Saturday, July 10, 2010

[G] World Cup search trends: the final countdown

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Official Google Blog: World Cup search trends: the final countdown

In the past two weeks of World Cup action, 16 teams have been narrowed down to just two—Spain and the Netherlands—who will face off in the World Cup final tomorrow. For both countries, there are high stakes: not only are the two sides contending for the title of best football team in the world, but this will be the first-ever Cup win for either team and Spain is in the finals for the first time. We took another look at the search data to see what people have been interested in during the round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals.

Some matches, of course, were more interesting to people than others—whether they were eagerly anticipated or just more nail-biting during play. Brazil, chosen as the champion in many an office pool, lost to the Netherlands in a quarterfinal upset. Perhaps it’s indicative of people’s disappointment in that match that Felipe Melo, who gave up an own goal and then was shown a red card in the 73rd minute with his country down 2-1, was more searched-for than Robinho, who made Brazil’s one goal in the match. Another favored South American team, Argentina, also lost in the quarterfinals, to Germany. It’s interesting to note that searches for that team’s two biggest names, Lionel Messi and coach Diego Maradona, have spiked in popularity with each match—and the player was usually more interesting to people than the coach. But over time—and after Messi’s skills failed to carry his team to the semis—Maradona overtook Messi in search volume. Clearly, his fate as Argentina coach in the future is more up for debate than Messi’s career (after all, the latter has a comfy year-round spot on FC Barcelona).

Controversy continued to be a major driver of search traffic. On June 27, Argentina’s first goal in their victorious match against Mexico, a Carlos Tévez header, was widely considered offsides (and therefore should have been disallowed). That same day, Germany beat England 4-1, although many say it should have been 4-2 thanks to a Frank Lampard goal that just barely made it into the net but wasn’t counted. Both of these calls brought the issue of instant replay to the forefront in an already controversial tournament.

Perhaps the most surprisingly exciting game was the quarterfinal match between Uruguay and Ghana. Ghana had several shots on goal in the last minutes of extra time, with the game tied 1-1. Uruguay’s Luis Suárez saved his team from a near-certain loss with a handball that earned him a red card (and increased search traffic). Uruguay went on to win in penalty kicks, and became the only South American country to make the semifinals. Searches for [penalty kick] were at their highest on the day of this game—they had also spiked on June 26, when USA’s Landon Donovan scored on a penalty kick against Ghana, and on June 29, the day of another quarterfinal match (between Japan and Paraguay) that also ended in penalty kicks.

Many fans, eager for semifinal predictions, turned to an unlikely source: a “psychic” octopus in a German zoo. Paul the octopus had successfully predicted the winner of each of his home country’s matches by selecting a tasty mussel from either side of a box marked by both teams’ flags. The day before Germany faced Spain in the semifinals, he chose the Spanish mussel—and searches for [octopus] skyrocketed. (Incidentally, he has picked Spain to win against the Netherlands on Sunday.) Searches were also high for Carles Puyol, the Spanish defender whose header won the match against Germany. Historically, he’s been one of the least searched-for Spaniards—and he continues to be behind stars like David Villa and Fernando Torres—but search volume for him in July is already more than five times as high as in June.

Villa still dominates search traffic amongst the Spanish players, and no wonder: he’s scored five of his team’s seven goals in the tournament and is a contender for the Golden Boot. Searches for Dutch players are a bit more distributed than for Spanish ones. Arjen Robben, who started the tournament in the spotlight in part due to injury, still has the most search volume overall, but Wesley Sneijder has caught up as the tournament’s gone on. Searches for him were higher than for Robben on June 19, when he scored his first goal in the tournament against Japan, and on July 2, when he scored both goals in the match against favored Brazil. Now Sneijder, like Villa, has five goals in six matches and is a front-runner for the Golden Boot. Clearly he’s been a surprise factor in this World Cup for many, including searchers!

For me—well, I’ve got cava in my fridge and my fingers are crossed for Paul’s prediction to come true. But whomever you’re rooting for, have fun watching La Furia Roja and the Oranje fight for the Cup on Sunday!

Posted by Emily Wood, Editor, Google blog team

[G] We’d love to hear your feedback

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Inside AdSense: We’d love to hear your feedback

Your opinion matters to us! So we’ve put together a short survey so you can tell us how we're doing, and what you'd like to see more of on the Inside Adsense blog. We hope you'll take the time to let us know what's on your mind -- click to give us your feedback.

If you’re keen on letting us know how you feel about our product and support, remember that you can opt-in to receive invitations to test new features, surveys about Google AdSense, and heads up about opportunities to provide feedback about your experiences by email. To do so, log-in to Google AdSense and visit the settings page under the 'My Account' tab, edit your 'Email Preference' by checking the box next to 'Google market research', and click 'Save Changes.'

We look forward hearing from you!

Posted by Natalia Niznik - Publisher Support

[G] Analytics Intelligence Tips: Automatic Alerts

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Google Analytics Blog: Analytics Intelligence Tips: Automatic Alerts

When was the last time you checked the bounce rate for visits from Hong Kong? You may never have needed to, until an “alert” in your Intelligence reports tells you that the bounce rate from Hong Kong has suddenly doubled.

An automatic alert in Intelligence is triggered when the expected performance of a metric, historically, differs from what is happening now. Intelligence monitors the past and current activity of all your metrics and lets you know when something out of the ordinary happens. One reason why these automatic alerts can provide so much insight is that they often bring your attention to traffic segments you might never have thought to examine before.

Now that the alert has caught your attention, you're ready to dive in and learn more. In this 3 1/2 minute video on automatic alerts, also below, you'll learn how. Did you know that you can graph the bounce rate from Hong Kong with a single click? Or that you can quickly create an advanced segment from the alert and start using it throughout your reports? You'll learn these tips and others, including how to use annotations with automatic alerts, and when to use daily, weekly, or monthly alerts.

Enjoy the video and feel free to share your own automatic alerts tips in the comments. Next week, we'll look at custom alerts.

Posted by Alden DeSoto, Google Analytics Team

[G] All things local: Location extensions get a makeover.

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Inside AdWords: All things local: Location extensions get a makeover.

In 2009, we launched location extensions, which allows you to "extend" your AdWords campaigns by dynamically attaching your relevant business address to your ads. Today we're introducing a new enhancement to location extensions that lets you show multiple business addresses in a particular area.

For example, if a potential customer is looking for a Toys"R"Us store in their area, the ad can now show them all the nearby locations so they can find the one closest to them.

Including multiple addresses within location extensions helps you by:
  • Showing multiple addresses that are relevant to a potential customer's location (up to four at a time);
  • Updating results dynamically whenever someone moves the map; and
  • Enhancing ads with relevant information about your business to drive in-store traffic.
This feature is available now to primary business owners who have enabled location extensions with Google Places listings. Currently, location extensions with multiple addresses are available in the United States and many other countries/regions - please visit this link to see if this feature is available in your country.

To learn more about location extensions with multiple addresses, including additional information about reporting and filtering, please see the information we’ve put together on the Help Center.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew

[G] We appreciate your interest

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Official Google Video Blog: We appreciate your interest

Our recent posts about Video Sitemaps are of interest to a wide range of webmasters, so we've chosen to post them on the Webmaster Central Blog, rather than the Google Video Blog. As a result we've decided to retire the Google Video blog and post news and information about Video Sitemaps, as well as developments with our video index that powers the video results in Google search and Google Videos (, on the Webmaster Central Blog.

Thanks for your readership over the years—we look forward to seeing you in our new home

Posted by Amy MacIsaac, Strategic Partner Manager Google Videos

Friday, July 9, 2010

[G] Vektrex on switching to Gmail to cut spam and IT costs

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Vektrex on switching to Gmail to cut spam and IT costs

Editor's note: Continuing our “Going Google Everywhere” series, we’ve invited Jeff Hulett, Founder and CTO of Vektrex, an electronics company that produces LED and laser power sources and reliability test systems. Located in San Diego, California, Vektrex makes products to help companies develop energy-saving LED illumination. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map.

Spam was killing our server
Vektrex had been successfully hosting its own email using Microsoft’s Exchange Server for years. It had always been pretty simple: our IT person, Mike, occasionally did updates to our Microsoft Exchange server, and our dozen or so employees used Outlook to access their accounts.

Then, a while back, the job became much tougher. With several longstanding email addresses, we started to receive a lot of spam. My account started getting one or two spam emails per minute – and our CEO received many times that amount. Mike tried various programs to filter the spam, but each was eventually overwhelmed. We suffered with monthly email outages that lasted a few hours – or even days – despite Mike’s all-nighters. After a lot of discussion, we finally decided that we would try moving our email to external hosting at our next outage. We chose Gmail because it seemed like a good fit for the size of our company. The conversion to Gmail itself was very simple and fast; we were able to move our accounts quickly and easily. Initially we stayed with Outlook as our client and we used the IMAP interface with local caching. As time passed, we found most users choosing the native Gmail web interface, so eventually we moved the whole company to it.

Gmail can display folders
After moving to Gmail’s interface, we had to learn the differences between Outlook and Gmail. The main difference in the beginning was the way that emails are displayed, sorted and archived. Gmail offers labels instead of folders. Labels give you the ability to "tag" one email with several key words and Gmail provides ways to move/archive tagged messages in folders, providing functionality that makes everything more familiar and useful to our users.

The last remaining issue was email access on our cell phones and PDAs. To optimize functionality with our business accounts that include our own domain name, we moved initially to Palm Treos and then to HTC Androids, which worked flawlessly with Gmail's business accounts.

Converting is work but Gmail is worth it
When we started the conversion, IT staffers were a little reluctant to abandon the independence and control we felt we had with our own server. But we overcame our reluctance and the end result was worth it. I see only a few spam emails per week, and we haven't had a significant outage in over a year.

Vektrex employees are re-focused on our core products – reliability test systems for LEDs – rather than on keeping things up and running. The switch has saved roughly $500 per month in IT labor. It was also more economical than a hardware spam filter costing at least $1,000 up front, $350 in yearly fees, and an unknown amount to administer. Even Mike is happy. He finally got some well-earned time off - and the chance to drive his 1970 Volkswagen beetle in a 1,000-mile off road race through the Baja desert!

Vektrex IT Administrator Mike Zavos takes a vacation
after switching the company to GMail

Posted by Serena Satyasai, the Google Apps team

Do you have an informative and fun Google Apps story to share? Please submit it here.

[G] Changing your perspective, once again...

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Google LatLong: Changing your perspective, once again...

A few months ago we released a new type of aerial imagery to our users, first to the developer community through the Google Maps API, and then later as an experimental feature in Google Maps Labs. Today, we’re excited to announce the release of 45° imagery for of select cities in the U.S. and worldwide to all users of Google Maps. As you may have guessed from the name, 45° imagery is imagery depicting a location from a 45° angle rather than from the top. This type of imagery allows you to explore the sides of buildings and other locations -- you can even rotate around a particular point of interest using the compass ring to view it from four different perspectives. To see the new imagery, simply zoom into an area while in Satellite mode. Where we have 45° imagery available, the imagery will switch from an overhead to 45° angle as you zoom all the way in. You can then pan smoothly across the map to get a richer view of the area. Here are a few of my favorite spots:

SeaWorld, San Diego, California:

View Larger Map

Winchester Mystery House, San Jose, California:

View Larger Map

Rialto Bridge, Venice, Italy:

View Larger Map

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa:

View Larger Map

See below for a map of areas where 45° imagery is currently available.

View 45° Imagery on Google Maps in a larger map. 45° imagery is available for portions of the U.S., Europe and South Africa.

We think you will find this imagery particularly helpful when exploring a new area on the map before a visit. After checking out the landmarks from a new angle, it’s helpful to turn on existing map layers like Photos or Wikipedia to get more context on the area. Even when looking at familiar areas, seeing driving directions overlaid on 45° imagery will give you a whole new understanding of the neighborhood. As we expand our coverage over the coming months, I hope you enjoy this new perspective on the world.

Posted by Randy Wilson, Google Imagery Team

[G] What's bigger than 1080p? 4K video comes to YouTube

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YouTube Blog: What's bigger than 1080p? 4K video comes to YouTube

Today at the VidCon 2010 conference, we announced support for videos shot in 4K (a reference resolution of 4096 x 3072), meaning that now we support original video resolution from 360p all the way up to 4096p. To give some perspective on the size of 4K, the ideal screen size for a 4K video is 25 feet; IMAX movies are projected through two 2k resolution projectors.

We always want videos on YouTube to be available in the highest quality possible, as creators intend. In December of last year, we announced support for 1080p, or full HD. At 1096 x 3072 pixels, 4K is nearly four times the size of 1080p. To view any video in a source resolution greater than 1080p, select "Original" in the video quality pulldown menu:

To illustrate the power of 4K, please check out the videos in this playlist; each one was created by a filmmaker with access to a 4K
camera. (Be warned: watching videos in 4K, even on YouTube, will require
ultra-fast high-speed broadband connections).

Because 4K represents the highest quality of video available, there are a few limitations that you should be aware of. First off, video cameras that shoot in 4K aren’t cheap, and projectors that show videos in 4K are typically the size of a small refrigerator. And, as we mentioned, watching these videos on YouTube will require super-fast broadband.

We're excited about this latest step in the evolution of online video. We've been impressed by the 1080p videos you've uploaded over the last seven months and can't wait to see (in 4K!) what you do next.

Ramesh Sarukkai, YouTube Engineer, recently watched "New Dad State of Mind."


[G] Investing in the Future of Video: YouTube Announces Partner Grant Program

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YouTube Blog: Investing in the Future of Video: YouTube Announces Partner Grant Program

The YouTube ecosystem is vibrant and growing fast. We have over 10,000 partners, and 94 of Ad Age’s top 100 advertisers have run campaigns on YouTube and the Google Display Network. We’ve made great progress in the last five years. But we think we can do better. That’s why today we are announcing the YouTube Partner Grants program that will invest five million dollars across select new and emerging YouTube partners. Our goal is to catalyze the creation of new ideas and production models from some of our most innovative and original content partners for the benefit and advancement of the entire industry.

The idea behind YouTube Partner Grants is fairly simple. We’ve been amazed by the creativity and resourcefulness of many of our partners. Some, operating on shoe string budgets, have been able to produce incredible videos, generate substantial revenues and command an audience that rivals that of network television. This new creative class often manages 360 degrees of their business operations, from the writing filming and producing of their content to the marketing, post-production and distribution of their videos. Despite their success, many partners lack the resources and deep financial backing available to studio-backed production houses. The goal of YouTube Partner Grants is to act as a catalyst by infusing additional funds into the production budgets of a small group of YouTube partners who are at the forefront of innovation. Funds from YouTube Partner Grants will serve as an advance against the partner's future YouTube revenue share. This additional funding can allow partners to invest in better cameras, achieve higher production quality, expand their marketing efforts, expand their staff, or just hire more talent. Anything that will help them evolve their art, business, and ultimately the entire creator community. We look at this as an investment that will bring an even richer body of content for our users and advertisers and raise the creative bar for online video.

Here’s how it works:

  • YouTube is identifying eligible partners based on factors such as video views, subscribers, growth rate, audience engagement and production expertise

  • Selected partners are contacted by YouTube and invited to submit a Grant proposal

  • Proposals are evaluated by YouTube based on signals which include projected performance, distribution plan, marketing plan, cost requirements and appeal to advertisers

  • If approved, funds are transferred to the partner so they can get started on their project

Youtube Partner Grants represents another step forward in the evolution of both video and YouTube. Our hope is that through these investments we’ll help nurture talent and bring more great videos to YouTube for all of you to enjoy.

George Strompolos, Partner Development Manager, recently watched “Pixels by Patrick Jean"


[G] Fix applied for setting up Socialize with Twitter

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Fix applied for setting up Socialize with Twitter

Issue: Users will receive persistent 400 or 500 errors when assigning a Twitter account to the Socialize service.

Update: Today we applied a fix that will solve the problem for most users.  If you have tried to setup Socialize and received an error in the past, please try again.

N.B.: Recently Twitter has been throttling their API limits across the board and there are still times you may receive an error when attaching a Twitter account to the Socialize service.   If this happens to you, we ask that you try again in a few minutes.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

[G] Street View driving update

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Google LatLong: Street View driving update

(cross-posted from the Google European Public Policy Blog)

In May we announced that we had mistakenly included code in our software in Street View cars that collected WiFi payload data. As soon as we discovered our error, we not only stopped collecting WiFi data entirely, but also grounded our fleet of cars globally to give us time to remove the WiFi scanning equipment and discuss what had happened with local regulators.

Stroz Friedberg, an independent security expert, has confirmed that we’ve taken all the WiFi data collection equipment off our cars, and having spoken to the relevant regulators we have decided to start Street View driving in Ireland, Norway, South Africa and Sweden again starting next week. We expect to add more countries in time. Our cars will no longer collect any WiFi information at all, but will continue to collect photos and 3D imagery as they did before:
  • Photos: so that we can build Street View, our 360 degree street level maps. Photos like these are also being taken by TeleAtlas and NavTeq for Bing maps. In addition, we use this imagery to improve the quality of our maps, for example by using shop, street and traffic signs to refine our local business listings and travel directions; and
  • 3-D building imagery: we collect 3D geometry data with low power lasers (similar to those used in retail scanners) which help us improve our maps. NavTeq also collects this information in partnership with Bing. As does TeleAtlas.
We recognize that serious mistakes were made in the collection of WiFi payload data, and we have worked to quickly rectify them. However we also believe that Street View is a great product for users, whether people want to find a hotel, check out a potential new home or find a restaurant. If you want more information about driving schedules, please look here

Posted by Brian McClendon, VP of Engineering, Google Geo

[G] Announcing YouTube Pro *Wink*

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YouTube Blog: Announcing YouTube Pro *Wink*

It was with great pleasure that we heard billionaire investor Warren Buffett enjoys hours and hours of YouTube watching his favorite videos.

The "Oracle of Omaha" also suggested that YouTube should be charging him "a lot of money" based on the enjoyment he gets from YouTube. We agree and are happy to announce a new subscription offering: YouTube Pro. Pro will be offered for a limited time at the low price of $100 million/year. We don't expect to sell many, but if Mr. Buffett wants to make sure he's paying his fair share, we take cash, credit and, for him, personal check.

Hunter Walk, Director, Product Management, recently watched "Tips & Factors for Investing Money."


[G] Rich text signatures

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Official Gmail Blog: Rich text signatures

Posted by Mark Knichel, Software Engineer

Rich text signatures have long been one of our most widely requested features. Some of you have tried your own solutions, including Greasemonkey scripts, browser plugins, and even using canned responses from Gmail Labs. Others have simply lived with frustration of not being able to change the colors or font size of your signature, or insert images and links. Either way, you'll be happy to know that today we're launching the ability to write your own rich text signatures right in Gmail.

The next time you log in and visit the Settings page, you'll see a rich text editor in the signature section. Here, you can customize your signature by adding pretty formatting, links, and images — or decide to leave things nice and simple.

Gmail also now supports a unique signature for each email address associated with your account. So, if you send mail using a custom "From:" address, you can use a different signature for that address. From the Settings page, you can edit the signature for each account by changing the email address that appears in the dropdown menu.

Currently, only the latest desktop version of Gmail supports rich text signatures and multiple signatures. The older version and HTML version of Gmail, along with the mobile versions, use a plain text version of your primary account’s signature.

[G] Collaboration and Teamwork with Google Apps. Rypple goes Google.

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Collaboration and Teamwork with Google Apps. Rypple goes Google.

Editor's note: Today's guest blogger is Jay Goldman, Head of Marketing for Rypple, a lightweight, social service for continuous feedback and collaboration. Rypple helps managers and their teams achieve goals faster with a simpler way to stay on track, recognize achievements, give useful feedback, and get people talking. Rypple has Gone Google from top to bottom — helping them to grow rapidly.

Rypple is all about teamwork and collaboration, so having an internal teamwork and collaboration platform is essential to our success. We're a small but growing start-up with a geographically diverse team spread across North America, from San Francisco to Toronto. Staying lean and agile is a key part of our DNA, giving us a strong preference for lightweight and simple solutions, so there was no way we were going to choose a solution that didn't allow us to live it in our infrastructure. Google Apps was the clear choice.

We'd Gone Google even before we'd written a line of code on our own application. Setting up our Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and Sites was one of the first things we did at Rypple. Our team exists online, constantly connected through laptops and mobile devices. All roads lead seamlessly back to Apps, where we easily exchange emails, share information, and collaborate in the cloud.

Our customers use Rypple to improve communication and stay on track, so it's no surprise that we're big fans of Google Talk, our inter-office chat medium of choice. Chatting over IM saves us countless trips across the office, making sure we stay focused on building great software. Our knowledge base lives in a Google Site, keeping our team up to speed on the latest developments, marketing strategies, and collateral. On-boarding new employees - a constant concern for a growing start-up - is as simple as logging in to the Apps admin panel and making a few quick clicks.

Our Googley-ness goes even deeper than our choice in email and calendering tools. Google Analytics and Website Optimizer are essential elements of our marketing strategy and significant enablers of our data-driven approach. Their tabs are always open in Chrome, giving us a view into what's happening on our website and how our sales and marketing funnel is performing. And we keep the top of that funnel full thanks to Google AdWords, which drives a considerable portion of our daily traffic.

All of that makes us a cutting edge tech start-up with an infrastructure that helps power our growth. Our love affair with Google goes even one step further: the entire Rypple application is built on Google Web Toolkit (GWT). Our development team loves how GWT gives them the tools to build quickly and easily stick to our agile roots. Our customers love how we're able to push a new release packed with features and enhancements every week.

Launching a start-up used to be a really expensive proposition. You needed teams of developers and expensive servers, not to mention all the foosball tables, basketball hoops, and scooters. Here at Rypple, we're proud to be a different kind of start-up, focused on customers, products, and our business model. We're at the vanguard of a new generation: lightweight, agile, and living on the cloud — and we couldn't do it without Google.

Posted by Ashley Chandler, Google Apps Team


[G] AdSense: Behind the scenes - Meet Alejo

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Inside AdSense: AdSense: Behind the scenes - Meet Alejo

Continuing our Behind the Scenes video series is Alejo, our AdSense for video and AdSense for games specialist. Alejo tells us about his first job, which city he’d love to live in, and what he’d like every AdSense publisher to know.

For more videos, please visit our YouTube channel.

Posted by Dia Muthana - Inside AdSense Team

[G] Firefox 4 with WebM Support in Beta

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: Firefox 4 with WebM Support in Beta

Congratulations to the Mozilla team on releasing the first Beta of Firefox 4. Downloads for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux are available on the Mozilla site.

[G] Page Navigation in Google forms

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Official Google Docs Blog: Page Navigation in Google forms

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded our logic branching capabilities in Google forms. Previously, a form creator had to add an extensive amount of multiple choice questions to the form to ensure that respondents were directed to the correct pages of the form. Form creators can now use a simpler page navigation feature to direct respondents to relevant pages regardless of their answers. Instead of using “dummy” multiple choice questions, form creators can now use “Go to page based on answer” multiple choice questions in conjunction with the new page navigation capabilities to make a simple, easy-to-follow form.

Let’s say you want to write a choose your own adventure story using Google forms (The Hunt for the terrible Dr. von Schneider). First, create a form and give your adventurer a difficult choice to make in a multiple choice question.

Next, check the box next to Go to page based on answer while editing the question. This enables the option for your form respondents to be directed to different pages of your form. In the drop down menu next to each answer, select the corresponding pages they should be directed to based on their answer.

Using page navigation, you can redirect form respondents previously split apart back to the same page. Under the Add Item menu, select Page break. Then, select what page you’d like your form respondents to be directed to under the drop down menu in the page break.

With page navigation selected, form respondents who landed on pages two and four of your form will both be directed to page five, where their adventure ends ... or does it? Find out here.

Try it out using another template we’ve created or share your own in the Google Docs template gallery.

Posted by: Dan Ferrara, Software Engineering Intern

[G] Democracy Photo Challenge

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Google Photos Blog: Democracy Photo Challenge

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager

What does democracy mean to you? This is a personal question whose answer can be expressed in many ways--with lines of prose, a video documentary, or a even single photo.

To inspire people around the world to use photography to share their individual perspectives on democracy, a unique group of partners made up of democracy and youth organizations, academia, the film/entertainment industry, technology companies and the U.S. Department of State launched The Democracy Photo Challenge, the first contest powered by Picasa Web Albums.

Submissions will be accepted by photographers of any experience level until July 28, followed by the selection of 36 finalists by an independent jury. The public will choose 12 winners during a global online vote from August 19 - 26, and the winning photos will be part of a special exhibition at the United Nations and at other venues.

Let the power of an image be your voice. To submit your photo, visit

[G] Did she really kiss a girl? Ask Katy Perry a question!

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YouTube Blog: Did she really kiss a girl? Ask Katy Perry a question!

Perhaps you’ve seen Katy Perry kissing girls, waking up in Vegas or parodied by the YouTube community. More recently, she’s been spotted cavorting with hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg (along with life-size Gummy Bears and multi-striped snakes) in her latest “California Gurls” clip.

Well, now she’s putting that day-glo fantasy life on hold to answer your questions:

You have until midnight PT on July 18 to submit a video or text question to Katy’s channel ( Everyone will be able to vote on the questions until July 18, and Katy will answer the most popular in an exclusive Q&A as conducted by YouTube’s own Lisa Nova. We’ll put the interview on the homepage shortly after it’s edited and uploaded to YouTube.

Michele Flannery, Music Manager, recently watched "Key of Awesome #22"


[G] 100 Chrome Experiments and counting!

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Google Chrome Blog: 100 Chrome Experiments and counting!

Last year we launched Chrome Experiments, a website showcasing innovative web experiments built with open standards like JavaScript and HTML5. Today we’re pleased to announce that the site now points to 100 experiments -- each one made, hosted, and submitted by programmers from around the world.

Since the site launched just 18 months ago, browsers have been improving at a rapid pace, and the latest experiments have taken advantage of that. A big step forward has been the widespread adoption and support of HTML5, which is becoming standard in all modern browsers. New functionality like the video and canvas tags have made for some inspiring work. It’s hard to pick our favorites, but a few innovative submissions include Destructive Video, SketchPad, and Harmony.

If you haven’t checked out Chrome Experiments recently, do take some time to explore the work of these talented artists/programmers in Google Chrome or any modern browser. Of course, if you’re a programmer yourself, we’d love to see your work -- just click the Submit button at the top of the site.

Thanks to everyone who has helped spread awareness of what browsers can do. We can’t wait to see what the future holds, and we’ll see you again at 200.

Posted by Aaron Koblin and Valdean Klump, Google Creative Lab

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

[G] YouTube Mobile Gets a Kick Start

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Official Google Mobile Blog: YouTube Mobile Gets a Kick Start

(Cross-posted with the YouTube Blog)

It’s well known that the mobile internet is huge and growing fast; what’s surprising is exactly how fast. According to a recent report, within 5 years more users will connect to the internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs. YouTube consumption on mobile devices has also grown considerably -- playbacks were up 160% in 2009 over the previous year. And we’re excited to announce that YouTube Mobile now receives more than 100 million video playbacks a day. This is roughly the number of daily playbacks that was streaming when we joined forces with Google in 2006.

We launched YouTube on mobile devices in 2007 with about 1,000 videos available on the mobile site ( While this suddenly opened up the possibility to access videos on the go, our site, mobile browsers and the hardware had limitations that prevented the mobile experience from keeping up with YouTube on the desktop. Today, more than ever, we know that you want to be able to find and access your favorite videos wherever you are. That’s why we’ve been working hard to roll out an updated version of the mobile site.

Here's what's new about the new mobile site:
  • It's really fast.
  • The new user interface incorporates larger, more touch friendly elements, making it easier to access videos on the go.
  • It incorporates the features and functionality you’ve come to expect from the .com site, like search query suggestions, the options to create playlists,the ability to designate “favorite,” “like,” or “unlike” videos directly from your device.
  • As we make improvements to, you’ll see them quickly follow on our mobile site, unlike native apps which are not updated as frequently.
As the world continues to go mobile, we think this is a great improvement for users who want a more consistent YouTube across many devices, no matter where they are. We're launching in English only today, but will be rolling it out in other languages in the coming months. You can access the latest YouTube mobile site from your iPhone or Android browser. To learn more, visit to check out the latest improvements and take a minute to watch this demo video:

Posted by Andrey Doronichev, Product Manager recently watched "Insane street football"

[G] Growing our appetite for geeky girl dinners

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Official Google Blog: Growing our appetite for geeky girl dinners

(Cross-posted from the European Public Policy Blog)

We’re always looking for opportunities to partner up with organizations that promote diversity and encourage women to excel in technology. Girl Geek Dinners is a world-wide initiative that does exactly that—it helps build communities of women who have a passion and interest in science, technology and other traditionally male-dominated fields by hosting social events around the world.

We recently sponsored the Amsterdam Girl Geek Dinner and I attended the event with my colleague Noha, who, like me, is a software engineer for Google in Zurich. At the dinner, we had the opportunity to meet and mingle with other women in the tech community and talk about what it’s like being a woman in the field of computer science. The keynote speaker at the event was renowned mathematician Ionica Smeets and I can’t imagine a woman more inspiring.

Google shares a similar goal to Girl Geeks—we want to make it possible for everyone to pursue careers in technology, regardless of gender. And, in our presentation at the event, we outlined our numerous initiatives to promote and support diversity in technology. We have various scholarship programs to help students to pursue their interests, excel in their studies and become leaders. And to encourage more female computer scientists to attend and participate in research conferences around the world, we also offer travel and conference grants in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. You can learn more about our diversity programs, here.

Posted by Alexandra Alecu, Software Engineer

[G] Because Time is Money: Leveraging Google Apps Open Standards and Google Calendar

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Because Time is Money: Leveraging Google Apps Open Standards and Google Calendar

Editor's note: Continuing our “Going Google Everywhere” series, we’ve invited Stijn Van Vreckem, Founder and Managing Director of XAOP, a small Belgium-based software development company specializing in content integration, to talk about a quick and easy way his company has utilized APIs with Google Apps Premier Edition. XAOP builds software solutions, information integration products and related services for the life sciences industry.

Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map.

Filling in timesheets is a task that needs to be performed monthly or weekly in most service-oriented organizations. For years, I used to write everything down in my notebook to keep track of things.

Because the XAOP team has grown to seven people in the last year – who are usually working in small teams of two or three developers – it became more and more difficult to manage the billing for different projects. It was time to look for a better, more transparent solution to keep track of everyone's time.

After some internal discussions, we introduced a timesheet process based on Google Calendar. We created a calendar in our Google Apps Premier environment for each billable project we want to track. These calendars are shared with the team members working on the project.

Each team member registers his or her activities by simply putting them on the correct project calendar. As a result, everybody on the team can see who is working on which task in the project. At the end of the month, all invoices are created based on the activities of the project calendar.

Users track their time using project calendars in Google Apps.

Now, generating timesheet reports and invoices for clients is easy. Here’s how it works:
  • A background Ruby application connects each Google Calendar with the Google Data API to collect the activities.
  • The Ruby application then generates a monthly PDF report of the project calendars.
  • These reports provide a detailed overview of the activities for each person in the project.
The main disadvantage is that we need a lot of calendars, so cleanup is sometimes necessary. We also wish we could see who created which event so we could more easily manage larger projects. For example, you can see who created an event via the tooltip when you rollover it with the mouse, but this becomes difficult to read easily when more than 3 users fill in the timeslot on the same calendar. Therefore we implemented a convention on some projects to start the title with a person's initials.

But there are many advantages. We now have a lightweight timesheet application that lets everyone fill in their calendars when they have the time. The Google Calendar user interface is very simple and accessible for everybody. Freelancers or other external people working on XAOP projects can be added to the calendar of the project without complexity. This is a web-based solution that can be used via a PC or a mobile phone.

Today, XAOP team members don’t need to keep track of the projects. They only need to keep their calendars up to date. Invoices are now generated automatically and we can provide transparent reporting on each hour of work.

XAOP recently invested in new mobile phones and our time management solution worked without any changes. Because these HTC devices (Hero and Magic) integrate seamlessly with Google Apps, we can fill in our timesheets from anywhere.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, the Google Apps team

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