Saturday, January 29, 2011

[G] Imagery Update - Week of January 24th

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Google LatLong: Imagery Update - Week of January 24th

The Google Earth and Maps Imagery team has just released another aerial and satellite imagery update!

January is the month of resolutions and NASA has one of the biggest: to take us into the next age of space flight. Below is a high-resolution aerial image captured in December of the LC39A launch pad at the Kennedy Space center, Cape Canaveral Florida. Here we can see the Space Shuttle’s primary and secondary fuel tanks being readied for one of the shuttle’s last planned missions (STS-133; the last mission for Discovery), set for launch on February 23. We’re looking forward to publishing our first imagery of the Space Shuttle’s replacement, the CST-100.

The LC39A launch pad, Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Florida

I’m a geologist by training, and so I particularly enjoy publishing new imagery of Earth’s more spectacular features such as the volcanoes shown in the perspective view below. They are part of the 23 volcanoes that comprise the Kirishima Volcanic Group in Kyushu, Japan. This field is particularly cool because it contains many different types of volcanoes, including stratovolcanos, cones, maars, and shields. You can use Google Earth to fly around these active structures, including flying right into their calderas, many of which are filled with crater lakes.

Perspective view of the Kirishima volcanic field, Kyushu, Japan

Finally, with all the cotton candy and futuristic exhibits, who wouldn’t want to attend a World’s Fair? Although there is no World’s Fair going on right now, we can check out the sites of previous World’s Fairs such as the 1982 World’s Fair site in Knoxville Tennessee. Below is an aerial image of one of the last remaining attractions of this fair, The Sunsphere. The Sunsphere is a 266 ft high hexagonal steel truss structure, topped with a 75 ft gold-colored glass sphere that serves as an observation deck. It’s been re-opened to the public and also now includes private offices with spectacular views.

The Sunsphere structure, World’s Fair Park, Knoxville, TN

As always, these are but a few examples of the types of features that can be seen and discovered in our latest batch of published imagery. Happy exploring!

High Resolution Aerial Updates:
USA:Champaign, IL; Lafayette, LA; Lakeland, FL; Knoxville, TN; Lexington, KY; Macon, GA; Palm Bay, FL; Sarasota, FL; Shreveport, LA; Springfield, MO; Toledo, OH
Spain: Catalunya (Catalonia)

Countries/Regions receiving High Resolution Satellite Updates:
Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Bhutan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, North Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Finland, Macedonia (FRYOM), France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Lithuania, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, , Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, West Bank, Western Sahara

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] Sign up for imagery update alert

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Google LatLong: Sign up for imagery update alert

Users in the Google Earth forum often ask about the age of satellite imagery and when the content will be updated. While we aren’t able to tell you in advance when our imagery will be updated, we can now notify you after new images are added to an area that you’re interested in.

With our Follow Your World application, you can register points on the globe and we’ll send you an email update whenever the imagery is updated there.

In just three easy steps, you can add points such as your hometown, your college football stadium, or just about any place on Earth. And since Google Earth and Google Maps share the same imagery, this tool is equally handy for enthusiasts of both products. Follow Your World also provides a handy dashboard to manage your subscriptions.

Whether you’re an armchair geospatial enthusiast, or you frequently use aerial imagery from Google Earth or Google Maps in your work, we invite you to give this new app a try so you’ll be the first to know.

Posted by Jeral Poskey, Google Earth support team

[G] The California Bay Area, now in 3D

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Google LatLong: The California Bay Area, now in 3D

[Cross-posted from the SketchUp blog]

Nearly five years ago, Google embarked on an ambitious project to work with everyday users like you to create a 3D model of every building in the world for Google Earth. We’ve made strides toward our goal adding millions of buildings to the 3D layer of Google Earth in cities across the globe. And today, we’re pleased to announce another big step in that direction with the release of expanded 3D coverage of the California Bay Area (which also happens to be the homebase of Google’s headquarters!).

With Google Earth’s “3D Buildings” layer turned on (or by using the Earth View in Google Maps), you are now able to tour tens of thousands of new buildings in the 50-mile stretch between San Francisco and San Jose, as well as select areas of the East Bay, like Oakland and Berkeley. You can now fly through the air and view urban centers of cities like Foster City, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Oakland, Redwood City, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Sunnyvale, in 3D.

If you’ve never been to the Bay Area, start by visiting iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and the Ferry Building (note: you will need to have the Google Earth plugin installed to view these links). While in San Francisco, you may notice that in addition to 3D buildings, there are also 3D trees throughout the city. This is a new feature we released with Google Earth 6.0, and San Francisco is one of the first few cities to showcase 3D trees.

The Golden Gate Bridge and 3D trees

The Bay area peninsula is also the home of Silicon Valley. Several technology companies are available to view in 3D, including of course, the Googleplex in Mountain View.

Googleplex in Mountain View, CA

Sports fans might be interested to check out the HP Pavillion, where the San Jose Sharks play, as well as AT&T Park, home of the 2010 worldseries champion, SF Giants. Music lovers may also want to view the Oracle Arena in Oakland and Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. If you’re starting college soon, take a virtual tour of the Stanford and UC Berkeley campuses.

UC Berkeley Campus

Of course, this is just a small sample of the several thousands of buildings you’ll find in the area. You can check out an expanded tour we created, or you can open up Google Earth and explore for yourself. As you go on your virtual tour, you may notice that several buildings were created by users, who continue to be an integral part of our 3D building efforts. For example, supermodeler, PeterX created nearly 1,000 buildings around the Bay Area, including the NASA Ames Research Center.

PeterX's model of the wind tunnels at the NASA Ames Research Center

If you’d like to get involved in modeling your town (or any other location), we have several free (and easy!) tools to get you started. With Google Building Maker, you can create and contribute a building in as little as 10 minutes. And if you’d like to refine your building, bring it into Google SketchUp for fine-tuning.

Everyday, we are working on adding more 3D cities to Google Earth as part of our larger mission to organize the planet’s geographic information and make it accessible to all.

Happy touring!

Posted by Gopal Shah, Google SketchUp team


[G] Tips for creating a free business listing in Google Places: Adding useful descriptions and relevant categories

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Google LatLong: Tips for creating a free business listing in Google Places: Adding useful descriptions and relevant categories

(Cross-posted from the Google Small Business Blog)

With this blog post, we’re concluding our three part series about the Google Places quality guidelines. Today, we’ll discuss how to choose the best fitting categories for your business listing as well as how to provide a useful description. In case you missed the first two blog posts, you can find here the first post about business titles and here the second part about business types.

Adding useful descriptions

As a business owner, we encourage you to add a specific description of your business in the “description” field. This gives potential clients more information to understand what your business is about and see if your business matches what they are seeking. You can also use this field to provide further guidance about the location of your business which might be useful in some cases where it is hard to find, e.g. if the entrance of your business is only accessible via the rear.

Keep the description clean and concise, so it is helpful to users and catches their attention. A series of repeated keywords or categories may turn off potential customers, but a crisp and catchy summary of the services you offer help users determine if your business is right for them.

Choosing relevant categories

If you provide appropriate and accurate categories, we can better match your business listing to relevant user searches. We recommend choosing specific categories that describe the core of your business well instead of broad ones. A good way to find representative categories for your business is asking yourself the question “What is my business?” Be sure to capture what your business is as opposed to what it offers or sells - in that sense, “bakery” would be a good category as opposed to “cakes” or “bread”.

Also, do not include location information in the categories field. If you would like to provide such additional information about your business, you can use the description field and, if appropriate, the service areas feature.

You will be asked to choose at least one category from our standard list - just start typing in the categories field to see what is available via the auto-suggestions.

We recommend always choosing the best matching and most specific category for your business - for any specific category, Google will be able to automatically determine the more generic category as well. That means, if you are a Mexican restaurant, you should go for ‘Mexican Restaurant’ and not ‘Restaurant’ - Google then automatically knows that if you are a Mexican restaurant, you are also a restaurant.

You can provide up to five categories for your business listing. After picking a standard category, you can add up to four customized categories. To add another category, just click on ‘Add another category’ and an additional field will be triggered. Put only one category per entry field. Entering more than one category into a category field is not compliant with our quality guidelines and could result in your listing being suspended and not appearing in Google Places. In case you find it difficult to find an appropriate standard category to start with, just pick a category that fits best and add more specific custom categories. If you are uncertain about categorizing your business, you can also ask for advice in the Google Places help forum and discuss with other business owners.

We hope that this information helps you add a concise description and accurate categories to your business listing in Google Places. This gives potential clients more information to determine if your business matches what they are seeking. For further questions you can visit our Google Places help forum.

Posted by Sabine Borsay, Consumer Operations

[G] Retiring real estate on Google Maps

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Google LatLong: Retiring real estate on Google Maps

At Google one of our key philosophies is to take risks and to experiment. To that end, in July 2009 we announced the ability to find property for sale or rent directly on Google Maps. This is one of the “search options” next to the search box on Google Maps, and is currently available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Japan.

In part due to low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites, and the infrastructure challenge posed by the impending retirement of the Google Base API (used by listing providers to submit listings), we’ve decided to discontinue the real estate feature within Google Maps on February 10, 2011.

We’ve learned a lot and been excited to see real estate companies use Google Maps in innovative ways to help people find places to live, such as Coldwell Banker’s use of Google Maps and YouTube, or’s Android app that lets you draw a shape on a map to find all properties you’re interested in.

Yet we recognize that there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information than the current feature makes possible. We’ll continue to explore this area, but in the meantime, Google offers other options to home-seekers: you can still access other information in Maps such as local businesses, directions and transit times, as well as aerial and Street View imagery to explore where you might want to move, and also use Google search results to find helpful real estate information and websites.

Real estate companies can also continue to use tools from Google to help connect with buyers and renters who use the Internet to research properties. For example, companies can use the Google Maps API to embed customized maps that are useful to potential clients right on their own web pages. Our Google for real estate professionals site contains various methods for generating leads and improving real estate business operations.

Posted by Brian McClendon, VP, Google Earth and Maps

[G] Google Boost: Now Appearing On Mobile Phones

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Google LatLong: Google Boost: Now Appearing On Mobile Phones

Back in October we announced Google Boost, a new advertising solution to help local businesses connect with potential customers in their area. Today we are excited to announce that Boost ads can appear on Google Search results pages on Android and iPhone devices.

Consumers increasingly use mobile devices to search for products and services, and Boost will give advertisers the opportunity to reach these customers exactly when they are looking for local businesses on their phones. This feature will automatically take effect for current and future Boost advertisers.

In case you aren’t familiar with Boost, it’s Google's new advertising product that helps business owners quickly create an online advertising campaign that targets local customers. Using information from the business’s free Google Places listing, Boost automatically suggests and creates text ads that appear on Google Search and Google Maps results pages.

Google Boost is now available in all U.S. cities to select business types. To find out if your business is eligible, sign in to your Places account (or create a free one if you haven’t yet) and visit the Dashboard. If Boost is not currently available to your business, fill out this short form and we’ll notify you when it is.

Posted by Kiley McEvoy, Product Manager

[G] Share your photos about Places

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Google LatLong: Share your photos about Places

When looking for information about a place on Google Maps, I immediately look for photos to help decide if it’s the right place for the occasion I have in mind. Whether looking for images of a restaurant’s cuisine, or getting a feel for the ambiance at a local bookstore, photos immediately help me learn more about a place.

A few months ago, we launched an improved photo viewer for Place pages to help you quickly and easily explore images of locations all over the world. Starting today, you can also contribute your own photos of places you've been to the growing collection of high-quality photos across the web.

The “Photos” section of the Place page now includes an "Upload a photo" link. This new link enables you to select an original photo on your computer and easily add it to the group of photos in the gallery.

The most useful photos are descriptive ones that help others experience or envision a place before they visit it in person. It might be a close-up of a popular dish, a wide shot of a business interior, or a picture of the outside of the building.

Photos that comply with our review guidelines will be available in Place page results for that particular business for you and any other potential customers to see. Users will also be able to explore these photos in search results across Google, Google Maps and Google Earth.

We’re eager to see the variety of photo styles and images our users share for everyone to view and enjoy.

Posted by Roland Kehl, Software Engineer

[G] Tech for good - catching up on

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Official Google Blog: Tech for good - catching up on continues to ramp up technology projects and test new ideas while Google’s overall charitable giving, in-kind giving and employee volunteering have grown as well. Our newsletter outlines the latest updates to our philanthropic projects. I caught up with Megan Smith, VP New Business Development and General Manager of, to talk about how Google views philanthropy.

After two years at the helm of, what are you most optimistic about?
The Internet offers an opportunity to connect in ways never before possible. Things that have historically been far apart are now “virtually adjacent”—most people are a text away, data sets can be mashed up, and all world knowledge is coming online from both expected and surprising sources. Given all of this, I am most excited about all the extraordinary ways people are using the web to connect, be informed, use data and to start solving problems together.

For specifically, we want to contribute our knowledge and skills to help use technology to address humanity’s greatest challenges. We now have more than 50 engineers and about 40 other cross-functional Googlers working on four or five larger projects—like Google Crisis Response and RE<C—and over a dozen smaller experimental pilot projects.

What kind of project fits this opportunity?
One of our newer projects, Google Earth Engine, takes advantage of Google’s computing infrastructure to create a planetary sciences computation platform that could help reduce negative environmental impact at scale. The first focus is on deforestation monitoring. Earth Engine has just made it through the pilot phase to a full project with its launch last month at climate change talks in Mexico. If we meet our goals to enable global-scale monitoring of changes in the planet’s environment, I believe that Earth Engine could play an important information role in helping to slow deforestation.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since joining
Two things: first, the opportunity we have is great; and second, the work has served as a reminder that creating truly useful, innovative technology is challenging and requires patient iteration, dialog, teamwork and creativity. It takes time to gather new ideas, learn from the right partners, collaborate, pilot those ideas that pass initial assessment and then launch for scale the few projects that meet the criteria for a product.

Do projects have a specific focus?
We don’t have a topical focus—we work on technology solutions to many different kinds of global challenges. The key is to take advantage of Google’s strengths. In the area of global health, for example, we have been able to create a global flu monitoring system based on search data. For our environmental work, we were able to leverage our data center computing power to put together the finest-scale forest map of Mexico to date (processing this data would take two years on one computer, but we made it in less than 24 hours using our computing infrastructure).

How does start and ramp up its technology projects?
We work to tap into the talent at Google. Some projects have come out of hallway conversations and others from extensive talks with partners in the field. Formally, we have a bimonthly new initiatives meeting with senior engineers where talented individuals or teams within Google bring ideas or prototypes. If we think the idea is a match and has promise, we give it budget, headcount, guidance and time to see where it can go during a pilot period. Once we have a live pilot or project, we take advantage of’s standard project review and management processes that our company has effectively used for years.

What if those pilots fail?
That’s normal. We should expect that some of them will fail or will only have smaller impact. If you’re not failing some of the time, you’re not taking risks. As we progress, some of our failures will hopefully teach us as much as some of our successes.

What other charitable giving does Google do?
As a company that has been doing well, it’s important that we push ourselves to be amongst the most generous companies. We have several charitable giving programs supporting, for example, education (especially K-12 science and math programs), university research, communities where we work, and technology solutions for underserved groups. Last year the company gave more than $145 million to non-profits and academic institutions, and more than $184 million when including Google Grants, technology projects and in-kind product support for non-profits.

How is this philanthropic work different from that of other companies?
Like other companies, we have charitable giving programs, we provide products in-kind and we have a range of employee volunteering programs. Some companies like ours may also have experiments like to leverage their strengths—a form of skills-based giving. However, many companies do amazing charitable work through a centralized Corporate Social Responsibility arm that tackles a key issue or two. We approach philanthropy the way we do our core business, with big goals and a “launch early and iterate” approach. Ideas come from all over the company and we work to tackle a range of issues we care about, from clean energy to education to development. It may not be as clean as the process that some others have, but we think this is how we can have the most impact.

We remain determined, as our founders said when they set the vision for, "to find original ways to extend our assets, so that we can drive scalable, sustainable efforts. ...the underlying principle: Never stop looking for ways to do the best with what you have."

Posted by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations

Friday, January 28, 2011

[G] Google Apps highlights – 1/28/2011

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 1/28/2011

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.

Over the last couple of weeks, we added ways to keep up with new messages in Gmail and printing capabilities from Gmail mobile and mobile documents, and announced a partnership with Verizon to make it easier for millions more businesses to start using Google Apps.

Desktop notifications for Gmail
When people switch to web-based email, sometimes they miss seeing desktop alerts when new mail is waiting to be read. In the past, Gmail required a helper application to show alerts, but on Wednesday we made it so Gmail can display desktop notifications for new email and chat messages with nothing more than a browser. If you use Google Chrome, you can enable desktop notifications in the Gmail settings panel.

Search-as-you-type for Gmail Labs
Gmail Labs is a testing ground where you can try out new features and provide feedback on your experiences. As the list of Labs has grown to more than 50 options, we wanted to make it easier to find features you’re interested in, so we introduced search-as-you-type on the Labs page. With just a few keystrokes, you can pinpoint just what you’re looking for—no more scrolling down a long list of options to find what you want.

Unread message icon in Gmail Labs
The Gmail tab in your browser displays how many unread messages you have, but if you have lots of tabs open or use pinned tabs in Google Chrome, the Gmail browser tab is too small for you to see the count of unread messages. On Tuesday we added a new Lab that shows your unread message count in the browser tab icon, so you can always see at a glance how many new messages you have. Visit the Gmail Labs settings page and type “unread” in the new search box to find and try this feature.

Cloud Print for Gmail and Docs
Printing is sometimes tricky even when you’re in the same room as your printer, not to mention when you want to print on a remote printer or from a mobile device. Last year we introduced Cloud Print to make printing easier from any device to any Cloud Print-enabled printer, without the need for any special software. On Monday we added support for Cloud Print to Gmail mobile and mobile documents, so now you can print messages and documents directly from your phone or tablet to your Cloud Print-enabled printer.

Education category in the Google Apps Marketplace
Businesses, schools and organizations can shop for third-party applications, features and services that complement Google Apps in the Marketplace, and over the last few months we’ve seen a surge in listings geared for schools and universities. To make it easier for schools to link up with great partners in their field, we added a dedicated category for educational listings. There you’ll find powerful add-ins from LearnBoost, Grockit, Aviary and many other education software providers.

Who’s gone Google?
More than 3 million businesses, plus many more schools, non-profits and government agencies have switched to Google Apps over the last few years, and we’re looking forward to helping the next wave of customers get started. To that end, we’re thrilled to have Verizon as our newest partner. Verizon will provide Google Apps to many of their small business broadband customers, making it possible for businesses to obtain a more complete set of small business IT services from a single provider. Welcome to Google Apps!

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

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

[G] This week in search 1/28/2011

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 1/28/2011

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.

With freezing conditions on the East Coast this season, many people are thinking about weather. One of our favorite Google tricks is to simply type [weather] and get the forecast, personalized for your location, immediately at the top. With Google Instant, this trick gets even better because you only need to type [w]—we’ll do the rest. This week we rolled out a couple new weather search features to help you plan your next ski trip or figure out when to sneak outside between blizzards.

Live results for snow conditions
As ski season hits high gear, we’ve partnered with and to provide you up-to-date snow condition information right on the search results page. Just search for your favorite ski resort and you’ll see the current snow depth, latest snow falls, terrain conditions and the overall availability of the resort. The results also include links to more detailed information such as photos, weather forecasts and reviews.

The new weather live results appear in snippets for and

Example searches: [squaw valley], [wisp ski]

Interactive, precise weather results for mobile
Sometimes when you’re planning your day, you only need a couple hours of sunshine for a jog or a hike through the park. The seven-day forecast is great, but what you really want to know is if it will be sunny exactly when you’re thinking of heading outside. So earlier this week we introduced a new search result for weather on iPhone and Android-powered devices. The new format enables you to interact with the results and see the forecast for any specific time over a 12-hour period.

The new weather results are available on in English. Simply search for the weather

That’s all for this week. Check the forecast and hopefully soon you can stop reading tech blogs and head outside!

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director, Search Product Management

[G] Gaining Altitude: A New Way to Think about Your Inbox

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Gaining Altitude: A New Way to Think about Your Inbox

Editor’s note: Continuing our Gaining Altitude series, we’ve invited guest blogger Marsha Egan, CEO of and an internationally recognized workplace productivity expert and speaker. Named one of Pennsylvania’s Top 50 Women in Business, her “12 Step Program for Curing Your Email E-ddiction” was featured in several publications and on ABC Nightly News and Fox News.

Overwhelmed by your inbox? There’s never been a better time to shift the way you think about your email -- this week is international "Clean Out Your Inbox Week."

It’s a fact: email isn’t going anywhere. And the number of email messages we receive will only grow. In 2010, there were 294 billion emails sent daily, up almost 50 billion from the previous year. With so many incoming messages, it has become a real challenge to avoid being distracted by the urge to view or work on new emails rather than working on truly important matters.

Despite all of the inbox management tools on the market today, and Google's Priority Inbox is definitely one of the best, many people still have the propensity to leave items in their inboxes as a way to remind them of upcoming tasks or just to keep them handy. This can be self-defeating behavior.

Maintaining a cluttered inbox is a productivity killer
Why? First, that cluttered inbox is a source of stress the minute you open your inbox. It essentially shows you everything you are not going to get done that day. Second, it is a source of distraction, because when people scroll up and down seeking tasks to select, they inevitably open the short easy ones, instead of focusing on the priority items.

Shift the way you view and use your inbox
Picture your email inbox as a Postal Service mailbox. The Postal Service delivers our mail to that mailbox, we pull the mail out of the mailbox, sort through it, throw half of it away, and put the rest in piles, most of which will be dealt with later. What we don't do, is put letters back into the mailbox, to be sorted through again tomorrow. Why not think of our email inboxes the same way?

Differentiate between working and sorting email
When people groan upon the suggestion of cleaning out their inboxes, my guess is that they are thinking they must work on or handle every item in it. When you go into your inbox with the mindset of sorting the messages -- not working them -- the task becomes much more tolerable and doable! It becomes a matter of dragging and dropping messages into folders to be handled later just as you do with your postal mail. In Gmail, you can create two labels: Action A, and Action B. A is for the important items, B for the less important. And once you’ve labeled a message, you can archive it and easily search for it later.

Setting reminders is the key
Every time you drag and drop a message into an action folder, or label it in Gmail, decide at that moment when you will view the item again to work on it. These reminders become a critical part of each day's daily planning, and relieve you from having to scroll up and down either your inbox or your action folder to decide what to work on next.

In Gmail, this is easy. Create a corresponding Task for each item you label, and assign it the date you plan to work it. These tips and more are included among the "12 Steps to Curing Your E-mail E-ddiction" contained in my book, "Inbox Detox and the Habit of E-mail Excellence" (available on our website or on Amazon,) and are further explained on our blog at

Why should you want a clean inbox?
Simple. An empty inbox is the result of managing email well. It doesn’t mean that you’ve worked every message, but it does mean that you have sorted every message into a folder or given it a label that allows you to retrieve it when the time comes. By sorting or labeling email to Action A or B and setting a task reminder for when you plan to return to it, you will go a long way towards managing your inbox, rather than having it manage you.

So, here’s to lookin’ at your (empty) inbox!

Posted by Ashley Chandler, Google Apps Team

[G] This week in Docs: Quick starring, justify paragraph in the toolbar and improved sharing invitations

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Official Google Docs Blog: This week in Docs: Quick starring, justify paragraph in the toolbar and improved sharing invitations

We’ve got a few features this week that we hope will save you time.


Have you ever run out of time while you’re reading a doc and wanted to remind yourself to come back to it? Today we’re making that easy -- now you can star documents while editing them.

Once a doc is starred, you’ll be able to find the doc by clicking on the starred link in your document list.

We’ll also be adding starring to drawings and spreadsheets over the next few weeks.

Justify is now in the toolbar

We also made it faster to justify paragraphs in documents by adding a button to the toolbar. No need to select Format > Align > Justify.

Improved sharing invitations

Lastly, we’re launching an update to sharing invitations today that will make it easier to start discussions around files. When you share a doc with others, all new collaborators are now included on the email thread.

This means that when someone replies to the email in the thread, the other invitees will automatically see the message. We’re hoping this will help spark conversations and put an end to multiple email threads about a single doc.

That’s it for this week. If you have feedback on any of these features, let us know in the comments.

Posted by: Michael Frederick, Software Engineer

[G] Living on the web with the Chrome Web Store (and the Cr-48!)

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Google Chrome Blog: Living on the web with the Chrome Web Store (and the Cr-48!)

Since we opened the Chrome Web Store last month, I’ve made it a daily habit to check out the store for new applications. Each time, I’ve discovered new things I can do on the web that work just as well as and often better than software I had to install and maintain on my computer -- such as playing games, listening to music, or getting work done. Living on the web is much easier than you might think!

If you already live on the web and are itching to get your hands on a Chrome notebook, we’ve teamed up with a few Web Store apps for a chance to test-pilot the Cr-48. Check out blogposts from MOG, Box, LucidChart, and Zoho for more details. Then go ahead and rock out with 10 million songs, manage your files in the cloud, perfect your diagram drawing skills, or move your office onto the web. While you’re at it, you might also discover a new favorite app among the more than 2,000 apps in the Chrome Web Store.

Have fun!

Posted by Heaven Kim, Product Marketing Manager

[G] Expand your business with the Chrome Web Store

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Inside AdSense: Expand your business with the Chrome Web Store

This is a guest blog post from the Chrome Web Store team, presenting you an opportunity to grow your business on the web.

“How do I grow my business to millions of users?” “How can I increase the revenue I earn on the web?” These are two questions all online businesses try to answer.

The Chrome Web Store can help you with both. By listing your web apps in the store, you can present your products and services to the more than 120 million people who use Chrome regularly. You can also earn income by selling your applications to Chrome users or by showing ads within your apps.

To learn how to take advantage of this opportunity, visit and watch the video below.

Posted by Peter Chane - New Business Development, Chrome Web Store

[G] New Interface Wednesdays: Graphs right in your account

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Inside AdSense: New Interface Wednesdays: Graphs right in your account

This is the first post in our ‘New Interface Wednesdays’ series. Every Wednesday for the next few months we'll highlight something new you can do in the new AdSense interface. From time to time, we’ll also share stories directly from publishers who've been using the new interface and announce additional features we’ve recently added.

For our first ‘New Interface Wednesdays’ post, we’d like to highlight the graphical reporting under the Performance Reports tab in the new interface. The new graphs make it easy to see trends in your performance. Rather than scanning rows of numbers, you can view impressions, clicks, and earnings, all in one graph.

Select the metrics you want to see by checking the boxes next to the graph. You can also hover over the graph to get detailed metrics for a specific day, just like in Google Analytics. The graph will appear for just about any type of report you run, making it easy for you to visualize performance. Above the graph, you'll find buttons to save reports that you commonly use and set a report of your choosing to be the default report with a single click. Of course, you can still export the data to a CSV to further process the data in a spreadsheet as well.

If you aren’t yet familiar with the graphs in the new interface, check them out today. Navigate to the new interface and click on the Performance reports tab.

Posted by Guillaume Ryder - AdSense Engineer

[G] A success story made possible by AdSense

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Inside AdSense: A success story made possible by AdSense

Today, we bring you a success story from India,, an auto portal, who made it big in the Indian online space thanks to AdSense. is one of the top auto portals in India that assists new and used car buyers to make informed buying decisions by offering them a variety of research tools and reviews. Co-founders Amit and Anurag launched Cardekho in March 2008, like every new business venture, were struggling to monetize. Luckily, Anurag discovered AdSense and was delighted by the prospect of finding revenue without needing VC funding.

They experimented with various products and features, and found the most success using the features highlighted below:
  • Filtering options help them eliminate irrelevant ads. They use this feature carefully and intelligently so they don’t unnecessarily block good revenue.
  • Top banner above-the-fold (beside the logo) ad placement is the top earning slot for them.
  • Placing ad units in the “F pattern” helps them optimize visibility of ads.
  • Showing text ads when content on the page is mostly images and image ads when content on the page is text-heavy. This helps make the page look better and improves ad visibility.
  • Channels tell them how their ads are doing and how well they can perform if placed somewhere else on the site.
Because of their AdSense revenue, the CarDekho team can focus their efforts on providing useful and quality information on their website to ensure a good user experience, rather than worrying about monetization.

Amit, co-founder, shares, “AdSense is a must-have for all sites looking forward to a sustainable and profitable business model. It may not be the primary source of income as you scale your business model to earn from other sources. AdSense does add to considerable amount of revenues generated without having to worry about hiring a sales team to sell inventory...Had it not been for AdSense, CarDekho would not have come this far without VC funding.

Have a success story of your own? We’d love to here it. Fill out this form to let us know how AdSense has helped you and your business!

Posted by Sheeba Eustachius - AdSense India

[G] Sensitive category blocking now available in three more languages

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Inside AdSense: Sensitive category blocking now available in three more languages

Since our announcement last August that sensitive category blocking had been expanded to more languages, we’re excited to say the language expansion has gone even further!

This week, publishers in Thai, Turkish, and Russian-speaking countries can now block ads in sensitive categories for all supported languages. The full list of supported languages spans English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Dutch, Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, and now Thai, Turkish, and Russian.

With sensitive category blocking, you can prevent ads from up to 11 specific categories from appearing on your pages. Ads in these categories will be blocked if they're in any of the supported languages, regardless of how they've been targeted to your pages.

If you’d like to set up sensitive category blocking, sign in to your AdSense account. We recommend using the new AdSense interface, which you can access by clicking the “Try the new AdSense interface” link that appears in the upper corner of your account. Once you're in the new interface, visit the Allow and block ads tab and choose the Settings page to edit the list of sensitive ad categories you wish you display. To help you understand the impact of applying these filters, this page also shows you the percentage of revenue and ad impressions you've been receiving from each category in the last 30 days.

If you prefer to use the previous version of the AdSense interface, visit the Ad Review Center, located under the 'AdSense Setup' tab. Once you click 'change', you'll be able to see the full list of categories you can block.

For more information about sensitive category blocking, we encourage you to visit our Help Center.

Posted by Dan Stokeley - AdSense Product Manager

[G] Three steps to getting paid on time

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Inside AdSense: Three steps to getting paid on time

Here on the payments team at AdSense, we strive to help you understand how and when you can be paid. Here’s a basic walk-through of 3 steps that will properly set up your account to receive its next payment:

1) Verify that your account isn't on hold.
If you see a message about a payments hold when you sign in to your AdSense account, you likely still have to complete one or more of the following steps:
  • Verify your mailing address by receiving a PIN in the mail and entering it in your account
  • Select a payment method
  • Submit your tax information (if it's required in your location)
  • Remove your self-hold if you had previously placed one on your account
This message will include links to the relevant steps to remove your holds, as well as a link to contact us. Please contact us only if your account is still on hold after you've completed the steps. We’ll be happy to help you remove it!

2) Verify that the cumulative total of your unpaid finalized earnings has crossed the payments threshold.
Visit your payments page and view your monthly balance. If this total exceeds your country’s payments threshold, you are eligible to be issued a payment later this month. Congratulations!

If you don't see finalized earnings from the previous month, either you didn't accrue any earnings or you’ll have to wait a few days for them to show up.

3) Verify that you have successfully set up a payment method.
Our payment options vary by country. Using the new AdSense interface, view the payment methods that are available to you by clicking on “edit payment method” located under “account settings.” If Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) is available in your country, we highly recommend it as the fastest and easiest option available. We’re always trying to launch new forms of payment in different countries, so stay tuned to the blog if you don’t see your preferred form of payment yet.

Lastly, in the unlikely event that you are experiencing a payment problem that you can’t resolve, please view our Known Issues page or search for your issue on the AdSense Help Forum. These are valuable resources and often contain the answers to many of our most frequently received questions.

Posted by Sharlene Su - AdSense Payments team

[G] More control over comments on shared items

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Official Google Reader Blog: More control over comments on shared items

Options menuAs some of you have noticed, we've recently enhanced Reader's commenting abilities, via an "Options" menu that is present for all conversations about shared items. You can now get a link to the equivalent conversation in Google Buzz, which is handy for passing around a funny thread. If it's your shared item, you can disable comments entirely, if for example the conversation was about a topic whose time has passed.

Additionally, you can now moderate comments within Reader. If the conversation is on an item that you shared, you have the option to remove comments directly. For all conversations, you can report comments as spam.

Comment moderation

We hope these changes will help you keep an elevated level of discourse about shared items. As always, if you have any questions or comments about these new features, please head over to our help forums, or send us a message on Twitter.


[G] Celebrating Data Privacy Day

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Official Google Blog: Celebrating Data Privacy Day

It’s become a welcome tradition: Today is the fourth annual Data Privacy Day. Dozens of countries have been celebrating with events throughout the week to inform and educate us all about our personal data rights and protections.

This is the first year I’ve marked this day as director of privacy across both engineering and product management at Google. I’ve chosen to spend the day in Washington, D.C., where there’s a been a lot of robust and productive discussion lately. People from Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Commerce, and industry and consumer groups have been contributing to these important conversations about how to best protect people’s data, and we’re happy to be participating too. I’m doing my part by bringing my geek sensibilities into a public discussion that we’re hosting today. In fact, that’s what we’re calling it: “The Technology of Privacy: When Geeks Meet Wonks.” I’ll be joined on the panel by technologists from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Federal Trade Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. If you can’t attend in person, don’t worry—we’ll be uploading a video of the event later in the day on our Public Policy blog and you’ll also be able to see it on the Google Privacy Channel on YouTube.

On this Data Privacy Day, a major focus for Google is on creating ways for people to manage and protect their data. We’ve built tools like the Google Dashboard, the Ads Preferences Manager and encrypted search, and we’re always working on further ideas for providing transparency, control and security to empower our users. For example, earlier this week we launched an extension for Chrome users called Keep My Opt-Outs, which enables you to opt out permanently from ad tracking cookies. And pretty soon we’ll be extending the availability of 2-step verification, an advanced account security solution that is now helping protect more than 1,000 new accounts a day from common problems like phishing and password compromise. Right now it’s available to Google Apps Accounts; we’ll be offering it to all users in the next few weeks.

Data Privacy Day 2011 reminds us that as industry and society are busy moving forward, we face new challenges that together we can tackle through conversation and innovation. We’re eager to be part of the solution.

Posted by Alma Whitten, Director of Privacy, Product and Engineering

Thursday, January 27, 2011

[G] Your Interview with President Obama

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YouTube Blog: Your Interview with President Obama

Earlier today, for the second year in a row, President Obama sat down with YouTube for his first interview after the State of the Union speech. The President took the opportunity to respond to the protests in Egypt for the first time, to address your concerns on jobs, the debt, and health care, and to answer a series of more personal questions that you submitted in video and text over the past few days on YouTube. The interview took place in the Diplomatic Room in the West Wing, which is the same room where FDR used to deliver his fireside chats.

All told, you submitted almost 140,000 questions to our Google Moderator platform over the past few days, and you cast more than 1.3 million votes on which questions you wanted to have asked. With so many compelling questions, it was a challenge to determine the final list to bring to the White House. Our goal was to cover a wide range of issues that were relevant following the State of the Union speech; to remove duplicate questions; and include video questions wherever possible. With those criteria in mind, we looked at the top 5% of the questions you voted to the top in order to determine which questions to pose to the President. None of the questions were chosen by the White House, or seen by the President before the interview. Here is a playlist of all the video questions that were asked:

We’ll be conducting a similar interview with U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner in a few weeks - stay tuned for more details. And we’re also expanding this YouTube Interview program globally as part of YouTube World View, a series of interviews in 2011 that will give you even more access and insight into leaders and elected officials from around the world.

Steve Grove, Head of News & Politics, recently watched “Behind the scenes: Before and after the YouTube Interview with President Obama.”