Saturday, November 19, 2011

[G] Doc Summit Wrap up: 4 Books written in 3 days!

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Google Open Source Blog: Doc Summit Wrap up: 4 Books written in 3 days!

In mid October a Document Summit was held at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California where documentation teams from 4 open source projects, KDE, OpenStreetMap, OpenMRS and Sahana Eden as well as a few documentation ‘free agents’ gathered to a write 4 books in the course of three days and take part in a two day unconference. Below, one of the dedicated documentation volunteers and the FLOSS Manuals founder/organizer recount their experiences over the course of the week.

This past month, Google took a big step toward giving documentation its due with a five-day Google Summer of Code Document Sprint. The event was inspired and driven by FLOSS Manuals, an organization of volunteers (of which I'm one) that has received increasing recognition for its documentation projects and the related community-building they stimulate.

It was predicated on the realization at Google (and at least among pockets of open source developers) that free software needed more than good coders to be successful. It needs communities of people caring for each other and guiding each other through the best use of the software, and part of this community effort is good documentation.

To understand the five-day conference itself (which I wrote about extensively on Radar), you have to know something about FLOSS Manuals and its intense "book sprint" process. FLOSS Manuals was started by artist Adam Hyde several years ago to fill the gap in free software's documentation. From the start it focused not on small articles or wikis but on full manuals. Adam developed the book sprint as a way to pull together a community and get something done quickly that everybody could point to as an achievement for their community.

Five to ten developers, power users, and core supporters meet in a workplace for three to five days and write, sharing their work. Remote contributions are encouraged, and outsiders often weigh in with key points. It's a chaotic process that converges suddenly on the last day into a 80-page to 150-page book, and it leaves a high-endorphin sensation among the participants that propels them toward other community-related activities. Books are frequently translated into other languages, are available both on web sites running FLOSS Manuals software and in print, and are kept "live" so that people can contribute to them later.

My Radar articles contain my own lessons from the Google/FLOSS Manuals sprint. The four projects that participated took back not only a book but guidelines for keeping it alive and capitalizing on the educational and promotional activities that a book permits.

By Andy Oram, O’Reilly Editor


The Google Summer of Code Document Summit was the first of its kind - a special mix of formats with an unconference and book sprint tied together. This promised to be not only intensive and productive but exhausting!

We kicked off the first day of the summit with a one day unconference facilitated by Allen Gunn. It was a great way to get started, we covered many interesting topics related to free documentation. At the end of the day everyone was tired yet inspired. We also started to really come together as a group quite quickly under Allen’s guidance and there were many smiling faces and intensive discussions on the bus back to the hotel.

Day two - start sprinting! Well, the start of an ambitious process - 4 parallel book sprints. Zero to book in 3 days with 4 concurrent projects. I had a pretty good feeling it was going to work, having now done 30 or so sprints, but facilitating 4 sprints concurrently is extra tricky. Thankfully Anne Goldenberg (on the board of the French FLOSS Manuals) was there as I am training her to facilitate Book Sprints. I briefed Anne and she started working through the sprint with the OpenStreetMap team and I began facilitating Sahana and KDE while Allen helped here and there a lot for the first day especially with the generation of the table of contents and oiling the engine for OpenMRS. We also divided the "free agents" (people not affiliated to projects) to the groups.

Well, the rest is more or less the Book Sprint process. Writing, reviewing, discussing, workshopping and using the various tricks and methods developed over the last 3 or so years with this methodology. All went pretty smoothly. We finished 4 great books in 3 days. I think the final word counts were something like 25,000 words or so for each of OpenStreetMap, OpenMRS, and Sahana Eden; 10,000 or so words for KDE.

Laleh Torabi designed some wonderful covers for the books and Tuukka Hastrup was there working on a special new development for Booki (the platform we use for Book Sprints). Tuukka finished the beta and implemented it about 35 seconds before we were planning to use it and he didn’t even sweat!

After dinner on the 3rd sprint day we invited Sahana Eden up to the front of the group and they used the new Booki feature to export the book directly to (a print on demand service). Thats right, one push of the button and their book was IMMEDIATELY for sale as a paper book online - it was magic!

The last day was feedback and a debrief unconference facilitated by Allen and then... you thought it had ended? No! The Google Open Source Programs Office team had agreed to get paper books printed so we distributed 20 each of the four *beautiful* books to the mentor summit the next day. All bound and shiny...they looked amazing and set off quite a buzz.

Many thanks to everyone involved. Especially the fabulous Google Open Source Program team.

By Adam Hyde, FLOSS Manuals
With this Document Summit, Google had the opportunity to support 4 important projects and the overarching need for good documentation of free and open source software.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs


[G] CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 3 - Google's Karen Sauder

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Official Google CPG Blog: CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 3 - Google's Karen Sauder

In today's episode of the CPG Thought Leader Video Series, Karen Sauder, Industry Director, Food, Beverage and Restaurants at Google, discusses the excitement of brand marketing today and the new brand storytelling opportunities that digital offers.


[G] CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 2 - Google's Karim Temsamani

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Official Google CPG Blog: CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 2 - Google's Karim Temsamani

In episode 2 of the CPG Thought Leader Video Series, Karim Temsamani, VP of Global Mobile at Google, talks about the growth of the mobile industry overall and consumers' pattern of shifting access from desktop to the cloud.


[G] CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 1 - McKinsey's David Edelman

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Official Google CPG Blog: CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 1 - McKinsey's David Edelman

Today we're launching a new video series on the Google CPG Blog. Every day for the next week, we'll post a video of an industry thought leader sharing advice with CPG companies about how to improve their digital marketing. All of the speakers featured in this series spoke at Google's Think Branding event in New York in October.

Our first video features David Edelman, Partner and Co-leader of the Global Digital Practice at McKinsey & Co, sharing his thoughts on online content development strategy. He talks about how businesses are finally realizing that a big part of what consumers are doing online is looking at content and recognizing the need to develop the type of content with which consumers want to engage.

If you're interested in speaking with David, you can reach out to him at David_edelman(at) You can also read his thoughts on Google's Think Branding event here.


[G] Webinar Tomorrow: Make Your TV Campaign Smarter

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Official Google CPG Blog: Webinar Tomorrow: Make Your TV Campaign Smarter

Are you marketing a CPG brand next year? Will TV be part of your strategy...or at least, do you hope it will be?

Let’s make 2012 the year we learn more from our TV campaigns.

The Google TV Ads team would like to invite you to a webinar on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 to demonstrate how CPG brand marketers are getting smarter about their TV buys. Highlighting use-cases from your industry, members of the Google TV Ads sales team will show how Google TV Ads can support each stage of the product life cycle, including:
  • Enabling macro and micro level targeting at launch
  • Segmenting your audience on TV to drive growth
  • Analyzing post-campaign attribution and improved ROI metrics
We hope you can join us!

- The Google TV Ads sales team

Webinar: Make Your TV Campaign Smarter
November 16, 2011
2:30pm EST/11:30am PST
Click here to register

[G] This Week: Google+ Webinar and Help Desk Hangouts

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Official Google CPG Blog: This Week: Google+ Webinar and Help Desk Hangouts

As you may already know, last Monday we announced Google+ Pages for businesses, a collection of tools and products to help clients get closer to customers. We’re offering two awesome opportunities for you to learn more about getting your business on Google+:

Wednesday: Learn with Google Webinar: Getting Your Business on Google+
Wednesday November 16, 2pm ET. Register here.
Join our live webinar hosted by Google+ experts to learn more about how you can bring your company and customers closer together using Google+. Key topics that'll be covered include:
  • Setting up a Google+ Page for your business
  • Best practices and early use cases for using Google+
  • Promoting your Google+ Page
  • Improving the performance of your ads with +1 annotations
Thursday: Help Desk Hangouts
Thursday November 17, 12pm - 3pm ET. Visit our Google+ Your Business page.
Still have questions? Talk face-to-face with a Google+ expert using our group video chat product, Hangouts. Learn technical tips, content strategies, and potential use cases for your business.

Check out how Zen Bikes uses Google Plus in this awesome video!

[G] Ten Mobile Site Best Practices

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Official Google CPG Blog: Ten Mobile Site Best Practices

  • Keep it Quick

    Keep it Quick

  • Simplify Navigation

    Simplify Navigation

  • Be Thumb Friendly

    Be Thumb Friendly

  • Design for Visibility

    Design for Visibility

  • Make it Accessible

    Make it Accessible

  • Make it Easy to Convert

    Make it Easy to Convert

  • Make it Local

    Make it Local

  • Make it Seamless

    Make it Seamless

  • Use Mobile Site Redirects

    Use Mobile Site Redirects

  • Learn, Listen & Iterate

    Learn, Listen & Iterate


[G] Google Apps highlights – 11/18/2011

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 11/18/2011

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.

The last few weeks have brought a fresh new look in Gmail, more mobile access options and simpler meeting scheduling tools. Millions of organizations using Google Apps can now use Google+ on their business and university accounts, and we launched a couple Apps-related Google+ Pages ourselves.

Gmail’s new look
Back in July we previewed Gmail’s new look, and a couple weeks ago we started letting people switch to the new design with one click. The refreshed interface makes it easier to follow conversations and spot the sender with profile pictures for each message. The new look also supports dynamic screen densities, so Gmail displays properly whether you’re viewing on a large desktop monitor or a smaller mobile screen. We also added a selection of beautiful HD themes to the existing gallery. Finally, we made it easier to perform advanced email searches using a panel of powerful search options that reveals with a single click.

Gmail app for iOS devices
This month we introduced the Gmail app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, complete with mobile alerts for new mail, a responsive touch screen interface and Gmail mainstays like fast search, conversation view and address auto-complete.

Suggested meeting times in Google Calendar
We’ve heard how frustrating it can be to spend 15 minutes finding a good time for people to convene for a 30 minute meeting, so we made it easier to find a good meeting time in Google Calendar. The suggested times feature automatically reviews the availability of meeting invitees, and proposes event times that work for the whole group.

Google+ for organizations using Google Apps
Businesses, schools and organizations with Google Apps can now use Google+. Employees and students can create profiles, +1 things they like on the web, share interesting content with their circles and have live multi-person video chats with classmates, colleagues and friends. Organizations can also create their Google+ Pages—an organization’s identity on Google+ for customers, students or fans. We’re using Google+ Pages ourselves, so take a look at the Gmail and Google Enterprise pages, and circle us if you’d like to stay in the loop.

24x7 telephone support and improved mobile device management
This week, we introduced a couple other new benefits for Google Apps customers. Organizations of all sizes around the world can now call our support hotline at any time for all core service issue. Also new this week, we improved our mobile device management capabilities with an interface for administrators to view and deny mobile devices connecting to Google Apps, granular mobile policy controls, and the ability to visualize mobile usage trends across the organization.

Who’s gone Google?
Organizations large and small continue to amass around Google Apps. We’re thrilled to welcome a whole host of new customers including the Trinity Mirror Group (Britain’s largest newspaper publisher), startups such as JobFlo and UserTesting, organizations including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and colleges like the University of Michigan and UT Austin. Welcome to all!

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

Friday, November 18, 2011

[G] Starcraft finals live streamed on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Starcraft finals live streamed on YouTube

The battles from the Koprulu Sector between Terrans, the Zerg and the Protoss are coming to the Major League Gaming channel on YouTube. Starting now we’ll be broadcasting live to the world Major League Gaming Pro Circuit video game national championships for Starcraft. Thousands of the world’s best video game players are descending on the Rhode Island Convention Center starting today through November 20 to compete for more than $600,000 in prizes.

Together, the last four events in MLG tour resulted in more than 11.1 million hours of video consumed, with the last event bringing 180,000 concurrent viewers. When it comes to watching live Starcraft action from the MLG we think the YouTube community can beat that; but, as they say, the game is in your hands:

Have fun and keep gaming.

Cliff Samaniego, Strategic Partner Development Manager, recently watched “First in Line for Modern Warfare 3 in NYC.”


[G] Site Speed, now even easier to access

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Google Analytics Blog: Site Speed, now even easier to access

Speed matters. Faster loading pages mean more visitors land on your site instead of waiting in frustration or leaving. The Google Analytics Site Speed report will help you learn which of your pages are underperforming, so you can address this potential barrier to your conversions.

The Site Speed report was launched a few months ago, but it required site owners to add an additional Google Analytics tracking code to see data in this report. Based on increasing user requests we are now making this feature available to all Google Analytics users and removing the requirement to modify your Google Analytics tracking code. As of today all Google Analytics accounts will automatically have the Site Speed report available with no extra work required from you.

Want to check out Site Speed in your account? It’s easy. Go to the content section and click the Site Speed report. There are three tabs within the Site Speed report for you to review: Explorer, Performance, & Map Overlay. Each provides a slightly different view of your site speed performance. The Explorer tab provides an overview of load time by page. The Performance tab buckets your site speed performance by page load time. The Map Overlay tab provides a view of your site speed experienced by users in different geographical regions (cities, countries, continents). Below are snapshots of the Performance & Map Overlay tabs.

If you have already been using the Site Speed report through the additional tracking script, you can keep using the report as before. Since the tracking code “ _trackPageLoadTime” is no longer required to enable Site Speed report, going forward Google Analytics will simply ignore it.

Interested in understanding the details of the Site Speed report sampling rate, tracking of virtual pageviews, and impact of redirects?

  • Sample rate - Google Analytics samples your page load times to generate this report. For the more technical minded users you can adjust this sampling rate by adding to your Google Analytics code the function - setSiteSpeedSampleRate

  • Support for virtual pages - If a virtual path was used in the _trackPageview call, that path will now also be associated with any site speed data collected from that page.

  • Redirection time - Redirects are now counted as part of the "page load time" metric, so it represents the total time a user perceives of your site loading. Current users of the Site Speed report may notice a small increase in page load times as a result of this update.

Still have questions? Check out the Google code site and Help Center articles on Site Speed. We hope you’ll gain insights from this newly updated report and be able to use it to optimize your pages.  Please share with us your thoughts on this report and any suggestions for future updates. 

- Nir Tzemah, Google Analytics Team


[G] Build great font tools and services with sfntly

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Google Open Source Blog: Build great font tools and services with sfntly

Earlier this month we released the sfntly font programming library as open source. Created by the Google Internationalization Engineering team, the sfntly Java and C++ library makes it easy for programmers to build high performance font manipulation applications and services. sfntly is really, really fast: Raph Levien, Google Web Fonts Engineer, says, "Using sfntly we can subset a large font in a millisecond. It’s faster than gzip'ing the result."

Now, both Java and C++ programmers can use sfntly to quickly and easily develop code to read, edit, and subset OpenType and TrueType fonts. The Google Web Fonts team uses the Java version to dynamically subset fonts, and the Chrome/Chromium browser uses the C++ version to subset fonts for PDF printing.

sfntly (\s-’font-lē\) was built from the ground up to provide high performance, an easy to use API, and both high-level and low-level access to font data. Font objects are both thread safe and high performance while still providing access for editing. After about a year of internal development sfntly is stable enough to move it into open source and share with others.

Currently, sfntly has editing support for most core TrueType and OpenType tables, with support for more tables being added. Using sfntly’s basic sfnt table read and write capability, programmers can do basic manipulation of any of the many font formats that use the sfnt container, including TrueType, OpenType, AAT/GX, and Graphite. Tables that aren’t specifically supported can still be handled and round-tripped by the library without risk of corruption.

sfntly is already capable of allowing many really exciting things to be done with fonts, but there is much more planned: expanding support for the rest of the OpenType spec and other sfnt-container font formats, other serialization forms, better higher level abstractions, and more.

I encourage you to you join us on our journey as a user or a contributor.

By Stuart Gill, sfntly Architect

- Cross posted from the official Google Code blog


[G] Follow robotic wave gliders on a record setting Pacific crossing in Google Earth

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Google LatLong: Follow robotic wave gliders on a record setting Pacific crossing in Google Earth

Join a journey of discovery virtually in Google Earth, as Liquid Robotics launches four wave-powered robotic gliders to cross the Pacific ocean in their Pacific Crossing (PacX) Challenge Expedition. The wave gliders are attempting to set a new world record for the longest distance ever attempted by an unmanned vehicle and will be collecting data about the Pacific ocean for use by scientists and students back on dry land. These R2D2s of the sea will cross 25,000 miles over 300 days and collect over 2 million data points, helping build the record of oceanic knowledge.

Wave glider robots await launch from San Francisco in this first expedition blog post in Google Earth.

To follow the wave gliders in Google Earth, download the expedition KML file or open the PacX Gallery page and click on the ship icon. You will be able to read updates from scientists sharing the latest robotic observations, from wave height in storms to weather measurements like barometric pressure, wind speed and air temperature. The ship icon will represent the location of the wave gliders, starting in the San Francisco bay.

Good luck to the wave gliders and congratulations to the scientists who will be monitoring their progress!

Posted by Jenifer Foulkes, Product Manager, Ocean in Google Earth

[G] Connect with your community on Google+

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Official Google Blog: Connect with your community on Google+

Did you know that every single major league baseball team has a Google+ page? Or that hundreds of professors across the country are using Google+ to hold virtual office hours? Or that every U.S. presidential primary candidate has agreed to participate in live hangouts with voters on television this election cycle?

As Google+ continues to grow, we’re seeing more and more communities develop on the platform. But we want to help more organizations, politicians, artists, celebrities, athletes, media companies and nonprofits use Google+ to share and interact with each other—and with Google+ users. That’s why we’re launching a series of community guides to help your organization thrive on Google+.

On the site, you can find out how to get your organization started on Google+, and learn how other groups like yours—universities, political organizations, nonprofits, sports, media companies and celebrities—are using the platform. You’ll find case studies and ideas for how organizations or individuals in each of these communities have used Google+ effectively. For example, you’ll see how NBC’s Breaking News Google+ page is using the platform to deliver breaking news; or how the Dallas Cowboys are using hangouts to connect with fans; or how celebrities like Conan O’Brien are announcing their Google+ pages to the world.

There are thousands of vibrant communities on Google+. We hope these new community guides will help you and your organization connect, follow and share with the communities you care about the most.

Finally, we’d love to hear how you’re using Google+ to engage with your communities. Make sure to share your greatest successes with us on the Google+ page.

Posted by Steve Grove, Head of Community Partnerships, Google+

[G] Banana slugs move at the speed of Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Banana slugs move at the speed of Google

Posted by Obadiah Greenberg, Business Development Manager, Google Apps for Education

As a creative writing student at UC Santa Cruz in the early 90s, when I needed to write a story I’d trek across campus over wooden bridges suspended among the age-old redwood trees, down windy paths (avoiding banana slugs), and up to the computer lab. I’d insert a 3.5-inch floppy into the Macintosh SE, make my edits, then listen to the words rip across the dot matrix printer. I’d then carry the pages to the writing workshop where teachers and fellow students would scribble their edits and comments, generally with a red pen. Then it was back to the lab for another re-write.

Despite the fact that nearly every student has a computer these days – saving countless trips to the central computer lab – the way student teams worked together didn’t really become much more efficient, collaborative and fun until UCSC first moved to Google Apps for students in March 2010. And now, starting this week, faculty and staff are also adopting Google Apps so it will be even easier to draft and share work, provide input and incorporate feedback in realtime. Having a common platform for communication and collaboration for all members of the UCSC community means everyone’s literally on the same page.

Many other schools have also recently migrated to Google Apps for their staff and faculty community including Wake Forest University, Barnard College, George Washington University, ESSEC Business School, San Jose State University and many more.

If you’re interested in a deeper look at how staff and faculty at schools like these are using Apps to do things such as build ePortfolios in Sites and track committee minutes in Docs, register here to join our upcoming webinar on Wednesday December 7th at 10am PST. And in the meantime check out our whitepaper to read more about common questions and concerns we’ve heard from schools migrating their faculty and staff communities.

[G] Explore open source with the Google Code-in contest

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Google Open Source Blog: Explore open source with the Google Code-in contest

Correction: Students will not be able to start registering for accounts until the contest opens on November 21st at 12:00 am (midnight) PST. The blog below has been corrected. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Every time you send a text, check a webpage or post a status update, you are using open source software. The Internet is made of open source. But have you ever created any yourself? If you’re a pre-university student between 13 and 17 years old, now you can—and win prizes along the way. Our Google Code-in contest starts this coming Monday, November 21. During the contest, which lasts for 57 days, participants can work on cool online tasks for 18 different open source organizations. Possible challenges include document translations, marketing outreach, software coding, user experience research and a variety of other tasks related to open source software development.

Participants earn points for each task they successfully complete and can earn prizes like t-shirts, cash and certificates of completion. The ten participants with the highest points earned by the end of the competition receive a grand prize trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. next spring for themselves and a parent or legal guardian. They’ll spend the day getting a tour of campus, meeting Google engineers and enjoying other fun surprises.

Last year’s Google Code-in had 361 students from 48 countries completing 2,167 tasks over the course of the the eight week contest. We hope to have even more students participate this year. Help us spread the word by telling your friends, classmates, children, colleagues, teachers—everyone!

If you’d like to sign up, please review our Frequently Asked Questions and the contest rules on our program site. You can also join our discussion list for any other questions. For details on important dates for the contest, see the timeline. You can register for your account on the program site when the contest opens on Monday, November 21st at 12:00am (midnight) PST.

We hope you’ll spend your winter (or summer, for our friends in the southern hemisphere) learning about the ins and outs of open source development through hands-on experience. On your marks...

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

- Cross posted from the Official Google Blog