Saturday, March 19, 2011

[G] Site maintenance on Sunday, March 20

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Inside AdSense: Site maintenance on Sunday, March 20

This Sunday, our engineers will be performing routine site maintenance from 3am to 7am PDT. You may be unable to log in to your AdSense account during this time and some features may be temporarily unavailable during the maintenance. We'll continue serving ads to your pages and tracking your clicks, impressions, and earnings as usual. Your ad targeting won't be affected.

We've converted the maintenance start time for a few cities around the world:

London - 10am GMT Sunday

Alexandria - 12pm EET Sunday

Hyderabad - 3:30pm IST Sunday

Jakarta - 5pm WIT Sunday

Perth - 6pm WST Sunday

To learn more about what goes on during these maintenance periods, check out this Inside AdSense post.

Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSenseTeam

[G] Happy St. Patrick's Day

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Inside AdSense: Happy St. Patrick's Day

A big St Patty's cheers from everyone on the Dublin AdSense team!

Posted by Nathaniel Kolenberg - Inside AdSense Team

[G] Making the web faster for all AdSense for content publishers

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Inside AdSense: Making the web faster for all AdSense for content publishers

At Google, we spend a lot of time working to make the web faster. Your site is no exception. And today, as part of this vision, we’re pleased to announce a major boost in speed for AdSense publishers worldwide.

AdSense ads, like any element on a webpage, usually contribute to the time the page takes to load. Last year, we ran tests that showed AdSense adding 12% on average to the time it took to load various pages from top web sites, so we set out to make this better. We’ve now developed a new ads delivery technique to improve the speed of websites that display AdSense ads, so that it doesn’t slow down your page content. We’re very happy to announce that we’ve eliminated this slowdown for the majority of websites and for a number of browsers, and are seeing pages load as much as a second faster than before.

The best part is, you don’t need to make any changes to your code or account — the faster load time has kicked into gear for everyone automatically, so your visitors will experience a noticeable improvement in the speed of your webpages!

At this time, we're deploying globally for users of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 and will be expanding the list of browsers that benefit from this speed-up soon.

And it doesn’t stop here, as we’ll keep working to make things even faster. Continue to grow your site and AdSense inventory. We’ll be sure to keep up.

Posted by Richard Rabbat - Product Manager

[G] Raises its revenue to new heights with AdSense

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Inside AdSense: Raises its revenue to new heights with AdSense

UpTake uses the new AdSense interface to perform 10 times more analysis in the same amount of time. is a search engine designed to take the time and guesswork out of the travel decision process by organizing, filtering, and tailoring recommendations on destinations, hotels, restaurants, and attractions from thousands of travel websites to individual consumer needs. UpTake’s Director of Online Marketing, Brian Piepgrass, recently shared the site’s story and gave us some tips on how using the new interface has helped the UpTake team save time managing their AdSense performance.

Inside AdSense: How did your site come about?
UpTake: We wanted to create a new kind of website for helping travelers find information they need, and take a lot less time doing it. We’ve become one of the web’s largest independent travel research sites, averaging 3 million unique users each month. Today, our vision is rapidly expanding to include family travel, international travel as well as pre-trip planning.

IA: What role does AdSense play in your business?
UpTake: UpTake started using AdSense about two years ago, and the revenue generated from AdSense plays a key role in helping us grow. AdSense has the ability to deliver relevant ads in many more destinations for us, including in dozens of small- and medium-sized markets such as Modesto and Fresno. AdSense also picks up on the semantics of individual travel pages. On romance-specific pages, for instance, AdSense might include ads for hotels with Jacuzzi suites or honeymoon packages. Without AdSense, a lot of pages wouldn’t have ads and the pages would not be as relevant. We’d have to have our own sales force go out and sell all these ads.”

IA: I understand you’ve recently started using the new AdSense interface. What do you like about it?
UpTake: The new AdSense interface has been a key time-saver. It used to take a half-hour to pull the kind of report that now we can pull in a matter of 30 seconds. We feel way more in touch with how things are trending. If revenue goes down we can much more easily figure out why and where and then go fix it. One of our favorite features is the ability to take out-of-the-box reports and tailor them specifically to our customers. We can just click on the name of a report and update to today. The system is also smart enough to know we want to see what happened last month, and we can save 20-30 reports.

IA: If you had to sum it up, what would you tell other publishers about the new interface?
Uptake: We can do 10 times more analysis than we ever used to be able to do in the same amount of time.

If you’d like to see how the new AdSense interface can help reduce time spent managing and monitoring your account, sign in to your account and switch to the new interface (you can get there from the link in the upper corner that says “Try the new AdSense interface”). To learn more about the new reporting functionality, visit our Help Center.

Posted by Nate Deoms - Inside AdSense team

[G] More resources for those affected by the Japan earthquake and tsunami

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Google Public Policy Blog: More resources for those affected by the Japan earthquake and tsunami

Posted by Nobu Makida, Product Manager, on behalf of the Google Japan and international Crisis Response teams

(Cross-posted from the Official Blog.)

Like the rest of the world, we’ve been transfixed by the images and news coming out of the northeastern part of Japan over the past six days. Our hearts go out to those who have been affected by this devastation and we’re deeply grateful to those who are working to keep us safe. In the meantime, Googlers in Japan and elsewhere around the world have been working around the clock to try and help improve the flow of information. Here are some of the recent developments we’ve been working on:

Centralized information
Our Crisis Response page—now in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean—organizes all of Google’s efforts, with links to valuable resources such as emergency hotlines, Person Finder, blackout schedules, maps and links to relief organizations receiving donations. Ninety-three percent of mobile users in Japan don’t have top-of-the-line smartphones, so we’ve recently optimized this Crisis Response page to make it more readable for a wider range of devices. You can also access that version by scanning this QR code:

Person Finder
Within the first two hours of the earthquake, we launched Person Finder so people can enter the names of those they’re looking for or have found. You can now also search by entering mobile phone numbers to see if they match any listings. And as with the Crisis Response page, Person Finder has also been optimized for those without smartphones. There are currently more than 250,000 records in the database (including names shared with us by NHK, the national broadcaster in Japan) and we’ve heard several reports of people who have found their loved ones safe.

To help the many people in shelters get word of their whereabouts to loved ones, we’re also asking people in shelters to take photos of the handwritten lists of names of current residents and email them to us. Those photos are automatically uploaded to a public Picasa Web Album. We use scanning technology to help us manually add these names to Person Finder; but it’s a big job that can’t be done automatically by computers alone, so we welcome volunteers with Japanese language skills who want to help out.

Satellite images
We’re also working with our satellite partners GeoEye and DigitalGlobe to provide frequent updates to our imagery of the hardest-hit areas to first responders as well as the general public. You can view this imagery in this Google Earth KML, browse it online through Google Maps or look through our Picasa album of before-and-after images of such places as Minamisanriku and Kesennuma.

You can follow developments on the ground by looking at several maps that track changing developments. We’ve mapped rolling blackouts for areas that are affected by power outages. With data given to us by Honda, you can now see which roads have been recently passable on this map or this user-made Google Earth mashup with new satellite imagery. We’re also constantly updating a master map (in Japanese and English) with other data such as epicenter locations and evacuation shelters. And with information from the newspaper Mainichi, we’ve published a partial list of shelters.

Use Google Translate for Japanese and 56 other languages. You can paste in any text, or enter the address of any web page for automatic translation. We also just released an early experimental version of Google Translate for Android to help non-Japanese speakers in affected areas.

Visit our Crisis Response resource page to find opportunities to donate. When you donate to Japan relief efforts through Google Checkout, we absorb processing fees—so 100% of your money goes to the organizations. Google has also donated $250,000 to help the people of Japan recover.

To keep up with the latest developments on our efforts in Japan, follow @googlejapan (tweets are mostly in Japanese) or @earthoutreach (for our mapping and imagery efforts) on Twitter.

[G] National Engineers Week 2011: Classroom visits inspire students to pursue CS

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Official Google Blog: National Engineers Week 2011: Classroom visits inspire students to pursue CS

We love using our computer science (CS) and engineering skills to solve some of world’s most interesting and important problems. We also know that not enough students are pursuing careers in CS and that the U.S. currently has a 3-to-1 gap for computer and mathematical sciences jobs (that’s three job openings for every job seeker). So this year, for National Engineers Week, Google engineers across the country visited local middle schools and high schools to talk to more than 5,000 students about their own careers in computer science.

Instead of hosting students at Google for National Engineers Week as we’ve done in the past, this year we traveled to local communities to talk to the students on their own turf. Engineers Week fell during spring break in many areas, so we spread our school visits throughout the month of March.

As part of this event, I visited Odle Middle School in Bellevue, Washington with four other engineers from our Kirkland office. We split up into 16 different classrooms during the day, and talked about the importance of basic programming skills for all the sciences (it’s not just for CS majors!) before moving on to activities related to programming and algorithmic thinking (searching and sorting). It was a lot of fun to interact with the students—and we all left with a greater appreciation for the work that the teachers perform every day.

One of the engineers in our group is Japanese (his friends and family are fortunately all safe) and he gave a particularly resonant example of how CS can have a big impact. After the recent earthquake, geologists used computer models to predict where and when tsunamis were likely to hit coastal regions. This information was used to send warnings and direct resources where they were needed most. The speed and accuracy of these warnings is a credit to the scientists who combined their knowledge of geology with their programming expertise to produce these life-saving programs.

We really care about encouraging students to pursue careers in all the sciences (including computer science). By introducing students to interesting people who work in computer science, we hope we can inspire them to develop their own skills in this area.

Posted by Gary Kacmarcik, Software Engineer

[G] YouTube Highlights 3/17/2011

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Official Google Blog: YouTube Highlights 3/17/2011

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

Like many people, we've been struck by the devastation in Japan since last week. So in addition to our regular round-up, we've included some information to help you stay informed about events on the ground in Japan.

Footage from Japan on CitizenTube
In the aftermath of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and ensuing tsunami that hit Japan, we worked with Storyful to make eyewitness footage accessible on CitizenTube, YouTube’s News and Politics channel. We also featured some of the most moving videos, like this footage from inside a grocery store during the quake, in a spotlight on the YouTube homepage. You can find more videos on and the livestream of the Tokyo Broadcasting System’s news coverage.

Hollywood comes to YouTube with Girl Walks Into A Bar
We’ve premiered Hollywood's first feature-length film created specifically for the Internet. Presented by Lexus and now playing in the YouTube Screening Room, Girl Walks Into A Bar is a comedy directed by Sebastian Gutiérrez. The film stars (among others) Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Josh Hartnett and Emmanuelle Chriqui. Watch it in its entirety or in installments via this playlist.

Brave bloggers and more—reporting from Afghanistan
Steve Grove of YouTube News and Politics was recently part of a Google/YouTube delegation that went to Afghanistan. There, they interviewed people who have lost their jobs due to blogging and discovered a country that is hungry for information. Ninety percent of people listen to the radio every day, and even though only 30% of Afghans have electricity, 60% say they watch television daily (using generators or community viewing locations). Learn more about their trip and the state of media in Afghanistan in this blog post.

Full version of Kevin Bacon film on YouTube
Ivan Cobenk—the self-proclaimed No. 1 Kevin Bacon fan in the world—has posted the full version of his latest movie on YouTube. You might be familiar with "Ivan" from advertisements for the Logitech Revue with Google TV—turns out, they were only using clips of a documentary about Ivan, which you can now watch in full on YouTube.

YouTube @ SXSW 2011
A vast array of musicians and filmmakers are in Austin this week for the SXSW Music, Film and Interactive Festival, and so is YouTube. We showcased several YouTube artists—including Beardyman, Playing for Change, Oh Land and Das Racist—at a party Tuesday night, and other events include artists like The Antlers, The Joy Formidable, Wild Flag, Khaira Arby, The Sway Machinery, tUnE-yArDs, !!!, Ted Leo, Edwyn Collins, James Blake and Colin Stetson. You can find videos of many of these folks on YouTube, and look out for video from some of the events next week.

Apply to the YouTube Creator Institutes's inaugural class
We know there are people out there who have always wanted to express themselves through video, but may be limited by funding, video-making skills or insufficient tools. That’s why YouTube is establishing the YouTube Creator Institute—the first initiative from YouTube Next—to help nurture content creators, existing YouTube partners and the next generation of stellar YouTube talent. For details, visit

This week's trends: Dr. Seuss, politics and more
Here are a few of the YouTube Trends that have gotten the community talking in the past couple of weeks:

World View interview with John Boehner now online
If you missed the YouTube interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner as part of the YouTube World View program, you can now watch it in full. Stay tuned for upcoming interviews.

We’ll update you again in a few weeks. In the meantime, head over to the YouTube Blog.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Marketing Manager, The YouTube Team

[G] MyYouTube International Launch: eight new countries, featuring 142 local artists.

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YouTube Blog: MyYouTube International Launch: eight new countries, featuring 142 local artists.

After eight weeks of fierce competition, on February 16 we announced the winners of the MyYouTube U.S. contest. Christina Grimmie, Selena Gomez, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, and Justin Bieber claimed the top five spots and received a special winner’s masthead on the YouTube homepage.

Given the high level of involvement in the US program, we decided that MyYouTube couldn’t end there. So we ventured out to other countries to find their top local talent and get them on-board for a new wave of MyYouTube contests.

And on Wednesday, the international competitions began. The MyYouTube Contest launched in eight countries (Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico and Taiwan) and boasts a brand-new catalogue of local artists.

Check out Zoe in Mexico, Los Autenticos Decadentes in Argentina, Malaika Arora Khan in India and 2pm in Korea. Plus, we’ve sprinkled in a few global artists from the U.S. contest as well (Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez... to name a few).

In each international contest the artists compete to score the most points. And the only way they can score points is when YOU subscribe to their YouTube channels and share to your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

By subscribing to an artist’s channel on YouTube, you get their latest videos delivered straight to your YouTube homepage, so you can easily stay up-to-date on their latest activity.

To up the stakes even further, every artist (both local and global) is offering five prizes to five people who score points for them in the contest. All you have to do is sign-in to your YouTube account, go to and click “Subscribe” and “Share” for your favorite artists! You can also watch the artists’ shout-out videos and discover other YouTube channels recommended by each artist.

So head to now and help your favorite artists win the MyYouTube contest in your country!

Check out all the International contests, like the Argentina one below, by clicking on the MyYouTube WorldWide drop-down in the top right corner:

Becky Chappell, Product Marketing, recently watched “Rebecca Black - Friday (Official Video).”


Friday, March 18, 2011

[G] Games, auctions and beyond

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Official Google Research Blog: Games, auctions and beyond

Posted by Yossi Matias, Senior Director, Head of Israel R&D Center

In an effort to advance the understanding of market algorithms and Internet economics, Google has launched an academic research initiative focused on the underlying aspects of online auctions, pricing, game-theoretic strategies, and information exchange. Twenty professors from three leading Israeli academic institutions - the Hebrew University, Tel Aviv University and the Technion - will receive a Google grant to conduct research for three years.

In the past two decades, we have seen the Internet grow from a scientific network to an economic force that positively affects the global economy. E-commerce, online advertising, social networks and other new online business models present fascinating research questions and topics of study that can have a profound impact on society.

Consider online advertising, which is based on principles from algorithmic game theory and online auctions. The Internet has enabled advertising that is more segmented and measurable, making it more efficient than traditional advertising channels, such as newspaper classifieds, radio spots, and television commercials. These measurements have led to better pricing models, which are based on online real-time auctions. The original Internet auctions were designed by the industry, based on basic economic principles which have been known and appreciated for forty years.

As the Internet grows, online advertising is becoming more sophisticated, with developments such as ad-exchanges, advertising agencies which specialize in online markets, and new analytic tools. Optimizing value for advertisers and publishers in this new environment may benefit from a better understanding of the strategies and dynamics behind online auctions, the main driving tool of Internet advertising.

These grants will foster collaboration and interdisciplinary research by bringing together world renowned computer scientists, engineers, economists and game theorists to analyze complex online auctions and markets. Together, they will help bring this area of study into mainstream academic scientific research, ultimately advancing the field to the benefit of the industry at large.

The professors who received research grants include:
  • Hebrew University: Danny Dolev, Jeffrey S. Rosenschein, Noam Nisan (Computer Science and Engineering); Liad Blumrosen, Alex Gershkov, Eyal Winter (Economics); Michal Feldman and Ilan Kremer (Business). The last six are also members of the Center for the Study of Rationality.
  • Tel Aviv University: Yossi Azar, Amos Fiat, Haim Kaplan, and Yishay Mansour (Computer Science); Zvika Neeman (Economics); Ehud Lehrer and Eilon Solan (Mathematics); and Gal Oestreicher (Business).
  • Technion: Seffi Naor (Computer Science); Ron Lavi (Industrial Engineering); Shie Mannor and Ariel Orda (Electrical Engineering).
In addition to providing the funds, Google will offer support by inviting the researchers to seminars, workshops, faculty summits and brainstorming events. The results of this research will be published for the benefit of the Internet industry as a whole, and will contribute to the evolving discipline of market algorithms.

[G] The AdWords team brings its Ad Innovations to Search Engine Strategies New York

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Inside AdWords: The AdWords team brings its Ad Innovations to Search Engine Strategies New York

It’s that time of year again - the AdWords team is making its annual pilgrimage to New York for Search Engine Strategies. If you’re planning on attending the conference, we’d love you to stop by and meet the team. We’ll have senior AdWords and DoubleClick executives presenting our newest ad innovations as well as a booth full of knowledgeable Google staffers to answer your questions.

Here are a few Google sessions to put on your SES agenda (for the full Google schedule, refer to the SES website):

DoubleClick Search V3 Preview
Tuesday, March 22, 1:30-2:30pm

Over the past few months, the Google team has been hard at work on an upgraded version of DoubleClick Search - a tool that allows you to manage search campaigns across the major search engines in one interface. With significant improvements in speed, intuitive design, and new features, DoubleClick Search V3 is being built to make your life as a search marketing professional much easier. See how we’re innovating in this area and get a preview of the upgraded product.
  • Ariel Bardin, Director of Product Management
  • Scott Silver, Director of Engineering
Ad Innovations
Wednesday, March 23 1:00-2:00pm

Search funnels and site links and and call metrics - oh my! Take a crash course in the latest AdWords innovations. Discover new ad formats, tools to simplify and automate account management, new ways to scale your ads across the Google Network, and more. For a sneak preview, visit:
  • Jeff Gillis, Product Marketing Manager, Search Funnels and Analytics
  • Dan Friedman, Product Marketing Manager, New Ad Formats
  • Aleandra Kenin, Product Marketing Manager, Opportunities tab and ACE
  • Jessie Marmon Haines, Group Product Marketing Manager, Mobile
Ads in a Quality Score World (Panel)
Wednesday, March 23 3:45-4:45pm

More and more, ranking well in paid search listings is less and less about how much you pay and more about the "quality" of your ad campaign. But what goes into making up your quality score? In this panel, we'll take a closer look at quality factors and give tips on increasing the perceived relevancy of your campaigns.
  • Frederick Vallaeys, AdWords Evangelist, Google
We hope to see you in New York. If you can’t make it to SES in person, join in on the fun by exploring our new features on our Ad Innovations site or by keeping up with the AdWords Facebook page and @adwords Twitter account. We’ll be posting ad innovation-related information to these forums frequently over the course of next week.

Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Your great sports video. Shown on SportsCenter. Here’s how.

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YouTube Blog: Your great sports video. Shown on SportsCenter. Here’s how.

One of the most beautiful things about sports on YouTube is that, on any given day, the best play wins. It can come from a professional athlete in a 35,000 seat arena, or from an inspirational 11-year old swimmer from Hendersonville, Tennessee.

Just in time for March Madness basketball in the US, we’re happy to tip-off the second version of the YouTube + SportsCenter Your Highlight program presented by AT&T – a chance to have your best play shown on air on SportsCenter:


Go to ESPN’s YouTube channel, check out the rules, and submit your great sports video before May 5, 2011. SportsCenter’s Emmy-winning producers will select the best videos, which will then be voted on by the YouTube community. The winner will be flown to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., for the taping of a special segment on SportsCenter.

Even if you’re not submitting a video, come back to the channel to see a gallery of the best submissions throughout the season. Good luck!

Andrew Bangs, Sports Manager, recently watched “The Sickest Pass In Basketball? Pat Da Roc Showing Off.


[G] Ads Worth Spreading

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YouTube Blog: Ads Worth Spreading

People use YouTube to create original content that will connect, inform and inspire others across the globe, and we encourage advertisers to do the same. It is our goal to recognize and give praise when brands create content that people seek out, love and share with others. TED, the organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, announced a similar mission late last year with their inaugural Ads Worth Spreading challenge, designed to solicit best-in-class ads that raise the bar, elevate the craft and invent new forms of engagement, both online and in general.

Beginning in early January, TED and YouTube began the call for submissions. In less than a month, nearly 1,000 ads were submitted from around the world, varying in length from 30 seconds to five minutes. The winners were selected by a diverse judging panel made up of 24 artists, business people and thought leaders, including Robert Wong from Google’s Creative Lab and YouTube creative champion Terrence Kelleman of Dynomighty. One-third of the entries came from outside of the U.S., across a wide variety of brands and causes.

In early March, Chris Anderson announced the 10 winners of the challenge from the stage of the annual TED conference in Long Beach, California. The winners represent some of the most creative, compelling and out-of-the-box executions of the past year. They embody a new paradigm for advertising creative, pushing the boundaries on what will move audiences and spur action by embracing longer-form storytelling as advertising.

Video is a powerful medium for spreading ideas. Our mission--like TED’s--is supported in part by advertising. Any great video--whether original content or advertising--should make you think, make you respond, and make you want to share. We hope to continue to see more enthusiasm and more passion in online advertising, solidifying it as the medium that elevates the craft and practice of brands spreading ideas.

The 10 winning Ads Worth Spreading are:

The winning videos can be seen today on the YouTube homepage, and you can also take a look at behind-the-scenes commentary on YouTube Show & Tell, our resource for the best creative marketing on YouTube.

Mark Sabec, Product Marketing Manager, who recently watched “Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man


[G] Take a festive tour for St. Patrick’s Day

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Google LatLong: Take a festive tour for St. Patrick’s Day

People all over the world today are celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day in many different ways. You might walk in a local parade, spot a leprechaun, get pinched for not wearing green, bake some corned beef and cabbage, or even dare to drink a green pint.

For me, this holiday is not just about enjoying a feast with friends (even though I love baking the soda bread) – it’s also about going back to my Irish family heritage. Since Google Maps with Street View is available in Ireland, I went back to one of my favorite spots, Roundstone fishing village, that I visited two years ago. The winding, coastline roads are just as I remember them.

To get into the spirit, you can also play a Google Earth Tour to visit special places in Ireland and places around that world that celebrate this holiday. Fly to the Kilkenny Castle in 3D, see an exit ramp in the shape of a Shamrock, and visit an Irish village. We’ve also added the tour to the Google Earth Gallery so you can download the file and explore on your own.

Every year, the Chicago river turns green for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

For this Irish celebration, you can also add your own 3D buildings to Google Earth. With Google Building Maker, find your spot in Dublin, Ireland and quickly model a building using our photos. Or, try your hand at SketchUp and add your own creations to Google Earth anywhere in the world (buildings above were created by users).

So now we’ve given you plenty of ideas on how to celebrate this Irish holiday. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Posted by Tasha Danko, Google Earth Marketing

[G] Dominion Enterprises goes Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Dominion Enterprises goes Google

Editor's Note: We're pleased to welcome guest blogger, Joe Fuller, CIO of Dominion Enterprises. Dominion Enterprises is a leading marketing services company serving many industries including real estate, apartments, specialty vehicles, employment, automotive and travel. Dominion is one of the largest providers of targeted classified advertising reaching over 34 million consumers monthly. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

If you had asked me six months ago, I wouldn’t have classified my company as a technology first-mover. Dominion has 4,000 employees with about 800 in our home office and 3,200 in field offices- the result of several companies being brought together over the years through acquisitions. As a result, we have more than 200 email domains and our email was hosted in 24 different locations. Prior to moving to Google Apps, we had been using a variety of different email systems. Some business units were using Microsoft ® Exchange and Outlook, and the rest were using various other applications. We had no shared calendars, no corporate address book and weren’t able to easily access our information from outside the office. The truth is, IT wasn’t serving our employees very well in the area of email and collaboration tools.

So our move to Google Apps was in large part an employee-driven initiative. One of our key IT managers at thought it would be valuable for our company to adopt Google Apps so he started his own 5-person test drive. At about the same time, I attended Google’s Atmosphere event at its headquarters in California, and had a chance to talk to other CIOs that had either decided to “go Google” or were seriously contemplating a move. My biggest reservations involved security and privacy in the cloud. At the event, I learned how Google was addressing those concerns and listened to other CIO’s who had overcome similar concerns. I began to see the opportunities we were missing by not having email and our collaboration tools hosted in the cloud. When I got back to Virginia, we set to work doing our due diligence on competitive offerings and we expanded our Google Apps test drive to a full blown pilot.

We visited Redmond and though I am convinced they are committed to the cloud, their collaboration suite offering was not as seamlessly integrated as Google’s and their pricing model was complicated. Over the 6 months of the pilot, we found a groundswell of support for Google Apps. Our employees were familiar with Gmail, and they wanted to access email from their phones and their tablets. The Apps pilot grew to 150 users and we got to the point where we had to turn people away. Folks were extremely happy that they could schedule meetings with coworkers from any office (remember most of them were on separate email systems before, so this was revolutionary), host video chats and access their email from any device. Many pilot employees either had an iPhone® or Android smartphone. Once I migrated to an Android phone and discovered how easy email and calendar syncing was with Google Apps, I was sold.

By then the original Google Apps champion had been joined by a small army of enthusiasts. I pitched the idea to the CEO, CFO and Legal Counsel and told them we wanted to move the entire company to Google Apps. For us this is really about the value and benefits we know we’re giving our employees.

We’re looking forward to discovering the new ways our employees will use Google Apps as we continue to roll it out across the company. So far, about 95% of employees say they prefer Google Apps mail to Outlook. I suspect a year from now we’re going to be wondering how in the world we ever lived without Google Apps - and even better, now I tell folks that at Dominion we’re a technology-forward company.

Posted by Joe Fuller, CIO, Dominion Enterprises

[G] College Basketball 2011: Over 50% of the bracket has gone Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: College Basketball 2011: Over 50% of the bracket has gone Google

[Cross-posted from the Google Student Blog]

March is a special time for college basketball enthusiasts as the NCAA® Championship games heat up. This season is especially exciting for us on the Apps for Education team to watch, as more than half of the teams in this year’s tournament have Gone Google – meaning they’re using Google Apps for Education on campus.

With more than 11 million students, faculty and staff who are already part of the Google Apps “squad” – providing their campus community with collaboration and communication tools – we’d like to congratulate the 37 Apps schools who are vying for the championship and wish them luck with the rest of the tournament, including:
  • Alabama State University
  • Belmont University
  • Bucknell University
  • Clemson University
  • Gonzaga University
  • Notre Dame
  • Old Dominion University
  • San Diego State University
  • Temple University
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
  • University of Southern California
  • University of Washington
  • Utah State University
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Villanova University
For information about how to become a 100% web campus, please visit While we’re sorry to say we can’t promise any success on the basketball court, you can at least make your own bracket a "slam dunk" with the Google Docs bracket template!

Posted by Steven Butschi, Google Apps for Education team (and college hoops enthusiast)

[G] Great documents come from great discussions

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Great documents come from great discussions

Cross posted on the Official Google Blog

The discussion about a document is as important as the document itself, but until now, there hasn’t been a great medium for this discussion to happen. Creating comments in documents is a start—but comments can be overwhelming and at times feel one-sided with no resolution.

So today we’re introducing a better way to provide document feedback—discussions in Google Docs. With this feature, we want to encourage rapid and seamless discussions, help the right people participate, as well as integrate discussions with email in an intuitive way. For a look into the way discussions work in Google Docs, watch our video:

Now you can easily tell who made a comment and when—with timestamps and profile pictures—and you can keep track of the conversation with email notifications and reply to comments directly from your email. Your discussions will be better and so will your documents. And all of this is possible because Google Docs lives in the cloud.

Discussions is rolling out now to everyone with personal Google Accounts as well as to Google Apps customers on the Rapid Release track.

You can read more about the new features on our Google Docs blog.

Posted by Scott Johnston, Group Product Manager, Google Docs

[G] New Google Apps feature release process

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: New Google Apps feature release process

100% web applications have many advantages over legacy and single tenant hosted technologies, and you consistently tell us that the ability to access improvements as they become available is one of the most important. With Google Apps, new features are available with a refresh of the web browser. There’s no need to wait years for the next big software release or manage a complex set of installers, software patches, and hardware upgrades.

We’re always excited to bring you the newest features as soon as they’re ready, but we’ve heard from some customers with complex IT environments that they’d like more notice before new features are deployed to their users. To address these requests, we’re happy to announce a new feature release process aimed at helping you balance the benefits of accessing improvements as soon as they're ready with the task of integrating the changes into your organization.

Our new process has two release tracks that Google Apps administrators can choose from:
  • Rapid Release: Customers on the Rapid Release track have access to new features as soon as the features have completed testing and quality assurance, and are ready to roll out.
  • Scheduled Release: Customers on the Scheduled Release track gain access to new features on a regular, weekly release schedule following the initial release of those features. This delay allows time for administrators to familiarize themselves with new features using a test domain, educate support staff, and communicate any changes to their users. New features will be released on the Scheduled Release track each Tuesday, with at least a one-week notice following the initial feature launch.

New features for Gmail, Contacts, Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Sites will be following this new release process going forward. If your organization previously had “Pre-release features” enabled in the Google Apps control panel, then you will be placed on the Rapid Release track and continue to gain access to new features as soon as they’re ready. Otherwise, your organization will be placed on the Scheduled Release track. You can always change your selection by choosing how you would like to receive new features in the Google Apps control panel. If you're considering a switch to Scheduled Release, note that you may currently be using some features that are only available in Rapid Release.

To support this new process, we’ve also developed a new launch communication tool for all users that brings together all the information you need to track Google Apps releases. This portal can be found at, and is a great place to learn about recent and upcoming features, and find training resources for your users.

Google Apps customers are already on the cutting edge with 100% web technology - they simply refresh their browser for the latest innovation. Now we’re giving customers the choice to balance innovation with predictability. As always, we look forward to your feedback - please leave us a comment below!

Posted by Anna Mongayt, Enterprise Operations

[G] Macomb County Circuit Court and Clerk go Google to improve service and control costs

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Macomb County Circuit Court and Clerk go Google to improve service and control costs

Editor’s Note: Today our guest bloggers are Mark Switalski, Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge and Carmella Sabaugh, Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds. The Macomb County Court and Clerk/Register of Deeds Office has gone Google to control costs, improve service, and keep innovating.

The Macomb County Circuit Court and Clerk / Register of Deeds border Detroit (“Motown”) to the northeast. Nestled on 31-miles of Lake St. Clair shoreline, and home to nearly 830,000 residents and growing, Macomb is Michigan’s third most populated county. Near Michigan’s two Big Ten universities, workforce training is also provided by Macomb County Community College, Michigan’s largest grantor of associate degrees with over 22,000 students. The county boasts three regional hospitals, expansive parkland, nearly 100 miles of hike/bike trails, and more than 1,900 retail establishments. Waterways hold 52,000 registered boats, and toll-free expressways provide quick access to two international airports and two international bridges to neighboring Canada. Brimming with engineers and skilled workers, the county accounts for 61 percent of Defense Department contracts awarded in Michigan.

Macomb County judges are among the most efficient at meeting State Court Administrative guidelines despite having the highest caseloads per circuit court judge across the state. Last year, we had to cut over $1.4 million from our budgets and downsize our workforce. We needed tools to meet the challenge of increasing caseloads and decreasing staff.

308 county court users recently joined 68 clerk staff on Google Apps for Government. Google Apps provides a way for judges and staff to access information anytime, anywhere and find things fast, while keeping costs down. Google lets us do more, despite budget cuts.

Google Apps for Government gives our employees great collaboration tools we never had before. County staff use Google Talk to communicate with clerks while they are in court or on the phone for quick answers. Jury staff use Google Docs to post juror Web updates without Web publishing software, even when working from home during bad weather. We can even send text messages from a computer to attorneys’ phones when their cases are being called. This is helpful when attorneys have cases in multiple courts and a judge wants to speed the docket along.

Our county has over 80,000 immigrants, speaking 40 languages, which is one reason staff appreciate the option to use Google Translate in Gmail. Viewing e-mail attachments in different formats is easy. Check out our short videos and information about our experience using Google Apps.

Besides the enhanced productivity, we know that when a disaster happens, our system will not go down and because our data is in the cloud, it is protected and accessible from anywhere. After a rare tornado hit last summer, briefly disrupting power and some network services, the clerk’s Google service remained accessible via cell phone and other networks until the county’s network and e-mail were restored.

The biggest draw for us to go Google is the cost control that comes with cloud computing. For a fixed per employee cost, the county gets Google Apps for Government and Google Message Discovery for archiving and e-discovery. There is no additional cost for servers, backup, antivirus or antispam protection, or disaster recovery. When new enhancements are available, there is no need for extra investment. Savings are also realized because Google Apps for Government has zero scheduled downtime! Maintenance is performed while the system is running. Our IT Department staff who have become proficient with Google Apps for Government are making themselves more valuable to the taxpayers.

We in Macomb County are pleased so far with the decision to improve service and control technology costs by switching to Google Apps for Government. Instead of spending time and resources to administer computer hardware and software, we can better focus on administering justice.

Posted by Mark Switalski, Macomb County Circuit Court Chief Judge, and Carmella Sabaugh, Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds, who are pointing to where Macomb County is located in Michigan.

[G] Google Apps joins The Small Business Web

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Apps joins The Small Business Web

Google is a supporter of small businesses around the world. We have a number of services, including Adwords, Google Places, and Google Apps, that help small businesses find and engage customers and run their businesses more efficiently.

The good news for small businesses is we’re not alone. There are thousands of companies and organizations worldwide dedicated to helping them, and today we’re proud to formally join one such organization who’s focus is helping small businesses get more out of web apps: The Small Business Web.

The Small Business Web is a group of web app vendors rallying together around a couple simple ideas:
  • the belief that web apps are more valuable when they integrate and work together
  • the belief that open web APIs are the best way to integrate web apps
We share these beliefs -- they’re some of the same principles behind our Google Apps Marketplace and our belief in 100% web.

In fact 30 of the 300+ web apps available in the Apps Marketplace are also members of The Small Business Web, including:

We are excited to join The Small Business Web, and look forward to collaboratively pushing the envelope with fellow vendors on making web apps as good as they can be as we move to a world that’s 100% web.

Posted by Scott McMullan, Google Apps Partner Lead, Google Enterprise

Thursday, March 17, 2011

[G] Google Search app for iPhone—a new name and a new look

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Search app for iPhone—a new name and a new look

If you need to do a Google search on your iPhone or iPod touch it's now faster and easier when you use our redesigned Google Search app, formerly Google Mobile App. If you've been using Google Mobile App for a while, you'll notice that things look different.

The redesigned home screen of Google Search app.

First, you’ll see that there are now more ways to interact with the app. When browsing through search results or looking at a webpage, you can swipe down to see the search bar or change your settings. For those who use other Google apps, there’s an Apps button at the bottom of the screen for rapid access to the mobile versions of our products.

We also included a new toolbar that will make it easier for you to filter your results. You can open this toolbar by swiping from left to right — either before you search or once you’ve got your results. If you only want images, just tap “Images,” and the results will update as shown:

The toolbar helps you to get to the right kind of results.

Second, we’ve made it easier to pick up searching where you left off. If you leave the app and come back later, you’ll be able either to start a new search right away (just tap in the search box to type, hit the microphone button to do a voice search or tap on the camera icon to use Google Goggles) or get back to exactly where you were by tapping on the lower part of the page.

Finally, there are a number of improvements we’ve made to everything else you love in the app, including Google Goggles, Voice Search, Search with My Location, Gmail unread counts and more. There's a lot in the app, so we've added a simple help feature to let you explore it. Access this by tapping the question mark above the Google logo.

The help screen can be accessed from anywhere in Google Search app.

Download and try Google Search app today; it’s available free from the iTunes App Store. You can also scan the QR code below.

Posted by Alastair Tse, Software Engineer and Robert Hamilton, Product Manager

[G] Coming soon: The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 Grand Finale live

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Official Google Blog: Coming soon: The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 Grand Finale live

(Cross-posted from the YouTube Blog)

What began with auditions from around the world uploaded to YouTube, millions of video views, and hours of rehearsals, finally comes to life this Sunday, March 20. It has been an extraordinary experience for the 101 winning musicians of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, and in just a couple of days their collaborative experience will come to life at Sydney Opera House.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come:

The week-long YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 festival includes musical collaboration between orchestra members and world-class mentors, outdoor performances, local Aussie experiences, ensemble concerts and more. In just a few days, the creativity and technology that have powered this journey will literally light up Sydney Opera House—with animated visuals on the interior and exterior projections on the iconic sails, all synchronised to the music of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011’s performance.

You’re invited to experience this wonderful event, whether you’re inside Sydney Opera House, out around Sydney Harbour, or watching from your computer elsewhere in the world. The Grand Finale will be live-streamed on beginning at 8:00pm Australian Eastern Standard time, and rebroadcast until the concert performance is uploaded in full, so tune in on Sunday, March 20.

Posted by Ernesto Soriano III, YouTube Australia

[G] Coming soon: The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 Grand Finale live

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YouTube Blog: Coming soon: The YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 Grand Finale live

What began with auditions from around the world uploaded to YouTube, millions of video views, and hours of rehearsals, finally comes to life this Sunday, March 20. It has been an extraordinary experience for the 101 winning musicians of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, and in just a couple of days their collaborative experience will come to life at Sydney Opera House.

Here’s a preview of what’s to come:

The week-long YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 festival includes musical collaboration between orchestra members and world-class mentors, outdoor performances, local Aussie experiences, ensemble concerts and more. In just a few days, the creativity and technology that have powered this journey will literally light up Sydney Opera House—with animated visuals on the interior and exterior projections on the iconic sails, all synchronised to the music of the YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011’s performance.

You’re invited to experience this wonderful event, whether you’re inside Sydney Opera House, out around Sydney Harbour, or watching from your computer elsewhere in the world. The Grand Finale will be live-streamed on beginning at 8:00pm Australian Eastern Standard time, and rebroadcast until the concert performance is uploaded in full, so tune in on Sunday, March 20.

Ernesto Soriano III, YouTube Australia, recently watched “YouTube Symphony Orchestra 2011 Day 4 Highlights.”