Saturday, September 4, 2010

[G] Hot off the Satellite: Burning Man 2010

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Google LatLong: Hot off the Satellite: Burning Man 2010


For all you “Burners” out there (or those of us who wish we could go this weekend), we’ve just published imagery from Burning Man 2010, captured Wednesday, September 1st by GeoEye’s GeoEye-1 satellite. This annual event, taking place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, celebrates both human individuality and togetherness, highlighted by the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy (“The Man”) Saturday evening. You can find the location of the “The Man” in the center of the annually-built tent city, shown below.


Black Rock Desert tent city (left)
Location of “The Man" (right)


To view this great new Burning Man imagery in Google Earth, select the 'GeoEye Featured Imagery' button located in the Google Earth 'More' folder:

Also, if you’re headed out to Burning Man this weekend, be sure to check out this KML from Google Earth Community user “Portaplaya,” which provides a Burning Man street map.


Posted by Pete Giencke, GIS Data Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/09/hot-off-satellite-burning-man-2010.html

Friday, September 3, 2010

[G] Interviews from GUADEC, Part 3

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Google Open Source Blog: Interviews from GUADEC, Part 3



For the past two weeks, we’ve been sharing Jeremy Allison’s video interviews from his trip to GUADEC. Today we have a third video where he talks to Lennart Poettering, creator of PulseAudio. Jeremy and Lennart talk about PulseAudio features, how Lennart got started improving audio on the linux desktop, and how to be successful in free software. Enjoy!

Thanks to Fabian Scherschel of Sixgun Productions for operating the camera.
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/09/interviews-from-guadec-part-3.html

[G] Deep Dive Articles For The Data Export API

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Google Analytics Blog: Deep Dive Articles For The Data Export API

On the Google Analytics API Team, we’re fascinated with what people create using the Data Export API. You guys come up with some really amazing stuff! Lately, we’ve also been paying a lot of attention to how people use it. We looked at whether the API has stumbling points (and where they are), what common features every developer wants in their GA applications, and what tricky areas need deeper explanations than we can give by replying to posts in our discussion group.

As a result of identifying these areas, we’ve written a few in-depth articles. Each article is meant as a “Deep Dive” into a specific topic, and is paired with open-source, sample reference code.

In no particular order, the articles are as follows:

Visualizing Google Analytics Data with Google Chart Tools
This article describes how you can use JavaScript to pull data from the Export API to dynamically create and embed chart images in a web page. To do this, it shows you how to use the Data Export API and Google Chart Tools to create visualizations of your Google Analytics Data.

Outputting Data from the Data Export API to CSV Format
If you use Google Analytics, chances are that your data eventually makes its way into a spreadsheet. This article shows you how to automate all the manual work by printing data from the Data Export API in CSV, the most ubiquitous file format for table data.

Filling in Missing Values In Date Requests
If you want to request data displayed over a time series, you will find that there might be missing dates in your series requests. When requesting multiple dimensions, the Data Export API only returns entries for dates that have collected data. This can lead to missing dates in a time series, but this article describes how to fill in these missing dates.


We think this article format makes for a perfect jumping off point. Download the code, follow along in the article, and when you’re done absorbing the material, treat the code as a starting point and hack away to see what you can come up with!

And if you’ve got some more ideas for areas you’d like us to expound upon, let us know!

Posted by Alexander Lucas, Google Analytics API Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/09/deep-dive-articles-for-data-export-api.html

[G] Location extensions with multiple addresses available on mobile devices

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Inside AdWords: Location extensions with multiple addresses available on mobile devices

Cross-posted from the Google Mobile Ads Blog

Do you have several business locations in one city? For example, are you a national retailer of consumer electronics who wants to increase foot traffic to your Los Angeles area stores?

Every day, consumers are using their high-end mobile devices to find directions to local businesses, making mobile an ideal way to reach this audience. We’re excited to streamline this experience by announcing a new enhancement to the location extensions ad format: location extensions with multiple addresses. This new feature will ensure that your customers connect with the right location of your business at the right time.

Now available on Google Maps for Mobile (GMM) versions 4.4 and above on Android devices, location extensions with multiple addresses allow consumers to find the most relevant location of your business on a Google mobile map.

Featuring your business location alongside your mobile ad is a powerful method to drive foot traffic and in-store sales. For instance, if a potential customer is looking for a wireless communications store like Sprint, an ad within GMM can display all Sprint locations near them. This not only delivers a relevant search experience, but also enables customers to visit the closest and most convenient Sprint store location.


Here’s how location extensions with multiple addresses work:
  1. Based on a user’s search and location signals, AdWords can display a clickable banner with the option to show all locations for a particular business in Google Maps for Mobile.

  2. When the “Show all” banner is clicked, the map displays just the locations of your business as indicated by your business icon. Using your business logo as the icon is a great opportunity to build awareness and loyalty for your brand.

  3. Clicking on a specific business location leads the user to a page with more details about the business -- including ad text, business address with directions and the ability to call or visit the website.

  4. After the search is completed, the business icon and location are automatically saved as a GMM Layer and will continue to appear on the map in subsequent search results until turned off by the user.
To take advantage of this enhancement, you must be a primary business owner and have enabled location extensions within your Google Places account. Additionally, your campaigns must target the iPhone and other high-end mobile devices with full mobile browsers. You will only be charged when users click on the website URL or the phone icon displayed on the details page of a particular business location.

Location extensions with multiple addresses launched for desktop earlier this summer and we’ve worked hard to bring it to mobile. For now, this feature is only available on Android devices, but we hope to expand to other platforms in the near future.

Location extensions ad formats can show in the United States as well as a number of other countries. To learn more about location extensions with multiple addresses, please visit our Help Center.

Posted by Surojit Chatterjee, Google Mobile Ads Product Manager
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/09/location-extensions-with-multiple.html

[G] Google Apps highlights – 9/3/2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 9/3/2010

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

Recently we introduced powerful, time-saving features in Gmail: Priority Inbox and the ability to call phones right from Gmail. Google spreadsheets added new features, and many more businesses and schools moved to the cloud with Google Apps.

Cut through the clutter with Gmail Priority Inbox
Since its beginning, Gmail has been helping people cope with large amounts of email, whether it’s with more than seven gigabytes of storage, really fast search, great spam filtering or automatically organized conversations. This Monday we launched Priority Inbox, which helps you get through your inbox even faster by automatically putting important messages front and center. The more that you use Gmail, the better Priority Inbox will become at categorizing the email you receive. Our research suggests that the typical information worker can save a whole week of work time each year with this feature!



Call phones from Gmail
People in the U.S. can now call any phone right within Gmail. If you have a Google Voice account (it's free! and open to everyone in the U.S.), you can also receive calls to your Google Voice number right within Gmail. Calls to the U.S. and Canada are free at least until the end of the year, and international rates start at just $0.02 per minute. Google Apps customers won’t see this feature quite yet, but Google Voice and call phones in Gmail are coming soon with the new infrastructure for Google Apps accounts.


Improved scheduler in Google Calendar
Last Thursday we made it easier to set up new events in Google Calendar. The interface for repeating events is now more intuitive, and we’ve improved how we help you find a good time for your event, even if you’re coordinating a large group of people with busy schedules.


In-cell drop-down with validation and more in Google spreadsheets
We added two helpful features in spreadsheets last week as well. In-cell drop-down with validation allows you to configure cells to display a drop-down menu of accepted values. For example, you can require a cell’s value to be selected from a list of specific cities. We also introduced the ability to easily see which cells have formulas, which can come in handy when you’re working on a complicated mode. You can turn this feature on from the formula bar by selecting the “Show All Formulas” button, selecting “Show All Formulas” in the View menu or hitting Ctrl `.


Who’s gone Google?
The pace of organizations saying goodbye to legacy on-premises technology and moving into the cloud continues to accelerate. Read more about why The Richmond Group, Box.net, Bowerly Lane Bicycles and EPS Communications selected Google Apps for their messaging and collaboration needs.

I hope these updates help you or your organization get even more from Google Apps. For details and the latest news in this area, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-apps-highlights-932010.html

[G] Trimming our privacy policies

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Official Google Blog: Trimming our privacy policies

Long, complicated and lawyerly—that's what most people think about privacy policies, and for good reason. Even taking into account that they’re legal documents, most privacy policies are still too hard to understand.

So we’re simplifying and updating Google’s privacy policies. To be clear, we aren’t changing any of our privacy practices; we want to make our policies more transparent and understandable. As a first step, we’re making two types of improvements:
  1. Most of our products and services are covered by our main Google Privacy Policy. Some, however, also have their own supplementary individual policies. Since there is a lot of repetition, we are deleting 12 of these product-specific policies. These changes are also in line with the way information is used between certain products—for example, since contacts are shared between services like Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Docs, it makes sense for those services to be governed by one privacy policy as well.
  2. We’re also simplifying our main Google Privacy Policy to make it more user-friendly by cutting down the parts that are redundant and rewriting the more legalistic bits so people can understand them more easily. For example, we’re deleting a sentence that reads, “The affiliated sites through which our services are offered may have different privacy practices and we encourage you to read their privacy policies,” since it seems obvious that sites not owned by Google might have their own privacy policies.
In addition, we’re adding:
  • More content to some of our product Help Centers so people will be able to find information about protecting their privacy more easily; and
  • A new privacy tools page to the Google Privacy Center. This will mean that our most popular privacy tools are now all in one place.
These privacy policy updates will take effect in a month, on October 3. You can see the new main Google Privacy Policy here, and if you have questions this FAQ should be helpful.

Our updated privacy policies still might not be your top choice for beach reading (I am, after all, still a lawyer), but hopefully you’ll find the improvements to be a step in the right direction.

Posted by Mike Yang, Associate General Counsel
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/trimming-our-privacy-policies.html

[G] Texas inquires on our approach to competition

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Google Public Policy Blog: Texas inquires on our approach to competition

Posted by by Don Harrison, Deputy General Counsel

We've always worked hard to ensure that our success is earned the right way -- by building great products, not locking in our users or advertisers. That said, we recognize that as Google grows, we’re going to face more questions about how our business works.

As Search Engine Land first reported, we've recently been approached by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s office, which is conducting an antitrust review of Google. We look forward to answering their questions because we’re confident that Google operates in the best interests of our users.

Occasionally, we’re asked about the “fairness” of our search engine -- why do some websites get higher rankings than others? The important thing to remember is that we built Google to provide the most useful, relevant search results and ads for users. In other words, our focus is on users, not websites. Given that not every website can be at the top of the results, or even appear on the first page of our results, it’s unsurprising that some less relevant, lower quality websites will be unhappy with their ranking.

The Texas Attorney General’s office asked for information about a number of companies whose cases have been well publicized. Here is some background on them:

  • Foundem -- the British price comparison site that is backed by ICOMP, an organization funded largely by Microsoft. They claim that Google’s algorithms demote their site because they are a direct competitor to our search engine. The reality is that we don’t discriminate against competitors. Indeed, companies like Amazon, Shopping.com and Expedia typically rank very high in our results because of the quality of the service they offer users. Various experts have taken a closer look at the quality of Foundem’s website, and NYU professor James Grimmelmann concluded, “I want Google to be able to rank them poorly.”
  • SourceTool/TradeComet - SourceTool is a website run by parent company TradeComet, whose private antitrust lawsuit against Google was dismissed by a federal judge earlier this year. The media have noted that TradeComet is represented by longtime Microsoft antitrust attorneys, and independent search experts have called SourceTool a “click arbitrage” site with little original content.
  • myTriggers - Another site represented by Microsoft’s antitrust attorneys, myTriggers alleges that they suffered a drop in traffic because Google reduced their ad quality ratings. But recent filings have revealed that the company’s own servers overheated, explaining their reduced traffic.

We work hard to explain our approach to search and how our ranking works, and we also listen carefully to people’s concerns. We’re looking forward to working cooperatively with the Texas Attorney General’s office, and we strongly believe our business practices reflect our commitment to build great products for the benefit of users everywhere.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/09/texas-inquires-on-our-approach-to.html

[G] Going Google Across the 50 States: Maryland start-up hopes to level the playing field in education

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Going Google Across the 50 States: Maryland start-up hopes to level the playing field in education

Editor’s note: Over the past couple months, thousands of businesses have added their Gone Google story to our community map and even more have used the Go Google cloud calculator to test drive life in the cloud. To highlight some of these companies’ Gone Google stories, we decided to talk to Google Apps customers across the United States. Check back each week to see which state we visit next. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

This week we head to Maryland where StraighterLine is trying to level the playing field in education. StraighterLine’s mission is to disrupt the high cost of online education courses by directly partnering with colleges and vetting courses through national clearing houses. Joseph Thibault, Course Manager at StraighterLine, shares their story.

When we jumped into the world of online education head-first, our small staff was spread across the US. As a result, we decided to use Google Apps because of its ability to facilitate this virtual office. The ability to share docs, communicate synchronously, and work collaboratively on docs provided us with a quick and easy way to improve courses, our brand and website.


Google Apps has sped up the rate at which we collect information and communicate internally and with students. By using forms in Google Docs we can easily collect survey data from new students to help us focus our marketing efforts. We also use forms to collect course evaluations so that we can improve our courses and services quickly. Creating a form in Docs only takes a few minutes and the summary and charting features allow us to do a quick analysis with just a few clicks.

Gmail has also been a huge benefit to StraighterLine. Students can easily get in touch with us through Gmail and chat, allowing them to get help and continue learning in seconds rather than hours. At StraighterLine we’re happy to say we’ve gone Google!

Posted by Ashley Chandler, Google Apps team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/09/going-google-across-50-states-maryland.html

[G] Trimming our privacy policies

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Official Google Docs Blog: Trimming our privacy policies

Cross posted on the Gmail Blog and the Official Google Blog

Long, complicated and lawyerly—that's what most people think about privacy policies, and for good reason. Even taking into account that they’re legal documents, most privacy policies are still too hard to understand.

So we’re simplifying and updating Google’s privacy policies. To be clear, we aren’t changing any of our privacy practices; we want to make our policies more transparent and understandable. As a first step, we’re making two types of improvements:
  1. Most of our products and services are covered by our main Google Privacy Policy. Some, however, also have their own supplementary individual policies. Since there is a lot of repetition, we are deleting 12 of these product-specific policies. These changes are also in line with the way information is used between certain products—for example, since contacts are shared between services like Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Docs, it makes sense for those services to be governed by one privacy policy as well.
  2. We’re also simplifying our main Google Privacy Policy to make it more user-friendly by cutting down the parts that are redundant and rewriting the more legalistic bits so people can understand them more easily. For example, we’re deleting a sentence that reads, “The affiliated sites through which our services are offered may have different privacy practices and we encourage you to read their privacy policies,” since it seems obvious that sites not owned by Google might have their own privacy policies.
In addition, we’re adding:
  • More content to some of our product Help Centers so people will be able to find information about protecting their privacy more easily; and
  • A new privacy tools page to the Google Privacy Center. This will mean that our most popular privacy tools are now all in one place.
These privacy policy updates will take effect in a month, on October 3. You can see the new main Google Privacy Policy here, and if you have questions this FAQ should be helpful.

Our updated privacy policies still might not be your top choice for beach reading (I am, after all, still a lawyer), but hopefully you’ll find the improvements to be a step in the right direction.

Posted by Mike Yang, Associate General Counsel
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/09/trimming-our-privacy-policies.html

[G] Stay keen and start to Screen

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Google Finance Blog: Stay keen and start to Screen

Posted by Brian Shih, Product Manager

The Google Finance Stock Screener is one of the most powerful tools for financial research on the site. Save yourself some research time by letting the Stock Screener tell you exactly what you want! The Google Finance team has been listening to your feedback on Product Ideas, and we see a strong interest in this feature so we want to share our best practices for getting the most out of this tool.

The Stock Screener allows you to sort using a wide range of criteria - including a number of options you may not be familiar with yet. So even if you already use it, keep reading to learn new tips and tricks.

Getting Started

The Stock Screener can be accessed in two ways:
  1. From the left hand navigation bar on the homepage, or
  2. From a company page. Scroll down to ‘Key stats and ratios’ along the right hand side and click the ‘Screen stocks with similar metrics’ link. This will automatically fetch companies with similar P/E Ratios and Returns on Equity (TTM) (%)
So how specific can one really get?!... VERY

First, you can specify by the Exchange and/or Sector that you want, before narrowing down the financial metrics.

Don’t be afraid to ‘Add criteria’

Why stop at Market cap or P/E Ratio? The Google Finance Stock Screener is a comprehensive tool that lets you add valuation ratios, operating metrics, margins and many more. Simply click and choose from a variety of metrics including operating and stock metrics, price, margins, and growth. You can set a minimum and maximum for each metric or use the sliders to set your range. The Company Distribution shows you the relative frequency of stocks for the criterion but please note that this graph is a visual aid, not an analytic tool.


What about dividends? Perhaps you’re looking for a company that will only return a dividend next quarter. Select Div next quarter and the Screener will let you select a forecast value of the next quarterly dividend, per share, to be paid.

If you’re not sure what some of the criteria are, just click on them and a definition will appear in the Add Criteria wizard, as well as a help icon next to each line. And remember the search is live -- no buttons to press. As you make changes to your Screener criteria, the companies will update automatically!

Try these tips out and let us know what you think or submit your Stock Screener suggestions on our Product Ideas page. Stay tuned for more as we keep adding new features to Google Finance. To catch the latest from the Google Finance team you can follow us on Twitter.
URL: http://googlefinanceblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/posted-by-brian-shih-product-manager.html

[G] Trimming our privacy policies

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Google Public Policy Blog: Trimming our privacy policies

Posted by Mike Yang, Associate General Counsel
(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

Long, complicated and lawyerly—that's what most people think about privacy policies, and for good reason. Even taking into account that they’re legal documents, most privacy policies are still too hard to understand.

So we’re simplifying and updating Google’s privacy policies. To be clear, we aren’t changing any of our privacy practices; we want to make our policies more transparent and understandable. As a first step, we’re making two types of improvements:
  1. Most of our products and services are covered by our main Google Privacy Policy. Some, however, also have their own supplementary individual policies. Since there is a lot of repetition, we are deleting 12 of these product-specific policies. These changes are also in line with the way information is used between certain products—for example, since contacts are shared between services like Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Docs, it makes sense for those services to be governed by one privacy policy as well.
  2. We’re also simplifying our main Google Privacy Policy to make it more user-friendly by cutting down the parts that are redundant and rewriting the more legalistic bits so people can understand them more easily. For example, we’re deleting a sentence that reads, “The affiliated sites through which our services are offered may have different privacy practices and we encourage you to read their privacy policies,” since it seems obvious that sites not owned by Google might have their own privacy policies.
In addition, we’re adding:
  • More content to some of our product Help Centers so people will be able to find information about protecting their privacy more easily; and
  • A new privacy tools page to the Google Privacy Center. This will mean that our most popular privacy tools are now all in one place.
These privacy policy updates will take effect in a month, on October 3. You can see the new main Google Privacy Policy here, and if you have questions this FAQ should be helpful.

Our updated privacy policies still might not be your top choice for beach reading (I am, after all, still a lawyer), but hopefully you’ll find the improvements to be a step in the right direction.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/09/trimming-our-privacy-policies.html

[G] Trimming our privacy policies

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Official Gmail Blog: Trimming our privacy policies

Posted by Mike Yang, Associate General Counsel

(Cross-posted from the Google Blog)

Long, complicated and lawyerly—that's what most people think about privacy policies, and for good reason. Even taking into account that they’re legal documents, most privacy policies are still too hard to understand.

So we’re simplifying and updating Google’s privacy policies. To be clear, we aren’t changing any of our privacy practices; we want to make our policies more transparent and understandable. As a first step, we’re making two types of improvements:
  1. Most of our products and services are covered by our main Google Privacy Policy. Some, however, also have their own supplementary individual policies. Since there is a lot of repetition, we are deleting 12 of these product-specific policies. These changes are also in line with the way information is used between certain products—for example, since contacts are shared between services like Gmail, Talk, Calendar and Docs, it makes sense for those services to be governed by one privacy policy as well.
  2. We’re also simplifying our main Google Privacy Policy to make it more user-friendly by cutting down the parts that are redundant and rewriting the more legalistic bits so people can understand them more easily. For example, we’re deleting a sentence that reads, “The affiliated sites through which our services are offered may have different privacy practices and we encourage you to read their privacy policies,” since it seems obvious that sites not owned by Google might have their own privacy policies.
In addition, we’re adding:
  • More content to some of our product Help Centers so people will be able to find information about protecting their privacy more easily; and
  • A new privacy tools page to the Google Privacy Center. This will mean that our most popular privacy tools are now all in one place.
These privacy policy updates will take effect in a month, on October 3. You can see the new main Google Privacy Policy here, and if you have questions this FAQ should be helpful.

Our updated privacy policies still might not be your top choice for beach reading (I am, after all, still a lawyer), but hopefully you’ll find the improvements to be a step in the right direction.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/trimming-our-privacy-policies.html

[G] AdWords Editor 8.0.1 for Windows and Mac

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Inside AdWords: AdWords Editor 8.0.1 for Windows and Mac

In order to make it easier for you to manage your account and take advantage of location extensions, we’re releasing a new version of AdWords Editor, 8.0.1, for Windows and Mac.

AdWords Editor 8.0.1 now supports location extensions, our new and improved way to run local ads. To support this change, we've transitioned the local business ads in your AdWords account to ads that are compatible with location extensions, added the Extensions tab in the AdWords Editor interface, and removed the Local Business Ads tab. This new Extensions tab should help make it easy for you to create and manage your location extensions. Learn more.

To help you focus on just what you need when you’re managing your AdWords account, AdWords Editor 8.0.1 also introduces collapsible and expandable panels, progress bars for tasks that can take some time, improved adding of My Client Center accounts, simplified exception requests, and more helpful error messages.

To learn more about all of the new features in version 8.0.1, such as support for campaigns using target CPA and enhanced CPC bidding options, read the release notes.

If you're already using AdWords Editor, you'll be prompted to upgrade automatically, as soon as it's available for you. After you install the new version, you’ll need to download your account again. To preserve your comments and unposted changes, select the 'Backup then Upgrade' option in the automatic upgrade prompt, then import the backup file after downloading the account. We’re launching version 8.0.1 to all users over the course of the next few weeks, so don’t worry if you don’t get it right away.

If you’re not using AdWords Editor, you can visit our website to download it. Find more information and answers to your AdWords Editor questions in our Help Center.

Posted by Jason Shafton, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/09/adwords-editor-801-for-windows-and-mac.html

Thursday, September 2, 2010

[G] Content ID explained at TED

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Google Public Policy Blog: Content ID explained at TED

Posted by Mistique Cano, Manager, Public Policy Communications

YouTube’s Margaret Gould Stewart recently gave a TED talk about how YouTube’s Content ID system cross-references over 20 hours of uploaded content a minute with our rights holder database to give copyright owners choices. In the video, she shows how the Content ID technology works and explains, “The scale and speed of the system is breathtaking… We’re talking about over a hundred of years of video a day. It would be like 36,000 people staring at 36,000 monitors each and everyday without so much as coffee break.” Check it out.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/09/content-id-explained-at-ted.html

[G] A Global Greeting

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Inside AdSense: A Global Greeting

Members of the AdSense team from all over the world say hello from Mountain View, CA!



Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/09/global-greeting.html

[G] Gaining Altitude: Productivity in the Cloud

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Gaining Altitude: Productivity in the Cloud

Editor's note: As part of a new series, Gaining Altitude, we’ve invited well-known productivity experts and thought leaders to provide their perspectives on managing information overload and tips for success in a world where real-time communication and overflowing inboxes have become the norm.

Our first guest post is about Gmail’s new Priority Inbox by David Allen, widely recognized as a leading authority on personal and organizational productivity. He has been named one of the "Top 100 thought leaders" by Leadership magazine and Fast Company hailed him as "one of the world's most influential thinkers" in the arena of personal productivity. He is the author of three books: international bestseller, Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-Free Productivity ("GTD" as the method is popularly known), Ready for Anything, and Making It All Work: Winning at the Game of Work and Business of Life.

The volume of email we’re experiencing is a great boon for mankind. In addition to providing chronic complainers with content to justify their lamentations, it’s forcing us to confront our need for a behavior that’s fundamental and necessary to sanity in the modern world. We actually need to decide what stuff means to us when it shows up rather than when it blows up.

That doesn’t mean that people are automatically and naturally stepping up to the plate. There’s still an almost universal resistance to doing what’s required to keep a minimal backlog of unprocessed inputs. I’ve seen more than 40,000 emails in one inbox. But the pain is mounting, and the cry for solutions grows louder.

Google has taken an interesting and potentially important step in coming to the rescue with the new Priority Inbox functionality they’ve added to Gmail. At first it seems like a practical little enhancement for traditional email management. And when I first got wind of what they had done, my first reaction was, “Oh no, not another way to just keep rearranging and avoiding making decisions or actually doing something!”

But after examining what they’ve done, I have to admit that it’s actually part of a really big idea. (Are these Googlers aware of just how big an idea they’re playing with...dunno!) It’s not a complete solution, but I think it’s an important step. They’ve begun to address two key things in how we manage our focus: (1) what kind of attention should I be paying to something, and (2) once I’ve put that attention on it, what do I do with it?

These are decisions – important ones, to maintain a manageable quota of relevant things in your life. And decision-support is one of the bright open vistas for technology. What attention should I give something to begin with? And once I’ve decided what something means, where do those kinds of things go?

Priority Inbox provides a simple way to determine and filter what email inputs I should pay attention to first, a way to group inputs that need dedicated time and focus, and a way to park the “if I have time and feel like it & might want to do something with…” stuff. It’s also not dictator-ware. You have the ability to customize these simple but important front-end sortings, based upon how you think and work.

For those of you who already are familiar with my Getting Things Done best practices, the new Priority Inbox provides an additional tool for dealing with email efficiently. For someone who is simply lost when it comes to navigating the sea of email overload, it provides a simple but elegant starting point toward the only viable solution: rapid clarification and categorization of potentially meaningful input.

The jury is still out on the effectiveness of the sexy, fuzzy logic Gmail has embedded to determine the importance of emails coming to you, but they’ve made a very cool step in the direction of a big, important idea.

Posted by Ashley Chandler, Google Apps Team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/09/gaining-altitude-productivity-in-cloud.html

[G] Creating a “Zero Moment of Truth”: Maximizing Search Opportunity in CPG

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Official Google CPG Blog: Creating a “Zero Moment of Truth”: Maximizing Search Opportunity in CPG

Posted by Ali Manning, Industry Analyst for CPG

At Google, we view search as a “database of intentions”; for the CPG marketer, consumer search behavior reveals different moments during which we can connect with consumers who tell us (by typing into a search box) their varying levels of interest in our products. It’s up to us to connect with our customers at these “Zero Moments of Truth” (ZMOTs) and it can be helpful to understand how these align with the “CPG search universe”, especially because most CPG marketers don’t maximize this opportunity to reach customers through search.

Almost all CPG marketers have search ads that appear for their “brand” terms. That’s excellent. If someone asks about your brand, you should be there to answer.

But if we confine ourselves to just covering brand searches, we’re only reaching consumers who are self-identifying as being aware of our brand. We’re leaving out a big piece of the search pie.

Some CPG marketers expand search coverage to Product-related searches, an intuitive extension of standard search marketing efforts. Again, this is a great step—anyone who searches for a particular company's product should get the relevant brand message. But what about the users who are showing a high likelihood of interest in a product (and thus, potentially a particular brand), but are saying so indirectly?

These consumers are searching what we call Category & Association terms—searches that signal “I might be in the market for your product”, without having said just that.

For example, below is what the “search universe” looks like (scaled to actual search audience sizes) by Association, Category, Product and Brand for a moisturizer brand advertiser.

Source: Google Insights for Search
(note: these are searches for each set of terms related to ‘skiing’, ‘dry skin’, etc, which is independent of the advertiser’s search coverage)

Reaching a consumer across Association and Category searches increases the opportunity to reach potential customers in multiples, and each of these connections could create a Zero Moment of Truth. Which, in turn, can grow the demand for products and brands in a particular CPG category.
How does the CPG marketer connect with these consumers? That’s an “easy” one-two punch:
1. Relevant Content
2. Relevant Messaging (dependent on #1)
Of course, the opportunity to expand the universe might depend on the time of year (as it would for skiing):


Source: Google Insights for Search

What is most interesting is if we zoom into the other three sets of terms, they generally follow the same seasonal trend as skiing, which backs up the idea that all of these sets are touch-points to reach a consumer at (or create!) a zero moment of truth:


Source: Google Insights for Search

However, notice that searches for brand xyz remain nearly flat while the related searches for the Product (“moisturizer”), Category (“dry skin”) and Association (“skiing”, above) soar. It’s likely that this advertiser isn’t capitalizing on the search opportunity across these other sets, and so consumers aren’t being reached by Brand XYZ’s message, and aren’t, in turn, increasing their searches for Brand XYZ. These gaps are an opportunity for Brand XYZ to generate interest and demand in its products by creating a ZMOT through search.
URL: http://google-cpg.blogspot.com/2010/09/creating-zero-moment-of-truth.html

[G] Eclipse Day at the Googleplex 2010

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Google Open Source Blog: Eclipse Day at the Googleplex 2010

Here at Google, we have engineers using Eclipse every day to build our external and internal products, as well as engineers building and releasing Eclipse tools. Earlier this year, we announced Eclipse Labs, which is “a single place where anyone can start and maintain their open source projects based on the Eclipse platform with just a few clicks.” Since we use Eclipse so much here at Google, hosting Eclipse Day at the Googleplex is one way of giving back to the community and providing an environment for Eclipse contributors and users to network and share ideas. We hosted Eclipse Day before in 2009 and 2008, and last week we hosted our third year where we tried out some new ideas: a brief lunchtime unconference and post-conference Ignite talks.

Ian Skerrett of the Eclipse Foundation wrote on his blog,

...Over 150 people attended the day long event that included 12 sessions related to Eclipse and Google technology. The presentations are now available online. There was lots of great information presented, like upcoming improvements to the Android SDK (based on Eclipse), Git support in Eclipse, a review of the Instantiations tools that Google just purchased and an introduction to the new Tools for Mobile Web project.
Most important, all of us at Google would like to thank Ian Skerrett and everyone at the Eclipse Foundation for assembling three of these great events. We were happy to welcome the Eclipse community to our campus, and we are happy to continue to support Eclipse. Don’t forget that we’re always looking to make this conference better, so give us your ideas! Tell us what you would like to see at future events in the comments, or if you were able to attend, tell us what you thought about this year’s program.

By Robert Konigsberg, Software Build Tools Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/09/eclipse-day-at-googleplex-2010.html

[G] 5 Tips for campaigns on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: 5 Tips for campaigns on YouTube

This post is part of our "BizBlog Series", which was formerly its own blog. Check back each week to see articles for partners and advertisers on YouTube, or search under the label, "BizBlog".



In this election season, we've been working with political campaigns to understand how best to take advantage of what YouTube has to offer on a free and paid basis for getting their message out. Recently, we hosted a webcast to provide some tips to candidates running for office and advocacy groups campaigning for ballot issues on ways to present your candidate or your issue and engage with your constituents on YouTube. Did you miss it? No problem, we boil it down to 5 key tips for you here:



Tip #1: Search for your candidate or issue on YouTube. What did you find? With 2 billion video views per day, YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google. You most likely have a search engine strategy for the top search engines - is YouTube included in that plan? If not, what are the top results - is it your opponent’s message or is it one that frames your message in a positive light?



Tip #2: Master your destiny on YouTube. Set a destination for your candidate or issue by signing up for a politician channel. It’s free and enables you to present your candidate or issue using video. More importantly, it gives you a base for making sure you appear in search results per Tip #1.



Check out the channels for Jerry Brown and Carly Fiorina as examples of candidates running in California.





Tip #3: Consider paid advertising on YouTube. YouTube offers various cost-effective ad formats to help amplify what you may already be doing with other media. Promote your video as a Promoted Video against search results and related videos. Extend your TV ad assets with InStream Ads on YouTube, which we covered last week. Raise broad awareness with a homepage masthead ad or a one-day mobile roadblock. Included with YouTube advertising is free reporting on how your video ads are performing so that you can fine-tune your message and placement.



Tip #4: Engage in conversation with your constituents. Use free tools such as YouTube Moderator and video responses to start your dialogue. You can ask viewers to vote on topics they would like you to address. You can also hold weekly “chats” or an online “town hall” to directly answer their questions posed via YouTube Moderator or video responses.



For example, Texas gubernatorial candidate Bill White recently used Moderator to collect supporter feedback on curriculum standards.



Tip #5: Consult www.youtube.com/youchoose for more information. This site lists the resources described above and more. Use it to decide which tools work best for your campaign objective and budget. Whatever your issue or whomever your candidate, YouTube has an audience waiting to engage with you.



Happy campaigning!



Ramya Raghavan, YouTube News and Politics, and Jen Wasson, YouTube Ads, recently watched “Senate Candidate Freilich on a Cow


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/qYe_EbyJzqE/5-tips-for-campaigns-on-youtube.html

[G] Richard Petty Driving Experience puts Conversion Optimizer in High Gear, winning the Conversion Champion Challenge

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Inside AdWords: Richard Petty Driving Experience puts Conversion Optimizer in High Gear, winning the Conversion Champion Challenge

Back in June, we announced the Conversion Champion Challenge, a contest to help motivate you to get your conversion rates in shape for summer. Many of you embraced the challenge - with increased profits to show for it! However, one advertiser stood out among the rest as the true Conversion Champion. We’re delighted to invite Elliott Antal from Richard Petty Driving Experience, to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View, CA, to spend a day with the Google Conversion team. Elliott told us a bit about his journey to the finish line:

“The Conversion Champion Challenge was the perfect opportunity [for Richard Petty Driving Experience] to try some new tools in regards to our paid search marketing.

Richard Petty Driving Experience is the world's largest provider of NASCAR ride and drive entertainment and the exclusive stock car experience at premiere tracks such as Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Walt Disney World Speedway. A conversion for Richard Petty Driving Experience is a completed e-commerce transaction. Customers have the opportunity to purchase a ride, drive, or merchandise through www.DrivePetty.com.

On June 11, we activated the Conversion Optimizer for our primary search campaign. In the time after the activation we have seen our conversion rate increase by 10% and cost-per-acquisition drop 2%. We’ve also seen our clicks double, with average cost-per-click decreasing by 30%. Conversions are coming in at a healthy pace while maximizing the reach of our budget. Conversion Optimizer has most certainly made a positive impact on our account and performance is continuing to improve over time.”

Well done, Elliott! We look forward to meeting you in person and exploring more ways to boost your ROI.

To learn more the Conversion Optimizer, an automatic bidding tool for increasing your ROI, visit the Conversion Optimizer site.


Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/09/richard-petty-driving-experience-puts.html

[G] Drawing out ideas in documents

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Official Google Docs Blog: Drawing out ideas in documents

Have you recently toiled over instructions to assemble furniture? Now imagine the agony if you had no illustrations to fall back on. What’s the best way to teach kids about nutrition without a food pyramid?

Sometimes when working with text you realize that words can only articulate so much. And that’s why we have drawings in Google documents. Drawings can be useful for things like diagramming processes in a flowchart or clearly articulating the relationship between a groups of ideas.


To get started, select the Drawing option from the Insert menu:


Now, you’ll see the drawing editor.


When creating a drawing for a document, the shapes menu can be particularly helpful. From thought bubbles to arrows to a smiley-face, this menu can help you whip up something playful or professional in no time.


As with images, you can resize a drawing and even mark it as inline or fixed within your document.
You can also copy an existing Google drawing into a document. To do that, first select the relevant shapes in your original drawing, and then copy them using the Web clipboard.


In your document, open the Web clipboard and paste the drawing into your document.


Give it a test drive and let us know what you think in the comments.

Posted by: Henry Lau, Software Engineer
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/09/drawing-out-ideas-in-documents.html