Saturday, December 18, 2010

[G] Discover Your Blog's Community with OneTrueFan

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Blogger Buzz: Discover Your Blog's Community with OneTrueFan

This is a guest post by Eric Marcoullier, CEO of OneTrueFan. Though Blogger/Google does not have any affiliation with OneTrueFan, we’ve found OneTrueFan as an interesting way for our users to build community around their blog and get to know their audience, and so asked Eric to introduce OneTrueFan for our users. -- Chang Kim, Product Manager

You work hard to write great content and bring people to your Blogger blog. You've built a great community of loyal readers, many of them reading everything you post. Too bad it's so hard to better know who your readers are: On average, less than one percent of readers comment on an article on the web; Regularly searching Twitter, Digg, or other sites for links to your site is tedious and time consuming.

At the same time, you're likely getting good traffic from search engines and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. Unfortunately, these readers are incredibly difficult to engage. More than 80% of a site’s traffic visits just one time and reads only one article. Visitors driven by search and social media tend to skim a blog post and then leave. Less than 24 hours later, they can't remember where they read your content, so they'll never come back.

OneTrueFan surfaces the community that exists on and around your Blogger blog, creating a deeper sense of engagement with new and returning users, and helps you get to know the people who visit.

OneTrueFan lives at the bottom of your blog. People show up in two ways: they can check in via OneTrueFan or share a link on Twitter. (In the coming weeks, people will also show up when they share a link with Facebook, Tumblr, Posterous, and many other sites.) You and your readers can mouse over anyone's picture to learn more about them.

Readers earn points for coming to your site each day, reading content, sharing links and driving traffic to your site. The ten readers with the most points show up in a leaderboard, but those points only last for 14 days. Readers need to keep coming back because fanship is an ongoing process.

Now you might be asking yourself, "Why would anyone want to check into my blog?" Because they *love* your blog and want people to know that they are a part of your community. OneTrueFan is an easy way for readers to show you a bit of love without going through a lot of effort.

Getting OneTrueFan on Blogger is free and easy! Just click this link to add OneTrueFan to your Blogger blog. Once it's installed, you'll start discovering your community in no time.

Link: Install OneTrueFan to your Blogger blog

[G] Imagery Update - Week of December 12th

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Google LatLong: Imagery Update - Week of December 12th

‘Tis the season of giving! For those of you who’d like nothing more than to receive the gift of new places to explore on Google Earth and Maps, you’re in luck. Our imagery team’s latest update includes many places that relate metaphorically to the holiday season.

For example, it’s often at the end of the year that we remark “Out with the old, and in with the new.” That concept can also be applied to the below image that captures two military installations located North West of Beijing. You can see the fascinating juxtaposition of the modern Yongning Air Force base (bottom right) and an adjacent section of the ancient Great Wall of China (upper left quadrant) that outlines parts of the Shibapan Ling mountain range. And yes, you really can see the wall from space!

Near Beijing, China

Wouldn’t gold make a great stocking stuffer? Take a look at the below image of Jin Xixin Lake, the dammed section of the Minjiang River also known as the Gold Lake, located south of Mount Wuyi, China. In this image, you can see lots of prime locations that might make great prospecting camps. Get out your pans!

Gold (but no frankincense) near Mount Wuyi, China

Finally, although this time of year is often associated with the Christian-based holidays, when thinking about China, thoughts naturally turn to Buddhism. Just the other day on the Google campus in Mountain View, a group of Tibetan monks visited to build a Sand Mandala and lead a meditation group. In this spirit, I’ve included the below image of the first Buddhist monastery built in Tibet, the Samye Monastery.

A site of enlightenment in Tibet

The examples above only hint at the type and breadth of features that can be seen and discovered in our latest batch of published imagery. Happy exploring and happy holidays!

High resolution aerial updates:
USA: Birmingham AL, Little Rock AK, Peoria IL, Tuscaloosa AL, Worcester MA, Jerome ID, Stevenson WA, Knoxville TN, Morganton NC, and Statesville NC
Canada: Powell River, and Sunshine Coast, BC., Canmore, and Cold Lake
Netherlands: Hilversum
South Africa: Northern, Eastern, and Western Cape, and Limpopo
Sweden: Gävleborgs Län, Jönköpings Län, Uppsala Län, Västerbottens Län, and Västra Götalands Län

Countries receiving high resolution satellite updates:
Albania, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Virgin Islands, West Bank, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

These updates are currently only available in Google Earth, but they'll also be in Google Maps soon. To get a complete picture of where we updated imagery, download this KML for viewing in Google Earth.

Posted by Eric Kolb, Geo Data Strategist

[G] Last chance for Checkout holiday shopping deals

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Last chance for Checkout holiday shopping deals

Online holiday shopping has been setting new records this season, and there’s no reason to slow down now. Google can help you find great deals for all the last-minute items on your list using Google Checkout and Google Product Search.

Know the type of store you’re looking for? Visit the Checkout Deals Page to find Checkout sellers offering discounts of $5, $10, and $20. Shop with multiple merchants to take advantage of the deals through December 16.

Need a little item inspiration? Use Product Search to browse popular items, holiday gift guides, and specific deals from Checkout sellers. Remember to pay with Google Checkout to take advantage of the advertised deals.

Happy shopping and happy holidays!

Posted by Jessica Smallman, Google Checkout Team

[G] Live 'Project for Awesome' show premiering on YouTube today

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YouTube Blog: Live 'Project for Awesome' show premiering on YouTube today

Day one of Project for Awesome was a huge success, thanks to you! So many videos have been created and shared with the world. If you haven't already, we encourage you to create and upload a video promoting your favorite cause or charity.

To celebrate the finale of Project for Awesome, join us for a live show from 4 - 7pm PST at YouTube's biggest stars and some of the world's leading nonprofit organizations will team up to promote important causes in education, health, poverty, children's wish giving and more -- through a wide array of entertaining moments and stories.

We look forward to your participation!

Christopher Hamilton and Bing Chen, Product Marketing Managers, recently watched "Project for Awesome! P4A! charity : water".


[G] This week in search 12/17/10

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 12/17/10

This is part of a regular series of posts on search experience updates that runs on Fridays. Look for the label "This week in search" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

One of the things we think about often are new and better ways to interact with the search engine—whether it’s refining results on the fly, speaking your search terms, or typing your search into the address bar. This week, we’ve improved several ways in which you interact with Google, including a more precise way to zoom back in time in Realtime, Instant search results (and webpages) in Chrome, new warning labels to catch your eye on the results page and information delivered to you in audio format in Translate.

Instant on Chrome
Google Instant continues to expand to new languages, domains and devices. This week, you can use Google Instant right in your Chrome Omnibox with our latest beta release. Instant on Chrome takes the power of Instant to the next level, letting you get not only instant search results, but also instant web pages. If Google is your default search engine and Instant is enabled on Chrome, your browser will immediately begin loading either a webpage or search results as you type. Now that’s fast.

“Top updates” and other improvements to Realtime
Just over a year ago we introduced Realtime Search, which for the first time brought the search results page to life with a dynamic stream of real-time content. Realtime Search has been steadily improving, and this week we added a new “Top updates” section on the right-hand side of the Realtime results page, making it easy to see some of the most interesting tweets related for your search. We’ve also updated the user interface for the replay feature, making it easier to go back in time with very precise time intervals that appear as you hover your cursor over the timeline. Finally, for those who are watching closely, we’ve also renamed the “Updates” mode in the left-hand panel on our main search results page to “Realtime” to make our feature names more consistent.

Top updates now appear on the right-hand side of the Realtime results page

Hacked sites notifications
We've added new notifications to the results page to warn you when sites may have been compromised, spammed or defaced. We use a variety of automated tools to detect common signs of hacking as quickly as possible, and if we detect any of these we add a new notice right beneath the result title line, “This site may be compromised.” In addition to protecting users, these notices will also help webmasters more quickly discover when someone is abusing their sites. You can learn more in our Help Center article and our webmaster blog post. Here’s what it looks like:

No, Matt’s site hasn’t been hacked—for illustrative purposes only!

Improvements to Google Translate
We develop automatic translation tools because we want to help people find information, no matter what language they speak. This week we made three distinct improvements to Translate. First, we added the ability to see alternative translations, which can help you understand the true intended meaning of the phrase, and provide another kind of feedback for us to improve our translation systems. We also added virtual keyboards, because it can be extremely difficult to type some of the 57 languages supported by Google Translate on a standard QWERTY keyboard. Finally, we added speech synthesis for three more languages and dramatically improved another 17, so you can not only see text translations, but actually hear them spoken aloud.

With alternative translations, you can click to see different possible translations for the same word.

This week in searches
After our special edition of the Google Beat last week for our annual Zeitgeist, we’re back with the final Google Beat of the year. Check out the video to find out which celebrities, football stadiums and Senate bills were popular this week.

During the next couple weeks many of us on the search team will be taking a much needed break after a very busy year. While we’ll certainly spend some of our time off daydreaming about how we can make search more interactive in 2011, we plan to enjoy our time interacting with friends and family around the dinner table, the fireplace, the ski slope—or wherever the holiday season takes us.

Until next year, happy holidays!

Posted by Mike Cassidy, Director of Product Management

[G] Browse the web for a good cause

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Official Google Blog: Browse the web for a good cause

How many tabs have you opened in your browser today? We know many of you probably open tens or even hundreds of tabs in a day—now, you can put all those tabs toward serving a good cause.

Earlier this week, we invited the Chrome user community to participate in the Chrome for a Cause project this December 15-19. Already tens of thousands of web denizens have “donated” the tabs that they opened in Google Chrome to help drive a charitable gift that Google will make on their behalf, up to $1 million.

Just halfway through the project, the global Chrome community can already be proud of the impact they will enable through our five partner charities. The millions of tabs contributed so far will go towards:
  • administering vaccinations, via Doctors Without Borders
  • planting trees, via The Nature Conservancy
  • providing clean water, via charity: water
  • publishing and donating books, via Room to Read
  • building shelter, via Un Techo para mi País
There’s still time to participate—here’s how to join us:
  • Get the Chrome for a Cause extension
  • Browse the web with Chrome between now and Sunday, December 19
  • At the end of each day, you’ll be prompted to click on the extension to submit your tabs
  • Choose which charity you’d like to support with that day’s tabs—you can support the same charity every time, or pick a different one each day
To find out more about this effort and the organizations we're partnering with, visit

Posted by Sarah Nahm, the Google Chrome Team

[G] Under the hood of Google Maps 5.0 for Android

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Official Google Blog: Under the hood of Google Maps 5.0 for Android

Yesterday we introduced Google Maps 5.0 for Android with two significant new features: 3D interaction and offline reliability. In order to create these features, we rebuilt Maps using vector graphics to dynamically draw the map as you use it. Building a vector graphics engine capable of achieving the visual quality and performance level you expect from Google Maps was a major technical challenge and enables all sorts of future possibilities. So we wanted to give you a closer look under the hood at the technology driving the next generation of mobile maps.

Vector graphics
Before diving into how Maps uses vector graphics, it may be helpful to understand how maps were created before. Previously, Google Maps downloaded the map as sets of individual 256x256 pixel “image tiles.” Each pre-rendered image tile was downloaded with its own section of map imagery, roads, labels and other features baked right in. Google Maps would download each tile as you needed it and then stitch sets together to form the map you see. It takes more than 360 billion tiles to cover the whole world at 20 zoom levels!

Now, we use vector graphics to dynamically draw the map. Maps will download “vector tiles” that describe the underlying geometry of the map. You can think of them as the blueprints needed to draw a map, instead of static map images. Because you only need to download the blueprints, the amount of data needed to draw maps from vector tiles is drastically less than when downloading pre-rendered image tiles. Google Maps isn’t the first mobile app to use vector graphics—in fact, Google Earth and our Navigation (Beta) feature do already. But a combination of modern device hardware and innovative engineering allow us to stream vector tiles efficiently and render them smoothly, while maintaining the speed and readability we require in Google Maps. Just try it out and see for yourself!

See the difference between image tiles (left) and vector tiles (right) tilted to show 3D buildings.

One map, many perspectives
Using vector tiles instead of image tiles gives Maps the flexibility to re-draw the same map from different perspectives using the same set of data. Zooming is one example of this at work. If you magnify an map image tile by 2x, lines such as roads and text would get twice as wide and appear blurry. As a result, we had to constrain Maps to 20 fixed “zoom levels,” each one twice as close as the last. Every time you zoomed in further, you’d need to download a completely new set of image tiles. It took time to load new data over a mobile data connection, and would fail when you lost your connection in a subway or large building.

Compared to image tiles (left), vector tiles (right) keep lines and labels crisp as you zoom.

With vector graphics, you no longer need to “round” to the nearest zoom level and then download all the tiles for that level. One vector tile has the underlying vector data (or blueprints) to draw the map at many different levels of scale. So when you zoom, the map stops when your fingers stop, and roads and labels always stay crisp. This same technique powers the new 3D map interactions: tilt, rotate and compass mode. Just like with zooming, Maps uses the same vector data to draw the map from any angle or direction as you tilt or rotate.

We can also display entirely new levels of detail that weren’t possible with flat image tiles. For example, in the 100+ cities where we have 3D building data, each building is drawn in 3D using a polygonal building footprint and heights for different parts of the building. And with tilt and rotate, you can see them from a variety of different angles.

Reading the map
Just like other map features, labels are dynamically drawn so they continue to face you and stay legible if you rotate the rest of the map or use compass mode. Maps also “chooses” the best labels to show you based on several factors. You’ll notice labels fade in and out as you interact with the map so that the most useful ones appear and the map never gets too cluttered.

See the difference between rotating maps with static labels (left) and dynamic labels (right).

Vector graphics also allow us to draw additional data on the map more clearly. For example, traffic or transit lines no longer block the labels beneath them. We can also draw the same map in different styles—like “satellite view” where the roads are translucent over aerial imagery, or Navigation’s “night mode” where a darker palette helps your eyes adjust quickly in the lower light.

Previously, map features like labels and traffic could conflict (left) instead of blend seamlessly (right).

Offline reliability
Vector graphics also enable another significant new feature: the ability to continue viewing maps even when you have poor—or no—network connections. Because each vector tile works across multiple zoom levels, it requires more than 100 times less data to view maps across all zoom levels than before, allowing Maps to cache much larger areas of the map on your device.

With this first version, Maps proactively caches map data for the places you use Maps the most—where you’re actively using it as well as places for which you search or get directions. Then when you’re plugged in and connected over WiFi, caching happens automatically. Near your frequent places, you’ll get detailed vector tiles for city-sized regions so you can see every road labeled. Further away, you’ll have less detail but will typically have towns and highways labeled for miles. We’re continuing to work on these algorithms, so you’ll see improvements over time.

Offline rerouting
With Google Maps Navigation (Beta), you’ll also see the benefits of additional caching with offline rerouting. This feature is only possible because Navigation caches not only map data but also data like turn restrictions for the areas surrounding your route. You’ll still need to be connected when you first start a trip to download and cache your route. But this way, even if you take a wrong turn after losing your connection, Navigation can use the cached data to get you back on your way. We will be rolling this feature out gradually over the next few weeks.

This is just the start, and we’re really excited about all the possible ways to use vector graphics technology for the next generation of Google Maps. So please stay tuned!

Update 12:43 PM: Tweaked the description of the difference between image maps zoom levels.

Posted by Andrew Miller, Software Engineer, Google Maps for mobile

[G] Spreading holiday cheer with charitable donations

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Official Google Blog: Spreading holiday cheer with charitable donations

The past couple of years have been a challenging stretch for charitable organizations as giving tends to decline during economic downturns when the need is highest. Charitable giving was down 3.6% in 2009, only the second year there’s been a drop since Giving USA began their reports in 1956. We continue to be inspired, however, by organizations that have stepped up with creative and effective programs to address today’s challenges. We’re grateful for the millions of Google users who helped continue our success in 2010, and we want to do our part to help charitable organizations that are working tirelessly to meet increased need with decreased funding.

In this spirit, our global sales team led by Nikesh Arora is giving a $20 million holiday gift that will provide:
  • Schooling for 15,000 kids in poor communities in India through Bharti Foundation.
  • Access to vital medication and health services, especially for women and girls, in post-conflict areas in Africa through Global Strategies for HIV Prevention.
  • Vaccines to protect 50 million children from polio through UNICEF.
  • Strategic support and online tools for 1.5 million social entrepreneurs through partners including Ashoka, NTEN, APC and LASA.
  • Environmental education in the National Parks for 40,000 students through NatureBridge.
We will exceed our 2010 target this year with charitable giving, with more than $145 million going to non-profits and academic institutions, and more than $184 million in total giving when including Google Grants, technology projects and product support for non-profits. Some of our major initiatives include:
To keep up with Googlers’ generosity in their personal giving, we also increased our charitable matching to $12,000 per employee. We thank our partners and all those who use Google for their continued business and wish everyone a happy, healthy holiday season.

Posted by Jacquelline Fuller, Director, Charitable Giving

[G] Governments shouldn’t have a monopoly on Internet governance

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Official Google Blog: Governments shouldn’t have a monopoly on Internet governance

The beauty of the Internet is that it’s not controlled by any one group. Its governance is bottoms-up—with academics, non-profits, companies and governments all working to improve this technological wonder of the modern world. This model has not only made the Internet very open—a testbed for innovation by anyone, anywhere—it's also prevented vested interests from taking control.

But last week the UN Committee on Science and Technology announced that only governments would be able to sit on a working group set up to examine improvements to the IGF—one of the Internet’s most important discussion forums. This move has been condemned by the Internet Governance Caucus, the Internet Society (ISOC), the International Chamber of Commerce and numerous other organizations—who have published a joint letter (PDF) and launched an online petition to mobilize opposition. Today, I have signed that petition on Google’s behalf because we don’t believe governments should be allowed to grant themselves a monopoly on Internet governance. The current bottoms-up, open approach works—protecting users from vested interests and enabling rapid innovation. Let’s fight to keep it that way.

Posted by Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist

[G] Governments shouldn’t have a monopoly on Internet governance

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Google Public Policy Blog: Governments shouldn’t have a monopoly on Internet governance

Posted by Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist

The beauty of the Internet is that it’s not controlled by any one group. Its governance is bottoms-up—with academics, non-profits, companies and governments all working to improve this technological wonder of the modern world. This model has not only made the Internet very open—a testbed for innovation by anyone, anywhere—it's also prevented vested interests from taking control.

But last week the UN Committee on Science and Technology announced that only governments would be able to sit on a working group set up to examine improvements to the IGF—one of the Internet’s most important discussion forums. This move has been condemned by the Internet Governance Caucus, the Internet Society (ISOC), the International Chamber of Commerce and numerous other organizations—who have published a joint letter (PDF) and launched an online petition to mobilize opposition. Today, I have signed that petition on Google’s behalf because we don’t believe governments should be allowed to grant themselves a monopoly on Internet governance. The current bottoms-up, open approach works—protecting users from vested interests and enabling rapid innovation. Let’s fight to keep it that way.

[G] Google Celebrates 10 years in Chicago

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Google Affiliate Network: Google Celebrates 10 years in Chicago

Reposted from the Google company blog

These days, you probably know the city of Chicago as the home of great comedyamazing parkssoaring skyscraperschampionship hockey and—no matter what our colleagues at Google NYC say—the greatest pizza in the world. But you might not know that Chicago is also home to one of Google’s oldest U.S. offices: this week Google Chicago celebrated its 10th anniversary. To mark the event, we celebrated with a party, a giant anniversary cake (18 lbs of butter, 100+ eggs and 60 lbs fondant) and most importantly, 10 community grants to 10 organizations in Chicago.

Over the past 10 years, Google Chicago has grown in terms of both size and responsibilities—we started with just two members of our nascent sales team, but today we have more than 400 employees in our office across engineering, sales and operations. Chicago too has certainly come a long way from Carl Sandburg’s days and we’re proud to be playing a small part in making the city a center for technological innovation.

Along the way, we’ve been fortunate to work with folks from around the region to make things better for users. Our Apps team has helped bring our email and app solutions to students at both Notre Dame University and Northwestern University, we’ve built a project with the Chicago Transit Authority and last year, we announced, alongside Mayor Daley, Google’s $3.2 billion economic impact on Illinois.

We’re also particularly proud of our contributions to Google. Our Chicago-based engineering team launched the Data Liberation Front, which allows users to export their data from our products, from the ground up. With those efforts, the team has begun to change the way consumers think about web services and data portability. In 2007, we acquired Chicago-based FeedBurner, and today the product has been fully integrated into Google’s ad platform. And Google’s acquisition of DoubleClick included what is now the Chicago-based Google Affiliate Network, whose deals have helped consumers across the globe.

Google Chicago couldn’t have come this far without a talented group of employees. We’ve been very fortunate to find top-notch talent in the Midwest to build out our sales and engineering teams, and we don’t expect that to stop anytime soon. Come join and help usbuild the next 10 years in Chicago!

Oh, and one last thought: please ... when you visit us in Chicago, NEVER put ketchup on your hot dog. (In Chicago, we know a thing or two about our hot dogs!)

Posted by Jim Lecinski - Managing Director U.S. Sales (and Chicago Native)
reposted on the Google Affiliate Network Blog 

[G] Now available with Google Apps: Google Chrome Sync

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Now available with Google Apps: Google Chrome Sync

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 Chrome Sync
These days, we spend more and more time working in a web browser, in fact, the number of hours the average American spends online has grown by over 120% in the last 5 years.* Much of the information we consume is delivered through the web, and tools like Google Apps make it easier than ever for workers to collaborate and create using nothing but the web. This shift of data and applications to the cloud makes us less dependent on the specific hardware device that we use to get our work done.

You may use a desktop or laptop PC or Linux box at your desk, then a netbook or maybe even a pilot program Chrome OS notebook when you’re on the go, and then perhaps work from a personal computer when you need to send a quick email from home. Traditionally, your experience has been different on each of these devices depending on how the browser is configured. Now, recently added integration with Google Apps lets you unify your browsing experience across the different devices you use to get your work done, just like millions of Chrome users already do with Google Chrome Sync.

Google Chrome is a modern web browser that was built with today’s web in mind, with a focus on speed, security, and simplicity, and it’s used by more than 120 million people worldwide. One of the features of Chrome that makes it so simple and easy to use is the ability to synchronize your bookmarks, extensions, apps, theme and browser preferences with a Google account, so they are always available in the browser, no matter where you are signed in. Google Apps users now have access to this functionality, allowing you to make these components of your browsing experience available across any device you use to access the Chrome browser.

With Chrome Sync, many of the inefficiencies that result when you switch from one device to another are eliminated. When you bookmark a news article relevant to your business on your desktop PC as you're running out the door to catch a flight, that bookmark will be there when you connect to WiFi as you’re waiting at the airport. The Google Mail Checker extension you discovered last week was synced to your laptop so you notice the email that comes in at the last minute before you close your laptop for take-off. And when the passenger in the seat next to you spills coffee on your keyboard in the middle of the flight, you’re secure in the knowledge that Chrome on your new laptop will have all of the personalization you added on your old one.

Now that Google Chrome is ready for business, Chrome and Chrome Sync combined with Google Apps make a powerful combination for workers leveraging the power of the cloud to be productive no matter where they are and what device they are using.

Learn more and get started
Google Chrome Sync 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

You can find more information about using Chrome in your organization on our Chrome for Business webpage or take a look at a product overview.

Posted by Nick Carter, Software Engineer, Google Chrome

Note: Google Chrome Sync may not be available in all areas.
* Forreseter Research, 2010

[G] Gaining Altitude: Perspectives on Productivity in the Cloud

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Gaining Altitude: Perspectives on Productivity in the Cloud

Editor’s note: Continuing our Gaining Altitude series, we’ve invited guest blogger Michael Bungay Stanier, the author of Do More Great Work: Stop the Busywork and Start the Work that Matters.

Do you ever feel that your work life consists mostly of meetings and email, while the all real, important work needs to be squeezed into the gaps? In an age of information overload, people often talk about the importance of multi-tasking. This can be an effective way to survive the constant onslaught of information, but you have to wonder: does multi-tasking take away from our ability to do great work? How can we actually come up with ideas and think them through if we don’t have dedicated time to focus? Perhaps we need to change the way we operate so we can we not just get things done, but instead do great work?

In Do More Great Work I suggest you can divide everything you do into three simple but powerful categories:

  • Bad Work: Often called bureaucracy - excess rules, excessive processes, pointless meetings. Sadly, it often comes standard as part of your job.
  • Good Work: Productive, efficient and focused, this is the bulk of what you do. It’s also at the heart of how your organization succeeds - which means that “good work” is essential. The challenge is there's almost always more Good Work to do than there is time in the day - it sometimes seems that your time is spent just trying not to get further behind.
  • Great Work: The work that makes a difference and that has meaning. It’s what you were hoping for when you signed up for the job. It’s both exciting and engaging - and a little scary and uncertain.

What you're looking for is a better work diet, one that has you making an impact and doing work with more meaning. What you want is more Great Work - and less of the other stuff.

Simple recipes for success

A few simple techniques and some good tools - like Google Apps - will help you make sure you're doing more great work.

1. Define your Great Work Project

Before kicking off 2011, take the time to think about the one or two Great Work projects you want to work on. Define where you you want to truly invest your time and effort, your hard work and brain power. Establish a goal that will stretch and challenge you. Set your Great Work Project for the year: how it starts, who else needs to be involved, what success looks like, when it will be completed. Use your Great Work Project as the foundation of a memorable, challenging and interesting year.

2. Keep what matters top of mind

Use Calendar and Gmail to prioritize your day. Begin the day by identifying your One Plus Two. First, determine one action that must happen to move your Great Work forward. Then add another two actions that, if you get to them, will be an added bonus. This gives you both focus and flexibility.

Add these three actions as an all-day event at the top of your Google Calendar. That way they’re front-and-center every time you look at your calendar, and serve to remind you to focus on what matters.

If you haven’t gotten to those important actions by mid-day, use labels in Gmail to label any incoming email related to your One Plus Two activities. Then, as the day unfolds and when information is coming at you from all directions, you’ll be able to identify the high priority emails that need your attention.

3. Good work takes collaboration

There are talented people on your team, in your business division and your company. Great Work is often the product of many people sharing ideas and working together. Google Apps makes this easy. Instead of creating a document and working alone, start a Google document and share it with members of your team. With real-time collaboration you can edit documents, spreadsheets and presentations simultaneously, or leave comments and suggestions in the margins.

We all know how hard it can be sometimes to find a time when everyone can meet in person. Rather than setting up a meeting or clogging up your co-workers inboxes with another email, try using Google Talk or video chat to quickly ask a question.

If you prioritize, set aside the time and collaborate with talented peers, instead of trying to do everything, you may just find that you do Great Work.

Posted by Michael Bungay Stanier, author of Do More Great Work

[G] We Asked. You Told Us Your Wishes for 2011.

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: We Asked. You Told Us Your Wishes for 2011.

Editor's note: For all the small businesses out there including the millions that use our Google Enterprise products, we recently asked a question – if you had one wish for your small business in 2011, what would it be? Today we're excited to share some of the responses in this cross-post from the Google Small Business Blog.

Two weeks ago, the Small Business Marketing team asked about your aspirations for the coming year. You told us the biggest wish for your business, and the wish for expanding your business’ online presence. Today, we’d like to share what we heard.

We combined your responses from our blog, Facebook and Twitter and organized them into three main themes and then sub-themes. Of course, not all wishes fell neatly into these themes, so we did create a Miscellaneous category.

Before the drum roll, thanks to everyone that took time to share and participate. Some wishes were big and audacious and others more practical, but all with an underlying tone of passion for what you do and a focus on delighting your customers. On with the results…

Theme 1: Move my business online
Not surprisingly, you’re passionate about the business products you’re using and made very specific feature requests. Rest assured if they were Google product related, we’ve shared your wishes with our product teams. Additionally, you said you want more online resources to help your business grow. Your comments acknowledged that referrals are now happening online through social media channels and, as such, you want to understand how to use these online tools. You also want more out of your websites. Ultimately, you said you want to do more online to run your business more efficiently and spend more time concentrating on your customers.

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Theme 2: Grow my business
We heard that you want to continue to grow your business with increased profits, more customers, or more people. Lots of wishes for more marketing tools to increase your business’ visibility – the range included the entire marketing mix. You want simple tools made specifically for you. There were wishes for funds to buy equipment, spend more on advertising, build e-commerce into your offering, and lease real estate – to name a few.

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Theme 3: Love my business
Many resounding wishes to continue fueling your passion because you love what you do. You’d love to learn more – from social media, AdWords and Places to creating marketing plans. You prefer support face-to-face with people and training at a relatively low cost. Many of you want more opportunities to network and support your fellow business owners. Whether it’s help getting the most out of applications and tools, or navigating a healthcare plan, you’d like some expertise to assist.

Click for larger image.

We thank you again for telling us your wishes for the coming year. Stay tuned as we will use these wishes to build upon our plans to help small businesses succeed in 2011.

Posted by Leslie Hernandez, Product Marketing Manager, Google Small Business Team

Friday, December 17, 2010

[G] Geek Time with Peter Brown

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Google Open Source Blog: Geek Time with Peter Brown

When the Free Software Foundation’s executive director, Peter Brown, visited the Google offices last week, he graciously offered his time for an interview with Samba co-founder and Open Source Programs Office team member Jeremy Allison. Peter and Jeremy spoke for quite a while about several of the hot topics facing free software today. Some highlights of their conversation include:

• A brief history of the free software movement (0:14)
• The difference between open source and free software (4:12),
• The importance of specifying “GNU/Linux” when referring to the first fully free operating system (7:42),
Linux Libre, a fully free kernel distribution, including the drivers (12:29)
• The Free Software Foundation’s hardware endorsement program, Respects Your Freedom (13:54)
• Unexpected places that free software is appearing around the world (18:42)
• Peter’s career with the Free Software Foundation (20:50).
• Ways that non-programmers can get involved and support the free software movement (26:23)

Throughout the conversation, both Jeremy and Peter provide fascinating anecdotes about ways that free software is shaping society. The video is an effective introduction to software freedom for those who have just discovered the concept, but it's also a great way for everyone to learn more about free software.

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

[G] WindowBuilder becomes new open source project

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Google Open Source Blog: WindowBuilder becomes new open source project

When Google acquired Instantiations, the maker of a suite of Java development tools, we made many of their Java Eclipse tools available for free as part of the Google Web Toolkit. Today, Google is donating the source code for WindowBuilder, an Eclipse Java GUI design tool, and CodePro Profiler, an analytics tool that identifies code performance issues, to the Eclipse Foundation. This represents a major code contribution–learn more about this release on the Google Code Blog.

By Eric Clayberg and the Google Developer Tools Team

[G] Postini EZCommand Shell makes things even easier

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Google Open Source Blog: Postini EZCommand Shell makes things even easier

Today, we are open sourcing the Postini EZCommand Shell, a Perl script allowing Postini administrators to issue EZCommands to Postini from a command line.

The script is useful in two ways. First, it allows Postini administrators to make Postini EZCommands from a terminal. Second, it provides sample code for developers. For years we’ve had the Postini EZCommand, but never out-of-the-box sample code that companies could use. This code gives developers a helpful guide to integrate EZCommand with their internal systems.

Postini EZCommand Shell version 1.0.0 supports the following EZCommands:


For more information, see our site on Google Project Hosting.

By Jeff Pickhardt, Enterprise Sales Engineering Team

[G] Significant advances for Display Ad Builder

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Inside AdWords: Significant advances for Display Ad Builder

On the Google Display Network, we've been working hard to make display advertising accessible to everyone, no matter what your size or budget. In 2008, we launched Display Ad Builder to help you design display ads in minutes for free. Now, 100 new advertisers try Display Ad Builder every day.

Today we are announcing a number of improvements to Display Ad Builder to help you achieve all your marketing goals, from driving conversions to building your brand.

Quickly manage hundreds of ads with bulk copying and editing
With the newest version of AdWords Editor, you can now copy your Display Ad Builder ads across campaigns and make basic bulk edits, including ad names, destination and display URLs, and ad statuses. With AdWords Editor you can quickly create customized creatives for each ad group. For example, you could create an ad for marathon training tips and customize the creative to mention the Chicago marathon for users in Chicago and the Philly marathon for Philadelphia.

Sample Display Ad Builder ad copied using AdWords Editor and then customized based on user location.
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If you're already using AdWords Editor, you'll be prompted to upgrade automatically. Just follow the instructions to keep your unposted changes. If you’re not using AdWords Editor, visit our website to learn more and download it.

Drive engagement with social and expandable templates
Display Ad Builder also can help build your brand and engage users with our new social and expandable templates. We are testing social templates, which include the latest tweets from your Twitter account in the creative. Social templates are really useful if you want to run timely promotions that change daily. You can run a new tweet, instead of creating an entirely new creative. Social templates can also help you build your Twitter follower base.

An ad created using one of Display Ad Builder's social templates.
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We've also released expandable templates, which encourage more interaction from interested users by increasing your ad’s real estate on the page. When a user clicks on your expandable ad, it expands to twice its width or height, depending on the format.

Create the perfect ad by customizing your templates

We're also launching template customization to give you greater flexibility to create the ad you want. You can now move text boxes and images where you want within the template. Also, text boxes can be resized, so you can include more content. Combine these new features, with 180 templates, nearly 100 fonts, and unlimited color options to chose from.

Now you can move around text boxes and pictures and re-size text boxes to customize templates to fit your needs.
click for full size image

Never tried Display Ad Builder? Try our free demo to see how it works. To start creating your ads, go to your ‘Ads’ tab in a new or existing campaign in your AdWords account. Then, click ‘New Ad’ and select ‘Display Ad Builder.’

Posted by Nathania Lozada, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Context Is King

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YouTube Blog: Context Is King

Because YouTube is a platform for free expression of all sorts, we take great care when we enforce our Community Guidelines. We try to allow as much content as possible on the site and still ensure that the rules are followed. It is a delicate balancing act, and we depend on our uploaders to help.

Let us explain. Check out the two videos below. Notice anything different between them? Same content, right? Not quite.

Video #1

Video #2

While the difference may appear insignificant, the
context of the two videos is very different. In this case, the first video provides very little information, or context, about what the video is about, while the second video is much more instructive. Why does this matter? Because the video alone doesn’t always tell the whole story. A video’s title, description and tags are critical in how we apply our Community Guidelines.

It’s a balancing act. As you can see in the video examples above, it’s difficult to understand the intention of the uploader without the proper context. Why does understanding the intention of the uploader important? Well, generally speaking, nudity or graphic content is not allowed on YouTube. However, we do have exceptions for educational, documentary, scientific, and artistic content. In order for us to determine whether an exception applies, we need your help. The more information you provide, the clearer your intentions will be.

Give as much context as possible. Your video’s title, description and tags are a great way to provide context to your videos. When our team reviews flagged content, titles or tags like “performance art piece" or "street riot in Jakarta" helps us understand the context of the material you're uploading.

Here are some tips on how to surround your videos with as much context as possible:
  • Provide an informative, relevant title.
  • Try to add some specific information into the description: who is in the video, what is happening, where and when did it happen, and why.
  • If you have a website (or know of one) that provides more detail about the content, such as a related news story or artist statement, feel free to direct viewers to it.
  • Think about your audience. What are you trying to accomplish through your content? Help inform and educate the viewer.
  • You can also add detail directly onto the video itself, using our annotations tool.
  • Even if you’re uploading from your phone, we ask that you try to provide as much context as possible.
But remember, there’s still a line. Keep in mind that certain content is still not okay. Don’t post footage that is highly focused on nudity or graphic content, or create montages from otherwise acceptable sources to supplant its original intent. Don’t try to circumvent your way around our Community Guidelines or look for loopholes.

Everyone makes mistakes. If your content is removed from the site and you feel it was in error, you have the ability to appeal the decision. To learn more about the appeal process, check out this page in our Help Center. And remember, context is king. The more detail you provide viewers upfront, the more likely everyone will understand your intent and the less likely it could be removed.

We hope this post gives you more insight into how we review content on YouTube. Our mission is to empower our users to share, educate, entertain and inform. Help us help you in that goal.

Amy Wright, Policy Specialist, recently watched "WILDFIRE (Segment)."