Saturday, September 25, 2010

[G] Updated Keyword Tool: Out of Beta

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Inside AdWords: Updated Keyword Tool: Out of Beta

In early August, we announced that the updated Keyword Tool was nearing the end of its beta phase. Today, we wanted to let you know that we’ve fully launched the updated Keyword Tool.

What does that mean for you? It means we’ve combined the best features from two previous keyword tools into one. The previous Keyword Tool and Search-based Keyword Tool are no longer available in AdWords. The updated Keyword Tool is now the only Keyword Tool available in AdWords, so you can now simply call it “The Keyword Tool.”

The Keyword Tool’s benefits include:
  • Flexible search options: Search by any combination of keyword, website/URL, and category (where available) and receive a single set of results.
  • Easy Keyword Refinement: Filter results by word or keyword match type.
  • Negative keywords: Easily add keyword ideas as negatives right from your keyword list. Just click on a keyword and use the drop-down menu to select and save your negative keyword.
  • Advanced options: View statistics for mobile search and use data filters based on local searches, search and ad share, and more.
In addition to these improvements, we’ve also changed how we calculate Global Monthly Searches and Local Monthly Searches. Statistics in these columns are now based on search traffic only. Previously, they also included traffic from search partners. We've updated these statistics based on advertiser feedback, and hope you find them more helpful for keyword selection.

While we recommend using the Keyword Tool while signed in to AdWords, you can also access the tool without signing in. We hope you like the new streamlined version of the tool and we look forward to bringing you more features soon.

Posted by Jason Shafton, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Known Issue: Socialize service not posting updates

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Known Issue: Socialize service not posting updates

Issue: Since early this morning, the Socialize service has not been posting feed updates to Twitter. The source of the problem has been identified, and should be fixed soon, at which point updates will start being posted again.

Update (9:14pm PST 24-Sep): The Socialize issue has been resolved and Twitter updating is fully resumed.

Friday, September 24, 2010

[G] Chrome 6 Issue Corrected

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Google Analytics Blog: Chrome 6 Issue Corrected

Chrome version 6.0.472.55 was an incremental update to a new version of Chrome released on September 7 and announced here. There was a bug in the JavaScript engine that reported the wrong type of some JavaScript objects in a very specific case. This caused Chrome to incorrectly execute Google Analytics' JavaScript, providing an artificially high visitor count for some websites, for their visitors using that particular version of the Chrome browser. Note, not all Google Analytics accounts were affected. The affected period will vary for accounts but would not have appeared before September 7.

A fix was released for all versions of Google Chrome on Wednesday, September 22. Chrome users were automatically updated to version 6.0.472.63 over the last few days.

You can determine whether a profile was affected by comparing visit data from September 7 to approximately September 22 with a previous date range. If you think your account was affected and want to segment out visits from that date range from the affected Chrome release, you can create an advanced segment similar to this one.

We are working closely with the Chrome team to ensure that an issue like this does not happen again. While we believe this issue is fixed, we’ll be closely monitoring this issue over the weekend and beyond.

Posted by Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team

[G] New! Status Dashboard

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Google Analytics Blog: New! Status Dashboard

Google Analytics processes huge volumes of data for websites around the world everyday, thanks to Google’s globally renowned infrastructure. While we never stop focusing on system reliability and scalability (here's an example), we also want to make sure our users have an easy way to get the latest updates from us should there be a problem.

Today, we’re pleased to announce that we have launched the Google Analytics Status Dashboard. Now anyone can visit this Status Dashboard to check on the current status of components of the Google Analytics system.

The dashboard reports on the three main components of Google Analytics:
  • Data Collection (whether data from websites are being collected by the Google Analytics servers correctly)
  • Web Report (whether users can view the reports correctly when they sign in to their Google Analytics accounts)
  • GData API (whether the Google Analytics APIs are working properly)
The Google Analytics Status Dashboard represents an additional layer of transparency that we believe will benefit all Google Analytics users, from Fortune 500 companies to personal websites. The Status Dashboard is the best place to check for service availability of Google Analytics anywhere in the world. You can also get the updates pushed to you by subscribing to the RSS feed. And of course, you can always get updates from us here at this blog or by following us on Twitter (@googleanalytics) and get help from the Google Analytics Help Center or the User to User Forum.

Posted by Yi Wang, Google Analytics Product Team

[G] On recruiting “cold calls”

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Google Public Policy Blog: On recruiting “cold calls”

Posted by Amy Lambert, Associate General Counsel, Employment

Google grew by more than 16,000 people between 2005 and 2009 -- a five fold increase in the size of our company. In fact, we were hiring so fast that on average 40 new recruits were joining every day by 2007. At the same time, we were also building partnerships with other technology companies to help improve our products and services.

In order to maintain a good working relationship with these companies, in 2005 we decided not to “cold call” employees at a few of our partner companies. Our policy only impacted cold calling, and we continued to recruit from these companies through LinkedIn, job fairs, employee referrals, or when candidates approached Google directly. In fact, we hired hundreds of employees from the companies involved during this time period.

A number of other tech companies had similar “no cold call” policies -- policies which the U.S. Justice Department has been investigating for the past year. Earlier today, the Justice Department announced a settlement with several of these companies -- including Google -- which brings the investigation to a close. While there’s no evidence that our policy hindered hiring or affected wages, we abandoned our “no cold calling” policy in late 2009 once the Justice Department raised concerns, and are happy to continue with this approach as part of this settlement.

[G] Product Ideas Submissions: Coming to a close

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Google Finance Blog: Product Ideas Submissions: Coming to a close

Posted by Laura Hughes, Consumer Operations

Here on the Google Finance team we are committed to adding valuable new features with every launch. Six weeks ago we launched a ‘Product Ideas page for Google Finance’ push in which we invited you to submit and vote on feature ideas for our site. During the series, over 5,000 of you submitted 3,700 ideas and 38,000 votes. Now, as the series is winding down, here’s a look at some of your top ideas and what we have implemented so far.

What you voted for:

Launched! New Mobile Interface: A new mobile interface was the top idea on the Product Ideas page before we launched it.

Launched! Big Charts : Bigger charts have always been a top feature request and since launching this feature in August it’s become one of our favorite tools.

Top Ideas
The top ideas are a mix of portfolio charting, data/market requests, and education tools. Although we don’t have these yet we’re always working on new ideas.
  • Portfolio Charting: "Show historical graph of portfolio, complete with dividends, splits, etc." "A chart to see how your earnings fluctuated in your portfolio's investments...”
  • Alerts: "Generate alerts based on stock, option, indices events. For e.g. change in volatility,"
  • Institutional and Insider Ownership: "Show % of outstanding stock held by institutional investors, and insider holdings/transactions."
  • Dictionary: "The ability to click on different financial terms (like p/e, market cap, etc) and get background on them"
  • Economic Indicators: “Add historical data for CPI, GDP, unemployment rate, etc. (Ability to compare graphically vs. the S&P500)"

You have a few more days before this series of Google Finance Product Ideas is closed, so jump in and vote now.

Thank you for all the valuable feedback and Ideas. Stay tuned as we implement your top ideas on Google Finance and catch the latest from the Google Finance team by following us on Twitter.

[G] Finding your hidden treasure: international campaigns with AdWords

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Official Google Blog: Finding your hidden treasure: international campaigns with AdWords

(Cross-posted on the Google Small Business Blog)

In 2000, Antoine Assi founded Middle Eastern export website—it was one of the first e-commerce business in the Middle East. He was just 20 years old and he made time to develop the business in between computer science classes at his university. He needed a way to advertise his website from the comfort of his own dorm room, so he decided to test out Google AdWords.

His friends didn’t believe him when Antoine said he was going to sell and advertise traditional Middle Eastern foods and goods online. However, by 2004, his business had grown so rapidly that he decided to take leave from school to run it full-time. He then started his second company,, which sells handcut decorative tiles online internationally.

Antoine believed there was a gap in the mosaic market and he wanted to share these artistic and historic decorations abroad. He knew there was a market for these tiles internationally—he just didn’t quite know where the opportunity existed. To identify these international growth opportunities, Antoine built on his knowledge of AdWords: He ran several AdWords campaigns, each targeted at the location and language of the test country.

From there, Antoine measured sales and percentage of website traffic from each country and campaign. He ended campaigns for countries with low sales volume and invested in campaigns for countries with higher sales volume and greater return on investment. Where he saw steady product sales, Antoine even had the company website translated into the language of the successful host country. As you can imagine, translating the site to the language of a country in which he’d already seen success only further promoted sales in that location.

Antoine refers to his AdWords campaigns as his hidden treasure, telling us that “the second month we started advertising on Google, we started feeling overwhelmed by the orders and the inquiries... We had to hire new employees on a weekly basis.”

Mosaic Marble quickly grew from two employees and eight artists to more than 40 employees and 120 artists. And the company’s website is now available in seven languages: Arabic, English, Finnish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Swiss.

In addition to helping him expand his business, these international campaigns helped Antoine and his colleagues share these cultural icons with a larger part of the world. There are now homes and public spaces adorned with these ancient Greek creations in more than 50 countries worldwide. “Due to Google,” says Antoine, “we have customers such as the President of Congo, the Dubai Minister of Internal Affairs, the Princess of Jordan, and the Royal Music Academy of London.”

Posted by Elias Darwish, Account Manager, Dublin

[G] Google Apps highlights – 9/24/2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 9/24/2010

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

This week, our updates include a better Gmail experience for Android devices, an option for businesses and schools to strengthen their security, and dozens of new applications for customers from third-party developers and from all across Google. We also reached a big new milestone: more than 3 million businesses are now using Google Apps!

Updated Gmail app for Android
On Tuesday we rolled out an improved Gmail app for Android devices, now available in the Android Market for devices running Froyo (Android version 2.2). The new Gmail app keeps the most common actions like replying and starring handy at the top of the screen, even if you scroll down through a long message. You can view content from earlier messages more easily with embedded links to “Show quoted text,” and bring a limited version of Priority Inbox with you on the go with an “Important” label for messages flagged as important.

New fonts in Google Docs
Also on Tuesday, we added many new fonts to Google Docs for you to customize the look and feel of your documents. Thanks to the Google Web Font API, Google Docs can now take advantage of fonts hosted on the web, not just the limited set of fonts that most people have installed on their computers. Give Droid Serif, Droid Sans, Calibri, Cambria, Consolas and Corsiva a try, and keep an eye out for our next batch of new fonts!

Added security with two-step verification
Google Apps Premier, Education, and Government Edition customers can now boost the security of Google Apps by letting users take advantage of two-step verification. With this feature, signing in requires a password (something you know) and a one-time verification code provided by a mobile phone (something you have). In the coming months, we’ll be bringing the option for two-step verification to Google Apps Standard Edition users as well as hundreds of millions of individual Google users.

App Tuesday: 12 new additions to the Apps Marketplace
With the help of third-party software developers around the world, we were able to continue to increase the number of applications available in the Google Apps Marketplace. This month, we added 12 new applications to the now more than 200 installable apps available, making the Apps Marketplace an even more useful resource for organizations using Google Apps to find new functionality that complements what we offer our customers ourselves.

More apps for Google Apps accounts
Speaking of new applications for our customers, we’re making good on our commitment to allow dozens of additional Google applications to work with Google Apps accounts. This means that businesses, schools and organizations can start using services like Google Voice, Picasa, Blogger, Google Reader and much more. Most Google Apps customers can begin transitioning their organization’s Google Apps accounts immediately, and those who don’t meet the current eligibility requirements will be able to start converting soon, too.

Who’s gone Google?
This week we hit some big customer milestones: more than 3 million businesses—and 30 million people within those businesses and other organizations—are using Google Apps to communicate and collaborate with Gmail and our other web-based tools.

Newcomers include Baird & Warner,,, StraighterLine, St. Thomas University, School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Mallone University. Our largest new customer is Ahold, an international food retailer that’s bringing more than 55,000 employees into the cloud with Google Apps. Welcome to all!

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

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

[G] $10 million for Project 10^100 winners

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Official Google Blog: $10 million for Project 10^100 winners

Two years ago today, we began Project 10^100 by asking you to share your ideas for changing the world by helping as many people as possible. Your spirit and participation surpassed even our most optimistic expectations. People from more than 170 countries submitted more than 150,000 ideas. We selected 16 big ideas and asked the public to vote for their favorites. The five ideas that received the most votes are the winners of Project 10^100. Over the past 12 months, we’ve reviewed concrete proposals to tackle these ideas, and today we’re pleased to give a total of $10 million to five inspiring organizations working on solutions to each of these global challenges:

Idea: Make educational content available online for free
Project funded: The Khan Academy is a non-profit educational organization that provides high-quality, free education to anyone, anywhere via an online library of more than 1,600 teaching videos. We are providing $2 million to support the creation of more courses and to enable the Khan Academy to translate their core library into the world’s most widely spoken languages.

Idea: Enhance science and engineering education
Project funded: FIRST is a non-profit organization that promotes science and math education around the world through team competition. Its mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders by giving them real world experience working with professional engineers and scientists. We are providing $3 million to develop and jump start new student-driven robotics team fundraising programs that will empower more student teams to participate in FIRST.

Idea: Make government more transparent
Project funded: Public.Resource.Org is a non-profit organization focused on enabling online access to public government documents in the United States. We are providing $2 million to Public.Resource.Org to support the Law.Gov initiative, which aims to make all primary legal materials in the United States available to all.

Idea: Drive innovation in public transport
Project funded: Shweeb is a concept for short to medium distance, urban personal transport, using human-powered vehicles on a monorail. We are providing $1 million to fund research and development to test Shweeb’s technology for an urban setting.

Idea: Provide quality education to African students
Project funded: The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a center for math and science education and research in Cape Town, South Africa. AIMS’ primary focus is a one-year bridge program for recent university graduates that helps build skills and knowledge prior to master's and Ph.D. study. We are providing $2 million to fund the opening of additional AIMS centers to promote graduate level math and science study in Africa.

Here’s a short video celebrating the inspiring work of these organizations:

We’ve learned that it takes quite a bit of effort and time to move from 150,000 ideas to five funded projects, but are excited about the potential of the ideas and projects you helped us choose. We’re happy to conclude Project 10^100 with today’s announcement of five winning ideas and encourage you to follow the progress of these projects on the organizations’ websites.

Posted by Lorraine Twohill, VP of Marketing

[G] Discussing innovation and democracy in 2010

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Official Google Blog: Discussing innovation and democracy in 2010

Over the past few U.S. election cycles, Google and YouTube have have become catalysts for a more engaging, meaningful dialogue between citizens and government leaders. From asking questions of candidates to finding your polling place, our tools are helping to make elections and politics more personal and more democratic, and have opened up Washington, D.C. in exciting new ways.

With less than six weeks until the midterm elections, we wanted to hear from some of politics’ most creative minds about what innovation and democracy mean in 2010. So on Monday we’re joining forces with POLITICO to host an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where we’ll discuss the increasing contributions of technology to democracy and the political process.

As part of the event David Axelrod and Ed Gillespie will answer questions and offer thoughts and predictions about the upcoming elections. Arianna Huffington will then moderate a panel about innovation in media, and will be joined by Becki Donatelli, Stephen Hayes, Nate Silver and Amy Walter. We’ll also demonstrate tools built for citizens and government officials using YouTube and Google Maps, and will be joined by our friends on the politics team at Facebook.

The panelists want to hear from you, so if you’d like to submit a question for any of them, you can do so at You’ll also be able to watch the entire event live on YouTube on Monday.

As we approach the election homestretch, we’ll continue to develop useful ways for voters and campaigns to engage one another around the important issues in 2010.

Posted by Ginny Hunt, Elections and Public Sector Programs

[G] Join Website Optimizer at eMetrics & Conversion Conference in Washington DC

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Join Website Optimizer at eMetrics & Conversion Conference in Washington DC

In less than two weeks, Conversion Conference East will take place in Washington DC. Google Website Optimizer will be there along with Google Analytics.

Conversion rate optimization is still a young discipline in the world of interactive marketing. The event was founded by Tim Ash, president of Site Tuners (a Website Optimizer Certified Partner). What's exciting about Conversion Conference is that the entire program is dedicated to the discipline. Experts in the field, as well as those who are just learning the art and science of conversion optimization, now have a forum to share best practices, network, and learn from each other.

If you are anywhere near Washington DC October 4-5, we hope you'll join us there. We have a coupon for $250 off for Website Optimizer blog readers. Enter the code CCE631 when registering at the Conversion Conference site.

Here’s a taste of some of the presentations at Conversion Conference:

Monday, October 4th
The Four Pillars of Building Instant Trust Online (Tim Ash)
The Power of Split Testing (Brooks Bell and Lance Loveday)
Pay Per Click Landing Page Continuity (Lauren Vaccarello and William Leake)

Tuesday, October 5th
Getting Started with Google Website Optimizer (I'll be giving this one)
Multivariate Testing (Eric Hansen and Chris Duskin)
The Science of Pursuasion (John Whalen)

Be sure to stop by the Google booth and say "Hi" and grab a squishy HiPPO. Looking forward to seeing you.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team

[G] GenMAPP’s Summer Harvest

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Google Open Source Blog: GenMAPP’s Summer Harvest

The GenMAPP organization’s efforts focus on building software tools to analyze and visualize biological data. We joined forces with Cytoscape, WikiPathways, PathVisio and Reactome for this year's Google Summer of Code to offer students a unique opportunity to work at the intersection of biology and computing.

This was our 4th year participating in the program and we reached some new milestones. We mentored 10 excellent students (more than any prior year) with a 100% success rate. We integrated and released more code from this summer’s harvest than in prior years. And most importantly, we continued to expand our development community, as many of this year’s students are enthusiastic about continuing to work with us beyond the summer.

Our projects this year covered a broad range of topics:

Alternative Splicing Analysis Plugin for Cytoscape, by Anurag Sharma
CyAnnotator and CyAnimator Plugins, by Avinash Thummala
User Interface Development in PathVisio, by Bing Liu
Tools for Exploring Pathway Relations in WikiPathways, by Chetan Bansal
Expression Data Reader plugin for Cytoscape, by Dazhi Jiao
Improving Cytoscape’s Labels Experience, by Gerardo Huck
KEGG Global Map Browser, by Kozo Nishida
Semantic Network Summary for Cytoscape, by Layla Oesper
Reactome-WikiPathways Converter, by Leontius Pradhana
Edge-Weighted Layout for Cytoweb, by Tomithy Too

As part of the open source experience, we invite our Google Summer of Code students to our annual Cytoscape Retreat. This is a great way to engage students in both our development and user communities. One student pointed out a truism that is rediscovered from time to time in our digital age, “face-to-face meetings turn out to be very efficient.” Here are some other gems of reflection and advice from our students this year:

“The most rewarding part was when I was told that I should merge my changes back from my branch into the trunk"

“It has been the chance to meet and interact with wonderful people from various parts of the world, be it virtual or physical. I had a chance to physically meet another graduate student from my university and a professor from USA due to Google Summer of Code.”

“They opened up my perspective about a lot of things — how the industry looks like, where people with similar skill domain as me put themselves in the society, how important the projects I am involved in are, and other subjects unimaginable if I were to not join Google Summer of Code.”

“Got a taste of open-source development which is just amazing and I would like to keep attached with this project even after this GSOC ends.”

“This program is a great initiative, I loved the amount of exposure the participating students get and it definitely is one of the most exciting summers someone can ever get.”

“The most rewarding part is to be able to go to the cytoscape retreat. It is absolutely helpful to the project, and helpful to get to know the mentors and others.”

“Be the best user of the software. If you are the best user, you write and participate [in] the software project spontaneously.”

“At the beginning of the summer, I really had my doubts on whether or not I had gotten in too far over my head. So I very much enjoy being able to look back at what I was able to accomplish and realize that I was able to supersede my original expectations for myself.”

“Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your mentors are an amazing source of information, and they are really interested in helping you in any way possible.”

“Be cool.”
This post is cross posted from my Next Nucleus blog, where you can read more about our previous years with Google Summer of Code.

By Alexander Pico, Google Summer of Code Mentor for GenMAPP

[G] A Digital Media Primer for Geeks

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: A Digital Media Primer for Geeks

Our friend Monty Montgomery (creator of the Vorbis audio codec used in WebM) has started a video series about digital media. The first episode is an excellent overview of "the technical foundations of modern digital media."

You can stream WebM versions of the video in your favorite WebM-enabled browser or download it to your desktop and watch it one of many WebM-enabled media players. Supported browsers and players are listed on our site.

There's also a companion Wiki.

[G] Going Google across the 50 States: Connecticut-based ice cream franchise decides to ‘gofer’ Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Going Google across the 50 States: Connecticut-based ice cream franchise decides to ‘gofer’ Google Apps

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.

“It’s always a good day to ‘gofer’ ice cream,” according to Jay Ragusa, President of Gofer Ice Cream. Jay has opened five stores throughout Connecticut that provide high quality ice cream and unique treats such as razzles, smoothies, hand dipped ice cream, and soft serve ice cream with a flavor twist. Jay relies on Google Apps to keep his business running, and today he shares how it has helped him and his staff work more efficiently.

“Between our online accounting software and the use of Google Apps, which has become an integral part of our daily operations, we are gradually putting the entire company in the cloud.

Google Sites, part of the Google Apps suite, is used to create specific pages on our external website ( so we can easily edit content without the use of a webmaster. Internally, we built multiple intranet sites including the Gofer Network where store managers and franchisees communicate, organize, and operate their part of the company. The Gofer Crew Portal is a site designed for the staff to access information such as contact numbers, store schedules and the internal Gofer Blog, and submit time card exceptions.

We rely heavily on Google Docs to update manuals, recipes, and employee schedules all of which are posted on the Gofer Network for store managers to access and share with employees at each store. For financial reporting, we created custom Google forms to efficiently collect data on point-of-sale purchases every night — store managers input their sales numbers into the form and everything is automatically populated in my spreadsheets. The forms are a great way to get the data quickly without having to expose sensitive revenue information across all the stores.

Whenever possible, we’re developing business processes around the functionality in Google Apps. It’s low cost and we get the security of knowing that Google is backing up our data. I’m looking forward to finding more ways that Google Apps can improve how we work.”

Posted by Michelle Lisowski, Google Apps team

[G] Speed check: Visit us at to test your e-commerce site

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Speed check: Visit us at to test your e-commerce site

Did you know that a user spends an average of just eight seconds on a website before deciding whether to stick around (Marketing Sherpa)? If you’re an e-commerce site, this means you have to be faster than Usain Bolt - the world record-holder for the 100m dash.

Next week, find out how Google can help you capitalize on those eight seconds and improve your online shopping experience. Visit the Google Commerce Search team at’s Annual Summit, held in Dallas, Texas from September 27 - 29.

If your organization plans to attend the show, be sure to visit Google in Booth #120 and attend the Big Ideas session Wednesday at 12:45 PM featuring Nitin Mangtani of Google Enterprise, who will be speaking about search insights for today’s e-commerce technology.

The Google Commerce Search team will be joined by Product Search, AdWords, and the Google Affiliate Network. We can’t wait to show you the many different ways we can help your business.

Posted by Guillaume De Zwirek, Google Commerce Search team

[G] Discussing innovation and democracy in 2010

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YouTube Blog: Discussing innovation and democracy in 2010

Over the past few U.S. election cycles, Google and YouTube have have become catalysts for a more engaging, meaningful dialogue between citizens and government leaders. From asking questions of candidates to finding your polling place, our tools are helping to make elections and politics more personal and more democratic, and have opened up Washington, D.C. in exciting new ways.

With less than six weeks until the midterm elections, we wanted to hear from some of politics’ most creative minds about what innovation and democracy mean in 2010. So on Monday we’re joining forces with POLITICO to host an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where we’ll discuss the increasing contributions of technology to democracy and the political process.

As part of the event, top strategists from both political parties—Democratic strategist David Axelrod and Republican strategist Ed Gillespie—will answer questions and offer thoughts and predictions about the upcoming elections. Arianna Huffington will then moderate a panel about innovation in media, and will be joined by Becki Donatelli, Stephen Hayes, Nate Silver and Amy Walter. We’ll also demonstrate tools built for citizens and government officials using YouTube and Google Maps, and will be joined by our friends on the politics team at Facebook.

The panelists want to hear from you, so if you’d like to submit a question for any of them, you can do so at You’ll also be able to watch the entire event live on YouTube on Monday.

As we approach the election homestretch, we’ll continue to develop useful ways for voters and campaigns to engage one another around the important issues in 2010.

Ginny Hunt, Elections and Public Sector Programs, recently watched “
John Legend and The Roots.


[G] Elmo answers your questions about housing prices on Sesame Street, Cookie’s veggie intake, and more

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YouTube Blog: Elmo answers your questions about housing prices on Sesame Street, Cookie’s veggie intake, and more

It’s not every day you get an all-access pass to one of the most famous neighborhoods in the world and one of it’s most celebrated residents, so when Elmo, Sesame Street’s lovable red monster, offered to answer questions from the YouTube community, you seized the opportunity.

Thousands of you asked questions, ranging from “what would you do if you suddenly woke up and were purple?” to whether he would consider a tap dance routine with Ricky Gervais (who recently made a Sesame Street appearance). The result? A very entertaining YouTube interview. Watch it for yourself here:

Elmo now also holds the title for answering the most number of questions in any YouTube interview. He may be small but he can talk fast, rolling through over 20 questions in just 20 minutes. And his good humor shines through - almost every one of his answers is punctuated with his signature giggle.

Are there other characters you’d like the chance to interact with? Let us know in the comments and we’ll pass the info on to our friends at Sesame Street.

Ramya Raghavan, News and Public Interest Manager, recently watched, “’s Song: What I am


Thursday, September 23, 2010

[G] Get ready to Rocksteady

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Google Open Source Blog: Get ready to Rocksteady

Rocksteady is an effort to use Esper Complex Event Processing (CEP) to analyze user defined metrics. You can use it to parse your data and turn it into events that Esper CEP can query so that you can respond to events in real time.

Too often, metrics and graphs are only useful as an aid in analyzing what happened after things have gone wrong. Staring at a dozen graphs on a TV wall isn't monitoring, it's a waste of time. The goal of Rocksteady is to determine the root cause of breakage based on metrics in real time. Metric analysis is only part of the whole picture though, as we also present solutions including metric convention, metric sending, load balancing, and graphing.

Rocksteady can be used in a number of different environments, but here on the AdMob operations team, we use it to determine the cause of events such as latency. We monitor requests per second (rps) and a slew of other metrics such as CPU and network traffic, then put them together in a prediction algorithm such as Holt Winters to predict a confidence band for the next arriving value. We then record an event whenever metrics are outside the band more than a certain number of times in a row. This is what we call auto threshold establishment. Now, if we have a SLA we really care about, such as response time, we can set a hard threshold, say 250ms. When response time slows beyond 250ms, Rocksteady tells us whether rps, CPU or network crossed their respective thresholds. Now instead of just knowing there is a latency problem, we can also quickly pinpoint the potential cause.

Rocksteady was briefly mentioned in Ignite talks at the 2010 Velocity Conference and Devops Day and now it’s finally ready for open source. Let us know if you have any questions, and enjoy!

By Mark Lin, Operations Engineering Team

[G] FCC vote on white spaces lays promising foundation for “Wi-Fi on steroids”

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Google Public Policy Blog: FCC vote on white spaces lays promising foundation for “Wi-Fi on steroids”

Posted by Richard Whitt, Washington Telecom and Media Counsel

This morning the Federal Communications Commission adopted final technical rules related to white spaces – the empty airwaves between broadcast TV channels – that we believe will pave the way for “Wi-Fi on steroids.”

For several years now, the tech industry, the public interest community, and entrepreneurs have been clamoring for the green light to begin innovating and building new products for these airwaves on an unlicensed basis. Today’s order finally sets the stage for the next generation of wireless technologies to emerge, and is an important victory for Internet users across the country.

Chairman Genachowski and his fellow Commissioners deserve ample credit for adopting rules that ultimately will put better and faster wireless broadband connections in the hands of the public. We’re glad to see that the FCC appears to have rejected calls to enact burdensome and unnecessary constraints that would have made it more difficult to deploy useful technologies on these airwaves. Instead, the Commission has put forward common-sense rules that will help encourage innovation, while fully safeguarding incumbent signals from interference.

What’s next on TV white spaces? We’re hopeful the FCC soon will name one or more administrators of the geolocation database, and establish the ground rules for its operation. Once the database is up and running, new white spaces devices and tools can begin to roll out to consumers.

Nonetheless, this important step should be viewed as the beginning, and not the end, of crafting forward-looking spectrum policy for our country. From creating a comprehensive spectrum inventory, to investigating incentive auctions for TV broadcast spectrum, to revisiting the efficacy of spectrum sensing technologies, these are exciting times for folks to get involved in developing more efficient and effective policies to govern our nation’s airwaves.

[G] Digital due process: the time is now

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Google Public Policy Blog: Digital due process: the time is now

Posted by Will DeVries, Policy Counsel

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) is the law that regulates how government agencies can access a user’s electronic data from an online service provider. Unfortunately, the law was written in 1986 and is woefully out of date for today’s technology -- the provisions of the law no longer match people’s reasonable privacy protections for their digital data.

My colleague Richard Salgado should know. He’s a former Department of Justice lawyer and currently serves as Google’s Senior Counsel for Law Enforcement and Information Security, where he oversees our team that evaluates and responds to law enforcement requests. Today he’ll be testifying about Google’s ongoing efforts to update ECPA for the digital age.

As part of our efforts, earlier this year Google helped launch Digital Due Process, a coalition of tech companies, privacy advocates, and academics dedicated to reforming ECPA. Since our launch, we’ve met with numerous members of Congress, as well as officials from the Department of Justice and several law enforcement agencies. We’ve also expanded our ranks, with more companies and groups from across the political spectrum joining the campaign. Today’s hearing follows similar hearings before other Senate and House committees, and is another sign of the growing momentum of our effort.

As part of Richard’s testimony, he’ll explain that “a large gap has grown between the technological assumptions made in ECPA and the reality of how the Internet works today, leaving us in some circumstances with complex and baffling rules that are both difficult to explain to users and difficult to apply.”

Check out Digital Due Process to learn more about our efforts to ensure our laws reflect the way we live our lives today.


[G] Web Analytics TV #12 - The power of the API

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics TV #12 - The power of the API

Lo and behold, it’s another episode of Web Analytics TV. In this exciting series with Avinash Kaushik and Nick Mihailovski, you ask and vote on your favorite web analytics questions via the Google Analytics Google Moderator site and we answer them.

In this episode, we are delighted to have Rod Jacka as our special guest on Web Analytics TV. Rod is the Managing Director of Panalysis, a specialist web business analytics company and GA Certified Partner, Rod has experience in every web analytics tools, and if you need any consulting help in Australia then Rod's your man.

Here is a list to last weeks questions.

In this action packed episode we discuss:
  • (1:45) Why does you own site show in the Referring Sites report?
  • (3:15) Is there any way to export more than 5 columns in a pivot report?
  • (4:15) Getting app integrations migrated to async tracking
  • (5:55) Is there a way to grant read-only access to Website Optimizer?
  • (6:50) How to cross IDs set in Custom Variables with other GA data
  • (8:50) In which report can you find the PPC search terms (not bid terms)?
  • (10:20) Tracking links from emails that point to sites not being tracked by GA
  • (12:25) Thoughts about optimizing the async code
  • (15:15) If a user keeps clicking every 29 minutes, can a session last for 9 days?
  • (16:50) What could cause advanced segments on reports to have different totals?
  • (18:28) Why should people use other web analytics products when GA is free?
  • (20:50) Does GA track transactions in the same session or across session?
  • (21:08) How to get the goal funnel data through the API?
  • (22:28) What does “other” mean in the traffic sources overview reports?
  • (24:18) Is it possible to get segment-able motion charts?
  • (25:42) Why do product revenue and transaction revenue show different values?
  • (27:36) Where you can find unique visitor data in Google Analytics
  • (29:35) Why do advanced segments that match pages return other pages?
  • (31:22) Is it possible to export data from one account into another account?
  • (33:08) How to link multiple AdWords accounts to one Google Analytics account
  • (34:15) How to distinguish website referrals from desktop applications

And here are the links to the topics we discuss:

As always, if you need help setting up Google Analytics or leveraging the advanced configuration options, we recommend hiring a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

If you found this post or video helpful, we'd love to hear your comments. Please share them via the comment form below. And, if you have a question you would like us to answer, please submit a question and vote for your favorite question in our public Google Moderator site. Avinash and I will answer your latest questions in a couple of weeks with yet another entertaining video.


Post content Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics Team

[G] Insight into your earnings Part I: Explaining the ad auction

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Inside AdSense: Insight into your earnings Part I: Explaining the ad auction

"Why do I earn more money from some ads and less from others? Why do my AdSense for content earnings vary from day to day, or week to week?"

If you’ve asked yourself questions like these before, you’re not alone -- we often hear from publishers that they’re unsure of how earnings are calculated and why their earnings fluctuate. As part of our efforts to be more transparent with publishers, we’re kicking off a two-part series to help explain these topics. With the help of Hal Varian, the Chief Economist here at Google, we’ll show you how ads are targeted to your pages, priced by the ad auction, and translated into the earnings you receive.

Today, Hal will introduce you to the ad auction for AdSense for content ads, and explain both what it’s for and how it works. Like a traditional auction, advertisers bid in our ad auction to show ads on your pages. The number and price of ads in the auction changes from moment to moment, based on how much advertisers are willing to spend and how they've set up their ad campaigns -- this is why we call our auction ‘dynamic,’ as these factors can then affect how much you earn.

If you’re ready to learn more about the ad auction and how specific prices are calculated, watch the video below and visit our Help Center.

So what can you do as a publisher to ensure you’re maximizing your earnings? Here are some tried-and-true tips to increase the amount of competition among advertisers in the ad auction for your pages.
  • Keep creating high-quality sites full of original content to attract more advertisers, and use Google Analytics to see which content is generating revenue.
  • Try adding popular advertiser formats such as the 300x250 medium rectangle to your pages.
  • Turn your channels into targetable ad placements to help advertisers identify and target premium locations on your pages.
  • Experiment to find the optimal locations for your ads, while making sure that your layouts won't generate accidental clicks.
  • Help advertisers find your sites by claiming them in Ad Planner. You can add descriptions and categories that describe your content, which will help increase the visibility of your ad units to interested advertisers.
To understand changes in your earnings, we also recommend reviewing our two-part blog series, 'Diagnosing Revenue Fluctuations.'

That’s it for today. In Part II of our series, we’ll discuss how smart pricing affects advertiser bids in the ad auction, and clear up some myths about how it works.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team

[G] Google Chrome Extensions at School: Get more done!

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Google Chrome Blog: Google Chrome Extensions at School: Get more done!

Over the last two weeks on the Official Google for Students blog, we have been highlighting extensions that help students stay connected with friends or research and write papers. For the last post in the Google Chrome Extensions at School series, we will showcase extensions that can help you stay on task and make the most out of your time.

Posted by Koh Kim and Meredith Papp, Product Marketing

[G] Import your files many different ways

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Official Google Docs Blog: Import your files many different ways

A spreadsheet without data and numbers in it can get pretty lonely, which is why it’s important to be able to easily import files full of data. Today we’ve improved the import dialogue to give you a full range of options of where to put that data. You can get to the new Import dialog from the File menu.

For example, when importing a .csv file, you can create a whole new spreadsheet, append to the current sheet, add a new sheet to your existing spreadsheet or even replace your entire spreadsheet with this new version.

Now with the new custom delimiters option, you can also specify what character to parse your data file with, giving you maximum flexibility when dealing with your data files.

And finally we spruced up the dialog with a preview pane giving you a first glimpse to see how your imported data will look in your spreadsheet so you can make any changes if necessary.

Happy importing!

PS: If you're using Google Apps for your school or business, join us for a live webinar on Monday September 27th for a review of all the new Google Docs features we launched this quarter.

Posted by: Ben Mann, Software Engineering Intern

[G] What’s different about the new Google Docs: Making collaboration fast

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Official Google Docs Blog: What’s different about the new Google Docs: Making collaboration fast

This is the final post in a three part series about the collaboration technology in Google Docs. On Tuesday, we explained some of the technical challenges behind real time collaboration. Yesterday, we showed how operational transformation can be used merge editors’ changes.

Imagine that you’re doing a jigsaw puzzle with a bunch of friends and that everyone is working in the same corner of the puzzle. It’s possible to solve a puzzle like this, but it’s hard to keep out of each other’s way and to make sure that when multiple pieces are added at once, that they all fit together perfectly. Making a document collaborative is a little like that: one challenge is coming up with a method to let multiple people edit in the same area without conflicting edits. A second problem is to ensure that when many changes happen at the same time, each change is merged properly with each other changes. In Google Docs, the first problem is handled by operational transformation and the second problem is handled by the collaboration protocol, which is the subject of this post.

To open a Google document, you need code running in two places: your browser and our servers. We call the code that’s running in your browser a client. In the document editor, the client processes all your edits, sends them to the server, and processes other editors’ changes when it receives them from the server.

To collaborate in Google Docs, each client keeps track of four pieces of information:
  1. The number of the most recent revision sent from the server to the client.
  2. Any changes that have been made locally and not yet sent to the server.
  3. Any changes that have been made locally, sent to the server, but not yet acknowledged by the server.
  4. The current state of the document as seen by that particular editor.
The server remembers three things:
  1. The list of all changes that it has received but not yet processed.
  2. The complete history of all processed changes (called the revision log)./li>
  3. The current state of the document as of the last processed change./li>
By carefully making use of this information, it’s possible to design the client-server communication such that all editors are capable of rapidly processing each other’s changes in real time. Let’s walk through a straightforward example of how client-server communication is handled in a document.

In the diagrams below, the two outer columns represent the editors: Luiz and John. The middle column is the server. The oval shapes represent changes inputted by the editors and sent between the clients and the server. The diamonds represent transformations.

Let’s say Luiz starts by typing the word Hello at the beginning of the document.

Luiz’s client added the edit to his list of pending changes. He then sent the change to the server and moved the change into his list of sent changes.

Luiz continues to type, adding the word world to his document. At the same time, John types an ! in his empty version of the document (remember he has not yet received Luiz’s first change).

Luiz’s {InsertText ' world' @6} change was placed in the pending list and wasn’t sent to the server because we never send more than one pending change at a time. Until Luiz recieves an acknowledgement of his first change, his client will keep all new changes in the pending list. Also notice that the server stored Luiz’s first change in its revision log. Next, the server will send John a message containing Luiz’s first change and it will send Luiz a message acknowledging that it has processed that first change.

John received Luiz’s edit from the server and used operational transformation (OT) to transform it against his pending {InsertText '!' @1} change. The result of the transformation was to shift the location of John’s pending change by 5 to make room at the beginning of the document for Luiz’s Hello. Notice that both Luiz and John updated their last synced revision numbers to 1 when they received the messages from the server. Lastly, when Luiz received the acknowledgement of his first change, he removed that first change from the list of sent changes.

Next, both Luiz and John are going to send their unsent changes to the server.

The server got Luiz’s change before John’s so it processed that change first. An acknowledgement of the change was sent to Luiz. The change itself was sent to John, where his client transformed it against his still pending {InsertText '!' @1} change.

What comes next is important. The server received John’s pending change, a change that John believes should be Revision 2. But the server has already committed a Revision 2 to the revision log. The server will use OT to transform John’s change so that it can be stored as Revision 3.

The first thing the server did, was to transform John’s sent change against all the changes that have been committed since the last time John synced with the server. In this case, it transformed John’s change against Luiz’s {InsertText ' world' @6}. The result shifted the index of John’s change over by 6. This shift is identical to the transformation John’s client made when it first received Luiz’s {InsertText 'Hello' @1}.

The example above ends with Luiz and John receiving John’s change and the acknowledgement of that change respectively. At this point the server and both editors are looking at the same document — Hello world!.

The main advantages of this collaboration protocol are:
  1. Collaboration is fast. At all times, every editor can optimistically apply their own changes locally without waiting for the server to acknowledge those changes. This means that the speed or reliability of your network connection doesn’t influence how fast you can type.

  2. Collaboration is accurate. There is always enough information for each client to merge collaborators’ changes in the same deterministic way.

  3. Collaboration is efficient. The information that is sent over the network is always the bare minimum needed to describe what changed.

  4. Collaboration complexity is constant. The server does not need to know anything about the state of each client. Therefore, the complexity of processing changes does not increase as you add more editors.

  5. Collaboration is distributed. Only the server needs to be aware of the document’s history and only the clients need to be aware of uncommitted changes. This division spreads the workload required to support real time collaboration between all the parties involved.
When we switched to the new document editor, we moved from a very simple collaboration algorithm based on comparing versions to a much more sophisticated algorithm powered by operational transformation and the protocol described above. The results are dramatic: there are no more collaboration conflicts and editors can see each other’s changes as they happen, character-by-character.

Well that’s all folks: we hope by reading this series you learned a bit more about what’s under the hood in Google Docs, and the kinds of things you need to think about to make a fast collaboration experience. You can try collaboration yourself, without signing in, by visiting the Google Docs demo.

Posted by: John Day-Richter, Software Engineer