for your viewing pleasure

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Google Analytics Blog: Custom variables webinar available for your viewing pleasure

Custom variables is one of the most powerful features in Google Analytics. With them you can segment traffic by almost any attribute. We recently hosted a webinar on how to make the most effective use of custom variables. If you missed it, you can now watch this highly informative webinar on the Google Analytics YouTube channel.



If you’re interested in learning how to use this powerful feature in Google Analytics, sit yourself down with some popcorn this Friday night and get analyzing.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/04/custom-variables-webinar-available-for.html

[G] Google Apps and the cloud: Faster access to innovation

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Apps and the cloud: Faster access to innovation

Editor's Note: This post is the first in a three-part series on the benefits of Google Apps’ cloud-computing architecture.

“Cloud computing” has become a trendy buzzword, and some traditional technology vendors are even using the term though their solutions are still rooted in legacy architectures. In this three-part series, I’ll share how Google’s multi-tenant, Internet-scale architecture and browser-based applications produce three key advantages: the fastest innovation, improved reliability and security, and maximum economies of scale. Today I’ll focus on how Google’s innovation exceeds what’s possible with on-premises technology, single-tenant hosted applications, and “software plus services”.

Faster access to innovation for higher productivity
The web is the epicenter of innovation, and Google’s multi-tenant infrastructure is designed so we can push improvements to our entire customer base on short iteration cycles. We can deliver new functionality on a weekly basis, or faster, because our systems are able to distribute updates so efficiently. In 2009 alone, we launched over 100 improvements, and customers didn’t need to manage any upgrades or patches. In contrast, businesses tend to update traditional server software every five to seven years due to long release cycles from vendors and the cost and complexity businesses face implementing upgrades, especially when more powerful servers are required, like 64-bit hardware.

Browser-based applications are another key ingredient in our recipe for rapid innovation. When we launch new features to our web applications, users automatically get these improvements just by refreshing their browsers. Our mobile browser applications also get new features without software updates. With traditional technology and “software plus services”, client software is an innovation bottleneck. Even after back-end systems can support new features, users don’t get new functionality in those environments until the software on their computers and mobile phones have been upgraded, which can be an expensive and labor-intensive project.

Feedback and anonymous usage statistics from hundreds of millions of users in the real world also help us bring stress-tested innovation to business customers at an unprecedented pace. From our consumer user base, we quickly learn which new features would be useful in the business context, refine those features, and make them available to Google Apps customers with minimal delay.

Continuous innovation powered by the cloud has another advantage over traditional technology cycles: employees adapt to a continuous stream of manageable improvements better than they tolerate large, disruptive batches of change. Gradual iterations in bite-sized chunks substantially reduce change-management challenges. Conversely, employees are subjected to a painful re-learning cycle each time companies upgrade traditional software.

Dramatically faster innovation helps employees be more productive, but that’s not all Google’s cloud has to offer. In part two of this series, next week I’ll focus on how Google Apps can offer better security and higher reliability than on-premises technology, single-tenant hosted applications and “software plus services”.

If you’re interested in going a level deeper, we invite you to geek out with us on Thursday, April 22nd, when we’ll be holding a webcast to explore the advantages of Google’s cloud. Hope you can join us!

Geek Out on the Cloud-Based Infrastructure of Google Apps
Thursday, April 22, 2010
2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT / 6:00 PM GMT


Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/04/google-apps-and-cloud-faster-access-to.html

[G] The National Broadband Plan and Small Business

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Google Public Policy Blog: The National Broadband Plan and Small Business

Posted by Harry Wingo, Policy Counsel

Yesterday, I spoke at a panel with other tech companies about how small businesses can leverage the Internet to grow their business. The event was put on by the SBA and FCC through a program called SCORE, which, among other things, is seeking to accelerate small business growth through access to broadband. SCORE will create a comprehensive package of applications, training, and support to small businesses in the country's neediest areas.

One of the small business owners I met at the event, Emily McHugh of Casauri, spoke about how the Internet helped start and grow her business. Emily and her sister started their business in 1999 because they thought there weren’t enough good bags out there for tech gear. And they were right! With Emily’s business degree and her sister Helen’s design degree, Casauri took off. They’ve helped scale their business by leveraging the Internet. All of Casauri’s accounting, sales, and data storage is done online. This cloud computing approach makes their business more efficient and saves them money. But Emily cautioned, "the Internet doesn't mean anything to small business without access...dial-up doesn't count... it's all about speed!"

Emily and her sister are not alone. Lots of small businesses are tapping the Internet to grow their businesses and we believe SCORE will help boost digital literacy, online commerce capabilities, and usage of low-cost, cloud-based tools for small businesses across the country.

If you’re interested in learning about how to start a business or make it more efficient using low-cost or free online tools, you may want to take a look at our series of blog posts on entrepreneurship, which started yesterday on the Official Google Blog.

And, now, I’m going back to browsing all of Casuri’s great laptop bags.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/04/national-broadband-plan-and-small.html

[G] YouTube team to respond to your questions about...partnerships

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YouTube Blog: YouTube team to respond to your questions about...partnerships

We’re launching a new video series on the YouTube channel that brings you closer to the people and processes behind YouTube. It’s part of a larger effort to lift the veil, so you can ensure your voice is heard by the staff here and come to know the friendly faces that are as devoted to YouTube as you are.



This is how it works: each month, we’ll announce a topic of general interest, such as partnerships, ads, the future of YouTube, international, and engineering/innovation. (Feel free to suggest other ideas in the comments below.) We’ll open up a Google Moderator page, where you can submit questions related to the subject at hand and vote on questions asked by others. We’ll give you about a week to submit your questions; then we’ll put one or more employees who can best address them on camera, to respond to you in a video which we’ll then post to the YouTube channel.



First up, we wanted to focus on the YouTube Partnership Program, because we’ve heard from you that there’s some mystique around how it all works. This could include questions about Individual Video Partnership. Please submit your questions about partnerships here and vote on others’ until Tuesday, April 13, at 5 p.m. PT. Then, subscribe to the YouTube channel (if you're not already) to be sure to see the response video uploaded about a week later. We’ll also post it to this blog and send it out on Twitter and Facebook.



Sound good?



Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched “Pink Terror.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/4tXG9KO4NzU/youtube-team-to-respond-to-your.html

[G] Go Mobile! Series: Understand your click-to-call options

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Inside AdWords: Go Mobile! Series: Understand your click-to-call options

Our mobile phones are with us for a large part of the day. When you're on the go and there's no time to turn on a laptop or computer, it's natural to reach for your phone when you need to conduct a search, especially now that many phones have the capability to access the Internet. According to the Kelsey Group, there are currently 54.5 million mobile Internet users in the United States, representing 25% of online users. Since mobile is such a great way to connect with these potential customers, we'd like to ensure you have the tools you need to make your mobile campaigns relevant and useful to someone on-the-go.

One of the main features distinguishing a phone from a laptop or computer is its ability to make calls. With mobile click-to-call, Google allows customers to connect with businesses directly from their ads. It's easy to include click-to-call phone numbers in your ads, regardless of which type of phone the customer is using. We've discussed enabling click-to-call for devices with full Internet browses in this post about using a national phone number and this post about location extensions, but want to be sure you don't miss out on this feature when targeting users with WAP devices as well.

Click-to-call on WAP devices
The majority of mobile phones currently have WAP browsers. Originally, targeting these types of phones meant creating a mobile-specific webpage. But, if you include a click-to-call phone number in your ad, you don't need a website at all to advertise on these phones. With WAP devices, a click-to-call phone number will appear as a 'call' link at the end of your ad text. Simply include this feature in your ad if you'd like to enable customers to connect with your business by phone.

Visit the Help Center to learn more about setting up click-to-call phone numbers in mobile ads that appear on WAP devices.

Whether you're trying to reach people using devices with full Internet browsers or those on WAP phones, click-to-call offers an additional way for you to connect with all types of potential customers.

Posted by Katrina Kurnit, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/04/go-mobile-series-understand-your-click.html

[G] Site maintenance on Saturday, April 10

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Inside AdSense: Site maintenance on Saturday, April 10

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

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

London - 5pm Saturday
Lagos - 6pm Saturday
Bangalore - 10:30pm Saturday
Manila - 1am Sunday
Adelaide - 2:30am Sunday

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

Posted by Dia Muthana - Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/04/site-maintenance-on-saturday-april-10.html

[G] Google Earth helps discover rare hominid ancestor in South Africa

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Google LatLong: Google Earth helps discover rare hominid ancestor in South Africa

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

Today, scientists announced a new hominid fossil discovery in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa. The discovery is one of the most significant palaeoanthropological discoveries in recent times, revealing at least two partial hominid skeletons in remarkable condition, dating to between 1.78 and 1.95 million years. We are especially excited because Google Earth played a role in its discovery.


So how did this come about? Back in March 2008, Professor Lee Berger from Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg started to use Google Earth to map various known caves and fossil deposits identified by him and his colleagues over the past several decades, as it seemed the ideal platform by which to share information with other scientists. In addition, he also used Google Earth to locate new fossil deposits by learning to identify what cave sites looked like in satellite images.


At the beginning of this project, there were approximately 130 known cave sites in the region
and around 20 fossil deposits. With the help of the navigation facility and high-resolution satellite imagery in Google Earth, Professor Berger went on to find almost 500 previously unidentified caves and fossil sites, even though the area is one of the most explored in Africa. One of these fossil sites yielded the remarkable discovery of a new species, Australopithecus sediba. This species was an upright walker that shared many physical traits with the earliest known species of the genus homo—and its introduction into the fossil record might answer some key questions about our earliest ancestry in Africa.

We’re absolutely thrilled about this announcement, and delighted that our free mapping tools such as Google Earth and Google Maps continue to enable both individuals and distinguished scientists to explore and learn about their world. With these tools, places both foreign and familiar can be explored with the click of a mouse, allowing for new understandings of geography, topology, urbanism, development, architecture and the environment. Our efforts to organize the world’s geographic information are ongoing — but at the end of the day, seeing the way these tools are put to use is what most inspires us.



Posted by Michael Jones, Chief Technology Advocate
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/04/google-earth-helps-discover-rare.html

[G] Google Earth helps discover rare hominid ancestor in South Africa

| More

Official Google Blog: Google Earth helps discover rare hominid ancestor in South Africa

Today, scientists announced a new hominid fossil discovery in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in South Africa. The discovery is one of the most significant palaeoanthropological discoveries in recent times, revealing at least two partial hominid skeletons in remarkable condition, dating to between 1.78 and 1.95 million years. We are especially excited because Google Earth played a role in its discovery.


So how did this come about? Back in March 2008, Professor Lee Berger from Witswatersrand University in Johannesburg started to use Google Earth to map various known caves and fossil deposits identified by him and his colleagues over the past several decades, as it seemed the ideal platform by which to share information with other scientists. In addition, he also used Google Earth to locate new fossil deposits by learning to identify what cave sites looked like in satellite images.


At the beginning of this project, there were approximately 130 known cave sites in the region and around 20 fossil deposits. With the help of the navigation facility and high-resolution satellite imagery in Google Earth, Professor Berger went on to find almost 500 previously unidentified caves and fossil sites, even though the area is one of the most explored in Africa. One of these fossil sites yielded the remarkable discovery of a new species, Australopithecus sediba. This species was an upright walker that shared many physical traits with the earliest known species of the genus homo — and its introduction into the fossil record might answer some key questions about our earliest ancestry in Africa.

We’re absolutely thrilled about this announcement, and delighted that our free mapping tools such as Google Earth and Google Maps continue to enable both individuals and distinguished scientists to explore and learn about their world. With these tools, places both foreign and familiar can be explored with the click of a mouse, allowing for new understandings of geography, topology, urbanism, development, architecture and the environment. Our efforts to organize the world’s geographic information are ongoing — but at the end of the day, seeing the way these tools are put to use is what most inspires us.



Posted by Michael Jones, Chief Technology Advocate
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/google-earth-helps-discover-rare.html

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

[G] Project: Report Takes Over the Screening Room, Enters Final Round

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YouTube Blog: Project: Report Takes Over the Screening Room, Enters Final Round

Project: Report is an annual contest that celebrates some of the best work being done by aspiring journalists on YouTube.  Journalism, like documentary filmmaking, is about telling the world's untold stories, which is why the Screening Room will be hosting a series of short docs offering a voice to those who might not otherwise be heard, starting with a new film from last year's Project: Report winner, Arturo Perez, Jr.



  • "Jerusalem: War in My Land" looks at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as told through the eyes of a young Jew and a young Muslim.

  • "Salim Baba" tells the story of Salim Muhammad, who makes his living using a hand-cranked projector to screen discarded film scraps for the kids in his surrounding neighborhoods. It was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.

  • In "One of the Last", a 78-year-old Italian farmer picks olives, grapes, cherries, and wonders why anybody would want to do anything else.

  • After 23 brain surgeries and suffering a debilitating condition called hydrocephalus, 12 year-old Luke Casey has become a survivor who's gentle spirit and mature soul is an inspiration to everyone he meets in "Bob Seger Rocks".



Starting today, you also have the opportunity to watch the Round 2 submissions from each of the 10 Project: Report semi-finalists and vote on your favorites. 



Enjoy the films,



Nate Weinstein, Entertainment Marketing Associate, just watched "Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop"


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/xF4u2YPN9pg/project-report-takes-over-screening.html

[G] Captioning advocate Marlee Matlin visits Google

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Google Public Policy Blog: Captioning advocate Marlee Matlin visits Google

Posted by Galen Panger, Global Communications & Public Affairs

Last week, actress Marlee Matlin visited the Googleplex to preview her new YouTube reality show, "My Deaf Family," and to talk about some of the challenges facing people who are deaf or hard of hearing. In addition to being an author and Academy Award winning actress, Marlee Matlin also serves as a national spokeswoman for closed captioning access on behalf of the National Association for the Deaf and other organizations.

Captioning is an issue that's very important to us, and we're committed to finding ways to make the 24 hours of video uploaded to YouTube each minute more accessible to those who face hearing and language barriers. Last November, we held an event at Google DC with advocates from the accessibility community to announce new features that make it easy to create captions from transcripts on YouTube videos, and we previewed a new feature that uses speech-to-text technology to generate captions automatically. This March, we expanded automatic captioning for all users, and these can even be automatically translated.

Software engineer Ken Harrenstien shares the full story of Matlin's visit on our YouTube blog, and you can see video from the talk below. And don't miss Matlin's new reality show on YouTube.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/04/captioning-advocate-marlee-matlin.html

[G] The Dirty Dancing Viewing Party

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YouTube Blog: The Dirty Dancing Viewing Party

Did you know that in Dirty Dancing the role of the heartbreaker from the wrong side of the tracks, Johnny Castle, was initially offered to Val Kilmer instead of Patrick Swayze? 



If you love random movie trivia like this, then you will not want to miss tonight's viewing party. Just go to Lionsgate's YouTube channel link -Mia Quagliarello 4/6/10 9:25 PM at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, hit play, and use the Twitter gadget beneath the video to share your thoughts on Swayze's moves, Jennifer Grey's outfits, and everything else "Dirty Dancing."  We'll be watching and Tweeting from the gadget, too, sharing our own tidbits about the movie and reading your comments.



See you there!



Nate Weinstein, Marketing Associate, recently watched "One of the Last."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/oAp4GQ6S6WI/dirty-dancing-viewing-party.html

[G] Google Earth for Android now available on DROID

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Google LatLong: Google Earth for Android now available on DROID

When we launched Google Earth for Android about a month ago, we said that availability for DROID by Verizon was coming soon. Well, now that DROID phones are being updated to Android 2.1, we’re pleased to report that Google Earth is now available for DROID too.

Remember, with Google Earth for Android you can view the same 3D imagery and terrain that’s available in the desktop version of Google Earth, all from the palm of your hand. And you can travel around the globe with the swipe of a finger or a simple voice command -- Android’s voice recognition together with Google Local Search make it easy for you to search for cities, places, and businesses anywhere in the world. You can also browse layers of geographic information including roads, borders, Panoramio photos, and more.

Google Earth for Android will be compatible with most Android devices running 2.1, so as new Android phones that run on Android 2.1 or higher become available, they too will be able to explore the world with Google Earth. (Technically speaking, Google Earth requires hardware floating-point acceleration, so it will run on devices such as DROID and Nexus One, but not on devices such as myTouch 3G and DROID ERIS.)

Download Earth for your DROID for free today by visiting m.google.com/earth from your mobile browser or by searching for Google Earth in Android Market.

Posted by Peter Birch, Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/04/google-earth-for-android-now-available.html

[G] Google Code Jam 2010 registration now open

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Official Google Blog: Google Code Jam 2010 registration now open

Let’s say that you have x different stocks, and the plots of their prices over time. You want to print them in newspaper, printing multiple plots on the same chart to save space. But here’s the catch: no two plots on the same chart can overlap, lest the readers be confused. Look at the plots and figure out the smallest number of charts required.

Looking for a challenge like the riddle above? And I mean an exciting brain-twisting and turning kind of challenge. I mean competing with fellow coders from around the world for top bragging rights kind of challenge.

Since 2003, we’ve brought you our annual Google Code Jam — a competition in which professional and student programmers from all around the world solve tough algorithmic challenges in a limited amount of time. Last year’s 23,000 contestants vied for the title of Google Code Jam champion. After five rounds and some furious typing, China’s Lou Tiancheng (code-named ACRush) was named champion.

Sound like the challenge for you? Well registration is now open. And you can try your hand at problems from previous competitions and get up to speed with the rules. We recommend that you practice hard — Code Jam is not for the weak of heart! And, this year we’ve decided to take the show on the road — for the very first time, the final competition will take place in Google’s Dublin office.

The qualification round starts on May 7, 2010 and after four rounds of online competition, the top 25 competitors will be flown to Dublin to match wits for the $5,000 first prize — and, of course, the title of Code Jam champion!

P.S. Have you solved our “Stock Charts” problem yet? Test your solution on the Code Jam website.

Posted by Igor Naverniouk, Code Jam Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/google-code-jam-2010-registration-now.html