Saturday, February 5, 2011

[G] Known Issue: More Socialize delivery problems

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Known Issue: More Socialize delivery problems

Issue: Posts being sent by the Socialize service to Twitter are not always being delivered due to authorization errors. We are investigating the issue.

Update (2:42pm PST 28-Jan): The issue has been resolved; posts should now be delivered normally to Twitter. If your posts are still not being delivered, please re-connect your Twitter account to your FeedBurner account by clicking "Add a Twitter account" in the Publicize tab, re-entering your Twitter username and password in the window that is opened, and clicking Save on the Publicize form after the window closes.

[G] At 100, “The Great Communicator” lives on via YouTube

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YouTube Blog: At 100, “The Great Communicator” lives on via YouTube

This Sunday marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan, America’s 40th President. Although his Presidency ended 20 years ago, his legacy as a transformational politician has lived on, with Democrats and Republicans alike trying to adopt his mantle of change and openness.

President Reagan, widely referred to as “The Great Communicator,” is also a particularly interesting study of the President as Orator-in-Chief. It would have been interesting to witness President Reagan, a former actor and spokesman, campaign and govern during the YouTube-era. Many of his iconic speeches, such as his message to Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev (below), can be found on YouTube today.

To celebrate President Reagan’s 100th birthday the Ronald Reagan Foundation has created a host of retrospective videos paying tribute to the former President which will be featured on the YouTube homepage today. The first video, a tribute narrated by former Senator Fred Thompson, shows speech clips that showcase Reagan’s wit, storytelling abilities and impeccable timing.

For more information on the series of events surrounding Reagan’s 100th birthday celebrations, please visit the Reagan Centennial website.


[G] Longer headlines for select ads on Google

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Inside AdWords: Longer headlines for select ads on Google

We’re continually testing variations of our search results page to optimize performance for both you and our users. Similarly, you’re probably always trying to find ways to maximize each line of your ad to get your message across to users. To help, we’ll soon be making a change to certain ads that will allow you to display more information where it’s most likely to be noticed--in the headline.

Starting today and over the next few days, we’re changing the placement of the first description line for certain ads that appear above the search results on Google. For some ads where each line appears to be a distinct sentence and ends in the proper punctuation, description line 1 will be moved to the headline and separated by a hyphen. As a result, some top placement ads will have longer headlines. Here’s an example:



We’ve found that the change results in higher clickthrough rates for ads that are shown with the longer headline, as well as other top ads that appear beside them. It also creates a better experience for users by highlighting more information in the ad.

While only some ads will be shown with the longer headline, you can increase your chances by ensuring that each line of your ad appears to be a distinct sentence and ends in the proper punctuation (e.g., a period or a question mark). Since this is a global change, punctuation will vary by country.

For more information, please visit our Help Center.

Posted by Lisa Shieh, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Location extensions: putting your business on the map

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Inside AdWords: Location extensions: putting your business on the map

When location extensions launched in AdWords in 2009, they allowed you to dynamically attach relevant business addresses to your ads. We’ve since experimented with different ways to integrate this information with a map.

Today, we’re introducing a way for your location extension-enabled ads to show directly on the map. We’ll be integrating information from ads with location extensions into the Place Search map on On the map, your location will be marked with a distinctive blue pin.

With the new format, we expect potential customers to be able to find local businesses more easily. Rather than seeing multiple addresses and maps on the page, your customers can see all relevant, nearby locations in one place with quick links to get directions on Google Maps.

Your promoted business will appear in this new integrated format whenever we infer that a potential customer is looking for local information and your ad qualifies to appear above the search results.

For more information about location extensions, please visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew

[G] New regions and cities now available for targeting on AdWords

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Inside AdWords: New regions and cities now available for targeting on AdWords

Starting today and over the coming weeks, we’ll be rolling out city targeting in 17 additional countries to help you reach more customers in local markets with your AdWords campaigns. With this expansion, city targeting will now be available to AdWords advertisers in 34 countries. In addition, we’re also announcing the ability to target regions in Argentina.

The countries with new city and region targeting options in AdWords are (click to see the full list):

Argentina (region targeting only), Austria, Brazil, China (coming soon), Colombia, Czech Republic, Finland (coming soon), Hungary (coming soon), Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine

Location targeting helps you tailor your ads towards specific markets, analyze your AdWords campaigns by market, and optimize your campaigns for higher return-on-investment. Now, you can go a level deeper and optimize the performance of your AdWords campaign at the city level. For example, let’s say you run a clothing company and have stores in several cities in Mexico. You conduct a campaign-level analysis and learn that you're getting more conversions from big cities such as Mexico City than rural areas. Here are a few steps that you can take to optimize your AdWords campaign:
  1. Run an AdWords geographic report or Analytics report to determine where your users are located and where you’re getting your most valuable traffic.
  2. Adjust your campaign setup:
    • Run a campaign targeting the best-performing cities such as Mexico City, and increase the bids on the keywords in that campaign to maximize your ad impressions in those cities.
    • Consider setting up a regionally- (or nationally-) targeted campaign with potentially lower bids on the same keywords to capture additional traffic from outside your top-performing cities at a lower cost.
  3. Adjust bids accordingly to optimize for the highest campaign ROI.
We hope that with the expansion of city targeting, advertisers in more countries will be able to reach their local customers more effectively. Visit our Help Center to learn more about getting started with this feature.

Posted by Gordon Zhu, Inside AdWords crew

[G] AdWords Policy updates and auditing plans for third parties

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Inside AdWords: AdWords Policy updates and auditing plans for third parties

Accountability is a core principle of AdWords. In order to improve advertisers' experience, we’re making changes to AdWords policies so that advertisers working with third-party partners understand how AdWords is performing for them and know what to expect from third parties. We believe that focusing on what's best for the advertiser is ultimately the best long-term course for third parties working with AdWords.

In July and December 2010, we communicated a number of changes to the way third parties should provide reports and information about AdWords to their clients, including a disclosure document that should be shared by all third parties that have 80 percent of their advertisers spending less than $1,000 per month.

Today we want to inform you that we’ve updated AdWords policies with a third-party policy section that includes above reporting and disclosure requirements. We’ve also clarified enforcement and non-compliance handling, as well as let advertisers know how to contact us if they have any complaints about third parties. See an overview of Google third-party programs.

We believe that most agencies, resellers and other third parties that sell AdWords already meet these policies and will need to make minimal or no changes to their systems. Proactive audits for selected third parties will start on April 1st 2011, although you are strongly encouraged to start complying with these requirements today. Note that we will continue to investigate any complaints and take appropriate actions.

For advertisers, we have updated the AdWords Help Center to provide information and links to applicable third party policies. Should you encounter a third party partner in violation of our policies, you can notify us via the AdWords Help Center “Contact Us” form here.

We hope this provides third parties and advertisers with clarity on the policies AdWords third party partners must adhere to, and offers sufficient information on Google third party requirements. We believe that these new requirements will ensure that every advertiser that works with a third party partner understands their value and has a great experience.

Posted by Lisa Shieh, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Learn about advertising on YouTube in a new online course

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Inside AdWords: Learn about advertising on YouTube in a new online course

If you're interested in creating a stronger online brand presence or drawing a high volume of traffic to your site, YouTube can help you accomplish both by giving you access to the world's largest online video-streaming and -sharing community. YouTube can further enhance your current online advertising campaigns with millions of ad impressions and video ad streaming opportunities so that you can create the high-profile online presence that your website needs.

There are now a number of ways in which you can raise your profile as an advertiser using YouTube. During a live course on the Adwords Online Classroom (UK), you'll learn about the different methods of targeting YouTube and how to make the most out of any existing presence you may already have on YouTube.

This live course will be presented by a YouTube Specialist and is appropriate for all advertisers interested in growing their profile on YouTube. It will take place on Wednesday, February 2, 2011, from 3 pm to 4 pm GMT (7 am to 8 am PST).

If you’re interested, make sure to sign up now!

Posted by Lisa Shieh, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Check out our latest AdWords Home improvements

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Inside AdWords: Check out our latest AdWords Home improvements

What do you want to see when you first log into your account? Many advertisers have told us that they want a quick snapshot of account performance and a summary of any important problems to address. However, the details vary quite a bit: Some advertisers want to quickly identify any keywords with bids below their first page bid estimates. Others might want to focus on campaign-level metrics before diving into keyword stats or use a graph to quickly identify any major fluctuations in performance. In short, customization is key!

With this in mind, we’ve recently introduced a new version of the AdWords Home tab. Just like before, the page features a summary of account alerts and a graph of account performance, but it allows for more extensive customization to help you monitor the parts of your account that matter to you.

The modules on the Home tab are based on saved filters created on your Campaigns tab. This provides you with the flexibility to define exactly which metrics and sections of your account are important to review right when you log in. To get you started, we’ve added some default filters to populate your Home tab, but you can feel free to remove those and customize as much as you’d like! These same modules will appear on AdWords for Mobile, helping you keep tabs on your account while you’re on the go.

Visit our Help Center to learn more about these changes and how to make the most out of your Home tab. You can access it now by clicking “New version” on your existing Account Snapshot page (check back soon if you don’t see it right away), and let us know what you think!

Posted by Lisa Shieh, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Contracts for Java

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Google Open Source Blog: Contracts for Java

If you’ve ever spent hours debugging your Java code, today’s blog post is for you.

Often bugs that are frustratingly elusive and hard to track down appear simple or even trivial once you have found their cause (the fault). Why are those bugs hard to track down? One possibility is that the fault is in a completely different part of the program than its symptom (the failure).

Contracted code reveals failures much closer to their fault, leaving you with a far simpler problem to solve:

Traditionally, Java programmers enforced preconditions using explicit parameter validation code in public methods, and assertions in non-public methods. Likewise, they enforced invariants and postconditions using assertions. This approach is described in detail here. Since then, new features in Java 5 have enabled a more convenient and expressive implementation of contracts.

Contracts for Java is our new open source tool. Preconditions, postconditions, and invariants are added as Java boolean expressions inside annotations. By default these do nothing, but enabled via a JVM argument, they’re checked at runtime.
@Requires, @Ensures, @ThrowEnsures and @Invariant specify contracts as Java boolean expressions
• Contracts are inherited from both interfaces and classes and can be selectively enabled at runtime

Contracts help you turn interface documentation into code. For example:

* @param left a sorted list of elements
* @param right a sorted list of elements
* @return the contents of the two lists, merged, sorted
List merge(List left, List right);

Could be expressed as:

"Collections.containsSame(result, Lists.concatenate(left, right))",
List merge(List left, List right);

The interface is now precise and every class that implements it can be checked at runtime.

Contracts are a powerful language feature and can provide great benefit if used correctly. We recommend that newcomers find an expert to learn from or spend some time reading around the subject to pick up good habits and avoid bad ones.

One point that often surprises people is that contracts must not be used to validate data. Contracts exist to check for programmer error, not for user error or environment failures. Any difference between execution with and without runtime contract checking (apart from performance) is by definition a bug. Contracts must never have side effects.

Another important point is that by convention module interfaces in Java are total, that is, they are defined for all input. In the case of incorrect input, they promise that a particular exception will be thrown. This behavior remains part of each method’s implementation and cannot be moved to the contract.

Contracts for Java is based on Modern Jass by Johannes Rieken. Rather than being a full time project it was conceived and developed in the 20% time of two software engineers and then developed further through an internship. The internship report (PDF) goes into detail about the work done and the methodologies used.

Contracts for Java was inspired by Eiffel, a language invented by Bertrand Meyer, which has built in support for contracts.

By David Morgan, Andreas Leitner and Nhat Minh Le, Contracts for Java 20% Team

Friday, February 4, 2011

[G] This week in search 2/4/2011

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 2/4/2011

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.

This week it got just a bit faster to find the right things to buy and the right places to go, with a little help from Google—and your friends. Simply type a few characters and get Google Instant results in the “Shopping” view, and find recommendations from your friends with Hotpot in search results.

Instant results in the “Shopping” view
Now you can shop faster than ever and get the speed of Google Instant when comparing prices, looking for nearby stores and learning about products you want to buy. For example, if you’re searching for a cast iron skillet, we’ll start showing you relevant pans as you type [cast iro...]. Click “Shopping” in the left-hand panel and try searching for [sweater wrap shawl], [android phone] or anything else.

Now results will appear as you type in the “Shopping” view and in Google Product Search

Hotpot recommendations in search results
Earlier this week we added Hotpot recommendations to regular search results on Google. So now, if you’re looking for restaurants in San Francisco, you can simply search Google for [restaurants sf]. If a friend has rated a particular place, you might see her opinion right beneath the listing. We also expanded Hotpot to 38 new languages so people can share their favorite places around the world.

Hotpot recommendations from your friends now appear right in your usual search results

Whether you’re cooking at home or dining out, we hope this week’s updates help you find what you’re looking for just a little bit faster.

Posted by Johanna Wright, Director, Search Product Management

[G] This Week's Trends: The President, Egypt, and 90s Hip Hop

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YouTube Blog: This Week's Trends: The President, Egypt, and 90s Hip Hop

Each weekday, we at YouTube Trends take a look at the most interesting videos and cultural phenomena on YouTube as they develop. We want take a moment to highlight some of what we've come across recently:

Check back every day for the latest about what's trending on YouTube at

Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, recently watched "Taxista canta igual que Michael Jackson"


[G] One million books scanned and returned to CIC university libraries

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Inside Google Books: One million books scanned and returned to CIC university libraries

Posted by Kim Armstrong, Deputy Director, Center for Library Initiatives, Committee on Institutional Cooperation

Today we're celebrating an important milestone: Google has digitized one million books from member libraries of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). The CIC is the consortium of the Big Ten member universities and the University of Chicago.

Each of these volumes has been scanned, translated from image to text with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology and added to the Google Books index. Once digitized, the books are shipped back to our originating libraries to resume their journeys from bookshelves to backpacks.

While Google preserves library books in digital form, and makes them more accessible to more people as a result, it also sends participating libraries (at no cost to us) digital copies for our own archives or other non-commercial use. Accordingly, the CIC libraries are making hundreds of thousands of the recently digitized public domain volumes accessible through their partnership with the HathiTrust Digital Library.

We became Google's 16th Library Project partner in June 2007. Google Books has now partnered with more than 40 libraries and scanned more than 15 million books worldwide. Books that have only been available for use within the walls of our libraries have found new readers now that they are open to the world. Some examples of CIC titles available for reading include: An Unwritten Account of a Spy of Washington, published in 1892; The 1901 Pipe and Quid: An Essay on Tobacco; and The Sun: a familiar description of his phaenomena, published in 1885.

While we are pausing to celebrate this moment with Google today, we're not resting on our library laurels. We have a long way to go to digitize all of our books. In fact, CIC libraries have agreed to provide as many as 10 million volumes to this ambitious project, out of total collections approaching 85 million volumes. -- so this is just the beginning.

[G] Showtime’s “SHORT stories” recruits YouTube finest to make short films

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YouTube Blog: Showtime’s “SHORT stories” recruits YouTube finest to make short films

For “SHORT stories,” Showtime contacted cutting-edge creators from across the Web and asked them to tell a tale in an innovative way. The series sports the work of some of YouTube’s top creators, so naturally we’re interested in learning a whole lot more about how “SHORT stories” came to be. Showtime's Trevor Noren tells us more.

1) What gave you the idea to use YouTube stars in this way?
YouTube has become a venue for animators and filmmakers to explore new ways to communicate a narrative. Whether it’s an established artist like Don Hertzfeldt or a talent the community has discovered, like Cyriak or Levni Yilmaz, YouTube has offered an opportunity for artists to experiment and find out what people respond to. That spirit of innovation seemed like a natural fit for our brand. Unique storytelling is the hallmark of what we do as a network: our shows challenge viewers with characters they haven’t seen before. “SHORT stories” is a way for us to bring our brand to a new audience while at the same time showing the work of these amazing artists to our subscribers.

2) What was the process of working with them?
Our mission statement to the artists was pretty simple: “Tell a story in a way people haven’t seen before.” We figured a directive that open-ended would create a huge range of results. They didn’t disappoint. Don Hertzfeldt made up a language. Michael Langan employed thousands of still images to show a run around his block. Cyriak used his hands to tell the story of evolution. Whether acquiring a film already in the works or commissioning something entirely new, we did not interfere with the artists’ creative process. The filmmaker explained what they planned to do and we let them run with it. As a result, we ended up with an incredibly diverse collection of films.

3) What have you learned about the YouTube community over the course of this project?
How much they embrace the bizarre. It doesn’t matter if they know exactly what the filmmaker is trying to say with their video. They recognize the dedication that goes into creating the piece and they recognize the personality and vision behind it. It’s really amazing and inspiring how open-minded the community is to new ideas.

4) Will you pursue more of these and if so, how are you finding the filmmakers?
“SHORT stories” will be ongoing. We’ve identified a few potential candidates. We’d like to keep who they are a surprise. That said, the YouTube community is already helping us identify potential filmmakers. Names pop up all the time in comments on the videos. Everyone from Czech great Jan Svankmajer to Mystery Guitar Man. The best way for us to find new talent is to watch and listen to the YouTube community.

5) What’s something no one would know about these videos by looking at them?
The sheer amount of time that went into the creation of some of the films. Inspired by a vintage nutcracker that looked like a fish, it took PES five years to find all of the objects that went into “The Deep.” For Michael Langan, stitching together all of the still images for “Dahlia” took one month for every minute of the film. “Pretty, Dead” by Jeff Scher consists of more than 3,000 individual drawings. The final products themselves are incredible, but when you really start to understand what went into creating them, it’s remarkable. 

Trevor Noren, Creative Director, Digital Content, Showtime, recently watched “Shameless Trailer and Behind the Scenes.


[G] Super Bowl XLV: fun facts about food, football, and ads

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YouTube Blog: Super Bowl XLV: fun facts about food, football, and ads

You may notice the streets will be exceptionally quiet this superb 'ol Sunday afternoon, with perhaps only a few pizza delivery vehicles passing by, as Americans gather en masse around the big screen to watch our annual football, food and advertising spectacular: Super Bowl XLV. Two storied teams from the heartland - the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers - will take the field to conclude an exciting and, at times, controversial NFL season. We can only hope the quality of the game will live up to the stage and hype.

A few fun facts to keep in mind for this Sunday's big game (6:30pm ET on FOX, btw):

  • The Steelers have played in seven Super Bowls, winning six of them, while the Packers have been four times, winning three. (It should be noted that the Packers have won 12 total "World Championships" of professional football, eight coming before the modern NFL's playoff system)

  • The Super Bowl attracts a ginormous television audience that, according to Nielsen Co. peaked last year at 106.5 million viewers, topping the 1983 finale of "M-A-S-H" to become the most-watched show in U.S. television history

  • Nine out of 10 of the most-watched television shows of all-time were Super Bowls, but according to The Wall Street Journal, of the several hours of Super Bowl programming including the game itself, only about 11 minutes will have game action, when the ball is actually in-play

  • According to the Hass Avocado Board, an estimated 69.6 million pounds of avocados are expected to be consumed during the Super Bowl, and in general, Americans will eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day besides Thanksgiving, spending over $55 million dollars on food

  • Sunday will be among the top five pizza-ordering days of the year, with some chains accepting pre-orders for pies. Papa John's is estimating they'll travel 300,000 miles in total for deliveries.

  • This will also be the first Super Bowl with no cheerleaders (!), as neither the Packers nor Steelers have squads

And of course, the Super Bowl is an advertising bonanza, with many people tuning in to see the celebrity-laden ads with absurdly high production values as much as to see the game. Besides paying to produce the ads themselves, advertisers are buying airtime from FOX at a rate of around a whopping $3 million for every 30 seconds, according to MSNBC.

Is it worth it? This is a question that you can help settle, by going to our Ad Blitz channel on Super Bowl Sunday to watch and vote on Super Bowl commercials. We'll be adding commercials from participating in-game advertisers to the channel as-close-as-possible after they air, so you can watch, compare, and vote on ads to your heart's content. Your voting will help determine the champion ad, which will be rewarded with a placement in our homepage masthead ad unit, along with the four runners-up, on February 19.

If you're looking for last-minute, Super Bowl party planning tips or recipes, you can check out the channel now for a variety of Super Bowl coverage, including this awesome recipe for Clams Casino Dip, from Foodwishes:

You can also access the channel and commercials from your web-enabled mobile device: go to from your mobile browser (or enter "" and you should be redirected).

Enjoy the game!

Andrew Bangs, Sports Manager, recently watched “Queensryche - Silent Lucidity.”


Thursday, February 3, 2011

[G] Introducing Blogger Android App

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Blogger Buzz: Introducing Blogger Android App

Posted by Vinay Sekhri

Have you ever wanted to write up a quick blog post on the go? Now there is an easy way to do this on your Android phone! We are excited to announce our first version of the Blogger Android App. Using the app you can easily compose a post, attach a photo that you just took with your phone, and either save it as a local draft for later or immediately publish it to your blog. If you are an Android user, you can start using the Blogger app today by downloading it for free from the Android Market.

Feature highlights
  • Multiple accounts and blogs: You can easily switch between different accounts and blogs that you have author rights to. Simply choose your account and blog and you are all set to go.
  • Write and save/publish: You can write a post, assign labels, and then either save it as a draft or immediately publish it. Saving as draft is handy if you need to wait until you have Internet connectivity.
  • Photos from camera and gallery: If you see something interesting, you can take a photo directly from the app and include it in the blog post. You can also browse your gallery to include the ones you like.
  • Sharing to Blogger from gallery or browser: Blogger is one of the available sharing options. If you come across a photo in the gallery, or a website while browsing, you can share the content to the Blogger app directly from the sharing menu.
  • Share location: You can share your location by activating the location bar and selecting the correct location. This information will be included in your post.
  • View saved/published posts: By switching to the List View, you can view all your drafts and published posts that you wrote using the app. By performing a long-press on a published post you can invoke a menu that includes the option to view your post in a browser.
We hope you enjoy the app. As always, we would love to hear what you think so please feel free to share your thoughts with us through our feedback form. (Note: this app is available only on Android devices but we are working toward supporting other smartphone platforms to allow more of our users to easily post to Blogger on the go.)

[G] YouTube Highlights 2/3/2011

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Official Google Blog: YouTube Highlights 2/3/2011

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.

Since our last update, we’ve connected you with the U.S. President via an exclusive YouTube interview, brought the Sundance Film Festival to your virtual door and launched a new homepage that’s personalized to your interests.

YouTube World View kicks off
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, address concerns on jobs, debt and health care, and to answer a series of more personal questions that you submitted in video and text via YouTube.

This interview marks the beginning of the YouTube World View program, a series of interviews that will let you ask important questions of public leaders and big thinkers from around the world.

U.S. Speaker of the House John Boehner will be doing a YouTube Interview soon, so stay tuned for more news on how to participate.

“Life in a Day” premiered at Sundance
We premiered the world’s largest user-generated documentary “Life in a Day” last week at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. After months of hard work, Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald and a team of editors created a 90-minute documentary film based on thousands of videos uploaded from around the world on a single day—July 24, 2010. The film will be distributed in the U.S. on the one-year anniversary of that date and available on YouTube at the same time. Between now and then, “Life in a Day” will play at film festivals worldwide and international distribution deals will be put in place in other regions.

YouTube and the Sundance Film Institute also teamed up to bring you a collection of past and present short films in the YouTube Screening Room.

The Onion’s A.V. Club “Inventory” lists comes to YouTube
The Onion’s sister publication the A.V. Club debuted a new video series on YouTube called “Inventory,” based on the popular lists that catalog the unconventional—everything from the “19 artists who dramatically reinvented themselves after their early work” to “25 songs about outdated (and soon-to-be outdated) technology.”

YouTube partner Josh Sundquist is January’s “On the Rise” star
Our congratulations to Josh Sundquist, who edged past Luke Conard in the final hours to win this month’s edition of On the Rise, a program in which you decide who gets featured on the YouTube homepage based on a shortlist of channels that have experienced fast growth in the last month.

The “Bobee?” Track this and other trends
Each weekday, YouTube Trends takes a look at the most interesting videos and cultural phenomena on YouTube as they develop. We comb through YouTube's search data to investigate top spiking search terms and the videos they lead to. For example, we've recently come across a new dance craze popping up in Taiwan called "Bobee.” Find out what other interesting trends we’ve uncovered.

New YouTube homepage for everyone
With the new YouTube homepage, rolled out to everyone this month, our goal was to put more of an emphasis on "videos for you.” So we removed or moved some elements of the page to make room for videos that matter more to you—your subscriptions, friends’ sharing and recommendations. We hope you enjoy more videos as a result and are always open to hearing your suggestions for improvement.

Five questions for Jack Conte and Natalie Dawn, Pomplamoose
What you hear is what you get with Pomplamoose, a YouTube musical partner that’s garnered millions of video views on YouTube. Every sound you hear in their music videos is produced by an instrument you see played in their music videos—a refreshingly old-fashioned idea they call the “videosong.” Pomplamoose’s approach to original music has opened up opportunities for them in other arenas like TV (see their Hyundai commercials). Learn how they got their start.

We’ll update you again in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can get frequent updates from the team on the YouTube Blog.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Marketing Manager, The YouTube Team

[G] IPv6 marks the next chapter in the history of the Internet

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Official Google Blog: IPv6 marks the next chapter in the history of the Internet

(Cross-posted on the Public Policy Blog)

In the same way your phone is associated with a unique number, your computer is assigned a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address when you connect to the Internet. The current protocol, IPv4, allows for approximately 4 billion unique addresses—and that number is about to run out.

This morning the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) announced (PDF) that it has distributed the last batch of its remaining IPv4 addresses to the world’s five Regional Internet Registries, the organizations that manage IP addresses in different regions. These Registries will begin assigning the final IPv4 addresses within their regions until they run out completely, which could come as soon as early 2012.

As the last blocks of IPv4 addresses are assigned, adoption of a new protocol—IPv6—is essential to the continued growth of the open Internet. IPv6 will expand Internet address space to 128 bits, making room for approximately 340 trillion addresses (enough to last us for the foreseeable future).

Google, along with others, has been working for years to implement the larger IPv6 format. We’re also participating in the planned World IPv6 Day, scheduled for June 8, 2011. On this day, all of the participating organizations will enable access to as many services as possible via IPv6.

Today’s ICANN announcement marks a major milestone in the history of the Internet. IPv6, the next chapter, is now under way.

Posted by Vint Cerf, Chief Internet Evangelist

[G] It's Googler v. Googler this weekend as the Packers and Steelers face off

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Official Google Blog: It's Googler v. Googler this weekend as the Packers and Steelers face off

When you think about football, computer scientists probably aren’t the first thing to jump into your head. But with the big game this weekend, that’s exactly how to describe some of the fans who will be rooting along for both the Packers and Steelers. With Google engineering offices in both Pittsburgh, Pa. and Madison, Wis., Googlers in both areas will be glued to our TVs on Sunday along with the rest of the country.

As everyone begins to gear up for their own parties this weekend, we thought it would be fun to see what the world’s (American) football fans are searching for on the web.

Across the U.S., Google users have shown that football is the most popular sport, in terms of queries, year after year—ahead of baseball, soccer, basketball and hockey. Surprisingly, two states that don't have NFL teams search for [nfl] the most—Delaware and South Dakota.

You might be surprised at the lengths to which we go in terms of being fans. Take for example, the Packers. Fans in Wisconsin are currently taking a higher interest in our quarterback Aaron Rodgers than pop superstar Lady Gaga.

Pittsburgh residents also have gone Steeler-crazy, with queries for the Steelers running higher than queries for President Obama for most of the season.

Each team is also known for its fan gear: Cheeseheads for Packers nuts and Terrible Towels for Steelers supporters. As of the last week, [terrible towels] are being searched for more than [cheeseheads]. Perhaps the rise in searches for Terrible Towels can be attributed to their dual use: for cheering during the game or, in the event of a Steelers loss, to dry those terrible tears.

As we poked around the search trends, we wondered—could search query volume be the new “Sports Illustrated” jinx? Might Google’s search query volume leader foreshadow the loser of the big game? In examining the data, we’ve found that over the past two seasons, that has indeed been the case. Last year, the losing quarterback, Peyton Manning of the Indianapolis Colts, led the New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in query volume heading into the game. Brees and the Saints won. Same situation the year before: heading into the big game on February 1, 2009, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner held a significant lead in query volume over Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben and the Pittsburgh Steelers came out on top.

That trend doesn’t bode well for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. The Packers quarterback has maintained an edge in query volume over Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and is still in the lead as we head into Sunday. Could that mean the Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Lombardi trophy over their heads Sunday night? Our Cheesehead-wearing Wisconsin engineers are certainly hoping that the data doesn’t hold up!

But it isn’t just about the players and game on the field. Food, the halftime show and the commercials are just as big a part of the celebration. If the minutes in between the game action are your favorite part, YouTube hosts their annual Ad Blitz, a contest where people review and rate the Superbowl commercials as they air. This year, you can even vote on your mobile phone as you’re watching the game. The winner will receive YouTube homepage glory on February 19, after all the votes are tallied.

Some game watchers pay particularly close attention to the TV during the halftime show. If history is any indication, this year’s act, the Black Eyed Peas, can expect a surge of search queries the day of the game. Past performers [the who], [tom petty], [bruce springsteen] and the [rolling stones] have all had peak interest level during the year they performed at halftime.

For others—especially if your team’s not competing—the best part is always the spread. Searches for food and recipes surge, beginning two weeks ahead of the game, as families start to plan their party. This year, searches for [super bowl recipes] outpace those for [super bowl food] and [super bowl snacks]. Dips of all types are hot this year, with slight differences across the country: searches for [guacamole] are on average 12% more popular in Wisconsin than in Pennsylvania, while searches for [baba ganoush] are 5% more popular in Pennsylvania than in Wisconsin.

If we had our way, it would be all [bratwurst] and [fish boils] in Wisconsin and [pierogies] and [primanti brothers] in Pittsburgh. But with fans all over the country planning their menus, it seems that the big winner in the snack world appears to be chicken. Each year, searches for [chicken wings] hit their peak the week of the game.

So whether you’re a passionate Cheesehead, a proud waver of Terrible Towels or you just enjoy the spectacle, there’s something for you to enjoy around the big game: sports, drama, commercials, music, performance and food! This weekend, Googlers in our Pittsburgh and Wisconsin offices will, with millions more across the world, be on the edge of their couches watching the game and cheering along for their team. Either way, we know that only one Google office will hold bragging rights for the next year!

Googlers in Pittsburgh

Googlers in Madison

Posted by Jim Laudon, Site Director of Google’s Madison office and Andrew Moore, Site Director of Google’s Pittsburgh office