Saturday, December 11, 2010

[G] X = G / (C*H*R*O*M - 3)

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Google Chrome Blog: X = G / (C*H*R*O*M - 3)

Yesterday, we posted a demo video with a secret challenge where the first clever person to crack the code would receive a Cr-48. Just 20 hours later, the puzzle was solved correctly by the team at Jamendo. Congratulations!

Here’s how you can find the puzzle and the solution.
First, around 2:24 in the video, you see the following equations on the board:

The constants solve out as follows:
G = 900.91
C = 8335727
H = 269462689
R = 222647
O = 694079
M = 552
The final equation is written as:
X = G / (C*H*R*O*M - 3)
Plugging in the previous answers gets you to:
900.91 / 191605050401140404051920181525
At that point, the puzzle changes from math to code where the numbers represent letters. It hints to that by the final equation spelling CHROM3, but we expected people to get stuck here and have to play around for a bit. The first mental leap is that you have to visually identify 900.91 as (just like spelling words on a calculator: 9=g,0=o,0=o,9=g,1=l). The division sign is a slash ( / ), so this pretty clearly points to the Google URL shortener. From there, you need to figure out the shortened URL.

The number 191605050401140404051920181525 may confuse people for a bit, but the large number of zeros and the repeated "04" and "05" sequences in it visually allude to pairs within the string. Once you see that, it can be broken up into:
19 16 05 05 04 01 14 04 04 05 19 20 18 15 25
If you've gotten this far, you've probably noticed that all of those numbers are between 1 and 26. From here, it's just a straight mapping to letters of the alphabet (A=1, B=2, C=3, etc). Decoding the full string gives you:
s p e e d a n d d e s t r o y
Putting everything together, the end result is:
That URL points to a page where you can fill out a form to request a shiny new Chrome notebook (the form is closed now, of course).

Posted by Chris Lyon, Hardware Engineer, Chrome OS Team

[G] Keep calm and carry on: Chrome notebook

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Google Chrome Blog: Keep calm and carry on: Chrome notebook

At our Chrome event on Tuesday, we showed how Chrome notebooks can make computing simpler.

Thanks to the cloud, your Chrome notebook might be how you do everything, but losing it means you lose nothing. No matter what crazy things happen to your laptop, your work stays safe online. Check out our demonstration video below.

Posted by Glen Murphy, UX Designer

[G] Now available with Google Apps: Google Custom Search

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Now available with Google Apps: Google Custom Search

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 Custom Search
These days, content is being created faster than ever. In fact, the data equivalent of 250,000 years of DVD-quality video is created every two days, which is more than the entire amount of digital information that was created from the birth of the world up to 2003. Users are faced with the challenge of wading through all of this data to find the information they are looking for, and businesses are faced with the challenge of making this easy to do for their customers and employees. Most businesses consolidate their information on a public-facing website, internal micro-sites, product blogs and customer portals to help visitors surface relevant content. But even with this type of organization and structure, information can still be difficult to locate. That’s why we are pleased to introduce Google Apps customers to a product that will make finding easy for their employees and for their customers: Google Custom Search.

Google Custom Search brings the power, speed and relevance of to any website through a hosted search bar.

Custom Search allows visitors to your site to scour your web pages in fractions of a second with the same speed and familiarity that they are used to when performing a search on The technology behind Google Custom Search powers the built-in search capabilities of Google Sites and Blogger, so if you organize your web content using these tools then you’re already using it. For other websites you create, set-up takes only a few minutes and adding the search box is as easy as pasting a few lines of pre-generated code to the HTML of the page where you want the search box to appear. Just like Google Apps, with Google Custom Search there’s no hardware or software to maintain or upgrade - it gets better as Google gets better.

Google Custom Search will automatically display advertisements and allows you to monetize them using AdSense for search. If you prefer that ads not be displayed you can upgrade to Google Site Search.

Learn more and get started
Google Custom Search 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 detailed information, you can take a look at our Help Center or follow the latest news and updates on the Google Custom Search blog.

Share your story
Have you already started using Google Custom Search 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 Guillaume De Zwirek, Google Enterprise Search Team

Note: Google Custom Search may not be available in all areas.

[G] Your Ticket to Davos

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YouTube Blog: Your Ticket to Davos

Do you have the ultimate idea about how to close the poverty gap? Here’s your chance to tell the world. For the fourth year, through the Davos Debates program, one lucky YouTube user will get an all-access pass to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where global leaders gather to tackle the most important issues facing our world.

To enter the running, all you have to do is submit your one-minute video summarizing your ideas on the importance of inclusive growth - a key theme of this year’s event. Not sure what inclusive growth really means? Past Davos Debates winners break it down for you here:

The winner with the best video will be selected as an informal YouTube community representative to participate in the Annual Meeting and take part in a special panel during the event. You’ll not only have the opportunity to rub elbows with the most powerful leaders in the world, you’ll be given a platform to share your views with them.

The deadline to submit your ideas is January 14, so visit the Davos channel today to make your voice heard.

Ramya Raghavan, News and Politics Manager, recently watched "White House Tree Time-Lapse"


[G] Welcome, Google Apps users!

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Welcome, Google Apps users!

Google Apps recently launched an improvement that made dozens of exciting Google services available to Google Apps users for the first time. As part of this launch, Google Website Optimizer is now available to our Google Apps users for free with their Apps accounts.

Google Apps is Google’s suite of cloud-based messaging and collaboration apps, including Gmail, calendar, documents, spreadsheets, and more, specifically optimized for use in organizations. These services, which run entirely in the cloud, are used by more than 30 million users in small and large businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations around the world. You can learn more about how Google Apps can lower IT costs and improve productivity and collaboration at your organization at

For those users who have a Google Apps account, if your administrator has already transitioned your organization to the new infrastructure, you can get started using Google Website Optimizer at with your existing Apps account.

For more details, read the complete post on the Google Enterprise blog and follow all the updates on other newly available services for Google Apps users.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team

Friday, December 10, 2010

[G] Check out and then Google Checkout eBooks and Chrome apps

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Check out and then Google Checkout eBooks and Chrome apps

This week we welcomed two new additions to Google Checkout: the Google eBookstore and the Chrome Web Store.

The Chrome Web Store is an online marketplace where you can discover thousands of apps, extensions and themes for Google Chrome. The Google eBookstore offers the world’s largest selection of ebooks with nearly 3 million paid and free titles ready for purchase and unlimited storage in the digital cloud.

We hope these products will offer new opportunities to Checkout buyers and merchants and are excited to welcome new eBooks and Chrome users to Google Checkout.

Posted by Satyajeet Salgar, Product Manager

[G] Welcome, Google Apps users!

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Welcome, Google Apps users!

Google Checkout is now available to Google Apps users with their Apps accounts, along with dozens of other services as part of a recently launched improvement to Google Apps.

Google Apps is Google’s suite of cloud-based messaging and collaboration apps, including Gmail, calendar, documents, spreadsheets and more, specifically optimized for use in organizations. These services, which run entirely in the cloud, are used by more than 30 million users in small and large businesses, educational institutions, government agencies and non-profit organizations around the world. You can learn more about how Google Apps can lower IT costs and improve productivity and collaboration at your organization at

For those Checkout users who have a Google Apps account, if your administrator has already transitioned your organization to the new infrastructure, you can now use Google Checkout by signing in at with your existing Apps account.

For more details, you can read the complete post on the Google Enterprise blog and follow all the updates on other newly available services for Google Apps users.

Posted by David Shin, Software Engineer and Satyajeet Salgar, Product Manager

[G] UK Merchants: Increase online donations for your cause

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Official Google Checkout Blog: UK Merchants: Increase online donations for your cause

We’re pleased to announce that tax exempt organizations in the UK are now able to accept donations from their users via Google Checkout. If you have selected “Non-profit” as your primary product type in the Settings tab of your Checkout profile, the Donate button is now available for you to embed on your website. Learn more about how to set up the button and increase donations to your cause.

In addition, donors in the UK will be able to elect into Gift Aid while making the purchase, making their donations even more valuable to UK non-profits.

Posted by Sri Raga Velagapudi, Software Engineer and Satyajeet Salgar, Product Manager

[G] Tracking Links Available: Affiliate Exclusive Holiday Offers

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Google Affiliate Network: Tracking Links Available: Affiliate Exclusive Holiday Offers

Last week we announced a roster of affiliate exclusive holiday offers from over 20 Google Affiliate Network advertisers. These affiliate exclusive offers will be live and valid only on December 13th and available to any publisher who has a relationship with the participating advertisers.

Tracking links and banners are now available for the offers via the Google Affiliate Network platform. Navigate to the Home tab and scroll down to the Announcements section.

These links will also be made available on December 13th via the Links section in the Google Affiliate Network platform. To locate these links, search by “December 13 Offer” in the Find Links search box.

The offers will not be live or valid until December 13th and all offers will expire at midnight. Affiliates may not post offers until December 13th.

If you are not currently a publisher in Google Affiliate Network but would like access to these exclusive offers, sign up today with your AdSense Publisher ID. Further questions? Check out our Help Center for answers to frequently asked questions OR feel free to contact us with any questions.

Posted by Mari Condon, Google Affiliate Network Publisher Team

[G] “World’s smartest dog” JustJesse197 is “On the Rise” winner

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YouTube Blog: “World’s smartest dog” JustJesse197 is “On the Rise” winner

Voting is in, and a channel showcasing the irresistible cuteness of a Jack Russell terrier named Jesse is the winner of this month’s “On the Rise” competition.

See why Jesse’s so lovable in this video and via these words from his trainer, Heather:

Jesse and I have a wonderful relationship, and we have got where we are now through love, respect, patience, mutual understanding, and trust. Tricks are a wonderful bonding experience. It is so much fun seeing Jesse thinking while learning, and he has so much fun performing his tricks. We keep training sessions short, fun, and upbeat. You can tell when Jesse is having fun because he has a huge smile across his face :) He is such a joy to live with, and I cherish every moment we have together.

Some of Jesse’s top videos are on the homepage today, and we’ll be back soon with a new crop of “On the Rise” channels for you to vote on. Feel free to also leave suggestions in the comments below, though please note that comments are moderated due to spam.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched “Jesse goes to New York City!


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

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

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.

This week was another busy one at Google. In addition to announcing Chrome OS devices, the Nexus S and Google eBooks, on the search team we’ve been wrapping up some projects before the holidays. This week we’ve been thinking globally, with our 2010 Google Zeitgeist cataloging the events and searches that defined the year in each of more than 50 countries. We’ve also been working to expand our products to new domains, languages, content types and even reading levels.

Zeitgeist 2010, the spirit of the times
The 2010 Google Zeitgeist is global, with lists of top searches for more than 50 countries. We’ve gathered the most popular and fastest rising queries from the year to capture the spirit of 2010. This year we’ve added interactive HTML5 data visualizations for the top searches and events from around the world, and for the first time, we created a Zeitgeist Year in Review Video to relive the moments that shaped 2010.

Google Instant for mobile now available around the world
We want to bring Instant everywhere: to every device, every domain, every language and every Google search box. This week we previewed Google Instant on Chrome, and released a beta version of Google Instant on mobile in more than 28 languages and 40 countries worldwide. If you have an Android 2.2+ and iOS4 device, just go to in your mobile browser and you will be redirected to your local domain. Tap the Google Instant link beneath the search box to turn it on.

Search results at every reading level
We work every day to make information available to everyone on the web. This week we made it easier for to you pinpoint exactly the information you need with a new advanced search feature that categorizes results by reading level. For example, if you’re writing a college paper on [herbivores] you can refine to see only advanced material, or if you’re a grade school teacher preparing for a class on [herbivores] you can refine to see only basic material. To try it out, click “advanced search” to the right of the search box and click in the new reading level section. You can filter to see only results that are basic, intermediate or advanced, and annotate results with reading levels. If you choose to annotate results, on the results page you’ll see a graphical distribution of the pages classified in different categories for your search.

Image indexing improvements
We're constantly working to improve our crawling and indexing systems to help people find the most recent information on the web, whether it’s a blog, a video or an image. The biggest change this year was Caffeine, which made search results 50% fresher on average. More recently, we made some changes to increase the rate at which we update images in our index. These improvements will help people find fresher images in both web and image search.

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director of Product Management

[G] $6 million to faculty in Q4 Research Awards

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Official Google Research Blog: $6 million to faculty in Q4 Research Awards

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations

We've just completed the latest round of Google Research Awards, our program which identifies and supports faculty pursuing research in areas of mutual interest. We had a record number of submissions this round, and are funding 112 awards across 20 different areas—for a total of more than $6 million. We’re also providing more than 150 Android devices for research and curriculum development to faculty whose projects rely heavily on Android hardware.

The areas that received the highest level of funding, due to the large number of proposals in these areas, were systems and infrastructure, human computer interaction, security and multimedia. We also continue to support international research; in this round, 29 percent of the funding was awarded to universities outside the U.S.

Some examples from this round of awards:
  • Injong Rhee, North Carolina State University. Experimental Evaluation of Increasing TCP Initial Congestion Window (Systems)
  • James Jones, University of California, Irvine. Bug Comprehension Techniques to Assist Software Debugging (Software Engineering)
  • Yonina Eldar, Technion, Israel. Semi-Supervised Regression with Auxiliary Knowledge (Machine Learning)
  • Victor Lavrenko, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Interactive Relevance Feedback for Mobile Search (Information Retrieval)
  • James Glass, MIT. Crowdsourcing to Acquire Semantically Labelled Text and Speech Data for Speech Understanding (Speech)
  • Chi Keung Tang, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Quasi-Dense 3D Reconstruction from 2D Uncalibrated Photos (Geo/Maps)
  • Phil Blunsom, Oxford, United Kingdom. Unsupervised Induction of Multi-Nonterminal Grammars for Statistical Machine Translation (Machine Translation)
  • Oren Etzioni, University of Washington. Accessing the Web utilizing Android Phones, Dialogue, and Open Information Extraction (Mobile)
  • Matthew Salganik, Princeton. Developments in Bottom-Up Social Data Collection (Social)

The full list of this round’s award recipients can be found in this PDF. For more information on our research award program, visit our website. And if you’re a faculty member, we welcome you to apply for one of next year’s two rounds. The deadline for the first round is February 1.

[G] Four Googlers elected ACM Fellows this year

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Official Google Research Blog: Four Googlers elected ACM Fellows this year

Posted by Alfred Spector, VP of Research

I am delighted to share with you that, like last year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has announced that four Googlers have been elected ACM Fellows in 2010, the most this year from any single corporation or institution.

Luiz Barroso, Dick Lyon, Muthu Muthukrishnan and Fernando Pereira were chosen for their contributions to computing and computer science that have provided fundamental knowledge to the field and have generated multiple innovations.

On behalf of Google, I congratulate our colleagues, who join the 10 other ACM Fellows and other professional society awardees at Google in exemplifying our extraordinarily talented people. I’ve been struck by the breadth and depth of their contributions, and I hope that they will serve as inspiration for students and computer scientists around the world.

You can read more detailed summaries of their achievements below, including the official citations from ACM—although it’s really hard to capture everything they’ve accomplished in one paragraph!

Dr. Luiz Barroso: Distinguished Engineer
For contributions to multi-core computing, warehouse scale data-center architectures, and energy proportional computing
Over the past decade, Luiz has played a leading role in the definition and implementation of Google’s cluster architecture which has become a blueprint for the computing systems behind the world’s leading Internet services. As the first manager of Google’s Platforms Engineering team, he helped deliver multiple generations of cluster systems, including the world’s first container-based data center. His theoretical and engineering insights into the requirements of this class of machinery have influenced the processor industry roadmap towards more effective products for server-class computing. His book "The Datacenter as a Computer" (co-authored with Urs Hoelzle) was the first authoritative publication describing these so-called warehouse-scale computers for computer systems professionals and researchers. Luiz was among the first computer scientists to recognize and articulate the importance of energy-related costs for large data centers, and identify energy proportionality as a key property of energy efficient data centers. Prior to Google, at Digital Equipment's Western Research Lab, he worked on Piranha, a pioneering chip-multiprocessing architecture that inspired today’s popular multi-core products. As one of the lead architects and designers of Piranha, his papers, ideas and numerous presentations stimulated much of the research that led to products decades later.
Richard Lyon: Research Scientist
For contributions to machine perception and for the invention of the optical mouse
In the last four years at Google, Dick led the team developing new camera systems and improved photographic image processing for Street View, while leading another team developing technologies for machine hearing and their application to sound retrieval and ranking. He is now writing a book with Cambridge University Press, and will teach a Stanford course this fall on "Human and Machine Hearing," returning to a line of work that he carried out at Xerox, Schlumberger, and Apple while also doing the optical mouse, bit-serial VLSI computing machines, and handwriting recognition. The optical mouse (1980) is especially called out in the citation, because it exemplifies the field of "semi-digital" techniques that he developed, which also led to his work on the first single-chip Ethernet device. And more recently, as chief scientist at Foveon, Dick invented and developed several new techniques for color image sensing and processing, and delivered acclaimed cameras and end-user software. A hallmark of Dick’s work during his distinguished career has been a practical interplay between theory, including biological theory, and practical computing.
Dr. S. Muthukrishnan: Research Scientist
For contributions to efficient algorithms for string matching, data streams, and Internet ad auctions
Muthu has made significant contributions to the theory and practice of Internet ad systems during his more than four years at Google. Muthu's breakthrough WWW’09 paper presented a general stable matching framework that produces a (desirable) truthful mechanism capturing all of the common variations and more, in contradiction to prevailing wisdom. In display ads, where image, video and other types of ads are shown as users browse, Muthu led Ad Exchange at Google, to automate placement of display ads that were previously negotiated offline by sales teams. Prior to Google, Muthu was well known for his pioneering work in the area of data stream algorithmics (including a definitive book on the subject), which led to theoretical and practical advances still in use today to monitor the health and smooth operation of the Internet. Muthu has a talent for bringing new perspectives to longstanding open problems as exemplified in the work he did on string processing. Muthu has made influential contributions to many other areas and problems including IP networks, data compression, scheduling, computational biology, distributed algorithms and database technology. As an educator, Muthu’s avant garde teaching style won him the Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching at Rutgers CS, where is on the faculty. As a student remarked in his blog: "there is a magic in his class which kinda spellbinds you and it doesn't feel like a class. It’s more like a family sitting down for dinner to discuss some real world problems. It was always like that even when we were 40 people jammed in for cs-513."
Dr. Fernando Pereira: Research Director
For contributions to machine-learning models of natural language and biological sequences
For the past three years, Fernando has been leading some of Google’s most advanced natural language understanding efforts and some of the most important applications of machine learning technology. He has just the right mix of forward thinking ideas and the ability to put ideas into practice. With this balance, Fernando has has helped his team of research scientists apply their ideas at the scale needed for Google. From when he wrote the first Prolog compiler (for the PDP-10 with David Warren) to his days as Chair at University of Pennsylvania, Fernando has demonstrated a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities that faced companies like Google with their unprecedented access to massive data sets and its application to the world of speech recognition, natural language processing and machine translation. At SRI, he pioneered probabilistic language models at a time when logic-based models were more popular. At AT&T, his work on a toolkit for finite-state models became an industry standard, both as a useful piece of software and in setting the direction for building ever larger language models. And his year at WhizBang had an influence on other leaders of the field, such as Andrew McCallum at University of Massachusetts and John Lafferty and Tom Mitchell at Carnegie Mellon University, with whom Fernando developed the Conditional Random Field model for sequence processing that has become one of the leading tools of the trade.

Finally, we also congratulate Professor Christos Faloutsos of Carnegie Mellon, who is on sabbatical and a Visiting Faculty Member at Google this academic year. Professor Faloutsos is cited for contributions to data mining, indexing, fractals and power laws.

Update 12/8: Updated Dick Lyon's title and added information about Professor Faloutsos.

[G] Cloud computing: the latest chapter in an epic journey

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Official Google Blog: Cloud computing: the latest chapter in an epic journey

This blog post is a version of Eric’s talk at our Chrome event on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. You can watch his talk on YouTube. - Ed.

On Tuesday, we announced a number of updates to Chrome and Chrome OS. For me, these announcements were among the most important of my working life—demonstrating the real power of computer science to transform people’s lives. It’s extraordinary how very complex platforms can produce beautifully simple solutions like Chrome and Chrome OS, which anyone can use from the get-go—as long as you get it right. And that’s very, very hard indeed as history has taught.

In 1983, I worked on a team at Sun that was very proud to announce the 3M machines. The "M’s" were one megapixel, one megahertz and one megabit. And as part of that, we introduced a diskless computer. So this concept is not new—but then there are very few genuinely new ideas in computer science. The last really new one was public key encryption back in 1975. So we are always going back to the old ideas because we either loved them and they worked, or because they were right but we couldn’t make them work.

With hindsight, why has this been so hard? After all, we had all the IT stuff. And then the web was invented. But the web is not really cloud computing—it’s an enormously important source of information, probably the most important ever invented. One major web innovation cycle happened in 1995—remember the Netscape IPO, Java and all of that—ultimately leading, in 1997, to an announcement by Oracle (and bunch of other people including myself) called “the network computer.” It was exactly what the Chrome team at Google was talking about on Tuesday. Go back and read the language. Use your favorite search engine and look at what I said.

So why did it fail, and why will things be different this time around? Well, it’s clear that we were both right and wrong. Right that the underlying problems—notably the complexity—really were problems. But we failed because we couldn't build great apps on the web technologies of the time. We could build information resources, so you could read things and get stuff done, but the web couldn’t compete with the scale and power of the then-existing desktop applications, which at the time were Ole and Win32 and various Mac APIs.

Chrome and Chrome OS are possible today for several reasons. First, time. Moore's law is a factor of 1,000 in 15 years—so 15 years ago versus today, we have 1,000 times faster networks, CPUs and screens. That’s a lot more horsepower at the networking and disk level, which means the disks are faster, and the network is more reliable. Then, technology. Asynchronous JavaScript XML, or AJAX, came along in in 2003/04, and it enabled the first really interesting web apps like Gmail to be built. All of a sudden people were like “Wow! This web thing is actually kind of useful ... I can write some pretty interesting applications and they can update themselves!" And then a more general technology now known as LAMP, which stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP—and Perl, Python and various other Ps—evolved as a platform for the back-end.

So all of a sudden you had a client combined with a back-end that were powerful enough to sustain a new programming model. Instead of building these large monolithic programs, people would take snippets of code and aggregate them together in languages like Java and JavaScript.

So with the great sophistication that was finally possible on the web, it was critical to have a modern browser that could handle it all. Chrome just had to be built. As usual, Larry and Sergey were way ahead of me on this. From my very first day at Google, they made clear that we should be in the browser business and the OS business. Not being interested in either, I said no. But they rather sneakily hired a number of brilliant computer scientists to work on the amazingly successful Firefox browser, which Google helped fund through an advertising agreement—and that core team went on to create Chrome.

So we've gone from a world where we had reliable disks and unreliable networks, to a world where we have reliable networks and basically no disks. Architecturally that’s a huge change—and with HTML5 it is now finally possible to build the kind of powerful apps that you take for granted on a PC or a Macintosh on top of a browser platform.

With Chrome OS, we have in development a viable third choice in desktop operating systems. Before there was no cloud computing alternative—now we have a product which is fast, robust and scalable enough to support powerful platforms. It’s something computer scientists have been dreaming about for a very, very long time. The kind of magic that we could imagine 20 years ago, but couldn’t make real because we lacked the technology. As developers start playing with our beta Cr-48 Chrome OS computer, they’ll see that while it’s still early days it works unbelievably well. You can build everything that you used to mix and match with client software—taking full advantage of the capacity of the web.

I am very proud of what a small team, effectively working as a start-up within Google, has achieved so quickly. In 20 years time, I’m certain that when we look back at history it will be clear that this was absolutely the right time to build these products. Because they work—and they work at scale—I’m confident that they’ll go on to great success. Welcome to the latest chapter of an epic journey in computing. Welcome to Chrome OS.

Posted by Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO

[G] How the web is changing film festivals

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YouTube Blog: How the web is changing film festivals

This post is part of our ongoing Howcast series on film making in the digital age. Today Howcast's Jane Renaud invites Kim Jose and Livia Bloom to talk about how the web is changing film festivals.

In 2007, Kim Jose co-founded Elephant Eye Films, a New York based film company that produces, sells and theatrically distributes feature films. Elephant Eye has assembled a prestigious slate of projects from some of the world’s most distinctive filmmakers including Lee Daniels, John McNaughton, Spike Lee and Sebastian Silva. Livia Bloom is a curator of cinema retrospectives. She is the Director of Exhibition & Broadcast for Icarus Films, and her writing and interviews regularly appear in film journals including Cinema Scope, Film Comment, and Filmmaker Magazine.

When I graduated film school in 2005, I had a fairly straightforward game plan: 1) submit a student short film to festivals, 2) gain acceptance to those festivals, 3) make posters, postcards, DVDs, and maybe a website with a trailer to promote the film.

Five years later, that plan is out the window. It’s not news that for many filmmakers, YouTube and other video sites represent the primary way to reach an audience. As we here at Howcast put together our ‘Modern 101 for Digital Filmmakers,’ I knew I wanted to investigate how the rise of web video has changed the role of film festivals, particularly for emerging filmmakers.

On the one hand, a filmmaker in Salem, OR no longer depends on the festival programmer in Austin, TX for a venue: she can upload her short the day she finishes editing and start targeting viewers directly. But it’s yet unclear how online popularity translates into the kind of industry exposure, relationships and deals long associated with festival success. How do film festivals fit into a career strategy that now necessarily includes online promotion and distribution? And for the traditional “gatekeepers” -- festival programmers and film distributors -- how does web video inform programming and acquisitions?

We enlisted film producer Kim Jose, Co-founder Elephant Eye Films, and film distributor and writer Livia Bloom, Director of Exhibition & Broadcast for Icarus Films, to help us answer these questions.

How have festival submissions changed as web video has grown?
Livia Bloom: Film festival submissions and the number of film festivals themselves have grown exponentially as web video has grown. Also, online festival submission services have become prevalent, so charging a fee for each submission, which used to be rare, has become a viable and significant source of income for festivals.

Kim Jose: First, there are so many websites that bring awareness to festivals that would otherwise go unnoticed. From a distribution point of view, it is great to have access and knowledge of festivals on a regional scale. We can research and submit festivals quickly and easily in specific regional markets that are important to breaking out a small indie. These regional markets really can be a little indie’s bread and butter.

As more and more films--particularly short, independent, low budget films--become available online, has the function or value of the indie film festival changed?
LB: Movies becoming available "on demand” revolutionized the film world. Before that, if a movie played in your city, that generally meant it was being projected on a 35mm or 16mm print. You ran out to see it during its run or else, like a rare bird, you might never have the chance to see it again!

Is a festival ever less likely to screen a film that’s been widely viewed/promoted online?
LB: If a filmmaker grows a devoted following, that increases the chance of their films being widely distributed. Keep in mind, however, that content shifts a bit along with a shift in viewing space. A short that's popular YouTube might not translate well to television, your local movie theater, or an IMAX screen. The most competitive film festivals tend to require a global, continental, or national premiere. If a film is available in it's full version and full resolution on DVD or online, it's less likely to be selected for a prestigious film festival.

Now that everyone can distribute films online, do festivals serve a different purpose for filmmakers?
KJ: I think it is really important to set goals as a filmmaker before entering festivals. What do you want out of your festival experience? For a short film, you have made your calling card and should be searching for new people in film that will broaden your horizons from development executives to creative collaborators. The amount of festival laurels you have does not matter nearly as much as having your film seen by someone who will show you support and help you to the next level. As a feature filmmaker, distributors and festival programmers will be more of your target.

As our Modern 101 continues, we’ll continue to explore how emerging filmmakers can leverage online exposure with more traditional routes, like film festivals. Next week, we’ll be showing a case study of one short doc pursuing an online strategy. Stay tuned!

Jane Renaud, Howcast Associate Producer, recently watched "Actor Reel Master Database 002: Ted Goines".


[G] Trailblazing in Portland

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Trailblazing in Portland

(Cross-posted and excerpted from the Hotpot Community Blog)

When we announced the availability of Hotpot last month, we knew from the beginning we were going to take a different approach to marketing the product and engaging with our users, both businesses and consumers.

To that end, we’re excited today to start testing this new approach by launching our first local marketing campaign in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a tech savvy, forward-thinking city with a history of innovation and some of the best coffee houses, microbreweries and parks in the country. Whether you know it as The City of Roses, Stumptown, P-Town, Rip City or just PDX, Portland’s thriving local business community and strong heritage of being a trailblazer made it a great choice for us to try something new.

So starting today and over the course of the next few months, we’ll be out and about in Portland. Here’s a taste of what’s in store:

Business Kits and Window Decals

Every day millions of people search on to find local businesses, and we want to make it seamless for standout businesses to get discovered online. To achieve this, we’ll be working directly with some of Portland’s top businesses to educate them about Google Places for business and all its benefits. In addition, to help these businesses spread the word, we’re providing owners with special Google Places Business Kits. These kits are a multi-flavored sampler of marketing materials that can help businesses get even more exposure, get them rated and reviewed online, and get more customers through their door. We’re already distributing these to some of Portland’s top businesses, but any business in Portland who has claimed their Place page can request a box.

A central part of the kit is the bright red “Recommended on Google” window sticker. This is not your ordinary sticker. Unlike others, this is an interactive sticker that has Near Field Communications (NFC) technology built right in, allowing people with cutting edge phones like Nexus S to simply touch their phones to the sticker to find out more information about the business. Suddenly stickers are cool again!

This is just the beginning and we’ll be doing a lot more in the upcoming months. For the latest and greatest of what we’re up to in Portland (and elsewhere), keep an eye out by staying up to date via the Hotpot Blog, and by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

Posted by Bernardo Hernandez, Director of Emerging Marketing

[G] Gmail for Android: better Priority Inbox support and improved compose

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Gmail for Android: better Priority Inbox support and improved compose

(Cross-posted on the Gmail blog.)

When we first released Gmail in Android Market back in September, we said that you’d be getting new stuff faster, and we meant it. After getting thousands of comments on that release, we made a bunch of updates based on your feedback and today we’re launching Gmail for Android 2.3.2.

Priority Inbox

First of all, you told us that you love Priority Inbox and expect much better support for it on your phone. Now you can see important messages in a new Priority Inbox view.

This view includes all important messages in your inbox, regardless of whether you’ve read them or not. You can archive and delete conversations or mark them unimportant from there. You’ll notice the importance markers you’re used to seeing in the desktop version of Gmail, and you can also change a conversation’s importance using the menu. To switch between inboxes or labels, try tapping on the current label.

Ever wanted to know that you got an important message without taking your phone out of your pocket? Now you can set up your phone to notify, vibrate, or ring on just your new important mail (check out Menu > Settings > Priority Inbox).

While Priority Inbox on your Android phone doesn’t have all the features offered in the desktop version of Gmail, we think this is a good start and plan to add even more functionality moving forward.

Improved Compose

Since our last Market update, we adopted a few features related to composing messages from the desktop version of Gmail. Many of you asked for a better way to switch between replying to the sender to replying to all. Now, you can easily switch between reply, reply all, and forward while composing your response.

If you moved to Gmail from another webmail provider and want to continue to send email from that address, now you can send from any address you’ve configured in the desktop version of Gmail.

In addition, you can now respond to messages in-line.

You won’t need to wait for Gingerbread to get these updates. This version of the Gmail app works for Android 2.2 (Froyo) and newer releases in most countries. (Not sure if your device is running the right version? Check here.) Get the update from Android Market (just scan the QR code below, or click here if you're on a phone) and check out the new Gmail. And don’t forget to send us your feedback from within the new version of the app (from your Inbox: Menu > More > About > Feedback).

Posted by Paul Westbrook, Gmail for Android team

[G] YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011: The Shortlist Is In, Let The Voting Begin

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011: The Shortlist Is In, Let The Voting Begin

Musicians from Finland to New Zealand and from Austria to Vietnam have done their bit - submitting their audition videos for the chance to be part of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 at Sydney Opera House. Now, with 336 finalists from 46 countries selected, it’s your turn to play your part: voting is open for who you think should make up the orchestra.

Your votes at over the next seven days will help decide which of these talented musicians will be packing up their trombones, violas, and timpani and heading to Sydney Opera House from March 14-20, 2011, to perform together for a global audience.

You can vote once per video, per day, until 23:59 EST on December 17 to help YouTube Symphony Orchestra Artistic Advisor Michael Tilson Thomas boil the 300 shortlisted hopefuls down to the final 96. Your votes are also needed to help choose four solo improvisers. “Mothership” composer Mason Bates will be using your input to choose from 36 soloists, including show-stopping performances on instruments like the guzheng, the musical saw and… the udderbot.

Congratulations to those in the running, and to all of those who submitted an audition -- thank you for your hard work. We've been blown away by your talent and determination.

Check out the channel now and vote for your favorites.

Jamie Dolling, Marketing Manager, recently watched “Magic Moments: The Udderbot”.


[G] Take Control of Your Site Feed

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Blogger Buzz: Take Control of Your Site Feed

Posted by Ben Eitzen, Software Engineer

Feeds are a great way to reach a broader audience and keep your loyal readers up-to-date. In fact, it’s not uncommon for blogs to have more than a quarter of their traffic come from feed readers.

The challenge with feeds is that it’s never been possible to control exactly how much content is delivered. Up until now, the options have been “Short” and “Full”. Short produces a feed that contains around the first 400 characters of the post, with HTML and images removed. Full produces a feed that contains everything in the post, including HTML and images. But what about those instances where you want to give your users a tastean image or two with some introductory textand then have them visit your blog to see the full post? Well today we’ve launched a third option that lets you do just that using Jump Breaks.

To enable this feature, simply go to the Settings page for your blog, click on Site Feed, and then next to “Allow Blog Feeds”, change the drop-down value to “Until Jump Break”.

That’s it! Next time you write a post and use a jump break, anyone reading the feed will get all the content, including images and HTML formatting, up until the jump break (if there’s no jump break, the feed will contain everything). If readers want to see the full post, they can click the “read more” link and they’ll be directed to your blog. This means you have full control over your feed.  For example, want to include an image for your recipe but not the whole recipe? No problem! Put the image and part of the recipe before the jump break, and that’s all the feed readers will see.