Saturday, December 4, 2010

[G] Call credits for military families this holiday season

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Google Public Policy Blog: Call credits for military families this holiday season

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager
(Cross-posted from the Google Voice Blog)

Keeping in touch with family during the holiday season can be challenging for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for military families with loved ones serving around the country or overseas.

Gmail’s built in video chat and free calls to the U.S. and Canada can help keep friends and family in contact regardless of how far apart they may be. To make staying in touch this holiday season even easier for military families, we’re offering a $10 calling credit to help them reach their loved ones serving abroad.

These international call credits can be used to make calls with Google Voice or from right inside Gmail, and will provide families with roughly 30 minutes of call time to Afghanistan, 60 minutes to Iraq, or hundreds of minutes to many countries in Europe and around the world.

To make this possible, we’ve partnered with Blue Star Families and Sesame Street, two organizations dedicated to supporting service members and their families.


Photo by Sesame Workshop, 2010

To be eligible for $10 calling credits, military family members must:
  1. Be a member of either Blue Star Families or Sesame Street Family Connections — registration is free for all military families
  2. Provide their Gmail address
  3. Enable calling in Gmail and accept the terms of service OR have an existing Google Voice account
  4. Complete this registration form by December 22, 2010

We recognize the sacrifices military family members make when loved ones serve abroad, and we’re proud to help make it a little bit easier for families to stay connected over the holidays.

At this time, Google Voice and calling in Gmail are available in the U.S. only.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/12/call-credits-for-military-families-this.html

[G] Making Copyright Work Better Online

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Google Public Policy Blog: Making Copyright Work Better Online

Posted by Kent Walker, General Counsel

There are more than 1 trillion unique URLs on the web and more than 35 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. It’s some pretty fantastic stuff - content that makes us think, laugh, and learn new things. Services we couldn’t have imagined ten years ago - iTunes, Netflix, YouTube, and many others - help us access this content and let traditional and emerging creators profit from and share their work with the world.

But along with this new wave of creators come some bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright. As the web has grown, we have seen a growing number of issues relating to infringing content. We respond expeditiously to requests to remove such content from our services, and have been improving our procedures over time. But as the web grows, and the number of requests grows with it, we are working to develop new ways to better address the underlying problem.

That’s why today we’re announcing four changes that we’ll be implementing over the next several months:
  • We’ll act on reliable copyright takedown requests within 24 hours. We will build tools to improve the submission process to make it easier for rightsholders to submit DMCA takedown requests for Google products (starting with Blogger and web Search). And for copyright owners who use the tools responsibly, we’ll reduce our average response time to 24 hours or less. At the same time, we’ll improve our “counter-notice” tools for those who believe their content was wrongly removed and enable public searching of takedown requests.
  • We will prevent terms that are closely associated with piracy from appearing in Autocomplete. While it’s hard to know for sure when search terms are being used to find infringing content, we’ll do our best to prevent Autocomplete from displaying the terms most frequently used for that purpose.
  • We will improve our AdSense anti-piracy review. We have always prohibited the use of our AdSense program on web pages that provide infringing materials. Building on our existing DMCA takedown procedures, we will be working with rightsholders to identify, and, when appropriate, expel violators from the AdSense program.
  • We will experiment to make authorised preview content more readily accessible in search results. Not surprisingly, we’re big fans of making authorised content more accessible on the Internet. Most users want to access legitimate content and are interested in sites that make that content available to them (even if only on a preview basis). We’ll be looking at ways to make this content easier to index and find.
These changes build on our continuing efforts, such as Content ID, to give rightsholders choice and control over the use of their content, and we look forward to further refining and improving our processes in ways that help both rightsholders and users.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2010/12/making-copyright-work-better-online.html

[G] Choose the next community member to go on the homepage

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YouTube Blog: Choose the next community member to go on the homepage

On the Rise is a program where you determine which YouTube upstart appears on the homepage. emilynoel83, a morning news anchor who creates makeup tutorials, won the inaugural edition and was featured in November, promoted socially, and covered in the blogosphere. Emily doubled the number of subscribers she acquired in the month (compared to the month before), and her catalog also saw a boost in views.

It was so much fun that we want to do it again, taking four more channels that’ve recently seen good subscriber growth but still have less than 100,000 subscribers and putting them up to your discerning tastes. Please vote for your favorite channel in the poll in the top right corner of this blog by Tuesday, December 7, and we’ll put the lucky winner on the homepage on Saturday, December 11. Here are the nominees, in alphabetical order:

corycotton is home to a group of trick-shot basketball entertainers whose swooshes and dunks will leave you floored:



JustJesse197 is a showcase for the amazing tricks and utter cuteness of a five-year-old shortie Jack Russell Terrier named Jesse:



ShowMeTheCurry is Hetal Jannu and Anuja Balasubramanian, who offer easy-to-follow lessons in Indian cooking:



tjw1963 features Teresa teaching the world to crochet one stitch at a time:











Now go vote!

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched “Candlelight - The Maccabeats.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/OhgRz7BK7fI/choose-next-community-member-to-go-on.html

[G] The True Value of Search advertising

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Inside AdWords: The True Value of Search advertising

We know that understanding search advertising and trying to measure its return on investment is not always easy. Marketers and business owners often find it difficult to quantify the indirect effect that online search is having on offline sales.

The AdWords Online Classroom has recently launched a free, on-demand market insights presentation, The True Value of Search, to help you understand the value of search marketing beyond direct response.

During this short video tutorial, we’ll introduce you to the ROPO effect (Research Online, Purchase Offline), latent conversion and how search is involved in the buyer's research and purchase journey. We’ll discuss search as part of the broader media and marketing mix as well as search for branding and how to integrate it with offline marketing. You’ll even see some real life examples of how search campaigns have driven offline sales.

So, if you’re interested in learning about how valuable search is for you, check out this course now!


Posted by Nathania Lozada, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/12/true-value-of-search-advertising.html

[G] Change to the AdWords advertising policy on alcohol

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Inside AdWords: Change to the AdWords advertising policy on alcohol

We’ve changed our AdWords advertising policy on alcohol to allow ads that promote the sale of hard alcohol and liquor. This is an extension of a policy change that we made in December 2008, which permitted ads that promote the branding of hard alcohol and liquor.

Since then, hard alcohol advertisers have been able to promote websites that offer information about their brand, their products, or drinks that can be made with their products. Now, they can also promote websites that sell hard alcohol online, direct users to retailers where their products are sold, or feature sales promotions.

To comply with the policy, the ad and website must abide by certain advertising restrictions, including (but not limited to) not targeting minors, not implying that drinking alcohol provides certain advantages, and not showing inappropriate content. They are also subject to any further restrictions in the countries that they target. For full details on the policy, please see the alcohol content guidelines.

We’re constantly evaluating our advertising policies to ensure that they continue to be effective, and we made the decision to change our policy on alcohol to help more advertisers use AdWords for the promotion of their products.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2010/12/change-to-adwords-advertising-policy-on.html

Friday, December 3, 2010

[G] New ways to see your data

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DoubleClick Publisher Blog: New ways to see your data

DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) provides several ways for you to understand where your revenue is coming from with comprehensive reporting on your ad inventory and delivery. Customizable reporting options enable you to easily segment your data across a variety of metrics, such as by advertiser, geography, or even by your own targeting criteria.

In order to ensure that you have the most critical information you need, when you need it, we've redesigned the reporting interface to better surface this information. The most noticeable improvement is the addition of on-screen charts.

These graphs give you an instant visualization of your reports so you can easily spot trends over time, identify patterns, and uncover new opportunities. This should make it even easier for you to find and share the data you need to make informed decisions.


In addition to the release of on-screen charts, we’ve also made improvements to sharing your reports with internal stakeholders and advertisers.
  • Faster load times: Your list of saved and shared reports loads almost instantly, no matter how many reports you have.
  • New configuration panel: We've optimized the layout of report configuration options, which should reduce the amount of time it takes for you to customize your reports.
  • Better navigation: Toggle between different types of reports without having to return to the home page.
  • In-product help resources: Each page contains a help widget with links to Help Center articles about generating reports.
  • Additional export formats: In addition to CSV, now you can export your reports in TSV, Excel CSV, and XML formats.
We hope these improvements make it even easier for you to get the data you need, as fast as you need it.

Posted by Stephen Kliff, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://doubleclickpublishers.blogspot.com/2010/12/new-ways-to-see-your-data.html

[G] Rediscover Historical Imagery in Google Earth 6

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Google LatLong: Rediscover Historical Imagery in Google Earth 6


Historical imagery is one of the most powerful features of Google Earth, enabling you to go back in time and browse the visual historical record of our planet - from the evolution and rise of developing communities to the destruction caused by hurricanes, earthquakes and fires. With Google Earth 6, we’ve made it easier than ever to discover historical imagery. In addition to streamlining the timeline interface, we’ve added a date button to the status bar to notify you of past imagery that you might be interested in exploring. So now, when you zoom in on a location in our latest version of Google Earth, the button will appear highlighting specific years. Clicking it enables historical imagery and takes you back to the year you selected. For instance, when I zoom in on the headquarters of a certain company with a fruit namesake nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, Google Earth suggests imagery from 1948. Clicking the date button reveals the fruit tree orchards that used to inhabit that very location. I wonder if they were apple trees.

Google Earth 6 suggests historical imagery to explore, e.g. of Silicon Valley in 1948

In the almost two years that historical imagery has been available, we have captured several moments of cultural significance, such as the inauguration of the first African American President of the United States, the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and the transformation of South Africa in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Washington D.C., January 20, 2009. Can you spot where the jumbotrons were installed?

But the feature is more than just what historians deem significant. We built the historical imagery database to enable anyone to see and tell their own personal history. A great example comes from fellow historical imagery engineer Reuel Nash:

In 1979, my wife and I spent the first night of our marriage in a hotel at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It was still there in 1995, which you can see in Google Earth. The hotel and the surrounding area has since been replaced by Terminal D. You can see the terminal construction (and destruction of the hotel) literally from the ground up using historical imagery.

The construction of Terminal D at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

We have a vast amount of data in our historical imagery archive, so you’ll be able to tell your own personal stories by browsing those places that are special to you. In fact, we have more square miles of high resolution imagery in our historical imagery archive than in our default view. In the coming years, we look forward to expanding this imagery collection even further. Visit the Historical Imagery Showcase to watch video tours of cities with imagery dating as far back as 1940.


Posted by Chris Co, Google Earth Software Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/12/rediscover-historical-imagery-in-google.html

[G] How Local Search Ranking Works

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Google LatLong: How Local Search Ranking Works


We’ve been quite busy this year working on Google Places, Tags, Boost, and our shiny new addition: Hotpot. With so many different products and features now available for local businesses, we wanted to take a step back and explain how the ranking of local listings works when people search on Google and Google Maps.

Product Manager Jeremy Sussman takes us under the hood in this informative video. Below are a few key takeaways, but we encourage you to watch the video, which features helpful examples and visuals.


Local search ranking refers to the placement and order of local information on a Google or Google Maps organic search results page. There are a variety of factors we take into account to provide you with results that match your local search, and three of the primary signals are relevance, prominence and distance. The best way to help potential customers connect with your business is to ensure that your basic company information like its name, address and phone number, are accurate, and then to add rich details like photos, hours of operation and more. You can do this by claiming and verifying your business via Google Places. However, claimed business listings do not receive any special ranking treatment over unclaimed business listings.

Google Tags and Boost are great online advertising solutions for local businesses. Tags make your organic business listings stand out on the Google and Google Maps search results page with a bright yellow marker that highlights specific attributes such as offers, videos or photos. And Boost is an effective complement to your organic Places listing because it quickly and easily creates an ad that can appear alongside the search results - giving your business additional exposure to people searching online. Neither of these advertising products available through your Google Places account affect the organic ranking of your business listing on Google or Google Maps.

Conversely, Hotpot - our new local recommendation engine based on ratings from you and your friends - can definitely affect the ranking of the local businesses you see in your organic search results. If you’re signed in to your Google account and have enabled Hotpot, you’ll get personalized recommendations based on the ratings you and your friends provided - making it easier for you to discover new places you’ll enjoy.

Posted by Brianna Brekke, Senior Strategist, Google Places
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-local-search-ranking-works.html

[G] Google Apps highlights – 12/3/2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 12/3/2010

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

The Google Apps team had a nice Thanksgiving break, but that didn’t slow things down one bit. Over the last few weeks we’ve introduced mobile editing in Google Docs, automatic typo correction, improvements to meeting scheduling and the ability for businesses, schools and organizations using Google Apps to access more than 60 additional applications from Google.

Document editing in your mobile browser
Google Docs has always offered a central place where you can find and edit documents in your computer’s browser, and now English-language users can edit documents on the go from many Android and iOS devices including the iPhone and the iPad. Your mobile edits show up in near real-time for co-authors, and you can see their edits as they happen on your mobile device. As before, you can also edit spreadsheets from your mobile browser.



Faster, more accurate typing in documents
If you’ve never memorized all those pesky exceptions to the “I before E” spelling rule, you’ll like the new AutoCorrect feature for documents, which can fix typos and format symbols like ¼ and © on the fly as you type. You can edit the text replacement list for your own habitual typos in the Tools > Preferences menu of Google documents.


Optional attendees in Google Calendar events
On Monday we released a highly requested feature in Google Calender: the ability to invite optional attendees to appointments and meetings. Allowing non-critical attendees to be optional makes it easier to find convenient meeting times for key attendees, and helps everyone understand which meetings they really need to attend. Just click “Make some attendees optional” when creating an event to get started.


10 times more applications for Google Apps customers
Until now, businesses, schools and organizations have only had access to a limited set of applications with their Google Apps accounts, including Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs and a few others. But customers gave us overwhelming feedback that they wanted to manage multiple phone numbers with Google Voice, publish their organization’s blog with Blogger, find customers with AdWords, track industry news with Google Reader and much more. After extensive testing with pilot users, we’ve now made it possible for Apps customers to use more than 60 additional Google applications with their Google Apps accounts. This gives customers access to a tremendous amount of innovation that a typical office suite could never offer.



Who’s gone Google?
Organizations all around the world are switching to Google Apps in droves. We’re especially pleased that the U.S. General Services Administration has selected Google Apps for Government through a competitive request for proposal (RFP) process. This federal agency will be moving all 17,000 employees and contractors from its previous on-premises solution to Google Apps for modern, cloud-based email and collaboration tools.

State and local governments are getting onboard with Google Apps, too. A warm welcome goes out to Panama City, Fla. and Larimer County, Colo.!

This week we’re also welcoming a flock of businesses that have recently “gone Google.” Z Gallerie, Spyder, PlayPlanit.com, Medialocate, Flight Centre and Ray White have all moved to the cloud to help their employees become more productive with tools that save people time and hassles.

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

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/google-apps-highlights-1232010.html

[G] This week in search 12/3/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 12/3/10

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.

It’s the time of year when many of us begin our holiday shopping in earnest. Whether you’re more into “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday,” many of us increasingly turn to the Internet and search engines to find the best prices, product reviews, gift guides and recommendations. This week, we made a number of improvements that should help make it easier than ever to find gifts for friends and family (or yourself!) from reputable merchants, whether you’re out on your phone looking for a store, searching at home for an online merchant, or looking for a friend to get a recommendation.

Place Search on mobile
In October, we introduced Place Search, which helps you find local information by organizing websites around real world places. As you’ve probably experienced, local information is particularly useful when you’re out and about and have only your phone to rely on. That’s why we’ve worked to quickly bring Place Search to your mobile phone. Now when you search for [museums new york city] on your phone, you’ll see the web result for Metropolitan Museum of Art along with comments and reviews about the place—all nicely organized in one cluster of information. If you want to call the museum or get directions, both are just one button click away.


More protection from disreputable merchants
Last Sunday, the New York Times reported that a particular online merchant had deliberately abused customers in an attempt to increase his ranking on Google and other search engines. We immediately convened a team to look carefully at the issue. Our initial analysis pointed to this being an edge case and not a widespread problem, but nonetheless we developed an algorithmic solution and have already implemented it. The change currently impacts hundreds of merchants detected to provide an extremely poor user experience. You shouldn’t notice any significant differences in your search results, except now you’re even less likely to find these undesirable sites. You can learn more about this change and the thinking behind it in our blog post from Wednesday.

Social sitelinks
Usually when you search for a social site like Twitter or MySpace, you’re looking for information from your friends and social network, like their tweets and profile pages. This week we added new social sitelinks to search results, giving you more direct access to content from your friends. A social sitelink includes your friend’s name and profile photo, and it links to her content on a particular website. Social sitelinks are based on the same technology as Google Social Search; we use your social circle to identify relevant websites and user pages.

To see social sitelinks in action, try a search for [twitter] or [youtube]. If you’re not seeing social sitelinks, try creating a Google profile and adding links in your profile to other online social sites you belong to so we can build your social circle.


NBA Live Results
We’ve offered sports scores in search results for a long time, but recently we’ve been working with partners to make sure you can always find the latest information. Last month hockey fans started finding live results from the NHL.com, and this week we’ve added basketball. With the season already underway, we worked with NBA.com to provide real-time game scores, schedules and standings information as part of NBA.com search results on Google. These results also include links for quick access to game previews, ongoing live updates, and game recaps to make sure you don’t miss out on the latest NBA action.


Example searches: [nba], [cavaliers]

The Google Beat
We’re back this week with another edition of the Google Beat. Check out this week’s video to see what people were searching for this Thanksgiving, on Cyber Monday and beyond.

Posted by Mike Cassidy, Director of Product Management
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/this-week-in-search-12310.html

[G] On demand is in demand: we’ve agreed to acquire Widevine

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Official Google Blog: On demand is in demand: we’ve agreed to acquire Widevine

With rapidly improving broadband and wireless speeds, more powerful smartphones, and higher resolution screens on devices of all shapes and sizes, it’s becoming easier than ever to watch video wherever you want, whenever you want. And while it’s still fun to pull an old movie off the shelf and throw it in the DVD player, streaming is rapidly becoming the standard way for you to find the content you want to watch now. We’ve seen this on YouTube—where we get over 2 billion views every day—but it’s much bigger than that, as proven by the increasing popularity of movie subscription services and tablets.

Content creators and distributors are making huge strides in bringing us content in this way, but to do so, many require high-quality video and audio, secure delivery, and other content protection and video optimization technologies. With these tools in place they can easily and effectively give you access to the rich library of content you want to watch, with the immediacy you’ve come to expect.

So we’re pleased to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Widevine. The Widevine team has worked to provide a better video delivery experience for businesses of all kinds: from the studios that create your favorite shows and movies, to the cable systems and channels that broadcast them online and on TV, to the hardware manufacturers that let you watch that content on a variety of devices. By forging partnerships across the entire ecosystem, Widevine has made on demand services more efficient and secure for media companies, and ultimately more available and convenient for users.

We are committed to maintaining Widevine’s agreements and will provide direct, quality support for their existing and future clients—and we plan to build upon Widevine’s technology to enhance both their products and our own. We’re excited to welcome the Widevine team to Google, and together we’ll work to improve access to great video content across the web.

Posted by Mario Queiroz, VP of Product Management
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/on-demand-is-in-demand-weve-agreed-to.html

[G] International tourists find the Polish seaside through Google AdWords

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Official Google Blog: International tourists find the Polish seaside through Google AdWords

(Cross-posted on the Google Small Business Blog)

Sebastian Hejnowski’s parents built the Villa Zdroj Bed and Breakfast in 2002 to share Poland’s beauty with weary travelers. Located in Miedzyzdroje, a city on the coast of Polish island Wolin, Villa Zdroj is one of the island’s first modern bed and breakfasts.

Sebastian’s parents handle reservations, property development and sometimes breakfast. Sebastian runs the advertising efforts for his parents’ Villa, including Google AdWords. “When we first started our AdWords campaigns, we focused on Poland but we soon realized that there was increasing interest from our neighboring countries,” says Sebastian. When he noticed an upward trend in drop-in visitors from other countries, he decided to launch campaigns across Poland’s borders as well.

Villa Zdroj - courtesy of Marcin Matecki Photography

According to Sebastian, the variety of outdoor activities combined with the relatively inexpensive cost of Polish tourism make Wolin a vacation paradise for Germans and Scandinavians. “Germans and Scandinavians were coming to Miedzyzdroje, but mostly staying in expensive five-star hotels,” says Sebastian. “B&B’s were never an option since they didn’t know where to find them.” So Sebastian made Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden his first international targets. The strategy proved correct: “We were one of the first Polish B&B’s to create a website in English. When we targeted an AdWords campaign to these people, they started calling and booking reservations.”

As time went on, Sebastian noticed that Poland had become more and more accessible to Europeans due to an increase in flights to the area. To capitalize on this trend, Sebastian expanded his AdWords campaigns even beyond bordering countries. “With time we extended the campaign to the Great Britain and the Netherlands.” says Sebastian. “Europeans tend to explore new places and travel extensively.”

Sebastian with his family - courtesy of Marcin Matecki Photography

Today, foreigners account for more than half of Villa Zdroj’s guests. And Sebastian estimates that up to 60% of those international guests book Villa Zdroj because they found his AdWords ads.

Thanks to his effective targeting, Sebastian now sells out all of the villa’s rooms during peak summer travel season. He adjusts his ad campaigns to reflect availability: “In summer, we track vacancies and adjust our campaigns accordingly. We pause the campaigns if we’re booked a few weeks out.”

In 2012, Poland will host the Euro Cup and Sebastian’s dad is already getting ready for an influx of visitors. “My father is considering buying a big projector so everyone can watch the games together in the communal room,” says Sebastian. “We’re already excited to share the Polish seaside with more out of town visitors!”

Learn more about Villa Zdroj Bed and Breakfast and Sebastian’s success with online advertising in this short video (it's in Polish, but you can view captions).

Posted by Piotr Zalewski, Communications Associate, Poland
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/international-tourists-find-polish.html

[G] AdSense for domains makes it easier to setup your domains

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Inside AdSense: AdSense for domains makes it easier to setup your domains

A common request we’ve received from publishers using AdSense for domains is to make it easier to park your currently unused/undeveloped domains with Google. We’ve listened to your feedback, and are now pleased to announce that we've simplified the process of setting up AdSense for domains.

As of today, to get your domain setup with AdSense for domains, you can simply delegate your domains’ nameserver to Google’s DNS nameserver. This is typically a single step with your registrar, and simpler than the old method of changing A records and creating CNAME records. You can still use the old method if you prefer, and domains that are already set up will continue to work.

To get started, review our instructions for delegating your nameserver to use Google’s DNS nameserver in our Help Center.

If you own any domains that you haven't yet had a chance to develop, now is a great time to sign up for AdSense for domains.

Posted by Randy Heath - AdSense for domains team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2010/12/adsense-for-domains-makes-it-easier-to.html

[G] Chief Household Officer: Using new media know-how to run your family

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YouTube Blog: Chief Household Officer: Using new media know-how to run your family

Ask any working parent and they’ll tell you they have two jobs; the day-job, and the one that takes up all the other hours of the day - that of “Chief Household Officer.” Today's multi-tasking CHOs are full-blown owner/operators of their households, employing all the same methods as corporations—from programming the daily calendar to Tweeting the kids home for dinner, from running weekly budget meetings to implementing long-term financial strategies.

“Chief Household Officer” is a new series, produced by Howcast and brought to the web by HP, that takes you inside the real-life households of these remarkable working parents and focuses on the cutting-edge techniques and innovative technologies they use to keep their families running.



New videos will be updated weekly, so be sure to check in each week for useful how-to information from decisive CHOs who have made taking charge of their families and homes truly a 'growth industry.'

Karen Cahn, Head of Sales, YouTube Partners, recently watched Gary ""Baba Booey" Dell'Abate Pitch on Jimmy Kimmel Live".


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/XEPjIDcOsZE/chief-household-officer-using-new-media.html

[G] Call credits for military families this holiday season

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Google Talkabout: Call credits for military families this holiday season

(Cross-posted from the Google Voice blog)

Keeping in touch with family during the holiday season can be challenging for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for military families with loved ones serving around the country or overseas.

Gmail’s built in video chat and free calls to the U.S. and Canada can help keep friends and family in contact regardless of how far apart they may be. To make staying in touch this holiday season even easier for military families, we’re offering a $10 calling credit to help them reach their loved ones serving abroad.

These international call credits can be used to make calls with Google Voice or from right inside Gmail, and will provide families with roughly 30 minutes of call time to Afghanistan, 60 minutes to Iraq, or hundreds of minutes to many countries in Europe and around the world.

To make this possible, we’ve partnered with Blue Star Families and Sesame Street, two organizations dedicated to supporting service members and their families.

Photo by Sesame Workshop, 2010

To be eligible for $10 calling credits, military family members must:
  1. Be a member of either Blue Star Families or Sesame Street Family Connections — registration is free for all military families
  2. Provide their Gmail address
  3. Enable calling in Gmail and accept the terms of service OR have an existing Google Voice account
  4. Complete this registration form by December 22, 2010

We recognize the sacrifices military family members make when loved ones serve abroad, and we’re proud to help make it a little bit easier for families to stay connected over the holidays.

At this time, Google Voice and calling in Gmail are available in the U.S. only.

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googletalk.blogspot.com/2010/12/call-credits-for-military-families-this.html

[G] Now available with Google Apps: Google SketchUp & 3D Warehouse

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Now available with Google Apps: Google SketchUp & 3D Warehouse



Editor’s note: We recently 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 SketchUp & 3D Warehouse
3D can be a great tool for solving all kinds of problems, like redesigning an office space or envisioning the neighborhood around the new office park in Shanghai. However, the software to generate 3D models and images has traditionally been prohibitively expensive or too difficult for non-professionals to learn. Enter: Google SketchUp.

We like to say that SketchUp is “3D for everyone.” By stripping out the technical hurdles that make traditional 3D software difficult to learn in favor of a simple, intuitive interface, most users are up and modeling in less than 10 minutes. We also made SketchUp free and as a result, we’ve found that people are using SketchUp in all sorts of creative ways to solve everyday problems and make their jobs easier.

Store owners are using SketchUp to visualize ways to maximize foot traffic in their stores. Facility managers are using SketchUp to redesign the office space to accommodate more desks. Event planners are using SketchUp to figure out how to set up their booth for their next event.


But building models in SketchUp is just scratching the surface. You can also use Google 3D Warehouse, which is a searchable repository of hundreds of thousands of 3D models, to discover existing 3D elements and share those that you create. Seamless auto-complete integration with your existing contacts in Google Apps makes it effortless to share models and collaborate with colleagues. To give you more control over the content you create, 3D Warehouse also allows you to set sharing permissions so you can manage who has viewing and editing access to your models.


Learn more and get started
The web sharing functionality of Google 3D Warehouse can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name) and you can get started by downloading the Google SketchUp application. If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

For more answers to specific questions about Google SketchUp and Google 3D Warehouse you can view our Help Center or get the latest news, tips, and tricks on the SketchUp Blog.

Share your story
Have you already started using Google SketchUp or 3D Warehouse 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 Gopal Shah, Google SketchUp Team

Note: Google SketchUp & 3D Warehouse may not be available in all areas.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2010/12/now-available-with-google-apps-google_03.html

[G] Google Launches Cantonese Voice Search in Hong Kong

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Official Google Research Blog: Google Launches Cantonese Voice Search in Hong Kong

Posted by Posted by Yun-hsuan Sung (宋雲軒) and Martin Jansche, Google Research

On November 30th 2010, Google launched Cantonese Voice Search in Hong Kong. Google Search by Voice has been available in a growing number of languages since we launched our first US English system in 2008. In addition to US English, we already support Mandarin for Mainland China, Mandarin for Taiwan, Japanese, Korean, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, Czech, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Dutch, Afrikaans, and Zulu, along with special recognizers for English spoken with British, Indian, Australian, and South African accents.

Cantonese is widely spoken in Hong Kong, where it is written using traditional Chinese characters, similar to those used in Taiwan. Chinese script is much harder to type than the Latin alphabet, especially on mobile devices with small or virtual keyboards. People in Hong Kong typically use either “Cangjie” (倉頡) or “Handwriting” (手寫輸入) input methods. Cangjie (倉頡) has a steep learning curve and requires users to break the Chinese characters down into sequences of graphical components. The Handwriting (手寫輸入) method is easier to learn, but slow to use. Neither is an ideal input method for people in Hong Kong trying to use Google Search on their mobile phones.

Speaking is generally much faster and more natural than typing. Moreover, some Chinese characters – like “滘” in “滘西州” (Kau Sai Chau) and “砵” in “砵典乍街” (Pottinger Street) – are so rarely used that people often know only the pronunciation, and not how to write them. Our Cantonese Voice Search begins to address these situations by allowing Hong Kong users to speak queries instead of entering Chinese characters on mobile devices. We believe our development of Cantonese Voice Search is a step towards solving the text input challenge for devices with small or virtual keyboards for users in Hong Kong.

There were several challenges in developing Cantonese Voice Search, some unique to Cantonese, some typical of Asian languages and some universal to all languages. Here are some examples of problems that stood out:
  • Data Collection: In contrast to English, there are few existing Cantonese datasets that can be used to train a recognition system. Building a recognition system requires both audio and text data so it can recognize both the sounds and the words. For audio data, our efficient DataHound collection technique uses smartphones to record and upload large numbers of audio samples from local Cantonese-speaking volunteers. For text data, we sample from anonymized search query logs from http://www.google.com.hk to obtain the large amounts of data needed to train language models.
  • Chinese Word Boundaries: Chinese writing doesn’t use spaces to indicate word boundaries. To limit the size of the vocabulary for our speech recognizer and to simplify lexicon development, we use characters, rather than words, as the basic units in our system and allow multiple pronunciations for each character.
  • Mixing of Chinese Characters and English Words: We found that Hong Kong users mix more English into their queries than users in Mainland China and Taiwan. To build a lexicon for both Chinese characters and English words, we map English words to a sequence of Cantonese pronunciation units.
  • Tone Issues: Linguists disagree on the best count of the number of tones in Cantonese – some say 6, some say 7, or 9, or 10. In any case, it’s a lot. We decided to model tone-plus-vowel combinations as single units. In order to limit the complexity of the resulting model, some rarely-used tone-vowel combinations are merged into single models.
  • Transliteration: We found that some users use English words while others use the Cantonese transliteration (e.g.,: “Jordan” vs. “佐敦­”). This makes it challenging to develop and evaluate the system, since it’s often impossible for the recognizer to distinguish between an English word and its Cantonese transliteration. During development we use a metric that simply checks whether the correct search results are returned.
  • Different Accents and Noisy Environment: People speak in different styles with different accents. They use our systems in a variety of environments, including offices, subways, and shopping malls. To make our system work in all these different conditions, we train it using data collected from many different volunteers in many different environments.
Cantonese is Google’s third spoken language for Voice Search in the Chinese linguistic family, after Mandarin for Mainland China and Mandarin for Taiwan. We plan to continue to use our data collection and language modeling technologies to help speakers of Chinese languages easily input text and look up information.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2010/12/google-launches-cantonese-voice-search.html

[G] Community-run music label DFTBA thrives

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YouTube Blog: Community-run music label DFTBA thrives

In this post, we're turning the floor over to the proprietors of DFTBA, a community-owned and run record label whose moniker stands for "Don't Forget to be Awesome" (not too hard for these guys). On their label's second anniversary, they announce a significant milestone and predict a promising future.





Somehow in the last hundred years "musician" became a nearly impossible profession. The best of the best could get by, pouring their lives into touring or into other people's careers, watching most of their profits go to the record companies, agents, managers, bookers, distributors and others. Now, if you happen upon a song that catches on the radio, you get to sell that one song for sixty cents of profit, instead of a whole album for six dollars of profit. Good luck turning that into a check that could even pay for the production of your next album.

It's a testament to how much we humans love to create music that this didn't decrease the number of excellent musicians and songwriters. Few people write songs to make money; they do it because it's a wonderful experience.

Two years ago, when we here at DFTBA Records were watching wide-eyed as YouTube grew from WTF to OMG, we realized that there was a chance that this could change. We saw people making great music and posting it on YouTube, but still assuming that "musician" was an unattainable job for them. However, they were using online video to grow their audiences in new ways. And they were building audiences that, while not humongous, were extremely loyal.

We did some calculations and figured out that, if we could dramatically increase the amount of money artists make per CD they sell, and let our artists’ authenticity increase the listener-to-purchaser ratio, "musician" could suddenly be a real job for a lot of people.

Now, on our two-year anniversary, we’re happy to say that we've succeeded. DFTBA Records provides the services that this new crop of musicians needs. They're already geniuses at growing their audience, and they certainly don't need help writing fantastic songs. So while we handle the details, our artists are free to cultivate audiences in the thousands, tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands, while we make sure that as much of that payoff as possible goes to them. We're not trying to create Lady Gaga; we're trying to create professional musicians.

DFTBA Records is proud to announce that we have now sold a total of $1,000,000 in music and merchandise. We've sent orders to tens of thousands of satisfied customers. We've grown "DFTBA" into a brand that people want to be associated with and want to help spread, from DFTBA initialisms on T-shirts, to our dft.ba URL shortener. We're both extremely proud to have helped people get a hold of this great music, and helped these musicians take their work to the next level. And we're looking forward to continuing to grow this new model.

Alan Lastufka and Hank Green, YouTube Community, recently watched "Ted Hu - Funèbre (Official Music Video)."





URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/mejrd7fNSgM/community-run-music-label-dftba-thrives.html

[G] Great advice from industry experts on building businesses on mobile

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Official Google Blog: Great advice from industry experts on building businesses on mobile

(Cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads Blog)

With hundreds of thousands of apps available for mobile devices, developers are all looking for advice on app design, business models, app discovery and user retention. The AdMob strategic partnership team has learned a great deal from our mobile publishers about what works on mobile. We’ve watched as many of them have climbed the app charts and built sustainable businesses on mobile. However, these developers spent a lot of time testing ideas, gaining insights from user feedback and iterating to build better apps, learning invaluable lessons along the way. For example, Arash Keshmirian, co-founder and CEO of Limbic Software, told us that simply changing the icon of their popular iPhone game TowerMadness and moving to a freemium model led to a 10x increase in downloads!

Today, we’re introducing a new Google Mobile Ads YouTube channel where developers can watch videos that will help them turn their great app ideas into thriving mobile businesses. We’ll also feature videos to help advertisers start taking advantage of opportunities on mobile.

Our first video is from Rovio Mobile Inc, makers of Angry Birds, a gaming app that has been downloaded more than 30 million times across 60 countries, 12 million of which are paid downloads. This game is easy to pick up but difficult to put down, and Rovio reports an average of 65 million minutes of game-play per day. We invited Peter Vesterbacka, “The Mighty Eagle of Rovio,” to share insights into the creation of this mobile game and advice for developers on how to think about building a mobile business.



We’re inspired by the developers and companies we work with that have already made investments in mobile and hope that sharing these stories will encourage further growth in the mobile industry. Our thanks go out to the great team at Rovio for helping us put this video together. And we’ll continue to update the Google Mobile Ads YouTube channel with mobile success stories from top developers as well as tips from industry experts. Don’t forget to subscribe to be the first to see cool new videos.

Posted by Jason Spero, Director, Mobile
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/great-advice-from-industry-experts-on.html

[G] Can we talk? Better speech technology with Phonetic Arts

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Official Google Blog: Can we talk? Better speech technology with Phonetic Arts

In Star Trek, they don’t spend a lot of time typing things on keyboards—they just speak to their computers, and the computers speak back. It’s a more natural way to communicate, but getting there requires chipping away at a range of hard research problems. We’ve recently made some strides with speech technologies and tools that take voice input: for example, we launched Voice Search, Voice Input and Voice Actions for mobile phones, allowing you to speak web searches, compose emails by voice, ask your phone to play any song, and more. And last year we started automatically transcribing speech to produce captions on YouTube videos.

But what about when the computer speaks to you—in other words, voice output? There are already places you can hear this in action today—for example, Google Translate “speaks” translated text in multiple languages, and you can listen to navigation instructions as you drive—but there’s still a lot to do. That’s why we’re pleased to announce we’ve acquired Phonetic Arts, a speech synthesis company based in Cambridge, England. Phonetic Arts’ team of researchers and engineers work at the cutting edge of speech synthesis, delivering technology that generates natural computer speech from small samples of recorded voice.

There’s a particular focus right now in the U.K. on technology and innovation, and we’re delighted to be deepening our investment in the country with this acquisition. We already have a strong engineering center in London and look forward to welcoming Phonetic Arts to the team. We are excited about their technology, and while we don’t have plans to share yet, we’re confident that together we’ll move a little faster towards that Star Trek future.

Posted by Mike Cohen, Manager, Speech Technology
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/can-we-talk-better-speech-technology.html

[G] Call credits for military families this holiday season

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Official Google Blog: Call credits for military families this holiday season

(Cross-posted from the Google Voice Blog)

Keeping in touch with family during the holiday season can be challenging for anyone, but it’s especially difficult for military families with loved ones serving around the country or overseas.

Gmail’s built in video chat and free calls to the U.S. and Canada can help keep friends and family in contact regardless of how far apart they may be. To make staying in touch this holiday season even easier for military families, we’re offering a $10 calling credit to help them reach their loved ones serving abroad.

These international call credits can be used to make calls with Google Voice or from right inside Gmail, and will provide families with roughly 30 minutes of call time to Afghanistan, 60 minutes to Iraq, or hundreds of minutes to many countries in Europe and around the world.

To make this possible, we’ve partnered with Blue Star Families and Sesame Street, two organizations dedicated to supporting service members and their families.

Photo by Sesame Workshop, 2010

To be eligible for $10 calling credits, military family members must:
  1. Be a member of either Blue Star Families or Sesame Street Family Connections—registration is free for all military families
  2. Provide their Gmail address
  3. Enable calling in Gmail and accept the terms of service OR have an existing Google Voice account
  4. Complete this registration form by December 22, 2010
We recognize the sacrifices military family members make when loved ones serve abroad, and we’re proud to help make it a little bit easier for families to stay connected over the holidays.

At this time, Google Voice and calling in Gmail are available in the U.S. only.

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/12/call-credits-for-military-families-this.html

[G] Mapping Korogocho

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Google LatLong: Mapping Korogocho

[Cross-posted from the Google Africa Blog]

At Google we want to make the world's information more accessible and useful to people all over the globe. This includes providing rich local geographic data because a high percentage of search queries have a geographic component. We have often spoken about Google Map Maker, a tool that allows people to help create a map by adding or editing features such as roads, businesses, parks, schools and more.

We are ever grateful to Kenya’s active online cartographers who have helped us build our maps from the ground up. Maps are valuable for users, governments, NGOs, universities and entrepreneurs alike, who can visualise, plan and market the areas and projects that they work on. The mapping session we held recently with 21 volunteers in Korogocho, one of the largest slum neighbourhoods in Nairobi, is one such example of cartographers literally putting their community on the map. We joined forces with Internews and a group of inspiring volunteers from the Korogocho community to build their very own maps.

Ahmed Abdi of Korogocho receives a certificate from Jacqueline Rajuai on completion of the mapping exercise

We only had two and a half days to achieve this task but the group was up to the challenge! After 2 hours of hands-on training on the mapping tools, we embarked on mapping Korogocho and, thanks to the amazing hardworking volunteers from the area, they have now added all sorts of rich information about Korogocho on Google Maps (Map Maker). See below for ‘before’ and ‘after’!

Korogocho before the mapping session


Korogocho after the volunteers mapped the area on Google Map Maker

During this productive mapping exercise, the group mapped social and health infrastructure that is important to their community, including water vendors, public toilets, bio-gas projects, schools, Adopt-a-Light locations and more.

This is the beginning of bigger things that Internews has in store for the area, and we are grateful that they approached us to help them take that first step towards an impressive new map of an important part of Nairobi. We are pleased to continually improve our maps functionality for Africa, and helping to make Africa's information readily available.

Posted by Jackie Rajuai, GIS Specialist, Google Kenya
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2010/12/mapping-korogocho.html