Friday, May 28, 2010

[G] School’s out, but the learning never stops

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Google Analytics Blog: School’s out, but the learning never stops

Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer Seminars for Success are a great way to get in-depth, hands-on training on two products that can help you maximize your marketing and website ROI. Seminars are available coast-to-coast all summer long. Starting in June, we have three sets of seminars being held in New York, Phoenix, and Chicago.

Here’s a look at what you’ll learn by attending a seminar with one of our Google Analytics Certified Partners (GACP).

Google Analytics – Introduction & User Training
Whether you’re just getting started or have been involved with Google Analytics for a while, if you’re looking for a thorough training in all of the reports Google Analytics provides, this is the course for you. First, you’ll get a detailed background in the web analytics industry. Then you’ll go through a detailed examination of all of the reports Google Analytics has to offer, with real-world examples of how they can help you. You’ll also learn how to segment your site’s users, spot key trends, and of course, how to take your web analytics data and use it to your advantage.

Google Analytics – Advanced Analysis Techniques
If you’re already familiar with the basics of Google Analytics and are looking to become more sophisticated in your analysis, this course will show you how to do just that. Whether your business goals are user engagement, lead generation, or e-commerce, you’ll benefit from learning how to use the most advanced analysis features of Google Analytics, like Intelligence and Advanced Segmentation.

Google Analytics – Implementation & Advanced Topics
For those who are comfortable with Google Analytics but want to dive deeper into the technical side of GA, this advanced technical implementation course is for you. This training is tailored a bit more toward the tech-savvy, but is extremely valuable to anyone who wants to learn what Google Analytics can do when taken beyond the “plain vanilla” implementation. You’ll go “under the hood” of Google Analytics and learn about filter configuration and setup, opportunities for advanced, custom implementations, as well as the newest beta features that are rolling out.

Website Optimizer
Once you’ve nailed down your Google Analytics implementation, you’re ready to start taking action on your data by testing your website. This interactive training in Google Website Optimizer teaches you how to test your site to improve your users’ experience and your business’s bottom line. Attendees will receive a strong background in landing page testing and testing best practices, many real-world case studies, and an optional, hands-on lab experience in starting both A/B and Multivariate tests.

New York, NY: Register Here
June 8: Google Analytics Introduction & User Training
June 9: Google Analytics Advanced Analysis Techniques
June 10: Google Analytics Implementation & Advanced Topics

Phoenix, AZ: Register Here
June 9: Google Analytics Introduction & User Training
June 10: Google Analytics Implementation & Advanced Topics
June 11: Google Website Optimizer

Chicago, IL: Register Here
June 23: Google Analytics Introduction & User Training
June 24: Google Analytics Implementation & Advanced Topics
June 25: Google Website Optimizer

If these dates don’t work for you, see the complete Seminars for Success schedule.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Google Analytics Team

[G] Sharing the stories of America’s small businesses

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Sharing the stories of America’s small businesses

Editor's note: This is our fifth and final post in a series celebrating National Small Business Week. Previous posts highlighted small businesses (Revenue Spark, Smart Furniture, and Free Range Studios) that have adopted Google Apps, and tips for using Gmail at work. Today, we’ll hear the story of one more entrepreneur and discuss how you can share your own.

Among many things, Vinny Lingham is an entrepreneur, CEO, search engine marketer, and recipient of numerous business related awards including the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader (2009), the Top ICT Young Entrepreneur in Africa (2006), and the Endeavor High Impact Entrepreneur (2006). Currently, Vinny is serving as the CEO of – a San Francisco based startup company that offers easy-to-use, browser based website creation software for over 3 million users worldwide.

Yola became a Google Apps customer as soon as it was formed more than 3 years ago. Today, with a distributed workforce of over 60 people globally, Yola is using Google Apps for everything from email to document collaboration resulting in tremendous savings and increased productivity.

According to Vinny, “The founders of Yola knew the company’s potential and wanted a scalable and cost effective solution that could grow with their business. Google Apps made it easy to be up and running within minutes and was a fast and low-maintenance solution that fit the needs of a growing company.”

Vinny and his team at Yola are among millions of entrepreneurs and small businesses that are having a positive impact on our economy; this week we celebrated their contributions. In addition to Vinny, we selected a few other organizations, shared their stories, and showcased ways that they take advantage of Google Apps. Now it’s your turn.

Learn how to share your story by visiting the AdWords Blog where you can find tools that teams at Google created to help small businesses succeed. Included are steps on how to create a “Search Story” that walks through your journey as a small business, then share it with us and the world. We’re looking forward to seeing what you create!

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, the Google Apps team

[G] Code for My Tracks is now yours

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Google LatLong: Code for My Tracks is now yours

A year ago, we released My Tracks, an Android app that lets you track activities like hikes, bike rides and trail runs using your mobile device. Now we’re announcing the release of the My Tracks source code into the wild.

What this means to users: My Tracks will become even better. The collective intelligence of the development community will create a more powerful, more intuitive, more useful, and more robust My Tracks. In addition, complementary apps will be written (For details on third party app development, see the wiki documentation). Applications for fitness activities, geocaching—heck, even dog tracking—are not hard to imagine.

Open-sourcing My Tracks also means that bug tracking is now public. Go to the "Issues" section of the My Tracks Code site to see what is being actively developed and to file your own feature requests/bugs.

What this means to developers: You can now contribute code directly to My Tracks to improve it, fix a bug, or add a feature. We don't promise that all changes will become part of the My Tracks codebase, but cleanly coded, useful contributions have a darn good chance. If you’re feeling adventurous (and slightly masochistic), file and fix bugs for unreleased--and probably buggy--versions of My Tracks, to improve overall quality and stability. Note that for all contributions, we have a code review process—see the wiki for more information.

How non-coders can contribute: Translate My Tracks! If you'd like to translate My Tracks to your language, or fix a translation that is incorrect, please let us know at and we'll explain how to do it. We'll soon post documents explaining the process, on the My Tracks wiki.

All development-related discussions will occur on the list (but please don't post coding-related questions there).

This is an exciting new track for My Tracks. Jump in!

Posted by Sandor Dornbush and Rodrigo Damazio, Software Engineers for My Tracks

[G] Happy 1st birthday, Google Wave!

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Official Google Blog: Happy 1st birthday, Google Wave!

Last week, we opened sign-ups for Google Wave to everyone as part of Google Labs and made it available for all Google Apps domains. Here is the quick (seven minute) update on the state of the product from this year's Google IO conference:

Today, it's been a full year since the Wave team first got on stage at the Moscone Center and demoed a new vision for communication and collaboration to a crowd of developers. In a guest article on the Huffington Post last week, Lars described innovation and working on Google Wave as a rollercoaster—and this year has certainly been a fascinating ride. For the past year, I've had the pleasure and the challenge of explaining why this new technology is useful. Unlike some other products that I have also been lucky enough to work on, Wave is not a more advanced approach to a known application like webmail or the browser. It's actually a new category, which can be kind of hard to wrap your head around.

I work in Wave every day, and we have identified a number of clear use cases for getting things done in groups at businesses and at schools. But people also ask me how I use Wave outside of work to understand how they should start using it themselves. As it turns out, the ways I use Wave aren't revolutionary or groundbreaking—I communicate about everyday things, but it is these incredibly ordinary and important communications that are transformed in unexpected ways when you use Wave.

I wave with my family—with my mom, who is across the country, and with my sister who is a graduate student. We're all on different schedules and very rarely all online at the same time. In one wave, we decided what to wear for a friend's wedding—adding suggestions for each other with links and pictures, updating the wave as we had side conversations and made decisions. My mom and I chatted about my dress choice when we were both online, and then my sister was easily able to catch up later, adding her ideas. It kept all three of us up to speed in one place, rather than having several phone conversations, emails and chats. Sharing these small personal projects in a wave removes the little bits of friction to make the discussions more dynamic and productive.

From talking to other people who use Google Wave, I know I'm not alone. I've been struck by the really personal nature of communicating and working together in Wave, and the emotional response people have to their first uniquely wavey experience, what we call the "Wave a-ha moment." For many people it's the live typing that does it; for others it's the first time they create an in-line reply, embed a YouTube video or edit someone else's text.

You really do have to try it to believe it, though—so if you checked out Google Wave six months ago and found yourself at a bit of a loss, take another look. The product is much faster and more stable and we have templates and tutorials to help you get started. Next time you find yourself taking notes while you are on the phone, do it in a wave and add your colleagues, or pull a couple friends or family members onto a wave for a small project... like going to the movies.

So head to and sign in. You can get more updates on our blog and even share your stories (ordinary or otherwise) with

Wave on!

Posted by Anna-Christina Douglas, Product Marketing, Google Wave

[G] Formula highlighting in spreadsheets

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Official Google Docs Blog: Formula highlighting in spreadsheets

In the new version of Google Spreadsheets, cell references and the corresponding cells are now highlighted to make it easier to keep track of your formulas.

Please note that this new feature is available in Chrome 4.0+, Safari 3.0+, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0+. We plan to add support for Mozilla Firefox 3.7+ soon.

Let us know if you have more feedback and ideas for improvements.

Posted by: Ben McCann, Software Engineer

Thursday, May 27, 2010

[G] Styled Maps and wrapping up I/O in style

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Google LatLong: Styled Maps and wrapping up I/O in style

Thanks to everyone who made Google I/O 2010 a success! We always look forward to this event each year as a chance to speak one-to-one with developers from the Maps and Earth API ecosystem and this year did not disappoint.

Last week at Googe I/O, we made several announcements about updates to our tools for geo developers. I wanted to give you a closer look at one of those updates -- Styled Maps for the Google Maps API v3. You now have more control over how to style the base map within Google Maps API implementations. Styled Maps gives you the ability to change and customize various features of the base map, like changing the color of the water or removing roads altogether. This new styling feature gives you full control to display and customize the parts of the map that lets your data on the map shine. Take a look at this Styled Map Wizard and make the map your own!

If you want to watch this announcement or any of our other sessions, stay tuned to the Google I/O Geo session pages where we’ll soon be posting full video from each talk, including complete presentation materials. We’ve also put together a photo album to recap some of the highlights from our time at I/O:

A big thank you to these 16 companies who met with developers to share their experience in implementing Google Maps and Earth APIs in interesting ways!

Posted by Mike Pegg, Product Marketing Manager

[G] New Google Analytics Book Released

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Google Analytics Blog: New Google Analytics Book Released

A new book by a stellar team is now available for you to take your usage of Google Analytics to the next level. It's called Performance Marketing with Google Analytics, by Sebastian Tonkin (former Googler), Caleb Whitmore of Analytics Pros and Justin Cutroni from WebShare (both Google Analytics Certified Partners). Here's what Sebastian told us about it when we asked him how this book was different from others:

Sebastian: "Google Analytics can save you money! Use it to figure out what works with your online marketing, invest in that, and throw out the rest. This is the focus of our new title on Google Analytics geared toward business people and online marketers with an eye toward the bottom line."

Avinash Kaushik pitched in with a Forward, writing: "The key to real and magnificent success is not the ability to purchase a tool... but rather the ability to ensure a clean implementation and bring to it a mental model that will rock this world. This book is focused, page after detailed page, on doing just that."

See how real-world businesses use Google Analytics to drive online strategy and improve ROI on a daily basis. Follow step-by-step examples and learn how to:
  • Track and optimize social media, SEO, email and offline campaigns.
  • Maximize ROI on your marketing spend.
  • Build a strong team to support Google Analytics inside your organization.
  • Get more from your Adwords campaign.
  • Use the web to understand what customers want.
  • Create customer loyalty on your site.
  • Use feedback from users to guide online strategy.
  • Win share from competitors.
Caleb went further into depth on the contents: "This book tackles the delicate challenge of teaching how to think as well as what to do.
  • The first section focuses on the philosophical, managerial and organizational aspects of succesfully utilizing web analytics technologies to drive greater marketing performance.
  • The second section covers the end-to-end of how to plan, install, configure, and use Google Analytics to its fullest capability.
  • The final sections then covers application of the concepts and capabilities from the first sections to specific marketing disciplines - site optimization, display and sponsored search ads, organic search engine optimization, offline, email marketing, and more.
The end result: learn how to think, get guidance on setting up Google Analytics correctly, and then discover practical steps to drive higher performance from all aspects of marketing."

Thanks guys, and great work. Grab a copy on Amazon or find out more on the book's companion site,

Posted by Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team

[G] Free Range Studios: Helping progressive organizations, one doc at a time

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Free Range Studios: Helping progressive organizations, one doc at a time

Editor's Note:This is the fourth post in a series celebrating National Small Business Week. Previous posts highlighted small businesses (Revenue Spark and Smart Furniture) that have adopted Google Apps and tips for using Gmail at work. Today, we’ll look at how Google Docs is helping a small business manage its extensive project portfolio and internal operations.

Free Range Studios is a creative agency that has helped hundreds of progressive organizations communicate their messages around social change. If you ask the team, divided between offices in Washington, D.C. and Berkeley, California, Free Range is “Creativity with a Conscience.” This applies to the types of stories they tell and how they tell them, whether it’s through an eco-friendly print ad or a web movie.

At any given time, Free Range is managing projects for multiple non-profits and socially responsible companies. For a small business to create at this scale, collaboration is key. Google Docs is helping Free Range be more nimble, work more efficiently, and remove location barriers.

Free Range switched to Google Apps in 2007; at about the same time, they began to change their approach to staffing projects from office-based to project-based. A single project can now have contributors from either office, in addition to freelancers or clients who can potentially be located anywhere. With real-time collaboration in Google Docs, all these groups can contribute to an idea as though they’re working side-by-side.

Google Docs is also improving office efficiency. Pete Hamm, Operations Manager, decided to use online forms, created in Google Spreadsheets, to manage tedious tasks that would otherwise take valuable time away from projects. For example, when submitting vacation requests, employees can now fill out a form that automatically populates into a spreadsheet where Pete can take action immediately.

According to Pete Hamm, “Google Docs makes spreadsheets, presentations, and word processing an afterthought - which is what good business tools are supposed to do. Just like email and smart phones, Google Docs facilitates collaboration, instead of hindering it, allowing us to focus on our mission.”

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, the Google Apps team

[G] Inside WebM Technology: The VP8 Alternate Reference Frame

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: Inside WebM Technology: The VP8 Alternate Reference Frame

Since the WebM project was open-sourced just a week ago, we've seen blog posts and articles about its capabilities. As an open project, we welcome technical scrutiny and contributions that improve the codec. We know from our extensive testing that VP8 can match or exceed other leading codecs, but to get the best results, it helps to understand more about how the codec works. In this first of a series of blog posts, I'll explain some of the fundamental techniques in VP8, along with examples and metrics.

The alternative reference frame is one of the most exciting quality innovations in VP8. Let’s delve into how VP8 uses these frames to improve prediction and thereby overall video quality.

Alternate Reference Frames in VP8

VP8 uses three types of reference frames for inter prediction: the last frame, a "golden" frame (one frame worth of decompressed data from the arbitrarily distant past) and an alternate reference frame. Overall, this design has a much smaller memory footprint on both encoders and decoders than designs with many more reference frames. In video compression, it is very rare for more than three reference frames to provide significant quality benefit, but the undesirable increase in memory footprint from the extra frames is substantial.

Unlike other types of reference frames used in video compression, which are displayed to the user by the decoder, the VP8 alternate reference frame is decoded normally but is never shown to the user. It is used solely as a reference to improve inter prediction for other coded frames. Because alternate reference frames are not displayed, VP8 encoders can use them to transmit any data that are helpful to compression. For example, a VP8 encoder can construct one alternate reference frame from multiple source frames, or it can create an alternate reference frame using different macroblocks from hundreds of different video frames.

The current VP8 implementation enables two different types of usage for the alternate reference frame: noise-reduced prediction and past/future directional prediction.

Noise-Reduced Prediction

The alternate reference frame is transmitted and decoded similar to other frames, hence its usage does not add extra computation in decoding. The VP8 encoder however is free to use more sophisticated processing to create them in off-line encoding. One application of the alternate reference frame is for noise-reduced prediction. In this application, the VP8 encoder uses multiple input source frames to construct one reference frame through temporal or spatial noise filtering. This "noise-free" alternate reference frame is then used to improve prediction for encoding subsequent frames.

You can make use of this feature by setting ARNR parameters in VP8 encoding, where ARNR stands for "Alternate Reference Noise Reduction." A sample two-pass encoding setting with the parameters:

--arnr-maxframes=5 --arnr-strength=3

enables the encoder to use "5" consecutive input source frames to produce one alternate reference frame using a filtering strength of "3". Here is an example showing the quality benefit of using this experimental "ARNR" feature on the standard test clip "Hall Monitor." (Each line on the graph represents the quality of an encoded stream on a given clip at multiple datarates. The higher points on the Y axis (PSNR) indicates the stream with the better quality.)

The only difference between the two curves in the graph is that VP8_ARNR was produced by encodings with ARNR parameters and VP8_NO_ARNR was not. As we can see from the graph, noise reduced prediction is very helpful to compression quality when encoding noisy sources. We've just started to explore this idea but have already seen strong improvements on noisy input clips similar to this "Hall Monitor." We feel there's a lot more we can do in this area.

Improving Prediction without B Frames

The lack of B frames in VP8 has sparked some discussion about its ability to achieve competitive compression efficiency. VP8 encoders, however, can make intelligent use of the golden reference and the alternate reference frames to compensate for this. The VP8 encoder can choose to transmit an alternate reference frame similar to a "future" frame, and encoding of subsequent frames can make use of information from the past (last frame and golden frame) and from the future (alternate reference frame). Effectively, this helps the encoder to achieve results similar to bidirectional (B frame) prediction without requiring frame reordering in the decoder. Running in two-pass encoding mode, compression can be improved in the VP8 encoder by using encoding parameters that enable lagged encoding and automatic placement of alternate reference frames:

--auto-alt-ref=1 --lag-in-frames=16

Used this way, the VP8 encoder can achieve improved prediction and compression efficiency without increasing the decoder’s complexity:

In the video compression community, "Mobile and calendar" is known as a clip that benefits significantly from the usage of B frames. The graph above illustrates that the use of alternate reference frame benefits VP8 significantly without using B frames.

Keep an eye on this blog for more posts about VP8 encoding. You can find more information on above encoding parameters or other detailed instructions to use with our VP8 encoders on our site, or join our discussion list.

Yaowu Xu, Ph.D. is a codec engineer at Google.


[G] We’ve officially acquired AdMob!

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Official Google Blog: We’ve officially acquired AdMob!

Last Friday, we said that mobile advertising was moving fast. So are we! Today, we closed our acquisition of AdMob. Omar Hamoui has built a great team and great products at AdMob and we’re thrilled to officially welcome them to Google.

We’ll now begin the process of bringing our products and teams together in the best way, and building new products and features together. We’re working to make this integration happen as fast and as seamlessly as possible. We’ll actively keep our clients up-to-date as we bring our businesses together — stay tuned!

It’s clear that mobile advertising is becoming a much larger part of our clients’ and partners’ strategies and with this acquisition, it’s now a central part of our own business. In continuing to invest in this highly competitive area, we’ll be bringing together our technology, resources and expertise in search advertising with AdMob’s innovative solutions for advertising on mobile websites and in mobile applications.

Mobile search is central

One of the key ways that people find and access information on their mobile devices, just like on the desktop, is through search. As smart phones have proliferated, we’ve seen dramatic increases in mobile search volume. Over the past two years, Google's mobile search volumes have grown more than fivefold, at an accelerated pace. In the first three months of 2010, people with smartphones with “full” WebKit browsers (such as the iPhones, Android devices and Palm Pre) searched 62 percent more than they did in the previous three months.

Increasingly, people aren’t just typing search queries into their mobile devices. They speak them, they take photos of them and they even translate them from different languages.

In addition to traditional search ads on mobile devices, we’ve worked to develop entirely new search ad formats. “Click-to-call” search ads, for example, have been really popular. They enable advertisers to include a local business or national phone number directly in their ad text that you can click to reach the business directly via phone. This is a really great way for you to easily get information from a relevant business (say, a local restaurant), and a highly effective way for advertisers to connect with interested customers.

With many more advances to come, search advertising will remain the central way that many businesses connect with consumers on mobile devices.

Mobile websites and apps

In addition to search, another key way that people access information is through mobile websites (accessed through a browser) and mobile apps (available through Apple’s App Store, the Android Marketplace and more).

Mobile display and text ads make it easy for publishers and developers to make money from their mobile websites and apps, and enable advertisers to extend the reach of their campaigns to relevant mobile content. In this area, AdMob has been a real pioneer and has innovated at a tremendous pace, building a successful business and working with thousands of advertisers, publishers and developers.

AdMob was one of the first companies to serve ads inside mobile applications on the Android and iPhone platforms. They’ve developed a host of engaging and creative ad units for Android and iPhone apps—for example, interactive video ad units and expandable rich media ads. Google has also been developing new features for in-app ads. For example, last week, we announced that we’ll be making “click-to-call” ad formats available to developers who run AdSense in their mobile apps. With Google and AdMob starting to work together, there’s lots more innovation to come in this area.

The future

It’s clear that mobile advertising is growing incredibly fast with lots of businesses innovating at great speed. Every day, more marketers are looking to take advantage of the mobile-specific capabilities, extended reach, great returns and value that mobile advertising provides. Advertisers are now starting to see mobile as an essential part of their overall campaigns, not just a silo-ed experiment on the side.

We want to unleash agencies’ and advertisers’ creativity on all mobile devices and deliver them better results from their campaigns, drive better returns and more choice for publishers and developers, and help people get better ads and more free mobile content.

We believe that mobile advertising can play a significant role in every single marketing campaign. We’re passionate about the unlimited possibilities in this space. Today, with AdMob, our work to make them a reality begins.

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Vice President of Product Management

Stock Repurchase
As previously announced, Google intends to repurchase in the open market a number of shares equal to the number of shares issued in the transaction and issuable upon exercise of outstanding options to purchase common stock issued by AdMob. The repurchase program is expected to commence shortly after the completion of the acquisition. The repurchases will be funded from available working capital.

[G] Google Buzz for mobile now available on more devices

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Buzz for mobile now available on more devices

Back in February, we launched Google Buzz for mobile, a tool to start interesting conversations when you are out and about. One of the most popular ways to access Google Buzz for mobile is through the web application (by going to in your phone’s browser). When Buzz launched, it was only available for devices running Android 2.0+ and iPhone. Not any more! Today we’re a releasing an XHTML version of the Buzz website which can be accessed from many other mobile devices, including those running Android pre-2.0, Blackberry, Nokia S60, and Windows Mobile.

Just type in your browser. Then when you log in using your password, you will be able to view the stream of buzz posts, post publicly or privately, comment or like a post, and more. On the BlackBerry platform, you can also enable location through your browser settings. This will allow you to get to the Nearby view, where you’ll find geo-tagged posts near you. In addition, you can tag your post with your location. Please note that location features might not work on some devices.

Android pre-2.0 devices can now run the same web app as newer versions of Android. You can also switch to the XHTML version if needed, and we will remember your preference.

We have worked hard to make Google Buzz for mobile accessible on more devices in more locations. It is now available in 37 languages through and we’re excited to bring it to mobile devices with browsers that don’t support the HTML5 capabilities the webapp uses. We hope that you enjoy using Google Buzz on the go!

Posted by Alex Kennberg, Software Engineer, Google Mobile

[G] A Bridge to Open Source

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Google Open Source Blog: A Bridge to Open Source

Next week, several members of the Open Source Programs office will be in Portland, OR for the second Open Source Bridge conference which takes place over four days, June 1-4.

Carol Smith will be giving a talk called Foundations, Non-profits, and Open Source. Carol explains, “Figuring out whether to become a non-profit or a foundation can be a confusing topic for open source projects, and I hope to illuminate it based on my experience sitting on the Board of Directors for the Metabrainz Foundation.” Carol’s talk is on Wednesday, June 2 at 4:45 PM.

We’ll also be having a Google Summer of Code™ BoF (”Birds of a Feather” session) on Thursday, June 3, from 7 - 8:30 PM. Last year’s BoF had a great turnout and we loved meeting students, mentors and admins from the area. If you are a current, former, or potential Google Summer of Code participant, we’d love to see you and talk about the program!

Open Source Bridge is a volunteer-run conference mostly organized by a cohort of the very active open source community in the general Portland area. This year’s conference has 5 tracks of sessions plus BoFs and a hacker lounge. You can check out the schedule for an overview of all the session topics or learn more about the conference.

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

[G] "Reshare" in Google Buzz

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Official Gmail Blog: "Reshare" in Google Buzz

Posted by Sam Goto, Software Engineer

The other day I posted this video to the version of Buzz we use inside of Google. A few people commented on it, 13 liked it, and 68 of my coworkers thought it was interesting enough that they wanted to share it with their own followers. Collectively, thousands of people watched it, many of whom were many degrees away from me.

For the last couple weeks we've been testing reshare — and today we’re excited to roll it out to everyone. If you don't see the "Reshare" link quite yet, hang tight. It should be on for everyone by the end of the day.

How reshare works

When you find an interesting buzz post you want to reshare, instead of copying and pasting it (and maybe attributing the original poster with an @reply along the way), you can now reshare posts with two clicks.

First, click “Reshare”:

Then type up anything you want to add and click “Post”:

Your post will include a link to the original post:

Note that this only works for public posts; private posts won't have the reshare link since the original poster intended to limit the audience of their post.

A little more background

Reshare has been one of our top user requests, so we hope we've made a number of you happy. We realize that just as many will likely wonder why we decided to implement it the way we did. So, here's a bit more background for those who are curious:
  • First, back to those two clicks: one click vs. two click reshare was a hard choice (I know, it doesn't sound so hard, but we spent a lot of time on this!). Ultimately, we chose to go with two clicks because we want people to be able to reshare publicly or privately and also encourage resharers to add their own new content to the post.
  • If you follow a bunch of people who all reshare the same thing, the last thing you want is for that same post to appear over and over again. When this happens, similar posts get collapsed, so you should only see each thing once.
  • You'll notice that resharing creates a new post, effectively forking the conversation. To fork or not fork was a decision we debated for a while. Ultimately, we think forked conversations help create more varied, intimate discussions around a single item. We realize people may want a non-forking version too, so we're thinking about how to do that as well.
  • When there is a chain of reshares, the names of all of the people who publicly reshare the post appear on the original item, even if they're not directly connected to the original author. If you share something that ends up getting passed around by lots of other people, it's pretty cool to see that.
  • If you "like" a reshare, you don't automatically also "like" the original post. Imagine what would happen if I reshare a very positive movie review and write "What a joke! This movie was terrible!" Someone who likes my post probably doesn't want their "like" showing on the original post praising the film, too.

Overall, we’ve made a lot of progress since my original ASCII mockups...

...and after a lot of debate, we even settled on what to call it...

...but reshare is still very much a work in progress. We wanted to launch and iterate so be sure to let us know what you think in the forum or on Buzz.

[G] Tips & Tricks: Comments in Google documents

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Official Google Docs Blog: Tips & Tricks: Comments in Google documents

In April, we launched a new version of Google documents. One feature that makes collaboration easier is improved commenting.

Connecting text to note
Comments let you make suggestions about the text in your document without modifying the document itself. When you click on a comment, the text it’s referring to is highlighted. And vice-versa -- when you select highlighted text in your document, we identify the associated comment.

Additionally, when you move highlighted text around within the document, the comments will follow the text and re-arrange to keep your annotations in order.

Comment on the sidelines
Comments live outside the margins of the editing space -- but are linked to text in the document. This means you can leave notes for others without cluttering the document.

We’ve also made it easier to hide comments in your document. You can show or hide all comments by checking or un-checking the Show comments menu item.

A detailed view of the comment box
Finally, we think the comment feature will give you flexibility to work with your notes in an intuitive and user-friendly way.

You can delete a comment by pressing the trash can icon above a comment. Or, you can respond to a comment by pressing the reply arrow, and it will show up just below the comment you’re responding to. You can hide a comment by marking the “X” button at the top of the comment.

Collaboration at the next level
The new version of Google documents is a built around collaboration, allowing you to work in real-time and to see what others are typing character by character. The new comment features makes it much easier to keep track of your ideas and notes while you work closely with others.

To try out improved commenting and other features, you’ll need to take the new preview version of Google documents for a test drive. You can opt-in by visiting the Editing tab in the Google Docs settings.

Posted by: Edgard Lindner, Software Engineer

[G] Google Moderator on YouTube enables real-time feedback from your audience

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YouTube Blog: Google Moderator on YouTube enables real-time feedback from your audience

YouTube is about starting a conversation. Every day, hundreds of millions of videos spark dialogues on everything from the future of the African continent, to what should be done about the oil spill, to the best slam dunk of all time.  But until now, it’s been difficult to harness those free-flowing discussions. 

That’s why, starting today, we’ve integrated the ability to use Google Moderator into every single YouTube channel. Moderator is a versatile, social platform that allows you to solicit ideas or questions on any topic, and have the community vote the best ones up to the top in real-time. We previously used Google Moderator as part of our interviews with President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Here’s how it works: You set the parameters for the dialogue, including the topic, the type of submissions, and the length of the conversation. Watch as submissions get voted up or down by your audience, and then respond to the top-voted submissions by posting a video on your channel. The platform operates in real-time, and you can remove any content that you or your audience flag as inappropriate. You can also embed the platform on your own website or blog.

To get things started, we’ve invited 12 YouTube users, including Michael Buckley, the New York Times, Stanford and Howcast, to try out the feature and show us how it’s done:

Foodwishes wants you to submit and vote on your favorite recipes, and Chef John will make the top-rated dish and name it after the creator:

GreenForAll is asking for your ideas for how to help clean-up the Gulf Coast oil spill:

HotforWords is looking for your best examples of redundant acronyms: 

HouseholdHacker welcomes your questions in his series “Ask Household Hacker”:

HowtheWorldWorks invites you to make the case for why the YouTube community should listen to you when you vlog: 

Howcast wants your ideas for their next “how-to” video: 

Kina Grannis is looking for a poet to help write the lyrics for her next song: 

Michael Buckley wants to hear about your problems in love and life, because he thinks he can help:

Mystery Guitar Man is taking your ideas for what crazy instrument he should use in his next video:

Nick Kristof of the New York Times is open to your questions about his travels around the globe, and why a man like him so often writes about women’s rights issues: 

Stanford is offering up renowned cardiologist Dr. Euan Ashley to answer your questions about heart disease and other genetic-related disorders:

The Team Flight Brothers are looking for your nominations for the best (non-NBA) dunk ever: 

The Will of DC is turning over his entire “Winners and Losers” show to you this month - who do you think are YouTube’s biggest winners and losers? 

Have an idea for how you might use Moderator on your channel?  You can get started by going to your channel page and clicking on the "Modules" tab in the "Edit Channel" menu. 

For more details on how to set up your Moderator series, visit  And please note that in order to participate in a Moderator series, you'll need to be logged into a Google account that is linked to a YouTube account.

By Olivia Ma, YouTube News Manager, and Ginny Hunt, Product Manager, Moderator, recently watched “Cowrite with Kina - Part 1.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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

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

Over the past year, we've focused on building new solutions on the Google Content Network for campaigns focused on branding. Last year we introduced frequency capping to help you manage how often your Content Network campaigns reach the right people. We then launched an “above the fold” filter to allow you to show ads only in places that appear on potential customers’ screens when the page loads. We also developed innovative tools to measure the impact of brand campaigns.

Today, in response to feedback from many of you who run branding campaigns, we're announcing a new filter that allows you to show your ads only on AdSense sites among the 1000 largest on the web, as defined by DoubleClick Ad Planner. This new feature will ensure that your ads reach a large number of users, but only on well-known sites best suited for branding goals.

To activate the new filter, select ‘non Ad Planner 1000’ within the ‘category filters’ section of your AdWords account. Keep in mind that not all sites in the Ad Planner 1000 are in the Google Content Network and that your ads will only show on those sites that are.

It's important to note that the Ad Planner 1000 does not take performance statistics into account, and that by enabling this filter, you may be excluding many sites that are relevant to your advertised products. Additionally, with this or any of our other brand filters enabled, your campaign will run on fewer sites, so you may need to raise your bids if you’d like to maintain your impression levels. We recommend experimenting to determine which feature or combination of features best meets your goals.

We hope this new feature gives you greater control and assurance over where your ads appear and makes the Google Content Network an even more powerful environment for effective branding campaigns.

Posted by Katrina Kurnit, Inside AdWords crew

[G] New Ad Planner features: the Ad Planner 1,000 and greater integration with AdWords

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Inside AdWords: New Ad Planner features: the Ad Planner 1,000 and greater integration with AdWords

Today, we’re introducing several new features that integrate DoubleClick Ad Planner data with other Google advertising solutions. These features help streamline the process of planning and building online ad campaigns and give you useful data for making more informed media planning decisions.

Ad Planner Top 1,000 Most Visited Sites
One of these new key releases is the Ad Planner 1000 list, a list of the top 1,000 global sites on the web by unique users as measured by Ad Planner. Published monthly, this list details the number of unique visitors, number of page views, and reach for each of the sites included. It’s a great way to quickly reference the most popular sites on the web.

The Ad Planner 1000 list is another step in the evolution of Ad Planner in providing reliable traffic and audience information for websites. In conjunction with it, the Google Content Network just released an Ad Planner 1,000 targeting feature. We hope that the combination of these two features helps provide you with more actionable data to use in your display ad campaigns.

Exporting Google Content Network Placements to AdWords
We’ve heard from many of you that you’d like to be able to easily buy Google Content Network placements that you find through Ad Planner. With the newly launched Export to AdWords feature, you can now simply export Google Content Network placements from Ad Planner into AdWords. These exported placements will be set up as a new campaign or ad group within your AdWords account. If you’re running text ads or display ads on the Google Content Network, this is an easy way to build media plans of managed placements.

Creating Lists in Ad Planner
To help you create your own list of favorite sites to save and add to your media plans, we’ve also recently launched ‘Lists’ in Ad Planner. With ‘Lists’, you can store sites and placements in lists for future use in media plans. To get you started, we’ve made the Ad Planner 1,000 list available to all Ad Planner accounts as both an online reference and as a downloadable file.

Our goal with the AdPlanner 1000 and other recent updates is to offer you new tools that allow you to plan more efficiently, and more data so that you can make more informed advertising decisions.

Visit to check out the new features.

Posted by Rohit Kundaji, Software Engineer and Wayne Lin, Product Manager

[G] Web Analytics TV #9 with Avinash and Nick

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics TV #9 with Avinash and Nick

This is the 9th exciting episode of Web Analytics TV with Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski, where you ask questions about web analytics via the Google Analytics Google Moderator site and we answer them. We had lots of fun putting this episode and we hope you get a kick out of watching it. Here is the list of last week’s questions.

In this action-packed episode we discuss:
  • How to track each referral source overtime for visitors
  • How to share custom segments and reports with other people
  • Getting transaction data for only one referral source
  • Is there a place to share Google Analytics code snippets and regular expressions?
  • Cross domain tracking when users right-click and open in a new window
  • How you need to think about Page Speed and Google Analytics
  • Using the comparison report with two date ranges (and hypercube space)
  • Sending historical or futuristic data into Google Analytics
  • Why eCommerce reports do not match an eCommerce backend system
  • Tracking commas instead of decimals for revenue in eCommerce
  • Tracking pigViews (just watch the video :-)
  • Reporting on content consumption (like pageviews) by keywords
  • Setting the visible number of rows in reports
  • How to normalize keywords to replace underscore with spaces
  • Best practices on upgrading to async tracking code
  • Best practices to report on cities in a particular state

If you found this post helpful, we'd love to hear your comments. Or, please submit a question or vote for your favorite question in our public Google Moderator site and Avinash and I will answer the newest batch in a couple of weeks with another video.

Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics Team