Saturday, September 18, 2010

[G] Frowns, Sighs, and Advanced Queries -- How does search behavior change as search becomes more difficult?

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Official Google Research Blog: Frowns, Sighs, and Advanced Queries -- How does search behavior change as search becomes more difficult?

Posted by Anne Aula, Rehan Khan, and Zhiwei Guan, User Experience Team

How does search behavior change as search becomes more difficult?

At Google, we strive to make finding information easy, efficient, and even fun. However, we know that once in a while, finding a specific piece of information turns out to be tricky. Based on dozens of user studies over the years, we know that it’s relatively easy for an observer to notice that the user is having problems finding the information, by watching changes in language, body language, and facial expressions:



Computers, however, don’t have the luxury of observing a user the way another person would. But would it be possible for a computer to somehow tell that the user is struggling to find information?

We decided to find out. We first ran a study in the usability lab where we gave users search tasks, some of which we knew to be difficult. The first couple of searches always looked pretty much the same independent of task difficulty: users formulated a query, quickly scanned the results and either clicked on a result or refined the query. However, after a couple of unsuccessful searches, we started noticing interesting changes in behavior. In addition to many of them sighing or starting to bite their nails, users sometimes started to type their searches as natural language questions, they sometimes spent a very long time simply staring at the results page, and they sometimes completely changed their approach to the task.

We were fascinated by these findings as they seemed to be signals that the computer could potentially detect while the user is searching. We formulated the initial findings from the usability lab study as hypotheses which we then tested in a larger web-based user study.

The overall findings were promising: we found five signals that seemed to indicate that users were struggling in the search task. Those signals were: use of question queries, use of advanced operators, spending more time on the search results page, formulating the longest query in the middle of the session, and spending a larger proportion of the time on the search results page. None of these signals alone are strong enough predictors of users having problems in search tasks. However, when used together, we believe we can use them to build a model that will one day make it possible for computers to detect frustration in real time.

You can read the full text of the paper here.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2010/09/frowns-sighs-and-advanced-queries-how.html

Friday, September 17, 2010

[G] Going Google across the 50 States: Minnesota-based allnurses.com gets rid of its email servers

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Going Google across the 50 States: Minnesota-based allnurses.com gets rid of its email servers

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. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map.

Based in Minnesota, Brian Short is a Registered Nurse, as well as the Founder and CEO of allnurses.com, one of the largest online nursing communities with more than 430,000 members. Brian started the website as a hobby in 1995 when he was attending nursing school. He’d search online for relevant nursing information without success — it was easier to find websites on planting trees or feeding babies than reliable sources on clinical nursing.

So what started out as a website with a few links spawned into an online community and central hub of nursing information. The website now includes blogs, articles, and discussion forums across all specialities, with more than nine million global page views a month and 2,500 new posts submitted by members every day. To support this growth, Brian shares how he’s using Google Apps to remove location barriers and increase process efficiencies.

“I started out with my own internal email servers which were clunky and hard to manage. I was also dissatisfied with the accompanying email client. It would take forever to search, find, and organize all my email, and I was constantly deleting emails to avoid slowing down my machine. When I learned about Google Apps it was an easy decision to switch. I love the concept of cloud computing and being able to access all my applications through a browser.

Now, I've been using Google Apps for several years and it has helped the company tremendously. There are over 30 staff members scattered throughout the US and internationally. Google Apps allows us to communicate with ease by using instant messaging, email, shared calendars, and online documents.

I’ve also used Google forms to support marketing initiatives that increase awareness of allnurses.com. In one of the print ads, I included a URL that leads to a landing page with a form embedded in it. Educators can use the form to request pens for their nursing students. It’s a good way to engage with my audience and scale a manual process.

Not only is Google Apps a great financial decision for us, but it has helped increase our efficiency and productivity more than any other product we've used. I love how Google is always improving and upgrading its applications by listening and implementing user feedback.”

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, Google Apps team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/09/going-google-across-50-states-minnesota.html

[G] Search Gmail & Docs with Google Mobile App on BlackBerry

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Search Gmail & Docs with Google Mobile App on BlackBerry

In January we updated Google Mobile App for BlackBerry so it can search your on-device email and contacts. Today we’re pleased to announce it can also search the cloud to find items in your Gmail, Google Contacts, and Google Docs.

Here’s a quick example: you've just received an email from a friend who's coming with you on a camping trip this weekend and he's reminded you that you should take a look at the checklist to see what you need to bring along. It's been a while since you created the list, but you can just say 'checklist' to Google Mobile App and find it in your Google Docs in a couple of clicks.

To do this on your BlackBerry you’ll need to start Google Mobile App and log into your Google Account (you’ll only need to do this the first time). Just as with any other query, you can either type or speak to find what you’re looking for.


Search results for "checklist"



Google Docs: Mountain camping checklist

Now that you’re already signed in to your Google Account you can launch web-based apps such as Docs or Reader without having to log in again.

Google takes information security very seriously, so all your Gmail and Google Docs searches are sent over a secure https connection. Your password is never permanently stored on your phone, and your account details are encrypted during transmission.

To download Google Mobile App to your BlackBerry, visit m.google.com. Learn more in our help center.

Posted by Luis Sigal, Software Engineer
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2010/09/search-gmail-docs-with-google-mobile.html

[G] This week in search 9/17/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 9/17/10

This is one of a regular series of posts on search experience updates. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

From the latest blockbuster films to your favorite TV shows, we recently launched some useful enhancements when you're searching for media. And if you're looking to remember where to go on your next vacation, we've also got you covered.

Here are some of our recent updates:

Director and cast links in movie search results
Have you ever searched for a movie and then wondered who directed or starred in it? This week, we made this process one step faster. Now, you'll see information about the director and starring cast of movies in search results, along with other information like ratings and links to relevant content. The result also gives you the opportunity to click through to a site to get more info about a person with just one click.


This feature is currently available in English and Japanese. Over time, we'll roll this change out in more languages.

New results for TV episodes
As more TV networks begin publishing their shows on sites like fox.com, we’ve noticed that people often turn to Google to find their favorites, whether old episodes of Lost or the latest episode of Glee. Today we’re making it easier than ever to find your favorite television shows by episode or season right on google.com. With our new feature, when you search for a television show, you’ll sometimes see a new section in the search results page called “Episodes for” with videos of the three newest programs we can find. We hope these changes make it easier to find your favorite television shows online, whether to catch up on last night’s episode or to kill some time with an old favorite season.

Example search: [glee] or [family guy]

Stars extended to places in local results
In March we introduced stars in search so that you could mark results and rediscover them later. This week we extended the feature to local results, so now you can star places and get to them later—through a search, on Google Maps or on your phone. For example, if you're planning a trip to Tucson, you might want to go to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum—so you would star the result from your desktop computer. When you arrive in Arizona, you can access the starred item again from the Local tab of google.com using your phone browser or in the Google Maps for mobile application. Since you're signed in with the same account on your desktop computer and phone, the starred items sync automatically. Phone number, address and directions information are just a few clicks away.

Example search: [tucson museum]





This week in search... queries
What are people searching for on Google? We recently introduced a series of videos about U.S. search trends. Check out this week's the Google Beat, for the latest glimpse into the pulse of Google searches.

We hope you find these new updates and enhancements useful. Stay tuned for more next week!

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director of Search Product Management
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/this-week-in-search-91710.html

[G] iOS 4 Compatible Mobile SDK Now Available

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Google Analytics Blog: iOS 4 Compatible Mobile SDK Now Available

Google Analytics is very pleased to announce the latest release of the Google Analytics SDK for iOS and Android, which now runs on devices using the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system, iOS 4. The new version of the SDK is 0.8 (ie. still beta) and it also includes fixes for Android.

If you are a current website administrator or Google Analytics developer and are beginning to branch out into Android or iOS development, the Google Analytics mobile SDKs can provide a familiar interface as you transition from tracking website visitors to mobile users.

These SDKs for iOS and Android enable you to track user activity directly in your native mobile apps -- for example, you can see what "pages" or panels of your application are the most popular or even how many clicks a particular button or control generates. As with Google Analytics for the web, this usage data can help provide insight on additions or enhancements necessary to boost user engagement or optimize your mobile ad spending. Even better, all "page view" and event tracking data is viewable in the same interface that you're already accustomed to for tracking website statistics, and integrating it into your app is as simple as adding a few lines to your iOS or Android source code. For example:

Sample code:

#import "GANTracker.h"

// ...

- (void)applicationDidFinishLaunching:(UIApplication *)application {
[[GANTracker sharedTracker] startTrackerWithAccountID:@"UA-0000000-1"
dispatchPeriod:kGANDispatchPeriodSec
delegate:nil];

// Track a page view
if (![[GANTracker sharedTracker] trackPageview:@"/app_entry_point"
withError:&error]) {
// ...
}
}

// ...

For more sample code for both iOS and Android, please see the developer documentation. Also keep in mind that you can use Google Analytics to track usage activity for mobile websites using the server-side code snippets for PHP, JSP, ASP.NET, and Perl, also available in the documentation.


Posted by Chrix Finne, Product Manager, Google Mobile Ads, and Beth Liebert, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/09/ios-4-compatible-mobile-sdk-now.html

[G] Interviews from GUADEC, Part 5

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Google Open Source Blog: Interviews from GUADEC, Part 5



This week we have the last video in Jeremy Allison’s series of interviews from his trip to GUADEC, the GNOME conference. In this video, he talks to Michael Meeks, early GNOME hacker and OpenOffice.org developer. Jeremy and Michael talk about collaboration, malware, and how Michael started his involvement with GNOME. For those who are new to open source, Michael gives tips for those who want to get involved in the GNOME community, developer and non-developer alike. For non-developers, Jeremy also gives translations of geek-speak throughout.

If you missed the earlier videos, you can watch all of Jeremy’s GUADEC interviews together in a playlist. Even though this is the last in the GUADEC series, don’t worry, more interviews are coming up soon because Jeremy just returned from LinuxCon Sao Paolo, Brazil, where he was able to get some amazing interviews. Stay tuned!

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2010/09/interviews-from-guadec-part-5.html

[G] Geo Interns Close Out a Whirlwind Summer

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Google LatLong: Geo Interns Close Out a Whirlwind Summer


Summer meant sun, beaches and BBQs... but it also meant interns at Google! For the past few months, a smart and energetic group of students from colleges across the U.S. have been hard at work on a number of Geo-related projects.

Many of the features they were working on are still in development or receiving their final touches. Shhh! But in the meantime, we wanted to share the timely accomplishments of GIS intern Edward Pultar, who’s currently in his last year of the Ph.D. program in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Between making new friends, participating in career-building workshops and, of course, enjoying meals that put dorm food to shame, Edward spent his summer working on new layers in Google Earth. Among the newly launched layers are those showing the floodplains, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and hurricane data. Since summer coincides with hurricane season in the Atlantic, the recent release of the hurricane layer has come just in time to help people in those regions - or people traveling to those regions - to see current, forecasted and historical information for tropical systems.

That layer was certainly useful a few weeks ago when residents on the east coast were intently tracking the progress and path of Hurricane Earl.


With summer now coming to close, we’ll miss the colleagues and friends we made at Google, but will proudly remember the contributions we made in 2010 to help make Google Earth and Google Maps useful resources for many years to come.

Posted by Katie Corner, Summer Intern
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/09/geo-interns-close-out-whirlwind-summer.html

[G] Competition in an Instant

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Google Public Policy Blog: Competition in an Instant

Posted by Adam Kovacevich, Senior Manager, Public Policy Communications

The Wall Street Journal ran “a debate” about fairness in search today. In it, Google fellow and engineer Amit Singhal discussed how search has evolved to meet users needs. It’s an interesting read, here is Amit’s oped:

Competition in an Instant
By Amit Singhal
Published: September 17, 2010

Last week, "Googling something" took on a whole new meaning. Instead of typing your question into the search box and hitting Enter, our newest invention—Google Instant—shows constantly evolving results based on the individual letters you type.

Instant is just the latest in a long line of search improvements. Five years ago, search results were just "ten blue links"—simple web pages with some text. Today search engines provide answers in the form of images, books, news, music, maps and even "real time" results from sites such as Twitter.

The reason for all these improvements is simple: It's what you want. When you type in "weather" (or just "w" in the case of Google Instant), you want the weather forecast right away—not a collection of links about meteorology. Type in "flights to San Francisco," and you most likely want flight options and prices, not more links asking you to enter the same query again.

We know these things with a fair degree of certainty. We hire lots of great computer scientists, psychologists, and linguists, who all contribute to the quality of our results. We carefully analyze how people use Google, and what they want. And what they want is quite obvious: the most useful, relevant results, as quickly as possible.

Sounds pretty simple. But as Google has become a bigger part of people's lives, a handful of critics and competitors have raised questions about the "fairness" of our search engine—why do some websites get higher rankings than others?

It's important to remember that we built Google to delight our users—not necessarily website owners. 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 not surprising that some less relevant, lower-quality websites will be unhappy with their rankings. Some might say that an alphabetical listing or a perfectly randomized list would be most "fair"—but that would clearly be pretty useless for users.

People often ask how we rank our "own" content, like maps, news or images. In the case of images or news, it's not actually Google's content, but rather snippets and links to content offered by publishers. We're merely grouping particular types of content together to make things easier for users.

In other cases, we might show you a Google Map when you search for an address. But our users expect that, and we make a point of including competing map services in our search results (go ahead, search for "maps" in Google). And sometimes users just want quick answers. If you type "100 US dollars in British pounds," for example, you probably want to know that it's "£63.9p"—not just see links to currency conversion websites.

Google's search algorithm is actually one of the world's worst kept secrets. PageRank, one of our allegedly "secret ingredients," is a formula that can be found in its entirety everywhere from academic journals to Wikipedia. We provide more information about our ranking signals than any other search engine. We operate a webmaster forum, provide tips and YouTube videos, and offer diagnostic tools that help websites identify problems.

Making our systems 100% transparent would not help users, but it would help the bad guys and spammers who try game the system. When you type "Nigeria" you probably want to learn about the country. You probably don't want to see a bunch of sites from folks offering to send you money . . . if you would only give them your bank account number!

We may be the world's most popular search engine, but at the end of the day our competition is literally just one click away. If we messed with results in a way that didn't serve our users' interests, they would and should simply go elsewhere—not just to other search engines like Bing, but to specialized sites like Amazon, eBay or Zillow. People are increasingly experiencing the Web through social networks like Facebook. And mobile and tablet apps are a newer alternative for accessing information. Search engines aren't the "gatekeepers" that critics claim. For example, according to the research firm Compete, Google is responsible for only 19% of traffic to WSJ.com.

Investment and innovation are considered strong indicators of a competitive marketplace. Last week's launch of Google Instant was a big bet for us—both in terms of the complexity of the computer science and the huge demands it puts on our systems. Competition for eyeballs on the Web helps drive that risk-taking and innovation because consumers really do have the freedom to vote with their clicks and choose another search engine or website. In an industry focused on tough questions, that's clearly the right answer.

Mr. Singhal is a Google fellow who has worked in the field of search for over 15 years, first as an academic researcher and now as an engineer.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/09/competition-in-instant.html

[G] New in Labs: Video chat enhancements

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Google Talkabout: New in Labs: Video chat enhancements

(Cross-posted from the Gmail Blog)

If you use video chat in Gmail, you might be interested in a new Labs feature we just rolled out that allows you to preview new video chat features before they're turned on for everyone. Visit the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, turn on "Video chat enhancements," and right away, you'll see higher resolution video and a bigger video chat window.



The higher resolution video uses a new playback mechanism which enables widescreen VGA and frees up valuable resources on your computer. For it to work, both you and the person you're chatting with will need to have the lab turned on. Remember that you can always revert to standard video chat by disabling the lab.

We plan to add more video chat enhancements to this lab in the future, so if you have it on you'll automatically get those too. Feel free to post your comments or report any issues you encounter in the video chat forum (we also follow #googlevideochat on Twitter).

URL: http://googletalk.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-in-labs-video-chat-enhancements.html

[G] WebM Encoding Available at encoding.com

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: WebM Encoding Available at encoding.com

Encoding.com, one of the world's largest video transcoding services, has released WebM encoding support and also included six easy-to-use output presets. You can read more at the encoding.com blog.
URL: http://blog.webmproject.org/2010/09/webm-encoding-available-at-encodingcom.html

[G] Super Simple: Your Creative Canvas

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Blogger Buzz: Super Simple: Your Creative Canvas

When it comes to design, sometimes less can be more. This is the mantra behind our newest variant Super Simple, freshly-released to the Template Designer this week. We’ve taken the original Simple variant and stripped it down to the bare essentials, putting your actual blog content front and center on the page.


As with all of our variants, you are free to tweak all of the individual elements and styles to your liking. And if you are looking to design a fancy blog template from scratch, the Super Simple variant is also a great frame to build upon.

You can check out the new variant right now in the Template Designer, under the Simple category. As always, our ears are open to your feedback, so please feel free to let us know what you think.
URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2010/09/super-simple-your-creative-canvas.html

[G] Democracy Photo Challenge Winners & Exhibition

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Google Photos Blog: Democracy Photo Challenge Winners & Exhibition

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager

Back on July 7th we announced the Democracy Photo Challenge, a photo competition that asked people from around the world to use the medium of photography to express what democracy means to them.

Nearly 3,000 photos were submitted by photographers from 131 countries, capturing the unique and many times stunning interpretations of this personal concept.

Wednesday, on the International Day of Democracy, the 12 winning photos were officially unveiled at the United Nations in New York City, where they will be exhibited in the South lobby until October 11th.



If you're in the New York City area we invite you to visit the exhibit to view the photos first hand, and if not, to take a virtual tour of the winning photos and add your own voice to the conversation by leaving comments or "liking" your favorites photos.

The Picasa team is honored to have helped the US Department of State and their partners further this global conversation through photography, and excited to launch more photo challenges in the future.
URL: http://googlephotos.blogspot.com/2010/09/democracy-photo-challenge-winners.html

[G] New Additions to the YouTube Team

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YouTube Blog: New Additions to the YouTube Team

Whether you’re looking for a video of your kid’s first day of kindergarten, instructions on how to dance the waltz, the latest upload from a hot YouTube star, or a favorite Hollywood movie or a global sporting event, we’re committed to growing our content library and global footprint to make more of the world’s video available to you.



Today, we’re pleased to welcome two new additions to our leadership team who will help us continue to expand our offerings for users. These new leaders will have many external touchpoints, so we wanted to take the unusual step of using our blog to announce them.



Dean Gilbert is joining us as YouTube’s new Global Head of Content and will oversee our global content team as we work to expand our existing relationships and forge new ones. A veteran of the cable industry, Dean’s leadership roles have included serving as Executive Vice President and General Manager of @ Home Network. Over the last four years, Dean has provided leadership at Google across across a wide range of media products, including Google TV, YouTube, and Google TV Ads.



Robert Kyncl is joining us as our new Global Head of TV and Film Entertainment. Robert comes to YouTube from Netflix, where he was Vice President of Content Acquisitions, spearheading the company’s content acquisition strategy for streaming TV shows and movies over the Internet. He was also instrumental in transitioning Netflix’s business from DVD-by-mail to streaming. In his new role, Robert will build our content partner presence in Hollywood, overseeing our content partnerships across the studios, broadcasters, cable networks, talent agencies and new media companies. Chris Maxcy will continue his executive leadership role as Global Head of Music and Games, focusing on our global music business.



The means of creation, consumption and distribution have permanently changed, giving rise to the most diverse set of faces and voices ever seen or heard in human history. By expanding our content partnerships worldwide, we’ll ensure that YouTube remains the best place for our users to see, hear, and discover this richness of talent. These leadership additions will help to pave the way.



Salar Kamangar, Co-Head of YouTube


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/cuGF5cH2VLw/new-additions-to-youtube-team.html

[G] Six films, six winners, and six different views of democracy

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YouTube Blog: Six films, six winners, and six different views of democracy

In perhaps no other time in human history have there been so many different views of what the word democracy means. And that’s what makes our second annual Democracy Video Challenge so fascinating: over 600 people around the world submitted videos to the contest, answering the prompt “Democracy is...” And last week, the six winners of the contest -- selected by a panel of judges and then voted on by the YouTube community -- were honored at an awards ceremony with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington, D.C.





The six winners came from all over the world: Juan Pablo Patiño is from Colombia, Yared Shumete is from Ethiopia, Anup Poudel is from Nepal, Joel Marsden is from Spain, Farbod Khoshtinat is from Iran, and Adhyatmika is from Indonesia. Click here for some footage from the winners meeting with Secretary Clinton, and here’s a playlist of their winning videos (which are also spotlighted on our homepage today):



What do you think democracy is? Join the discussion in the comments section of these videos.

Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched “Democracy has a new challenge.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/ipYqUu1HWAU/six-films-six-winners-and-six-different.html

[G] View Near Real-time Flights over the U.S. in Google Earth

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Google LatLong: View Near Real-time Flights over the U.S. in Google Earth


Thanks to our friends at Flightwise.com, we’ve published a new, dynamically updating KML file of commercial flights over the U.S. Turn on the layer to see the current location and altitude of thousands of flights, in near real-time. The KML file is created from data available on the Flightwise website, which they collect from the FAA every few minutes.


Hover over an airplane icon to see the airline, flight number, and up-to-date path.


Clicking an icon yields an information-rich bubble showing more detailed flight information, including estimating arrival time.


And finally, clicking on the “Download flight path” link in the balloon downloads a full KML tour of the flight so you can play back and rewind the flight up to its current position and see where it was at any point in time.

Note that due to FAA restrictions and timing of data pushes, the time of the data displayed will lag by an average of 15 or 20 minutes behind the current time. Nevertheless, we find this layer to be a compelling and fun way to get a snapshot of all the airplanes in the air at any given time over the U.S., all placed at the appropriate coordinates and altitude. Save the layer to your “My Places” panel, keep it checked on, and it will auto-refresh every few minutes. Surely this is the best way to keep up to date on what’s going on in the skies in Google Earth. And don’t call me Shirley. *

* An homage to a classic film.

Posted by Cris Castello, GIS Data Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/09/view-near-real-time-flights-over-us-in.html

Thursday, September 16, 2010

[G] Google Chrome Extensions at School: Research and write papers

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Google Chrome Blog: Google Chrome Extensions at School: Research and write papers

Last week in the Official Google for Students blog, we highlighted extensions that help students stay connected with friends and family. Check out today's Google Chrome Extensions at School for extensions that can help you research and write papers for any class.

Posted by Koh Kim and Meredith Papp, Product Marketing
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2010/09/google-chrome-extensions-at-school_16.html

[G] New in Labs: Video chat enhancements

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Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Video chat enhancements

Posted by Serge Lachapelle, Product Manager

If you use video chat in Gmail, you might be interested in a new Labs feature we just rolled out that allows you to preview new video chat features before they're turned on for everyone. Visit the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, turn on "Video chat enhancements," and right away, you'll see higher resolution video and a bigger video chat window.



The higher resolution video uses a new playback mechanism which enables widescreen VGA and frees up valuable resources on your computer. For it to work, both you and the person you're chatting with will need to have the lab turned on. Remember that you can always revert to standard video chat by disabling the lab.

We plan to add more video chat enhancements to this lab in the future, so if you have it on you'll automatically get those too. Feel free to post your comments or report any issues you encounter in the video chat forum (we also follow #googlevideochat on Twitter).
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2010/09/new-in-labs-video-chat-enhancements.html

[G] Stay safe while browsing

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Google Online Security Blog: Stay safe while browsing

Posted by Panayiotis Mavrommatis and Niels Provos, Security Team

We are constantly working on detecting sites that are compromised or are deliberately set up to infect your machine while browsing the web. We provide warnings on our search results and to browsers such as Firefox and Chrome. A lot of the warnings take people by surprise — they can trigger on your favorite news site, a blog you read daily, or another site you would never consider to be involved in malicious activities.

In fact, it’s very important to heed these warnings because they show up for sites that are under attack. We are very confident with the results of our scanners that create these warnings, and we work with webmasters to show where attack code was injected. As soon as we think the site has been cleaned up, we lift the warning.

This week in particular, a lot of web users have become vulnerable. A number of live public exploits were attacking the latest versions of some very popular browser plug-ins. Our automated detection systems encounter these attacks every day, e.g. exploits against PDF (CVE-2010-2883), Quicktime (CVE-2010-1818) and Flash (CVE-2010-2884).

We found it interesting that we discovered the PDF exploit on the same page as a more “traditional” fake anti-virus page, in which users are prompted to install an executable file. So, even if you run into a fake anti-virus page and ignore it, we suggest you run a thorough anti-virus scan on your machine.

We and others have observed that once a vulnerability has been exploited and announced, it does not take long for it to be abused widely on the web. For example, the stack overflow vulnerability in PDF was announced on September 7th, 2010, and the Metasploit project made an exploit module available only one day later. Our systems found the vulnerability abused across multiple exploit sites on September 13th.

Here’s a few suggestions for protecting yourself against web attacks:
  • Keep your OS, browser, and browser plugins up-to-date.
  • Run anti-virus software, and keep this up-to-date, too.
  • Disable or uninstall any software or browser plug-ins you don’t use — this reduces your vulnerability surface.
  • If you receive a PDF attachment in Gmail, select “View” to view it in Gmail instead of downloading it.
URL: http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2010/09/stay-safe-while-browsing.html

[G] Diversey awarded for cutting carbon emissions using Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Diversey awarded for cutting carbon emissions using Google Apps

Editor’s note: We’ve invited Brent Hoag, Vice President and Chief Information Officer, of Diversey to tell readers about their recent recognition as one of InformationWeek’s most innovative users of business technology. Diversey, formerly JohnsonDiversey, is headquartered in Sturtevant, Wisconsin. With sales in more than 175 countries, Diversey is a leading global provider of commercial cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions, serving customers in the building management, lodging, food service, retail, health care, and food and beverage sectors. Diversey, Inc. is committed to a cleaner, healthier future. Its products, systems and expertise make food, drink and facilities safer and more hygienic for consumers and for building occupants.

This week, InformationWeek announced its annual listing of the nation’s 500 most innovative users of business technology. We’re proud to report that Diversey was recognized as being among the top 10 U.S. manufacturers for its innovative and environmentally efficient cloud computing strategy – the foundation of which is Google Apps. The use of Google Apps for email, collaboration and calendar helped Diversey reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 73 metric tons or the equivalent of taking roughly 15 passenger vehicles off the road.

In just one day, the company migrated 14,000 accounts to Google Apps in more than 60 countries and 18 languages. Since implementation in May 2009, employees have changed the way they communicate with other employees and customers. Google Apps’ cloud-based e-mail, calendars, documents and sites have improved the quality, consistency and effectiveness of communication and allows for business continuity in the event of a disaster.

The company’s migration to cloud computing was the result of a corporate-wide commitment to find more sustainable and efficient ways of doing business. Diversey’s cloud-based technology platforms allow for a collaborative working environment and helps maintain business continuity. It also reduced the company’s carbon footprint by eliminating up to 10 company servers and by decreasing the need for business travel and the purchase of redundant hardware and software.

Diversey’s commitment to sustainable IT is another example of our environmental leadership and our passion for finding new ways to reduce the environmental impact of our operations globally. In Google, we’ve found a good partner in the sustainability movement, and look forward to continuing to meet and exceed our sustainability and innovation goals together.

Posted by Ashley Chandler, Google Apps team
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/09/diversey-awarded-for-cutting-carbon.html

[G] Supplement your AdSense earnings with Google Affiliate Network

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Inside AdSense: Supplement your AdSense earnings with Google Affiliate Network

Many publishers are very good at recommending just the right stuff for their users. We love seeing influential publishers in all genres — from foodies to techies to moms to shopping experts — delight users by giving them access to products and services that they believe in. When these trusted publishers recommend a book, a gadget, or a new perfume, their audiences are very likely to follow.

Have you ever wondered if your users buy the products you recommend? Have you wished you could be rewarded for driving sales and conversions? You can. With Google Affiliate Network, publishers can access cost-per-action (CPA) or affiliate ads. This means that you can start working with advertisers who will pay you a performance fee for driving a sale or other conversion. Many AdSense publishers have already started using Google Affiliate Network to complement their AdSense ads and earn additional revenue.
Here’s how to get started:
  1. Sign up for a Google Affiliate Network account with your AdSense Publisher ID.
  2. As soon as you're approved for Google Affiliate Network, sign in and apply for advertiser programs.
  3. Follow the instructions to start displaying cost-per-action ads.
Check out our Beginner’s Guide to help you through the process of becoming a successful affiliate publisher and continue reading for the answers to our frequently asked questions.

How are Google Affiliate Network ads different from the ads I serve through Google AdSense?
Affiliate programs are not ad units or campaigns; they are ongoing programs that allow advertisers to reward publishers (or “affiliate partners”) for driving sales or conversions. While your AdSense ads are automatically targeted, you will select which Google Affiliate Network advertiser programs to join and then choose which affiliate ads to add to your site.

Can I promote my Google Affiliate Network ads?
You may promote Google Affiliate Network ads on your site. If you endorse the product that you are referring, feel free to let your users know. By adding your personal review of the products you refer, you can help your users make more informed choices.

Note that you may not promote or call attention to AdSense ads in the same way. Learn more about important differences between CPC and CPA ads that explain the reasoning behind these separate policies.

What kinds of advertisers are in the Google Affiliate Network?
We have a diverse range of advertisers who run successful affiliate programs through our network. Just a few examples include Target, Barnes and Noble.com, Blue Nile, Verizon Wireless, Aéropostale, and Wedding Channel Store (The Knot).

Is this available for publishers outside the United States?
Yes, publishers in all countries supported by AdSense are eligible. However, the majority of advertisers in the Google Affiliate Network are currently focused on the US market.

How do I get paid?
If you've earned at least the minimum commission, you'll receive consolidated payments through your Google AdSense account.



Posted by Erica Sievert - Google Affiliate Network Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/09/supplement-your-adsense-earnings-with.html

[G] YouTube Homepage: Promoted Videos advertisers can get it while it's hot

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Inside AdWords: YouTube Homepage: Promoted Videos advertisers can get it while it's hot

Cross posted from the YouTube blog.


For big advertisers on YouTube, the YouTube homepage is often seen as the holy grail. It's the highest-profile placement on YouTube, providing marketers with the ability to deliver a big impact and drive attention to content, trailers or advertising. To give you an idea of the scale we’re talking about, the homepage has been delivering nearly 45 million impressions per day and 18 million unique visitors a day in the U.S. — that's the equivalent to the ratings of several top-rated prime-time television shows combined. While impressions and unique visitors are never guaranteed, users who visit the homepage are actively looking for the next video to watch, so advertisers naturally want to be part of the action.

A little known fact is that a few days each quarter, we open up the YouTube homepage to Promoted Video advertisers. These companies end up getting a bit of extra exposure from their campaigns. There are a couple of ways to make sure your ads show up on the homepage, should the opportunity arise. First, log into your AdWords account, and under "Campaign Settings," consider the following:

  • In order for Promoted Videos ads to appear on YouTube browse pages, watch pages, and on the homepage, select "Display Network"
  • To appear *only* on YouTube placements, select "Relevant pages only on the placements I manage" and add youtube.com as a managed placement.
  • To appear *only* on the homepage, select "Relevant pages only on the placements I manage" and add youtube.com::pyv-top-right-homepage as a managed placement
  • Set a specific bid for the homepage and keep in mind that it is a more competitive placement
  • Please note: this feature is only available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the U.K., and The U.S.

Because the dates we run Promoted Videos on the YouTube homepage vary, we unfortunately don't have a set schedule for you. However, we typically know about 48 hours in advance. If you have a managed account, you can ask your Google representative to let you know when these opportunities arise so that you can increase your bids to improve your chances of showing up.

Several advertisers – large and small – have found great success showing Promoted Videos on the homepage. One YouTube advertiser, Dynomighty Design, grew their entire business by using Promoted Videos and getting placements on the YouTube homepage. Founder Terrence Kelleman says: "YouTube helps us sell our product, learn about our audience and build a strong brand image. And as a small company with a limited advertising budget, YouTube has become our main advertising strategy. Not only are costs low with Promoted Videos, but healthy conversions also make YouTube our #1 referring site in terms of traffic and revenue." To read more about Dynomighty's story, check out their original YouTube video and their feature on the Official Google Blog.

The YouTube homepage has a captive, engaged audience and it's our goal to let advertisers understand how best to reach customers that would be interested in hearing from them. For more information about advertising on YouTube, visit youtube.com/advertising, and for more information on Promoted Videos, check out ads.youtube.com.

Posted by Mark Sabec, Product Marketing Manager, YouTube
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/09/youtube-homepage-promoted-videos.html

[G] Print your spreadsheets (and save ink) with more printing options

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Official Google Docs Blog: Print your spreadsheets (and save ink) with more printing options

With the power of the cloud, you have access to and can share your files from basically any device without needing to print out anything. We understand that there are occasions when you still need to print, however, and that’s why today we’re happy to announce two new features for printing: selection printing and gridless printing. These two new options allow you to not only customize your printouts, but also save ink in the process.

With selection printing you can print a highlighted section from your spreadsheet. The new option to not print the default gridlines is valuable if you’re trying to print a handout or trying to save ink. You can access these settings via File > Print.


These printing improvements are a direct result of feedback from many of you. If you have more ideas, let us know in the forums.

Posted by: Julian Mcauley, Software Engineering Intern
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2010/09/print-your-spreadsheets-and-save-ink.html