Friday, May 21, 2010

[G] Posted by Murali Viswanathan, Product Manager (cross-posted

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Google Public Policy Blog: Posted by Murali Viswanathan, Product Manager
(cross-posted

Posted by Murali Viswanathan, Product Manager
(cross-posted from the On-line Security Blog)

Google understands the potential risks of browsing the web on an unsecured network, particularly when information is sent over the wire unencrypted — as it is for most major websites today. That’s why we offered SSL support for Gmail back when we launched the product in 2004. Most other webmail providers don’t provide this feature even today. We’ve since added SSL support for Calendar, Docs, Sites, and several other products. Additionally, early this year we made SSL the default setting for all Gmail users.

As we work to provide more support for SSL across our products, today we’re introducing the ability to search with Google over SSL. We still have some testing to do, but you can try out the new encrypted version of Google search at https://www.google.com and read more about it on the Official Google Blog.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/05/posted-by-murali-viswanathan-product.html

[G] Google Special Award Winners @ Intel ISEF 2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Special Award Winners @ Intel ISEF 2010

Last Thursday evening, we announced the winners of our Google Special Awards at the Intel ISEF 2010 Special Awards Ceremony. With applications from 17 project fields ranging from behavioral and social sciences to microbiology, judging these great projects was extremely difficult. Submissions like a bio-inspired photonic fuel cell and a new way to treat waste water using fungus showcased the ingenuity and imagination of the world’s next generation of scientists. In fact, we were so blown away by the caliber of the project submissions that hours before the award ceremony, we decided to give some additional awards. In addition to the three $10,000 category prizes, we awarded six runner-up prizes of $1,000 each. And since so many of our applications were in the Secret Change Agent category (an award for the project that has the most potential to positively impact society and make the world a better place), we selected two winners, who each received $10,000!

Please join us in congratulating the 10 finalists and finalist teams who were awarded the Google Special Awards. Their accomplishments represent the bright future of science and technology and we’re thrilled to be along for the ride.

Google Special Award Winners & Runner-ups

Category #1: CS Connect: applying computer science to further scientific inquiry in your field
Runner-ups ($1,000 each)
Ritik Malhotra and Tony Ho (Mechanical Engineering), ages 17, San Jose, CA
Engineering a Novel Genetics-Based Disease Detection Mechanism Designed Using an Ontology-Driven Semantically Annotated Microarray Repository with Thermal Gradient Focusing Mass Spectrometry

Christopher Nielsen (Electrical Engineering), age 16, Alberta, Canada
Robust Displacement Estimation Employing Inexpensive Webcam Based Optical Flow


Winner ($10,000)
Joon Suk Huh (Physics), age 17, South Korea
Finding the Minimum Energy Conformation of Protein-like Heteropolymers by Greedy Neighborhood Search
Category #2: The Future of Energy: contributing to a cleaner, brighter tomorrow
Runner-ups ($1,000 each)
Lyric Gilett (Energy and Transportation), 18, Texas
Novel Method: Detecting High Energies in Sonoluminescense


Max Keller (Energy and Transportation), Age 17, Minnesota
Decomposing Energy

Winner ($10,000)
Dheevesh Arulmani (Energy and Transportation), Age 14, Ontario, Canada
Bio-Inspired Photonic Fuel Cell
Category #3: Secret Change Agent: making our world a better place through innovative change
Runner-ups ($1,000 each)
Xiangbo Meng (Plant Sciences), age 17, Beijing, China
Aqueous Extract of Lemon Leaves as a Novel Powerful Insecticide Against Trialeurodes Vaporariorum (Whitefly)


Sonia Rao (Microbiology), age 17, Missouri
Bacterial Silencing: The Discovery of Quorum Quenching Soil Microbes for the Development of Antimicrobial Compounds


Winners ($10,000 each)
William Lopes (Microbiology), age 20, Brasil
Utilization of the Fungus Aspergillus Niger on Wastewater Treatment II


Karoline Elis Lopes Martins (Environmental Management), age 18, Brasil
Construction of a Continuous Flow SODIS system with PET Bottles Integrated to a Water and Waste-Water Treatment System
For a full listing of the Intel ISEF Grand Award and Special Award winners, visit the Intel ISEF 2010 homepage here.

Posted by Dolores Bernardo, Talent & Outreach Programs Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/google-special-award-winners-intel-isef.html

[G] Keeping up-to-date on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

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Google LatLong: Keeping up-to-date on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

[Cross-posted with the Official Google Blog]

It is estimated that at least 6 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon explosion a month ago. Cleanup efforts are underway, but the oil has spread extensively around the Gulf and along the southern U.S. coastline. Oil has begun washing up on the beaches of Louisiana and the delicate wetlands along the Mississippi River, and can spread to Florida and throughout the Gulf as weather conditions change. This sequence of images, coming from NASA’s MODIS satellites, illustrates the movement and growth of the oil slick over the past few weeks:

April 25, 2010


April 29, 2010


May 9, 2010


May 17, 2010

The last image, taken earlier this week (on May 17), shows the coastal areas currently at risk from the spreading oil, and can help those working on the wide range of relief efforts.


You can view this and other MODIS imagery in Google Earth by downloading this KML. You can also view additional imagery and find other resources and news at our oil spill crisis response page.

Posted by Pete Giencke, GIS Data Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/05/keeping-up-to-date-on-gulf-of-mexico.html

[G] Keeping up-to-date on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

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Official Google Blog: Keeping up-to-date on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)

It is estimated that at least 6 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon explosion a month ago. Cleanup efforts are underway, but the oil has spread extensively around the Gulf and along the southern U.S. coastline. Oil has begun washing up on the beaches of Louisiana and the delicate wetlands along the Mississippi River, and can spread to Florida and throughout the Gulf as weather conditions change. This sequence of images, coming from NASA’s MODIS satellites, illustrates the movement and growth of the oil slick over the past few weeks:

April 25, 2010


April 29, 2010


May 9, 2010


May 17, 2010

The last image, taken earlier this week (on May 17), shows the coastal areas currently at risk from the spreading oil, and can help those working on the wide range of relief efforts.


You can view this and other MODIS imagery in Google Earth by downloading this KML. You can also view additional imagery and find other resources and news at our oil spill crisis response page.

Posted by Pete Giencke, GIS Data Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/keeping-up-to-date-on-gulf-of-mexico.html

[G] Manage and Track your extensions with the new Ad Extensions tab

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Inside AdWords: Manage and Track your extensions with the new Ad Extensions tab

Over the last year we’ve launched a number of ad extensions in AdWords to help you make your ads more useful and relevant to people searching for information on Google. Ad extensions expand your standard text ad with one or more lines of additional information like an address and phone number (location extensions and phone extensions), more page links (ad sitelinks), and product images (product extensions).

In order to help you manage and track the ad extensions in your campaigns, today we’re introducing a new Ad Extensions tab within your AdWords account. From the Ad Extensions tab, you can see statistics for any of your campaign ad extensions. You can choose to see "All" or "All but deleted" extensions, and you can also choose the type of ad extensions to view, such as location or product extensions. For example, if you select “Locations,” the tab will display all location extensions for that campaign (on the campaign details page) or all campaigns (in the “All Online Campaigns” overview).


The Ad Extensions tab automatically appears in your account when you've enabled ad extensions in at least one campaign. You can also enable or disable the tab for your account view by clicking the arrow button next to your existing tabs above your performance table.


To learn more about the new Ad Extensions tab, visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/05/manage-and-track-your-extensions-with.html

[G] Google Apps highlights – 5/21/2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 5/21/2010

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.

It’s been an active and exciting week on the Google Apps team, including the release of several new features at Google I/O, our annual developers conference.

Google Calendar gets a new look
The Google Calendar team has been doing some spring cleaning. On Wednesday, we revealed Google Calendar’s new cleaner design. We streamlined text that appears in the interface, made the controls more compact and created more space on screen to display information from your calendar.


New themes for forms in Google Docs
We also spruced up forms in Google Docs with the addition of 24 new themes for online surveys that you create. As you’re editing your form, just click the “Theme” button to browse the gallery and change the look and feel of your form.


Drag images into Gmail messages
On Tuesday, we simplified a common action: inserting images in a Gmail message. If you use Google Chrome, now you can drag images files from your computer’s desktop or folders onto the body of a message you’re composing, and Gmail will add the image to your message. You can easily resize the image right in the Gmail compose window before hitting “Send.”


Google Voice open to students
We’ve heard from many students how Google Voice makes it easier to deal with the process of getting a new dorm phone number and moving back and forth between school and home each year. Voicemail transcriptions that students can glance at while in class are also useful. To help more students take advantage of these tools, last Friday we opened up Google Voice for students with .edu email addresses. Try it out!

Google Wave (Labs) open to all
Google Wave is a new team collaboration application that brings discussion and debate right into the context of content people are working on together. For the last year, Google Wave has been available to a limited set of testers and early users, but on Wednesday we moved Wave to Google Labs and now anyone can sign up. If you use Google Apps at your business, school or organization, your IT manager can enable Wave from the Google Apps control panel now, too.



More Google applications coming for Google Apps customers
Speaking of new applications for businesses, schools and organizations, we also just announced that starting this summer, Google Apps customers will be able to sign into Blogger, Picasa Web Albums, Google Reader, AdWords and many more Google services with their Google Apps accounts. If you’re the Google Apps administrator for your organization, read more about how this change will work and sign up to start testing. We welcome your feedback.


Contextual gadgets in Gmail
Gmail can already display previews of documents, videos and photo albums so you don’t have to switch back and forth between windows, and now Google Apps customers can add other contextual gadgets from the Google Apps Marketplace. There are already gadgets for project management, social networking, rich contact profiles and much more, and we hope developers will build their own contextual gadgets with the new Gmail API.



Apps Script
Google Apps Script lets customers automate business processes ranging from expense approvals to time-sheet tracking to ticket management and order fulfillment. On Tuesday we launched Google Apps Script improvements, including Java database connectivity, custom user interfaces for scripts, the ability to invoke scripts from any web page and integrations with more Google services, like Google Maps. To help you get started with scripts, we also released a new set of script templates with pre-built functionality.

Google Calendar Connector for Lotus Notes®
Many companies still using old legacy technologies are looking to make a seamless switch to the cloud, and now Lotus Notes customers can move to Google Apps in phases, at their own pace. Last week we launched the Google Calendar Connector for Lotus Notes®, which allows businesses to switch to Google Apps department by department. Google Apps users in your organization can look up free/busy info for coworkers still on Lotus Notes and vice versa.

Who’s gone Google?
Thousands more businesses and schools have “gone Google” since our last update, including Arista Networks (where Andy Bechtolsheim serves as Chairman) and Smart Furniture. Both of these companies had a common motivation for moving to Google Apps: being able to focus their precious resources on core business challenges by letting technology experts at Google handle the day-to-day operations of running an email system.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/google-apps-highlights-5212010.html

[G] Google Checkout for 501(c)6 organizations

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Google Checkout for 501(c)6 organizations

We’re excited to announce that IRS-approved 501(c)(6) organizations may now process transactions through Google Checkout. Previously, Google Checkout only processed online donations for 501(c)(3) religious, educational and charitable organizations in the United States.

Today, Google Checkout is extending transaction processing to IRS-approved 501(c)(6) organizations who focus on advancement and improvement of professional and business associations. If you are one of these organizations, we encourage you to sign up for Google Checkout to process transactions for memberships, dues and other services

Posted by S. Raja Satishchandra and Swathi Balerao, Google Checkout Operations
URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2010/05/google-checkout-for-501c6-organizations.html

[G] Search more securely with encrypted Google web search

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Official Google Blog: Search more securely with encrypted Google web search

As people spend more time on the Internet, they want greater control over who has access to their online communications. Many Internet services use what are known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections to encrypt information that travels between your computer and their service. Usually recognized by a web address starting with “https” or a browser lock icon, this technology is regularly used by online banking sites and e-commerce websites. Other sites may also implement SSL in a more limited fashion, for example, to help protect your passwords when you enter your login information.

Years ago Google added SSL encryption to products ranging from Gmail to Google Docs and others, and we continue to enable encryption on more services. Like banking and e-commerce sites, Google’s encryption extends beyond login passwords to the entire service. This session-wide encryption is a significant privacy advantage over systems that only encrypt login pages and credit card information. Early this year, we took an important step forward by making SSL the default setting for all Gmail users. And today we’re gradually rolling out a new choice to search more securely at https://www.google.com.

When you search on https://www.google.com, an encrypted connection is created between your browser and Google. This secured channel helps protect your search terms and your search results pages from being intercepted by a third party on your network. The service includes a modified logo to help indicate that you’re searching using SSL and that you may encounter a somewhat different Google search experience, but as always, remember to check the start of the address bar for “https” and your browser lock indicators:

Today’s release comes with a “beta” label for a few reasons. First, it currently covers only the core Google web search product. To help avoid misunderstanding, when you search using SSL, you won’t see links to offerings like Image Search and Maps that, for the most part, don’t support SSL at this time. Also, since SSL connections require additional time to set up the encryption between your browser and the remote web server, your experience with search over SSL might be slightly slower than your regular Google search experience. What won’t change is that you will still get the same great search results.

A few notes to remember: Google will still maintain search data to improve your search quality and to provide better service. Searching over SSL doesn’t reduce the data sent to Google — it only hides that data from third parties who seek it. And clicking on any of the web results, including Google universal search results for unsupported services like Google Images, could take you out of SSL mode. Our hope is that more websites and services will add support for SSL to help create a better and more consistent experience for you.

We think users will appreciate this new option for searching. It’s a helpful addition to users’ online privacy and security, and we’ll continue to add encryption support for more search offerings. To learn more about using the feature, refer to our help article on search over SSL.

Posted by Evan Roseman, Software Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/search-more-securely-with-encrypted.html

[G] Extending SSL to Google search

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Google Online Security Blog: Extending SSL to Google search

Posted by Murali Viswanathan, Product Manager

Google understands the potential risks of browsing the web on an unsecured network, particularly when information is sent over the wire unencrypted — as it is for most major websites today. That’s why we offered SSL support for Gmail back when we launched the product in 2004. Most other webmail providers don’t provide this feature even today. We’ve since added SSL support for Calendar, Docs, Sites, and several other products. Additionally, early this year we made SSL the default setting for all Gmail users.

As we work to provide more support for SSL across our products, today we’re introducing the ability to search with Google over SSL. We still have some testing to do, but you can try out the new encrypted version of Google search at https://www.google.com and read more about it on the Official Google Blog.
URL: http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2010/05/extending-ssl-to-google-search.html

[G] Working with AdMob to move mobile advertising forward

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Google Public Policy Blog: Working with AdMob to move mobile advertising forward

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President of Product Management
(cross-posted from The Official Google Blog)

Today, the Federal Trade Commission cleared our acquisition of AdMob, a mobile advertising start up. We’re excited to work with Omar Hamoui and his talented team at AdMob to develop new mobile advertising solutions for marketers, mobile app developers and mobile publishers.

The decision is great news for the mobile advertising ecosystem as a whole. This was reflected in the widespread industry support for our acquisition.

Throughout the FTC’s review process, it’s been clear that the mobile advertising is growing rapidly.

As mobile phone usage increases, growth in mobile advertising is only going to accelerate. This benefits mobile developers and publishers who will get better advertising solutions, marketers who will find new ways to reach consumers, and users who will get better ads and more free content.

We’re very excited about the possibilities in this field. As an immediate matter, we’re now moving to close this acquisition in coming weeks. We’ll then start work right away on bringing AdMob’s and Google’s teams and products together. This industry is moving fast, and we’re excited to be part of the race!
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/05/working-with-admob-to-move-mobile.html

[G] Train station searches, simplified

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Google LatLong: Train station searches, simplified


Let’s say you are about to take a train to visit another city. What do you need to know before setting out? An important piece of information to know is whether the station near your place has a line to take you there and when it will depart. Now you can get this information by just searching for the transit station in Google Maps.

When you search for a station, you can see a list of transit lines that service the station. The lines are colored and grouped by transit type to make it easier to find the line you are looking for.
For railway trains, you can see the departure time directly. And for other type of transit, namely subways, buses and commuter trains, you could click on the line name to get the next departure time of each direction without leaving the current page. So maybe if biking to work this month doesn’t work out for you, you can have an easier time getting the transit info you need to get around town.

Posted by Xinxing Gu, Associate Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/05/train-station-searches-simplified.html

[G] Working with AdMob to move mobile advertising forward

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Official Google Blog: Working with AdMob to move mobile advertising forward

Today, the Federal Trade Commission cleared our acquisition of AdMob, a mobile advertising start up. We’re excited to work with Omar Hamoui and his talented team at AdMob to develop new mobile advertising solutions for marketers, mobile app developers and mobile publishers.

The decision is great news for the mobile advertising ecosystem as a whole. This was reflected in the widespread industry support for our acquisition.

Throughout the FTC’s review process, it’s been clear that the mobile advertising is growing rapidly.

As mobile phone usage increases, growth in mobile advertising is only going to accelerate. This benefits mobile developers and publishers who will get better advertising solutions, marketers who will find new ways to reach consumers, and users who will get better ads and more free content.

We’re very excited about the possibilities in this field. As an immediate matter, we’re now moving to close this acquisition in coming weeks. We’ll then start work right away on bringing AdMob’s and Google’s teams and products together. This industry is moving fast, and we’re excited to be part of the race!

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President of Product Management
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/working-with-admob-to-move-mobile.html

[G] Celebrating PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday

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Official Google Blog: Celebrating PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday

When I was growing up, my dad had the best job I could possibly imagine: he was an arcade game and pinball technician. For me, that meant summer trips through Poland’s coastal cities with their seasonal arcade parlors; peeking inside cabinets to learn programming and engineering secrets; and—of course—free games!

One of my favorites was PAC-MAN, whose popularity transcended the geopolitical barriers of that time. During the heyday of space shooters, Tōru Iwatani’s creation stood out as one of the first video games aimed at a broader audience, with a cute story of pizza-shaped character gobbling dots in a maze, colorful (literally!) characters, friendly design, very little violence and everlasting fun.

Today, on PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday, you can rediscover some of your 8-bit memories—or meet PAC-MAN for the first time—through our first-ever playable Google doodle. To play the game, go to google.com during the next 48 hours (because it’s too cool to keep for just one day) and either press the “Insert Coin” button or just wait for a few seconds.

Google doodler Ryan Germick and I made sure to include PAC-MAN’s original game logic, graphics and sounds, bring back ghosts’ individual personalities, and even recreate original bugs from this 1980’s masterpiece. We also added a little easter egg: if you throw in another coin, Ms. PAC-MAN joins the party and you can play together with someone else (PAC-MAN is controlled with arrow keys or by clicking on the maze, Ms. PAC-MAN using the WASD keys).

PAC-MAN™ & ©1980 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.

PAC-MAN seems like a natural fit for the Google homepage. They’re both deceptively straightforward, carefully hiding their complexity under the hood. There’s a light-hearted, human touch to both of them. And we can only hope you find using Google at least a quarter as enjoyable as eating dots and chasing ghosts. You know, without actually needing any quarters.

Posted by Marcin Wichary, senior UX designer and developer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/celebrating-pac-mans-30th-birthday.html

Thursday, May 20, 2010

[G] Customizing Maps API Premier – your way

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Customizing Maps API Premier – your way

Customers often tell us how much their users love Google Maps. They love the friendly blue of the oceans, the easy-to-read labels of cities, and the solid yellow of the roads. But maybe you’re a rebel – someone who wants the roads to look YOUR way. Or perhaps your corporate branding clashes with the standard version of cities and streets. You’d love to change the colors on the map, or adjust the details your customers see.

If that’s you, we have good news. With today’s launch of Maps API Premier Styled Maps, you’ll be able to do all of that and more. An easy-to-customize hierarchical structure lets you easily turn on and off the transit stations, change the colors of the maps to match your corporate identity, work with details, and more. Enjoy!

Click here to learn more about using Maps API Premier.

Daniel Chu, Product Manager, Google Enterprise Maps/Earth
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/05/customizing-maps-api-premier-your-way.html

[G] Updates from Geo at I/O

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Google LatLong: Updates from Geo at I/O

Greetings from Google I/O! The Google Geo API team and 16 of our partners are here to enjoy two fantastic days of sessions, demos and good geo fun! We’ve come a long way since our first Geo Developer Day in 2006 and continue to see a large portion of attendees interested in the Geo track here at I/O. With the first day under our belts, here are the highlights that cover notable launches, announcements and the other sights from the conference.

Google Maps API v3 Graduation - We’re excited to announce that v3 of our Google Maps API has graduated from Google Code Labs! What this means for developers is that v3 is the new default API which we will continue to enhance and add features to. We’re also making v3 the default for enterprise geo developers. V3 was built from the ground up with performance and mobile mapping implementations in mind so we’re really excited to be moving forward with this new version.

Directions Web Service - We’ve listened to our users and addressed the number one most requested feature from our Maps API Issue Tracker. The Directions web service joins the existing Geocoding and Elevation web services and allows Google Maps applications to obtain Driving, Bicycling, and Walking directions through an XML/JSON REST interface.

Places Web Service, Nearby Places Widget preview - We previewed our latest addition to the Maps API web services family. The Places web service will allow a developer to offer search for nearby places in a native mobile application through an XML/JSON REST interface. During the session today we were joined on stage by Booyah who are using this new web service within their MyTown mobile gaming app.

As I mentioned we have 16 partners participating in what we’re calling the “Developer Sandbox”. The sandbox is the chance for attendees to talk 1:1 with developers that have used Google’s Geo APIs to create awesome implementations. This year we have the Maps, Maps Data, Earth, and SketchUp APIs represented, in addition to 3 Google Earth Enterprise deployments.

Here is a sample of what we saw yesterday...



Stay tuned for more updates throughout the rest of the week and in the meantime be sure to follow @GoogleMapsAPI on Twitter and our Geo Developers Blog for updates as they happen!

Posted by Mike Pegg, Product Marketing Manager, Geo Developer team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/05/updates-from-geo-at-io.html

[G] Category filtering available in 13 languages

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Inside AdSense: Category filtering available in 13 languages

If you're an international publisher who's been waiting for category filtering, we're happy to let you know that we're continuing to expand the feature's availability worldwide. It's currently available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, and Arabic. In addition, we're beginning to roll this out in beta for Chinese, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, and Russian -- although we're not able to add additional publishers to the limited beta at this time, we're working to make category filtering more widely available in these languages soon.

With category filtering, you can prevent ads from up to 11 specific categories from appearing on your pages. Ads in these categories will be filtered if they're in any of the supported languages, regardless of how they've been targeted to your pages. To start using category filtering, sign in to your AdSense account and visit your Ad Review Center, located under the 'AdSense Setup' tab. Once you click 'change', you'll be able to view the full list of categories you can filter. In addition, you can see the percentage of revenue and ad impressions you've been receiving from each category in the last 30 days; this information can help you understand the impact that applying filters might have.

To learn more about category filtering, please visit our Help Center.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/05/category-filtering-available-in-13.html

[G] Announcing Google TV: TV meets web. Web meets TV.

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Official Google Blog: Announcing Google TV: TV meets web. Web meets TV.

If there’s one entertainment device that people know and love, it’s the television. In fact, 4 billion people across the world watch TV and the average American spends five hours per day in front of one*. Recently, however, an increasing amount of our entertainment experience is coming from our phones and computers. One reason is that these devices have something that the TV lacks: the web. With the web, finding and accessing interesting content is fast and often as easy as a search. But the web still lacks many of the great features and the high-quality viewing experience that the TV offers.

So that got us thinking...what if we helped people experience the best of TV and the best of the web in one seamless experience? Imagine turning on the TV and getting all the channels and shows you normally watch and all of the websites you browse all day — including your favorite video, music and photo sites. We’re excited to announce that we’ve done just that.

Google TV is a new experience for television that combines the TV that you already know with the freedom and power of the Internet. With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the web. This opens up your TV from a few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV and the web. Your television is also no longer confined to showing just video. With the entire Internet in your living room, your TV becomes more than a TV — it can be a photo slideshow viewer, a gaming console, a music player and much more.

Google TV uses search to give you an easy and fast way to navigate to television channels, websites, apps, shows and movies. For example, already know the channel or program you want to watch? Just type in the name and you’re there. Want to check out that funny YouTube video on your 48” flat screen? It’s just a quick search away. If you know what you want to watch, but you’re not sure where to find it, just type in what you’re looking for and Google TV will help you find it on the web or on one of your many TV channels. If you’d rather browse than search, you can use your standard program guide, your DVR or the Google TV home screen, which provides quick access to all of your favorite entertainment so you’re always within reach of the content you love most.

Because Google TV is built on open platforms like Android and Google Chrome, these features are just a fraction of what Google TV can do. In our announcement today at Google I/O, we challenged web developers to start coming up with the next great web and Android apps designed specifically for the TV experience. Developers can start optimizing their websites for Google TV today. Soon after launch, we’ll release the Google TV SDK and web APIs for TV so that developers can build even richer applications and distribute them through Android Market. We’re looking forward to seeing all of the ways developers will use this new platform.

We’re working together with Sony and Logitech to put Google TV inside of televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes. These devices will go on sale this fall, and will be available at Best Buy stores nationwide. You can sign up here to get updates on Google TV availability.

This is an incredibly exciting time — for TV watchers, for developers and for the entire TV ecosystem. By giving people the power to experience what they love on TV and on the web on a single screen, Google TV turns the living room into a new platform for innovation. We're excited about what’s coming. We hope you are too.



*Nielsen, Three Screen Report, Fourth Quarter 2009

Posted by Salahuddin Choudhary, Google TV Product Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/announcing-google-tv-tv-meets-web-web.html

[G] Android Froyo, with some sprinkles

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Official Google Blog: Android Froyo, with some sprinkles

Since launching the first Android-powered phone with T-Mobile in October 2008, we have worked with operators, handset manufacturers and developers to make Android one of the most useful, innovative mobile platforms available.

We've been thrilled by the adoption of the platform over the past year and a half. Every day, our partners sell more than 100,000 new Android-based handsets, and there are now more than 180,000 active Android developers who have contributed more than 50,000 apps now available in Android Market—up 12,000 since last month alone!

Today at I/O, our annual developer conference, we announced Android 2.2. Codenamed Froyo (for frozen yogurt), this seventh update to the Android platform brings some great new functionality to users (things like making your handset a portable hotspot and support for Adobe Flash within the browser), along with new tools for developers. Read more about the specifics of Froyo on our Android Developer Blog.

Posted by Andy Rubin, VP, Engineering
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/05/android-froyo-with-some-sprinkles.html

[G] Go Mobile! Series: Introducing click-to-call ads for mobile content and apps

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Inside AdWords: Go Mobile! Series: Introducing click-to-call ads for mobile content and apps

Today at Google I/O, we announced that we’ll begin extending click-to-call advertising to mobile content and apps on the Google Content Network in the coming weeks. Click-to-call ads for mobile content and apps work with phone extensions and appear as animated  banner text ads with a call button on mobile devices with full Internet browsers. Now, whether your potential customers are reading the latest news, checking sports scores, or playing a downloaded game on their phones, you can reach them with relevant ads that let them easily click, call and connect with your business.










Benefits:

As those of you who already use click-to-call search ads may know, providing a calling option can help you drive more qualified leads and conversions as callers are often more ready to make a purchase. Adding a phone number to your ads can also give your business more credibility, resulting in higher click-through rates and increases in both calls and visits to your website. What’s more, enabling click-to-call ads for mobile content and apps is easy, even if you’re new to mobile, click-to-call advertising, or the Google Content Network.

Getting started:

To get started with click-to-call for mobile apps and content, just follow these three quick steps:

1. Ensure that your campaigns are opted in to serve on the Content Network, either by selecting ‘All available sites’ or specifically checking ‘Content Network’ within your Campaign Settings.






2. Set up
phone extensions and add your business phone number.






At this time, click-to-call ads for mobile content and apps only support phone extensions and not
location extensions.

3. Ensure that you’ve chosen to show your ads on
mobile devices with full Internet browsers.





Improving your performance:

Once you’re all set up, we encourage you to track your results and experiment. Our robust reporting lets you see the number of calls you receive by campaign, ad group and keyword so that you can easily monitor and improve your campaigns. Keep in mind that you pay the same price for a call as for a click, so it’s a good idea to try creating new mobile campaigns for content to figure out what works best.

More innovative mobile ad formats on the way:
At Google I/O today, we also shared a preview of our new expandable ad units that display videos or images on content and apps on mobile devices with full Internet browsers. These new ad units offer you more real estate and let potential customers interact with the ad without being redirected from the content or app they were viewing. When people click to play a video, our ad unit plays on their device’s native video player or YouTube app. Once they close the video, they’re returned to exactly where they left off on their mobile site or app.  You may begin to see these new formats running on our network as part of our beta for US-based advertisers, and we’re excited to make them more widely available soon.

We recognize that you have many options when planning your mobile advertising strategies and we’re excited to be a part of this rapidly evolving and competitive mobile ads ecosystem. We’ll continue to innovate with new mobile ad formats that we hope will help you better reach your audience in more relevant and engaging ways, driving the mobile ads space forward for everyone.

Posted by Miles Johnson,
Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/05/go-mobile-series-introducing-click-to.html

[G] Google FeedFetcher subscriber counts erratic

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Google FeedFetcher subscriber counts erratic

Issue: Subscriber counts may appear lower than normal in publisher reports because of missing Google FeedFetcher reports.  All subscribers are still receiving the feed, this only effects the reporting number in the publisher dashboard and the awareness API.  There are no issues with feed delivery for text feeds or podcasts.

Status: Currently, we rely on the Google FeedFetcher user-agent to report to us the number of subscribers for a feed.  This number is calculated from a mix of Google properties including Google Reader and iGoogle.  We will be changing our method of calculating subscribers to use internal Google APIs between FeedBurner and the processes that run Google FeedFetcher so this number is more accurate in the future.  This post will be updated when that is running in production.
URL: http://feedburnerstatus.blogspot.com/2010/05/google-feedfetcher-subscriber-counts.html

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

[G] Google Maps API Premier: Directions for the rest of us

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Maps API Premier: Directions for the rest of us

Businesses rely on Google’s accurate routing engine to bring customers from their homes to company stores, from company headquarters to customer sites, and more. This is important on any platform, including mobile devices, and within increasingly-complex uses of map data.

But sometimes, technology has gotten in the way of the right user experience. No more. With today’s announcement, Google is delivering the most requested Maps API feature: a Directions web service. This new addition lets you couple the Static Maps API with the Directions API, letting users both visualize and get route directions through a simple HTTP interface.

Driving, walking, and biking directions are all included so regardless of your mode of transport, Google Maps API Premier has you covered!

Look for another blog post tomorrow with more exciting launches at Google I/O. Click here to learn more about using Maps API Premier.

Posted by Daniel Chu, Product Manager, Google Enterprise Maps/Earth
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/05/google-maps-api-premier-directions-for.html

[G] CloudCourse: An Enterprise Application in the Cloud

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Google Open Source Blog: CloudCourse: An Enterprise Application in the Cloud

At Google we have experts on everything from Python to penguins. However, connecting our expert teachers to eager students around the globe can be a complicated business. To that end, we are excited to release our new internal learning platform, CloudCourse under an open source license. Built entirely on App Engine, CloudCourse allows anyone to create and track learning activities. CloudCourse also offers calendaring, waitlist management and approval features.

CloudCourse is fully integrated with Google Calendar and can be further customized for your organization with the following service provider interfaces (replaceable components):
  • Sync service - to sync CloudCourse data with your internal systems
  • Room info service - to schedule classes in your locations
  • User info service - to look up user profile (employee title, picture, etc)
CloudCourse has been developed in Python, using the Django web application framework and the Closure Javascript library. Deploying CloudCourse on App Engine is a breeze, and should take less than 5 minutes.

We developed CloudCourse to:

• provide a course scheduling system fully integrated with Google services
• demonstrate what it takes to built an application using App Engine

By releasing CloudCourse as open source we hope to help developers who want to port or build enterprise applications on App Engine. Digging into the source code, you will find many examples of how we addressed challenges like long running processes, locking, synchronizing with external systems, high performance transactional workflows, and more.
All the techniques that we used can easily be applied to other applications.

CloudCourse is available for download now. If you would like to discuss the project or if you have any questions, please join the CloudCourse mailing list. Happy hacking!

By Irwin Boutboul & Phaneendhar Vemuru, Software Engineering Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/05/cloudcourse-enterprise-application-in.html

[G] Introducing the Google Buzz API

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Social Web Blog: Introducing the Google Buzz API

(Cross-posted with the Official Google Code Blog)

With Google I/O 2010 finally upon us, what better time to introduce developers to the latest updates to the Google Buzz API?

As announced at the launch of Google Buzz, the Google Buzz API aligns itself with the ever-growing family of freely available and community-developed protocols, formats, and standards for sharing and consuming social content on the web, including ActivityStreams, Atom, AtomPub, JSON, OAuth, PubSubHubbub, MediaRSS, PortableContacts, and more.

The Google Buzz API, a member of the Google Code Labs, is very much a work in progress — we intend to continue to iterate out in the open as we go along — and we hope the features we are making available today will help inspire developers and provide a solid foundation for new applications to be built.

We are already excited to see developers who were helping us test the API deliver terrific applications. Today you'll start seeing the following sites and services integrate with Google Buzz:


End-users opt into using applications built with the Google Buzz API via an interstitial confirmation screen outlining the application's requested access scope (read-only, read/write, etc.). They can see which apps have access to their data and can disable access at any time from the Google Accounts page, the Google Dashboard, the “Buzz" tab in Gmail Settings, or from the app itself.

This initial iteration of the API includes support for fetching public per-user activity feeds, fetching authorized and authenticated per-user activity feeds (both what the user creates, and what they see), searching over public updates (by keyword, by author, and by location), posting new updates (including text, html, images, and more), posting comments, liking updates, retrieving and updating profiles and social graphs, and more. The best way to get started is to dive right in and begin reading the Google Buzz API developer documentation.

There’s a lot more to come, and we expect to keep moving quickly from here. But none of this would be possible without the hard work of everyone participating in creating the protocols upon which Google Buzz is built, so we ask and encourage developers to get involved with the communities behind ActivityStreams, OAuth, and the countless others that we depend on.

And as with any young API, there will undoubtedly be bugs and issues and places where we’ve deviated from what the specifications say, or with what developers may expect. When you see something amiss, get confused by an approach we’ve taken, or just want to comment on our progress, we invite you to update the Buzz API issue tracker and please join the conversation on the developer forum.

With that, we’d like to welcome everyone to the first version of the Google Buzz API. We can’t wait to see what else we can build together.

By DeWitt Clinton, Google Developer Team
URL: http://googlesocialweb.blogspot.com/2010/05/introducing-google-buzz-api.html

[G] Announcing Autocompletions for Google Site Search

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Announcing Autocompletions for Google Site Search

One of our most popular feature requests has been to add autocompletion of queries to Google Site Search. In recent months, many top websites have begun to provide search suggestions as you type, an innovative feature users are coming to expect as part of a quality search experience. Today, we announced at Google I/O that you can now enable query autocompletions for your search engine.

Travelocity.com is one of the first Google Site Search customers to implement autocompletions on their website. By doing so, they have provided an easy way for Travelocity users to explore and discover new destinations by suggesting the most popular queries based on the first few letters the user inputs.


To turn this feature on, please check the "Enable autocompletions" option in the Basics tab of your search engine. It may take several hours to start seeing autocompletions once you enabled them in the control panel.

For more information about how to turn on autocompletions for your Google Site Search engine, see our autocompletions Help Page.

Autocompletion is compatible with other new Google Site Search features including themes and mobile search capabilities – which can significantly enhance your users’ mobile experience. As with all Google Site Search features, every new development is rolled out free of charge for all customers.

You can learn more about these and other exciting new features by joining an upcoming webinar:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010
10:00 a.m. PDT, 1:00 p.m. EDT, GMT 06:00

Posted by Clay Maffett, Enterprise Search team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/05/announcing-autocompletions-for-google.html