Saturday, March 12, 2011

[G] Post-earthquake images of Japan

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Google LatLong: Post-earthquake images of Japan


In response to the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck Japan, we’ve worked with our satellite imagery providers to get the latest available data of the areas affected most.

To view this high-resolution imagery, courtesy of our partners at GeoEye, download this KML file and explore it in Google Earth. You can also explore the imagery with Google Maps, or have a look at this Picasa album of before-and-after shots. Here’s a sample:

Before and after the earthquake and tsunami. Above is Yuriage in Natori, below is Yagawahama; both are in Miyagi prefecture. High-resolution version of this photo.

We’re working to provide this data directly to response organizations on the ground to aid their efforts. We hope this new updated satellite imagery is valuable for them as well as everyone else following this situation to help illustrate the extent of the damage.

You can find more information regarding the disaster and resources for those in need at our Crisis Response page in English and Japanese. You can also follow @earthoutreach on Twitter to stay up to date with our mapping and imagery efforts.

Posted by Ryan Falor, Google Crisis Response team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/03/post-earthquake-images-of-japan.html

[G] Women get together to map Kenya

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Google LatLong: Women get together to map Kenya

[Cross-posted on the Google Africa Blog]

Many people enjoy using Google Maps to locate and learn about places around the world. Others, however, relish taking a more active role: improving Google Maps by adding and editing roads, parks, businesses, and more through Google Map Maker. In some cases, these citizen mappers take a day to collaboratively focus on a specific area, as more than 60 women did recently in Nairobi, Kenya. Together, they planned a “Ladies Mapping Party,” with the goal of empowering and inspiring a broad array of women to give back to their communities through mapping. From advocates to non-profit leaders, students to computer scientists, environmentalists to editors, these women mapped the places they live and love, know and often visit.

The event began with a short training and demo session during which participants received an overview of Google Map Maker, followed by a competition to spur the groups on to map their communities.

Training and demo session

One of the groups was comprised of three dynamic students from Strathmore University - Betsy, Issene and Yasmin. Within 30 minutes, they had mapped most of the points of interest in their home town, Isiolo, while the broader group of women worked together on Juja, Ongata Rongai and Nyahururu.

This strategy of targeted specific regions in Africa seemed to work well for the attendees. “We decided to map Isiolo because we know the area well, and the area had very few points that were mapped compared to other areas like Nairobi,” noted one of the students, who also joked that the prizes - including Google-branded bags - further encouraged them to map so comprehensively.

Issene, Betsy and Yasmin: contributors at the event

Many of the participants mentioned that they’re eager to continue using Map Maker, citing it as “a new pastime.” But the women took away more than just mapping knowledge, with one of the mappers noting that the group “learned from the others that doing what you love is the key to success.”

Interested in mapping your part of the world?  Give Google Map Maker a try.

Posted by Jacqueline Rajuai, GIS Specialist, Google Kenya
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/03/women-get-together-to-map-kenya.html

[G] Case Study: Universal Technical Institute Increases Application Requests Eight-fold With Website Optimizer

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Case Study: Universal Technical Institute Increases Application Requests Eight-fold With Website Optimizer

UTI revved up their conversion rate with Google Website Optimizer. By conducting rigorous testing, making design improvements to their landing pages, and increasing AdWords investment to capitalize on their higher conversion rates, UTI cut their cost-per-application request in half and increased their request volume by more than 700% in in marketing campaigns that used the new landing pages. Read more to learn how they did it!

Since 1965, Universal Technical Institute has helped automotive enthusiasts turn their passions into careers. Offering programs in Automotive, Diesel, Collision, and Motorcycle Repair, as well as courses to become a Marine or NASCAR technician, UTI has trained more than 140,000 professionals in the automotive industry. Today, UTI operates 11 campuses, and currently has more than 15,000 students that are working with their hands to learn career skills that will last a lifetime.

The Goal: Improve Conversion Rates Through Website Optimization
UTI has been an AdWords advertiser since 2004. After years of fine-tuning their search campaigns, and successful investments in Display, Mobile, and YouTube, UTI was looking for their next big avenue of growth. After doing some research - they realized the opportunity was right in front of them, on their own site! With the help of Website Optimizer, UTI tested different calls-to-action, images, videos, buttons, and button placements. After many different landing page combinations, they ultimately settled on a winner.

The Results: A Great-looking Landing Page and a 300% Increase in Conversion Rate
UTI's new landing page was a dramatic departure from their previous landing page. Most notable is their use of “gradual engagement” - asking for user’s information in several steps rather than showing an intimidating 15-field sign-up form.

Original landing page (click to see full size)

New landing page (click to see full size)

“Prospective Students responded extremely well to our new landing pages,” said Loring Kohrt, Online Marketing Manager for UTI, “not only did we triple our conversion rate, we reduced our exit rate and saw a boost in site engagement metrics across the board.”

More Good News: The Effect on Advertising
The jump in conversion volume was substantial and immediate, but UTI didn’t stop there. Realizing that their increased conversion rates had dramatically lowered their cost-per-lead, UTI decided that they had room to bid much more aggressively on Google’s Search and Display Networks. By doing so, they increased their average position, and brought in eight times the conversions at about half the CPA!


Improving conversion rate amplified all other marketing activities

Reflecting on his experience, Mr. Kohrt said “We are tremendously happy with the results of our redesign. We were able to dramatically improve the profitability of our advertising, increase our enrollments, and deliver a better experience to potential students.”

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team
URL: http://websiteoptimizer.blogspot.com/2011/03/case-study-universal-technical.html

[G] Assembling resources following the earthquake in Japan

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Official Google Blog: Assembling resources following the earthquake in Japan

(Cross-posted from the Google.org Blog)

I was the in the middle of writing code when the Google Japan office, on the 26th floor of Roppongi Hills in Tokyo, started shaking slowly. The rocking gradually increased, and I looked out the window to see the surrounding buildings all swaying ominously. Although alerts from the building urged us to evacuate via the emergency stairs, I couldn't help but stay and search for information about the earthquake’s epicenter and scale. Amidst a series of aftershocks rocking our office, a small group of us in Tokyo and several other Google offices started gathering information about the earthquake to create the Crisis Response information page.

As someone who experienced the Kobe earthquake 16 years ago when I was at university, I cannot forget the immediate desire for information. There was no way to find out where my family and friends were, if transportation would be available to get us home, and most importantly, whether we would be able to find shelter.

This experience helped me remember that during a crisis, information about shelters can become increasingly muddled. Together with our Google Crisis Response team, we decided to organize existing public information from local governments about the concerned areas. Because of the very high volume of web traffic yesterday, this proved difficult to access. Collaborating with the Google Maps engineering team in Tokyo, we rapidly put together a page of information on Google Maps for our Crisis Response page.

And thanks to our colleagues in California and around the globe, within one hour of the earthquake we launched Google Person Finder, a tool to help locate missing people, in Japanese, Chinese and English. We published sites in Japanese and English with maps, news updates, videos and resources. We also posted tsunami alerts on the Google homepage for appropriate domains to make sure as many people as possible saw the warning. And in addition to these tools we've made available, we are donating $250,000 to organizations in Japan who are working on relief and recovery efforts.

Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by the tragedy, and we thank the citizens, first responders and organizations working hard to keep everyone safe.

Posted by Ken Miura on behalf of Google Japan and international Crisis Response teams
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/assembling-resources-following.html

[G] This week in search 3/11/11

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 3/11/11

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.

When searching, sometimes you have a pretty good idea of what you want to see and what you don’t. With features like Google Instant and Instant Previews, you’re able to quickly scan results to find exactly what you’re looking for. This week’s changes continue to make Google more interactive so you can get to your desired search result even faster—whether you’re on the go, looking for videos or weeding out unhelpful search results.

Instant Previews for Videos
When it comes to videos, people want to spend less time searching and more time watching. That’s why we added an enhancement to Instant Previews—the ability to preview videos. Click once on the magnifying glass next to the title of any video search result in universal or video mode. For some videos, you'll now be able to play through a set of four short segments from the video to see if it’s what you’re looking for (video providers have to opt to make the previews available, so you won't find it for every video yet).


Example searches: [roy halladay], [bi-winning], [heat vs. lakers]

Instant Previews for Mobile
When you’re searching on your mobile device you want to find what you’re looking for fast. Similar to the desktop version, Instant Previews for mobile displays search results in the form of webpage snapshots, so you can visually compare results without having to go back and forth between websites and search results. To use Instant Previews, go to www.google.com on your Android (2.2+) or iOS (4.0+) device and tap on the magnifying glass next to any search result. You can quickly scroll across previews by swiping with your finger and when you find one you like, tap on the preview to go straight to the page. Try searching for [honeycomb] or [how to poach an egg] on your phone and preview the results to find what’s most interesting and useful to you.

Scroll across Instant Previews of search results on your mobile phone

Hide sites to further personalize your search results
Have you ever clicked on a result and come right back to Google to look for another one? Sometimes, this happens when the first result just isn’t quite right, but other times, it could be because the entire site seemed offensive or of generally low quality. Yesterday, we announced a new option for times like these, so you can further personalize your search results and block sites that you don’t find useful. When you click a result and then return to Google, you’ll find a new link to “Block all example.com results.” If you click the link and confirm it, the domain won’t appear in your future search results.


The next time you do a search that would normally return results from a site you’ve blocked, you’ll see a message telling you that results have been hidden from view. You can also manage your list of blocked sites from a separate page, which is accessible via your Search Settings, when you block a site, and when you see a blocked results reminder.

This week’s changes are designed to give you more control over the information you find on Google, so you can quickly decide what’s most useful to you and get to the result you need. Information has been exploding on the web for years now, whether it's real-time, video or blog posts, but one thing has stayed the same—your time. That's our inspiration for coming to work every day: to look for new ways to help you pinpoint exactly the information you need in seconds.

Posted by Amit Singhal, Google Fellow
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/this-week-in-search-31111.html

[G] Geek Time with Junio C Hamano

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Google Open Source Blog: Geek Time with Junio C Hamano



Junio C Hamano is a software engineer in the Google Open Source Programs Office who works on the open source project Git. Git is an increasingly popular distributed version control system that is used by many open source projects including Android, Chrome OS, and the Linux kernel. Jun is the maintainer and one of the primary authors of Git, with 4426 commits!

Jeremy Allison, co-creator of Samba and fellow Open Source Programs Office team member, recently sat down with Jun for some quality Geek Time. Samba uses Git, so there was plenty to talk about! Here are some highlights:

• Jun and Jeremy discuss how Jun began working on open source after the maintainer of GNU’s source control system RCS, Paul Eggert, began mentoring him. (0:56)

• Jun explains why he prefers working within the open source software development model. (2:50)

• Jeremy asks Jun how he became interested and involved with Git. (3:27)

• When Jun first started working on Git, he had to balance his time between working on an open source project with a day job. Jun reveals his secret for making this balance work, and also how he eventually integrated Git into his day job. (7:00)

• Jun and Jeremy discuss the growing popularity of Git in comparison to older version control systems, and Jun gives an overview of some of Git’s features that set it apart. (9:28)

• Jeremy shares his one criticism of Git, which is that it’s hard to use. Jun responds and offers some suggestions for those who are new to Git. (12:48)

• Jun reveals some longer-term goals for Git as well as some new developments for future releases. (17:44)

• Jeremy asks Jun how he ended up at Google and they talk about Git’s growing role within Google. (19:24)

• Jun gives advice to developers who are new to open source and want to get involved. (21:50)

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2011/03/geek-time-with-junio-c-hamano.html

[G] Googlers are Everywhere

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Google Open Source Blog: Googlers are Everywhere

This is a very busy week for Googlers talking about open source at conferences. In addition to having lots of Google employees headed to Atlanta for PyCon USA 2011, members of Google’s Open Source Programs Office will also be heading out to Chicago, IL and Dallas, TX for DrupalCon and SIGCSE, respectively.

Cat Allman will be at SIGCSE, where she will talk to attendees about open source in Google’s computer science education initiatives. On Friday March 11th, from 1:45 - 3:00 PM, Cat will present information about Google Summer of Code alongside Google colleagues who will also talk about App Inventor for Android, Computer Science 4 High School (CS4HS), and Computational Thinking. Directly after the talk, there will be a chance to meet with Cat and members of Google's education team from 3:45 - 5:00 PM, followed by a reception from 5:00 - 6:00 PM.

Carol Smith will be at DrupalCon to talk at a panel discussion titled, ”Paying for the Plumbing” today at 4:30 PM. During this talk, Carol will discuss how participation in a program like Google Summer of Code can provide financial support for open source projects.

If you’re at PyCon, DrupalCon, or SIGCSE this week, make sure to look out for us and say hello!

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2011/03/googlers-are-everywhere.html

[G] Going Google across the 50 States: Arizona partners make their dream business a reality with help from Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Going Google across the 50 States: Arizona partners make their dream business a reality with help from Google Apps

Editor's note: Over 3 million businesses have adopted Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from David Marsh, co-Founder of The Standard Agency, a talent management and creative agency in Arizona. 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.

Our dream business started at the kitchen counter, literally. My partner and I had been involved in the music industry for a decade and knew the framework for managing talent was broken – people are at extremes either bringing in tons of money or making close to nothing. So, we took a business idea that we developed at the kitchen counter and founded The Standard Agency to manage musicians, models, actors, athletes and other talent who need representation. We offer a one-stop shop that includes everything from design and online promotion to booking gigs. In working and collaborating on so many different projects we also found there was a demand to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of how design and social media impact businesses. This caused us to expand to offer related marketing services to small businesses who need help establishing themselves online and offline.

Our business quickly went from an idea to a reality and to be able to immediately have professional email and other business tools through Google Apps was key. Knowing Gmail was part of Google Apps was a huge selling point for me as I consider it the best solution to keep email organized. Set up of Google Apps was quick and flawless and all the applications are easy to access from any device. I’ve worked with other companies that have had to jump through hoops to get email on their mobile phones. For me, Gmail automatically worked on my phone and it’s the primary way I access email. Plus, we don’t have constant downtime and servers to maintain as I’ve experienced elsewhere.

Google Calendar has been essential for scheduling and tracking timelines for various marketing projects. I don’t think my partner would have been able to use any other calendar out there. He’s far more efficient and productive because his calendar is easy to use and it syncs across his phone, laptop, and tablet.

When it comes to our extensive network of contractors and employees, most of whom live out-of-state, Google Docs is the cornerstone of how we work. We use Google forms extensively for everything from fan surveys to elicit feedback after events, to online resumes to collect information from new job applicants. We also create Google docs for almost everything including legal contracts which are common in our business. Contracts often go through multiple rounds of revisions and with a Google doc, the right people can access and collaborate on the most up to date version, no matter where they are.

If it wasn’t for the ease of use and low cost of Google Apps, I don’t think my partner and I would have taken off running as fast as we did. It created a strong sense of confidence and familiarity that we needed to start up our business. Two years later, we all use Google Apps daily and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Posted by David Marsh, co-Founder, The Standard Agency
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/03/going-google-across-50-states-arizona.html

[G] Google Site Search on the Royal Wedding Website

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Site Search on the Royal Wedding Website

St. James’s Palace just launched www.officialroyalwedding2011.org, a website celebrating the forthcoming marriage of Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton. The website is the official information hub for anyone interested in the Royal Wedding, and if you browse the website you might notice something familiar: instant, crisp, and relevant search results powered by Google.




Whether you’re looking for more information about the reception, or are simply curious about who Miss Middleton appointed as her Maid of Honour, Google Site Search will quickly direct you to the most relevant results.

We’re thrilled to be assisting St. James’s Palace with their website search engine. Our congratulations to the happy couple!

Posted by Rajat Mukherjee, Group Product Manager, Google Site Search
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/03/google-site-search-on-royal-wedding.html

[G] New in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: New in Gmail Labs: Smart Labels

(Cross-posted from the Gmail blog.)

People get a lot of email these days. On top of personal messages, there are group mailing lists, social network notifications, credit card statements, newsletters you might have signed up for, and promotional email from a shopping site you used once months ago. Gmail’s filters and labels were invented to help manage the deluge, but while I have about 100 filters that triage and label my incoming mail, most of my friends and family have all their messages in a giant unfiltered inbox.

Last year, we launched Priority Inbox to automatically sort incoming email and help you focus on the messages that matter most. Today, we're launching a complementary feature in Gmail Labs called Smart Labels, which helps you classify and organize your email. Once you turn it on from the Labs tab in Settings, Smart Labels automatically categorizes incoming Bulk, Notification and Forum messages, and labels them as such. “Bulk” mail includes any kind of mass mailing (such as newsletters and promotional email) and gets filtered out of your inbox by default (where you can easily read it later), “Notifications” are messages sent to you directly (like account statements and receipts), and email from group mailing lists gets labeled as “Forums.”


If you already use filters and labels to organize your mail, you may find that you can replace your existing filters with Smart Labels. If you're picky like me and still want to hold on to your current organization system, Smart Labels play nice with other labels and filters too. On the Filters tab under Settings, you'll find that these filters can be edited just like any others. From there, you can also edit your existing filters to avoid having them Smart Labeled or change whether mail in a Smart Label skips your inbox (which you can also do by just clicking on the label, then selecting or unselecting the checkbox in the top right corner).

Labs in Gmail are a great testing ground for experimental features, and we hope Smart Labels help you more effortlessly get through your inbox. If you notice a message that was automatically labeled incorrectly and want to help us troubleshoot, you can report miscategorizations from the drop down menu on each message (in doing so, you’ll donate the full message to our engineers so that we can improve the feature).

To get started with Smart Labels:
  1. Sign in to Gmail and click 'Settings'.
  2. Click the 'Labs' tab and select 'Enable' next to 'Smart Labels’.
  3. Click 'Save Changes.'
Please note that Google Apps for Business and Education users will first need their administrators to enable Gmail Labs from the Google Apps admin control panel to take advantage of Smart Labels, and other Gmail Labs. For more information on Gmail labs for Google Apps, see the Help Center.

Give it a try and send us feedback on how we can make it work better for you!

Posted by Stanley Chen, Software Engineer
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-in-gmail-labs-smart-labels.html

Friday, March 11, 2011

[G] Lunching, learning & optimizing in your city

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Inside AdSense: Lunching, learning & optimizing in your city

Over the past three weeks, we’ve had the opportunity to meet a bunch of you in person. Through events in San Francisco, Mountain View, Charlotte and Atlanta, we’ve been able to see and optimize some incredible sites, as well as learn directly from you how we can continue to improve your experience with AdSense.

In San Francisco, around 50 publishers joined us in our office to network with one another, work with our optimization specialists, and chat with members of our Policy team for our first AdSense in Your City event of 2011. Since San Francisco is also our city, it was great to meet some local publishers, and watch some business connections form over coffee and snacks in our downtown office.


Mountain View welcomed around 20 new publishers to the Google campus so we could learn more about their experience getting started with AdSense. After discussing some great optimization tips as a group, we got a lot of invaluable feedback over lunch that will enable us to improve the newbie experience for the next generation of AdSensers. Deep diving into our help resources, the new AdSense interface, and our interactive learning materials, we got a lot of suggestions we can act on to improve the way we communicate and teach new publishers to set up and optimize their AdSense implementation. We’d love to hear more ideas about how we can make your first weeks as a publisher better, so feel free to leave us a comment here or join the conversation in our forum.

We just got back to sunny California after two quick days meeting publishers down South. Hosting optimization office hours at a funky Charlotte, NC coffee shop and then jetting off to meet more publishers in our Atlanta office the following day, we covered a lot of ground in an area of the country booming with awesome websites, interesting people, tasty food, and vibrant culture. Two days wasn’t nearly enough time for us to soak it all in, but we were able to leave having provided some great optimization tips to an area of the country that we don’t often get to see in person.

And the journey doesn’t stop here -- we’re planning to visit more cities in 2011, so leave us a comment with where you think we should go next. We hope to see you in your city soon!

Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2011/03/lunching-learning-optimizing-in-your.html

[G] New Interface Wednesdays: Bulk edit

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Inside AdSense: New Interface Wednesdays: Bulk edit

You might have read in a previous AdSense blog post that opting in to both text and image ads increases the pool of advertisers bidding for your site inventory -- which can in turn increase the amount of revenue you make from AdSense. In the past, changing all your ad units to accept both text and image ads might have taken a lot of time. But now, the new interface allows you to easily find and edit all or some of your ad units with just a few clicks.

Simply go to the 'My ads' tab in the new interface and under 'Content,' choose the 'Ad units' page. Using the checkboxes, select the ad units you’d like to edit, or simply select the checkbox at the top of the list to select all of your ad units. Using the 'Actions' dropdown, select 'Edit ad type.' Choose 'Text & image/rich media ads' and then click 'apply ad type.' Now any ad units that can be opted into both text and image will have this set as their ad type.

We recommend opting your ad units into both text and image to increase auction pressure, ensuring you will get the highest RPM possible. Keep in mind that some units such as link units and certain ad sizes cannot contain image ads, so you will not be able to modify these ad types.


Try it now! Navigate to the new interface and click on the My ads tab, and then 'Content,' followed by 'Ad units.'

Posted by Alex Benton - AdSense Engineer
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2011/03/new-interface-wednesdays-bulk-edit.html

[G] YouTube @ SXSW 2011

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YouTube Blog: YouTube @ SXSW 2011

It’s that time of year again. Austin BBQs are prepping their short ribs while a vast array of musicians, filmmakers, and the tech-obsessed head down to the Lone Star State for SXSW’s Music, Film and Interactive Festival. And YouTube, of course, will be there!

YouTube has been a home for independent artists of all stripes since its inception. Recently, we put independent and aspiring film-makers on the world stage with “Life in a Day,” an historic cinematic experiment to document a single day on earth. The film, directed by Kevin Macdonald, produced by Ridley Scott and filmed by YouTube users around the world, had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January and is now part of the official line-up at SXSW. For those of you in Austin next week, you can catch screenings of the film Wired Magazine called “provocative, gorgeous and...deeply moving” on Tuesday, March 15, at 11:30am at The Paramount; Wednesday, March 16, at 9pm at Regal Westgate Stadium; and Saturday, March 19, at 7:30pm at The Alamo Lamar 6.

But our presence at SXSW isn’t limited to film - our commitment to providing support for the globe’s vast array of musical talent will be highlighted in three different events over the course of the week. We invite those of you attending the festival to join us:

YouTube’s closing night of film/opening night of music party
9 p.m. Tuesday March 15 @ Maggie Mae’s

The bands are amazing, and if you’re a 21+ badge-holder, the price is right. Beatboxing wizard Beardyman, the crazily talented (and yes, funny) British artist who’s used YouTube in pretty creative ways opens the night. Then it’s on to Playing for Change, the heartwarming and mostly virtual collective of musicians from around the world; be prepared to sing along. Next up is budding Danish electro-pop sensation Oh Land, whose inventive compositions hide a solid pop sensibility in their dreamy folds. The night closes with Das Racist, a comic rap group who have landed on so many critics’ lists recently, you might be forgiven for thinking they’re actually serious artists. (Okay, they actually are.) They’ve also had a strong YouTube presence since their start. You’ll be able to check out all these musicians on the YouTube homepage this Tuesday.



NPR Music's live From The Parish
12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, March 17
YouTube is supporting NPR’s showcase event, which is headlined by Brooklyn “nightmare shoegaze” act The Antlers, a group who won attention for its 2009 cycle of absorbing and intensely felt songs. Also on the bill are Welsh indie band The Joy Formidable and indie supergroup Wild Flag, which includes members of Sleater Kinney among many others. Mali’s diva Khaira Arby is a live singer of stunning power who recently collaborated with Brooklyn group The Sway Machinery; watch out for an incantatory set. Oakland’s brilliant sonic tinkerer tUnE-yArDs will make an appearance, and get there early to see Colin Stetson, the Arcade Fire saxophonist whose new solo album is a remarkable piece of avant-garde composition. (Rarely has a sax sounded so little like a sax!) The show is free and open to the 21+ public.

Other Music/Dig for Fire’s lawn party
1 p.m. - 6 p.m. Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18

When the iconic, taste-making New York record store Other Music and video-making wunderkinds Dig for Fire join forces to produce a two-day event with four sets, watch out. You could be entering music heaven in the form of a lawn party. Headliners include dance-punk darlings !!!, buzzworthy indie rocker Ted Leo, Scotland’s guitar-pop guru Edwyn Collins and the afore-mentioned tUnE-yArDs. Our money’s on James Blake’s 5 p.m. Friday set to bring down the, uh, lawn with his soulful, minimalist meditations -- and there are a slew of other wonderful musicians rocking the two stages both days.

Sarah Bardeen, Music Community Manager, recently watched “Best Coast - Noise Pop 2011.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/6T9LG0Af45A/youtube-sxsw-2011.html

[G] Browse Advertisers for Publishers

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Google Affiliate Network: Browse Advertisers for Publishers

The Browse Advertisers Beta tab now provides search functionality and filtering options so that Publishers can easily find Advertisers that match their desired program traits. The filter options are as follows:
  • Relationship status*
  • Advertiser categories
  • 7-day EPC
  • 3-month EPC
  • Payout rank
*To search for Advertisers where you have no relationship (declined, deactivated, pending or approved), choose the “Available” option.
.
Here’s how to get started with Browse Advertisers:
  1. Log in to your Google Affiliate Network Publisher Account
  2. Navigate to the Advertisers - Beta tab
  3. You’ll see all of your approved Advertisers
  4. Navigate to the left side for filter options
  5. You can search for a specific Advertiser or filter on desired program attributes
Publishers can still navigate to the legacy version by clicking on "switch to classic version".


We will continue to iterate on the beta and we invite you to provide your feedback in our Help Forum.


posted by Sheila Parker, Product Manager
URL: http://googleaffiliatenetwork-blog.blogspot.com/2011/03/google-affiliate-network-browse.html

[G] Unleashing energy innovation

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Google Public Policy Blog: Unleashing energy innovation

Posted by Michael Terrell, Energy Policy Counsel

The Internet, digital music, smart phones - these are just some of the innovations that have changed the way we live and work. Yet the way we use energy - whether it’s powering our cars or our homes and businesses - hasn’t changed in decades. Our economy needs a cleaner, more efficient way of delivering energy while giving people better tools and information to manage their energy use.

The good news is there’s widespread agreement that transforming the energy sector is a big opportunity to create jobs, foster innovation and grow new industries. At Google, we’ve been working to transform our own energy use. We’ve made our data centers the most efficient in the world, built a fleet of electric cars, invested in renewable energy, and developed online tools like Google PowerMeter.

Of course, government policy plays an important role in driving change towards a cleaner economy and it’s important to get the rules right. There’s a real debate happening now in Washington about how to solve the nation’s energy challenges. We don’t have all the answers, but here are a few important areas that policymakers should consider:
  • Drive investments in energy infrastructure and technology.  With the right mix of policies, vast amounts of private capital can be leveraged to develop the next generation of energy infrastructure. That means a smarter, more efficient power grid and more renewable power generation, whether it’s utility-scale or on rooftops. The government should provide clear market signals through measures such as energy efficiency and clean energy standards. And we should deploy a variety of incentives to help take new technologies to full commercial scale.
  • Stimulate R&D to find the next technological breakthroughs.  We should support research and development that can lead to the next energy breakthroughs, including innovative programs like the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), which has spurred four dollars in private sector investment for every taxpayer dollar spent.
  • Remove barriers to innovation and empower energy consumers.  Regulatory and market barriers have created huge inefficiencies in the way homes and businesses use energy. Consumers still lack basic information and tools for better managing their energy use. Utility regulation must be brought into the 21st century to promote investments in efficiency and renewables and reductions in peak energy demand. That includes enacting policies that give consumers access to and control over their own energy information.
We’ll be engaging on these issues over the next few months. In the meantime, we invite you to post comments and join the conversation!
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2011/03/unleashing-energy-innovation.html

[G] Google Voice turns 2!

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Google Voice Blog: Google Voice turns 2!

Since our first birthday, we’ve been working hard to bring new features to Google Voice and make it available to as many users in as many places and on as many devices as possible.

As we mark this milestone, we want to thank all of our users in the Google Voice community. All of your support, feedback and stories have helped us improve the Google Voice experience.

We’ve seen the product evolve significantly over the last two years. In the last year alone, Google Voice went out of invite-only mode and became available to all US users, we brought calling to Gmail, launched apps for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad, and made it possible to get the full set of Google Voice features on your existing mobile number by porting it to Google Voice.



We’ve got a bunch of new features and updates in the works and are working hard to bring Google Voice to even more users in 2011. Thanks to our users again for all of the support!

Posted by Vincent Paquet, Google Voice Product Manager
URL: http://googlevoiceblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/google-voice-turns-2.html

[G] A fairytale marriage: Google Earth and London in 3D

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Google LatLong: A fairytale marriage: Google Earth and London in 3D

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

On April 29, the eyes of the world will focus on London for the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, and the U.K. will deliver a royal celebration that will capture the imagination of a global audience. We’re doing our part too: following last week's announcement of new aerial imagery for London, we’re expanding our 3D imagery of central London’s buildings and trees in Google Earth—including the entire royal procession route.



With this new 3D data covering the royal procession route, you can indulge yourself in a “royals’-eye” view to see the same sights that William and Catherine will see. Upon departing Westminster Abbey, you’ll pass the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the famous ministries on Whitehall and the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. Traverse Horse Guards Parade, and from there, you can travel down The Mall—with 3D trees lining the route—and see Buckingham Palace standing proudly at the finish.

This new 3D imagery isn’t limited to the royal parade route. Thousands of buildings are available, so people from around the globe can digitally experience the beauty of London. You can view buildings such as the British Museum, a treasure trove of historical artifacts, Goodge Street tube station, where General Eisenhower commanded allied forces in WWII, and Shaftesbury Avenue, the historical theatre district of London.

What’s more, we’ve also turned St James' Park, Green Park and Hyde Park into a 3D lush green carpet, thanks to the help of our friends at the Royal Parks. We’ve modeled five different species of trees, and virtually planted more than 12,000 individual trees (available in Google Earth 6).

To see all the landmarks and greenery in Google Earth, check the 3D buildings box in the left-hand panel under “Layers,” type “London” in the search bar on the top left and use the navigation controls in the upper right to zoom in, spin around and tilt the view. Or you can go to Earth View on Google Maps in your browser.

Since moving to London from Leek, in Staffordshire, I’ve grown to appreciate all the royal and historic landmarks in the capital. So whether you’re standing near me and millions of my fellow Britons on the Mall on April 29 to catch a glimpse of the happy couple, or enjoying the spectacle from home, I hope this new 3D data for London brings you closer to this wonderful city.

A preview of the sunrise on April 29

Posted by Phil Verney, Program Manager, Google Earth & Maps
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/03/fairytale-marriage-google-earth-and.html

[G] Check in, gain status, and unlock offers with Google Latitude in Austin

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Google LatLong: Check in, gain status, and unlock offers with Google Latitude in Austin


Do you have a go-to restaurant you love – a place where everybody knows your name? If you’ve been checking in there from Google Latitude in Google Maps for Android, we want to help you get a little extra love right back. After launching check-ins for Latitude last month, today we’re rolling out our first check-in offers at more than 60 great places in Austin, Texas.

Checking in from Google Latitude lets you easily share the places you go with friends, and you can even choose to get check-in notifications or automatically check in to make it even easier. In addition to sharing places, you can also gain status as a “Regular”, “VIP”, or “Guru” at places depending on how often you’ve checked in there. You can even see your progress along the way by tapping your current status. I’ve been checking in almost everywhere I go, and after a steady stream of caffeination at my favorite coffee shop, I’m proud to be a Guru there!


From the Place page, find available check-in offers (left); tap your status to see where you stand and find your check-in history (right).

In addition to pride, you can now unlock check-in offers that places have created for your status level. So, a restaurant or shop can give their Regulars a reason to keep coming back and their Gurus an awesome reward for their loyalty. Check-in offers can be as creative as places want for any of the three status levels. You can find places where check-in offers are available in Google Maps for Android search results and Place pages.

See if a place has check-in offers available in your Google Maps for Android search results.

You’ll be able to see both available and locked check-in offers. And once you gain status and unlock a check-in offer, just tap Redeem and show your phone to use it. Learn more at google.com/mobile/checkin.

See locked offers and ones available at your status level (left); tap an unlocked one and redeem it (right).

We’re kicking off check-in offers in Austin this week, and we’re working on bringing them to more people and more places. If you’re in town for South by Southwest this week or just happen to live near Austin, find check-in offers at some of its finest establishments, such as:
  • Free coffee for Regulars at Frank
  • Free sundae from the cafe for VIPs at Toy Joy
  • Buy a slice and get one free during certain hours for VIPs at East Side Pies
  • 10% off any upcoming event book for Gurus at BookPeople
  • 20% off select merchandise for Gurus at Waterloo Records
Find all the check-in offer locations in Austin on a map, and then see more details by opening their Place pages in Google Maps for Android.

To get started unlocking offers, update to Google Maps 5.2 in Android Market (requires Android 1.6+) and tap Check in here from a Place page or from Latitude’s menu. If you haven’t yet, join Latitude and check in wherever you go. And if you’ve got an iPhone, the Latitude app for iPhone will be updated with check-ins and check-in offers soon.

Posted by Kenny Stoltz, Product Manager, Google Maps Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/03/check-in-gain-status-and-unlock-offers.html

[G] Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Street View

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Google LatLong: Visit the Hiroshima Peace Memorial in Street View


We’ve added many historic sites to Street View to let you explore these places online, and now we’ve included Street View imagery of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial,  also known as the “Atomic Bomb Dome.” On August 6, 1945 at 8:15am, the first nuclear device to be used in warfare exploded almost directly above this building. The annihilated structure became an iconic symbol of the bomb’s devastation, and despite rebuilding the rest of the city, Hiroshima decided to keep the Dome in its post-war condition to stand as a living testament to the horror of nuclear conflict.



The Atomic Dome has always been an important reminder of history, but also a living beacon for the message of global peace. The desire to experience the Peace Memorial as a physical space makes it a great match for Street View, which both enables people around the world to tour the site virtually and also preserves this important imagery for the next generation. We hope that the imagery will inspire users outside of Japan take a new interest in Hiroshima’s history and think deeply about the importance and meaning of peace.

Along with this Atomic Dome imagery, we have also added special collections of seven places in Hiroshima Prefecture, including Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and the “floating” Itsukushima Shrine at both high and low tide.

Posted by Setsuto Murai, Strategic Partner Development Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/03/visit-hiroshima-peace-memorial-in.html

[G] Find electric vehicle charging stations on Google Maps

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Google LatLong: Find electric vehicle charging stations on Google Maps

[Cross-posted from the Google.org Blog]

At Google, we’ve been supporting environmentally-friendly cars through initiatives such as RechargeIT, an effort to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles. As consumers embrace electric vehicles, we’ve also been adding information to Google Maps over the past few months to help users find charging stations. Just search on Google Maps for “ev charging station” plus the appropriate area, for example, “ev charging station near mountain view ca.”



We’d like to continue adding more charging stations to Google Maps, so we’re excited that our friends over at the the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) are working to make more data available.

NREL has launched the GeoEVSE Forum to help develop a detailed, accurate database of electric vehicle charging stations. We’ll be adding more EV charging locations to Google Maps as their database, and others, are updated. As always, you can use the Report a problem tool to inform us of any corrections.

If you represent an automaker, an electric vehicle charging station manufacturer or installer, an EV consumer group or any other interested party, you can join the GeoEVSE Forum by visiting this site.

We look forward to adding even more information to Google Maps to help you recharge your electric vehicle. Happy green driving!

Posted by Cynthia Yeung, Strategic Partner Development Team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/03/find-electric-vehicle-charging-stations.html

[G] Three years of Google + DoubleClick by the numbers, and video arrives on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange

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Official Google Blog: Three years of Google + DoubleClick by the numbers, and video arrives on the DoubleClick Ad Exchange

In 2008, we acquired DoubleClick, and our efforts to make the display advertising landscape a better, simpler place for users, publishers and marketers began in earnest. Today marks exactly three exciting years together. The time has flown by, and we’ve made huge strides towards our goal, largely powered by DoubleClick’s technological and industry expertise.

Here are a few of the things we’ve achieved in the past three years: we’ve offered people control over what ads they see on the web, created a new way for advertisers and publishers to buy and sell ads, given publishers a powerful tool to maximize the value of their content, introduced a way to bring a campaign to life across the web with instantly customized creative, added a platform to buy across ad exchanges in real time, enabled small advertisers to launch display campaigns in minutes, introduced a highly effective way of delivering ads to interested consumers on the Google Display Network and rolled out video ads that allow consumers to watch only the ads they want to see (while letting advertisers pay for only the ads that consumers watch).

We realize that the display industry is still complex (we actually turned to the laws of physics to help marketers navigate their way through it). But we’re getting there.

A few numbers help tell the story of the past three years:
  • 5,400,000: A rough estimate of the hours our engineers have spent working on our display business since 2008 (that’s equivalent to 616 years without sleep or rest)
  • 110 billion: Our estimate of the number of potential customers that our clients’ display ads have driven immediately to marketers’ websites (to say nothing of the exposure, engagement and brand-building that these ads enable)
  • 5: On sites in the Google Display Network, the number of times larger that spending on display ads is today, compared to three years ago (that’s like a toddler growing to the size of a one-story house)
We’re kicking off year four with another step towards our overall vision: the addition of video ad formats to the DoubleClick Ad Exchange. We’re about to start a beta test, allowing Ad Exchange buyers to run in-stream video ads on YouTube using real-time bidding technology. (We’ll eventually extend this capability to include additional video formats and will serve ads on more videos across the web.)

We think that video ads are going to quickly become an even bigger piece of the display landscape. And in our own survey with Digiday, about 20% of marketers indicated that they wanted to use real-time bidding to buy video ads this year. Combining the power of exchange buying with the potential of video will to help grow the advertising pie (or in honor of today’s anniversary, cake) for everyone.

We can’t wait to see what else the next year has in store.

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, Senior Vice President, Product Management and Neal Mohan, Vice President, Product Management
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/03/three-years-of-google-doubleclick-by.html