Friday, September 10, 2010

[G] Looking Forward to Fall

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Google LatLong: Looking Forward to Fall

With Labor Day behind us, the summer is officially over for those of us in the United States. No need to fret, though. Autumn brings us many wonderful events - two of my favorites being baseball pennant races and, of course, Halloween. Our latest batch of imagery updates just happens to include a few places that capture the essence of the upcoming season and are getting me excited about all the great times to be had in the months ahead. Check out the images below:

corn maze in Petaluma, California

pumpkin patch in Petaluma, California

giant Louisville Slugger in Louisville, Kentucky

High Resolution Aerial Updates:
USA: Santa Rosa, Spokane, El Paso, Waco, Houston, Richmond, Louisville, Dover (DE), Perquimans County (NC), Pasquotank County (NC), Cass County (MO)
Poland: Warsaw, Lublin, Chelm, Piotrkow Trybunalski, Tomaszow Mazowiecki, Opole, Wroclaw, Swidnica, Walbrzych, Zielona Gora, Leszno, Torun
Sweden: Malmo, Nybro, Ulricehamn, Linkoping, Amal, Karlskoga, Kumla, Nynashamn
Spain: Euskadi, Basque Country
Mexico: Merida, Playa del Carmen

Countries receiving High Resolution Satellite Updates:
Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Cuba, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Brazil, Guyana, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Senegal, Guinea-Bussau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, Lesotho, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Hungary, Slovenia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Russia, Syria, Iran, Turkmenistan, Kyrgzstan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, China, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, The Philippines, Korea, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Figi

Countries receiving Medium Resolution Satellite Updates:
Canada, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Kyrgyzstan, China, Thailand

These updates are currently only available in Google Earth, but they'll also be in Google Maps soon. To get a complete picture of where we updated imagery, download this KML for viewing in Google Earth.

Posted by Matt Manolides, Senior Geo Data Strategist

[G] Responding to the fires in San Bruno

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Google LatLong: Responding to the fires in San Bruno

at 6:27pm
: We now have updated satellite imagery (from GeoEye) of the area. You can download it here and view it in Google Earth.

Like many friends in the Bay Area and across the country, I’ve been stunned by the images of raging fires in San Bruno. Nearly 40 structures have been destroyed and 120 damaged, with several fatalities and multiple injuries after the explosion of a gas line. More than 100 people have been evacuated to nearby shelters.

This disaster strikes close to home; our YouTube offices are about two miles away from the main gas explosion. We’re thankful that no Google employee was hurt, but remain concerned for the well-being of our neighbors in the area.

We are donating an initial amount of $50,000 to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter to help with relief efforts. We’re directing Googlers to the local blood drives today and will be hosting blood drives in our San Bruno, Mountain View and San Francisco offices early next week.

We’ve created this map to show the location of the explosion and highlight nearby shelters and resources. The map is open for collaboration and welcomes additional useful information. We encourage you to embed it in your website or blog. We are also exploring the possibility of obtaining updated imagery of the area to help responders visualize the scope of the disaster.

View San Bruno Gas Explosion in a larger map

Our hearts go out to our neighbors who have been affected by the explosion. We thank the firefighters and first responders who have been working tirelessly to contain the fires and help the residents of San Bruno. You can donate to help here.

Posted by Laszlo Bock, VP of People Operations

[G] Site Maintenance on Saturday, September 11

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Inside AdSense: Site Maintenance on Saturday, September 11

This Saturday, our engineers will be performing routine site maintenance from 10am to 2pm PDT. You'll be unable to log in to your AdSense account during this time, but we'll continue serving ads to your pages and tracking your clicks, impressions, and earnings as usual. In addition, your ad targeting won't be affected.

We've converted the maintenance start time for a few cities around the world:

London - 6pm Saturday
Alexandria - 8pm Saturday
Hyderabad - 10:30pm Saturday
Jakarta - 12am Sunday
Perth - 1am Sunday

To learn more about what goes on during these maintenance periods, check out this Inside AdSense post.

Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense Team

[G] Online censorship as a trade barrier?

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Google Public Policy Blog: Online censorship as a trade barrier?

Posted by Pablo Chavez, Director of Public Policy

Earlier this week U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk held a roundtable with a cross section of Silicon Valley companies to discuss trade challenges and opportunities faced by the U.S. tech sector.

One of the strongest themes? How online censorship functions as a trade barrier for U.S. technology companies abroad. Both Google and Facebook discussed the importance of strengthening laws and treaties to ensure the free flow of information online so that U.S. companies can compete on a level playing field abroad.

The event was hosted by the Global Innovation Forum, a project of the National Foreign Trade Council, and can be watched here.

[G] License Evolution and Hosting Projects on Code.Google.Com

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Google Open Source Blog: License Evolution and Hosting Projects on Code.Google.Com

Nearly 6 years ago when we first started thinking about doing project hosting on we noticed something particular about the other open source project hosting sites. They either accepted all Open Source Initiative (OSI) approved licenses, like Sourceforge, or they only accepted one, like the Free Software Foundation's Savannah project, which only accepted GPL'd projects.

In our day-to-day work looking after open source licensing, we lamented the proliferation of licenses and decided that we would split the difference and only offer a very limited subset of the approved OSI licenses choices to our users as a stand against the proliferation of the same. You see, we felt then and still feel now that the excessive number of open source licenses presents a problem for open source developers and those that adopt that software. Thus when we launched project hosting on, we only launched with a small subset of licenses.

This was hardly a barrier to adoption. While there were some complaints from some corners, in the intervening 5+ years since then, we've grown to become one of the largest hosts while allowing that ethic behind license choice to persist.

What's changing and why change now?

We've added an option to the license selector to allow any project to use an OSI approved license. Simply select “other open source” and indicate in your LICENSING, COPYING or similar file which license you are using.

Public domain projects are still only allowed on a case by case basis, as true public domain projects are quite rare and, in some countries, impossible. We encourage those that want to truly ship public domain to look at how D. Richard Hipp does things around SQLite and emulate his style. Email if you’d like to request that license be applied to your project.

(Please note: we will continue to hunt down and kill non-open source projects or other projects using Google Code as a generic file-hosting service.)

Why change now? The TL;DR version is that we think we've made our point and that this new way of doing things is a better fit to our goal of supporting open source software developers.

The longer form of the reason why is that we never really liked turning away projects that were under real, compatible licenses like the zlib or other permissive licenses, nor did we really like turning away projects under licenses that serve a truly new function, like the AGPL. We also think that there were inconsistencies in how we handled multi-licensed projects (for instance: a project that is under an Apache license, but has a zlib component.)

To rectify this, we decided to add an additional option to the license selector that would accommodate some flexibility around open source licenses. We hope you find it useful and look forward to seeing how you use the site!

By Chris DiBona, for the Project Hosting Team

[G] Interviews from GUADEC, Part 4

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Google Open Source Blog: Interviews from GUADEC, Part 4

Stormy Peters is the Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation, and when Jeremy Allison from the Google Open Source Programs Office ran into her at GUADEC, he was eager to talk to her about the direction that GNOME is heading. In the video above, Stormy and Jeremy discuss release schedules, GNOME 3, and hackfests. Enjoy!

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

[G] OAuth Sign-in Controllers for iOS and Mac OS X Applications

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Official Google Mac Blog: OAuth Sign-in Controllers for iOS and Mac OS X Applications

By Greg Robbins, Software Engineer

(Editor's note: Long-time readers know we sometimes publish posts aimed at programmers, and this is one of those. If you're not a software developer, don't worry. Our usual non-technical stuff will return.)

It’s rare today for any software to live in isolation. And often, applications want to connect to data in your Google Account. Social networks seek access to your Gmail contacts, finance programs try to sync with your Google Finance portfolio, and photo editing software would like to add eyeglasses and mustaches to the photos in your Picasa Web Albums account. But you probably don’t want your photo editing program to be able to download your financial portfolio, spend money with your Google Checkout account, or have access to any of your other personal data.

The fundamental problem is that giving your username and password to a program hands it access to all of your data. Recently, Internet software developers have converged on a solution called OAuth. When sites and software support OAuth, you only need to give your username and password—your credentials—to the site where your data belongs, and that site passes a token with strictly limited authorization rights back to other sites and software.

For example, if you want to use the new SuperAwesomeEditor application to trim your YouTube videos, the editing program can use OAuth to ask YouTube for permission to edit your videos, and then YouTube will ask you to verify your identify. Once you give your username and password to YouTube, it will hand back to SuperAwesomeEditor a token allowing it access just to your YouTube videos for editing. SuperAwesomeEditor won’t know your password, so it won’t be able to grab your financial documents or check out your Gmail contacts. And tomorrow, if you change your mind, you can tell YouTube to cancel that token, and suddenly SuperAwesomeEditor will be unable to access your videos at all. Now you’re in control of your personal data.

OAuth offers another big advantage: it gives the data provider flexibility in how it authenticates you. So today you may be asked for your username and password, and also to solve a captcha to prove you’re human. Tomorrow, with tighter security, the provider can add another means of authentication, perhaps by sending a text message to your phone with an extra passcode to type when signing in. Improvements in user authentication over time like this aren’t possible in software that only knows how to ask for a username and password.

Unfortunately, the rose of OAuth comes with thorns. One bit of pain is that it takes a lot of tricky programming for applications to use OAuth for authentication. Another downside stems from OAuth having been designed to allow one website to obtain authorization from another; it is not well-suited for use in installed applications, such as native iPhone, iPad, or Mac OS X software.

To encourage adoption of OAuth by Mac and iOS apps, we have released the Google Toolbox for Mac OAuth Controllers. This small set of Objective-C classes makes it easy for developers to add OAuth sign-in embedded into Cocoa apps. Since adoption of OAuth extends beyond Google, the OAuth controllers work with both Google and non-Google data providers.

Here’s how easy it is for developers to let users sign in to Google Contacts with OAuth from an iPhone application:

#import "GTMOAuthViewControllerTouch.h"

NSString *keychainItemName = @"HotSocialNetwork: Google Contacts"
NSString *scope = @"";
// scope for Google Contacts API

GTMOAuthViewControllerTouch *viewController =
[[[GTMOAuthViewControllerTouch alloc] initWithScope:scope
[[self navigationController] pushViewController:controller animated:YES];

When the user finishes signing in, the controller will invoke the application’s callback method:
- (void)viewController:(GTMOAuthViewControllerTouch *)viewController
finishedWithAuth:(GTMOAuthAuthentication *)auth
error:(NSError *)error {
if (error == nil) {
// Authentication succeeded; retain the auth object

That’s it. The controllers handle displaying an embedded web view and interacting with the server, and optionally saving the authorization token in the keychain. Later on, the application can use the auth object provided to the callback to authenticate and sign requests it makes to the server, like this:

[auth authorizeRequest:myNSURLMutableRequest];

Authenticating to non-Google services takes a few more lines of code to specify the application’s identity and the server addresses needed for authorization, but it’s almost as simple.

The OAuth protocol is in transition, as a newer version is currently being developed. But if you are a developer, there is already benefit to adopting OAuth for letting your users sign in to Google and other services. For more information about using the GTM OAuth controllers in your app, read the introduction at the project site, and join the discussion group. Google also maintains a site for our ongoing research into OAuth and related subjects.

The OAuth Controllers are an independent sibling project to the Google Toolbox for Mac, a collection of useful classes for iPhone and Mac developers. The controllers incorporate the newly-liberated GTM HTTP Fetcher project, our networking wrapper class, which I’ll discuss in an upcoming post. You can find more of our open-source Mac and iPhone toys on the Google Mac Developer Playground at

[G] Going Google across the 50 States: Google Apps and Google App Engine are a powerful combination for West Virginia business

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Going Google across the 50 States: Google Apps and Google App Engine are a powerful combination for West Virginia business

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.

As the former VP of Technology at a major financial services firm, Ray Malone has spent most of his career focused on business intelligence, data warehousing, and development of web-based applications. So, when his wife, Tina Malone, decided to start a new business out of their home in West Virginia, Ray naturally helped her pick out the technology that best suited her needs.

Today, with Ray’s help, Tina is running, a successful marketing business that provides companies with text message marketing, print advertising, and the ability to offer online coupons. The technology that powers the company is an important part of its success, and Ray shares with us how Google Apps and Google App Engine play a pivotal role.

“In 2008, my wife Tina came up with the idea for, but there was a catch – she expected me to set up our IT infrastructure with little to no money. I had been using Gmail and almost every other Google product for a long time so it was an easy decision to use Google to build the business. Now, our entire operation runs using both Google Apps and Google App Engine, and the combination of performance and scalability has been awesome.

We use Google Apps for everything from emailing to creating online documents and spreadsheets. I recently used a Google spreadsheet to create a financial calculator showing advertisers how much they could potentially make with our firm – I shared the spreadsheet with a prospective advertiser and walked him through it over the phone. We were both able to tweak specific inputs on the spreadsheet and see the results in real-time. It was a powerful way to communicate without having to be in the same room.

I’m constantly using Gmail and Google Calendar, and access them extensively from my Android-powered device. Both allow me to coordinate with our sales reps and contractors. Some of our contractors are located internationally so the Talk feature, integrated in Gmail, has been the primary communication channel.

With Google App Engine, I’ve built our entire web application. Python was a new language for us, but within a few months we were building dynamic content and connecting to vendor systems. Here’s an example of how it works – when a consumer sends us a text message requesting a coupon, we connect to the vendor’s system through an API (this is the vendor that is providing the coupon), and the right coupon is dynamically generated and sent back. If this is the second time the consumer has contacted us, a different coupon or message is sent back. All of the logic, and the ability to generate and send coupons is built with Google App Engine.

I’ve developed many systems over the years and used other well-known email clients, and this type of performance can’t be beat. You can do everything better with Google Apps.”

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, Google Apps team

[G] Responding to the fires in San Bruno

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Official Google Blog: Responding to the fires in San Bruno

Like many friends in the Bay Area and across the country, I’ve been stunned by the images of raging fires in San Bruno. Nearly 40 structures have been destroyed and 120 damaged, with several fatalities and multiple injuries after the explosion of a gas line. More than 100 people have been evacuated to nearby shelters.

This disaster strikes close to home; our YouTube offices are about two miles away from the main gas explosion. We’re thankful that no Google employee was hurt, but remain concerned for the well-being of our neighbors in the area.

We are donating an initial amount of $50,000 to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter to help with relief efforts. We’re directing Googlers to the local blood drives today and will be hosting blood drives in our San Bruno, Mountain View and San Francisco offices early next week.

We’ve created this map to show the location of the explosion and highlight nearby shelters and resources. The map is open for collaboration and welcomes additional useful information. We encourage you to embed it in your website or blog. We are also exploring the possibility of obtaining updated imagery of the area to help responders visualize the scope of the disaster.

View San Bruno Gas Explosion in a larger map

Our hearts go out to our neighbors who have been affected by the explosion. We thank the firefighters and first responders who have been working tirelessly to contain the fires and help the residents of San Bruno. You can donate to help here.

Posted by Laszlo Bock, VP of People Operations

[G] More On Instant Search

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Google Analytics Blog: More On Instant Search

Since this week’s launch of Instant Search, we’ve been asked how to track Instant Search in Google Analytics, and in particular, whether it’s possible to see partial Instant Search queries in your reports.

You actually don’t need to do anything to track Instant Search queries in Google Analytics. All search referrals are tracked just as they’ve always been.

We’ve seen several clever profile filters in the blogosphere that are designed to parse out the values of the “oq” parameter so that partial queries can be easily seen in Google Analytics. However, the “oq” parameter is not related to Instant Search and is often not passed in the request.

Some answers to your other questions:

Should I change my search advertising strategy to serve ads on to partial keywords (e.g. if I sell flowers, should I advertise on “flow”)?
This is not a productive strategy. Please note that ads are triggered based on the “predicted query” and not the stem that the users types in. So, in this example, the partial query “flow” triggers results for the predicted query of “flowers”. The only way someone can see your ad for “flow” is if they specifically searched for that word and hit enter or clicked search. And since you sell flowers, it’s not likely that your ad for flowers will be served alongside such a generic and irrelevant word.

Does this change impact the ranking of search results?
No, this change does not impact the ranking of search results.

What term will I see in Google Analytics if a visitor comes on a partial query?
The keyword analytics sends is not the partial one but the predicted query. If a user was typing "web metrics" but got the search result she wanted at “web met” with the predicted term being "web metrics", then you will see “web metrics” in your Google Analytics reports.

How will this affect my AdWords impression count?
When someone searches using Google Instant, ad impressions are counted in these situations:
  • The user begins to type a query on Google and clicks anywhere on the page (a search result, an ad, a spell correction, a related search).
  • The user chooses a particular query by clicking the Search button, pressing Enter, or selecting one of the predicted queries.
  • The user stops typing, and the results are displayed for a minimum of three seconds.”
Many of your questions related to ads can be answered here.

We hope this helps. Feel free to comment below.

Posted by Alden DeSoto, Google Analytics Team

[G] Back to School with Google forms

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Official Google Docs Blog: Back to School with Google forms

Cross posted on the Google Student Blog

Guest Post: Emily is a senior at Emory University, majoring in Business and Biology. This summer, she worked as an intern on the Google Apps for Education team and here she shares her thoughts on using Google forms on campus.

During the hectic first few weeks back at school – which can be the busiest time of year for a college student – one of the things that helps me get things done and stay organized is Google forms. I started using this functionality a lot during my summer internship to survey the intern community and other groups across the company. It’s an easy and efficient way to obtain and interpret information from many people and that’s why I’m excited to use it now that I’m back at school.

Google forms allows me to quickly create a survey with various information gathering formats (multiple choice, free answer, check box, and more). Then I can simply send a link for the published form to the desired respondents and their answers automatically feed into a spreadsheet in Google Docs.

For example, I recently used Google forms for a club I’m involved in called Goizueta International Network, an organization that helps incoming and outgoing exchange students make the most of their abroad experiences. Google forms allowed me to survey the international exchange students about what activities they would be interested in for the upcoming year.

All the international students are from different countries and live all across campus, so creating a survey using Forms was a convenient and universally understandable way to get information. Plus I was able to spice up the appearance of the survey with a new Google form theme.

After collecting all of the responses, I could easily view the results of my data. All I had to do was go to the “Form” tab in the spreadsheet housing all of the survey information and select “Show summary of responses.” This produced the data in a simple, clear graphical format making the data easy to use.

Check out the responses to the question “I am interested in the Goizueta International Network organizing the following...”

We’ve decided to focus on the ideas that had the most support. We know they will benefit and excite both local and foreign students because they all participated in the decision process.

Google forms can be useful in any area of a college student’s life. It can classify and coordinate information for classes, clubs, athletic teams, fraternities or sororities, friends, family, or any group or organization. As a Google Student Ambassador I plan to educate more people on my campus about how Google forms (along with the rest of the Docs and Apps suite) can make all their activities run more quickly and easily.

Without putting in too much effort, we got a solid response rate and now have some great ideas for next year.

Posted by: Emily Rubin, Emory University

[G] Monthly charging limits for unchanged budgets

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Inside AdWords: Monthly charging limits for unchanged budgets

Over the years, many of you have told us that you'd like to be charged a consistent amount each calendar month. We're happy to help you by introducing a monthly charging limit for campaigns, which is automatically calculated based on your daily budget.

When your daily budget is unchanged throughout an entire calendar month, We'll set a monthly charging limit for that campaign by multiplying your daily budget by 30.4, which is roughly the average number of days in a month (365 days in a year / 12 months = 30.417 days/month). For example, if your daily budget is US$10 throughout a month, you won't be charged more than $304 during that month (US$10 daily budget * 30.4 average days per month). As usual, actual daily spend may vary.

Accounts will transition to monthly charging limits over the next several weeks. When you edit your budget from Campaign Settings, a new tooltip will also be visible describing this change.

To learn more about this change, please see our FAQs on the monthly charging limit and on what happens when you change your budget.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew

[G] AdWords system maintenance on September 11th

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Inside AdWords: AdWords system maintenance on September 11th

On Saturday, September 11th, the AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PDT due to our regularly scheduled system maintenance. While you won't be able to log into your account during this time, your campaigns will continue to run as usual.

AdWords system maintenance typically occurs on the second Saturday of each month during the above times. We'll continue to update you here as we always have, but you may want to take note of our intended dates and times to help you plan for any scheduled downtimes further down the road.

Posted by Miles Johnson, Inside AdWords crew

[G] WebM Decoding Improvements in Google Chrome 6

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: WebM Decoding Improvements in Google Chrome 6

Google Chrome 6 for Windows, Mac and Linux was released last week. We want to congratulate the Chrome team and thank them for their contributions to the WebM project.

Making the web faster is a core goal of Chrome, and we are happy to report that across a set of test clips Chrome 6 decodes VP8 video significantly faster than the developer version that was released at our launch in May. On single-core Intel machines the average improvement is about 20%; on multicore processors it ranges from 15% (two cores) to 50% (four cores). If you want to try it for yourself, get Chrome 6 and then follow our instructions for playing WebM videos on Youtube.

We’ve made further decoding speed gains in Chrome 7 dev channel, and are working on better video rendering to further improve the WebM user experience.

[G] Responding to the fires in San Bruno

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YouTube Blog: Responding to the fires in San Bruno

Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog

Like many friends in the Bay Area and across the country, I’ve been stunned by the images of raging fires in San Bruno. Nearly 40 structures have been destroyed and 120 damaged, with several fatalities and multiple injuries after the explosion of a gas line. More than 100 people have been evacuated to nearby shelters.

This disaster strikes close to home; our YouTube offices are about two miles away from the main gas explosion. We’re thankful that no Google employee was hurt, but remain concerned for the well-being of our neighbors in the area.

We are donating an initial amount of $50,000 to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter to help with relief efforts. We’re directing Googlers to the local blood drives today and will be hosting blood drives in our San Bruno, Mountain View and San Francisco offices early next week.

We’ve created this map to show the location of the explosion and highlight nearby shelters and resources. The map is open for collaboration and welcomes additional useful information. We encourage you to embed it in your website or blog. We are also exploring the possibility of obtaining updated imagery of the area to help responders visualize the scope of the disaster.

View San Bruno Gas Explosion in a larger map

Our hearts go out to our neighbors who have been affected by the explosion. We thank the firefighters and first responders who have been working tirelessly to contain the fires and help the residents of San Bruno. You can donate to help here.

Posted by Laszlo Bock, VP of People Operations


[G] Hasbro Brings Trivial Pursuit to YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Hasbro Brings Trivial Pursuit to YouTube

What do you figure the Numa Numa guy knows about arts and literature? What about Tay Zonday’s knowledge of world history? Would you be willing to bet on whether Michael Buckley knows his geography? This week, Hasbro brings the world ‘You vs. YouTube’ Trivial Pursuit experiment, which asks players to do just that.

Hasbro has upgraded the old version of Trivial Pursuit to their ‘Bet You Know It’ edition, adding an interactive element where you bet on whether or not your opponents know the answer. In the ‘You vs. YouTube’ experiment, they’ve pitted the public against YouTube stars like the Davies-Carr brothers (from ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’) in a giant online tournament.

We’re excited about this at YouTube because it gives our partners a chance to shine, it provides users a fun gaming experience, and it gives Hasbro a chance to get the word out about their new game. Hasbro's Group Executive, Jane Ritson-Parsons, said of the online competition, "We know our consumers are online and watching as many of today’s stars are discovered online -- and many through YouTube — that we felt that a partnership with the world’s most popular video site would be a natural fit. It provides us with great context and relevance for our game introduction". In our opinion, they’ve done a number of innovative things from a marketing perspective:

  • They evolved their product. Hasbro listened to their customers when they said the game questions were too hard or obscure, and tweaked their product accordingly. Questions were re-written, and they made the game more interactive through the ‘betting’ element.

  • They recognized the power of viral video. Hasbro knew that YouTube stars have built an audience that resembles their own. By teaming up with our partners, they’ve added unique voices to their campaign. For example, on Michael Buckley’s channel, he talks about his ‘Trivial Pursuit Story’. Tay Zonday wrote a special song for the game. Gary Brolsma dances in his living room with friends during their Trivial Pursuit night. And the Davies-Carr brothers warn you to challenge them, or they’ll bite your finger...

  • They share the love with the YouTube community. On the Trivial Pursuit channel, Hasbro has uploads of other partner videos discussing the challenge. Of particular note is mediocrefilms’ ‘REJECTED Trivial Pursuit Commercial’ By allowing other content creators to participate, they get a lot more reach into audiences they might not have considered directly targeting.Brand advertisers are starting to recognize the power of the YouTube community and popular partners.

We look forward to providing more fun and entertaining brand integration in the future. In the meantime, try out the game! ‘The People’s’ chips are down!

    Margaret Healy, Strategic Partner Manager, recently watched “You vs. YouTube-EDBASSMASTER-Skippy Calls Hasbro


    Thursday, September 9, 2010

    [G] Walk this way

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    Google LatLong: Walk this way

    [Cross-posted from the Google Mobile Blog]

    Whether you’re going for an urban hike or wandering from your hotel to find that restaurant you passed earlier, you won’t have to flag down a local if you’ve got Google Maps for mobile 4.5 on Android. Maps already had Navigation and walking directions, and today we’re happy to share the perfect marriage of the two: Walking Navigation (Beta). If you need help deciding where to walk (or drive), you can now also use Street View smart navigation or the new Google Maps search bar to guide your choice.

    Walking Navigation
    Walking Navigation lets you use GPS navigation with walking directions that are more direct and use pedestrian pathways when we know about them. To try it now, choose the “Walking” option from the Navigation icon. Walking Navigation has a few changes that help when you’re on your feet. For example, your phone will vibrate when you need to make a turn. You can even turn off voice guidance and just use these notifications while soaking in the sights and sounds around you. To help you orient yourself with your surroundings, the map will rotate with you as you turn the phone, and walking mode uses satellite view by default. Use it like a virtual compass with satellite imagery to look ahead or help pick out landmarks along the way.

    Keep in mind that Walking Navigation is still in beta, and Google Maps may not always have up-to-date information or optimal walking routes. Whether you’re walking or driving with Google Maps Navigation, you should always be safe and pay attention to road signs, follow signals, and use good judgment about routes that can’t be walked.

    Street View smart navigation
    If you want a sneak preview of where you’re going, use the new Street View on Google Maps with smart navigation and updated imagery. Just like with Street View smart navigation on your computer, you no longer have to slowly move down a street by tapping arrows along roads repeatedly. Now you can quickly navigate Street View by dragging Pegman from the corner and highlighting where you want to go with a lightly shaded “pancake” on roads or a rectangle on buildings. Let go of the screen when highlighting the front of a building, and you’ll fly there and turn to face it. With a swipe of your finger, you can hop rivers and scale buildings.

    You’ll need to download an update for the “Street View on Google Maps” app in Android Market separately from Google Maps. Once you update, access Street View just like before: open Maps, search for a place or long-press the map, and choose the Street View option if available.

    New Google Maps search bar
    At the top of the map, you’ll find the new Google Maps search bar always available for easy access. Tap it to quickly start searching, open Places, use the Layers menu, or find yourself on the map with My Location. Here are more new features that may be helpful when you’re looking for nearby places:
    • Filter search results by distance or ratings
    • View prices categorized with dollar signs
    • See cross streets for places.
    Google Maps for mobile 4.5 and Street View smart navigation are available now for Android 1.6+ everywhere they’re currently available. Search for Google Maps (tap here on your phone) and then Street View on Google Maps (tap here) in Android Market to update both.

    Visit our Help Center to learn more or tell us your feedback and questions in our Help Forum. Give us suggestions and vote on other people’s on the Mobile Product Ideas page.

    Posted by Andrey Ulanov and Kevin Law, Software Engineers


    [G] Google Chrome Extensions at School: Staying Connected

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    Google Chrome Blog: Google Chrome Extensions at School: Staying Connected

    It’s back-to-school season in many parts of the world, so we thought we’d kick off a series of blog posts about cool Chrome extensions that can make life easier for students. These include extensions that helps students keep in touch with friends and family, research and write papers, and be more productive during the school year. Check out the Official Google for Student blog to read about today’s extensions that help students stay connected with friends at school and those back home.

    Posted by Koh Kim and Meredith Papp, Product Marketing Team

    [G] Customize Your Blog’s Background With Your Own Image

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    Blogger Buzz: Customize Your Blog’s Background With Your Own Image

    Posted by Wongoo Lee, Software Engineer

    We know that personalizing your blog is important. Although you can adjust templates, layouts, backgrounds and more with our Template Designer, you wanted more ways to make your blog completely unique.

    Now you can use your own image as your blog background. Go to Design | Template Designer | Background, click on Background Image, and you’ll see the new “Upload image” option, which allows you to select and upload your image. There are a variety of options such as alignment, repeat, and scroll for how to display your new image. This feature is another graduate from Blogger in Draft. You can find more information in our original announcement.

    Tips from the Blogger team: If you want a full-screen background, we recommend using an image that's 1800 pixels wide and 1600 pixels high, so that the background image can fill the entire screen even for the readers with large monitors. To make sure your blog loads quickly, background images must be small in file size. As the maximum file size you can upload is 300KB, you may need to reduce your photo’s file size using Photoshop, Mac OS X Preview, or one of many free online tools. You can also tile a smaller image, but keep in mind that patterns work better than photographs, which can make your blog look cluttered.

    (The good)
    (The bad)

    This feature is now available on all Blogger blogs and we welcome your suggestions and comments on our Help Forum.

    [G] Google Search by Voice: A Case Study

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    Official Google Research Blog: Google Search by Voice: A Case Study

    Posted by Johan Schalkwyk, Google Research

    Wind the clock back two years with your smart phone in hand. Try to recall doing a search for a restaurant or the latest scores of your favorite sports team. If you’re like me you probably won’t even bother, or you’ll suffer with tiny keys or fat fingers on a touch screen. With Google Search by Voice all that has changed. Now you just tap the microphone, speak, and within seconds you see the result. No more fat fingers.

    Google Search by Voice is a result of many years of investment in speech at Google. We started by building our own recognizer (aka GReco ) from the ground up. Our first foray in search by voice was doing local searches with GOOG-411. Then, in November 2008, we launched Google Search by Voice. Now you can search the entire Web using your voice.

    What makes search by voice really interesting is that it requires much more than a just good speech recognizer. You also need a good user interface and a good phone like an Android in the hands of millions of people. Besides the excellent computational platform and data availability, the project succeeded due to Google’s culture built around teams that wholeheartedly tackle such challenges with the conviction that they will set a new bar.

    In our book chapter, “Google Search by Voice: A Case Study”, we describe the basic technology, the supporting technologies, and the user interface design behind Google Search by Voice. We describe how we built it and what lessons we have learned. As the product required many helping hands to build, this chapter required many helping hands to write. We believe it provides a valuable contribution to the academic community.

    The book, Advances in Speech Recognition, is available for purchase from Springer.

    [G] Moving forward on white spaces

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    Google Public Policy Blog: Moving forward on white spaces

    Posted by Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel

    On November 4, 2008, as millions of Americans lined up to cast their ballots in a historic presidential election, another important vote was taking place at the Federal Communications Commission. After some six years of careful study, that morning the FCC voted unanimously to open the TV “white spaces” spectrum – the unused airwaves between broadcast TV channels – to unlicensed uses by all Americans.

    Two weeks from today, the five current FCC Commissioners will meet to set final technical rules for the white spaces. If it gets the rules right, the Commission will have taken a huge step to put better and faster Internet connections in the hands of the public.

    Thanks to their unique range and strength, the TV white spaces are sometimes referred to as “Wi-Fi on steroids,” powerful enough to unlock new innovations and applications that simply are not possible over traditional Wi-Fi. Demonstration projects across the country are giving us a small sneak peak of what’s possible with the white spaces – for example, Wilmington, North Carolina, has blanketed its city with wireless Internet access, while Plumas County, California, is running a “smart grid” wireless network. Indeed, one of the great advantages of the white spaces is that ordinary citizens can employ them in a wide variety of ways, without the need to formally apply for (let alone purchase) a spectrum license from the FCC.

    In setting the final rules, there are at least two critical issues the FCC needs to address. First, when it comes to interference protection, the Commission should support a geolocation solution. A few opponents of unlicensed white spaces have demanded that the FCC also require a spectrum-sensing solution, a move that would be redundant and expensive, and could severely limit commercial investment. Second, the Commission should establish a reasonable “keep-out” zone for wireless microphones. This will protect the users of authorized wireless microphones, while also allowing white spaces devices to operate in big cities, where spectrum is a coveted resource. Additionally, once the rules are set, the FCC will need to authorize one or more white spaces database administrators.

    Google and many others in the tech industry are eager finally to get the green light to start innovating and building new services on these airwaves. From new wireless devices, to better broadband access, to more reliable communications networks for emergency responders, to better-connected classrooms – the white spaces have the potential to spark the next-generation of wireless communications.

    [G] Announcing our new Family Safety Center

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    Google Public Policy Blog: Announcing our new Family Safety Center

    posted by Kate Hammond, Marketing Manager
    (Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

    Helping your children use the Internet safely is similar to teaching them to navigate the offline world. There are parts of the real world that you wouldn’t let your children explore unsupervised—and that goes for the online world as well. But while most of us remember being taught to cross the road and not talk to strangers, we probably weren’t taught how much personal information we should share online or how to handle cyberbullies.

    Therefore, it’s no surprise when parents and teachers tell us they want to learn more about how to help their kids use the Internet safely and responsibly.

    Today, we’re launching our new Family Safety Center; a one-stop shop about staying safe online. We’ve included advice from leading child safety organizations around the world, tips and ideas from parents here at Google, as well as information on how to use the safety tools and controls built into Google products.

    For day-to-day practical tips we asked some of our parents at Google to share their own ideas. Tactics they use range from limiting screen time and preventing computers in kids’ bedrooms to ad hoc checks on their browser history and social networking profiles. Everyone has different ideas and there’s no right or wrong answer, but hopefully some of these will resonate and inspire you. See more videos and let us know your own thoughts on our YouTube channel.

    To answer some of the toughest questions most important to parents, such as accessing inappropriate content and meeting strangers online, we went straight to the people that know best; the organizations that advocate and promote child safety and digital literacy. Organizations that we’ve partnered with around the world include the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s OnGuard Online initiative, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, U.K.’s ChildNet, and New Zealand’s NetSafe.

    The new Safety Center also provides information on the safety tools built into Google products. SafeSearch and YouTube Safety Mode can help you control what content your children stumble across. Sharing controls in YouTube, Picasa, Blogger and others ensure your videos, photos and blogs are shared only with the right people. And in response to popular requests, we’ve added a section on managing geolocation features on mobiles.

    With kids growing up in an age where digital know-how is essential, it’s increasingly important to ensure that they’re developing healthy, safe and responsible online habits. And we’re thinking every day about how we can help parents and teachers to do just that.

    [G] 5 tips for using Priority Inbox

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    Official Google Enterprise Blog: 5 tips for using Priority Inbox

    Cross-posted from the Gmail blog

    It’s been a week since we launched Priority Inbox, and now that you've hopefully had a chance to try it out, we wanted to share some tips to help you manage your email more efficiently. Here are five ways you can make Priority Inbox work even better for you.

    1. Customize your sections
    By default, Priority Inbox has three sections: "Important and Unread," "Starred" and "Everything Else.” But that doesn't mean you have to leave them that way. You can make a section show messages from a particular label (like your “Action” or “To-do” label), add a fourth section, or change the maximum size of any section. Visit the Priority Inbox tab under Settings to customize your sections, or do it right from the inline menus.

    2. Train the system
    If Gmail makes a mistake, you can help it learn to better categorize your messages. Select the misclassified message, then use the importance buttons at the top of your inbox to correctly mark it as important or not important.

    For those of you who can't live without keyboard shortcuts, don’t worry, you can use the "+" and "-" keys to adjust importance as well.

    3. See the best of your filtered messages

    You can set up Priority Inbox to show you not just the best of your inbox, but also the best of messages you filter out of your inbox and might otherwise miss. Just change your Priority Inbox settings to “Override filters” and Gmail will surface any important messages that would otherwise skip your inbox.

    With this option turned on, you can use filters to archive more aggressively and worry less about missing an important message.

    4. Use filters to guarantee certain messages get marked important (or not)
    If you read and reply to a lot of messages from your mom, Gmail should automatically put incoming messages from her in the “Important and unread” section. But if you want to be 100% sure that all messages from your mom (or your boss, boyfriend, client, landlord, etc.) are marked important, you can create a filter for messages from that sender and select “Always mark as important.” Similarly, if you regularly read messages from your favorite magazine, they should automatically get marked as important. If you’d rather they end up in the “Everything else” section, you can create a filter to never mark them as important.

    5. Archive unimportant messages quickly
    One of the features that can help make you more efficient is the ability to archive all of the visible messages in the "Everything Else" section at once. Just click on the down arrow next to "Everything Else" and select the "Archive all visible items" option. If you want to be able to archive even more messages at once, you can increase the maximum number of messages that show in that section from the same drop-down.

    Posted by Kristen Lemons, Gmail Support Team

    [G] Make a great play. Get on SportsCenter.

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    YouTube Blog: Make a great play. Get on SportsCenter.

    If you’ve made a buzzer-beating three-pointer, a bending free kick goal, a diving fingertip catch, a walk-off home run or a fantastic play in whatever your sport, this is the chance to show the world what you’ve got.

    Today we kickoff the YouTube & SportsCenter Your Highlight program presented by AT&T -- the opportunity to have your great sports moment shown on SportsCenter (on TV!).

    Go to ESPN’s YouTube channel, check out the rules and submit your great sports video before Tuesday, November 30. SportsCenter’s Emmy-winning producers will select the best videos, which will then be voted upon by the YouTube community. The winner will be flown to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., for the taping of a special segment on SportsCenter.

    Fall sports season is just about to get underway, and we’re hoping to see amazing plays from amateur hoop stars and gridiron heroes across the US. Even if you’re not submitting, come back to the channel to see a gallery of the best submissions throughout the fall.

    Good luck and go get 'em.

    Andrew Bangs, Sports Manager, recently watched “Scottie Pippen: The Ewing Dunk.”