The Hedgewars Project started out with a solo developer trying to offer an alternative cross-platform strategy experience just for fun. People soon noticed the potential of the game and a community of players and developers quickly gathered, providing the pleasant graphical appearance and interesting playing concepts available today. Currently Hedgewars is on all major platforms and is evolving into a professional quality game; for this reason we are constantly looking for great ideas and active contributors.With the Google Summer of Code we were given the opportunity to attract new contributors. We have two important features being developed by our students, one involving a refactoring and expansion of the current artificial intelligence, the other regarding a port to the Android platform. We are excited for the involvement of the whole community in selecting the best ideas and in offering their help to the new developers. This is our first Google Summer of Code and we are committed to excelling so that in future programs we can continue offering new features to our game and contributing to open source software.By Vittorio Giovara, Hedgewars Organization Administrator----------DokuWiki is a popular, simple to use Wiki software written in PHP. It has very low system requirements and is running in various environments, from single user personal wikis to large enterprise installations. The project is in its 7th year now and this is our first year of participating in Google Summer of Code.One of the main success factors of DokuWiki is its extendability through its powerful plugin system. More than 700 different plugins are already available. To make finding, installing and managing plugins easier, creating an improved plugin manager is one of our two Google Summer of Code projects. The second project aims to add one important feature still missing from DokuWiki: keeping revisions for media files like images and videos.By Andreas Gohr, DokuWiki Organization Administrator----------SETI Institute's mission is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe. Project setiQuest was started as a result of Jill Tarter's 2009 TED Prize wish "to empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company." SETI Institute has open sourced our entire software that searches for evidence of extra-terrestrial technology. There are four parts of this project:
- Through open sourcing the software used for detecting signals of extra-terrestrial technology, give everyone the ability to include their ideas about improving our search.
- Incorporate new algorithms, regardless of their source, in the search.
- Develop apps that even non-technical people (citizen scientists) can use to participate in the search.
- Create an environment to act on feedback from citizen scientists.A year ago, Google Summer of Code participation was a dream for us. This year the dream became a reality with 59 students applying for our 2 slots. More important than the number was the quality of applications we received. Most applicants had put in a great amount of effort into their applications and then put in even more work to modify their proposals after discussions with our team. It was difficult to choose just two students but we are thrilled to have Khurram and Aditya working with us this summer. Khurram is creating a whole new build environment for this software, and porting the software to run on multiple Linux distributions. Aditya is open sourcing many of the algorithms that we have prototyped but not quite implemented in the open source software.We look forward to seeing what the students will accomplish this summer. We are thrilled to have many of the students who applied through the Google Summer of Code program choose to work with us as volunteers outside of the program as well.By Avinash Agrawal and Jon Richards, Organization Administrators for SetiQuest----------This is VTK’s first year as a Google Summer of Code mentoring organization, and we are very pleased to be here. During the application period we received a large number of very high-quality proposals, and I would like to thank all of the students who applied. As it is our first year we were limited to two slots, which made choosing our students even more difficult. After much deliberation we made our decisions and I am very happy to welcome David Lonie and Tharindu De Silva as our first Google Summer of Code students!David is working on chemistry visualization in VTK, and Tharindu is working on implementing select algorithms from IEEE VisWeek in VTK. I have seen great results from both students, and they are already taking shape after only a few weeks of active development.This is a very exciting year for the VTK community with our Google Summer of Code participation, modularization of our source tree and refresh of the build system. There are also lots of great new features going into VTK such as new charts, improved interaction and much more.By Marcus Hanwell, VTK Organization Administrator and former Google Summer of Code student
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Friday, July 1, 2011
Today, South America’s biggest international tournament, the Copa America, begins live on YouTube. Tonight’s opening game starts at 5:45pm PT / 9:45pm ART and pits Argentina against Bolivia. Here’s a full schedule of the first round of the tournament:
The Copa America will be broadcast in HD on YouTube in 50 countries at www.youtube.com/copaamerica. If you’re on the move, you can follow the matches on your mobile phone at m.youtube.com/copaamerica. Commentary of the matches will be broadcast in both English or Spanish depending on what country you’re tuning in from.
We hope you enjoy the beautiful game.
Ricardo Blanco, YouTube Latin America, recently watched “Copa America Live on YouTube.”
- We looked at the latest trend in cool covers: Katy Perry's "Last Friday Night."
- We saw dramatic footage of the fire in New Mexico and protests in Athens.
- We discovered the songs people were listening to around the globe.
- We tracked the top trending music videos of the week.
- We studied the most popular cat video that did not contain any cats.
- We enjoyed some of the littlest metal heads.
- And we took in this beautiful scene from a Summer Solstice holiday in Poland:
Check back every day for the latest about what's trending on YouTube at: www.YouTube.com/Trends
Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, recently watched "Major League Savings."
Today, we’re excited to announce a brand new tool to help your business get “mobile”-ized: Google Sites mobile landing pages. With Google Sites mobile landing pages, you can build yourself a professional mobile landing page in minutes for free—and without any coding experience.
Why use Google Sites mobile landing pages?
- It’s easy. Creating a Google Site is as easy as editing a document, which means there's no markup language for you to learn—just get started.
- It’s free. Google Sites is one of many free products offered by Google.
- It’s measurable. One-click Google Analytics integration allows you to monitor your site's traffic.
- It’s fast. Create your mobile landing page in minutes by starting from one of five pre-loaded templates. You can also start from scratch with the custom template.
Watch the video below to see how “small” businessman, Bob, transformed his business using Google Sites:
Visit sites.google.com/mobilize to get started today!
Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
[G] Animal Planet leverages rich media and video advertising across platforms to engage viewers for River Monsters premiere
Inside AdWords: Animal Planet leverages rich media and video advertising across platforms to engage viewers for River Monsters premiere
Today, +1s will start appearing on ads and organic search results for Google pages globally. We'll be starting with sites like google.co.uk, google.de, google.co.jp and google.fr, and then expanding quickly to most other Google search sites soon after.
We’ve also partnered with a few more sites in Europe, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand where you’ll start seeing +1 buttons in the coming days.
You can also add the +1 button to your international websites by going to the +1 button tool on Google Webmaster Central where it's already available in 44 languages.
We expect that personal annotations will help users know when your ads and organic search results are relevant to them, increasing the chances that they'll end up on your site.
Think of +1 buttons as an enhancement that can help already successful search campaigns perform even better, now, at a global level.
Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
Whether you're new to Automated Rules or already an expert, we wanted to share with you some of the most popular examples of rules that AdWords users have created. We hope that these examples can help you take better advantage of the feature.
Click here for details on how to set up these types of rules. You'll need to adjust them to meet your business needs and goals. Let us know what you think of these examples, and send us your favorite rules.
- Turning on/off special ads for a promotional event
- Turning on/off certain ads on a repeating basis (e.g., every weekend)
- Turning on/off a special ad campaign for a promotional event
- Pausing low-performing keywords based on success metrics (e.g., high cost per conversion)
- Pausing low-performing ads based on success metrics (e.g., low CTR)
- Adjusting bids for keywords based on cost per conversion
- Changing bids to reach a desired average position
- Raising bids to ensure ads show on the first page
- Bid scheduling (e.g., a higher bid during certain hours of the day)
- Increasing budget for campaigns that convert well (using cost per conversion)
- Budget scheduling (e.g., higher budget on certain days of the week)
- Pausing campaigns that have spent a certain amount partway through the month
- Pausing campaigns that have received a certain number of clicks partway through the day
- Understanding how to make a rule work on one, several or all campaigns
- Excluding keywords from a rule
Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
For example, boost your performance by including a strong and compelling call-to-action in your ads like "Buy Online Now." Here’s one of our favorite videos for improving your AdWords results:
Here are a few other videos you can watch to learn more about AdWords:
Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
[G] Think with Google: "Word of Mouth" study shows Google directly informs 146 million brand conversations a day
Inside AdWords: Think with Google: "Word of Mouth" study shows Google directly informs 146 million brand conversations a day
Tune in and find out as Google's Lorraine Twohill, VP of Global Marketing, introduces five concrete principles to drive both positive brand image and product usage.
- Live streaming begins on June 21, 2011, at 12:35 pm EDT
- Register here
- Following us? Use #thinkevents for this event
Guy Kawasaki, the final keynote speaker and author of Enchantment, will surely excite the audience as he explores new thinking on influencing and igniting action, both through individual interactions and marketing at scale. Hope to see you there.
Posted by Dan Friedman, Inside AdWords crew
Google Apps, along with all of Google, will get a new look over the course of the summer to make the user interface more focused, elastic and effortless to use. We continuously improve and seamlessly update our products (there were over 125 new features added to Google Apps last year) and hope that these user interface updates will make features easier to find when you need them and hide them when you don't. Our goal is to give you the best possible experience across all of our apps on all of your devices.
Just like you, we rely on Google Apps every day and we know that change can take a little while to get used to. So we want to give you a heads-up before the new look becomes the default, and we’d like you to share your feedback along the way. These visual improvements will follow our standard Google Apps release process, with organizations on the Rapid Release track gaining access to the updates first, followed later by organizations on the Scheduled Release track. The first visual updates will be in Gmail and Calendar, and to start they will be available on an opt-in/opt-out basis, so you can continue to use the old interface and preview the changes before they become the default later this year. When you do give it a try, we hope you enjoy a cleaner, more modern look.
On the whatsnew.googleapps.com site, you’ll find instructions on how to access the latest designs for Gmail and Calendar. We’ll keep this site up-to-date with the latest information about the new look as well as a feedback form and other resources for Google Apps administrators and users.
Monday we shared some thoughts on why you might consider going Google. Since some of you asked for more, we invited our customers and partners to help us. After all, who knows the reasons better than they do?
We were humbled by the speed and thoughtfulness with which hundreds of people responded. Within 24 hours, we received more than 500 reasons to consider Google Apps. Thank you!
Just for fun, we put all the answers into a word cloud to offer a glimpse at what’s most important to our customers. We were pleased to see alignment with the four categories we shared Monday: pure and proven cloud, designed for teams, productive anywhere, and simple and affordable. If you’re interested, you can see the full list of responses here.
Over the course of the coming weeks we hope to share as many of these reasons as possible in a more digestible way. Feel free to share additional thoughts by completing this form.
Thanks again for all the kind words!
The Google team encounters fun and new ways of using the Google Earth and Maps API. Here’s an example of how a century old educational map and globe publishing company realized more students wanted to learn online and transformed their teaching methods to include a program built on the Google Earth API. Don Rescigno, from Herff Jones | Nystrom, explains how students and teachers benefit from technology in the classroom with StrataLogica.
With today's technology enabling information to travel at a much more rapid rate than in the past, students feel more advanced than what many of us can remember from our own days in school. Elementary school students use a school computer, manage multiple usernames and passwords, work with spreadsheets, develop their own blogs and websites, and more. They’re tech savvy and they’re connected.
The challenge for educators is to use tools and resources that take advantage of students' advanced technological skills. Combining educational content with technology like the Google Earth API gave us the opportunity to foster a new and immersive experience that changes the way students see our world.
StrataLogica—combined with the Google Earth API —provides students with powerful tools to visualize and comprehend the ways in which geography has impacted events, politics and populations throughout human history. Students have the ability to see current events, taking place around the world, from their classroom.
Using a computer or interactive whiteboard, students uncover layers of educational content and can then drill down to Google Earth’s satellite imagery, see what’s actually there, and even use historical imagery to compare then and now. Recently, I had to play the role of a teacher when one of my children overheard a CNN report on Japan and asked, “Dad, what made the earthquake and tsunami?” The ability to access and interact with so many resources—aerial imagery of the earthquake, videos, and photos posted by Japanese citizens, local news stories—allowed me to teach him about the Earth’s processes and their impact. It helped to create a better understanding beyond the news story. It fostered critical thinking and a global perspective.
Like so many with children, I want to see students learning in a new way that
inspires them. It’s important for our future generation to understand how we are all connected — to think
globally and comprehend world impact. We want them to truly become global
citizens. StrataLogica and the Google Earth API are helping change the way students see the world; they can “fly” to any location in a matter of seconds, zoom in to imagery and see street views of historical sites that they may never have an opportunity to visit, embed videos and photos, and experience their own virtual field trips.
If you’re an educator interested in teaching geography, history, earth science and
more, visit stratalogica.com to learn more.
Posted by Natasha Wyatt, Google Earth and Maps Enterprise Team
Thursday, June 30, 2011
We get a lot of great feedback about how Gmail helps you be more efficient, keep in touch with family and friends, and get work done. We’ve saved you from forgetting attachments and made sure that you got the right Bob. Over the years, adding countless features to Gmail has made it an increasingly powerful communication hub, but along the way the interface has also become more cluttered and complex.
That’s one of the reasons we’re embarking on a series of interface updates to help strip out unnecessary clutter and make Gmail as beautiful as it is powerful. This is part of a Google-wide effort to bring you an experience that’s more focused, elastic, and effortless across all of our products. The changes are not going to happen all at once. We know that you love and care about Gmail as much as we do, and we’ll be working on these upgrades gradually over the next few months to allow plenty of time to understand and incorporate your feedback into the evolving design.
We’re kicking things off with two new themes for you to try out as a sort of sneak peek at what we’re up to. Starting today, you’ll see the “Preview” and “Preview (Dense)” themes in the Themes tab in Gmail Settings. Why two themes? Our new interface will eventually expand dynamically to accommodate different screen sizes and user preferences, but until then you can pick the information density that you prefer.
Here’s what one of the new themes currently looks like:
And in conversation view:
Click the images above to see larger versions.
If you poke around you’ll hopefully find a lot to like and a much cleaner, modern look but also few rough edges. In particular, some Labs features may look a little strange in the new themes. We plan to fix these issues as we roll out changes in the coming months. You can also expect some updated themes that embody the same design principles but are better suited to working in a dark environment, use a different color palette, or include the illustrations that we know many of you love to see around your inbox.
Look out for these and other new features over the next few months. In the meantime, try out the new themes as a preview of the future of Gmail and let us know what you think.
P.S. Like Gmail, Google Calendar is also getting a new look. You’ll see it automatically within the next few days so there’s no need to turn it on, and we’ll also continue to make improvements there in the coming months. Details about the current changes to Calendar can be found in the Calendar help center.
GoogleServe began in 2008 and has become an annual company tradition. Giving back to our communities not only revitalizes and strengthens our connections with the cities and towns in which we live and work, it also brings us closer together as a global team. Each year the event has grown in size and scope and this year’s GoogleServe was our largest yet. Here’s a sampling of some of the projects we participated in this time around:
- In New York, we led resume writing workshops and provided career coaching to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America members seeking employment.
- We helped Mountaineering Ireland construct drains in order to maintain a stretch of trail along the Dublin Mountains Way.
- We facilitated a strategic planning session for staff from the Post Prison Education Program in Seattle.
- We conducted an online tools workshop for NGOs in Singapore with the National Volunteer and Philanthropy Centre.
- We fixed up bikes with Free Ride in Pittsburgh, which will be donated to local nonprofits and residents.
- At the Punjabi Bagh Central Market area in West Delhi, we cleaned and removed old, decayed posters with the help of “Lets do it Delhi,” an organization which has taken up the initiative to minimise abuse of public property.
- We provided one-on-one consultations with high potential, low income women starting their own businesses with the Women’s Initiative for Self Employment in San Francisco.
- We ran a bookmaking workshop for elementary school children with 826LA in Venice, CA.
Here are some photos of our team in action:
Posted by Seth Marbin, GoogleServe Global Director
Are you a Mum or a Dad with a mean boogie and a penchant for wearing bright pink? Or an Aunt or Uncle with a quirky twist and an orange turtleneck that has been in the back of the closet for way too long? Then record your own version of iconic Wiggles song “Fruit Salad” for a chance to perform live on stage with The Wiggles in their upcoming North American Tour.
The Fine Print
The competition is open to people over 18; winning entrants will be selected in each city to receive a family pass to attend the concert, and perform live on stage!
Feel like some fruit salad today? Go ahead, show us what you’ve got.
Ernesto Soriano, YouTube Australia, recently watched “Let’s make Australia a reading nation."
On July 7, we’ll be live streaming the red carpet event of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 from Trafalgar Square in London, and you’re invited to join. The event will be live on the Harry Potter channel on 7/7 from 8-11am PT (4-7pm GMT), with the entire cast, J.K. Rowling and surprise celebrity appearances. We’ll also be re-broadcasting the event immediately after in case you miss it.
Before the final throwdown between Harry and Voldemort, you can catch up on with our Harry Potter collection of movies, with all seven films and two extended versions available to rent.
If that’s still not enough wizarding for you, YouTube also has unique movie-related content that can’t be found elsewhere, including behind-the-scenes footage, parodies and remixes to accompany all the Harry Potter films. See the creativity the web has to offer with YouTube Movie extras like a hilarious Deathly Hallows trailer parody, a Time Magazine interview with Emma Watson and movie clips.
“This is beyond anything I have imagined.” Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Mildred Padilla, YouTube Movies, recently watched “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.”
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
The way we shop is changing and marketing strategies are simply not keeping pace. Whether we're shopping for corn flakes, concert tickets or a honeymoon in Paris, the Internet has changed how we decide what to buy. Today we're all digital explorers, seeking out online ratings, social media-based peer reviews, videos, and in-depth product details as we move down the path to purchase. Marketing has evolved and modern marketing strategies have to evolve with the changing shape of shopping.
At Google, we call this online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth -- or simply ZMOT.
Winning the Zero Moment of Truth is a powerful new eBook by Jim Lecinski, Google's Managing Director of US Sales & Service and Chief ZMOT Evangelist. Jim shares how to get ahead at this critical new marketing moment, supported by exclusive market research, personal stories, and insights from C-level executives at global leaders like General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, and VivaKi.
If you're a marketer, a CEO, a sales rep, or an aspiring entrepreneur, this eBook on marketing strategies and the ZMOT will help you understand this shift in the marketing landscape and show you the strategies it takes to win.
Click on the headline to download the e-book, get more information, and watch new video content.
That seems to be the question I hear all the time these days. In our insta-share culture, Brands are realizing that they can either hear about the conversation after the fact, or they can participate in the conversation in real-time.
Here are a few of the triggers that cause Brands to ask "How can I keep track of my Brand online?"
- Search Trends
- Social comments
- Product recalls
- User Generated Content (Videos)
- Voluntary Product Placement
- Competitive activity
Last year, I worked with Google's iGoogle team to develop a framework for Brands to create their own Brand Digital Dashboard. Let me show you how its done.
Create a New Tab on iGoogle
- Go to iGoogle and access iGoogle's settings
- Add a Tab so the Dashboard can live on its own and be shared easily
- You can customize the theme/banner of the tab with your own brand
- Search the iGoogle Gadget Directory for gadgets to add to your Tab.
Here is a list of gadgets I recommend
Google Insights for Search - customize this gadget's settings with the search terms and locations you want to see. You can add multiple instances of this gadget so you can see Rising Searches, Top Searches, and Interest Over Time.
Google News - customize this gadget's settings with the topics you want to see
Google Analytics - login to your Analytics account and access Analytics reports.
Twitter Search - simply type a term and see the most recent Tweets with that term
Flickr - simply type a term in the search tab and see relevant pictures
Blogs - you can also add any blog you want as an RSS feed (ex: Yahoo Answers, etc...)
Other Gadgets of interest may be: YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, etc...
After you have created your dashboard, the key will be to develop marketing strategies that will allow you to act on this real-time insight. But, at least you now have a better sense of what's happening with your Brand online.