Saturday, January 8, 2011

[G] Let’s build a better map of Southern Sudan

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Google LatLong: Let’s build a better map of Southern Sudan

Sudan is preparing to vote on January 9 to decide if the South will become independent from the North. The referendum is part of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005 ending the Civil War, which lasted 22 years and led to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people. Analysts fear the possibility of renewed violence.

Sudan is a huge country (2.5 million km2), with an estimated population of 44 million people, but it’s poorly mapped. Without basic geospatial information, it’s difficult for humanitarian agencies and first responders to monitor and evaluate the risks and current needs, target their efforts, and mobilize proper resources. At times like these, it is critical to have good maps on roads, settlements, voting stations, hospitals, buildings and other services - with both local and official names - to generate better, faster responses.

This is one of the goals of the Satellite Sentinel project, which is using imagery, field reports and Google Map Maker to conduct human rights monitoring along the border between North and South Sudan. This effort is the result of an unprecedented collaboration between Not On Our Watch, Google, the Enough Project, the United Nations UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, and Trellon, LLC.

If you have knowledge of Southern Sudan, an interest in mapping, and some free time, we encourage you to join the effort. With tools such as Google Map Maker and Sudan Vote Monitor, you have the opportunity to take concrete action by improving the map, helping to monitor and report human rights violations in near-real time and providing insight into the socio-political climate prevalent in the country and region.

Global Call for Action:
Together let’s build a better map of Southern Sudan. Your local knowledge and mapping contributions of schools, hospitals, and landmarks will be extremely useful to the humanitarian community to quickly build a picture of the situation, especially in these areas of interest.

Items that you can map:
  • Towns and town names (Arabic and local names especially)
  • Roads (in-town roads as well) and trails
  • Displaced persons camps
  • Cultural landmarks
  • Geographic landmarks
  • Schools
  • Orphanages, shelters etc.
  • Hospitals
  • Community centers
  • Border crossing points
  • Nomadic camps
  • Markets and large cattle gathering points

This is an opportunity to utilize the power of community engagement through mapping. We welcome you to get acclimated to Map Maker through our Getting Started page, and then invite you to join our Sudan-specific discussions.

Posted by France Lamy, Program Manager,

[G] Happy New Year!

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Google Analytics Blog: Happy New Year!

Welcome back! Hope you're starting off the New Year with a bang, and we have something that will help. Good things come in threes, so here it is, one more holiday gift, our third. And, like our last gift, it's three gifts in one from the holiday ninja of web analytics, Avinash Kaushik, the Analytics Evangelist here at Google.

Last time, Avinash created three custom reports of incredible value. This time, in his latest post, he expounds on three advanced segments that are just as useful as the custom reports, and even easier to create and use on a day to day basis. The post is called 3 Advanced Web Analytics Visitor Segments: Non-Flirts, Social, Long Tail.

And the great part is that, like a true evangelist, he describes them in an accessible way such that you can understand and create them for whatever web analytics tool you're using. And if you're using Google Analytics, you can simply click on a link to add them to your own profiles.

To whet your appetite for a fantastic read, here are the three segments

#1. Non-flirts, potential lovers (hint: this is a segment that's working for you)
#2. Social media link tracking (this is like a complete book's worth of knowledge in a few paragraphs)
#3: Search Queries With Multiple Keywords [3 words, as well as 4, 5, 10, 20]

The post goes beyond just giving you a few segments (reminder: with the click of a button, you can actually use them): I'd add it to a required reading list for any Google Analytics poweruser. Enjoy, and thanks Avinash.

Happy 2011!

Posted by Jeff Gillis, Google Analytics Team

[G] Go 'big' in 2011 - join us at NRF's BIG show

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Go 'big' in 2011 - join us at NRF's BIG show

If your company runs an ecommerce website, you’re probably taking a well deserved break with the end of the holiday rush. But as we move into a new year, it’s also a great time to start thinking about how to give your customers an even better online shopping experience.

We’re also looking forward to an exciting 2011 and to kick things off, we’re heading to New York next week to be part of the National Retail Federation's BIG Show. Visit us at Booth #3239 from January 10-13 where you’ll be able to speak with the Google Commerce Search and Google Product Search teams, and learn how our commerce offerings can help bring visitors to your site, optimize their experience, and convert them into loyal customers.

On Monday, join our afternoon session where we discuss ‘In Stock Nearby: The Next Step in Shopping’. Paul Lee, Senior Product Manager, will set out how to serve today’s cross-channel shopper, regardless of platform or location.

On Tuesday morning, don’t miss our session on ‘Search Insights’, where Nitin Mangtani, Group Product Manager on Google Commerce Search, will explain how increasingly sophisticated online shoppers are driving innovations in search.

We’re looking forward to a ‘big’ few days and hope to see you in New York next week.

Posted by Derek Niddery, Google Commerce Team

[G] Google Apps Adventures: A Voyage Through Climate Change with polar explorer Børge Ousland and Traffic Konzept + Film

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Apps Adventures: A Voyage Through Climate Change with polar explorer Børge Ousland and Traffic Konzept + Film

Editor's note: We're thrilled to share stories from the people and organizations that use Google Apps to explore, discover and push the boundaries. These businesses truly embody the freedom enabled by the cloud.

Our third Apps Adventure profiles Traffic Konzept + Film GmbH, a Berlin-based multimedia studio that supported polar explorer Børge Ousland in a record-setting expedition to document climate change in the Arctic. Assisting Traffic was post-production house Magna Mana.

As a multimedia studio, nothing gets us more excited than a project that demands film and interactivity to take an audience inside a story. When the story is about a world record Arctic voyage, and a close-up look at global warming, our passion goes totally off the scale.

In 2009, Traffic began working with Norwegian polar explorer Børge Ousland to support an expedition planned for Summer 2010. His goal was to be the first to sail through both Passages of the North Pole in a single voyage, and the first to circumnavigate the Arctic in a single season. A feat explorers have tried and failed to do for 500 years.

Now global warming has melted the polar ice caps to such an extent that an expedition is possible. Børge’s intent wasn’t just to set a record, but provide a visual example of climate change that could reach out and motivate people. To accomplish this, our shared vision was to use film and multimedia to bring the world on the voyage as it was happening. A multimedia event that would use adventure as a draw to education and action.

On June 23rd, Børge and veteran sailor Thorleif Thorleifsson set out from Oslo on a small 31-foot trimaran. On board were several film and still cameras, a laptop, and an Inmarsat satellite uplink. Power came solely from a generator connected to a wind vane.

For nearly four months, the team battled raging storms, maze-like ice fields, lethal shallows and sub-zero temps. Because their small boat had no ice breaking gear, any collision or scrape could have been fatal. Long stops also weren’t possible, because they had to stick to a tight schedule to make it through before winter trapped them in the Passages.

Throughout the journey, Børge was able to communicate and correspond online via regular blog posts, YouTube films, Flickr galleries, and e-mail. The boat was also outfitted with a special tracker, so everyone could follow the voyage in real time via Google Maps.

Behind the scenes, Traffic used Google Apps as our project hub — creating a 24/7 connection between us, the expedition and media partners and sponsors around the world. We worked on pre-production planning in real-time with Docs, updated and shared schedules via Calendar, and the whole team could get a snapshot of the latest content and news via our Google Site. Gmail was the email backbone of the project. Using Google Apps saved an incredible amount of time, and because everything was in the cloud, everyone had access on the fly. Even from the Arctic.

For me, the greatest feeling was being right there with a camera crew — on an Oslo fjord — when the expedition began its final leg home in October. After watching the journey online for months, I was so touched to share the last mile with them in person. Being part of their team is an inspiration to us, and in the months ahead, we’ll continue to explore how multimedia can bring their story of climate awareness to new audiences.

Posted by Len Dickter, Creative Director, Traffic Konzept + Film GmbH

Friday, January 7, 2011

[G] Google Apps highlights – 1/7/2011

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 1/7/2011

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

It’s a new year, and we have new reasons to celebrate what’s possible with Google Apps. Since our last update, we’ve made it easier to track spreadsheet revisions and work with videos in Google Docs, added two new security features for organizations using Gmail and introduced new capabilities to make migrating to Google Apps even easier.

Revision history for spreadsheets
A few months ago we added better revision history tools for documents in Google Docs, and we just added a similar revision history tool for spreadsheets. Spreadsheet changes made by each co-author are marked by a different color, and you can easily see all of the changes made to your spreadsheet cell-by-cell.

Video player in the document list
Google Docs lets groups collaborate simultaneously on documents, spreadsheets, presentations and drawings, but you can also use it to upload and share a wide range of file types. Previously, if you uploaded and shared a video file, people you shared with could only download the file. Yesterday we released an update which lets you play many videos right from Google Docs, no file download required.

A safer email environment for customers
Organizations using Google Apps usually provide unrestricted email access to their users, but some organizations—like K-12 schools—want to prevent outsiders from interacting with a subset of their users over email. On Tuesday, we released a feature enabling an email “walled garden,” so organizations can meet this requirement. K-12 schools can help protect youngsters, and other types of organizations can provide limited email accounts to select employees, like contractors.

DKIM email authentication for improved email delivery
Yesterday we made it possible for customers to easily validate their outgoing email with DKIM digital signatures. DKIM allows many receiving email systems to verify whether an incoming message truly originates from the domain in the message’s “sent from” field. Spam filters can then use the reputation of the sender’s domain to help separate good mail from spam. For customers, using DKIM authentication means their outgoing mail is less likely to get caught up in their recipients’ spam filters.

Chrome browser for organizations
Google Chrome is built for speed, security and the ability to run the most sophisticated web-based applications. Until recently, it was tough for businesses to deploy Chrome as a successor or alternative to traditional browsers, but last month we added capabilities to Chrome so IT administrators can efficiently deploy and manage Chrome across their organizations. We’ve also made it possible for businesses to centrally deploy Chrome Frame to improve the performance of Internet Explorer®.

Improved tools for moving existing data to Google Apps
Customers are already moving data from legacy systems to Google Apps at an astounding rate, and we’ve just made improvements to our data migration tools. Whether you’re moving from Microsoft® Exchange, Lotus Notes® or other IMAP-based email systems, it’s now even easier to move email, calendar and contacts data into Google’s cloud.

Who’s gone Google?
Tens of thousands of businesses, schools and other organizations took advantage of the holiday break to move over to Google Apps. Some of the noteworthy additions include Compositites One, Broadway Maylan and BI-LO. We also heard some great stories from Traffic Konzept + Film GmbH a team of explorers and filmmakers on a first-ever expedition to sail both North Pole passages in a single season. You can learn more about their adventure and how they use Google Apps here:

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

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

[G] On the Rise: Help these users get on the homepage!

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YouTube Blog: On the Rise: Help these users get on the homepage!

Check it out, people! This month’s “On the Rise” nominees are in -- and we need your help to choose a winner.

Just to remind you how this works: we identify a handful of channels who’ve rapidly increased their subscriber base in the last 30 days but haven’t yet hit the 100,000 mark. You watch their videos, and then vote for your favorite in the top right-hand corner of this blog. You have until noon PT on January 14, 2011, to make your choice. Once we have a winner, we’ll give them a big leg up with a feature on the YouTube homepage and videos page, as well as love on Facebook and Twitter. Past winners emilynoel83 and justjesse197 more than doubled the number of subscribers gained during the month of their spotlight versus the previous month, and Emily is close to hitting the 100,000 subscriber milestone herself.

And now, in alphabetical order, here are the nominees for the homepage spotlight on January 22:

Michael Aranda
You never quite know what you’re going to get with a Michael Aranda video: one minute he’s dropping knowledge, the next he’s freak-dancing -- or turning his car into an art project.

Luke Conard
Catchy pop songs. A sense of humor. Adorably goofy videos....What’s not to like about Luke Conard?

Tori Kelly
Tori Kelly’s just 18 years old, but she plays piano and guitar and sings like nobody’s business. Check out one of her original songs.

Josh Sundquist
Josh Sundquist has quite a personal story: overcoming childhood cancer and a leg amputation to become an athlete, inspirational speaker and author. Check out his sweet and affecting animations.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager, recently watched “Taylor Momsen escapes paparazzi.”


[G] The ad your ads could look like: Looking back at the best YouTube ads of 2010

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YouTube Blog: The ad your ads could look like: Looking back at the best YouTube ads of 2010

2010 was a breakout year for video advertising, which is an unmitigated good thing for advertisers and viewers alike. As audiences, platforms, channels, and devices continue to fragment into ever-more-specific niches, earning people’s attention has become ever more challenging. To find audiences and break through all the noise, brands must create content that people seek out, love, and share with others.

On the coattails of YouTube Rewind, which highlighted the most viewed videos of 2010 - we took an informal poll of our team and reporters in the industry to find out their favorite YouTube ads of the year. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Old Spice "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" (25M views)

2010 was Old Spice’s year. Released to YouTube a few days before the Super Bowl, Isaiah Mustafa’s shower-transcending, horse-sitting manliness had already attracted a fan base before the Saints and Colts took the field. This new franchise culminated in Old Spice’s Twitter response campaign, attracting more than 100 million views in fewer than 10 days. Smells good!

Experts say: “The challenge for advertisers in social media is keeping up with the real-time nature of it. Old Spice provided the blue print on how to do this with a video blitz that perfectly fit with how the Web operates nowadays.” - Brian Morrissey, MediaWeek

Lesson learned: Old Spice spent millions developing the character, and then took advantage of this brand equity by speaking directly to key influencers, who then got their followers to tune in.... for free!

2) Nike "Write the Future" (22M views)

Who was your favorite official sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup? If you said Nike, you’re not alone. You’re also not an expert on global sports sponsorships, because Nike didn’t sponsor the Cup. All they did was hijack world soccer with a glorious, 3-minute mini-epic directed by Alejandro Iñárritu.

Lesson learned: It’s hard to imagine a 3-minute commercial running during a major sporting event, but online it attracted an enormous audience that accelerated via sharing.

3) Tipp-Ex "NSFW. A hunter shoots a bear!" (13M views)

Vaguely reminiscent of the revolutionary Burger King Subservient Chicken, this campaign for correction tape product Tipp-Ex hands control of the story to the user, with dozens of funny outcomes that reward experimentation and discovery.

Experts say: "One of 2010's greatest examples of interactive ads." - Ben Parr, mashable

Lesson learned: Interactivity + video = a truly immersive, memorable, and sharable experience.

4) Hell Pizza, “Deliver Me to Hell (2.5M views)

Ads are definitely content when they include interactive zombie attacks. When you feature clever product placement and a narrative viewers can participate in, it's advertising gold.

Experts say: “With the increased sophistication of YouTube annotations has come a greater number of interactive adventures, and this branded experience sponsored by the New Zealand pizza company Hell Pizza is one of the better ones I've seen. Not only is it executed well, but a zombie comedy fits perfectly with Hell Pizza's brand -- and really makes you crave a hot slice.” - Liz Shannon Miller, NewTeeVee

Lesson learned: YouTube video annotations create new opportunities for fun, turning the video viewing experience into an adventure.

5) Toyota "Swagger Wagon" (7.6M views)

Awwwww, yeah. Decidedly un-hip-hop people rapping about their un-hip-hop lives is nothing revolutionary, but the execution on this campaign for Toyota’s Sienna minivan was a cooling salve for Gen X parents struggling to embrace the cul-the-sac.

Lesson learned: Perhaps the perfect example of a brand creating content that people will seek out, love, and share.

6) Toy Story 3, “Lots-o-Huggin' Bear Commercial(1.2M views)

Experts say: “We loved Pixar's phony retro toy ads promoting Toy Story 3. The ‘Huggin' Toys’ videos were made to resemble toy ads circa 1983 -- complete with VHS tape static crawling along the bottom of the screen.” - Zach Rodgers, ClickZ

Lesson learned: The Toy Story franchise has been the most critically and financially successful animated movie series of all time, mostly because of its ability to appeal both to kids and to parents. Kids who grew up in the Reagan Years are powerless against the nostalgia appearl of this very convincing faux-retro spot .

These are, of course, just a tiny taste of what brands and agencies did with online video in 2010, and we didn’t even touch the best creative in other languages. We’re hoping this list gets people inspired about the creative possibilities.

Eric Meyerson, Video Business Marketing Lead, recently watched "Complete History of The Soviet Union, Arranged to the Melody of Tetris."


Thursday, January 6, 2011

[G] A Sneak Peek of Android 3.0, Honeycomb

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Official Google Mobile Blog: A Sneak Peek of Android 3.0, Honeycomb

The past few weeks have been exciting ones for the Android team: we recently released Nexus S and Android 2.3, Gingerbread, and we’ve even had some of our most popular team members take a trip to space. But we haven’t stopped buzzing with excitement: today at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, we previewed Android 3.0, Honeycomb.

Honeycomb is the next version of the Android platform, designed from the ground up for devices with larger screen sizes, particularly tablets. We’ve spent a lot of time refining the user experience in Honeycomb, and we’ve developed a brand new, truly virtual and holographic user interface. Many of Android’s existing features will really shine on Honeycomb: refined multi-tasking, elegant notifications, access to over 100,000 apps on Android Market, home screen customization with a new 3D experience and redesigned widgets that are richer and more interactive. We’ve also made some powerful upgrades to the web browser, including tabbed browsing, form auto-fill, syncing with your Google Chrome bookmarks, and incognito mode for private browsing.

Honeycomb also features the latest Google Mobile innovations including Google Maps 5 with 3D interactions and offline reliability, access to over 3 million Google eBooks, and Google Talk, which now allows you to video and voice chat with any other Google Talk enabled device (PC, tablet, etc).

Please stay tuned for more Honeycomb news from the Android team. For now, you can get a taste of Honeycomb by checking out this video.

Posted by Andy Rubin, VP of Engineering

[G] YouTube Highlights 1/6/2011

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Official Google Blog: YouTube Highlights 1/6/2011

This is the latest in our series of YouTube highlights. Every couple of weeks, we bring you regular updates on new product features, interesting programs to watch and tips you can use to grow your audience on YouTube. Just look for the label “YouTube Highlights” and subscribe to the series. – Ed.

Happy New Year! Since our last update, we’ve rolled out some new programs and features to help you share and discover great video content on YouTube. We’ve also got advice and tips on how to succeed as a videomaker, content publisher or advertiser on YouTube.

Sports favorites on YouTube and ESPN
More than 2,000 YouTubers submitted sports videos to “Play of the Year,” vying to make it onto ESPN’s SportsCenter. After closely reviewing thousands of entries, we’d like to congratulate the winner of the latest YouTube | ESPN Your Highlight Presented by AT&T, Jay Fleming of Nashville, TN. In this video, shot by his father, the one-armed swimmer won his heat in the 25m fly at the 2010 Nashville city swim meet. See the runners-up here.

YouTube Trends feature helps you find your favorite content
With 35 hours of video now being uploaded to YouTube every minute, keeping up can be a challenge. With YouTube Trends, you can watch the hottest local videos in your area and see how to stay on top of the latest popular videos and content overall on YouTube. Tune in so you don’t miss YouTube’s best content.

New capabilities for YouTube
We’ve been working to make it easier customize your YouTube experience so you can both discover and share great content.
  • Personalize your own YouTube homepage. Opt in to try enhancements such as recommended videos based on your viewing history, what your friends are up to, a single place to view all the videos you’ve subscribed to and more.
  • Send a personal video greeting. We’ve made it easier for friends and families to stay in touch through video greetings. Try the “Unlisted” feature to share videos with a specific URL so only those people you want to view a video will see it.
  • Customize your personal video greeting using background themes and other bells and whistles. You can quickly make original videos starting with video templates from third-party tools from Animoto, Stupeflix and Xtranormal.
New $1,000+ partner grants
Whether you’re a filmmaker, musician or other content provider, you can continue to build the next generation of media companies as a YouTube partner. To help spur our partners’ success, 500 of our top 2010 partners worldwide received new grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to help fund the necessary tools (cameras, sound equipment, etc.) to produce even higher-quality videos and garner bigger audiences.

Useful advice and tips for filmmakers
The web and YouTube continue to change filmmaking and online video publishing, and you can take part.
Ads Worth Spreading with TED
TED and YouTube have issued a challenge called Ads Worth Spreading, and you’re invited to submit an entry. TED’s mission is to spread worthy ideas around the world—and why should advertising be different? We believe that advertising should make you think, respond and want to share—whether it’s a great idea, a product that makes the world better or an initiative that might change the world. So create an ad that makes a difference—see the submission rules here.

We’ll update you again in a few weeks. In the meantime, get more info from us on the YouTube Blog.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Marketing Manager, The YouTube Team

[G] Fresh year, fresh start

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Inside AdSense: Fresh year, fresh start

Welcome to 2011! Though it may be hard to stick to all of your New Year's resolutions (we can’t say no to donuts either) we want to help keep you on track by giving you ten quick and easy AdSense resolutions you can be sure to keep:
  • Enable text and image ads so all available advertisers can bid to appear on your site.
  • Use wider ad units which are more reader-friendly and used by more advertisers
  • Use channels to measure the outcome of any tests you run by grouping and tracking ad units as you choose.
  • Turn those channels into ad placements so advertisers can pick specific groups of ad units on your site that they want to target.
  • Go through the AdSense checklist to learn about new AdSense features and brush up on your program knowledge.
  • Follow us on Twitter to get quick updates on the latest features, AdSense tips, and Google highlights.
  • Join the conversation in the Help Forum to connect with other publishers and get your questions answered.
  • Bookmark our troubleshooter so you can quickly diagnose and fix the issue should ads stop showing on your site.
Over here in AdSense, we have some resolutions of our own to keep. Our top priority is to focus on growing and strengthening our relationships with all of you, our valued publishers. We’re working on ways to make Google’s publisher solutions more seamless and integrated, so you don’t miss any opportunities to maximize revenue and enhance your online content. The recent launch of the new AdSense interface is just the start of what the new year holds for future improvements. We’re constantly innovating and we encourage you to do the same.

We hope these tips help you start the year off with a bang. And treat yourself to a donut with the extra revenue you earn -- we promise not to tell.

Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense team

[G] This week in Docs: Video player in the document list

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Official Google Docs Blog: This week in Docs: Video player in the document list

Happy New Year! We’re starting this year by making it easier to view memories from 2010 that you’ve uploaded to your document list directly in your browser. Just click on a video in a supported format and press play.

Please note that some videos uploaded earlier last year might not have been processed yet and will be available soon. Also, newly uploaded videos may take some time to process before they are available for viewing.

So what are you waiting for? Press play!

Posted by: Patrick Lacz, Software Engineer

[G] How a Google Voice text saved Christmas

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Google Voice Blog: How a Google Voice text saved Christmas

My boyfriend and I traveled from San Francisco to NYC to visit my family for Christmas and meet my newborn niece for the first time. About an hour after takeoff, he started frantically checking his pockets, and jacket and bags, only to discover that he had left his driver’s license at the airport.

This presented us with what could have been a major headache when trying to get through security on our way home.

Thankfully, his sister was staying at his apartment and had access to his passport. But she was leaving to drive to their mother’s house that morning, so contacting her couldn’t wait until we landed five hours later.

That’s where Google Voice came in.

We fired up his laptop, connected to in-flight wi-fi (which happened to be free), logged into his Google Voice account, and sent her a text message. Thankfully she hadn’t left his place yet, so we texted her my parents’ address and she headed to the UPS store to have it shipped overnight—and it arrived on our NY doorstep in no time.

Crisis averted thanks to a text from 35,000 feet in the sky.

If you would like to send free text messages from the sky (or comfortably on the ground), log in to your Google Voice account and click the Text button. You can enter a phone number or start typing a name from your Contacts to auto-populate the name and number of the person you are trying to text.

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager

[G] A sneak peek at “Life in a Day”

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Official Google Blog: A sneak peek at “Life in a Day”

(Cross-posted from the YouTube Blog)

In December, we announced that “Life in a Day,” a documentary film directed by Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald, produced by Ridley Scott, and filmed on July 24, 2010 by thousands of YouTube users around the world, was finished—and would have its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on January 27.

Today we’d like to share with you the first in a series of clips we’ll release between now and the world premiere. In this clip, beautifully shot by Toniu Xou and Patricia Marinez del Hoyoa of Spain, a young girl climbs a human castle in the small town of San Jaume dels Domenys in the Spanish province of Tarragona.

If watching this clip gets you excited for more, subscribe to the Life in a Day channel to be automatically updated when new clips are released.

And, most importantly, don’t forget to tune into the world premiere of “Life in a Day” at 5pm PT on Thursday, January 27, to see the 1,125 clips—out of more than 80,000 submitted—that made it into the final film.

Live in an incompatible time zone? Not to worry. The film will be re-broadcast at 7pm on Friday, January 28, in your local time zone, whatever that may be. This will be your only chance to see “Life in a Day” before it is released later in 2011, so don’t miss out!

And for those of you who want to experience Sundance even more intimately, check out the Life in a Day channel daily from January 24 to January 27 to see on-the-ground updates from Kevin Macdonald and a group of contributors to the “Life in a Day” project whom Kevin has invited to join him for the world premiere. You can also submit questions on the channel during that time for a chance to take part in a live Q&A with Kevin and the 20 contributors following the world premiere.

Posted by Tim Partridge, Product Marketing Manager

[G] Spam takes another hit: email authentication now available to millions of Google Apps customers

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Spam takes another hit: email authentication now available to millions of Google Apps customers

Google has been an early and consistent supporter of email authentication technologies, which help ensure senders are who they say they are, and in turn help to curb spam. Since we launched Gmail in 2004, we have supported email-signing standards such as DomainKeys and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to help validate outbound mail with digital signatures. On the inbound side, to help our users identify email from verified senders, in 2008 we worked with eBay and PayPal to authenticate their mail with DKIM and block all unsigned messages purportedly from those companies destined for Gmail users.

But the spam and phishing epidemics aren’t letting up – every day Gmail filters out billions of unwanted messages from our users’ inboxes – so we’ve been focused on creating helpful tools and working with the email industry to bring solutions that will help our customers. Email authentication is an important mechanism to verify senders’ identities, giving users a tool to recognize potential spam messages. In addition, many mail systems can display whether a received message is DKIM-verified, which helps spam filters verify and assess the overall reputation of the sender’s domain: messages from untrusted senders are treated more skeptically than those from good senders.

Today, we mark another notch in the spam-fighting belt: we’re making it possible for all Google Apps customers to sign their outgoing messages with DKIM, so their sent mail is less likely to get caught up in recipients’ spam filters. Google Apps is the first major email platform – including on-premises providers – to offer simple DKIM signing at no extra cost. Once again, the power of the cloud has made it possible for us to bring this feature to millions of customers quickly and affordably.

“We help the most-phished brands on the Internet manage their mail authentication programs, and the Google Apps solution is the simplest that we've encountered. Configuring DKIM for in-house systems requires plug-ins or additional gateway servers, making a company's mail environment more complex and difficult to manage. As a Google Apps customer, this feature took us only a few clicks in the control panel and an update of our DNS," said Kelly Wanser, CEO of eCert Systems, an industry leader in providing critical protection against email fraud.

Starting today, all Google Apps administrators can enable DKIM signing in the “Advanced Tools” tab of the control panel. As more email providers around the world support DKIM signing, spam fighters will have an even more reliable signal to separate unwanted mail from good mail. We’re pleased to let millions more organizations use DKIM with this improvement.

Posted by Adam Dawes, Google Enterprise Product Manager

[G] Creating a safer email environment

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Creating a safer email environment

While most organizations using Google Apps provide unrestricted email access to their users, some schools and businesses need to maintain a safer and more secure environment by allowing certain users to only send and receive email within the organization. This "walled garden" approach has been a popular feature request for K-12 schools looking to provide additional safeguards for student email. It can also help businesses where the email access of particular contractors and other groups should be limited.

Today, Google Apps administrators can create policies specifying who their users can communicate with over email, and administrators can tailor these policies for different groups of users. For example, school faculty and staff can have unrestricted email access while students have the freedom to send and receive emails within the school community but are protected from unwanted email interactions with outsiders.

"Using these new controls finally gives us the ability to provide email to our 40,000 high school students. We are confident that this will help protect our children from inappropriate communications and excited about new class activities and collaboration that email will bring. Not all kids are comfortable speaking up in class and this gives many of them another avenue to approach their teachers," said Laurie Tranmer, Email Services Manager at Prince George's County Public Schools.

This feature will be rolling out over the next couple of days to Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers. Administrators can configure their policies in the “Advanced Tools” section of the control panel.

Posted by Adam Dawes, Google Apps Product Manager

[G] Meet Your Google Affiliate Network Team at Affiliate Summit West

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Google Affiliate Network: Meet Your Google Affiliate Network Team at Affiliate Summit West

The Google Affiliate Network team will join our fellow affiliate marketers at Affiliate Summit West January 9-11 at  the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas. 

We are looking forward to this annual industry gathering and the opportunity to start the new year by spending some time with our valued advertisers and publishers.  Stop by the Google booth to meet your team and get ready for the playoffs with a Google Affiliate Network rocket football.

Affiliate Summit West
Google Affiliate Network 
Booth #235 

See you soon!

Posted by: Kristin Hall, Manager, Network Development 

[G] A sneak peek at “Life in a Day”

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YouTube Blog: A sneak peek at “Life in a Day”

In December, we announced that “Life in a Day,” a documentary film directed by Oscar-winner Kevin Macdonald, produced by Ridley Scott, and filmed on July 24, 2010 by thousands of YouTube users around the world, was finished—and would have its world premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on January 27.

Today we’d like to share with you the first in a series of clips we’ll release between now and the world premiere. In this clip, beautifully shot by Toniu Xou and Patricia Marinez del Hoyoa of Spain, a young girl climbs a human castle in the small town of San Jaume dels Domenys in the Spanish province of Tarragona.

If watching this clip gets you excited for more, subscribe to the Life in a Day channel to be automatically updated when new clips are released.

And, most importantly, don’t forget to tune into the world premiere of “Life in a Day” at 5pm PT on Thursday, January 27, to see the 1,125 clips—out of more than 80,000 submitted—that made it into the final film.

Live in an incompatible time zone? Not to worry. The film will be re-broadcast at 7pm on Friday, January 28, in your local time zone, whatever that may be. This will be your only chance to see “Life in a Day” before it is released later in 2011, so don’t miss out!

And for those of you who want to experience Sundance even more intimately, check out the Life in a Day channel daily from January 24 to January 27 to see on-the-ground updates from Kevin Macdonald and a group of contributors to the “Life in a Day” project whom Kevin has invited to join him for the world premiere. You can also submit questions on the channel during that time for a chance to take part in a live Q&A with Kevin and the 20 contributors following the world premiere.

Tim Partridge, Product Marketing Manager, recently watched Homeless Man with Golden Radio Voice


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

[G] New Year, New Asynchronous Tags for GWO

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: New Year, New Asynchronous Tags for GWO

Happy New Year fellow testers! We’ve just made a change to the Website Optimizer tags that will help your pages load faster, improve data accuracy, and eliminate tracking errors when tags are not fully loaded.

The next time you go to create an experiment, you’ll be given the new tags, which use asynchronous JavaScript. Asynchronous tagging, which is already a standard for Google Analytics, allows the Website Optimizer tracking and conversion scripts to run in parallel to your site loading. For Website Optimizer veterans, these new tags appear in Step 2 of the setup wizard -- be sure to read the instructions as the installation is slightly different.

Here’s five things you should know about the new tags:
  1. The traditional (non-async) snippets will continue to work if you want to use them. And there’s no need to retag experiments.
  2. We’ve combined the Control Script and Tracking Script into one snippet of code. Be sure not to double tag your pages.
  3. Async tags go immediately after the opening &lthead&gt tag on your test and conversion pages, not at the bottom of the page like the old tags.
  4. If you customize your Control Scripts (for experiments with cross-domain experiments and the like), the Control Script still uses urchin.js-style methods.
  5. Articles in the Help Center have been updated to reflect the new tags though we still have articles with the traditional tag for your reference.
Here’s to winning experiments in the new year.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team

[G] Mission Blue: Return to the Gulf of Mexico

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Google LatLong: Mission Blue: Return to the Gulf of Mexico

With support from Google, the Waitt Foundation, Hope Spots LLC and the National Geographic Society, Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue are embarking on an expedition to the Gulf of Mexico that will take a deep look at how the region is recovering from the five million gallons of oil spilled from the BP Deep Horizon Oil Spill last year. Follow along with the expedition by checking back daily and clicking on the blue ship icon in Google Earth located off of the US coast near Pensacola, Florida, where the expedition begins (make sure the Places layer is turned on). The science team will share updates and media from the expedition, including photographs, videos and links to Google maps on the National Geographic News Watch blog here.

Click on the blue ship icon near Pensacola, Florida in Google Earth
to see the most recent post from the expedition.

"Our goal is to identify areas with potential for Gulf ecosystem recovery," said Dr. Earle, founder of SEAlliance and recipient of the 2009 TED Prize that developed into Mission Blue, an international ocean conservation movement. "That is going to require protection of places healthy enough to replenish and rebuild populations. What’s happened here is far from over for the clams and oysters and other sea life critical to a healthy Gulf of Mexico."

The fate and impact of the spilled oil, gas and dispersants applied following the blowout into the Gulf are the subject of intense discussion by experts. The expedition team, assembled under the broad banner of the Mission Blue initiative, seeks answers to questions about the current status of key species and ecosystems.

Other research participants include: Dr. Thomas Shirley, Larry McKinney, Douglas Weaver and Harriet Nash from the Harte Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi; Edith Widder and Brandy Nelson, Ocean Research & Conservation Association and Carl Safina, Blue Ocean Institute. Research dives are planned using a Dual Deepworker submersible made available to the expedition by the Waitt Institute.

You can also experience the expedition for yourself by downloading this KML for viewing in Google Earth.

Posted by Jenifer Foulkes, Product Manager, Ocean in Google Earth and Maps

[G] Your window into the 112th Congress

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YouTube Blog: Your window into the 112th Congress

Just after Representative John Boehner was sworn in as the 61st Speaker of the House earlier today, he and new House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa made an early move to make the activities of the House of Representatives more accessible to citizens via YouTube. Starting in this 112th Congress, all committee hearings of the House Oversight committee will be available on YouTube, on a new channel called HouseResourceOrg. This is the first congressional committee to ever put all of its hearings online, and the new Speaker hopes it’s the first step towards getting all House committee hearings available to all citizens on the web.

This was made possible via a Google Project 10^100 grant made to Carl Malamud at, who will be working with the House to access and upload all of the hearings that the Oversight Committee holds each week. will also upload hundreds of hours of archived content. Where transcripts are available from the House, they'll be uploaded along with the videos, using YouTube's auto-timing capabilities to automatically create accurate captions through voice recognition. Thanks to the reuse of these uploaded transcripts, videos with captions will be fully searchable, and the captions can be auto-translated into over 50 languages.

Here’s an example of the types of videos you’ll see on the new channel – if you go to the video page, you can see the interactive transcript in the upper-right hand corner of the clip:

As always, you can access the individual channels of Members of Congress at and

Steve Grove, Head of News and Politics, recently watched U.S. Policy towards Iran.”


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

[G] My New Year’s Resolution: Read More

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Inside Google Books: My New Year’s Resolution: Read More

Posted by Cheryl Pon, Strategist, Google eBooks

One of the best things about winding down the holidays is looking forward to ushering in a new year with a fresh outlook. Whether you’re planning to spend more time with family and friends, improve your wellbeing, learn something new, or make use of your brand new PC, smartphone, tablet or e-reader, you might put reading more books at the top of your New Year's resolutions like I did.

If you’re resolving to add more smiles to your daily life and another spring in your step, take a gander at Shawn Achor’s seven core principles of positive psychology in his book, The Happiness Advantage. If you’re looking to tap into more positive energy, discover how to achieve fulfillment and success in Daniel G. Amen’s Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.

If you’re aiming for healthy eating or to get fit in 2011, the Google eBookstore has an abundance of books to help you well on your way. Try out a nutrition program based on lean meats and fish and other foods that made up the diet of our Paleolithic ancestors in Loren Cordain’s The Paleo Diet, or learn how to balance your metabolism in Mark Hyman’s Ultrametabolism. Run faster and farther with less effort with Danny Dreyer’s ChiRunning: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, Injury-Free Running.

You can also start the new year off right by catching up on popular 2010 titles. Check out life, Mark Twain-style, in Autobiography of Mark Twain: The Complete and Authoritative Edition, Volume 1, read up about the recent economic crisis in Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, or immerse yourself in a coming-of-age story with Patti Smith’s memoir Just Kids.

As you dive into the new year, delve into some New Year's resolution Google eBooks.

From all of us on the Google Books team, Happy New Year!