Friday, April 16, 2010

[G] This week in search 4/16/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 4/16/10

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.

Rich Snippets for recipes
Rich Snippets are the brief annotations you see beneath search results that summarize what's on a webpage. In addition to Rich Snippets for reviews, people, video and events, this week we unveiled a new Rich Snippets format for recipes. This means that when your search results include sites with recipe content, you might see quick facts pertaining to the recipe in your search results, like preparation or cooking times, right on the search results page.

If you have a site with recipes and want to be sure Rich Snippets show up in search results for your page, check out our documentation on how to mark up recipe information as well as our general help articles on Rich Snippets. Bon appétit!

Example search: [baked ziti]

Enhancements to real-time search
This week, we launched a new feature in real-time search that gives you the ability to search and replay the public archive of tweets on Twitter. While real-time search usually focuses on what's happening now, our new feature is helpful for viewing the history of what happened in the past and how people reacted to a particular topic on Twitter. You can zoom into any point in time — from a year, to a month, to a half-hour — and "replay" tweets from as far back as February 11, 2010 (and soon, as far back as the very first tweet on March 21, 2006). To try this feature out, click “Show options” on the search results page, and then select “Updates.” You'll notice a new chart at the top of the page, where you'll be able to adjust the time range of the tweets you'd like to see. We hope you enjoy your trip down the 140-character memory lane.

Example search: [museum of modern art]

Oftentimes, there's great new content published to the web that everyone is talking about at one particular time. So, to help you find those sites, we also recently launched the top links for a set of update results, showcasing some of the top URLs that Twitter users are talking about based on a particular query. To view these links, click “Show options” on the search results page, and then select “Updates.” You'll see a list of links on the right-hand side based on your query.

Example search: [ipad]

Google Suggest and spell correction enhancements
We've recently made some enhancements that make it easier and faster for you to get the most relevant answer using Google search. We've begun to tailor Suggest to U.S. metro areas, so you'll find that the suggested queries are more locally relevant than they used to be. Try searching for [parks in], and you'll most likely see suggested search queries for parks that really are in your neck of the woods.

In addition, we've improved our spelling correction feature. Sometimes, when you search for something that we're highly confident you've misspelled, we'll take you directly to the search results page for the correct spelling without asking "Did you mean...?" This week, we made this feature available in 31 languages across over 180 domains across the globe. We've also made some changes to how this feature deals with misspelled names. We realized that often when you search for a person's name, you include descriptive words (say, the person's profession or company) that can provide valuable context. We use these extra descriptors to offer you better suggestions, so you should soon find this feature for names more useful.

Example search: [jordin farmer lakers]

Stay tuned for more updates next week.

Posted by Gabriel Stricker, Director, Global Communications & Public Affairs

[G] Opt-ins, opt-outs, and everything in between

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Google Public Policy Blog: Opt-ins, opt-outs, and everything in between

Posted by Christine Y. Chen, Policy Communications Manager

Earlier this week, Google’s Senior Policy Counsel Nicklas Lundblad and Policy Manager Betsy Masiello published a paper called “Opt-in dystopias” in SCRIPTed, a Journal of Law, Technology & Society.

In their paper, Nicklas and Betsy explore how forcing opt-ins for online data collection could have unintended consequences that are not beneficial for user privacy. Partially-informed opt-ins that ask for excessive data, for example, could actually be more harmful for users’ privacy than better-designed, more intuitive and granular opt outs.

Nicklas and Betsy argue that focusing on the opt-in versus opt-out debate as a black-and-white matter creates false choices for users. Instead, they make the case that it’s better to have a structure in which online data collection is an ongoing negotiation between users and service providers. Although they don’t focus on advertising, their paper is timely given recent industry discussions about data collection in the online advertising world. To read more, you can download the entire paper here.

[G] Improve your ads to capture more customers

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Inside AdWords: Improve your ads to capture more customers

Potential customers choose your website over your competitors' based solely on what they see in your ads. If your ads don't distinguish your site or really sell your message, then you're probably missing out on valuable sales.

To help you think about your ads from your customer's perspective we've put together a quick video covering some best practices for improving the performance of your AdWords advertising.

Check it out, and then sign into your AdWords account and make sure that your ads are working as hard as possible to win you customers!

Did you find this video useful as a starting point to optimize your ads? Let us know. If you'd like to find out more about ad text optimization, visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Emily Williams, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Google Apps highlights – 4/16/2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 4/16/2010

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.

Today’s update includes a big batch of new functionality in Google Docs and several new capabilities in Gmail. So the next time you’re in Google Apps, give these new features a spin.

Google Docs reloaded
On Monday we released a preview of the new Google Docs, which brings added features, higher fidelity for imported documents, more speed and faster collaboration to our browser-based productivity tools. Documents sport features that weren’t feasible with older browser technology, like a new ruler for margins and tab stops, better bullets and numbered lists, easier image placement and character-by-character real-time collaboration in the browser. Spreadsheets now have a formula editing bar, drag-and-drop columns and cell auto-fill. They support up to 50 simultaneous collaborators, and are much faster and more responsive overall. We added Google drawings to the mix as well, so you can work with others to create flow-charts, schematics and other kinds of diagrams together in real-time.

Calendar integration in Gmail
To make it easier to schedule time with people without leaving your inbox, now you can see people’s availability (if you have permission) and send event invitations from Gmail. As you’re composing a message, click the “Insert: Invitation” link to choose a time that works for the recipients on your email and add details about your event. When you’re done, the email message will display details about your event.

Drag-and-drop attachments in Gmail
Yesterday we introduced a simpler way to add attachments in Gmail: just drag files onto Gmail from your desktop or from a folder as you compose a message. You can drag multiple files at once, and on a Mac, you can even drag files from folders in the Dock. This feature works in Chrome or Firefox 3.6+ right now, and other browsers may support this feature in the future.

Nested Labels and Message Sneak Peek in Gmail Labs
Last week we launched two new Labs features in Gmail. Nested Labels lets you create hierarchies of labels, giving you more flexibility how you organize your saved email. Message Sneak Peak lets you preview messages without having to open them. Just right-click a message in your inbox to sneak a quick peek.

Gmail on the Apple iPad
We released a new version of the Gmail web interface specially designed for the larger screen of the iPad. Gmail on the iPad has a convenient two-pane display with a list of your conversations on the left, and full messages on the right.

Who’s gone Google?
More and more colleges and universities are moving to the cloud with Google Apps. This week we’re pleased to welcome the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse, UNLV, Meredith College and Belmont Abbey College. The State Library of Kansas, the Mind Research Network and more than 50,000 other businesses and organizations have also gone Google in the last few weeks.

I hope you're making the most of these new features, whether you're using Google Apps with friends, family, coworkers or classmates. For more details and updates from the Apps team, head on over to the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

[G] Fab 5 Freddy Curates YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Fab 5 Freddy Curates YouTube

The legendary hip-hop pioneer and graffiti artist curates our homepage today. He took his Flip into his studio to tell you about his picks and also jotted down some thoughts on them:

Blondies' video for the song "Rapture" was like my coming out party in 1981 and introduced me to a world that really wouldn't know me well until several years later in 1988, when YO! MTV Raps would air weekly coast to coast and in many countries around the world.

I was a part of a very cool underground public access TV show in 1979 called "Glenn O’Brien's TV Party" that aired weekly back then and I was a regular guest and one of one of the show’s camera men. Typically, it was a groovy talk show format but this was a theme show. Bad musically, but a lotta fun. Check Jean Michel Basquiat standing there with a guitar on smiling. And he wrote "mock penis envy" on the wall visible behind Blondie's Chris Stein, also with a guitar and shades on.

This is a mash-up video of scenes from my film Wild Style. Some clever guys in Amsterdam did this, and I love it.

Here's a scene from the first film/documentary to showcase New York subway graffiti, "Stations of the Elevated," released or finished in 1981. Back then I'm sure this film was not seen by too many. I don't recall it ever airing on TV, but these days, thanks to digital tech and sites like this, we can see what it was like when nearly every New York City subway car was touched by graffiti. I love this film!

As a kid growing up in New York City, when I cut school I'd often visit the various museums, like the Metropolitan and look at art. Here I got familiar with painters like Jackson Pollock and I would notice later how New York graffiti writers tagging on the inside of trains would let the ink drip, reminding me of his work.

My dear friend, Academy Award winning director Jonathan Demme, invited me to be in his film, Rachel Getting Married. You can see me in this trailer, minus my hat, and in the film my scene is a toast I give to the about to be bride and groom at the wedding rehearsal dinner.

"Talking All That Jazz" is a clip I directed for Stetsasonic which is the first video to deal with the soon to be large issue of sampling. Also, because I grew up in a jazz-loving house hold and drummer Max Roach was my godfather, I knew I'd be able to do a good job with this one.

Max Roach, the legendary bee bop jazz drummer, grew up with my dad, and he played jazz often in the house. Max was also my godfather and he really embraced rap music and hip-hop culture from the minute he heard about it. If you search the site you can see a bit performance we did together in the early 80's.

Sharissa's “Ain't No Half Steppin" was a video I directed in 2004.

The first music video I directed was this clip, "My Philosophy," for KRS ONE in the spring of 1988. 

Catch Fab's whole playlist here:


[G] Vote for your favorites in The Webby People’s Voice Awards on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Vote for your favorites in The Webby People’s Voice Awards on YouTube

The Webby Awards and YouTube are joining forces for the second year in a row, giving fans a more interactive Webby experience than ever.  For the first time in the history of the Webbys, fans can vote for their favorites in the People's Voice Awards right on YouTube. Fans have until April 29th to vote for their favorite Webby-nominated videos through the Webbys YouTube channel at

Last year’s Webby Awards YouTube brand channel was featured as the #1 YouTube channel in the days following the award festivities. Prior to 2009, the Webby Awards show content was available only to event attendees, but the Webby Awards YouTube brand channel has tremendously expanded that reach.  Last year there were 1.5 million video views from the channel in its first week after the Webbys and that number is expected to grow in 2010.  As David-Michel Davies, executive director of The Webby Awards puts it, " "We are looking forward to even better performance this year since it's the first time fans can vote on the YouTube brand channel for their favorite Webby nominees in The Webby People's Voice Awards."


YouTube looks forward to participation from our community as well when the online public casts their votes and chooses their own winners between now and April 29, and later join the "Watch The Webbys on YouTube" experience in June.

Fans can vote for their favorites now at

Posted by Deeksha Hebbar, Product Marketing Manager


[G] Search with fewer keystrokes and better spelling

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Official Google Blog: Search with fewer keystrokes and better spelling

We spend a lot of time thinking about search results, but we also spend a lot of time thinking about search queries. Today we’re announcing three enhancements to help you input your searches more quickly and easily: more localized Google Suggest, improved spell correction for names and auto-correction for 31 languages.

Feel at home with Google Suggest
Last year we launched localized Google Suggest by country, offering relevant popular search queries tailored for different regions. However, just as people in the U.K. often look for different things than people in U.S., we’ve found that people in Seattle tend to look for different things than people in Dallas. So last week, we rolled out a version of Google Suggest that is tailored to specific metro areas in the U.S. You may notice that the list of queries beneath the search box will seem more locally relevant than it used to:
  • In San Francisco [bart] is probably not Bart Simpson; it’s probably Bay Area Rapid Transit:
  • In Chicago it’s easy to find out about your local NBA team:

Spelling enhancements for names
While Suggest can help you find good queries, sometimes you can get stuck because of misspellings. That’s why for years we’ve offered corrected spellings for mistyped searches (with the “Did you mean” link). We’ve steadily improved this spelling technology over time, but recently we made some big strides in correcting misspelled names.

People often search for people’s names — and not just celebrities and old friends. They look for doctors, horse trainers, hang-gliding instructors... the searches are just as diverse as the personalities in your hometown. We’ve noticed that people sometimes struggle to correctly spell names, and it’s not surprising. Names can be complicated and often there are multiple common spellings.

Our new technology is based on the concept that people often know something else about the person besides the approximate spelling of his name. People often include other terms such as "composer" or "lawyer sparta wisconsin" in their search query, which provides valuable context to help us narrow the range of possibilities for the spelling correction. We use these additional descriptive words to offer you better suggestions. Some examples: [matthew devin oracle], [yuri lehner stanford], [simon tung machine learning]. With these improvements you’ll start seeing more useful spell corrections for names.

For now this enhancement is available in our English spelling system in the U.S. We'll be rolling out the change to other parts of the world and other languages in the coming months.

Spelling auto-correction in 31 languages
Another improvement we made recently to the spelling system is auto-correction. If you search for [aiprt], rather than showing you a link on your results page that says “Did you mean: airport” we’ll take you straight to the results for the corrected search. We auto-correct when we’re highly confident in our correction in order to get you the information you’re looking for that much faster. In the past week we’ve expanded auto-correction to 31 languages across over 180 domains, with more to come.

Did you make a typo while looking for [chocolate strawberries and cream] in Italian? The right word is so close you can taste it:

While saving you that unnecessary click, we make search that much faster.

Posted by Pandu Nayak, Member of Technical Staff

[G] Web Analytics TV #8 with Avinash and Nick

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics TV #8 with Avinash and Nick

This is the 8th edition of Web Analytics TV with Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski where you ask questions via the Google Analytics Google Moderator site and we answer them.

Here is the list of last week’s questions. In this episode we discuss:
  • How to create Advanced Segments for many sites (or other parameters)
  • AdSense in $index calculations
  • Tracking affiliates in Google Analytics
  • Using an Event as a goal like tracking people who watch videos to conversion
  • Measuring embedded Flash with Google Analytics
  • Should you use two analytics packages like Google Analytics and Urchin?
  • Using custom reporting to display landing pages and page titles
  • Breaking down paid vs organic search by landing page
  • How site overlay currently works and reasons why it could not work
  • The difference between unique visitors and absolute unique visitors
  • How to get the / and /index.html pages to be the same
  • Properly setting up Advanced Segments for time on site

Here are links to resources we discussed in the video:
If you found this post helpful, we'd love to hear your comments below. If you have a question you would like us to answer, please submit a question or vote for your favorite question in our public Google Moderator site. Avinash and I will answer your latest questions in a couple of weeks with yet another entertaining video.

Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics Team

[G] The Webby People's Voice Awards on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: The Webby People's Voice Awards on YouTube

The Webby Awards announced its 24 nominees this week, and many of them originated right here on YouTube, including "The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody," "David After Dentist" and "The Pizza Slap."

While Academy judges such as Martha Stewart, David Bowie, and Arianna Huffington select the actual Webby Awards winners, millions of people around the world will also help decide who takes home a Webby by voting in The Webby People's Voice Awards. Fans have until April 29 to vote at There are a number of categories, from public service and activism to video remixes and viral.

Then, on June 14, we’ll be teaming up with the Webbys once again to create a front-row experience on the Webbys' customized YouTube channel, which will contain the winners' five-word acceptance speeches, celebrity interviews and show highlights. Here’s a sample from last year, an acceptance speech from Jimmy Fallon that elicited loud laughs:

So what what are you waiting for? Vote for your favorites now at

Deeksha Hebbar, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched “Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.”


Thursday, April 15, 2010

[G] Brits search for a leader

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Official Google Blog: Brits search for a leader

Today, leaders of the three largest British parties took part in the U.K’s first live televised debate in the run up to the May 6 general election. Alastair Stewart of ITN hosted Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the Labour Party, Conservative Party leader David Cameron and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg as they discussed domestic affairs before a Manchester T.V. studio audience.

Nick Clegg, his Liberal Democrat Party, and its manifesto generated many queries as people searched for Lib Dems and Liberal Democrat manifesto 2010. Searches for David Cameron and the Conservatives beat out the well-known incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Labour, but the two parties’ manifestos generated about the same number of searches.

Many Brits sought to watch the debate, searching for ITV election debate and live political debate, while others sought real-time polling information with queries such as debate polls, leaders debate poll and who is winning the debate.

Gordon Brown told David Cameron, “I'm grateful, by the way, David, for you putting up these posters about me and about crime and about everything else. You know, there's no newspaper editor done as much for me in the last two years, because my face is smiling on these posters, and I'm very grateful to you and Lord Ashcroft for funding that”, generating queries for Gordon Brown poster and Lord Ashcroft. David Cameron’s statement, “We’re going to get rid of some of these quangos” sent users scurrying to determine what a quango is. Nick Clegg’s repeated railing against renewing the Trident missile and David Cameron’s repeated railing against the jobs tax, a one percent increase in National Insurance contributions, were the other issues generating queries. Overwhelming these debate-related queries was the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano and the closure of British air space.

During the three weeks, follow the run-up to the May 6 British general election by watching debate highlights on YouTube and searching web trends using Google Insights for Search.

Posted by Jeffrey D. Oldham, Software Engineer

[G] Satellite imagery of Icelandic volcano ash plume

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Google LatLong: Satellite imagery of Icelandic volcano ash plume

Today, the skies above my home in England are noticeably empty. The UK air traffic authorities and many others across Europe have closed the airspace due to safety fears from an enormous ash cloud originating from the eruption of the Eyjafjallajoekull volcano in Iceland - around 1000 miles from London. No flights are allowed in or out and this will remain the case until at least Friday afternoon.

Friends elsewhere around the world were asking me to describe what it was like, but conditions are relatively clear where I am so even I couldn't fully understand or explain the scope. Of course, I naturally turned to satellite imagery to get a better sense of the situation. The NASA MODIS Rapid Response system collected an image earlier this afternoon showing the eruption site sending a huge plume of ash up into the atmosphere towards Europe - and major airways used by thousands of aircraft each day. This image has been made available for download in Google Earth, which you can see by clicking on this KML file.

Courtesy of NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid Response

Our partners at GeoEye have also added high-resolution imagery from March 31st of the actual eruption site at Eyjafjallajoekull to the GeoEye Featured Imagery layer. To access it, open Google Earth, open the More category in the Layers panel, and turn on GeoEye Featured Imagery. Then search for Iceland, click on the GeoEye logo at the south end of the island, and then click "View Full Resolution Image in Google Earth" in the window that pops up:

click to see full-size

We're also closely following the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Qinghai, China and are currently working to acquire and publish imagery. We will share it on this blog as soon as it becomes available; in the meantime please visit our Crisis Response page for the earthquake.

Posted by Phil Verney, Geo Data Specialist

[G] The goats are baaaahk!

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Official Google Blog: The goats are baaaahk!

Last year, in our quest to minimize our carbon footprint (and keep people on their toes), we turned to an unlikely solution for mowing an overgrown field: goats. More than 200 goats from California Grazing have once again arrived at our Mountain View headquarters where they’ll stay for over a week chomping away on grassy goodness. The cost of bringing in the goats is comparable to hiring lawn mowers for the same job and the green benefits are clear: the goats eliminate mower emissions, reduce noise pollution, restore plant species and fertilize while grazing.

Don’t worry, we’re not going to be in the business of chèvre anytime soon, but in the meantime we’re having a lot of fun watching our new colleagues.

Posted by Dan Hoffman, Director of Real Estate and Workplace Services for NorCal, and Chief Goat Herder

[G] Response to China Earthquake

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Google Public Policy Blog: Response to China Earthquake

(cross-posted from the Official blog)

Yesterday, when a powerful earthquake struck the Qinghai province in Western China, Googlers within China and internationally mobilized to see how we could help with disaster response.

We are working on several tools to help people on the ground find out more information about the earthquake, connect with loved ones, as well as help with recovery efforts.

For those concerned about loved ones in Qinghai, the China Person Finder tool can be used to submit or search for information about individuals who may have been affected. The tool is available in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese and English. We encourage organizations and media sites to embed the gadget on their sites and help spread the word.

In addition, users can access earthquake information on Google News and Google Maps from a link on our homepages on, and The site also includes links to real-time search information, which includes people’s posts to Twitter and other sources.

We will keep posting updates to the Google China blog as more information and tools become available. Please visit this page for updated resources.

[G] Go Mobile! Series: iPad Device Targeting Now Available

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Inside AdWords: Go Mobile! Series: iPad Device Targeting Now Available

As we announced earlier this month, we’ve included the iPad in our list of mobile devices with full internet browsers, making it easy for you to run your campaigns on it.

Now that we’ve finished our rigorous iPad testing, we feel confident adding the iPad to the list of mobile devices that you can target specifically. To do this, simply edit the “Devices” section in your Campaign Settings, and select the iPad under 'Advanced device and carrier options:

A few things to keep in mind:
  • If your device settings are set for desktop and laptop computers only, your ads won’t show on the iPad.
  • If you’re already targeting selected mobile devices (such as iPhone or Android), your ads won’t show on the iPad. Make sure to select the iPad as well if you want to include it in your device-targeted campaign.
Also, remember that you can promote your iPhone/iPad or Android apps directly by linking to the download URL in your ads. This way people can download your app straight from your ads. To make things easier, we’ll handle the device targeting automatically when these ads show on mobile devices.

We’re excited to see the iPad and other innovative devices come to market and will continue to improve AdWords to help you reach and connect with your audience and your customers!

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew

[G] The world just became smaller: driving directions in 111 new countries

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Google LatLong: The world just became smaller: driving directions in 111 new countries

Members of our Google Map Maker community have always told us that the biggest milestone after launching maps for their countries is adding driving directions. A few months ago we launched driving directions in 18 countries in Eastern Europe and Asia-Pacific. We have now enabled directions in 111 new countries across the globe.

So, whether you find yourself in Lima, Peru or visiting Iceland or driving from Johannesburg to Nairobi, you can now use Google Maps to find out how to get around.

Driving directions on Google Maps are now available for:
Algeria, American Samoa, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Aruba, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Barbados, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, British Virgin Islands, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Fiji, French Guiana, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, Iran, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Netherlands Antilles, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Qatar, Reunion, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Wallis and Futuna, Western Sahara, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Do give it a try and tell us what you think on Map Your World Community. If you find something that is missing or not otherwise quite right, you can always map it at

Posted by Vishwajith Krishnamurthy, Software Engineer; Zareer K'Maneck, Program Manager; and Manik Gupta, Product Manager

[G] Drag and drop attachments onto messages

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Official Gmail Blog: Drag and drop attachments onto messages

Posted by Adam de Boor, Software Engineer

I'm always looking for ways to save time. Suppose I want to attach some files to an email, and I already have a folder open containing those files.

I used to have to click "Attach a file," find the photos, click them, etc. Starting today, if I'm using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox 3.6, I can just drag and drop the files to attach them — easy as pie.

We'll enable this for other browsers as soon as they support this feature. For now, you can drag and drop attachments in Chrome and Firefox only.

[G] Create your AdSense account within your hosting control panel

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Inside AdSense: Create your AdSense account within your hosting control panel

Website owners who use Plesk, a commercial web hosting automation program, to manage their hosting and website services can now easily configure AdSense. As announced on the Google Blog, Parallels Plesk Panel now offers out-of-box integration with Google Services for Websites.

If you use Plesk Panel to manage your website, you can now create a new AdSense account from Plesk to help monetize your website content. Also, your AdSense account is automatically associated with every Custom Search engine you configure, so that relevant ads are displayed above your search results. When users click on these ads, you earn revenue.

If you already have an AdSense account, there’s no need to create a new one - just configure your existing account within Plesk.

Posted by Ryan Rennaker, Account Strategist - AdSense API

[G] A rebuilt, more real time Google documents

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Official Google Docs Blog: A rebuilt, more real time Google documents

It’s been almost 4 years since we launched Google Docs. Back then people were excited about being able to access their documents from anywhere and edit those documents collaboratively online. But as Google documents became more mainstream, we started to hear more and more of you asking for features like margins, tabs, and floating images that were only available in desktop word processors. To make these features possible, we started working on a complete rewrite of Google documents over a year ago.

This week we released a preview of that new document editor for anyone who wants to try it out. This version supports a brand new ruler, alignment features, per-paragraph line spacing and more.

You’ll also notice a huge improvement in the import quality when uploading and importing documents from desktop word processors into Google Docs.

But we didn’t want to just bring you traditional word processing features. We also wanted to extend collaboration capabilities in documents. We added a sidebar that lets you see who else is editing at the same time, and, if you click the sidebar, you can chat with collaborators right next to the document. And when other editors type, you can now see their edits as they happen character-by-character.

You’ll notice that some features, like drawings, the web clipboard, and table of contents, aren’t in the new editor yet. We’ll be adding them really soon, before we turn on the new editor for everyone. Other features like offline will take longer to get working again but are a high priority.

If you want to try out the new editor, visit the Editing tab in the Google docs list settings. Check the box next next to “New version of Google documents,” and all new and uploaded documents will be created in the new editor. For now, old documents will remain in the old editor. Let us know what you think in the forums.

Posted by: Olga Belomestnykh, Software Engineer

[G] Insert a calendar invitation

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Official Gmail Blog: Insert a calendar invitation

Posted by Oana Florescu, Software Engineer

Since my friends share their schedules with me in Google Calendar, when I want to see a movie with them, I can check to see which nights they're free before sending out an email about it. However, I need to switch between Gmail and Calendar in order to check their availability and send an email invitation.

Today, we're launching a new feature that brings tighter integration between Gmail and Calendar, making it easier to create Calendar events from within Gmail. When you compose an email message, there's now an "Insert: Invitation" link right under the subject line.

When you click it, a small window appears that displays your availability as well as that of the people you're emailing provided you have permission to see their calendars.

You can check your friends' availability and choose an appropriate time for the event you're setting up right from there. When you've settled on the details of the event, click the "Insert Invitation" button and a preview of the invitation will appear in your email message:

When you send the email, the event gets added to your calendar as well as to your friends' calendars.

[G] Google services now available at your hosting control panel

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Official Google Blog: Google services now available at your hosting control panel

Last year, we announced the program that enabled hosting companies to integrate Google services into their platforms for easy access to their customers. Several hosting companies have adopted the program since then, and thousands of websites have benefited from configuring services like AdSense, Custom Search and Webmaster Tools.

Today, we’ve taken an additional step to improve access to these tools. Parallels, a leading provider of control panel software for hosting companies, has integrated Google Services for Websites into Parallels Plesk Panel, used by millions of website owners globally to manage their sites.

Any hosting provider using Plesk 9.5 can now enable Google Services for Websites for their customers. Website owners generate more traffic to their websites by optimizing them using Webmaster Tools. They can engage their users with inline Web Elements, including maps, news, videos and conversations. Custom Search and Site Search provide Google-quality search on their websites for better user retention. AdSense helps website owners monetize their sites with relevant advertising. And besides providing these valuable services to millions of customers, hosting companies can also generate additional revenues through referral programs.

More information is on the Google Services for Websites page. If you are a hoster using Plesk, please contact Parallels for more information.

Posted by Rajat Mukherjee, Group Product Manager, Search

[G] The 2010 tax season story, as told by Google search

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Official Google Blog: The 2010 tax season story, as told by Google search

Today, April 15, is the due date for federal tax returns in the U.S. Now that everyone’s submitted their taxes in on time (we hope!) we wanted to take a look back at the last few months and tell the story of this year’s tax season through Google search.

Spoiler alert — we’re starting our tax season search story at the end. As the filing deadline has approached over the last few days and weeks, we’ve seen a flurry of search interest about taxes and tax related topics. Compared to search volume from the final week of the 2009 tax season, we’ve seen significant increases in searches for terms like [file taxes] and [tax filing extension]. As of late last week, searches for [file taxes] had increased by 16% from last year. This spike in search interest leading up to April 15 prolongs a pattern of search trends that we’ve seen for the last several years; from 2006 to 2009, searches for [file taxes] rose an average of more than 51% between April 8 and April 15.

Perhaps less expected than this final peak is the sizable spike in search volume that we see several months before April 15, around the time that W-2 forms become available. This occurs in early February and, as you can see below, there’s a noticeable increase in searches such as [get W2 form] that are related to the beginning of the tax-filing.

In general, tax season search trends look pretty similar each year, but if we dive deeper, there are lots of mini-trends to explore, often triggered by unforeseen and/or unique world events. For example, we saw a flurry of search interest following the passage of the healthcare reform bill in March. The sharp increase in searches for terms like [taxes healthcare] and [healthcare tax increase] likely reflected curiosity about the implications of the new law on tax filings.

We saw a similar trend following the tragic earthquake in Haiti. The outpouring of support for victims in Haiti generated increased interest in the details of charitable donations as they related to taxes; searches queries like [haiti donation tax] were noticeably high in January.

Unfortunately, the implications of heightened unemployment levels were also top of mind this year, and we saw an interest in the effects of joblessness on tax payments and tax filing. Queries like [unemployed taxes] and [unemployment tax refund] were noticeably elevated compared to 2009 search volume, in particular around the season’s first spike.

Hopefully, we’ve shed some light on what your fellow taxpayers were interested in over the course of tax season and, via search trends, provided a sense of the different types of events that might affect taxes and tax filing. Until next year!

Posted by Jon Kaplan, Director, Financial Services

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

[G] Share Blogger posts to Buzz

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Blogger Buzz: Share Blogger posts to Buzz

by Jiho Han, Software Engineer, Blogger

When Google Buzz launched in February, many wondered how they could share cool posts to their Buzz stream. That’s why we’re excited to announce that Blogger has made it easy to share to Google Buzz via the Share button in the Blogger navigation bar. Just click “Share”, choose Google Buzz, and you’ll be able to customize your message before posting to Buzz.

Google Buzz is a new way to share updates, photos, videos and more, and start conversations about the things you find interesting. Better yet, all comments to your Buzz post get sent right to your Gmail inbox so it's easy to keep the conversation going. Just go to Google Buzz homepage and give it a try! We know you write interesting stuff, so sharing to Buzz is a great way to spread the word about your blog.

Building your audience is important, and sharing to social networks is a great way to promote your site. We are committed to make the sharing experience better on Blogger: More updates are on their way, so please stay tuned.