Saturday, October 16, 2010

[G] This week in search 10/16/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 10/16/10

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.

Search is always evolving, and we’re excited to share the latest this week—from Google Autocomplete to our fun homepage doodles—as well as a glimpse at what the U.S. is searching for. Here’s this week’s round up of updates:

A birthday surprise
Because doodles are such a fun part of the search experience, we thought we’d share a fun little way Google will help celebrate your birthday. When you include your date of birth on your Google profile, you may notice a special treat on the Google homepage on your birthday (be sure to sign in). Click on the doodle for another birthday surprise!

Renaming Google Suggest
We first launched Google Suggest in 2004 in Labs to help people enter their searches faster. Suggest has been a very popular feature, and some people have been asking what happened to it. Never fear, it hasn’t gone anywhere—we just renamed it to “Google Autocomplete.” As part of our launch of Google Instant, we thought "Autocomplete" fit better with the new functionality—automatic queries and automatic results.

Google Instant in new countries across Asia
We’ve been rapidly expanding Google Instant around the globe. Last week we launched Instant in Australia, India, Korea, New Zealand and Singapore. Now that it’s been a few weeks since our initial release, we’ve been finding that people are really learning how to get the most out of Instant. For example, in just two weeks, we saw an increase in the fraction of searches performed without hitting enter or clicking search. This is a very demanding launch for our infrastructure and we’re expanding around the globe as soon as we can.

Eurostat data in search
We’ve also rolled out some improvements our public data search features. We’ve been working closely with Eurostat to surface some really useful and interesting data about unemployment rates, government debt, minimum wage and broadband penetration across Europe. Try searching for [arbeitslosenstatistik deutschland], [smic france] or [deuda publica españa] to see examples of this data visualisation in action. The data is available across 34 languages. We’ve also internationalized data from the World Bank. You can learn more on our European policy blog.

The week in searches
Curious to know what Google Searches skyrocketed in the U.S. this week? Check out the Google Beat, where you’ll find an inside look into what people are clicking on Google. This week, we cover everything from Columbus Day to Brett Favre and the buzz around “Cigar Guy.”

We hope you find these updates useful. Stay tuned for more next week.

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director, Search Product Management

[G] Google Books at the Boston Book Festival

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Inside Google Books: Google Books at the Boston Book Festival

Posted by Abe Murray, product manager, Google Books

Tomorrow, Sat. 10/16, the second annual Boston Book Festival is expected to attract more than 25,000 attendees to celebrate, discover and learn about books. We’ll be there to celebrate with them because we see books as important keys to human culture, knowledge and progress.

Bostonian Googlers will be there all day, hosting book sales and author signings in our booth in Copley Square outside of the Trinity Church alongside an Internet lounge for people who want to share their experiences with the rest of the world.

We hope those of you nearby can attend the Boston Book Festival -- which is free and open to the public -- and drop by our booth anytime between 10 AM and 8 PM.

Here’s the book sales and author signing schedule. Happy reading!


Friday, October 15, 2010

[G] Introducing In-Page Analytics: Visual context for your Analytics data

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Google Analytics Blog: Introducing In-Page Analytics: Visual context for your Analytics data

When looking at Google Analytics reports, sometimes it’s difficult to visualize how visitors navigate on a given website page. To make this visualization easier, some users keep the website open in another browser tab so they can reference it while looking through reports. Others rely on the Site Overlay report in Google Analytics, which, admittedly, hasn’t worked as well it could.

Today, we’re happy to share with you a bit of what we’ve been working on to address this problem. We’re releasing a new feature into beta: In-Page Analytics. With In-Page Analytics, you can see your Google Analytics data superimposed on your website as you browse.

Take In-Page for a spin and let us know what you think. In-Page Analytics is still in beta, so some things in the report may not work perfectly yet. There’s a lot left to do, but there’s even more that we want build going forward. In-Page is currently available for all English users of Google Analytics. We also have a demo video that walks you through the feature and how you might use it.

You’ll find the In-Page Analytics report in the Content section in your Google Analytics account, and it replaces Site Overlay. You can read more about In-Page in the Google Analytics Help Center. Let us know what you think and how you’re using it!

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Google Analytics Team

[G] Site Maintenance on Saturday, October 16

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Inside AdSense: Site Maintenance on Saturday, October 16

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

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

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

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

Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense Team

[G] Clean water for those who need it

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Official Google Blog: Clean water for those who need it

In August, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro—the highest mountain in Africa, at 19,340 feet (5895 meters). I practiced by going for a three-day hike along the “Lost Coast” of California. One thing I noticed while hiking is that you're continually thinking about water. How much do you need to carry on your back? Do you have enough water to last until you can refill your supply? How do you take water from a stream and make it safe to drink?

When I left for Tanzania, I ran a campaign to raise money for charity:water, a non-profit that brings clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Many of us take water for granted: you turn on the tap, or buy a bottle at the store, and there it is. But it's not like that for everyone. Many people in the world have to think about water all the time. People often walk miles to get water and miles to carry it back, and worry about whether it’s safe to drink. More than a billion people lack access to clean drinking water. As a result of unsafe water and bad sanitation, people in some developing countries are more likely to contract illnesses that are basically preventable but still kill thousands of people, including many children, every day.

Organizations are stepping up to the plate to focus on this issue. While there is much more work to do, the United Nations is on track to meet its Millennium Development Goal of halving, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. This year’s Blog Action Day theme is water, and with that in mind, we thought we’d share a bit about Google’s efforts to conserve water, in a variety of ways.

One of key area where we can make a contribution is through our data center operations. On average, two gallons of water is consumed for every kilowatt-hour of electricity produced in the U.S., because water is needed for power plants to operate. That means that by building what we believe to be the most efficient data centers in the industry, we’re saving fresh water. Every year, our data centers save hundreds of millions of gallons of drinking water simply by consuming 50% less electricity than the industry average for technology companies.

A major reason why our data centers are so energy efficient is that we use evaporation to cool our facilities, rather than a more traditional chiller. Evaporative cooling uses far less power than a chiller—so by using a fraction of a gallon of water for evaporative cooling, we save a gallon of water at the power plant. We’ve also made an effort to minimize the amount of fresh water directly consumed by our facilities by using recycled water. Rather than use clean, potable water, we treat wastewater until it’s clean enough to be used for cooling. Two of our data centers run on 100% recycled water already—one by filtering water taken from an industrial canal, and one by taking “greywater” from a city wastewater treatment plant and cleaning it before using it in our cooling towers. We’re also working on new, geographically appropriate systems, like large rainwater capture ponds at one site and a seawater cooling system at a data center that is currently under construction. We set an aggressive goal a few years ago to use recycled water for 80% of our total data center water consumption by the end of 2010. Although we’re unlikely to meet that stretch goal, we believe we’ve made a lot of progress and are hopeful that by the end of this year recycled water will account for almost half of our total consumption.

We’ve also made some small changes at the Googleplex in Mountain View. Earlier this spring, we worked with the city of Mountain View to become the first commercial customer of recycled water for irrigation. We’re using it now on our sports fields as well as in a few of our buildings here in Mountain View. A few years ago we did water audits of our buildings to determine where we could make changes to save more water. We’ve since refreshed several of our buildings with new, very low-water use fixtures. And we’ve also experimented with phasing out the use of bottled water on campus, replacing plastic bottles with water filters and reusable cups. Not only does bottled water use up more energy in production and transportation, and create waste through plastic bottles (many of which are never recycled)—the Sierra Club estimates (PDF) that it takes three liters of water to produce one liter of bottled water.

This Blog Action Day, I hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on your own water use, and on what you might be able to do to make a difference. You don’t have to climb a mountain to help others gain access to clean water.

Posted by Matt Cutts, Software Engineer

[G] Easy tips to control your privacy

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Google Public Policy Blog: Easy tips to control your privacy

By Brian Richardson, Manager, Public Policy Communications

Google Product Manager Jonathan McPhie was in DC recently to meet with privacy advocates, academics and members of the media to help spread the word about our new Privacy Tools page on the Google Privacy Center. While in town we asked Jonathan to explain some simple ways you can take control of your own privacy when using Google. Check out the video.


[G] Protecting your data in the cloud

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Google Online Security Blog: Protecting your data in the cloud

Posted by Priya Nayak, Consumer Operations, Google Accounts

Like many people, you probably store a lot of important information in your Google Account. I personally check my Gmail account every day (sometimes several times a day) and rely on having access to my mail and contacts wherever I go. Aside from Gmail, my Google Account is tied to lots of other services that help me manage my life and interests: photos, documents, blogs, calendars, and more. That is to say, my Google Account is very valuable to me.

Unfortunately, a Google Account is also valuable in the eyes of spammers and other people looking to do harm. It’s not so much about your specific account, but rather the fact that your friends and family see your Google Account as trustworthy. A perfect example is the “Mugged in London” phishing scam that aims to trick your contacts into wiring money — ostensibly to help you out. If your account is compromised and used to send these messages, your well-meaning friends may find themselves out a chunk of change. If you have sensitive information in your account, it may also be at risk of improper access.

As part of National Cyber Security Awareness month, we want to let you know what you can do to better protect your Google Account.

Stay one step ahead of the bad guys

Account hijackers prey on the bad habits of the average Internet user. Understanding common hijacking techniques and using better security practices will help you stay one step ahead of them.

The most common ways hijackers can get access to your Google password are:
  • Password re-use: You sign up for an account on a third-party site with your Google username and password. If that site is hacked and your sign-in information is discovered, the hijacker has easy access to your Google Account.
  • Malware: You use a computer with infected software that is designed to steal your passwords as you type (“keylogging”) or grab them from your browser’s cache data.
  • Phishing: You respond to a website, email, or phone call that claims to come from a legitimate organization and asks for your username and password.
  • Brute force: You use a password that’s easy to guess, like your first or last name plus your birth date (“Laura1968”), or you provide an answer to a secret question that’s common and therefore easy to guess, like “pizza” for “What is your favorite food?”
As you can see, hijackers have many tactics for stealing your password, and it’s important to be aware of all of them.

Take control of your account security across the web

Online accounts that share passwords are like a line of dominoes: When one falls, it doesn’t take much for the others to fall, too. This is why you should choose unique passwords for important accounts like Gmail (your Google Account), your bank, commerce sites, and social networking sites. We’re also working on technology that adds another layer of protection beyond your password to make your Google Account significantly more secure.

Choosing a unique password is not enough to secure your Google Account against every possible threat. That’s why we’ve created an easy-to-use checklist to help you secure your computer, browser, Gmail, and Google Account. We encourage you to go through the entire checklist, but want to highlight these tips:
  • Never re-use passwords for your important accounts like online banking, email, social networking, and commerce.
  • Change your password periodically, and be sure to do so for important accounts whenever you suspect one of them may have been at risk. Don’t just change your password by a few letters or numbers (“Aquarius5” to “Aquarius6”); change the combination of letters and numbers to something unique each time.
  • Never respond to messages, non-Google websites, or phone calls asking for your Google username or password; a legitimate organization will not ask you for this type of information. Report these messages to us so we can take action. If you responded and can no longer access your account, visit our account recovery page.
We hope you’ll take action to ensure your security across the web, not just on Google. Run regular virus scans, don’t re-use your passwords, and keep your software and account recovery information up to date. These simple yet powerful steps can make a difference when it really counts.

[G] An Updated Design for Reviews on Place Pages

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Google LatLong: An Updated Design for Reviews on Place Pages

Reading reviews is one of the key things that people do before deciding if a place is right for them. Whether it’s figuring out where to go to dinner, or deciding which wedding venue to book, reading about other people’s experiences tends to be a critical step in the process. That’s why we think it’s important to help users find the most useful reviews, and sources of reviews, from around the web.

Today, we’re announcing a new design for how reviews are displayed on Place pages. Now, when you look at a Place page for a business, you’ll see a section on the page called “Reviews from around the web.” This section highlights reviews from a variety of sources, and helps you identify the sites that have high-quality, relevant information about a particular place. In many cases, this newly formatted section also provides a quick summary of what you can expect to see, including the number of reviews from each source and the average star rating that reviewers on that site gave a place.

For example, when looking at the Place page for wd~50, you can see that Yelp has some reviews about this restaurant, another bunch are provided by Zagat, and still more are available on Citysearch. If you want to learn more about this place, you can just click through on, or and read what people on those sites had to say about their experiences there.

In the section called “Reviews from Google users,” you can also read the additional reviews that individuals have posted directly to Google Maps. And of course, you can write your own review to share your opinions about this place and help future potential customers decide if they want to eat here.

We hope these changes to the way reviews are organized help you discover the most useful information about the places you care about from a diverse set of sources and voices. Enjoy checking out the new and interesting places you find!

Posted by Jana Urban, Google Place Page Team

[G] Comets and robots

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Google LatLong: Comets and robots

On October 20th, Comet Hartley 2 will swing by Earth, passing a scant 19 million kilometers overhead. If your 15" telescope is at the shop, it's too cold to star-gaze in your pajamas or you're just having a spate of cometophobia, don't fret, we've got your back.

We've teamed up with the great folks at to deliver a live stream of images straight from their user-controlled robotic telescope network into Sky in Google Earth. Our new Slooh layer features thousands of images taken by Slooh users, with new images being added every few minutes.

You can find this latest addition to Sky in Google Earth by clicking on the planets icon at the top of Google Earth to switch to Sky mode. Then, in the layers panel, open the Current Sky Events folder and click on the Slooh Space Camera layer.

Opening any of the icons in the Slooh layer displays a list of images that have been taken of that object, and clicking any of those will load the image into Sky.

Check out our new layer and see what’s “up,” or head over to and try it for yourself. It’s fun and free to sign up. It’s even OK to show up in your pajamas.

Posted by Noel Gorelick, Chief Extraterrestrial Observer

[G] Find information faster with mobile Ad Sitelinks

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Inside AdWords: Find information faster with mobile Ad Sitelinks

Cross-posted from the Google Mobile Ads Blog

We recently launched Mobile Ad Sitelinks, a search ad format that displays additional links to content located deep within your site. Available globally on high-end mobile devices, Ad Sitelinks are an easy way to introduce customers to multiple landing page options for your website.

Ad Sitelinks on mobile function similarly to Ad Sitelinks on desktop. Currently, only two-line sitelinks will appear on mobile devices, with each line displaying one sitelink. As shown in the example below, a mobile ad from Oakley, Inc displays two links, driving users to the “Custom Products” and “Sunglasses” sections of the company’s site.

Desktop Ad Sitelinks have been a useful tool, leading to an average increase of more than 30% in click-through rates. Because websites may not yet be optimized for viewing on mobile devices, navigating them to find information can be more difficult. As a result, we anticipate that mobile Ad Sitelinks will be similarly, if not more, effective on mobile as the benefit of deep linking and driving users further down the conversion funnel is even more valuable. Mobile Ad Sitelinks help by taking users directly to the specific content they’re looking for, enabling them to find information and complete transactions more quickly.

Since we’re constantly working to bring our experience with desktop advertising to the mobile web, starting with Ad Sitelinks is simple. If you’ve enabled Ad Sitelinks on desktop, your ads will automatically show on mobile phones -- provided your campaigns are opted-in to run on iPhone and other mobile devices with full Internet browsers.

To learn more about Mobile Ad Sitelinks, please visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Gordon Zhu, Inside AdWords crew

[G] A digital filmmaker’s map to the web

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YouTube Blog: A digital filmmaker’s map to the web

Heather Menicucci, Director, Howcast Filmmakers Program, is writing weekly guest posts for the YouTube blog on filmmaking in the digital age. This is her third post.

Every time I talk to a filmmaker, I learn about a new (often, just new-to-me) website for filmmakers I should check out. I email and text myself the links. Intent on eventually spending some time on the sites, I keep multiple tabs open on my browser. Needless to say, it’s hard to keep track of them all. I thought consolidating a list of the sites I’ve come across through recommendations, articles, and conferences would be helpful to me, and hopefully you, too. So, here I go, with one disclaimer: this list is not exhaustive. I tried to stick to key categories but if I wanted to cover everything cool going on on the web for filmmakers, I’d have to quit my day job. Got another recommendation? Share it in the comments below!

Sites to help in the know

  • Filmmaker magazine Simply put, if you’re an independent film and video creator, and you’re not reading Filmmaker Magazine, or, dare I say a member of the Independent Feature Project, you are seriously missing out. Period.

  • IndieWire IndieWire is all the indie industry news -- big to small. Want to get some costume ideas based on movies of the year? Interested in the hoopla over NC-17 ratings and when they began? They’ve got a network of bloggers and you’ll soon find your favorites.

  • WorkBook Project Founded by Lance Weiler, WorkBook Project is not just articles and blog posts. It’s an open collaborative network that covers the most exciting creative work happening on the web. You can explore case studies, hear thought-provoking interviews, attend workshops, and pick up the tools you need to launch your own web or multi-platform project.

  • Cinematech Of all the things you can read of Scott Kirsner’s, I actually suggest his books, which you can download off his blog, linked here. Scott is out there talking with filmmakers about new technology and sharing all his knowledge along the way at festivals (I heard him at SXSW), conferences (he started The Conversation), and in his books, of which my favorite is Fans, Friends And Followers: Building An Audience And A Creative Career In The Digital Age.


  • YouTube Rentals Obviously, you know about YouTube or you wouldn’t be here. But, are you familiar with YouTube rentals? I got to sit in on a talk about the feature at SXSW this year and I think it’s a really intriguing option for filmmakers looking to share short films and longer work and make some money on screening. It’s one way the web is putting distribution and monetization in the hands of creators by letting them control who watches and set the prices for their work.

  • Snagfilms Snagfilms distributes documentaries from longtime masters as well as emerging filmmakers. Viewers can watch free, and documentarians, who have historically had a difficult time getting wide distribution, can tap into a growing viewer network.

  • OpenIndie Started by Arin Crumley, OpenIndie, which is still in beta, aims to be a way for filmmakers to coordinate and launch their own theatrical screenings by connecting them with audiences and exhibitors directly. The exciting idea is based on the Crumley’s own distribution model for Four Eyed Monsters, which he co-directed.


  • ShootingPeople Want to know what projects others filmmakers are up to? Take a workshop? Find someone to animate your open sequence? Get a new gig? ShootingPeople is the place to network with other filmmakers online (and in person -- lots of cities host nights out for “shooters”).

  • Ning Hopefully you use Facebook and Twitter for things other than planning poker night. Both are excellent platforms for connecting with audiences and potential collaborators. You may not know about Ning though. With Ning you can create your own social network around your film, the topic of your film, or filmmaking in general. It’s a very turnkey solution for engaging with an audience and I think it offers a more dynamic experience for your fans and audiences than a blog alone.

....learn new tricks

  • CreativeCow When a filmmaker writes in with an editing question our Post team can’t solve we head to the CreativeCow forums. There is an unbelievable amount of expertise you can easily tap into.

  • Videomaker When a filmmaker writes in with a question about a camera or software, we head to Videomaker. They’ve also got a really nice stable of nuts and bolts tutorials on things like lighting and green screen.

  • NYVS I just learned about New York Video School and I think it’s going to be a really easy way to pick up new or polish up old skills. They’re building a comprehensive suite of “courses” that include videos on things like choosing a hard drive and uploading to YouTube.

...make some money

  • Kickstarter If you haven’t heard about Kickstarter yet, you may be spending too much time in the edit room. It seems like every week I see a new project being funded on Kickstarter in my Facebook feed...and I contribute. Kickstarter makes fundraising painless (compared to calling Mom and Dad or going to door-to-door) for the filmmaker and fun for the fans to take part in a project.

  • IndieGoGo IndieGoGo offers filmmakers another digital fundraising option and, now, through, access to some distribution platforms like iTunes and Netflex.

  • Howcast Emerging Filmmakers Program Hey, if I didn’t think we offer filmmakers an excellent way to get experience and pick up some extra cash, I wouldn’t be here. Many of our filmmakers call Howcast videos their “fun work.” If you’re familiar with our videos, you know we give filmmakers a ton of creative freedom -- it’s great for their reels and their pocketbooks. Also worth checking out:, TurnHere, Demand, and StudioNow who offer programs for freelancers with different projects, requirements, and rates.


  • OnlineVideoContests Though I’ve entered plenty and never won, I’ve always been a sucker for video contests. OVC is the place to find out who’s giving away $500 for a :30-spot and who’s doling out $10,000 for a 3-minute music video.

  • Withoutabox Long gone are the days of mailing VHS tapes in manila envelopes. Withoutabox has brought film festival application into the digital age. Apply, apply, apply way!

  • Filmaka Filmaka hosts monthly competitions that boast jury members like Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog -- a pretty unique chance for exposure among industry leaders.

  • Poptent Poptent works with some major brands to bring commercial work to filmmakers all over the world. Download the requirements and upload your video. If your work is selected by that brand you could be looking at a new client and a paycheck.

Overwhelmed by all the new information? Subscribe to these sites’ newsletters and YouTube channels, follow them on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook -- let their news comes to you.

Heather Menicucci, Director, Howcast Filmmakers Program, recently watched “Flower Warfare: Behind the Scenes." Come back next Friday for another session of our “Modern 101 for Emerging Digital Filmmakers."


[G] Kuzman Ganchev Receives Presidential Award from the Republic of Bulgaria

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Official Google Research Blog: Kuzman Ganchev Receives Presidential Award from the Republic of Bulgaria

Posted by Slav Petrov, Research Scientist

We would like to congratulate Kuzman Ganchev for being the runner-up for the John Atanasoff award from the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. Kuzman recently joined our New York office as a research scientist, after completing his doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

The John Atanasoff award was established in 2003 and is given annually to a Bulgarian scientist under 35 for scientific or practical contributions to the development of computer and information technology worldwide and significant economic or social importance for Bulgaria. Kuzman received the award for his contributions to computational linguistics and machine learning. Kuzman is the co-author of more than 20 publications that have appeared in international conferences and journals.

[G] Treat your site search to some customization this Halloween

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Treat your site search to some customization this Halloween

If you’ve been to a grocery store or even switched on your television this week, you may have noticed that Halloween is here – a telltale sign that the holiday season is approaching. And since holidays mean more shopping, here at Google our Commerce Search team has been working very hard to help get your retail websites ready for the business boom.

For most retail businesses the holiday season can be the busiest time of the year, and we want to help you get excited about it. We’ve been listening to your feedback and noticed that many of you desire a greater ability to customize your site search so that it’s exactly the way you want it. Today we are pleased announce that we are giving you your holiday gift early, and in the form of three new customization features.

1. Control over auto-completions. Query auto-completion leverages the machine learning of Google to automatically provide a relevant list of suggestions every time a user types a search query on your site. While this eliminates the need for manual entry of query suggestions, many of you still wanted administrative control.

With this feature, users can now control their auto-completions. Let’s say you are an online candy reseller and typing “ch” triggers “cherry cough drops” and not “chocolate covered almonds,” your most popular treat.

You can add “cherry cough drops” to your list of exclusions and “chocolate covered almonds” to your list of inclusions to display the auto-completions you prefer. For more extensive customization, you can even upload inclusions and exclusions in bulk, so you don’t have to enter the query customizations line by line.

2. Easier Facets. We have made it easier to build navigation features by auto-populating the options based on what we know about your specified attribute. So, if you want to build a facet around “shirts,” options for price, color, size, and any of your own particulars will be listed automatically. This makes it simple to customize search results.

3. Improved Documentation. Now you can find information about how to customize your search with improved documentation and code samples. These can be found at the GCS code page.

These new features can be activated today by visiting your GCS control panel, and we hope that while you’re eating Halloween treats you’ll utilize them to prepare your e-commerce site for the holiday rush. If you are new to Google Commerce Search, visit for more information or to sign-up now.

Posted by Andy Herrman, Software Engineer and Salmaan Rashid, Senior Technical Solutions Engineer

[G] Going Google Across the 50 States: Google Apps strikes a chord with Premier Guitar in Iowa

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Going Google Across the 50 States: Google Apps strikes a chord with Premier Guitar in Iowa

Editor’s note: Over 3 million businesses have adopted Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from Patti Sprague, Managing Director of Premier Guitar in Iowa. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google cloud calculator.

Premier Guitar is for true guitar enthusiasts, a magazine focused on guitar gear and the musicians who use it. All of our employees are passionate about music, and many play guitar or other instruments. Working with a bunch of musicians creates a fun, creative workplace, but not always a very structured environment. We needed an email system that didn’t tie our team to the office, but allowed us to work together and stay connected wherever we may be. Google Apps was the perfect solution.

In our business we have very tight deadlines. We do things a little differently than other traditional magazines. We not only publish a print version of our magazine, we make all of our content, current and archival, freely accessible over 5 different platforms. We’re able to successfully compete with some of the older print centric publications out there because we’re lean and we can get stories up quickly. That requires a lot of team work. Google Docs allows us to work on a story from wherever we are and get it published quickly. It would never be possible to work as efficiently or collectively if we had to wait for a new version of a document to be sent to us before we could publish.

Often our writers and photographers will need to drop everything to hop on a plane for a last minute factory tour, or an interview with an artist. One of the reasons we started using Google Apps is the ability to access our email and calendars on our mobile phones or anywhere with an internet connection. With Google Apps, we know where the team is and what’s due based on our shared calendars. Our company calendar and editorial calendars are kept up to date so we can get our stories out quickly. Plus, we can always just hop on Chat to ask each other questions or find out the status of a shoot or a photo shoot or piece. Being able to just ask a co-worker a quick question instead of sending them an email and waiting for a response has really helped keep projects moving along.

Apps helps us stay connected and work together, while still having fun doing what we love. For a lean team that wants to meet deadlines while writing about their passion, Google Apps was the perfect choice.

Posted by Ashley Chandler, Google Apps team

[G] Viewers say 'You have our undivided attention'

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YouTube Blog: Viewers say 'You have our undivided attention'

How much television did you watch yesterday? A half hour? Three? If you're anything like the average American, you watched for five hours (according to a Nielsen study). Five. Hours. For some, that's 30% of your waking day. In truth, 'watching' is a relative term. TV often provides background noise in many households, and people are rarely focused on the content alone.

Contrast that to watching YouTube or other online video, and, as an advertiser, you might think twice about where your ad dollars are best invested. You want your money where viewers are engaged. A new study that Google conducted with Next New Networks and Magid revealed that viewers of web original content (think Funny Or Die, Machinima, or Key of Awesome) are 2.5 times more likely to pay full attention to online video than they are to pay full attention to the TV show they are watching. Advertising Age discussed the research in-depth last Friday.

This type of engagement makes sense, when you consider the very social and viral nature of web original content.  Let's say a friend emails you a link to something they found funny. Or you wonder if 'The Social Network' is going to live up to the hype. With web originals, you're in control of the content, and it takes a fresher, more topical format than mainstream TV. It is also a lot easier to devote your full attention to a 3 minute video than a 30 minute show. When people are engaged, they can also be educated, informed, and persuaded. They are also likely to share content with their friends. 23% of the YouTube sample said they go on to email video links to friends or post links to Facebook or MySpace. This is the new definition of word of mouth.

Similarly, when it comes to video advertising associated with web original video versus TV, web original viewing proves to be advantageous in several areas. Web original viewers are less likely to:

  • Fast forward through ads (compared to those who watch TV shows using a DVR)

  • Talk to other people

  • Browse the Internet while watching 

  • Do things around the house

Furthermore, the study indicated that significant proportions of web original video viewers take advantage of the medium's interactive elements:

  • More than half read comments posted by others

  • Nearly half rate the videos

  • Four in ten share the videos with others

  • Three-quarters say they use some means to tell others about their favorite Web original videos, with significant proportions using email, social networking sites, and conversation

If you're interested in more points of the study, check out Next New Network's release. This is further evidence that, on YouTube, you have the audience’s attention. What you say to them is up to you..

Rick Silvestrini, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched "Between Two Ferns Zach Galifianakis: Ben Stiller."


[G] Demo of WebM Running on TI OMAP 4 Processor

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: Demo of WebM Running on TI OMAP 4 Processor

Texas Instruments has made a video of HD-resolution (1080p) VP8 (WebM) video playing on their new TI OMAP™ 4 processor, in both Android and Ubuntu.

(If you have a WebM-enabled browser and are enrolled in the YouTube HTML5 beta the video will play in WebM HTML5, otherwise it will play in Flash Player.)

For more info about the OMAP 4 and the IVA 3 video accelerator that enables low-power HD playback of VP8 on the chip, see the TI web site.

[G] Help keep your account safe with the Gmail security checklist

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Official Gmail Blog: Help keep your account safe with the Gmail security checklist

Posted by Diana Phan, Gmail Support Team

October is National Cyber Security Awareness month and a good time for a reminder about why hijackers do what they do and how you can protect your account. Check out the Online Security blog to learn about common hijacking techniques and security practices that will help you stay one step ahead of the bad guys. To help ensure your Gmail account is safe, take a minute to visit the Gmail help center and complete our new security checklist.

[G] Tune into YouTube Play: Live at the Guggenheim on October 21

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YouTube Blog: Tune into YouTube Play: Live at the Guggenheim on October 21

Next week the YouTube Play jury will announce the top 25 videos that it selected from the 23,000 submissions received. We’re busy working with the Guggenheim to make sure that this announcement is like no other. Right now we can’t tell you who those 25 are, but we can tell you a little about the gala we’re going to throw to celebrate it.

YouTube Play: Live from the Guggenheim will be a live streamed event featuring music, collaborations, eye-popping projections and, of course, the most creative video. If you’re in New York, you can catch some of the projections on the façade of the Guggenheim on the night of October 21. If you’re not, then head to on October 21 to catch the event live, starting at 8 p.m. ET.

So, who’s going to be there? Here’s a sneak peek of the lineup:

OK Go: The Chicago-based four-piece have torn up the rulebook with their music videos, picking up a Grammy and tens of millions of views in the process. "This Too Shall Pass" is in the YouTube Play shortlist.

Kutiman: "ThruYOU" was named one of Time Magazine’s top 50 best inventions for 2009, and is also in the shortlist. Kutiman shot to fame by compiling musical elements from across YouTube; at the Guggenheim, he’ll be choreographing a unique live collaboration.

Michael Showalter: The MC for the evening is also the star of Comedy Central’s Michael and Michael Have Issues, has a hit online with’s "The Michael Showalter Showalter," and used to be on The Daily Show.

That’s it for now. You’re going to have to head to on the night to find out who made the top 25 and what things really look like when YouTube meets the Guggenheim.

Tom Pursey, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched "TOM WAITS THEME FOR IRON MAN 2 (REJECTED)."


[G] On the Future of Books

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Inside Google Books: On the Future of Books

Posted by James Crawford, engineering director, Google Books

This morning I’ll be speaking on the topic of the present and future of Google Books at the Europeana Open Culture conference at Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam. Now as much as ever, our shared vision of bringing all the incredible content stored in the world’s books online depends on working with libraries, publishers, authors and book lovers.

is a digital library initiated by the European Commission to bring together digitization projects from around the continent. Europeana works with European libraries, archives, and museums to collect and make easily accessible the books, music, film and art that make up Europe’s cultural heritage. It is an important project, and it shows that around the world, public and private bodies see the value of digitization in order to provide broad access to our shared cultural heritage.

To date, working with library and publisher partners around the world, we have scanned more than 15 million books from more than 100 countries in over 400 languages as part of the Google Books project we started in 2004. The greater the diversity of content on the web, the more useful it becomes. And the more people who can access the information cataloged in books, the more enlightening those works become.

Check back soon for highlights from the conference.

[G] New Featured Extensions

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Google Chrome Blog: New Featured Extensions

With so many new extensions uploaded in the gallery every day, we know it can be tricky to decide which ones to try out. We post a selection of the ones we enjoy in the "Featured" section of the gallery, and from now on we plan to update you regularly on new additions to our recommended extensions.

Here are a few new extensions in the Featured section:

Layers allows you to overlay content like sticky notes, images, videos, tweets and even maps over any web site. You can drag and drop your content anywhere on the page. You can also share and discuss whatever you add to the site with your friends across social networks.

The Postrank extension for Google Reader helps you stay up-to-date on the news and posts that matter. The extension aggregates engagement activity such as tweets, comments and votes from over two dozen social networks and ranks stories based on how much engagement each story has received.

With the Ozone extension, you can get suggestions from fifteen different sources like Google, Amazon, your bookmarks, Gmail, YouTube and more. As you type in the Ozone search box, you can see the suggestions change in real time.

Highlight to Search is a new official Google extension that allows you to search keywords by highlighting instead of typing them into a search box. When you highlight words within a web page, you'll see a magnifying glass icon appear below the highlighted keywords. Clicking on the icon or the keywords allows you to search easily from the search box that immediately appears.

These are just a few of the new featured Chrome extensions, and you can find many more in the gallery.

Posted by Koh Kim, Associate Product Marketing Manager

[G] Avoiding accidental clicks Pt. 1: Keeping the right distance

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Inside AdSense: Avoiding accidental clicks Pt. 1: Keeping the right distance

In the past, we've talked about ad placements that are prone to generate invalid clicks. In a past post, for example, Mike noted that publishers should be careful about placing ads too close to navigational controls or other clickable page elements.

It's in the best interest of the user, advertiser, and publisher to avoid implementations that lead to invalid click activity. As you can imagine, users aren't very happy if they accidentally click an ad instead of a link on your page and are directed away from your site. Advertisers also don’t want to be charged for a click that a user made accidentally (though of course we do not charge advertisers for invalid clicks that we detect). And why should publishers care? Well, if we see that most of the clicks coming from your pages are invalid, we may need to disable your account to protect our advertisers.

One type of site we wanted to talk about are Flash-based game sites. Playing games on these sites, you'll notice that ads are often placed very close to the Flash player where the game is played. Publishers may reason that they're providing maximum value to advertisers by placing their ads very close to the area where their users are focused. However, many of these Flash games are played with a mouse, and the action in the games can lead users to do a lot of rapid cursor movements and clicking. We've seen many cases where ads were placed too closely to where the action was taking place, generating many accidental clicks.

Since each game and site are unique, we can't advise publishers on an exact distance between ads and games, but we do recommend a minimum distance of 150 pixels between the Flash player and ads.

We've worked with publishers on these issues in the past and noticed that increasing the distance between Flash player and ads has had, on average, a positive long-term effect on CPCs. The reason for this is smart pricing. As you may know, the revenue you receive is based on the amount an AdWords advertiser pays for each click on their Google ad. The amount the advertiser pays varies per ad and from website to website, based on the likelihood that a click will result in a conversion for the advertiser. If we determine that clicks on a site are less likely to lead to business results for an advertiser (e.g., an online sale or registration), we reduce the price that an advertiser will pay for those clicks.

So, in short: Moving the ads further away from Flash games decreases the likelihood of accidental clicks and increases the number of clicks leading to business results for advertisers. A good deal for all involved.

Posted by Dan Zilic - AdSense Policy team

Thursday, October 14, 2010

[G] Grow traffic with help from YouTube videos and AdWords

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Inside AdWords: Grow traffic with help from YouTube videos and AdWords

Editors note: Today’s guest bloggers are Troy Olson, Digital Advertising Manager, and Jeff Loquist, Search Marketing Manager, for owns and operates a family of web stores with a wide selection of products, from barbecue grills and accessories to patio sets.

We started out with search-based advertising using Google AdWords. It helped us get traffic to our site at a relatively low cost – AdWords has been a great way to help us capture customers when they’re looking for a “BBQ grill” and other items we offer.

We happened upon marketing on YouTube almost by accident. In response to customer service calls, we started creating instructional videos to show people how to best use their BBQ grills. We were getting a lot of traffic and great comments. So we decided to build out our Brand Channel and add more content, such as recipes by Chef Tony. YouTube is great for conveying our company image, and distributing unique content that people can relate to, especially people who enjoy food and eating! Learn more about our “secret sauce” for success that combines YouTube and AdWords.

Posted by Gordon Zhu, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Korean Voice Input -- Have you Dictated your E-Mails in Korean lately?

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Official Google Research Blog: Korean Voice Input -- Have you Dictated your E-Mails in Korean lately?

Posted by Mike Schuster & Kaisuke Nakajima, Google Research

Google Voice Search has been available in various flavors of English since 2008, in Mandarin and Japanese since 2009, in French, Italian, German and Spanish since June 2010 (see also in this blog post), and shortly after that in Taiwanese. On June 16th 2010, we took the next step by launching our Korean Voice Search system.

Korean Voice Search, by focusing on finding the correct web page for a spoken query, has been quite successful since launch. We have improved the acoustic models several times which resulted in significantly higher accuracy and reduced latency, and we are committed to improving it even more over time.

While voice search significantly simplifies input for search, especially for longer queries, there are numerous applications on any smartphone that could also benefit from general voice input, such as dictating an email or an SMS. Our experience with US English has taught us that voice input is as important as voice search, as the time savings from speaking rather than typing a message are substantial. Korean is the first non-English language where we are launching general voice input. This launch extends voice input to emails, SMS messages, and more on Korean Android phones. Now every text field on the phone will accept Korean speech input.

Creating a general voice input service had different requirements and technical challenges compared to voice search. While voice search was optimized to give the user the correct web page, voice input was optimized to minimize (Hangul) character error rate. Voice inputs are usually longer than searches (short full sentences or parts of sentences), and the system had to be trained differently for this type of data. The current system’s language model was trained on millions of Korean sentences that are similar to those we expect to be spoken. In addition to the queries we used for training voice search, we also used parts of web pages, selected blogs, news articles and more. Because the system expects spoken data similar to what it was trained on, it will generally work well on normal spoken sentences, but may yet have difficulty on random or rare word sequences -- we will work to keep improving on those.

Korean voice input is part of Google’s long-term goal to make speech input an acceptable and useful form of input on any mobile device. As with voice search, our cloud computing infrastructure will help us to improve quality quickly, as we work to better support all noise conditions, all Korean dialects, and all Korean users.

[G] Strike up the band: over 10 million have gone Google with Apps for Education

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Strike up the band: over 10 million have gone Google with Apps for Education

(Cross posted on the Official Google Blog)

It was four years ago this month that Google Apps for Education first touched down, right before a pivotal football game between ASU and USC—fatefully enough, two schools that were among the first to move to Google Apps and pave the way for other schools to adopt this “alien technology.”

This week at EDUCAUSE we’re celebrating with these schools and the thousands of others that make up more than 10 million students, staff, faculty and alumni that are actively using Apps for Education on campus. We figured that nothing was more fitting than a tailgate celebration to toast the colleges and universities that have “gone Google.” And of course, it’s not really a party without inviting the marching band.

In the last four years we’ve seen a lot of changes, both to our tools and the general landscape of cloud computing in higher education. According to the 2010 Campus Computing project, nearly 85% of four-year colleges and universities are already using or considering moving to the cloud by offering hosted email to their students. Of those schools that have already made the move, more than 56% of them have gone Google.

As part of this sustained momentum, we’ve seen the number of active Google Apps for Education users double since last fall, with more than two million new users coming on board since May alone; not to mention the emerging growth we’re now seeing in the K-12 space.

Hundreds of schools have made the move to Google Apps just this year, including Gonzaga University, Barnard, Brown University, William and Mary, Villanova University, Georgetown School of Business, Case Western Reserve University, Hawai’i Pacific University, Brandeis University, more than half of the 23 campuses in the California State University system, Morehouse College, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Texas A&M Alumni, University of Tennessee Chattanooga, 13 of the SUNY schools, Pace University and Wilfrid Laurier—to name just a few.

The USC Trojan Marching Band helped us give a spirited cheer to the schools who have gone Google and the progress we’ve seen in the last four years. But like any good commencement address will tell you, this is only the beginning.

Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps for Education Team

[G] Tips & Tricks: Sharing Google Docs Like a Pro

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Official Google Docs Blog: Tips & Tricks: Sharing Google Docs Like a Pro

Google Docs enables you to collaborate on your documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings with as many, or as few, people as you’d like. We’ve explained our new sharing model before, but, in recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness month, we want to make sure you’re aware of your options for sharing your documents.

Google Docs Sharing Icons 101

In your document list, you’ll notice various icons and descriptions listed next to the title of each doc. Here’s a general overview:
  • A lock icon means “Private”
  • A lock icon in front of a globe means “Anyone with the link”
  • A globe means “Public on the web”
Next to each of these icons, you’ll see text indicating who can edit a doc and who can view a doc -- a collaborator is able to edit, while a viewer can access a doc in view-only mode.

Let’s look at a few examples:

If you have a doc with a lock icon that reads “Not shared,” the doc is private to only you. No one but you can find, view or edit that document.

If your doc has a lock icon that reads “[Owner’s name] to X collaborators, Y viewers,” that document is accessible to you and the people with whom you (or a collaborator, if you have given collaborators the ability to change permissions) have explicitly shared it. If the link to the doc is sent to someone who hasn’t been granted either view- or edit-access, that person won’t be able to open the doc.

The sharing setting “Anyone with the link” is represented by a small lock over a globe. If you see this icon, it means that the doc is viewable to anyone who has the link to the doc. You can also explicitly allow certain individuals to edit the document, which is represented by the text “3 collaborators.”

If this link is inadvertently shared with people who shouldn’t have access, you can always reset the link by clicking Reset link in the sharing dialog in your doc:

If your doc is set to public, it will have a globe next to it, and it could potentially be found and viewed by anyone on the web. We call this setting “Public on the web (anyone can view).” If you check the box to allow anyone to edit in the sharing dialog, your doc will also be editable by anyone who opens it.

Be cautious when using this setting to help avoid sharing information beyond your comfort level.

View access versus edit access to a doc
In addition to the indicators above, you can see who can view a doc and who can edit a doc from the sharing dialog within the doc itself. If the doc is set to “Private to X collaborators, Y viewers,” you’ll be able to see which collaborators can view and which collaborators can edit. In the drop-down menu, the owner of the doc, or collaborators who have been granted permission, can change this setting for each person.

Click Change next to the text “Editors will be allowed to add people and change the permissions” if you don’t want to allow people with edit access on your doc to be able to share the document or change the sharing settings.

For docs with the sharing settings ‘Anyone with the link’ or ‘Public on the web,’ the Visibility options pane lets you control whether people viewing the doc will also be able to edit it. Check the box next to “Allow anyone to edit (no sign-in required)” if you’d like anyone who opens your doc to be able to edit it.

Note that both collaborators with view access to a doc and collaborators that have edit access will be able to make a copy of the data or material contained in the doc.

Using this handy reference for sharing icons and settings, we encourage you to go through your document list at and check your document sharing settings to make sure that you’re sharing and collaborating securely in Google Docs. You can learn more about sharing and visibility settings in the Google Docs Help Center.

Posted by: Julia Harter, Consumer Operations Associate