Friday, August 6, 2010

[G] Seventh U.S. state is fourth to head to the cloud

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Official Google Blog: Seventh U.S. state is fourth to head to the cloud

(Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog)

Today we’re happy to announce that The Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium (MEEC) will make Google Apps for Education available to 1.4 million students in the state. MEEC is comprised of the University System of Maryland, Maryland Higher Education Commission and Maryland Department of Education, and provides software resources and services to its 194 members across the state. This includes all 24 public K-12 districts, libraries and all public and private higher education institutions.

Maryland joins the ranks of Oregon, Colorado and Iowa, who each enabled their educational institutions to “go Google” under one statewide agreement. And more than 8 million other students, staff and faculty across the globe actively use our free messaging and collaboration suite.

In addition to Google Apps, this agreement also enables MEEC member institutions—for example University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)—to license Google Postini Services such as Google Message Security, for use with the existing email infrastructure to enhance Spam filtering and email security for students, faculty and staff.

According to Assistant Vice President of IT at UMBC, Mike Carlin, students were overwhelmingly in favor of Google and vocal about their preference when it came to email since it “works exceptionally well with their mobile lifestyle.”

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Apps for Education Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/seventh-us-state-is-fourth-to-head-to.html

[G] Google and Slide: building a more social web

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Official Google Blog: Google and Slide: building a more social web

We’re excited to announce we’ve acquired Slide, a social technology company with an extensive history of building new ways for people to connect with others across numerous platforms online.

For Google, the web is about people, and we’re working to develop open, transparent and interesting (and fun!) ways to allow our users to take full advantage of how technology can bring them closer to friends and family and provide useful information just for them.

Slide has already created compelling social experiences for tens of millions of people across many platforms, and we’ve already built strong social elements into products like Gmail, Docs, Blogger, Picasa and YouTube. As the Slide team joins Google, we’ll be investing even more to make Google services socially aware and expand these capabilities for our users across the web.

While we don’t have any detailed product plans to share right now, we’re thrilled to welcome Max and his very talented team to Google, and we can’t wait to work together to give people more and better tools to communicate and connect.

Posted by David Glazer, Engineering Director
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/google-and-slide-building-more-social.html

[G] Seeking map data in response to Pakistan floods

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Google LatLong: Seeking map data in response to Pakistan floods


According to the UN, the recent floods in Pakistan have affected over 4 million individuals - and the human toll continues to grow. Disease is an ever-increasing risk as relief agencies rush to the aid of those who have been hurt or displaced.

Google’s Crisis Response team has provided satellite imagery and KML layers to assist relief efforts in past disasters, including the Haiti earthquake and recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In Pakistan, however, the cloud cover over the impacted areas has inhibited our ability to make this valuable content available. The Crisis Response team is looking to collect and aggregate imagery and user generated KML, or other map data, with the goal of making this content more accessible to both crisis responders and the general public. We’re hoping you can help. You can submit links to KML and map data via the following form. We’ll contact you if we are able to publish your content.




View BKTEF Relief Activity in a larger map

Further, we’ve released a version of our Person Finder tool in Urdu. We realize many of the victims of this disaster lack any connectivity to the Internet, but remain hopeful that tools like this can assist the diaspora and general disaster community in collecting and dispersing information on the well-being of those impacted.



Your data might help relief efforts; we appreciate you sharing it with the world.

Posted by Steve Hakusa, Software Engineer, Google Crisis Response Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/08/seeking-map-data-in-response-to.html

[G] São Paulo Open Source Jam 2

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Google Open Source Blog: São Paulo Open Source Jam 2

On July 14th, Google Brazil hosted the 2nd Open Source Jam in São Paulo, Brazil. We had about 40 attendees and 10 talks! Here is a quick summary of the talks that were given.

The jam began at about 19:00, and after Rodolpho Eckhardt welcomed our guests, João Paulo Rechi Vita presented his Google Summer of Code™ project on improving support of AVRCP (Audio and Video Remote Control Profile), a Bluetooth protocol for controlling media players, in BlueZ.

Next, Rodrigo Strauss talked about his “nosql“ multi-platform container server Tio built using a publish/subscribe pattern.

Rodrigo Strauss and his NoSql project Tio

The third project presented was the GPL v3-licensed LibreDWG by Anderson Cardoso, an Open Source implementation of the DWG format used by several CAD applications.

Guilherme Chapiewski talked about acceptance tests using Pyccuracy, a tool for behavior-driven development written in Python.

CoGroo, an open source grammatical structure checker for Portuguese for OpenOffice, was presented by Wesley Seidel.

For the last talk before a break, Saracura was introduced to us as a concept to fill the gap between weather forecasts, reports and collective intelligence among people. By cross-checking the available information, disasters could be prevented or alleviated.

André Luiz introducing Saracura

After six talks it was time for a break. Delicious pizza helped spur conversations among attendees, who talked about their projects and established new contacts. There was so much pizza it had to be delivered by taxi instead of the usual delivery by motorcycle.

Following the break, Radames presented IT3S, a project which intents to promote the use of information technologies with non-profit organizations.

Radamés describing his work at IT3S.

Milton Afonso showed his concept for a framework providing a multi-language programming environment. Alan Justino took the opportunity to start a small debate on certain issues with object-relational mappings. Potential solutions were discussed, as well as comments and ideas.

Alan Justino answering the questions

Our last talk of the day was presented by Luciano Ramalho who talked about ISIS-DM, an independent API for database schema definition and data extraction.

We'd like to thank everybody who attended the 2nd Google Open Source Jam in São Paulo and hope to see you again next time. If you have missed this jam, stay tuned on our events by joining the Open Source Jam Brazil Google Group! Open Source Jams are hosted by the Google Open Source Team.

By Licio Fonseca, Hardware Operations Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/08/sao-paulo-open-source-jam-2.html

[G] Seventh U.S. state is fourth to head to the cloud

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Seventh U.S. state is fourth to head to the cloud

Today we’re happy to announce that The Maryland Education Enterprise Consortium (MEEC) will make Google Apps for Education available to 1.4 million students in the state. MEEC is comprised of the University System of Maryland, Maryland Higher Education Commission and Maryland Department of Education, and provides software resources and services to its 194 members across the state. This includes all 24 public K-12 districts, libraries and all public and private higher education institutions.

Maryland joins the ranks of Oregon, Colorado and Iowa, who each enabled their educational institutions to “go Google” under one statewide agreement. And more than 8 million other students, staff and faculty across the globe actively use our free messaging and collaboration suite.

In addition to Google Apps, this agreement also enables MEEC member institutions—for example University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC)—to license Google Postini Services such as Google Message Security, for use with the existing email infrastructure to enhance Spam filtering and email security for students, faculty and staff.

According to Assistant Vice President of IT at UMBC, Mike Carlin, students were overwhelmingly in favor of Google and vocal about their preference when it came to email since it “works exceptionally well with their mobile lifestyle.”

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Apps for Education Team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/08/seventh-us-state-is-fourth-to-head-to.html

[G] Release Notes: Playlist Bar, music listings, annotations upgrades...

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YouTube Blog: Release Notes: Playlist Bar, music listings, annotations upgrades...

What's new on YouTube since we last met? Let us count the things...



"Playlist Bar" launch: Last week, we introduced the "Playlist Bar": when you view a playlist, recommended videos (from the homepage), your subscriptions or your favorites, you'll see a control bar at the bottom of the page, displaying the videos from those categories. The goal is to keep you from having to jumping back and forth to different pages to select which videos you'd like to watch next. Autoplay (which is no longer on by default) and the ability to select specific videos from your playlists without ever leaving the page are intended to make your viewing experience more seamless. We're continuing to monitor your feedback here as we plan improvements to this feature.



Local music listings: A new addition to our revamped music page is the "Events Near You" section, provided by Songkick. Discover an artist you like on the page? "Events Near You" will let you know if he or she is headed your way.







Annotations upgrades: We now offer fully transparent annotations with black or white text, a new default color (half-transparent black, replacing red), a new default position for new annotations (off-center), and a cleaner look for tooltips.



Redesigned video manager: The My_Videos page has been reworked to offer streamlined ways of managing and reviewing videos you've uploaded, including options to sort your videos alphabetically, by length, by recency and by views. You can also browse the content you've viewed, purchased and liked, and there's access right here to Insight and Promoted Videos information (to the right of "Edit" button). For feedback on these changes, please chime in here.



Promotional badges: Take a look at the badges created to help you better promote your YouTube channel on site and off. Find the asset you like and click on it to generate handy embed code for your blog or website (you'll have to sign in at the prompt).






New way to embed videos: A new embed code style enables you to view embedded videos in one of our Flash or HTML5 players, depending on your viewing environment and preferences. For more information, see this blog post from our API blog.



Buzz videos on your homepage: As with the Facebook feed import, the YouTube videos your friends are sharing on Google Buzz are now be pulled into your YouTube homepage if you're connected to Buzz (e.g. to AutoShare your activity).



HQ Webcam uploads: That's right: You can now upload high quality video from your Webcam! All webcam recordings will be done at 360p.



Free previews on rentals: All rental videos in the U.S. will show a free preview or movie trailer automatically so you can decide if you want to watch it before buying it. If you're over 18 and live in the U.S., you can check this out right here on the movie Kick-Ass.



The YouTube Team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/QsBdPvRksPY/release-notes-playlist-bar-music.html

[G] YouTube Summer School, Session 4: History

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Summer School, Session 4: History

While we enjoy looking ahead and thinking big, we also take to heart the famous quote from George Santayana: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." That’s why for this week’s session of YouTube Summer School, we’re taking some time to review the past, to help us better understand the people, events and decisions that have shaped our times. Here's a playlist of important history lessons from top institutions:





And while we're in a scholarly mode, let’s look at last week's session on math and test your knowledge. If you know the answers to the quiz questions below, please leave them in the comments below (please note comments are moderated due to spam):

1. Where did Terrence Tao learn the numbers and letters that enabled him to start teaching his peers at age two?
2. Based on probalistic aggregation studies, Gettysburg College would be able to withstand an attack of how many robots?
3. Cornell math professor Allen Knutson holds a world record in what?

Finally, answers to last week's quiz, on art:

1) What color house did Frida Kahlo grow up in? Blue
2) Malaquias Montoya, professor of Chicano studies and art history at the University of California in Davis, is known for what item of unique clothing? His hat
3) The African art exhibit in the Valparaiso University Brauer Museum is from what century? Late 19th and early 20th centuries

Mandy Albanese, Communications Associate, recently watched “The Witch Hunt in Early Modern Europe.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/a7ROBg-xWtE/youtube-summer-school-session-4-history.html

Thursday, August 5, 2010

[G] Google Summer of Code Midterm Evaluations

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Google Open Source Blog: Google Summer of Code Midterm Evaluations


Midterm evaluations for Google Summer of Code 2010™ have wrapped up and we have some great news about the program.

Out of the over 1,000 participating students from the beginning of the program, 964 have passed their midterm evaluation. That’s just a over 90% pass rate - exactly on target for what we expect from the program.

Since Google Summer of Code started in 2005, we’ve had over 5,000 students complete the Google Summer of Code program. Take a look at the timeline on our website for more details about the program - our final evaluations are approaching!

By Carol Smith, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/08/google-summer-of-code-midterm.html

[G] Bergelectric on evaluating Microsoft BPOS-S and choosing Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Bergelectric on evaluating Microsoft BPOS-S and choosing Google Apps

Editor’s Note: We invited Kyle Swafford, Director of IT Services for Bergelectric, to share the story of Bergelectric’s evaluation of Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS-S and their subsequent migration from Novell Groupwise to Google Apps using Google Apps Authorized Reseller SADA Systems, Inc.

Since our founding in 1946, Bergelectric Corporation has provided electrical contracting on thousands of construction projects for clients such as Phoenix International Raceway, the FBI, the University of Southern California, and Ritz Carlton Hotels. Bergelectric has more than 1,300 field employees and over 400 office professionals coast to coast.

Our company had been a Novell Groupwise shop for many years, and IT staff had begun to feel increasing frustration with the platform due to its stagnancy. They were forced to dedicate substantial time and resources to maintaining servers across many sites nationwide. And we had to enforce email storage quotas of 100MB, though this amount of storage was often inadequate for users. Collaboration possibilities were practically nonexistent. In short, this aging environment wasn’t keeping pace with Bergelectric and this created a significant challenge for the organization.

The choice to move to a hosted e-mail service was discussed passionately at every level of the company and marked a significant departure from the costly, and dated, infrastructure constraints of our on-premise system. After we made the decision to move to a hosted provider, we spent a considerable amount of time comparing offerings, including Microsoft BPOS-S and Google Apps. Initially we found Microsoft BPOS-S an attractive option, but as we delved deeper into the contract and piloted a production environment deployment we found the BPOS-S solution came up short - even with the significant concessions Microsoft made in order to be competitive with Google. For example, we were put off by the fact that we would have to go through a third party company for email archiving and retention. We soon came to the realization that we would have to invest significant additional time and money into BPOS in order to meet our initial expectations of migrating to the cloud.

We decided to revisit Google Apps. For email archiving and retention, Google Message Discovery was easier to use, significantly cheaper, better integrated into the entire email migration process, and offered more features than the third party options available with BPOS. Once more, through the course of our lengthy evaluation, Google continued to update Apps’ functionality to incorporate virtually all of the features that we had valued in Microsoft’s offering. After updates such as Google Calendar Sync, which syncs events between Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook Calendar, and the ability to delegate calendar management to an administrative assistant, we had reached the tipping point where users adamant about using Outlook became confident in the capabilities of the Google Apps suite.

Following a rapid response by a combined team from Google and Google Apps Authorized Reseller, SADA Systems, Inc., Bergelectric quickly made plans to “Go Google.” Key components of the deployment included user synchronization between Active Directory and Google Apps, single sign-on to Apps using Active Directory credentials, migration of all data from Groupwise to Google (including historical email, contacts and calendar items), Google Apps integration with BlackBerry Enterprise Server, implementation of the Google Message Discovery product for mail archiving and discovery, and a complete training and change management effort to ensure the smoothest possible transition and high user adoption rates.

Our migration off the Groupwise platform has allowed the IT staff to focus its resources on more strategic, business-driven initiatives in the online space. The IT team has regained precious time previously spent patching and keeping the e-mail servers running and are now able to focus on things like business continuity and compliance. Employees have a generous 25 GB of e-mail storage and the ability access e-mail and collaboration tools from our many offices and remote project sites, whether it’s via a desktop, laptop or mobile device.

We were impressed by Google’s commitment to making it easy and simple for long-term on-premise users to migrate to the cloud. And Google’s data liberation policy gave us peace of mind that, if we ever wanted to move platforms, we’d be able to readily do so. Once more, their commitment to open standards and APIs allow us to access our own data and customize our implementation in ways that we never thought possible. As our business needs evolve, we can find additional apps in the Google Apps Marketplace or we can easily build our own on Google App Engine.

Overall, our employees have been extremely happy with the move to Google Apps. IT is relieved to finally have true redundancy, painless scalability and better control, all while no longer needing to maintain remote servers and tape backups. Management is pleased with the cost savings and vastly improved service offerings.

Posted by Kevin Gough, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Google Enterprise
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/08/bergelectric-on-evaluating-microsoft.html

[G] Introducing the Google Small Business Blog

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Google LatLong: Introducing the Google Small Business Blog


Most every business, including ours, starts small. These days, technology is giving businesses even more ways to grow bigger... faster.

In our recent Small Business series on the Official Google Blog, a handful of real-life entrepreneurs have shared their experiences building companies from scratch and embracing Internet tools that have taken their businesses to the next level. We’ve received fantastic feedback about these posts, and realized that there’s a healthy appetite among small- and medium-sized business owners who want to know all about the latest web tools and tricks. Fortunately, we have lots more to share with you, too!

That’s why we’re introducing the Google Small Business Blog, a central hub that brings together all the information about our products, features and projects of specific interest to the small business community. Rather than having to sleuth around in many different locations for details about templates for creating video ads on YouTube, tips for your employees using Gmail or how to respond to the business reviews on your Place Page, you can find all of this helpful information right here in one place.

Of course, we’ll continue to post relevant news about individual services such as AdWords, Apps, Google Places and YouTube on their respective “home” blogs, but feel free to visit or subscribe to the Google Small Business Blog to get everything relating to your small business needs. We’re starting small today, but who knows what tomorrow will have in store!

Posted by Deanna Yick, Small Business Blog Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/08/introducing-google-small-business-blog.html

[G] The 2010 Google Faculty Summit

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Official Google Blog: The 2010 Google Faculty Summit

Last week, we held our sixth North American Computer Science Faculty Summit at our Mountain View headquarters. About 100 faculty members from universities around the world attended the summit, which focused on security, cloud computing and the social web.

Included in the agenda were presentations by Eric Grosse on security at scale, Ulfar Erlingsson on cloud computing and software security, Betsy Masiello on engineering private spaces online, and Andrew Fikes on “planetary-scale” storage systems in the cloud. Andrew Tompkins also moderated a panel on the future of the social web. Alfred Spector, VP of Research and Special Initiatives, talked of “prodigiousness” in his discussion of the potential of cloud computing. He noted that the network underlying the Internet is predicted to carry a zetta-byte (1021) per year, which translates to 32 KB/sec for 1 billion people. You can see a more complete list of the topics and panels on the Faculty Summit site.

In his closing talk last Friday, Vint Cerf spoke about the “Future of the Internet.” Among his topics were the challenges in migrating from IPv4 to IPv6, which has a much larger address space than IPv4. This results from the use of a 128-bit address, whereas IPv4 uses only 32 bits. We will soon exhaust the IPv4 address space, so migration is imminent, and complex.

Vint also discussed the great potential in implementing an “Internet of things,” which refers to a network of everyday objects. Imagine that you’re traveling, and receive a text message informing you that the temperature in your wine cellar has increased to a level that can damage the wine. You then start an app on your smartphone that interfaces with the cellar’s temperature control system to bring the level down. That’s just one possible application as we connect more and more of our personal and home electronics to the Internet.

Over on the Research Blog, we’ve posted deeper dives on a few of the talks—on cloud and security, cloud computing and the social web. Visit the research site for videos of the plenary talks and presentations. And if you have questions, please add them to our Moderator page and we’ll be glad to answer.

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education & University Relations
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/2010-google-faculty-summit.html

[G] Google Tags makes it easy as pie to find local customers

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Official Google Blog: Google Tags makes it easy as pie to find local customers

This is the latest post in our series about Small Business and the real-life entrepreneurs who are using Google tools to fuel their success. Previous posts have illustrated the possibilities enabled by online resources like Google Places, Google Apps, Google AdWords and YouTube. Starting today, we invite small business owners to check out our new Google Small Business Blog for more inspiring stories like these and the latest news, updates and tips to help you grow your business. -Ed.

To characterize the life of a small business owner as “busy” would be a bit of an understatement. You get up early to set up shop, spend all day on your feet working with customers and burn the midnight oil balancing expenses—then do it all over again the next day. It’s no wonder you sometimes feel you’d have to be superhuman (or be able to stop time) just to keep up!

With so many hats to wear, we know you don’t have much time to play the role of marketer. But attracting potential customers is an essential part of growing your business. With that in mind, we designed Google Tags, our newest online advertising offering through Google Places that lets you personalize your Google.com and Google Maps listing with specific information such as a coupon, video, website, menu, reservations, photos or a custom message.

Susan Holt, the co-founder of a recreational cooking school in Washington, D.C., has been using Google Tags, and I’ve asked her to share her experience:
My friend Susan Watterson and I had been friends for about 20 years and were both instructors at the same culinary institute when we saw a unique market opportunity and decided to go for it. Our employer, who was primarily focused on professional training for students and one-off recreational cooking classes for the public, was constantly turning away business; their business model relied on a paper catalog of printed classes that were advertised months in advance, so they had little flexibility to accept new bookings. But after watching an estimated $40,000 worth of business walk out the door one week because they couldn't accommodate the size or timing of these types of corporate events, Susan and I decided we could flip that model and create a cooking school specifically tailored to recreational learning and private events.

With no previous business experience, we began the long and eye-opening process of starting our own company. Along the way, we learned more about raising capital, leasing property and complying with design and construction codes than we ever could have imagined. Our vision and passion kept us going, and in November 2008, CulinAerie opened its doors in a 3,800 square foot space in downtown D.C.

A strong website with the built-in functionality to register and pay for classes online was part of our strategy from the start, but we soon realized we needed a way to generate more awareness. Part of that effort included building out our Place Page on Google Places to gain more visibility and make sure people looking for us online had basic information like our phone number and location.


Then in May 2010, we heard about Google Tags, a super-easy way to do online advertising that wouldn’t require any ongoing work. We already knew through our website analytics data that our free business listing on Google.com and Google Maps was bringing in lots of customers—about 60 percent, in fact. So the ability to include a little yellow tag to help our listing stand out against the competition was a no-brainer—and at $25 a month, it wouldn’t break the bank. At first, we used the website tag to drive more traffic to our website, but then we decided to push the envelope and switched to a coupon tag that promoted a discount on our classes.


Since setting up Google Tags, the clickthroughs on our listing have increased a whopping 400 percent! Class bookings also jumped 9 percent because of the coupon tag, and our 24 contract instructors are busier than ever teaching classes on baking and entertaining for occasions like team-building events, birthday parties and summer bridal showers.

Now, while we’re concentrating on the important things that ensure our clients have a good time at our school—like creating new concoctions for the cocktail mixing course—our Tags are working for us and helping us connect with new local customers online. I guess you could say it’s been a recipe for success.

Posted by Chikai Ohazama, Director of Product Management, Google Tags
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/google-tags-makes-it-easy-as-pie-to.html

[G] You can count the number of books in the world on 25,972,976 hands

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Official Google Blog: You can count the number of books in the world on 25,972,976 hands

Ever wonder just how many different books there are in the world? After some intensive analysis, we've come up with a number. Standing on the shoulders of giants—libraries and cataloging organizations—and based on our computational resources and experience of organizing millions of books through our Books Library Project and Books Partner Program since 2004, we’ve determined that number.

As of today, we estimate that there are 129,864,880 different books in the world. That's a lot of knowledge captured in the written word! This calculation used an algorithm that combines books information from multiple sources including libraries, WorldCat, national union catalogs and commercial providers. And the actual number of books is always increasing.

Ultimately, it is truly incredible to fathom the depth and breadth of published works out there in the world. To find out how we calculated this number (no, we didn’t count them on our fingers:), check out the Google Books blog.

Posted by Leonid Taycher, Software Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/you-can-count-number-of-books-in-world.html

[G] Introducing the Google Small Business Blog

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Introducing the Google Small Business Blog

Most every business, including ours, starts small. These days, technology is giving businesses even more ways to grow bigger... faster.

In our recent Small Business series on the Official Google Blog, a handful of real-life entrepreneurs have shared their experiences building companies from scratch and embracing Internet tools that have taken their businesses to the next level. We’ve received fantastic feedback about these posts, and realized that there’s a healthy appetite among small- and medium-sized business owners who want to know all about the latest web tools and tricks. Fortunately, we have lots more to share with you, too!

That’s why we’re introducing the Google Small Business Blog, a central hub that brings together all the information about our products, features and projects of specific interest to the small business community. Rather than having to sleuth around in many different locations for details about templates for creating video ads on YouTube, tips for your employees using Gmail or how to respond to the business reviews on your Place Page, you can find all of this helpful information right here in one place.

Of course, we’ll continue to post relevant news about individual services such as AdWords, Apps, Google Places and YouTube on their respective “home” blogs, but feel free to visit or subscribe to the Google Small Business Blog to get everything relating to your small business needs. We’re starting small today, but who knows what tomorrow will have in store!

Posted by Deanna Yick, Small Business Blog Team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/08/introducing-google-small-business-blog.html

[G] Access two Gmail accounts at once in the same browser

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Official Gmail Blog: Access two Gmail accounts at once in the same browser

Posted by Macduff Hughes, Engineering Director

I have a couple different Gmail addresses that I use for different purposes. Historically, Google Accounts – including Gmail accounts — have only let people access one account at a time per browser, so using both accounts has been a bit inconvenient. I’ve either had to sign out and sign back in, use a second browser for my second account, or use a Chrome incognito window. And I'm not alone; lots of people have asked us for a better way to use multiple accounts at once in the same browser.

Now, you can visit google.com/accounts and click the link next to "Multiple sign-in." After you sign into your first account, you can sign in with up to two additional accounts from the new accounts menu in the upper right hand corner of Gmail, then easily toggle back and forth between them. You can even open multiple Gmail tabs — one for each of your accounts.



Please keep in mind that this is a feature for advanced users, and there are a couple things to watch out for:

1) Not all Google services support multiple account sign-in yet. For the services that don't support it (like Blogger and Picasa Web Albums), you'll be defaulted to the first account you signed in with during that browser session. So if you click a link from Gmail to Blogger, for example, you'll be logged into Blogger with the first account you signed in with, even if you clicked the link to Blogger from your second Gmail account.

2) We’re still working on making Gmail and Calendar work offline with multiple sign-in. If you rely on offline access, you probably don't want to enable this feature quite yet.

3) Multiple account sign-in only works on desktop browsers for now, so if you use Gmail on your phone's browser you won't see this option yet.

Since Google Apps customers can already sign in to their accounts at the same time as their personal Google Accounts, we won’t be adding this new feature to Google Apps until the new infrastructure is in place.

If you use more than one Google Account, we hope this makes you more efficient. If you have any questions, check out our help center.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/access-two-gmail-accounts-at-once-in.html

[G] Books of the world, stand up and be counted! All 129,864,880 of you.

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Inside Google Books: Books of the world, stand up and be counted! All 129,864,880 of you.

Posted by Leonid Taycher, software engineer

When you are part of a company that is trying to digitize all the books in the world, the first question you often get is: “Just how many books are out there?”

Well, it all depends on what exactly you mean by a “book.” We’re not going to count what library scientists call “works,” those elusive "distinct intellectual or artistic creations.” It makes sense to consider all editions of “Hamlet” separately, as we would like to distinguish between -- and scan -- books containing, for example, different forewords and commentaries.

One definition of a book we find helpful inside Google when handling book metadata is a “tome,” an idealized bound volume. A tome can have millions of copies (e.g. a particular edition of “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown) or can exist in just one or two copies (such as an obscure master’s thesis languishing in a university library). This is a convenient definition to work with, but it has drawbacks. For example, we count hardcover and paperback books produced from the same text twice, but treat several pamphlets bound together by a library as a single book.

Our definition is very close to what ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) are supposed to represent, so why can’t we just count those? First, ISBNs (and their SBN precursors) have been around only since the mid 1960s, and were not widely adopted until the early-to-mid seventies. They also remain a mostly western phenomenon. So most books printed earlier, and those not intended for commercial distribution or printed in other regions of the world, have never been assigned an ISBN.

The other reason we can’t rely on ISBNs alone is that ever since they became an accepted standard, they have been used in non-standard ways. They have sometimes been assigned to multiple books: we’ve seen anywhere from two to 1,500 books assigned the same ISBN. They are also often assigned to things other than books. Even though they are intended to represent “books and book-like products,” unique ISBNs have been assigned to anything from CDs to bookmarks to t-shirts.

What about other well-known identifiers, for example those assigned by Library of Congress (Library of Congress Control Numbers) or OCLC (WorldCat accession numbers)? Rather than identifying books, these identify records that describe bibliographic entities. For example the bibliographic record for Lecture Notes in Mathematics (a monographic series with thousands of volumes) is assigned a single OCLC number. This makes sense when organizing library catalogs, but does not help us to count individual volumes. This practice also causes duplication: a particular book can be assigned one number when cataloged as part of a series or a set and another when cataloged alone. The duplication is further exacerbated by the difficulty of aggregating multiple library catalogs that use different cataloging rules. For example, a single Italian edition of “Angels and Demons” has been assigned no fewer than 5 OCLC numbers.

So what does Google do? We collect metadata from many providers (more than 150 and counting) that include libraries, WorldCat, national union catalogs and commercial providers. At the moment we have close to a billion unique raw records. We then further analyze these records to reduce the level of duplication within each provider, bringing us down to close to 600 million records.

Does this mean that there are 600 million unique books in the world? Hardly. There is still a lot of duplication within a single provider (e.g. libraries holding multiple distinct copies of a book) and among providers -- for example, we have 96 records from 46 providers for “Programming Perl, 3rd Edition”. Twice every week we group all those records into “tome” clusters, taking into account nearly all attributes of each record.

When evaluating record similarity, not all attributes are created equal. For example, when two records contain the same ISBN this is a very strong (but not absolute) signal that they describe the same book, but if they contain different ISBNs, then they definitely describe different books. We trust OCLC and LCCN number similarity slightly less, both because of the inconsistencies noted above and because these numbers do not have checksums, so catalogers have a tendency to mistype them.

We put even less trust in the “free-form” attributes such as titles, author names and publisher names. For example, are “Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 1234” and “Proceedings of the 4th international symposium on Logical Foundations of Computer Science” the same book? They are indeed, but there’s no way for a computer to know that from titles alone. We have to deal with these differences between cataloging practices all the time.

We tend to rely on publisher names, as they are cataloged, even less. While publishers are very protective of their names, catalogers are much less so. Consider two records for “At the Mountains of Madness and Other Tales of Terror” by H.P. Lovecraft, published in 1971. One claims that the book it describes has been published by Ballantine Books, another that the publisher is Beagle Books. Is this one book or two? This is a mystery, since Beagle Books is not a known publisher. Only looking at the actual cover of the book will clear this up. The book is published by Ballantine as part of “A Beagle Horror Collection”, which appears to have been mistakenly cataloged as a publisher name by a harried librarian. We also use publication years, volume numbers, and other information.

So after all is said and done, how many clusters does our algorithm come up with? The answer changes every time the computation is performed, as we accumulate more data and fine-tune the algorithm. The current number is around 210 million.

Is that a final number of books in the world? Not quite. We still have to exclude non-books such as microforms (8 million), audio recordings (4.5 million), videos (2 million), maps (another 2 million), t-shirts with ISBNs (about one thousand), turkey probes (1, added to a library catalog as an April Fools joke), and other items for which we receive catalog entries.

Counting only things that are printed and bound, we arrive at about 146 million. This is our best answer today. It will change as we get more data and become more adept at interpreting what we already have.

Our handling of serials is still imperfect. Serials cataloging practices vary widely across institutions. The volume descriptions are free-form and are often entered as an afterthought. For example, “volume 325, number 6”, “no. 325 sec. 6”, and “V325NO6” all describe the same bound volume. The same can be said for the vast holdings of the government documents in US libraries. At the moment we estimate that we know of 16 million bound serial and government document volumes. This number is likely to rise as our disambiguating algorithms become smarter.

After we exclude serials, we can finally count all the books in the world. There are 129,864,880 of them. At least until Sunday.
URL: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2010/08/books-of-world-stand-up-and-be-counted.html

[G] Join Arcade Fire live from Madison Square Garden

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YouTube Blog: Join Arcade Fire live from Madison Square Garden

Tonight, thousands of fans will pack into Madison Square Garden in New York City to hear Arcade Fire...but they won’t be the only ones experiencing the band’s orchestral indie rock roar: the concert will be live-streamed right here at 10 p.m. (ET). The global webcast will be directed by Monty Python alum and award-winning filmmaker Terry Gilliam, and is the first show in the new “Unstaged” concert series brought to you by YouTube, American Express and Vevo.


But don’t simply watch -- participate! During tonight’s concert, you can interact with the band and the performance itself by choosing your own camera angle. You can also be part of the show via the "Share Your Suburb" photo project. Since Arcade Fire’s new album is called The Suburbs, they’re encouraging fans to upload pictures of their own leafy neighborhoods, including snapshots of front porches, tree-lined streets and grocery store parking lots -- anything that reflects your hometown. The band will feature their favorite submissions onstage during their live performance, so go ahead and submit your images here.

Viewers will also hear from the group in a special pre-show Q&A interview conducted by Terry Gilliam, based on questions you asked here.

So tune in tonight at 10 p.m. ET to catch these chart-topping Canadians performing live from one of the most legendary venues in NYC. And don’t fret if you miss anything: highlights from the concert will be available on the band’s YouTube channel shortly after the event.

Michele Flannery, Music Manager, recently watched “Neon Bible/Wake Up! Take Away Show.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/uohV36Ql56c/join-arcade-fire-live-from-madison.html

[G] Google North American Faculty Summit - Day 2

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Official Google Research Blog: Google North American Faculty Summit - Day 2

Posted by Andrew Tomkins, Director of Engineering, Google Research

Friday at the Google Faculty Summit, we discussed ideas around online social capabilities. Chris Messina opened the discussion with a talk about open initiatives for the social web. Damon Horowitz, founder of Aardvark, gave a talk about the Aardvark experience. But in this post, I’d like to talk about a panel I moderated on the future of the social web. The panel consisted of four experts in the area. Joseph Smarr came to Google after eight years as CTO of social networking site Plaxo. Lada Adamic is on the faculty at University of Michigan, where she studies the nature of social and information networks. Eytan Adar is also on the faculty at the University of Michigan, where he studies the evolution of production and consumption of data over time. Luis von Ahn is on the faculty of Carnegie Melon University and also an employee at Google; he studies mechanisms to connect significant human efforts to interesting problems.

One theme that received a lot of attention from panelists and audience members alike was the benefits and pitfalls of social personalization. In the context of an activity stream, there seems to be general agreement that passing lightweight updates among friends is a valuable tool for “social grooming,” or keeping light contact with friends as a way of maintaining the state of the friendship. For information discovery, however, the topic received more debate: real-world social networks have always been used to both push and pull information, but in conjunction with high-quality search, it's reasonable to ask which types of information needs can be best addressed by your friends. Social network connections typically display homophily (similarity) in the dimensions of geography and interests, so your friends are more likely to have something interesting to say about your local area and your longstanding hobbies or interests, along with other subjects. If so, the answer you receive has two added bonuses. First, your background knowledge about your friend will aid you in assessing the quality of the answer. And second, an answer from a friend satisfies not just an information need but also a human need to interact and share experiences. This socially augmented information can arrive through a push channel in which your friend already posted (for example) a review for a restaurant, or through a pull channel in which you send to your friends a request for information. The same mechanisms for social information sharing may also operate powerfully in the context of a group coming together around a shared interest or goal, rather than just in the context of an individual. Consider for example a group of students working together to understand some new material. The same two mechanisms apply: knowledge about the other students helps you evaluate their contributions, and the interactions in the group have value beyond the pure information transmitted.

There was considerable discussion about social networks' capacity to funnel information to a user through the lens of a particular viewpoint or ideology. Imagine an individual who arrives on the web as a supporter or detractor of a particular political figure or mindset, and then surrounds him or herself with like-minded people online, enjoying positive and supportive discussions but failing to encounter a diverse set of views and counter-opinions. Literature in the social sciences, beginning with the famous Asch conformity experiments from the 1950s, details the mechanisms that cause people to conform to group expectations and even abandon normal personality traits based on the norms of the new situation. And work by Nobel Prize-winning economist Thomas Schelling shows that very small and "reasonable" biases we might have towards avoiding becoming an extreme minority might lead a system to evolve into a highly balkanized state. Similar models have been proposed and evaluated in the Internet domain, and some preliminary measurements have been performed. While faculty members in the audience surmised that personalization could lead to more extremism, the group agreed there is no conclusive evidence.

Another topic we touched on is mechanism design: the problem of designing systems so that agents in the system, each acting selfishly, will together produce some desired outcome. Consider a social networking game. If the desired outcome is revenue for the game manufacturer, then the actions that increase status in the game (using real-world currency to purchase items in the game; inviting friends to join and participate in the game; clicking on advertisements in the game) are designed well to support this goal. Rewarding the action of bringing new friends into the game is one obvious approach to increasing the total user population. More subtly, any game system must provide sufficient fun to be worth the expense to users. The dramatic success of casual online games of this form (6 percent of U.S. pageviews come from these games, according to a study by Ravi Kumar and myself in the WWW 2010 conference) is a testimony to the presence of successful mechanisms of this form.

Finally, here is a small sampling of other issues that arose in the panel as controversial points or interesting areas for future research:
  1. Social networks draw massive amounts of user time. We are beginning to get some limited visibility into exactly how this attention is allocated, which raises the research question of how much utility users are actually deriving from this investment of time, either in information, entertainment, social grooming or other intangibles.
  2. In certain online communities, we see behavioral norms that are skewed towards public visibility of essentially all activity. Do these norms reflect the desires of the populations that choose to join the community, or do they emerge specifically because of the technical tools offered by the website that hosts the community?
  3. Social networks are increasingly offering richer tools to users in an attempt to capture nuances of interactions that exist in the real world. In the fullness of time, how close will we get, and when will this happen?
  4. Social networks formalize the status of a friendship, with significant breakpoints at initiation, acceptance and removal of a binary tie. The visibility of these events leads to both "overfriending" and offense when friendships are refused or removed. Are there improved mechanisms to produce and manage the relationships in online social networks, and if so, what are these mechanisms?
  5. Social network graphs are notoriously difficult to partition into large regions with few edges between them (the sole exception being parts of a network that interact using different languages). A series of computational challenges arise when attempting to shard these networks for distributed analysis or serving from multiple computers.
One thing is clear from the discussion on Friday: social networks are increasingly becoming a valuable area for academic study. Faculty from widely disparate areas of computer science have thought deeply about the issues and implications of these tools; active research is ongoing in essentially all top institutions; and social network dynamics are appearing in the undergraduate curriculum. On top of that, they are an interdisciplinary phenomenon, involving not only many aspects of CS (UX, mechanism design, intense system requirements, security and privacy) but also psychology, economics and ethics, to name a few. There is much to study in order to understand these networks and maximize their societal value.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2010/08/google-north-american-faculty-summit_04.html

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

[G] Become the ultimate sports fan with Chrome Extensions

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Google Chrome Blog: Become the ultimate sports fan with Chrome Extensions

Football season is coming soon. There are also many other sports events like baseball, tennis, golf and soccer that are in full swing. For die-hard sports fans out there, I found some handy Chrome extensions to help you track all the games, matches and player stats.


The Are You Watching This?! Sports extension alerts you when games get interesting via colored icons, so you know when to turn in. It lists the scores, news and TV listings for many professional and college sports in the US.

For those who need an edge in your fantasy sports leagues, there are a few Chrome extensions that can help you improve your fantasy team fast. Pickemfirst Fantasy Sports works with Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS and many other fantasy sports websites. This extension brings you news, stats and blogger opinions about all the players mentioned on the web page currently displayed in your browser.


Tweetbeat Firsthand brings in recent tweets from people and organizations mentioned in the page you're looking at. With this extension, you can see what players, coaches, sports bloggers and commentators think about upcoming matchups.

If following sports online is not enough for you. StubHub's Event Ticket Finder helps you find last-minute tickets to your favorite sports events right in your browser.

These are just a few extensions to help you stay on top of your game, and you can find many more in the Chrome extensions gallery.


Posted by Koh Kim, Associate Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2010/08/become-ultimate-sports-fan-with-chrome.html

[G] LA’s move to Google Apps continues apace

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: LA’s move to Google Apps continues apace

Earlier today, the Los Angeles city council voted unanimously in favor of completing the City’s move to Google Apps. More than 10,000 City employees are already using Google Apps for Government, and Los Angeles taxpayers are expected to save more than $5.5 million.

Within a few months and in less than a year since the project began, we expect that all 30,000 city employees, including the 13,000 members of the Los Angeles Police Department and other public safety officials, will be migrated to Google Apps. LA’s move to the cloud is the first of its kind, and it’s not surprising that it’s taken a little longer than anticipated to identify and address all of the City’s unique requirements. We’re very pleased with the progress to date, and are committed to making this a great success for Los Angeles and a milestone for cloud computing.

Posted by Jocelyn Ding, Director of Operations
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/08/las-move-to-google-apps-continues-apace.html

[G] Update on Wave for Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Update on Wave for Google Apps

Soon we’ll be giving Google Apps customers access to many more Google services. In the meantime, we want to share an update on Google Wave, a web app for real time communication and collaboration, which has been available to customers in Labs since May. Since we first showed Wave as a developer preview at Google I/O last year, it set a high bar for what was possible in a web browser. But despite its compelling features for particular tasks, such as discussing and developing content in small groups, Wave has not grown as quickly as we would have liked. For that reason, we don’t plan to continue to develop Wave as a stand-alone product, though we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year. We have already open sourced several components related to Google Wave, so our customers and partners can continue the innovation. In addition, we will work on tools so that users easily "liberate" their content from Wave.

You can read more on future plans for Wave on the Google Blog. We are proud of the work the Wave team has done, which has pushed web technology forward, and we will extend the technology for use in other Google projects. Finally, we are hugely thankful to those who have been testing Google Wave with us over the past couple months.

Posted by Matt Glotzbach, Product Management Director
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/08/update-on-wave-for-google-apps.html

[G] Update on Google Wave

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Official Google Blog: Update on Google Wave

We have always pursued innovative projects because we want to drive breakthroughs in computer science that dramatically improve our users’ lives. Last year at Google I/O, when we launched our developer preview of Google Wave, a web app for real time communication and collaboration, it set a high bar for what was possible in a web browser. We showed character-by-character live typing, and the ability to drag-and-drop files from the desktop, even “playback” the history of changes—all within a browser. Developers in the audience stood and cheered. Some even waved their laptops.

We were equally jazzed about Google Wave internally, even though we weren’t quite sure how users would respond to this radically different kind of communication. The use cases we’ve seen show the power of this technology: sharing images and other media in real time; improving spell-checking by understanding not just an individual word, but also the context of each word; and enabling third-party developers to build new tools like consumer gadgets for travel, or robots to check code.

But despite these wins, and numerous loyal fans, Wave has not seen the user adoption we would have liked. We don’t plan to continue developing Wave as a standalone product, but we will maintain the site at least through the end of the year and extend the technology for use in other Google projects. The central parts of the code, as well as the protocols that have driven many of Wave’s innovations, like drag-and-drop and character-by-character live typing, are already available as open source, so customers and partners can continue the innovation we began. In addition, we will work on tools so that users can easily “liberate” their content from Wave.

Wave has taught us a lot, and we are proud of the team for the ways in which they have pushed the boundaries of computer science. We are excited about what they will develop next as we continue to create innovations with the potential to advance technology and the wider web.

Posted by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations & Google Fellow
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/08/update-on-google-wave.html

[G] Respond to reviews for your business on Google Place Page

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Google LatLong: Respond to reviews for your business on Google Place Page


Whether you’re looking for a great lounge to hang out with your friends or a trusty shop to repair your bicycle, the web is a great place to discover and learn about local businesses and services. Some of the listings on Google Maps showcase reviews to help prospective customers make informed decisions and find the places that are just right for them. Reviews on Google Maps are assembled from a variety of sources on the web to give you the best possible overview of what people are saying about a specific place. We also encourage users to share their opinions by writing reviews directly on the Place Page of any place they’ve visited, be it a local business, tourist attraction or the like.

Starting today, if you’re a verified Google Places business owner, you can publicly respond to reviews written by Google Maps users on the Place Page for your business. Engaging with the people who have shared their thoughts about your business is a great way to get to know your customers and find out more. Both positive and negative feedback can be good for your business and help it grow (even though it’s sometimes hard to hear). By responding, you can build stronger relationships with existing and prospective customers. For example, a thoughtful response acknowledging a problem and offering a solution can often turn a customer who had an initially negative experience into a raving supporter. A simple thank you or a personal message can further reinforce a positive experience. Ultimately, business owner responses give you the opportunity to learn what you do well, what you can do better, and show your customers that you’re listening.

Before writing your first response, we recommend reading our handy tips on how to respond to reviewers. Then take a stab at responding by following these instructions. If you have not yet verified ownership for your business on Google, please visit Google Places to claim your listing.

Posted by John Maguire, Google Place Page team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/08/respond-to-reviews-for-your-business-on.html

[G] Back to Basics: Keyword/Landing Page Combinations

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Google Analytics Blog: Back to Basics: Keyword/Landing Page Combinations

Starting today, we’re reinstating the Back To Basics series. Each Wednesday, we’ll share a Google Analytics tip, usually something that you can try right away with your own data to gain new insights. This week, we’ll illustrate a quick way to see how many visits you get from different keyword/landing page combinations.

A friend of mine recently created several new landing pages that she hoped would attract traffic. She wanted to see at a glance whether people who searched on her top keywords were seeing the new pages. While she knew that she could use the Top Landing Pages report to analyze each individual landing page, she wanted to see keyword/landing page combinations in a single report.

There’s an easy way to do this. Go to the Keywords report under Traffic Sources. Look over to the right above the table and you’ll see Views: followed by a set of buttons. Click the Pivot view (5th button from the left). Now, look to the left, above the table, and you’ll see a Pivot by dropdown menu. Select Landing Page from this menu.













Voilà! The keywords will be listed down the side and landing pages will be listed across the top. You can now see how many visits you received for each keyword/landing page combination.














You can see up to five landing pages listed across the top of the report. You can scroll horizontally (across the landing pages) using the arrow buttons at the top right of the table.
















The pivot view is also really useful for seeing at a glance how many visits you get from each keyword and search engine combination. To do this, you’d use the same Keywords report and pivot by Source.

That’s this week’s tip. We’ll be back next Wednesday for another Back to Basics post.

Posted by Alden DeSoto, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/08/back-to-basics-keywordlanding-page.html

[G] NewTeeVee Guide to Playing WebM

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: NewTeeVee Guide to Playing WebM

Janko Roettgers at NewTeeVee has written a handy guide to playing WebM video on your system. Check it out.
URL: http://webmproject.blogspot.com/2010/08/newteevee-guide-to-playing-webm.html