Saturday, February 26, 2011

[G] You’re invited to fly to the red carpet

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Google LatLong: You’re invited to fly to the red carpet


This Sunday night is the 83rd annual Academy Awards, which makes a dazzling presence at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. The Oscar® Awards are the oldest awards ceremony in the media, and was created to honor film achievements. However, this event has evolved into something more of a spectacle and broadcast success over the years. There’s the extravagant red carpet, infamous paparazzi, buzzing interviews, entertaining ceremony and of course the fashion commentary.

Last year, I hosted an Oscars party for friends and got dressed up in high heels, rolled out a red carpet, made themed drinks & snacks and of course had the obligatory ballot with prizes. As we sat on the edge of our seats and critiqued the fashion, we pretended to be right there on the red carpet with the stars.

This year, we thought, why not take the experience one step closer to reality? Take a virtual tour of the Kodak Theatre in Google Earth -- as if you're actually there! It includes the red carpet, paparazzi and even the Oscar statues. Watch the video below to fly to the red carpet in 3D or download this KML to take a tour in Google Earth.



If you’d like to take your own trip on the red carpet in Google Earth, download a 3D model of the Red Carpet, Hollywood and Highland Center, and the Kodak Theatre.

You’ve probably already made your predictions, but if you’re curious about what other people are thinking, check out the Oscar Search Trends. See which nominees are being searched and also realtime news articles and mentions. I’m putting my bet on James Franco for “Best Actor in a Leading Role” but according to the graph I’m not alone.

There are two days left to take a virtual trip to the red carpet, see live search results for nominees and even have time to find the perfect pair of heels or cuff links. Enjoy watching the show!

Posted by Natasha Danko, Google Earth Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/02/youre-invited-to-fly-to-red-carpet.html

[G] Imagery Update - Week of January 24th

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Google LatLong: Imagery Update - Week of January 24th

We’re just nearly two months into the new year but the Google Earth and Google Maps Imagery team’s aerial and satellite imagery updates keep coming!



Since it’s February, love is in the air and romance is on people’s minds (I mean, why stop at Valentine’s Day). And when it comes to all things amatory, no features and locations conjure up those feelings better than châteaux, castles, and royal wedding sites. Lucky for all our quixotic Earth and Maps users, we’ve got all that and more in our latest batch of published images.



Let’s start with the big one in the room. The Royal wedding isn't until April, but we’re getting ready for the big day by updating London, UK and wedding-related sites with high-resolution aerial imagery acquired this past June. In the image below, you can see the site of the royal wedding, the Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, more commonly referred to as Westminster Abbey. While viewing this site in Google Earth, make sure you turn on the Photos Layer, and check out the several pano360 immersive images that dot the church confines.



Westminster Abbey, London, UK



Let’s move west a bit to the beautiful Emerald Isle. Below we’re looking at Trim Castle and adjacent grounds in the county town of Trim, in County Meath, Ireland. The castle is the remains of Ireland’s largest and dates to the 11th century. As with the Westminster Abbey location, make sure to click on the Photos layer and check out the pano360 images; the immersive images include 360° views of the castle interior.



Trim Castle, Trim, Ireland.



Lastly, let’s take a look below at some new aerial imagery of a section of the Biltmore Estate which contains the châteauesque house, the Biltmore (upper-right section of the image). The house was finished in 1895 and is located near Asheville, North Carolina. It is the largest privately-owned home in the U.S., owned continuously by members of the William Vanderbilt family.



The Biltmore Estate, Asheville, NC.



Do you have a place you love that you’d want to receive notification from us when the Earth and Maps Imagery team updates your beloved site? We’ve got just the tool: The Follow Your World application!



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: Asheville, NC; Charleston, WV; Chattanooga, TN; Daytona, FL; Fayetteville, AR; Key West, FL; Perry, FL; Wachula, FL

Ireland: Kells; Navan; Omagh; Strabane; Trim

UK: Greater London; Immingham; Somerset

Switzerland: Valais



Countries/Regions receiving High Resolution Satellite Updates:

Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burundi, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, French Guiana, Germany, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Macedonia (FRYOM), Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, People's Republic of the Congo, Peru, Poland, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, West Bank, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe



These updates are now available in both Google Maps and Google Earth. 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
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/02/imagery-update-week-of-january-24th.html

[G] Where does my data live?

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Official Google Research Blog: Where does my data live?

Posted by Daniel Ford, Senior Mathematician

Have you ever wondered what happens when you upload a photo to Picasa, or where all your Gmail or YouTube videos are stored? How it is that you can read or watch them from anywhere at any time?

If you stored your data on a single hard disk, like the one in your personal computer, then the disk would eventually fail and your data would be lost forever. If you want to protect your data from the possibility of such a failure, you can store copies across many different disks so that if any one fails then you just access the data from another.

However, once storage systems get large enough, anything and everything can and does go wrong. You have to plan not just for disk failures but for server, network, and entire datacenter failures. Add to this software bugs and maintenance operations and you have a whole lot more failures.

Using measurements from dozens of Google data centers, we found that almost-simultaneous failure of many servers in a data center has the greatest impact on availability. On the other hand, disk failures have relatively little impact because our systems are specifically designed to cope with these failures.

Once you have a model of failures, you can also look at the impact of various design choices. Where exactly should you place your data replicas? How fast do you need recover from losing a disk or server? What encoding scheme or number of replicas of the data is enough, given a desired level of availability? For example, we found that storing data across multiple data centers reduces data unavailability by many orders of magnitude compared to having the same number of replicas in a single data center. The added complexity and potential for slower recovery times is worth it to get better availability, or use less storage space, or even both at the same time.

As you can see, something as simple as storing your photos, mail, or videos becomes a lot more involved when you want to be sure it's always available.

In our paper, Availability in Globally Distributed Storage Systems, we characterize the availability of cloud storage systems, based on extensive monitoring of Google's main storage infrastructure, and the sources of failure which affect availability. We also present statistical models for reasoning about the impact of design choices such as data placement, recovery speed, and replication strategies, including replication across multiple data centers.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2011/02/where-does-my-data-live.html

[G] A Runtime Solution for Online Contention Detection and Response

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Official Google Research Blog: A Runtime Solution for Online Contention Detection and Response

Posted by Jason Mars, Software Engineering Intern

In our recent paper, Contention Aware Execution: Online Contention Detection and Response, we have made a big step forward in addressing an important and pressing problem in the field of Computer Science today. This work appears in the 2010 Proceedings of the International Symposium on Code Generation and Optimization (CGO) and was awarded the CGO 2010 Best Presentation Award at the conference.

One of the greatest challenges when using multicore processors arise when critical resources, such as the on-chip caches, are shared by multiple executing programs. If these programs simultaneously place heavy demands on shared resources, the may be forced to "take turns," and as a result, unpredictable and abrupt slowdowns may occur. This unexpected "cross-core interference" is especially problematic when considering the latency sensitive applications that are found in Google's datacenters, such as web-search. The commonly used solution is to dedicate separate machines to each application, however this leaves the processing capabilities of multicore processors underutilized. In our work, we present the Contention Aware Execution Runtime (CAER) environment that provides a lightweight runtime solution that minimizes cross-core interference, while maximizing utilization. CAER leverages the ubiquitous performance monitoring capabilities present in current state-of-the-art multicore processors to infer and respond to cross-core interference and requires no added hardware support. Our experiments show that when using our CAER system, we are able to increase the utilization of the multicore CPU by 58% on average. Meanwhile CAER brings the performance penally due to allowing co-location from 17% down to just 4% on average.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2011/02/runtime-solution-for-online-contention.html

[G] Guest Post: Google Docs for Classroom Instruction

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Guest Post: Google Docs for Classroom Instruction

[cross-posted from the Google Docs blog]

Guest Post: Philip Greenspun is a pioneer in developing online communities and an educator who has taught electrical engineering and computer science courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1987.Today he explains how he used Google Docs to develop and distribute curricular materials and to support in-classroom discussion of student solutions.

In 1983, I began building applications to support multi-user collaboration over the Internet. When I began using the World Wide Web in 1993 I vowed never to write a native application program again and said "every desktop computer program going forward should simply run in a Web browser." Since the main reason to prepare a document was for others to view, I predicted that everyone would be using browser-based word processors and spreadsheet programs by the year 2000. I am still waiting for my "everyone goes to work in a flying car" prediction to come true also...

In January 2011, four of us were developing an entirely new course for MIT students, an intensive lab-based SQL programming and Android development class. All of us are proficient Web developers accustomed to authoring pages in standard text editors and publishing them on our own servers, but it turned out to be easier and more effective to use Google Docs to collaboratively develop course materials. Google Docs was more effective because simultaneous updates could proceed in different areas of a document and we weren't slowed down by having to do explicit check-ins with a standard version control system (or circulate drafts with names such as "DayOneProblems-final-version-by-philg-really-really-final"). Also, the "insert a comment" feature of Google Docs proved useful, e.g., when I wasn't sure if an example program was correct and wanted to ask a collaborator to check, but without leaving crud in the main body of the document.

We created two Google Docs folders the night before class: lessons, editable by us and view-only for students; workspace, editable by everyone. Into the "lessons" folder we moved the first day's assignment. In the "workspace" folder we created a "Day 1 Workspace" document intended for students to cut and paste code into. As each student walked into the classroom, we asked him or her to email a teacher from his or her Google Account (most students already had Gmail and some experience with Google Docs) and the teacher would share both folders with the new student, immediately enabling access to all lessons.

As the course materials had never been used before, they contained some errors and many sections that lacked sufficient hints or explanations. When we noticed these deficiencies, e.g., when a student asked a question, we would edit the problem set from a teacher's laptop and all students would immediately see the change on the projector and/or on their own screens.

Google Docs enabled us to distribute solutions incrementally. The first morning we created a "Day 1 Solutions (January 2011)" document and dragged it into the lessons (view-only for students) folder. As the day progressed, when 90 percent of the students were done with a problem, we would add the solution to the end of this document (by copying from another Google Doc, of course) so that students would have it in front of them and be prepared for the discussion.

The shared Google Docs workspace documents enabled us to have students paste their work into shared documents that could be used for projection and discussion and also for members of the class to try out each other's SQL queries.

To gather feedback at the end of the course, we simply created a feedback document and put it into the workspace folder, then used the "email editors/viewers" feature (from the Share menu) to ask students to add their thoughts, including whether they liked Google Docs ("great for sharing solutions"; "very effective"; "Generally yes, I did get a little confused with all the browser tabs I had open"; "very efficient and comfortable"; "green too").

We were technical people teaching a technical course, but everything that we did with Google Docs would have been easy for a person without any programming or HTML authoring background. Google Docs was an important asset for our course and significantly enhanced the in-classroom experience.

You can read more about our experience, including our wishlist, at http://philip.greenspun.com/teaching/using-google-docs-for-classroom-instruction

Posted by Philip Greenspun, founder of photo.net and co-author of Software Engineering for Internet Applications
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/02/guest-post-google-docs-for-classroom.html

[G] Going Google across the 50 States: Kentucky window manufacturer leaves desktop software behind

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Going Google across the 50 States: Kentucky window manufacturer leaves desktop software behind

Editor's note: Over 3 million businesses have adopted Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from Steve Stepp, IT Manager of Sun Windows, a manufacturer of high quality windows and doors serving Owensboro, Kentucky and surrounding areas. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google cloud calculator.

Sun Windows is a family-owned business that dates back to the 1930’s when V. E. Anderson, Sr. invented and built storm windows in his garage at night and sold them door-to-door during the day. Today, Sun Windows is run by his grandson, Frank Anderson, and offers an expansive product line of high quality, energy efficient windows and doors with a focus on customer service.

The window and door business is seasonal, following trends in new construction and peaking in summer. At the height, we have around 120 employees made up of about 80% production workers who manufacture the products, and 20% office staff and outside sales who use email and other office software regularly. Keeping everyone connected and communicating effectively is one of my main goals.

We originally used a local provider for web hosting and email and there was a lot of downtime when email just wouldn’t work. I’d get phone calls from individuals throughout the company and would have to contact our email provider about once a month. Adding to this, we received significantly more spam than good email. Sun Windows even got flagged as a spammer because all our emails went through the local provider. We’re a small company and everyone wears a lot of hats so these issues took up a lot of time I didn’t really have.

I used Gmail at home and had even set up Google Apps for my personal website so I knew about its robust spam-filtering and other great features. Given all the email problems we were having at work, I decided to switch the company to Google Apps and have never looked back. The amount of spam in our inboxes is almost nothing and having web-based email accessible from any Internet connection is a big plus for everyone. At the time of the switch, I hadn’t even considered the added benefits of other products like Google Calendar and Google Docs.

After setting up email, we quickly created shared calendars to keep various departments organized, track company events and schedule customer visits for the field service unit. Then we slowly started to use Google Docs. Most people in the company were familiar and comfortable with desktop office software but once they realized the power of collaborating and sharing documents online, almost everyone switched to Google Docs. Production line supervisors use a spreadsheet to track labor hours at the plant, and sales reps create and share customer presentations. We’ve also moved existing documents over to Google Docs which we use to store files of any type.

Now when new computers are purchased, I don’t renew our Microsoft® Office licences. The company saves money but even more importantly, I save time in administering licenses, installations, security patches, and training. Google Apps has been one of the smartest decisions I’ve made for Sun Windows and I continually look for new ways to take advantage of it to improve how we work.

Posted by Steve Stepp, IT Manager, Sun Windows
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/02/going-google-across-50-states-kentucky.html

[G] Help us learn how you create and share your online content

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Inside AdSense: Help us learn how you create and share your online content

We want to learn more about our publishers, so we've put together a very short survey to help us better understand what types of content you create and how you share it with others.

Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey -- your feedback is important to us, and your input can help us improve AdSense! We really appreciate you taking the time to provide your thoughts. Thank you for participating!

Posted by David Hall - The Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2011/02/help-us-learn-how-you-create-and-share.html

[G] Understanding your eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions): Part 2 of 2

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Inside AdSense: Understanding your eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions): Part 2 of 2

Two weeks ago, we shared a brief introduction to the basics of eCPM (aka, RPM), including how it’s calculated and what factors impact it. In the Part 1 video, AdSense optimization specialist Matthew Carpenter-Arevalo discusses key variables you can use to better understand eCPM performance, including CTR (clickthrough rate) and CPC (cost per click).

Today, we’ll go a couple steps further and discuss how user behavior impacts eCPM and show you tools that can help you better understand your users’ traffic patterns.

User behavior refers to how users interact with your site. Generally, there are two types of users:
  • Return users who continually come back to your site and spend more time engaging with your content
  • Unique users who are arriving at your site for the first time in search of specific information that your site may or may not have
It’s important to understand the make-up of your audience, because different types of users will interact in different ways with your website.

To track and analyze user behavior to help you make informed decisions about your site, we recommend integrating Google Analytics with your AdSense account, so you can see data at more specific levels and by regions. We also suggest setting up channels to understand how the ads across specific pages on your site are performing.

In Part 2 of this video series, Matthew explains how user behavior affects eCPM and provides helpful tools to further analyze your site’s traffic patterns. Take a look at the video below to learn more:



Thanks for following our two-part 'Understanding your eCPM' series. We hope you found the content useful, and that you now have a better understanding of the factors that influence your eCPM.

Posted by Meredith Blackwell - Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2011/02/understanding-your-ecpm-effective-cost_24.html

[G] New Interface Wednesdays: Chart and change metric feature

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Inside AdSense: New Interface Wednesdays: Chart and change metric feature

Have you ever changed ad formats and wanted to see which actually performed better? Now you can, with the new chart and change metric features. If you've created and saved an ad unit in your account, you'll now be able to do this easily in your ad sizes report.
  • Start by visiting the Performance Reports tab and choosing the ad sizes report
  • Check the boxes next to each format you want to see and then click the Chart button
This overlays the earnings of both ad formats you've selected so you can compare them on the same graph. You can still toggle the metrics shown on the graph using the radio buttons to the right of it so you can compare CTR, RPM and other metrics that are relevant to you.


Try it now! Navigate to the new interface and click on the Performance Reports tab, and then Ad sizes.

Posted by Guillaume Ryder - AdSense Engineer
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-interface-wednesdays-chart-and.html

[G] Two new optimizations guides: One Click Optimizer and Optimization Lab

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Inside AdSense: Two new optimizations guides: One Click Optimizer and Optimization Lab

We'd like to introduce you to two new optimization guides: the One Click Optimizer and the Optimization Lab.

These guides have been designed to provide you quick and easy-to-implement optimization tips to help you maximize your site’s revenue and performance.

One Click Optimizer

Do you own a news site, a classifieds site, a game site, a forum, or a blog? This guide will give you best practices for ad location specifically for your type of website. Try it now to optimize the placement of your ad units, link units, and search boxes!

Optimization Lab

Would you like to get simple but effective tips to increase your clickthrough rate, boost your impressions or lift your cost per click? The Optimization Lab can help. Our optimization team has put together this guide to help you maximize your revenue as effectively as possible using our best practices.

We hope both of these new resources help you make the most of AdSense.

Posted by Thomas Tran - Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2011/02/two-new-optimizations-guides-one-click.html

[G] Geek Time with Jim Zemlin

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Google Open Source Blog: Geek Time with Jim Zemlin


Jim Zemlin is the Executive Director of the Linux Foundation, and earlier this month he sat down with the Open Source Programs Office’s Jeremy Allison for a chat about the future of Linux. In addition to talking about the future, Jim shares insights on the history and significance of Linux. Some highlights:
  • Jim explains the role of the Linux Foundation in Linux kernel development, including the work of Linus Torvalds. (0:18)
  • Jeremy and Jim talk about the organizations that support the Linux Foundation, and their reasons for doing so. (2:21)
  • Jeremy poses one of his favorite questions: “Is this the year of the Linux desktop?” Jim responds with less concern about desktop computers and focuses his interest on mobile devices, which are becoming predominately Linux. (9:33)
  • The discussion turns toward tablet devices and their impact on Linux. (13:25)
  • Linux’s GPLv2 license allows DRM, and Jeremy wonders if this contradicts the ideals of freedom that Linux was built upon. Jim compares the controversy to the “Consume vs. Contribute” issue that Linux faced years ago. In that case, the collaborative nature of open source software development made it advantageous for everyone to contribute, so most commercial users eventually ended up contributing. In regards to DRM, Jim believes that consumer dictate will direct the future of DRM products. (15:23)
  • Jim recounts a conversation he had with a major electronics company about the importance and complexity of software on consumer electronic devices. Jim explains how these considerations direct manufacturers towards open source software. (20:32)
  • Jeremy asks Jim about the feasibility of creating an operating system from scratch, or if Linux is the only viable option. The value of Linux was recently estimated at $10.8 billion, so the barrier to entry is extremely high. In addition, there are several incentives for using the existing Linux ecosystem. (23:07)
  • Jim talks about how advances in one field of Linux has benefited other fields. For example, developers working on mobile devices helped reduce power consumption for those working on high-performance computing. (26:58)
  • Jim shares how his career path led him to his current role at the Linux Foundation. (31:05)
By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2011/02/geek-time-with-jim-zemlin.html

Friday, February 25, 2011

[G] Mastering Unique Visitors in the API

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Google Analytics Blog: Mastering Unique Visitors in the API

After launching a massive amount of new data through our Data Export API, our developers gave us a lot of great feedback back and support. Thanks! Now we want to show you how to master this data to make better business decisions, starting with the unique visitors metric.

In this blog post, we ask Analytics team members to give us their favorite ways to request and use unique visitor data. Next, we translate that into an API query along with screen shots of how the data looks. Finally, we give you a deep link to the query explorer tool so you can make that same API request with your own data right now. Let's Go!

(Note: You can do most of these queries using Custom Reports through the Google Analytics web interface.)

Query example #1: Measuring Total Unique Visitors
Before we start using suggested queries, let's lay the ground work with a very simple query for unique visitors.

https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/data
?ids=<tableId>
&metrics=ga:visitors
&start-date=2011-01-01
&end-date=2011-01-31

This query retrieves the total unique visitors to our site for the month of January.

Here’s a sample screen shot of the results.

You can click this link to execute this query with your own data. Simple!

Query example #2: Monthly, Weekly, and Daily Unique Visitors

Ok, the query above was easy. So maybe we want to know how many of these users are active users. Hetal Thakkar, the engineer who implemented the processing logic for this metric, says it’s easy with the following query:

https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/data
?ids=<tableId>
&dimensions=ga:week
&metrics=ga:visitors
&start-date=2011-01-02
&end-date=2011-02-12

Awesome Hetal! All we need to do is add the ga:week time dimension to get weekly unique visitors or as we say at Google, “7-day actives.”



In fact, you can measure active users for other time periods by using ga:year, ga:month, ga:day or even ga:hour instead. This gives you the measure of what advertisers call “reach.”

Query example #3: Hourly Unique Visitors by City

Recently an agency wanted to understand how many unique visitors would visit their site after airing a TV commercial. They exported hourly unique visitors by region, and ran some additional statistical analysis.

https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/data
?ids=<tableId>
&dimensions=ga:region,ga:city,ga:hour
&metrics=ga:visitors
&filters=ga:region==California
&sort=ga:region,ga:city,ga:hour
&start-date=2011-01-01
&end-date=2011-01-01
&max-results=50

Here we use both the ga:region and ga:city dimensions to get the number of unique visitor by city. Even though we use a filter to only get data from California, we add the region dimension to make the report easier to read. We then use ga:hour to get hourly unique visitors by city. Since the TV ads were only running in California, we use the filters parameter to filter by region. We also limit the date range to the day the ad ran.

Here are a few results from Alameda, California.

Now you are ready to analyze the online impact of your offline campaigns, such as radio and TV.

You can apply the unique visitors metric to almost any existing report to get amazing new insights.

Query Example #4: Mobile Unique Visitors By Country

Ivanna Kartarahardja is a software engineer on the Google Analytics API team. She did a lot of the coding to make this data available through the API. Thank you Ivanna!

One of her favorite reports is looking at mobile unique visitors by country.

https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/data
?ids=<tableId>
&dimensions=ga:country
&metrics=ga:visitors
&segment=dynamic::ga:isMobile==Yes
&filters=ga:subContinent==Western%20Europe
&sort=ga:country
&start-date=2011-01-01
&end-date=2011-01-15
&max-results=50

In this query we use a dynamic advanced segment to only query users who have come from a mobile device. We also added a filter to only look for mobile traffic from Western Europe.


See your own data in the Query Explorer

This report is also very useful if you are trying to measure the performance of your mobile application using either our Google Analytics Andriod SDK or iOS SDK. Metrics like this help you decide which languages and regions to invest in.

Query Example #5: nique Visitors by Mobile Device

Jeetendra Soneja is the Lead Engineer for the Google Analytics APIs. His favorite report is to look at mobile unique visitors by platform. He thinks this is a great way to identify which platforms to invest resources into.

https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/data
?ids=<tableId>
&dimensions=ga:operatingSystem
&metrics=ga:visitors
&segment=dynamic::ga:isMobile==Yes
&sort=-ga:visitors
&start-date=2011-01-01
&end-date=2011-01-15
&max-results=50


See your own data in the Query Explorer

Notice how in the last two queries we’re using a dynamic advanced segment to only look at a specific segment of all users (dynamic::ga:isMobile==Yes). We can then apply any of our useful dimensions to gain more insight about those specific users.

Query Example #6: Measuring Site Loyalty

Sagnik Nandy oversees data processing for Google Analytics. You met him in Web Analytics TV #16, and he always has clever tricks on how to build complex queries. He likes using visit count to measure site loyalty.

https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/data
?ids=<tableId>
&metrics=ga:visitors
&segment=dynamic::ga:visitCount=~^[4-9]
&start-date=2011-01-01
&end-date=2011-01-31
&max-results=50

Here we will get back the number of visitors that have visited the sites between 4 and 9 times resulting in a custom loyalty report. Since ga:visitCount* is a dimension, which is a string, we use a regular expression to match all values between 4 and 9.

*In this query segment, a visitor that visits the site 5 times will only have his/her 4th and 5th sessions included, but not the 1st to 3rd sessions (More documentation on ga:visitCount).

See your own data in the Query Explorer

Query Example #7: Visitor Based Conversion Rate

Avinash Kaushik is the Analytics Evangelist at Google. He has a best selling book about web analytics, and a great use case. Google Analytics uses session-based metrics for most of its performance calculations. For example, conversion rate = conversions / visits. Most unique visitors will not convert every time they come to your site. So sometimes it might be better to calculate conversion rate as conversions / visitors.

https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/data
?ids=<tableId>
&dimensions=ga:source
&metrics=ga:visitors,ga:goalCompletionsAll
&filters=ga:medium==organic
&sort=-ga:visitors
&start-date=2011-01-01
&end-date=2011-01-15
&max-results=5

Here we look at the top organic search engines, but now let’s request the goalCompletionsAll metric. Of course, you can easily use any of the 20 individual goals, the number of transactions or events, or the total revenue for this calculation if you prefer.


See your own data in the Query Explorer

By now you should see you can get unique visitors for almost any dimension in Google Analytics!

Query Example #8: Visitor Loyalty Per Content Section

Patricia Boswell is the lead of our documentation efforts for Google Analytics. Measuring performance of the content that is produced is very important to her. She likes to use the unique visitors metric to report the number of unique visitors who visit a specific content section of the site. She then compares that to the number of unique pageviews to get a sense of how frequently unique visitors are viewing specific set of pages.

https://www.google.com/analytics/feeds/data
?ids=<tableId>
&metrics=ga:visitors,ga:uniquePageviews
&filters=ga:pagePath=~product
&start-date=2011-01-01
&end-date=2011-01-15

Here we apply a filter which uses a regular expression to match any pages that have the word “product” in their URL. Using the advanced segment returns all sessions, which had at least one pageview that included the word “product.” Google Analytics then returns the number of unique visitors for those sessions.



So if we divide unique pageviews (276) by unique visitors (249), we get 1.10, which is the frequency that unique visitors visit a product page.

Let’s compare this to frequency of unique visitors visiting our support section. All we do is change the query to filter the ga:pagePath dimension on the word “support.”

&filters=ga:pagePath=~support

And we get:


We see here that the pageviews per visitor ratio for the support section is 2.85 (= 342/120).

So while more unique visitors saw the product pages, unique visitors were more engaged on the support section. This might influence your content development strategy by considering cross selling products and services within the content section vs the product section.

See your own data in the Query Explorer

Your Turn!

With the addition of unique visitors to the API, you can gain even more insight about your customers. We encourage you to democratize your data by sharing this article with colleagues and friends. Also we’d love to hear your best use cases for using unique visitors in the comments section below. Thanks!

Posted by Nick Mihailovski, on behalf of all the people who made this data possible through the API!
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2011/02/mastering-unique-visitors-in-api.html

[G] New Features For iOS/iPhone SDK

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Google Analytics Blog: New Features For iOS/iPhone SDK

Back in December, we brought you custom variables for your Android applications. Today,
we’re doing the same for our iOS SDK by releasing version 1.1 of the Google Analytics SDK for iPhone with Custom Variable support. We are also offering a NoThumb version of this SDK.

Custom variables can be used to segment your users and provide actionable context. Some great use cases are:
  • Free vs paid: What percentage of users prefer a paid app vs. a free app that delivers ads? Are you making more money on the free version or the paid version?
  • Installs by version: What version of your app gained the most users? What version lost users? How quickly are users upgrading?
  • Portrait vs. landscape: Do your users prefer to use your application in portrait mode or landscape mode?
For more great ways to use Custom variables in mobile applications, check out Alex Lucas’ great blog post for the Andriod SDK.

In addition, we are providing support for NoThumb with our SDK. We have a NoThumb version of the library as well as the standard, Thumb version. This NoThumb version is available for developers that need the Thumb instruction set disabled in their applications.

Posted by Jim Cotugno, Google Analytics Tracking Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-features-for-iosiphone-sdk.html

[G] U.K. P.M. David Cameron answers your questions on Libya, budget cuts and more, in YouTube interview

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YouTube Blog: U.K. P.M. David Cameron answers your questions on Libya, budget cuts and more, in YouTube interview

Last week we asked you to submit your questions for U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, and you responded with 10,000 questions across topics like the violence in the Middle East, global arms trade, and tuition fees for U.K. students.

Today, in a special interview produced by YouTube World View and Al Jazeera English, you can get to see how the Prime Minister tackles a selection of the questions you voted to the top - including his thoughts on what should be done in Libya, whether banks in the U.K. should pay increased taxes, and what Britain’s role is in Afghanistan. Watch the full interview here:



You can also see how Cameron and a host of other leaders across various disciplines answered the same “Big Three” questions -- questions like “what is the biggest problem facing the next generation and what can we do to solve it?” and “if you could ask any other leader a questions, what would it be and who would you ask it to?” --  by going to www.youtube.com/worldview and clicking on the “Big Three Questions” tab.

We’ll announce our next YouTube World View interview in the coming weeks, so check back here for more details soon.



Ramya Raghavan, News and Politics Manager, and Jayme Goldstein, U.K. Product Marketing Manager, recently watched “A Girl Like Me


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/_9u4wXbive0/uk-pm-david-cameron-answers-your.html

[G] Google Voice & the Snowpocalypse

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Google Voice Blog: Google Voice & the Snowpocalypse

We’re often inspired by the creative and interesting ways that individuals and organizations use Google Voice, so we thought it was time to start sharing some of their stories. In the first of what we hope to be an ongoing series of interviews, we chatted with Todd Stanfield, an Associate Professor from Jackson, TN, who used Google Voice to communicate with his students during the snowpocalypse of 2011.

1. Tell us a little bit about you.
I am Todd Stanfield, PhD. I am an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Union University in Jackson, TN. I teach both undergraduate and graduate social work students.

2. How are you using Google Voice?
I collect phone numbers from students via a Google Docs form, then I text them via Google Voice to let them know when class is cancelled. Google Voice makes it possible to reach them instantly via their phones (which they always have with them) in addition to their email (which they may only check when at a desktop).

Some of them don't have smart phones, so getting the text message in addition to an email means the difference between finding out about class being canceled during a 2 hour drive vs. arriving at campus only to find out class has been canceled.

I also have them respond with an SMS confirming they got it so I can quickly mark off everyone who has responded, and I have a record that they did so.

3. Sounds effective. How else has Google Voice helped you out?
I also use Google Voice as a second voicemail service that puts a layer of protection between my personal cell phone and my students. They call my Google Voice number, I get a transcript of their message via SMS and email, then I decide whether I need to respond right then. Helps me set boundaries between my personal and professional time.

If you or someone you know is using Google Voice in a unique way, we’d love to hear about it! Fill out this short form and your story may get featured on the Google Voice blog.

Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/google-voice-snowpocalypse.html

[G] Guest Post: Google Docs for Classroom Instruction

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Docs Blog: Guest Post: Google Docs for Classroom Instruction

Cross-posted on the the Google Enterprise Blog

Guest Post: Philip Greenspun is a pioneer in developing online communities and an educator who has taught electrical engineering and computer science courses at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 1987. Today he explains how he used Google Docs to develop and distribute curricular materials and to support in-classroom discussion of student solutions.

In 1983, I began building applications to support multi-user collaboration over the Internet. When I began using the World Wide Web in 1993 I vowed never to write a native application program again and said "every desktop computer program going forward should simply run in a Web browser." Since the main reason to prepare a document was for others to view, I predicted that everyone would be using browser-based word processors and spreadsheet programs by the year 2000. I am still waiting for my "everyone goes to work in a flying car" prediction to come true also...

In January 2011, four of us were developing an entirely new course for MIT students, an intensive lab-based SQL programming and Android development class. All of us are proficient Web developers accustomed to authoring pages in standard text editors and publishing them on our own servers, but it turned out to be easier and more effective to use Google Docs to collaboratively develop course materials. Google Docs was more effective because simultaneous updates could proceed in different areas of a document and we weren't slowed down by having to do explicit check-ins with a standard version control system (or circulate drafts with names such as "DayOneProblems-final-version-by-philg-really-really-final"). Also, the "insert a comment" feature of Google Docs proved useful, e.g., when I wasn't sure if an example program was correct and wanted to ask a collaborator to check, but without leaving crud in the main body of the document.

We created two Google Docs folders the night before class: lessons, editable by us and view-only for students; workspace, editable by everyone. Into the "lessons" folder we moved the first day's assignment. In the "workspace" folder we created a "Day 1 Workspace" document intended for students to cut and paste code into. As each student walked into the classroom, we asked him or her to email a teacher from his or her Google Account (most students already had Gmail and some experience with Google Docs) and the teacher would share both folders with the new student, immediately enabling access to all lessons.

As the course materials had never been used before, they contained some errors and many sections that lacked sufficient hints or explanations. When we noticed these deficiencies, e.g., when a student asked a question, we would edit the problem set from a teacher's laptop and all students would immediately see the change on the projector and/or on their own screens.

Google Docs enabled us to distribute solutions incrementally. The first morning we created a "Day 1 Solutions (January 2011)" document and dragged it into the lessons (view-only for students) folder. As the day progressed, when 90 percent of the students were done with a problem, we would add the solution to the end of this document (by copying from another Google Doc, of course) so that students would have it in front of them and be prepared for the discussion.

The shared Google Docs workspace documents enabled us to have students paste their work into shared documents that could be used for projection and discussion and also for members of the class to try out each other's SQL queries.

To gather feedback at the end of the course, we simply created a feedback document and put it into the workspace folder, then used the "email editors/viewers" feature (from the Share menu) to ask students to add their thoughts, including whether they liked Google Docs ("great for sharing solutions"; "very effective"; "Generally yes, I did get a little confused with all the browser tabs I had open"; "very efficient and comfortable"; "green too").

We were technical people teaching a technical course, but everything that we did with Google Docs would have been easy for a person without any programming or HTML authoring background. Google Docs was an important asset for our course and significantly enhanced the in-classroom experience.

You can read more about our experience, including our wishlist, at http://philip.greenspun.com/teaching/using-google-docs-for-classroom-instruction.

Posted by Philip Greenspun, founder of photo.net and co-author of Software Engineering for Internet Applications.
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2011/02/guest-post-google-docs-for-classroom.html

[G] Dealing with label overload

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Official Gmail Blog: Dealing with label overload

Posted by Stanley Chen, Software Engineer

Many Gmail power users have elaborate label systems to help organize their mail -- some help file and retrieve mail, others help manage their attention.

We created the “Hide read labels” and “Hide Labels from Subjects” labs to help people manage their ever-growing lists of labels. Given the popularity and usefulness of these labs, we’ve decided to graduate them into fully-fledged features. We’ve also made a few improvements to how they work. First, instead of simply hiding all labels from subject lines, you can now choose which labels to show or hide. We also spiffed up and organized the Labels tab in Settings as well as the dropdown menus for each label in the label list.


If you had enabled either Labs feature, your settings should automatically be carried over. If there was a glitch in the matrix, or if you want to change the visibility for a bunch of labels quickly, you can adjust them en masse by going to the Labels tab in Settings.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/dealing-with-label-overload.html

[G] 5 great user-created maps chronicling Egypt

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Google LatLong: 5 great user-created maps chronicling Egypt


During the crisis in Egypt, third-party Geo developers helped the international community understand the situation and keep persons affected by the crisis safe through the use of innovative new tools. These same tools can be replicated by anyone in any crisis situation. In the developer examples below, three things jump out as particularly striking: How quickly these maps were built and put into action, some within hours of the first protests; how developers (many contributing independently) from all over the world worked together to get these maps up and running; and how geo-context has become extremely important for the international community in understanding and responding to any crisis, be it natural or man-made.

NY Times - Mapping the Protest in Cairo Day by Day



In this map, the New York Times has plotted the locations of the protests and clashes with police. There are also pictures, videos and contextual information provided in the icon info bubbles.

Al Jazeera - Mapping the Day of Wrath


This website features a video illustrating the geographic spread of the protests using fly-over animations in Google Earth. The same webpage includes maps with information about protests in Cairo and throughout Egypt.

Hypercities Egypt


Twitter’s real-time updates have become an invaluable tool for the Egyptian protest organizers, observers and citizens looking to stay safe. Hypercities Egypt used Google Maps to display geolocated tweets as they came streaming in. Also, view another Egypt Twitter map created by MiBazaar.


GeoEye Tahrir Square Imagery


The imagery above is of Tahrir Square on January 29, 2011 at around 10:30am local time from more than 400 miles above. This imagery is exclusively viewable in Google Earth (and the Earth API) using the historical imagery tool. The imagery highlights GeoEye's stunning ability to respond to world events and capture timely imagery.

Egypt Protests in Google My Maps by Storyful.com


During the crisis, many Geo developers and persons without a Geo developer background collaborated on Google My Maps to chronicle the events geographically as they unfolded, such as this one by Storyful. Using the My Maps tool, anyone with access to Google Maps could create a collaborative mash-up with custom icons, colored polygons, content rich info-bubbles and many other features. Once completed, the map can be shared globally through My Maps or embedded on a website. Access can also be restricted to a select group of people if need be. Learn more at http://maps.google.com/getmaps.

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How you can help: During a crisis situation, up-to-date maps are often crucial for organizing humanitarian aid and effective response. In many regions, however, accurate and local map data is sparse, out of date, or not available at all. You can add your geographic knowledge to Google Maps by contributing map edits in Google Map Maker, which is currently available in select countries and territories.

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Posted by Carlos Cuesta, Geo APIs Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/02/5-great-user-created-maps-chronicling.html

[G] Join us on the bridge for International Women’s Day 2011

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Google LatLong: Join us on the bridge for International Women’s Day 2011

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

I lead a global team at Google and travel extensively. When I speak about my work, the questions I get are often about the efforts we make to bring more women into engineering and how I maintain my work/life balance with two young children. These are very important questions, but I’m acutely aware that they reflect a certain amount of privilege when it comes to issues of women’s equality. Despite the incredible advances women have made in the last century, many around the world are still struggling to provide for their families and keep them safe amidst violence and instability.

For the past several years I’ve been part of a sponsorship program administered by Women for Women International, an organization dedicated to helping women survivors of war rebuild their lives. Every time I receive a letter from a woman I sponsor, each of whom is determined to improve her life despite the terrible odds she faces, I’m reminded of why it’s so important that we all—women and men alike—recognize the challenges women continue to face around the world.

That’s why I’m so excited to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2011. This year Google is collaborating with Women for Women International on their “Join me on the Bridge” campaign. Originally conceived of by women from Rwanda and Congo as a sign of solidarity between women in two conflict-ridden countries, last year’s campaign brought together thousands of women and men at more than 100 bridge events on four continents.



This year we’re making it simple for you, your friends, your classmates and your colleagues to participate in bridge events on International Women’s Day by offering new online resources.

To attend a bridge event, check our map to see all the events that have already been planned. Or you can use our event toolkit to plan your own event on the bridge of your choice. You’ll see that there are two kinds of events—physical and online; if you’re not able to attend a bridge event in person on March 8, you can lend your support online by virtually attending an event via Street View in Google Maps.




Finally, on our International Women’s Day 2011 site, you can to donate to Women for Women International and more than 40 other incredible organizations working in the fields of women’s economic security, education, empowerment, equality, health and safety.

See you on the bridge on March 8!

Update 4:50PM: Added YouTube video.

Posted by Claire Hughes Johnson, VP, Global Online Sales and Chair, Google Women’s Professional Community
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/02/join-us-on-bridge-for-international.html

[G] Learn about Quality Score in a live, online tutorial (UK only)

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Inside AdWords: Learn about Quality Score in a live, online tutorial (UK only)

As so many attendees reported finding our last Quality Score tutorial useful, we’ve decided to re-run the live course in the AdWords Online Classroom (UK) on Wednesday 2nd March for anyone who wasn't able to attend. The key to a successful AdWords account is the relevancy of your ads, keywords, and website. Having a better understanding of Quality Score can help you improve your AdWords performance.

This course will clarify what Quality Score is and provide useful tips on improving your Quality Scores so that you can further optimise your account.

The hour-long interactive course will be delivered by two AdWords Specialists as part of the Adwords Online Classroom (UK) and will include time for Q&A. It will take place on Wednesday 2nd March from 3 pm to 4 pm GMT (7 am to 8 am PST).

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

To learn more about Quality Score, you can also visit our Help Center.


Posted by Nathania Lozada, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/02/learn-about-quality-score-in-live.html

[G] Show ads that are most likely to receive conversions more often

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Inside AdWords: Show ads that are most likely to receive conversions more often

Today we're announcing the launch of a new ad rotation setting in AdWords that allows you to optimize for conversions. Previously, you had two options:
  • Optimize for clicks: Ads that are expected to provide more clicks are shown more often
  • Rotate: Ads are shown more evenly
Now, with a third option, you can choose to show ads that are expected to provide more conversions more often.

We’ve always encouraged you to test multiple ads in each ad group, and we’ve offered our help by showing ads with the highest clickthrough rates more often. However, some of you have told us that the ad with the highest clickthrough rate isn’t always the ad with the highest conversion rate and that you’d like to be able to optimize for conversions rather than clicks. Starting today, we’re allowing you to do just that.

To use the new setting, you’ll need to have Conversion Tracking in your account, as we use the data from that tool to determine which ad is the most likely to receive conversions. When we don’t have enough data to make a decision, we’ll show the ad that is the most likely to receive clicks. If you have Conversion Tracking, the Optimize for conversions option will be available in the Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping section under Advanced settings on the Settings tab of any campaign. Once enabled, it will apply to all ads that appear on Google and our search and display partners’ sites.


By providing another way to define the “best-performing” ad, we hope to make it easier for you to experiment with your ads and learn which ones are the most successful in helping you reach your advertising goals. For more information on ad rotation settings, please visit our Help Center.

Posted by Lisa Shieh, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/02/show-ads-that-are-most-likely-to.html