Saturday, November 20, 2010

[G] Now available with Google Apps: Google Reader

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Now available with Google Apps: Google Reader

Editor’s note: Yesterday we launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.

Welcome to Google Reader
We all have favorite websites. The ones that we keep returning to day after day – or even several times a day – to check for new content. Whether you follow company press coverage on a set of news websites, track industry-related developments through trade journals, or follow what people are saying about your organization in the blogosphere, you can now do all of this in one place using Google Reader.

Now available with Google Apps accounts, Google Reader is a web-based content aggregator that allows you to pull updates from your favorite websites together in one place. By subscribing to a site's RSS or Atom feed in Reader, you’re automatically notified when that website posts new content. Instead of checking many sites repeatedly for updates, Google Reader brings your favorite web content to you!

Google Reader also makes it easy to share relevant articles with colleagues at your organization using Google Apps. Reader is integrated with your existing contacts list so address auto-complete works seamlessly. For example, if you see an article in your Reader feed about new tax incentives for your industry, you can easily share this with a coworker responsible for financial planning or with an entire distribution list you have created, right from the Google Reader.

For those of you always on the move, Google Reader also makes it easy and convenient to follow the stream of updates from your favorite websites on your mobile device, automatically synced through your Google Apps account.

Learn more and get started
Google Reader can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at[] (replace [] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at

For more information about Google Reader you can take a look at our Help Center pages or follow the latest news and get tips and tricks from the Google Reader Blog.

Share your story
Have you already started using Google Reader at your organization, or plan to now that it’s available? Please share your story and your organization could be featured in the next Gone Google ad campaign!

Posted by Brian Shih, Product Manager, Google Reader

Note: Google Reader may not be available in all areas.

[G] Australia's Flight Centre and Ray White have gone Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Australia's Flight Centre and Ray White have gone Google

[cross-posted from the Official Google Australia Blog]

Our Apps business is one of the fastest growing at Google today, with Australia being one of the fastest growing markets in the Asia Pacific region. Today we are announcing that two leading Australian businesses are the latest to go Google.

Flight Centre is Australasia's largest travel agency group with more than 2,000 shops and businesses in 11 countries. Migrating to Gmail will cut their email system costs by approximately 30% annually, while giving their employees an unprecedented 25GB inbox - meaning staff will never need to be burdened by deleting emails. The new Google Apps suite has given them access to more than just email – they have a collaborative suite of tools that supports their entire global operation. Watch Flight Centre’s story below.

Ray White manages over $30 billion worth of real estate sales across Australia, New Zealand and Asia, writing $6 billion in home loans each year. In addition to providing 1,000 businesses, 8,000 agents and each of its customers a standardised communication and collaboration platform via Google Apps, Ray White also developed apmasphere - a dedicated rental property management system delivering greater efficiency and transparency for property management in Australia. Ray White developed this application on the Google App Engine platform, which provided a fast, efficient and robust development environment, with unique collaboration features. We’re convinced that Ray White’s pioneering work will form a template for other developments around the world. Watch Ray White’s Story below.

More than 3 million businesses worldwide have “gone Google” - including Australian businesses you can read about here.

Posted by Emma Robinson, Google Enterprise AU/NZ team

[G] Google Apps shared contacts, now with double the capacity

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Apps shared contacts, now with double the capacity

Starting today, Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers have space for twice as many contacts as before in their organization’s shared contacts. IT administrators told us that they needed more capacity, so we upped the limit from 25,000 to 50,000 entries. Shared contacts are part of the organization’s global address list (GAL), and these contacts auto-complete across Google Apps to help employees work faster and more accurately. Once you start typing to address an email message, invite colleagues to a calendar event, or share a Google Docs file, you can just click a recipient’s name to complete the entry.

We’ve also made optimizations to the Shared Contacts API so administrators can upload contacts much more quickly. Enjoy!

Posted by Mike Helmick and Petr Konecny, Software Engineers

[G] Ten times more applications for Google Apps customers

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Ten times more applications for Google Apps customers

Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog and the Google Small Business Blog

As customers begin to recognize large productivity gains with Gmail, Google Docs and the rest of Google Apps, they frequently ask when they’ll be able to use services like Google Voice, Reader, Blogger and AdWords with their Google Apps accounts. We’ve steadily added new functionality to Google Apps and recently added support for third-party apps, but we’re thrilled to swing the floodgates of new functionality wide open now. Starting today, customers worldwide can access a full spectrum of services from Google—including more than 60 productivity-boosting applications that extend far beyond any traditional software suite.

Coupled with the ability for administrators to provide different sets of applications to different groups of users, the possibilities for empowering workers in new ways are remarkable. For example, you could equip your marketing team with Picasa Web Albums so they can collect and share photos from customer appreciation events, and let that team publish your company’s blog with Blogger. Services like iGoogle and Alerts, on the other hand, may be broadly useful, and could be enabled for your whole organization.

Existing customers can transition at their own pace over the next couple months to the new infrastructure supporting these applications from the administrative control panel. New customers will automatically have the new infrastructure. The additional services are not covered by the Google Apps SLA or telephone support, but we’ll be watching for feedback how we can make these new applications even more useful.

In tandem with this big improvement, we’re also simplifying the names of the versions of Google Apps. Here’s how we now refer to our line-up:
  • Google Apps is our free service geared towards families, entrepreneurs and other groups up to 50 users.
  • Google Apps for Business offers 25GB of email storage per user, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, data migration capabilities, advanced management tools, telephone support, added security features and more, all for $50 per user per year.
  • Google Apps for Government is FISMA certified and designed with local, state and federal agencies in mind.
  • Google Apps for Education offers many benefits of Google Apps for Business, but at no cost to schools, universities and qualifying non-profits.
The team has worked hard to unlock all of this new functionality for our customers, and we think many of these new applications will become indispensable within your organization. To help get you started, each day the Google Enterprise Blog will profile how your organization could put a different application to use. The first post tomorrow will focus on Google Reader, so drop by again soon to follow the series. Posted by Derek Parham, Lead Software Engineer, Google Apps

[G] A curious guide to browsers and the web

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Google Chrome Blog: A curious guide to browsers and the web

On the Chrome team, we’re always looking for new ways to communicate complex concepts about technology. More than two years ago, we launched Chrome with a comic book by Scott McCloud. Since then, a few of our colleagues at Google created a simple explanatory website called when they realized that many of our friends and family weren’t sure what web browsers are.

Today, we’re very excited to release a special project called “20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web.” In the spirit of Chrome’s tradition with books and HTML5 experiences, we teamed up with illustrator Christoph Niemann to publish an online guidebook to browsers and the web, written by the Chrome team. If you have questions like “What are plug-ins?,” “What is HTML5?,” or even “Why is it ok for a truck to crush my laptop?,” “20 Things” is a handy guide for anyone who’s curious about the basics of browsers and the web.

So grab a cup of hot chocolate and enjoy this illustrated guidebook in Chrome or any up-to-date HTML5-compliant browser. Once you’ve loaded it in the browser, you can even disconnect your laptop and read comfortably in your favorite armchair since this guidebook works offline, thanks to HTML5. You can also jump directly back to the page at which you’d previously left off, search for topics that you’d like to read up on, or even view it in “lights off” mode (remember reading under the covers with a flashlight?). If you’re on Chrome’s beta channel, you can give the Chrome PDF viewer a test drive in the “Print book” section of the guidebook.

To read this online guide, go to, (or you can use this shortened URL: And to learn more about how we made it, you can read about the technical details on the Google Code Blog.

Posted by Min Li Chan, Product Marketing Manager

[G] TYPO3’s Huge Summer Success

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Google Open Source Blog: TYPO3’s Huge Summer Success

After having participated in Google Summer of Code for the second time, TYPO3 is now looking back at a truly successful summer where five students worked on projects for TYPO3 4.x, FLOW3, and TYPO3 5.0. Now that the summer has come to an end, we would like to give you an overview of the achievements our students made this summer.

Enhanced Usability for the List Module
Nuwan's proposal for the project included ideas to introduce collapsing and expanding tables in the list module by using AJAX, introducing modal dialogs for detailed information instead of the currently used pop-up windows, in-place editing, drag & drop sorting, and a quick search feature. At the end of the summer Nuwan completed all the tasks except the quick search, but added dynamic selection of columns to display on top of the planned feature set. Being completely new to TYPO3 Nuwan first struggled with current documentation, missing tutorials, and getting into TYPO3 development in general. Thanks to the help by his mentors, Thomas and Tobias, he got moving in the right direction. The feature is available as an extension and Nuwan is looking forward to finishing the missing features and providing more extensions for the core.

Generic i18n and l10n strategy for FLOW3 and TYPO3 v5
Karol reports that Google Summer of Code was a great experience, as it made him learn many new things and improved his programming skills. Looking back to his initial proposal he completed most of the tasks. Some details changed during implementation while others became harder than expected and again other tasks turned out to be easier. For more details you can take a look at Karol's weekly reports. As it looks now, Karol will also stay around with the FLOW3 project, taking further care of his project. All of Karol’s code has been integrated into FLOW3.

Enhanced Media Content Element with oEmbed
Aishwarya was not able to reach all of the goals for the enhanced media content element, but the finished ones are quite nice. It now supports oEmbed, which allows you to use a video's page URL like YouTube URLs to embed the video on a page, whereas before you needed to know the exact URL of the video file itself. For such videos the media content element will now also fetch preview thumbnails where possible. The feature is integrated in TYPO3 core and will ship with version 4.5 in January 2011.

Modular Community System
Pascal managed to create a community extension based on extbase and fluid. As he had experience with the new MVC framework for extension development he found it quite easy. Most of the basic features for a community system are implemented. However, to eventually make everything work we need to wait for two issues in extbase to be fixed. The extension is available at

Private Resource Handling for FLOW3 / TYPO3 5.0
Andreas and his mentor Robert discussed implementing a solution for content security in general, as resources in FLOW3 are represented by persisted “Resource” objects. They came to the conclusion to first implement a solution for generic security policies for persistable objects. Andreas found a solution to automatically rewrite queries by using FLOW3's AOP mechanism so that now there is no need to explicitly write security constraints for queries to the persistence layer anymore. The publishing process is also intercepted using AOP and their publishing path is being extended by a security component to eventually protect private resources from unauthorized access. The publishing feature was finished for the FLOW3 release at T3CON10 in Frankfurt.
Looking back at what has been achieved by the students and having won new contributors for the TYPO3 project we see this year's Google Summer of Code as a huge success for TYPO3 and its community. Students come for the code, then stay for the fun and the great community. All the students passed the final evaluation, so congrats to all of them! We’d also like to express thanks to the mentors who helped the students to find their way into TYPO3 and offering a guiding hand.

By Ingo Renner, TYPO3 Google Summer of Code Mentor

Cross posted from the TYPO3 blog

[G] Google Sky Map- now with time travel

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Sky Map- now with time travel

Man ... can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way.
H.G. WELLS, The Time Machine - Google Books book link

Have you ever wondered how the sky was back in 1900? How the sky looked when the Apollo 11 moon landing happened? Or what the sky will look like next Thursday night for your planned star-gazing trip?

Today, the new version of Google Sky Map lets you time travel to see the sky at a specific date, past or future. After smooth travel to the desired year, you can fast forward or rewind in various speeds and watch how the sky changes.

While viewing another time period, you can still search for your favorite objects.

Google Sky Map is available for Android-powered devices running Android 1.6 and above. Download this new version by going to Android Market on your phone, or by scanning the QR code below. We'd love to hear from you, both the good and the bad, so leave us comments here or in the Help Forum.

Posted by Hector Ouilhet, Lunatic Designer

[G] This week in search 11/19/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 11/19/10

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.

On the web, a “place” can mean many different things. At Google, we think about regional domains (such as .uk for the United Kingdom) as places, but we also think about websites, the different parts of our interface and real world locations like restaurants and stores. This week’s changes span all these different kinds of places, making it easier for you to find information no matter where you are—Vietnam, Hungary, holiday shopping at your local mall or browsing the Google results page. Keep reading for the latest.

Google Instant on 18 new domains
In keeping with the spirit of Instant, we’ve been working to quickly bring results-as-you-type to people around the globe. This week we expanded to 18 new domains across Europe and Asia, almost doubling our total. Our new Google Instant domains include Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Vietnam. Now, whether you speak Catalan, Romanian or Tagalog, you’ll get search results before you’ve even finished typing.

Local product availability in search
Most of the time, when people shop, they actually buy their products from physical stores rather than online websites. This week, we made it easier for people to find local stores that sell the products they are looking by adding information about product availability to Simply search for a product and click the “nearby stores” label to see what stores carry it and whether it is in stock. We’ve partnered with more than 70 retail brands, including Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Macy’s, and Office Depot. Through these partnerships, you can see where to buy 4 billion items and can also restrict your searches to only products that are in stock nearby. (If you’re a retailer who’s interested in taking part in this free program, you can learn more on the Google Retail Blog.)

Other searches to try: [hp printer], [circulon frying pan], [ipod touch]

More relevant results from the same website
When you get back from the store and hop online to do some searching, you’re visiting a different kind of place—a website. Sometimes it turns out that one website is extremely likely to have the information you’re looking for, like when you’ve typed a website name as part of your search, or you’re looking for information from an official government office. To help you find this information more quickly, a few months ago we made a change to show more results from a particular domain when we’re confident that those results are likely to be most useful to you. This week we expanded the feature to include more queries and to show additional results (up to four) from the same website.

That’s all for this week. Search on, wherever life takes you.

Posted by Ben Gomes, Distinguished Engineer

[G] Great tech support and good karma found with Google AdWords online

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Official Google Blog: Great tech support and good karma found with Google AdWords online

(Cross-posted from the Google Small Business Blog)

When Uday Challu noticed a growing dissatisfaction with avenues for technical support, he was inspired to create a better way for people to get help with their tech troubles. So in 2007 he founded, India’s first direct-to-consumer remote technical support company. Founded on a belief in good karma, iYogi aims to mitigate frustrations with technical products and services by delivering a high-quality customer service experience.

iYogi Founder Uday Challu

iYogi provides round-the-clock, 24-hours service on a wide variety of technical products and issues, in Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Uday uses Google AdWords to reach these international customers.

Uday says he saw search and, in particular, AdWords as a way to reach customers in need of technical support. He says, “iYogi services are currently available in multiple geographies and advertising with AdWords seemed like the most obvious way to reach customers who were turning to the Internet to find and fix their problems.”

With the intent of starting small and building to scale, Uday targeted his first campaigns to the U.S. only. Using location and language targeting, iYogi launched a U.S.-only campaign with general keywords related to customer support, and honed his campaign over time. “We gathered lots of intelligence from the Search Query Report, which helped us identify other keywords people in the U.S. were searching for,” says iYogi Vice President of Online Marketing K.R. Sreejith. "We also tested new ad texts and customized these ad texts to highlight popular keywords."

Then, using lessons from his experiences in targeting the U.S., Uday expanded into the Canadian market. He found his experience in the U.S. helpful for the Canadian campaign, but didn’t see similarly high volume. After examining the global competitive landscape, he decided to expand to Australia and the U.K.

“We quickly learned that ads in the U.K., for example, had to be different than ads in the U.S.,” says Sreejith. “Using the Search Query Report, we noticed that the popularity of certain keywords was different in the U.K. and that there are differences in the spelling of these terms. We also learned from our sales teams that U.K. customers spend more time on the phone than do U.S. customers. So, we edited our ad texts and landing pages to reflect these different keywords and values.”

Today, iYogi is one of the fastest growing remote tech support provider in the world. As Uday continues to expand his business internationally, he’ll continue to use insights gained from his ad campaigns and to provide the rest of the world with similarly karmic technical support experiences!

Posted by Anand Devsharma, Team Manager, India

[G] 2010 Google Faculty Summit in Shanghai

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Official Google Blog: 2010 Google Faculty Summit in Shanghai

The 2010 Google Faculty Summit was held Thursday and Friday, November 18-19 in Shanghai, part of our ongoing support for education in China. Senior Googlers from China and Mountain View, California gathered to explore hot topics at the cutting-edge of technology research with more than 65 experts and professors from around 30 universities and institutes including Tsinghua University, Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Other topics included how to deepen collaboration between Google and China universities in areas of joint research, curriculum development and cultivation of talents.

This year’s theme was “Fostering Understanding and Strengthening Cooperation” and the meeting served as a platform for academia and industry to explore ways of teaming up with Google on university-business cooperation and technology research. The Summit, which spanned a day and a half, was also Google China’s largest education event to date.

Our discussions on Thursday focused on deep discussion about two of Google China’s most important sectors, mobile computing and e-commerce, while the morning of Friday focused on cooperation in course development. The Summit examined course development for many of today’s hottest topics, including cloud computing, Android application development and web technology, thereby strengthening the cultivation of talent in these sectors. In addition, the Summit included several topic-specific discussion groups that allowed experts and professors from institutions of higher education to meet with Google staff and discuss relevant topics and cooperation with the hope of expanding upon currently existing areas of cooperation. We’ve posted more details on the Summit here in Simplified Chinese.

Cooperation between Google and Chinese universities and institutions of higher education began in 2005 with course development and gradually grew to include projects that supported Chinese universities to cultivate innovative professionals that meet industry needs. Projects currently underway include course development, teacher training, scholarship programs, research grants for doctoral students, donations of equipment, joint research, innovative student projects, campus lectures and educational summits. We’ve established 12 research projects with universities in Mainland China including Tsinghua University, Peking University, Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiaotong University, as well as the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Hong Kong Chinese University. These projects focus on many areas of study, including mobile computing, machine learning, data mining, multimedia searches and natural language processing. Visit the University Relations website to learn more about our cooperation with universities. Moving forward, we’ll will continue to support our partner universities to deepen cooperation and expand areas of focus.

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations

[G] Web Analytics TV #14 - Just Wow

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics TV #14 - Just Wow

Well it’s another amazing 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 award Darren in Southern California the "Ninja of the Episode" award for his great question about how to track clicks on links that point to the same destination page. Really great question Darren. Just send us an email and we’ll send you an autographed, personalized, copy of Web Analytics 2.0.

Here is the list of last weeks questions. Just Wow!

In this action-packed episode we discuss:
  • (0:30) Tracking dynamic/variable goal values in Google Analytics
  • (1:50) How to determine if async ga.js has loaded for outbound link tracking
  • (4:00) How GA tracks sessions/visits with tabbed browsing
  • (6:38) Adding event tracking to links without a lot of manual work
  • (8:26) Best practices for passing campaign data via custom variables
  • (10:15) Is there a way to export data from an old profile to a new one?
  • (11:10) Ways to rollup data across accounts for custom dashboards
  • (12:20) In page analytics with sites that changes content very quickly
  • (13:30) Reasons why AdWords data in the API is a bit behind the other data
  • (14:40) Native call tracking with Google Analytics
  • (15:47) Why transaction and goal metrics might differ for the same page
  • (17:30) Ways to track different links on a page that point to the same destination
  • (20:18) Sharing advanced segments and custom reports with others
  • (21:12) How to link many AdWords accounts into Google Analytics
  • (21:50) Using autotagging to avoid AdWords-GA integration issues
  • (22:47) How many visits do you need to determine statistical significance
  • (25:10) How to track pay pal with Google Analytics
  • (26:20) How reliable are city level metrics in Google Analytics
  • (27:53) Good metrics to track the effectiveness of knowledge base articles

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.


Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics Team

Friday, November 19, 2010

[G] Senate Hearing on Digital Trade Protectionism

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Google Public Policy Blog: Senate Hearing on Digital Trade Protectionism

posted by Heather West, Policy Analyst

This afternoon Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon put the spotlight on an issue close to our heart and business operations: the need to protect and promote the free flow of information in international trade agreements. In a hearing on International Trade in the Digital Economy, Senator Wyden called for the U.S. government and others to come together to combat protectionism against digital exports -- a position that mirrors themes we raised in the trade white paper we released earlier this week.

At the hearing, Senator Wyden noted how the international reach of American technology companies directly affects the ability of all American companies to export goods and services, both digital and otherwise. The hearing noted the effect of these restrictions on all kinds of American companies, holding back trade and exports whether it is in digital services or physical goods.

We commend the Subcommittee’s leadership on this issue and agree with the fundamental principle that new trade agreements should require governments to preserve the free flow of information on the Internet. As a company, we’re particularly focused on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, negotiations among the United States and eight Pacific Rim nations that we hope will produce a first-rate modern trade pact for today’s information economy. Embedding the free flow of information into this agreement will be critical.

Testimony and video of the hearing should be online soon at the Subcommittee’s website.

[G] Promoting Free Trade for the Internet Economy

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Google Public Policy Blog: Promoting Free Trade for the Internet Economy

Posted by Bob Boorstin, Director, Public Policy

Today we’re releasing a white paper [PDF] that explores the ways that governments impose limits on the free flow of information online. It’s pretty wonky stuff, but the premise is simple: In addition to infringing human rights, governments that block the free flow of information on the Internet are also blocking trade and economic growth.

Over the last two decades, the Internet has delivered tremendous economic and trade benefits. It has driven record increases in productivity, spurred innovation, created new economies, and fueled international trade. In part this is because the Internet makes geographically distant markets easy to reach.

But this engine of economic growth is increasingly coming under attack. According to one study, more than forty governments now engage in broad-scale restriction of online information. Governments are blocking online services, imposing non-transparent regulation, and seeking to incorporate surveillance tools into their Internet infrastructure. These are the trade barriers of the 21st century economy.

In the paper we’re releasing today, we urge policymakers in the United States, European Union and elsewhere to take steps to break down barriers to free trade and Internet commerce. These issues present challenges, but also an opportunity for governments to align 21st century trade policy with the 21st century economy.


[G] Happy Birthday Automatic Captions! Celebrate with more videos and higher quality

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YouTube Blog: Happy Birthday Automatic Captions! Celebrate with more videos and higher quality

Today marks exactly one year since we launched automatic captions. We started with just a few partner channels in November 2009, and soon after turned on auto-captions for everyone. As we explained back then, we like to launch early and iterate, and this year we’ve been making steady progress to expand the quantity and quality of captioned video online. It’s been truly gratifying to see how far we’ve come.

Here’s the quick summary:

  • People have watched video with automatic captions more than 23 million times, and have automatically translated captions more than 7.6 million times.

  • The number of manually-created caption tracks has more than tripled thanks largely to automatic caption timing technology.

  • Just recently, we’ve reduced the error rate in our speech recognition algorithms by 20%

Back in November we talked about how online video presents a tremendous challenge of scale. Before automatic captions, there were around 200,000 videos on YouTube with captions. It sounds like a lot, but at YouTube more than 35 hours of video is uploaded every minute. We want all videos to be accessible to everyone -- whether or not they can hear or understand the language.

Since March, people have been able to get captions for almost any video that has clearly spoken English. Less than a year later people have watched video with automatic captions more than 23 million times. Clearly, there’s a lot of demand for captioned content, and people have been really making use of our technology. They’re also using the technology to access content in their own languages, since captions can be automatically translated to more than fifty languages; we’ve seen more than 7.6 million caption translations.

Auto-captions aren’t perfect, so we’ve also been pursuing a number of initiatives to help people manually create captions. At our event a year ago, we introduced automatic caption timing, a feature that will take an ordinary text file and turn it into captions with time-codes. Since then we’ve added these features to the YouTube Data API to make it easier for people to write scripts and apps that can upload large numbers of captions at once. More recently, we started the YouTube Ready qualification program to help video owners find professional caption vendors familiar with YouTube. Thanks to these efforts, we’ve seen the number of manually-created caption tracks available on YouTube more than triple (with more than 500,000 available today).

When it comes to captions, we care not just about quantity, but also quality. Here again we have good news: just like a real one-year old, YouTube has been learning many new words! For example, we now recognize the word "smartphone" (turn on speech recognition to see). =)

In the past few weeks, we’ve rolled out a significant improvements to our speech recognition technology to improve the accuracy of automatic captions. YouTube's new speech recognition model reduces the overall word error rate by about 20%. Although the improvements vary from video to video, a video that had identified 50% of the words correctly before will now recognize about 60% of the words, and a video that was at 75% before will now correctly identify about 80% of the words. We continue to make improvements and there is much more on the way.

On a personal note, it's been amazing to see the feedback, videos, blog posts, thanks, (and bug reports!) sent in over the past year. Even though we can't possibly respond to them all, we love to see them, and they shape our efforts on this project. We’ve taken this feedback to make a number of subtle improvements to the service, such as adding an “Always show automatic captions” setting, adding an interactive transcript button so you can see all the captions and skip through the video, and making the red .

What's next? We’ll continue to work on accuracy, and we also want to make sure captions are available on YouTube everywhere, on your Internet TV, your computer and your mobile phone. We have a few other things coming... but I don't want to spoil the surprise. You'll have to stay tuned, and I hope you'll turn the captions on when you do!

Ken Harrenstien, Caption Jedi, recently watched The Muppets: Pöpcørn.


[G] Texai Remote Presence System Using VP8 Video

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: Texai Remote Presence System Using VP8 Video

Guest blogger Josh Tyler is a member of the Texai team at Willow Garage.

Willow Garage is busy building the next version of its Texai remote presence platform with VP8, the video codec used in WebM.

In short, Texai is a two-way videoconferencing app on a tele-operated robotic platform (for more details, see the piece about Texai in the New York Times). Video and audio quality are critical to providing the best user experience on Texai. We've evaluated several video codecs and found VP8's image quality, low latency and tolerance to packet loss far better than anything else we tested.

The video below shows VP8 running on one of our systems.

(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.)

We're also looking for help! If you're interested in helping us create an incredible, high-fidelity user experience, either by joining our team, partnering on development, or by being added to our early customer interest list, please email us at

[G] How producing for the web can fit into a filmmaking career

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YouTube Blog: How producing for the web can fit into a filmmaking career

Heather Menicucci, Director, Howcast Filmmakers Program, is writing weekly guest posts for the YouTube blog on filmmaking in the digital age. You can catch up on previous posts here.

After a little break last week, we’re back today to share a post I’ve been really excited about. When we first began planning this blog series I knew I wanted to interview an established filmmaker who could share their experience producing videos for the web versus other more traditional venues like television. Someone who has worked professionally across platforms definitely has some insight into what makes producing for the web unique and how it fits into a filmmaking career. This week, I’m happy to introduce Clayton Long, producer for the Bajillionaires Club, which has worked on television and web projects for companies like Cisco, Kodak, Travel Channel and made over 30 shorts for Howcast. Clayton grew up in Dallas and currently lives in Los Angeles.

1) Tell us what you do and you how you got started.
The Bajillionaires Club approaches each project differently. Some days I'm wearing the development hat; other days it's post-production, and others it's coordinating resources and communicating with clients. The guys I work with (Tom Campbell, John Erdman and Bryan Madole) are all brilliant creatives, so that makes my job easy. I surround myself with brilliant people and hope some of it rubs off.

We've been collaborating since grade school, making short videos for fun. In high school, we started making videos for our English classes. We modernized Hamlet and set it in a bowling alley. We made a redneck version of The Canterbury Tales. They were big hits and gave us the confidence to keep going. Everyone scattered for college -- I attended UCLA's Film, TV, and Digital Media Program -- then came back together.

A trailer for a film the Bajillionaires Club will be shooting in 2011.

2) When did you start making videos for the web and why?
Our first video was made when we were all living in an apartment together in Hollywood. One weekend we had a 35 MM camera package sitting around our apartment (which is, by the way, not a prerequisite for making a successful web video), so we decided to make a few commercials for Folgers coffee in the style of those old ads from the ’70s. They were very unique, and when we uploaded them on websites like YouTube, they attracted some attention. We built relationships with companies like Howcast, which led to other web-content related jobs. The rest is history. So yeah. Just for fun. But we definitely had an angle we were going for.

3) Are there things that work on the web that simply do not work in other venues?
Randomness works incredibly well on the web. Audiences are young, and they're interested in something new, different and weird. Spoof works really well on the web, though it can survive elsewhere. But why shell out the money to see Vampires Suck when you can laugh at that same one-note joke on the web done in two minutes?

4) Are there things that work for TV or film that don’t work for the web?
Sure. TV and film projects take more time to develop. They're much more polished, and a lot fewer of them get made. In short, there are a lot more rules. You must develop your characters with a certain timing, revealing bits and pieces as you go.

5) Describe your crew and equipment list for web video. How is it different from your crew and equipment selection for other projects?
Depending on the budget, we might use a 5D, 7D, T2i, or an HVX. Sometimes we just use a Flip or another low-cost HD consumer camera.

The budgets for web projects are smaller, so the equipment list is smaller and the crew is leaner. Crews can be anywhere from three people to 10, depending on the project. But we always light, and we often use dollies, cranes and other traditional means of making shots stand out, even if the camera we're using is the size of a cell phone.

6) What's your favorite web video?
Too hard to pick a favorite. “Muto,” “Cows & Cows & Cows” and “Independence Day” are great animated pieces. “Who Needs a Movie?” is still one of the best. I also recently saw a really weird video about horses by this band called L.A.Zerz. Can't find anything about these guys, but I dig their style.

Heather Menicucci, Director, Howcast Filmmakers Program, recently watched “Abandoned Six Flags New Orleans Tour.”


[G] The new AdSense interface: Take the tour

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Inside AdSense: The new AdSense interface: Take the tour

To help you learn more about the new AdSense interface, we’ve created a series of videos that focus on different features and benefits now available to you. Over the next few weeks, we’ll post new videos to the blog to ensure you learn all about the greater insights, control, and efficiency now at your fingertips. Today, we invite you to take a tour of the new AdSense interface. Check out an overview of the improvements we've made and the new features we've added:

If you’d like to start watching the rest of the videos, visit our new AdSense interface YouTube playlist or the video series tab of

Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense team

[G] Getting to know you at AdSense in Your City: Seattle

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Inside AdSense: Getting to know you at AdSense in Your City: Seattle

Last week, three other AdSensers and I went up to Seattle for our sixth AdSense in Your City event. After visiting Mountain View, Santa Monica, Chicago, New York, and Boston over the summer, we didn’t want our publishers in the Pacific Northwest to feel left out!

Greeted with beautiful weather on Wednesday, we spent the day at a coffee shop meeting those of you who were free to drop in for a one-on-one consultation. Over pastries and cappuccinos, we chatted with publishers about ways they can earn more with AdSense, learning their stories and providing optimization tips. Everyone we met was incredibly friendly, sharing how AdSense has allowed their business to grow and offering suggestions to help us make the most of our time in Seattle. After checking out the Space Needle and Pike Place Market, we headed back to Kirkland to gear up for another day of optimizations.

We were thrilled to have publishers from Washington, Oregon, and Canada join us on Thursday for the event at our Kirkland office. Splitting up the group for optimizations, half consulted with us on their sites, while the others networked with each other, swapping stories about their own AdSense experiences and sharing tips and tricks. It was a great way for everyone (including us!) to learn something new and make some great connections.

We hope to hold more AdSense in Your City events in the coming months so we can continue to meet more of you in your hometowns. Want AdSense to come to your city? Leave us a comment to tell us where you are!

Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense team

[G] Street View comes to 20 German cities

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Google LatLong: Street View comes to 20 German cities

Two weeks ago, we celebrated with the people of Oberstaufen when we made available the first ever images for Street View in Germany. Today I’m pleased to let you know that you can explore even more of Germany because we’ve just released 360-degree, street level imagery of Germany’s 20 largest cities, including Berlin, Hamburg, my home town of Munich and more.

If you haven’t yet been to Germany, or if you simply want to refresh your memory from a previous visit, here are some places that might be fun to explore. These panoramic images that virtually transport you without the hassle of a plane ticket are now accessible directly from Google Maps.

Okay, I know it’s obvious, but the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin is one of Europe’s most iconic monuments:

For a complete change of scenery, check out this traditional German architecture, near Hamburg’s historic port in Speicherstadt:

And here’s a personal recommendation for a place where I spend a lot of time and is a good example of a traditional German cafe:

In this latest Street View release, we’re also making some improvements to the way we obscure images of houses, cars or people when asked to do so using our “Report a problem” tool. Our new manual blurring process completely blocks out a house, car or person, but no longer cuts out all the surrounding scenery as well, such as a nearby street sign or trees. This enables us to respect requests for removal without blacking out the entire area. You can see an example below.

Since first using this new blurring method in Germany a couple of weeks ago, we’re now rolling this out everywhere Street View is available for all new removal requests. As always, people should continue to use the “Report a problem” tool and we’ll review all requests promptly.

We hope you enjoy your virtual travels to Germany!

Posted by Andreas Tuerk, Product Manager