Saturday, August 13, 2011

[G] "Game of Thrones" Author talks about Dwarves, Dragons and Delving into eBooks

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Inside Google Books: "Game of Thrones" Author talks about Dwarves, Dragons and Delving into eBooks

Posted by Oliver Chiang, Google eBooks

It was an epic geekfest that could only be matched by the likes of a Comic-Con or a Star Trek convention: Googlers flocked to hear master fantasy writer George R. R. Martin talk at our Mountain View headquarters last month, in the first-ever live-streamed event for the Authors@Google series. Though you may have missed Martin live -- in which the Game of Thrones author took a variety of questions from Googlers as well as the general public -- you can now watch the recorded talk on YouTube:

Martin answers questions about the Game of Thrones books and HBO® series at Google. (Warning: slight spoilers during the talk, but nothing major revealed.) 

The catalyst for Martin's visit to Google was a happy accident -- or as some might say, the work of the old gods. Last May, Nicholas Farmer was at Professor Thoms', a New York City bar, where a viewing party for the HBO® series Game of Thrones was being held. The bartender nudged him: "Hey Nick, there's the author of Game of Thrones." Farmer went and struck up a conversation with Martin, eventually asking if he'd heard of the Authors@Google series, which his mother Ann Farmer was an organizer for. Martin, friendly guy that he is, was open to the idea of visiting Google, saying "Have your mother contact my publicist, it's up to him." The rest is history.

At the event in July, Googler moderator Dan Anthony kicked things off by noting, "The only thing that would be cooler than this was if Joss Whedon came rushing in the door, and said he suddenly had to cast a Googler to star opposite Scarlett Johansson." Anthony praised Martin for creating the "world's favorite dwarf Lannister," quickly adding, "that doesn't mean you can kill him now."

Martin -- on tour promoting his latest book A Dance with Dragons -- was himself an engaging and humorous speaker. He answered fan questions and topics from "How did you get the TV show creators to stay so true to the novels?" (Martin: "Candy and chocolates"), to why he doesn't read internet fan forums ("What if they come up with better ideas than the ones I had?"), to his being something of a post-modern Tolkien ("There's an unspoken assumption in [Tolkien's] Return of the King that Aragorn is the king now and everything will be hunky dory. You never actually get into the nitty gritty of Aragorn ruling. And what is his tax policy?").

He also answered other questions often asked by fans, like why he kills off major characters so often ("There's a reason") and whether he plans to do any prequel books to the fantasy series (Maybe).

After the talk, I was able to chat with Martin a little about ebooks. The author says he carries his e-reader with him now whenever he travels, whereas in the past, he would incur overweight baggage charges because of the 10 or more physical books he would inevitably bring along. But he was also concerned that digital piracy might do to the book industry what it did to the music industry.

Martin, holding a Google eBook version of A Dance with Dragons on the Story HD from iriver

If you haven't already, make sure to get a digital copy of Martin's just released book from the Google eBookstore, A Dance with Dragons, for your smartphone, tablet, PC, netbook, laptop or e-reader device (see a full list of supported devices).


If you're new to the series, catch up on the previous books:


Or grab the boxed set:
A Game of Thrones Boxed Set

Finally, during the talk, Martin was presented with a dragon-ized Android t-shirt, designed by Googler Michelle Nguyen and made specially for this event. You can now get your own Android Dragon T-shirt at the Google Online Store:

URL: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2011/08/game-of-thrones-author-talks-about.html

Friday, August 12, 2011

[G] Fuzzing at scale

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Google Online Security Blog: Fuzzing at scale

Posted by Chris Evans, Matt Moore and Tavis Ormandy, Google Security Team



One of the exciting things about working on security at Google is that you have a lot of compute horsepower available if you need it. This is very useful if you’re looking to fuzz something, and especially if you’re going to use modern fuzzing techniques.



Using these techniques and large amounts of compute power, we’ve found hundreds of bugs in our own code, including Chrome components such as WebKit and the PDF viewer. We recently decided to apply the same techniques to fuzz Adobe’s Flash Player, which we include with Chrome in partnership with Adobe.



A good overview of some modern techniques can be read in this presentation. For the purposes of fuzzing Flash, we mainly relied on “corpus distillation”. This is a technique whereby you locate a large number of sample files for the format at hand (SWF in this case). You then see which areas of code are reached by each of the sample files. Finally, you run an algorithm to generate a minimal set of sample files that achieves the code coverage of the full set. This calculated set of files is a great basis for fuzzing: a manageable number of files that exercise lots of unusual code paths.



What does corpus distillation look like at Google scale? Turns out we have a large index of the web, so we cranked through 20 terabytes of SWF file downloads followed by 1 week of run time on 2,000 CPU cores to calculate the minimal set of about 20,000 files. Finally, those same 2,000 cores plus 3 more weeks of runtime were put to good work mutating the files in the minimal set (bitflipping, etc.) and generating crash cases. These crash cases included an interesting range of vulnerability categories, including buffer overflows, integer overflows, use-after-frees and object type confusions.



The initial run of the ongoing effort resulted in about 400 unique crash signatures, which were logged as 106 individual security bugs following Adobe's initial triage. As these bugs were resolved, many were identified as duplicates that weren't caught during the initial triage. A unique crash signature does not always indicate a unique bug. Since Adobe has access to symbols and sources, they were able to group similar crashes to perform root cause analysis reducing the actual number of changes to the code. No analysis was performed to determine how many of the identified crashes were actually exploitable. However, each crash was treated as though it were potentially exploitable and addressed by Adobe. In the final analysis, the Flash Player update Adobe shipped earlier this week contained about 80 code changes to fix these bugs.



Commandeering massive resource to improve security is rewarding on its own, but the real highlight of this exercise has been Adobe’s response. The Flash patch earlier this week fixes these bugs and incorporates UIPI protections for the Flash Player sandbox in Chrome which Justin Schuh contributed assistance on developing. Fixing so many issues in such a short time frame shows a real commitment to security from Adobe, for which we are grateful.
URL: http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2011/08/fuzzing-at-scale.html

[G] Two Things Every CPG Marketer Should Do to Win in Mobile

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Official Google CPG Blog: Two Things Every CPG Marketer Should Do to Win in Mobile

Your customers are on mobile; as a marketer, you need to be on mobile, too.




So, you may be asking, what are the two things that a CPG marketer should do to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the growth of mobile? Here are our recommendations:


1) Create a mobile-optimized site. Consumers become extremely frustrated when they go to a mobile website that's tough to use. Harris Interactive, in a March 2011 mobile interactive experience study commissioned by Tealeaf, found that:
  • 23% of shoppers had cursed, 11% had screamed, and 4% had gone as far as to throw their phones when mobile sites did not display or function properly. Screaming and cursing are not key drivers of purchase intent!
  • 63% of all online adults would be less likely to buy from the same company via other purchase channels if they experienced a problem conducting a mobile transaction.
There's even a website, http://mobilemarketingfail.com, which writes snarky blog entries about poorly designed corporate mobile sites. Don't be their next entry! Talk to your media agency or Google team representative today about how to get started.


2) Separate mobile search campaigns from desktop and optimize, optimize, optimize: Mobile campaigns perform better when they're created separately from desktop campaigns. Consumers use different search keywords when they're on their mobile phones than they do when they are on their computers. Work with your search agency or media team to ensure that you have a separate mobile campaign. Then, track your performance and optimize.


URL: http://google-cpg.blogspot.com/2011/08/two-things-every-cpg-marketer-should-do.html

[G] Mapping towards crisis relief in the Horn of Africa

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Google LatLong: Mapping towards crisis relief in the Horn of Africa


In the wake of intense drought, the Horn of Africa is gripped by its worst famine in more than 60 years. Over 12.4 million people across Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Somalia are threatened with hunger and disease as they are unable to access basic survival means. UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations are rallying to support refugees on the move, particularly to the thousands fleeing Somalia. Valerie Amos, OCHA Emergency Relief Coordinator, has stated that “This will not be a short crisis.” The emergency is expected to persist at least three to four months, and the number of people needing humanitarian assistance could increase by as much as 25 percent.





Ethiopia/Somali refugees. Water point in Kobe camp. Dollo Ado Region. UNHCR, G. Puertas, July 2011.


Fresh and accurate maps are among the many critical factors in assessing such a state of crisis, as they provide vital information to facilitate emergency response and planning. Thanks to the efforts of our satellite imagery partner, GeoEye, we now have high resolution imagery of locations with the most pressing humanitarian needs. This has made Google Map Maker community mapping efforts even more effective, by allowing the creation of improved maps over refugee camps in Kenya, Ethiopia and the city of Mogadishu. Volunteers are mapping roads, hospitals, schools, community centers, and water resources, among other vital landmarks. The map data contributed is being shared periodically with the UN agencies engaged in this crisis. Google has also donated 1 million USD to help local and international organizations provide famine and drought relief support in the Horn of Africa.





Bokolmanyo Refugee Camp, Ethiopia. IKONOS imagery, July 29th 2011, © 2011 GeoEye


You can help the Horn of Africa during its time of crisis by creating detailed maps using your local knowledge of places, such as cities, roads, and natural landmarks. If you’re unfamiliar with the region, try pairing up with people who have local knowledge, who can help by reviewing and correcting your edits. To participate in these ways and more, and offer feedback, please join our Africa mailing list and visit the Horn of Africa community mapping site as we all map the way toward crisis relief.



Posted by France Lamy, Program Manager Emerging Markets, Google.org
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/08/mapping-towards-crisis-relief-in-horn.html

[G] Google Apps highlights – 8/12/2011

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 8/12/2011

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

This week we have news from the Gmail and Google Docs teams, which both made interface changes to streamline how you use those applications. We also introduced some new keyboard shortcuts and made improvements to spreadsheet charts and functions.

New preview pane in Gmail Labs
The Gmail team has heard requests from many of you for an inbox preview pane, and last Thursday we introduced this option as a Gmail Lab. Now you can quickly scroll through a list of messages and see their contents, marking mail as “read” as you go. Once you enable this feature from the Labs area in Settings, you can choose between a vertical or horizontal split in your Gmail window.


Sharper, smoother Gmail mobile interface
Last week we also brought a higher-resolution Gmail interface for people who access their inbox through a mobile browser on a high-resolution display, like the iPhone 4. We also simplified the process to check for new mail—just pull down on the Message List. Transitions between different pages in the interface are also smoothly animated now.


New look and keyboard shortcuts for the documents list
Google Docs also got some big interface improvements to the documents list last week as part of a Google-wide project to streamline and simplify many of our applications. You can switch to the new design by clicking “Try the new look” under the gear icon in the upper right. We’ve also added dozens of new keyboard shortcuts to navigate through the documents list, create new files, share items and more. Just type ? to see the keyboard shortcut cheat sheet.


Automatic spreadsheet function snippets
There are spreadsheet functions you probably know by heart, and others like GoogleTranslate where you might need a tip now and again, so on Tuesday we introduced spreadsheet function snippets. When you start typing a function into a cell, we’ll instantly show you a list of matching functions. Hovering over a function displays its proper syntax and the function’s purpose. We hope this feature saves you trips to the Google Docs Help Center.


New chart types, and chart improvements for documents and drawings
We also made spreadsheet charts more powerful and easier to work with. After you create a chart, it’s now simpler to copy an image of your chart and embed it into a document or drawing. There are more chart types to choose from now, too—from candlestick and combo charts to GeoMaps and TreeMaps.


Who’s gone Google?
At the end of July, we opened our doors in Japan to more than 1,500 business technology leaders from the region for a lively discussion about the future of business technology. At the event, we heard from Softbank Group, Casio, Nortiz and Toda Corporation, who have all decided to switch to Google Apps from their legacy solutions. More than 60,000 other businesses around the world also switched to Google Apps since our last update here too, including Cox Schepp, Journal Communications, Crown Partners and ITV.

In the government sector, we were pleased to see that the U.S. General Services Administration completed their transition of 17,000 employees and contractors to Google Apps, an impressive feat considering it’s been just six months since they decided to “go Google.”

I hope these product updates and customer stories help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For more details and the latest news, check out the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/google-apps-highlights-8122011.html

[G] Our Faculty Institute brings faculty back to the drawing board

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Research Blog: Our Faculty Institute brings faculty back to the drawing board

Posted by Nina Kim Schultz, Google Education Research

Cross-posted with the Official Google Blog

School may still be out for summer, but teachers remain hard at work. This week, we hosted Google’s inaugural Faculty Institute at our Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. The three-day event was created for esteemed faculty from schools of education and math and science to explore teaching paradigms that leverage technology in K-12 classrooms. Selected via a rigorous nomination and application process, the 39 faculty members hail from 19 California State Universities (CSUs), as well as Stanford and UC Berkeley, and teach high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teachers currently getting their teaching credentials. CSU programs credential 60 percent of California’s teachers—or 10 percent of all U.S. K-12 teachers—and one CSU campus alone can credential around 1,000 new teachers in a year. The purpose of gathering together at the Institute was to ensure our teachers’ teachers have the support they need to help educators adjust to a changing landscape.

There is so much technology available to educators today, but unless they learn how to use it effectively, it does little to change what is happening in our classrooms. Without the right training and inspiration, interactive displays become merely expensive projection screens, and laptops simply replace paper rather than shifting the way teachers teach and students learn. Although the possibilities for technology use in schools are endless, teacher preparation for the 21st century classroom also has many constraints. For example: beyond the expense involved, there’s the time it costs educators to match a technological innovation to the improvement of pedagogy and curriculum; there’s a distinct shift in thinking that needs to take place to change classrooms; and there’s an essential challenge to help teachers develop the dispositions and confidence to be lifelong evaluators, learners and teachers of technology, instead of continuing to rely on traditional skill sets that will soon be outdated.

The Institute featured keynote addresses from respected professors from Stanford and Berkeley, case studies from distinguished high school teachers from across California, hands-on technology workshops with a variety of Google and non-Google tools, and panels with professionals in the tech-education industry. Notable guests included representatives from Teach for America, The New Teacher Project, the Department of Education and Edutopia. Topics covered the ability to distinguish learning paths, how to use technology to transform classrooms into project-based, collaborative spaces and how to utilize a more interactive teaching style rather than the traditional lecture model.

On the last day of the Institute, faculty members were invited to submit grant proposals to scale best practices outside of the meeting. Deans of the participating universities will convene at the end of the month to further brainstorm ways to scale new ideas in teacher preparation programs. Congratulations to all of the faculty members who were accepted into the inaugural Institute, and thank you for all that you do to help bring technology and new ways of thinking into the classroom.



This program is a part of Google’s continued commitment to supporting STEM education. Details on our other programs can be found on www.google.com/education.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2011/08/our-faculty-institute-brings-faculty.html

[G] Faculty Institute brings faculty back to the drawing board

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Official Google Blog: Faculty Institute brings faculty back to the drawing board

(Cross-posted on the Research Blog)

School may still be out for summer, but teachers remain hard at work. This week, we hosted Google’s inaugural Faculty Institute at our Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. The three-day event was created for esteemed faculty from schools of education and math and science to explore teaching paradigms that leverage technology in K-12 classrooms. Selected via a rigorous nomination and application process, the 39 faculty members hail from 19 California State Universities (CSUs), as well as Stanford and UC Berkeley, and teach high school STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) teachers currently getting their teaching credentials. CSU programs credential 60 percent of California’s teachers—or 10 percent of all U.S. K-12 teachers—and one CSU campus alone can credential around 1,000 new teachers in a year. The purpose of gathering together at the Institute was to ensure our teachers’ teachers have the support they need to help educators adjust to a changing landscape.

There is so much technology available to educators today, but unless they learn how to use it effectively, it does little to change what is happening in our classrooms. Without the right training and inspiration, interactive displays become merely expensive projection screens, and laptops simply replace paper rather than shifting the way teachers teach and students learn. Although the possibilities for technology use in schools are endless, teacher preparation for the 21st century classroom also has many constraints. For example: beyond the expense involved, there’s the time it costs educators to match a technological innovation to the improvement of pedagogy and curriculum; there’s a distinct shift in thinking that needs to take place to change classrooms; and there’s an essential challenge to help teachers develop the dispositions and confidence to be lifelong evaluators, learners and teachers of technology, instead of continuing to rely on traditional skill sets that will soon be outdated.

The Institute featured keynote addresses from respected professors from Stanford and Berkeley, case studies from distinguished high school teachers from across California, hands-on technology workshops with a variety of Google and non-Google tools, and panels with professionals in the tech-education industry. Notable guests included representatives from Teach for America, The New Teacher Project, the Department of Education and Edutopia. Topics covered the ability to distinguish learning paths, how to use technology to transform classrooms into project-based, collaborative spaces and how to utilize a more interactive teaching style, rather than the traditional lecture model.

On the last day of the Institute, faculty members were invited to submit grant proposals to scale best practices outside of the meeting. Deans of the participating universities will convene at the end of the month to further brainstorm ways to scale new ideas in teacher preparation programs. Congratulations to all of the faculty members who were accepted into the inaugural Institute, and thank you for all that you do to help bring technology and new ways of thinking into the classroom.


This program is a part of Google’s continued commitment to supporting STEM education. Details on our other programs can be found on www.google.com/education.

Posted by Nina Kim Schultz, Engineering Manager, Google Education Research
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/faculty-institute-brings-faculty-back.html

[G] Messages for Japan at Tanabata in Sendai

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Official Google Blog: Messages for Japan at Tanabata in Sendai

A month after this spring’s devastating earthquake in Japan, we created a site where people from around the world could submit messages of hope in their own languages and have them automatically translated into Japanese. From Paris to Dubai to Manila, nearly 30,000 messages have been posted through messagesforjapan.com.


This past weekend marked the celebration of Tanabata in Sendai, the largest city in the disaster area and home to one of the most famous festivals in the country. People often celebrate Tanabata, which means "Evening of the Seventh,” by writing wishes on tanzaku (small strips of paper) and hanging them on bamboo branches. This year, these paper strips displayed some of the messages of hope submitted through the site, and festival participants added their own messages to those from around the world.


We’ve updated messagesforjapan.com so you can see photos of people gathering for Tanabata in Sendai—reading, creating and hanging messages in the area surrounding the disaster earlier this year.

Posted by Arielle Reinstein, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/messages-for-japan-at-tanabata-in.html

[G] This week's Trends: riots, runners, and tiny houses

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YouTube Blog: This week's Trends: riots, runners, and tiny houses

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





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 "Jay-Z & Kanye West - Otis."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/U3GO0wTYbJk/this-weeks-trends-riots-runners-and.html

[G] Building better web apps with a new Chrome Beta

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Google Chrome Blog: Building better web apps with a new Chrome Beta

Today’s new Beta channel release brings big improvements to Chrome’s web platform capabilities, enabling developers to build more powerful and more immersive apps and games for the web.



First, we’re pleased to announce the integration of Native Client into Chrome. Native Client allows C and C++ code to be seamlessly executed inside the browser with security restrictions similar to JavaScript. Native Client apps use Pepper, a set of interfaces that provide C and C++ bindings to the capabilities of HTML5. As a result, developers can now leverage their native code libraries and expertise to deliver portable, high performance web apps.



Another cool feature is the Web Audio API, a new JavaScript API offering advanced audio capabilities. The Web Audio API supports audio effects such as room simulation and spatialization, allowing web developers to create even more interactive experiences and games. Here are some examples you can play with, but we’re looking forward to seeing what other people build!



Posted by Chris Rogers, Software Engineer
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2011/08/building-better-web-apps-with-new.html

[G] Share Your Favorite Books with Literary Circles on Google+

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Inside Google Books: Share Your Favorite Books with Literary Circles on Google+

Posted by Abe Murray, Product Manager, Google Books

Say you’ve found a hidden gem on auto mechanics for your greasemonkey friends or want to hop down memory lane with Peter Rabbit and your family. Good news for monkeys and rabbits alike: you can now share info about any of the millions of books in our Google Books index worldwide with your circles on Google+.

Let’s say you are reading Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and you’d like your friends to read it with you (or you have a witty comment to let loose). Simply click on the Google+ Share box on the About the Book page or in a Google Books preview, enter your message, then select which circles you’d like to share details about the book with, and click “share”.


The book cover, description and title linking back to the Google Books About the Book page will appear in your Google+ stream with your message.


You can also simply paste the About the Book or Google Books preview URL into your Google+ Share box. This will show the cover and book details, helping your friends know exactly what you’re sharing with them. While you’re sharing books, you can also +1 them, and the titles will appear in your profile on the +1 tab.
URL: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2011/08/share-your-favorite-books-with-literary.html

[G] Update to Sessions in Google Analytics

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Google Analytics Blog: Update to Sessions in Google Analytics

Beginning today, there will be a small change in how sessions are calculated in Google Analytics. We think this update will lead to a clearer understanding of website interactions. We also want to explain how these changes might impact your reports.


What’s changing?
Currently, Google Analytics ends a session when:
  • More than 30 minutes have elapsed between pageviews for a single visitor.
  • At the end of a day.
  • When a visitor closes their browser.
If any of these events occur, then the next pageview from the visitor will start a new session.


In the new model, Google Analytics will end a session when:
  • More than 30 minutes have elapsed between pageviews for a single visitor.
  • At the end of a day.
  • When any traffic source value for the user changes. Traffic source information includes: utm_source, utm_medium, utm_term, utm_content, utm_id, utm_campaign, and gclid.
As before, if any of these events occur, then the next pageview from the user will be the start of a new session.


How will this affect my Google Analytics data?
This change only applies for visits going forward from today, and your historical data will not change. We’re bringing the definition of session in line with the common definition of a visit. If a visitor leaves your site and returns soon after with a different traffic source value, each visit will be measured with its own session.


Since Google Analytics will start new sessions for all new campaign information, sessions will now have the more accurate attribution information. This will be especially helpful if you use Multi-Channel Funnels. Additionally, by continuing a session when the user closes their browser for only a very short time, sessions will more accurately model a user’s engagement with the website. Overall, this change may slightly increase the number of visits. Based on our research, most users will see less than a 1% change.


We are excited about this update, and look forward to providing you with a better understanding of your website activity. Please leave any question about the change in the comments.


Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Google Analytics Team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/p7mkR65bUhY/update-to-sessions-in-google-analytics.html

[G] Games in Google+: fun that fits your schedule

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Official Google Blog: Games in Google+: fun that fits your schedule

My family has a games closet. Inside you’ll find a few decks of cards, two decades’ worth of board games and a Twister mat for those times when we’re feeling limber. Playing games is a great way for us to spend quality time with each other (and a little healthy competition never hurt anyone either).

Today we’re adding games to Google+. With the Google+ project, we want to bring the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web. But sharing is about more than just conversations. The experiences we have together are just as important to our relationships. We want to make playing games online just as fun, and just as meaningful, as playing in real life.

That means giving you control over when you see games, how you play them and with whom you share your experiences. Games in Google+ are there when you want them and gone when you don’t.


When you’re ready to play, the Games page is waiting—click the games button at the top of your stream. You can see the latest game updates from your circles, browse the invites you’ve received and check out games that people you know have played recently. The Games page is also where your game accomplishments will appear. So you can comfortably share your latest high score—your circles will only see the updates when they’re interested in playing games too.

If you’re not interested in games, it’s easy to ignore them. Your stream will remain focused on conversations with the people you care about.

You’ll have a fun initial set of games to play with on Google+. Thanks to the developers who’ve worked with us to make them available:


If you’re a developer interested in building games for Google+, you can learn more on our new Google+ developer blog.

Today we’re starting to gradually roll out games in Google+. We look forward to making them fully available to everyone in Google+ soon. When you see a Games page in your account, please give games a try and send us feedback. Look for the "send feedback" button in the bottom right-hand corner of any page in Google+. Thanks for playing! Like the rest of the Google+ project, we're just getting started.

Posted by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President, Engineering
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/games-in-google-fun-that-fits-your.html

[G] Google Apps is big in Japan

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Apps is big in Japan

Posted by: Akihito Fuji, Google Apps team



On July 20th we held our second annual Google Enterprise Day in Tokyo, Japan. Despite typhoon warnings, we had 1,577 attendees, over twice the number of attendees as last year’s event. The packed agenda consisted of 35 speakers across 20 sessions, including Google Executive Chairman, Eric Schmidt, COO of SoftBank Telecom, Ken Miyauchi, and Yasuki Sato from Toda Corporation.



Google Enterprise Day was an opportunity for Google to share with Japanese business leaders our vision for a 100% web world, where business applications are delivered via a web browser, enabling improved reliability and productivity with access from anywhere, at any time. This was a particularly important topic following the devastating effects of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan earlier this year. Business continuity and disaster management have become real concerns in the last few months for businesses in Japan. Well known construction company, Toda Corporation, shared why they moved to Google Apps after losing access to their on-premise servers and business applications during the tsunami. Moving to a 100% web-based platform meant that Toda Corporation could be up and running quickly, with no time spent installing hardware or software.



Several new Google Apps customers announced that they had gone Google at the event, including SoftBank Group, Nortiz, Casio, and Mitsui Soko. Casio’s CIO, Atsushi Yazawa, shared his decision to move to Google Apps. “In deciding to move to Google Apps, speed of innovation was a big factor. Google Apps constantly provides new features and products with a great level of service and reliability. Google Apps also allowed us to decrease our total cost of ownership while diverting our IT professionals from repetitive maintenence tasks to more business-centric work that adds value to the organization.”



Ken Miyauchi, COO of SoftBank Telecom, SoftBank Mobile and SoftBank BB spoke about its successful deployment of 26,000 employees across the business to Google Apps. SoftBank spoke about some of the benefits they’ve started to see from this switch – a reduction in servers and the costs and resources to maintain them, more efficient email with much bigger storage limits, better access to email and documents from mobile devices, and greater creativity resulting from better collaboration across departments and teams.



Sota Umezu, Manager of Sales Strategy in the Sales Promotion Division at SoftBank says, “Google Apps has changed the way we do business. For example, when gathering information from employees, we used to email attachments to each employee, ask them to fill in their information, and manually aggregate their input in numerous attachments back into a master copy of the file. With Google Docs employees all update the same document, making a 6 hour process a 30 minute process. The ability to access data from anywhere and collaborate in real time has greatly improved productivity,”



We really enjoyed hosting such innovative business leaders at this year’s Enterprise Day. If you’d like to see some of the presentations from this event, you can watch the videos on YouTube.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/08/google-apps-is-big-in-japan.html

[G] The computer that keeps getting better...

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: The computer that keeps getting better...

Posted by Rajen Sheth, Group Product Manager, Chrome for Business



One of the best things about Chromebooks is that they improve over time with frequent automatic updates. Over the last few months we’ve gotten great feedback from many of our Chromebooks for Business and Education customers, and we’re excited that this week’s latest stable release of Chrome OS includes their top feature requests: VPN and secure Wi-Fi (802.1x) support, and access to virtualized applications.



With VPN support, users can remotely access their private school or business network from a Chromebook so they can use important internal systems while taking advantage of the Chromebook’s portability.



Secure WiFi (802.1X) support lets organizations protect their wireless network and systems by requiring authentication credentials in order for a Chromebook to connect to the network.



Finally, while most new applications will be built for the web, we recognize that some users need to access desktop applications.1 With the technology preview release of Citrix Receiver for Chrome OS, Citrix customers can now access virtualized versions of their desktop applications, like Adobe Photoshop, using a Chromebook.


Also in this week's release, Chromebooks resume even more quickly – 32% faster in most cases. And users can save paper by using Google Cloud Print’s Print to Docs feature. We’re excited for feedback, and to get the latest features, fixes, and improvements, all users need to do is open their Chromebooks!


If you’re interested to learn how Chromebooks can help your school or business, contact our team.


1. IDC, 2010. “Worldwide Software as a Service 2010–2014 Forecast: Software Will Never Be the Same.”
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/08/computer-that-keeps-getting-better.html

Thursday, August 11, 2011

[G] Improvements in Custom Reports: Better builder, more metrics, and custom navigation

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Google Analytics Blog: Improvements in Custom Reports: Better builder, more metrics, and custom navigation

This is part of our series of posts highlighting the new Google Analytics. The new version of Google Analytics is currently available in beta to all Analytics users. And follow Google Analytics on Twitter for the latest updates. This week, Gilles Roux, an Analytics engineer will discuss some recent improvements to custom reporting in Google Analytics.


Creating custom reports in Google Analytics is a great way to answer specific questions about how users interact with your website or keep track of the metrics that really matter to you.
Since releasing the new Analytics earlier this year you have sent us lots of great feedback. Thank You! We have been hard at work integrating some of your suggestions and adding new features that will make custom reports more useful and easier to use.


Simplified custom report builder
The custom report builder has an updated look and feel that simplifies the process of creating and editing custom reports. The sections are now clearly labeled, with optional settings at the end, and the metric groups are shown on a single page without the need to switch tabs. We have also added the ability to quickly reorder metrics and dimensions using drag and drop. We hope these improvements will help you create reports that look just the way you want, in just a few minutes.




More metrics and dimensions!
We know - when it comes to analyzing your website usage, the more metrics the better. That’s why we have enabled 45 additional metrics and dimensions inside custom reports. These cover a wide variety of areas such as mobile, social, goals, site search, e-commerce and advertising. All metrics and dimensions are now organized in categories to make the list more manageable.




When viewing a custom report that has an explorer tab, you will now be able to select a secondary dimensions, which can be useful to perform a deeper analysis of your data without having to make changes to the custom report.


Custom navigation
The custom reports overview page is the central place to view and manage all your custom reports. You will now notice a ‘New Category’ button to create your own categories, in which you can group related custom reports. You will also be able to reorder reports, for example to make sure that your most important ones are conveniently shown at the top of the navigation.




We hope these improvements will help you create powerful reports that are targeted to the specificities of your site. As always, please don't hesitate to send us feedback, and expect more features in the near future.


Posted by Gilles Roux, Google Analytics Team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/kX_7IakD9FM/improvements-in-custom-reports-better.html