Friday, November 25, 2011

[G] DatenDialog - Big Tent goes to Berlin

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Official Google Blog: DatenDialog - Big Tent goes to Berlin

In May, we held our first Big Tent conference near London, where we debated some of the hot issues relating to the Internet and society with policy-makers, academics and NGOs. The term "big tent” not only described the marquee venue but also our aim to include diverse points of view.

After the U.K. success, we decided to export the concept. Yesterday we welcomed more than 200 guests in Berlin, Germany to the second Big Tent event, entitled DatenDialog.

This dialogue about data tackled the issue of online privacy from a variety of angles. It was appropriate to hold it in Germany, which is a pacesetter both in its concern about privacy and its ideas for safeguarding personal data. During the one-day event, we debated questions such as: what does responsible collaboration between the tech industry and the data protection authorities look like? Do we need new regulation to manage the Internet and the large amount of data produced in the online world? Who is responsible for educating users and how does the tech industry make sure it builds privacy controls into its products?

Speakers included the German State Secretary for the Interior Cornelia Rogall-Grothe and the Federal Data Protection Commissioner Peter Schaar, alongside international authors and bloggers Cory Doctorow and Jeff Jarvis who appeared via live video chat from the U.S.

The debate was always lively, sometimes polarised—Cory likened amalgamated data to nuclear waste while Jeff appealed to governments not to regulate for the worst case—but all seemed to agree that it was a worthwhile and timely exercise to explore these important issues.

You can watch the highlights soon on our Big Tent YouTube channel, and stay tuned for more Big Tents on a range of topics around the world in the coming months.

Posted by Wieland Holfelder, Engineering Director, Germany

(Cross-posted from the European Public Policy Blog)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

[G] Bringing 64-bit data to R

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Google Open Source Blog: Bringing 64-bit data to R

The R programming language has become one of the standard tools for statistical data analysis and visualization, and is widely used by Google and many others. The language includes extensive support for working with vectors of integers, numerics (doubles), and many other types, but has lacked support for 64-bit integers. Romain Francois has recently uploaded the int64 package to CRAN as well as updated versions of the Rcpp and RProtobuf packages to make use of this package. Inside Google, this is important when interacting with other engineering systems such as Dremel and Protocol Buffers, where our engineers and quantitative analysts often need to read in 64-bit quantities from a datastore and perform statistical analysis inside R.

Romain has taken the approach of storing int64 vectors as S4 objects with a pair of R’s default 32-bit integers to store the high and low-order bits. Almost all of the standard arithmetic operations built into the R language have been extended to work with this new class. The design is such that the necessary bit-artihmetic is done behind the scenes in high-performance C++ code, but the higher-level R functions work transparently. This means, for example, that you can:

• Perform arithmetic operations between 64-bit operands or between int64 objects and integer or numeric types in R.
• Read and write CSV files including 64-bit values by specifying int64 as a colClasses argument to read.csv and write.csv (with int64 version 1.1).
• Load and save 64-bit types with the built-in serialization methods of R.
• Compute summary statistics of int64 vectors, such as max, min, range, sum, and the other standard R functions in the Summary Group Generic.

For even higher levels of precision, there is also the venerable and powerful GNU Multiple Precision Arithmetic Library and the R GMP package on CRAN, although Romain’s new int64 package is a better fit for the 64-bit case.

We’ve had to work around the lack of 64-bit integers in R for several years at Google. And after several discussions with Romain, we were very happy to be able to fund his development of this package to solve the problem not just for us, but for the broader open-source community as well. Enjoy!

By Murray Stokely, Software Engineer, Infrastructure Quantitative Team

[G] CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 5 - Mindshare's Ritu Trivedi

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Official Google CPG Blog: CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 5 - Mindshare's Ritu Trivedi

Over the past four days, we've featured a consultant, two Googlers, and an entrepreneur in our CPG Thought Leader Video Series. Today's thoughts come from a leader in the agency world, Ritu Trivedi, Managing Partner at Mindshare. She discusses today's demanding consumers and how they are interacting with brands.


[G] Street View comes to beautiful Belgium

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Google LatLong: Street View comes to beautiful Belgium

Belgium may be a small country but it’s big on culture with more than 300 castles, 40 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 200 museums, 500 types of beer and 2000 chocolate shops. Today we are opening up our beautiful sites to users all over the world as we launch the country at the centre of Europe on Street View.

In the heart of the capital, Brussels, you can now take a virtual stroll around the famous Grand Place which houses the town hall, markets, cafes, museums and the magnificent flower carpet.

Belgium was one of the founding members of the European Union and Brussels is home to many EU and international headquarters. You can now explore the area around the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Beyond Brussels is a world of landscapes, castles and stone-built villages. From the scenic town centre of Bruges to the castles of Bouillon, Belgium’s magnificent sites are now available for all via the Street View feature of Google Maps. Imagery of the historic battlefield of Waterloo is also now available, where the fate of Europe was defined almost 200 years ago.

We’re thrilled to be releasing the imagery of our small yet fascinating country, known by connoisseurs to be Europe's best hidden secret. As we continue to expand Street View, we look forward to bringing many more European countries for you to explore.

Posted by Julien Blanchez, Google Belgium

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

[G] Reminder: Safe Browsing version 1 API turning down December 1

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Google Online Security Blog: Reminder: Safe Browsing version 1 API turning down December 1

Posted by Brian Ryner, Security Team

In May we announced that we are ending support for the Safe Browsing protocol version 1 on December 1 in order to focus our resources on the new version 2 API and the lookup service. These new APIs provide simpler and more efficient access to the same data, and they use significantly less bandwidth. If you haven't yet migrated off of the version 1 API, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible. Our earlier post contains links to documentation for the new protocol version and other resources to help you make the transition smoothly.

After December 1, we will remove all data from the version 1 API list to ensure that any remaining clients do not have false positives in their database. After January 1, 2012, we will turn off the version 1 service completely, and all requests will return a 404 error.

Thanks for your cooperation, and enjoy using the next generation of Safe Browsing.

[G] Broadcasting tips beyond the turkey this Thanksgiving

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YouTube Blog: Broadcasting tips beyond the turkey this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in the US might be focused on the food, but there are plenty of other ways to help make your holiday feast the best one yet. Did you spend most of your Thanksgiving prep time figuring out how to deep fry a turkey? Were you so focused on making gluten free stuffing that you forgot to get a centerpiece? We wanted to share some videos on YouTube to help you manage the details you may have neglected.

DIY decorations and centerpieces can save you money and a trip to the store. Check out some Thanksgiving day centerpieces and accent ideas:

Does your mother-in-law or crotchety cousin always point out that you have the fork and the spoon in the wrong place? Prove them wrong this year with table setting guides for basic, informal and formal dining, as well as fun napkin folding techniques, and more:

If you love all of the Thanksgiving merriment but dread the hours of clean up, then check out tips on how to load your dishwasher most effectively, scrub burn marks out of your pan, and properly store leftovers:

After all the napkins are washed, the dishes are cleaned, and the leftover turkey is tucked away, hopefully you’ve saved some time to remember what Thanksgiving is all about—singing about what you are thankful for:

Finally, wherever you are in the world, good food is universal. If you just can’t get past obsessing over the perfect turkey meal or winning the family pie tasting contest then check out plenty of delicious recipes from the YouTube Next Chefs.

Jessica Mason, Communications Associate, recently watched “Solar Thanksgiving Grid Free Turkey.”


[G] Enhanced advertiser-level controls and insights in DoubleClick Ad Exchange

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DoubleClick Publisher Blog: Enhanced advertiser-level controls and insights in DoubleClick Ad Exchange

Today, we’re happy to announce the roll-out of a new advertiser classification system that automatically scans and classifies each creative using sophisticated machine learning technologies to determine the associated advertiser or advertisers. This means that publishers can more easily and reliably block specific advertisers across all campaigns and buyers.

We focused on an algorithmic solution to this complex challenge, versus a more manual “self-declared” approach for buyers, which can often lead to inaccuracies such as misspellings or misclassifications. This quarter we are introducing this feature with coverage for the top 50 advertisers with a large expansion in advertiser coverage planned soon.

Further taking advantage of this new advertiser-level data, we’re now also able to give our publishers better insights into individual advertiser spending, CPMs and performance to help inform their overall sales efforts. Ad Exchange’s existing multi-dimensional reporting tool now includes an “advertiser” field dimension. This new field will allow publishers to slice and dice their data and see which advertisers are driving the most revenue by geography, domain, channel and a variety of other criteria.

Current Ad Exchange publishers can learn more about this new feature in the help center. If you’re not using Ad Exchange, you can contact your DoubleClick account representative to learn more about all of the ways we’re helping publishers profit from non-guaranteed sales on their terms.

Posted by Drew Bradstock, Product Manager


[G] Gathering of the Mentor Minds

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Google Open Source Blog: Gathering of the Mentor Minds

The sixth annual Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit was held Saturday and Sunday, October 22rd and 23th, 2011 at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Over 285 mentors and organization admins from over 145 Open Source organizations attended, again demonstrated how vibrant, creative, and productive Free and Open Source (FOSS) community members are.

Picture taken by Arthur Liu

This was one of our largest gatherings of mentors yet and it produced 62 diverse sessions over the course of a two day “unconference.” Topics included:
  • Community building and successful Google Summer of Code how to’s
  • Open Source gaming
  • Git and submodules for large projects
  • Humanitarian FOSS
  • Teaching with Open Source
  • Recruiting long term contributors
  • … and many more
Conference attendees actively participated in the event — organizing sessions, solving logistical issues, cleaning up rooms, and generally pitching in to keep things running smoothly.

Friday Night Meet and Greet
  • Mentors began arriving on Friday and in the early evening attended a meet-and-greet party by the hotel pool, where old friendships were renewed and new ones were formed.
  • Large quantities of Thai food and refreshing beverages were consumed by mentors amid sounds of laughter and some decidedly technical conversations.
  • Mentors turned in relatively early, as two very full days of excitement lay ahead, and considering the distances many had travelled to attend, sleep was very welcome

With the success of the chocolate session at last year’s Mentor Summit this year an entire room was reserved for participants to bring their favorite chocolates from their country and share with the group.

The response was staggering! Hundreds of pounds of chocolate from all over the world were brought for everyone to sample. From dark, milk, and white chocolate and lots of chocolate hazelnut goodness to unusual offerings such as fish chocolate (it must be an acquired taste), anything your heart desired resided somewhere in that glorious mound of chocolate.

Picture taken by Robert Kaye

Saturday Highlights
  • Saturday morning breakfast and lunch at Charlie's Cafe at the Googleplex. Great fuel!
  • Saturday welcome and unconference session selection process - A surprisingly efficient way to schedule conference sessions, with good humor.
  • Sessions were interesting and well-attended. Notes from many sessions are on the Mentor Summit wiki.
  • We received our orange 2011 Mentor Summit t-shirts!
  • Saturday night back at the hotel, massive amounts of pizza (and quite a bit of beer) was consumed while equally impressive amounts of social and technical networking was going on in the lounge, in the pool and hot tub, and at tables all around the pool.
  • Live musical entertainment was provided by Bart Massey, David Percy, myself, and lots of people who sat in on guitar, bass, and keyboards. Thank you all!
Sunday Highlights
  • Many more great sessions!
  • The Google on-site store was open for business both days and many summit attendees loaded up with top quality swag!
  • The summit wrap-up session was built around the question "How can we make the Mentor Summit better?" Many interesting suggestions were discussed during this introspective, conversational talk, and will no doubt be incorporated into future Mentor Summits.
Some things we learned about ourselves:
  • We are part of an incredibly creative, energetic and self-motivated community.
  • Given minimal structure we are able to create a productive and enjoyable event.
  • Magic happens when so many passionate, productive FOSS community members meet in one place with the space, time, and infrastructure to network and create together.
  • We can squeeze a lot of practical work and good fun into just two days.
  • One attendee described the Mentor Summit as "a rare place where pretty much everybody understands what you're talking about when you discuss code and community."
Major Thanks:
  • To the Google Open Source Programs Office for providing the venue, meals, travel reimbursements, and local transportation for the weekend.
  • Special thanks to Carol Smith, Cat Allman, Stephanie Taylor, and Wolf Bergenheim, for all the time, energy and care they put into this event.
  • To the OSUOSL for ongoing hosting of the Google Summer of Code Wiki.
  • To all the organization Mentors and Admins who attended, for making this another productive and fun Mentor Summit!
  • To everyone who has supported Google Summer of Code through the years -- you have made a big difference in countless ways!
We’re already looking forward to next year!

By Marty Connor, Mentor, Etherboot Project

[G] Welcoming your favorite Disney movies to rent on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Welcoming your favorite Disney movies to rent on YouTube

Today, the first of hundreds of The Walt Disney Studios movies from Disney, Disney·Pixar and DreamWorks Studios are coming to YouTube. These titles join thousands of full-length feature films from major Hollywood studios that already are available to rent at

Fans of animated movies? We’ve got the beloved animated classic, Alice in Wonderland and the newly envisioned Winnie the Pooh. Love Disney·Pixar? We have hits like Cars and Cars 2 all in one place. Up for a little bit of adventure? We’ll take you from the darkest depths of the oceans with all four of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, including the most recent blockbuster in the franchise Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

So gather the family and friends to watch your favorite Disney movies at Check back in because even more of the great Disney classics and new releases will be added in weeks to come, including our YouTube Movie Extras with behind-the-scenes clips, interviews, and more.

Minjae Ormes, Movies & TV Marketing Manager, recently watched John Lasseter Talks About His Hawaiian Shirt Collection.


[G] Happy Thanksgiving

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Inside AdSense: Happy Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the U.S so we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your dedicated participation in the AdSense program.

(artwork courtesy of Sofia Andrianakou)

Wishing our U.S. publishers a happy and turkey-filled Thanksgiving!

Posted by Jamie Firkus - Inside AdSense Team


[G] Join Presidents Bush, Clinton, plus Bono and Alicia Keys this World AIDS Day on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Join Presidents Bush, Clinton, plus Bono and Alicia Keys this World AIDS Day on YouTube

Did you know there are now 6.6 million people receiving treatment for HIV, compared to just 100,000 in 2002? Still, more than a thousand babies are born every day with HIV and there are 34 million people living with the disease.

This World AIDS Day, you can join the discussion about how to help bring about the beginning of the end of AIDS. We’re partnering with ONE and (RED) to bring you a panel of experts who will talk about the progress we’ve made, where we're falling short, and what it's going to take to end this disease for good. They’ll also answer some questions from the YouTube audience. Starting today, you can submit your questions to the panel, which includes Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton; Bono, co-founder of ONE and (RED); Alicia Keys, co-founder of Keep a Child Alive; and other leaders in the fight against AIDS, including representatives from the Tema Clinic in Ghana, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and the Saddleback Church.

On December 1, World AIDS Day, these leaders will answer some of the top-voted questions live on YouTube at a special event hosted by ONE, (RED) and an impressive list of partners and influencers.

According to ONE, if we recommit to the fight against AIDS, by 2015 we could end mother-to-child transmission of HIV, provide treatment to the 15 million people who need it, and drastically reduce new infections. With the support of donors, African governments, organizations, and the private sector the beginning of the end of HIV/AIDS is within our reach.

Submit your question today and become part of the beginning of the end of AIDS. The deadline to submit is November 28.

Ramya Raghavan, News and Politics Manager, recently watched, “Unhate Campaign”.


[G] CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 4 - Consmr's Ryan Charles

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Official Google CPG Blog: CPG Thought Leader Video Series Episode 4 - Consmr's Ryan Charles

In today's video, we hear from Ryan Charles, the founder and CEO of Consmr. Consmr is a ratings and reviews site for products in the food, home, and personal care spaces. The site's mission is to ensure that consumers make informed decisions about everyday products.

Ryan's a huge believer in the concept of the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). In this video, he shares his thoughts on how the consumer's path to purchase is evolving and how online research is shaping purchase decisions, even in categories formerly seen as "low consideration."


[G] A Silicon Valley Story: HeyZap has gone Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: A Silicon Valley Story: HeyZap has gone Google

Posted by Immad Akhund, Co-Founder and CEO of HeyZap

Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Immad Akhund, co-founder and CEO of HeyZap. HeyZap is a social network for mobile gamers and a platform for mobile and online games. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Games are our business, but our business is certainly not a game. We take running our business seriously, and a key part of this is our IT. From day one, we set up our email on Gmail and have since been running our business on Google Apps. For a company of 18, working efficiently and communicating fluidly is extremely important. When it was just three of us, we used our personal Gmail accounts for work. Then as the company scaled, it became difficult to separate work from our personal lives. We moved to Google Apps where all our work information could be neatly kept under one company domain.

As we grew, we needed the ability to share and work together on documents. Google Docs provides the infrastructure to create and share documents through the cloud. Even better, the collaboration features let us work on the same docs together in real-time from anywhere. Sometimes we have up to 10 people working on a doc, an ability which has enabled us to be much more productive in our work.

For our 10 engineers, Google Docs has also served another purpose. Instead of a wiki, they use Google Docs to store technical materials for others to use. They take advantage of labels and folders to sort the information by topic. Wikis can be hard to maintain, but with Google Docs, it’s easy to create new documents and edit content. Our sales staff has also used Google spreadsheets to manage a lot of our client information and data.

Google Apps has been a powerful tool to help grow our business. As we focus more of our attention on the mobile space, where we already have a very successful app with over two million installs, I’m sure it will continue to enable our business and allow us to keep working quickly and efficiently, whether we’re at the office or on the go.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

[G] Lego robots and their young inventors come to Google

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Official Google Blog: Lego robots and their young inventors come to Google

“He makes his way down the field, finds his target, aims—can he make it before time runs out?”

Nope, we’re not at a sports game, but rather watching a robot, made of Legos, and built and programmed by a team of young students, compete at the FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL) robotics tournament. Last Saturday, November 19, marked our sixth year hosting a qualifying tournament at Google headquarters. This year, 16 Bay Area teams made up of 9-14 year olds participated, energizing our campus with their enthusiasm and even a spontaneous conga line or two.

I’m a software engineer with a longtime personal interest in LEGO robotics and, even more, in getting kids excited about doing science and technology. When fellow Google engineer Albert Bodenhamar and I heard about the tournament awhile back, we put together a team of volunteers at Google, got in touch with the FLL regional coordinators—the nonprofit group Playing at Learning—and held our first tournament. Now we host the event every year, with a cadre of 25-30 Googlers, spouses and friends who spend the day volunteering as judges and referees and help with all of the set-up and logistics.

The center of the action during tournament day was the two ping pong-sized tables where these homegrown robots raced against the clock to complete various physical tasks, all related to the tournament theme of food safety. The tables were covered with small “props” the robots would need. For example, at one point, the robots had to scoop up, carry and then empty dispensers of little plastic "bacteria" into a miniature plastic sink at the opposite end of the table. Referees in black-and-white striped shirts started and stopped the clock and kept their eyes out for penalties while the MC gave play-by-plays of the action. Meanwhile, parents and coaches crowded around, cheering and taking photographs, and the action was broadcast on a jumbo screen for all to see.

When not competing at the tables, teams met with three different sets of judges. One panel of judges asked students about their robot (how they designed it, how it worked), while another set asked about core values (how they worked together as a team, the learning process, camaraderie). In front of the third set of judges, the teams presented their research projects and answered questions. The research project, while unrelated to robotics, aims to incorporate research and problem-solving—keys to the success of any real-world engineering team—into the competition.

At the end of the day, we announced awards. The team Nibbles & Bytes took home the Core Values award, Decon Droids won the award for best Research Project, Xtreme Creators won for Robot Design and the Flying Cougar Cyborgs won for Robot Performance. The LegoNauts took home the Champion’s award. Seven teams advanced to the district championship, which will take place in Redwood City, Calif. in January. Eventually, the tournament reaches the national, and then international, level.

It’s important, not to mention fun, to support creative outlets for young people to get involved in computer science and technology. Competitions like FLL introduce a whole new generation to the world of technology and engineering, and it’s always a blast to support the students who are participating—even if I am a bit exhausted after that conga line.

If you want to get involved with FLL, you can check the website to find out if a team exists in your area, or register a new one.

Posted by Glenn Trewitt, software engineer and FLL tournament director

[G] More spring cleaning out of season

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Official Google Blog: More spring cleaning out of season

This is our third blog post in our off-season spring cleaning series. To recap, we’re in the process of shutting a number of products which haven’t had the impact we’d hoped for, integrating others as features into our broader product efforts, and ending several which have shown us a different path forward. Overall, our aim is to build a simpler, more intuitive, truly beautiful Google user experience. In terms of the details, here is the latest update:
  • Google Bookmarks Lists—This is an experimental feature for sharing bookmarks and collaborating with friends, which we’re going to end on December 19, 2011. All bookmarks within Lists will be retained and labeled for easier identification, while the rest of Google Bookmarks will function as usual. As Lists was an English-only feature, non-English languages will be unaffected.
  • Google Friend Connect—Friend Connect allows webmasters to add social features to their sites by embedding a few snippets of code. We're retiring the service for all non-Blogger sites on March 1, 2012. We encourage affected sites to create a Google+ page and place a Google+ badge on their site so they can bring their community of followers to Google+ and use new features like Circles and Hangouts to keep in touch.
  • Google Gears—In March we said goodbye to the Gears browser extension for creating offline web applications and stopped supporting new browsers. On December 1, 2011, Gears-based Gmail and Calendar offline will stop working across all browsers, and later in December Gears will no longer be available for download. This is part of our effort to help incorporate offline capabilities into HTML5, and we’ve made a lot of progress. For example, you can access Gmail, Calendar and Docs offline in Chrome.
  • Google Search Timeline—We’re removing this graph of historical results for a query. Users will be able to restrict any search to particular time periods using the refinement tools on the left-hand side of the search page. Additionally, users who wish to see graphs with historical trends for a web search can use or for data since 2004. For more historical data, the "ngram viewer" in Google Books offers similar information.
  • Google Wave—We announced that we’d stopped development on Google Wave over a year ago. But as of January 31, 2012, Wave will become read-only and you won’t be able to create new ones. On April 30 we will turn it off completely. You’ll be able to continue exporting individual waves using the existing PDF export feature until the Google Wave service is turned off. If you’d like to continue using this technology, there are a number of open-source projects, including Apache Wave and Walkaround.
  • Knol—We launched Knol in 2007 to help improve web content by enabling experts to collaborate on in-depth articles. In order to continue this work, we’ve been working with Solvitor and Crowd Favorite to create Annotum, an open-source scholarly authoring and publishing platform based on WordPress. Knol will work as usual until April 30, 2012, and you can download your knols to a file and/or migrate them to From May 1 through October 1, 2012, knols will no longer be viewable, but can be downloaded and exported. After that time, Knol content will no longer be accessible.
  • Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)—This initiative was developed as an effort to drive down the cost of renewable energy, with an RE<C engineering team focused on researching improvements to solar power technology. At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level. So we’ve published our results to help others in the field continue to advance the state of power tower technology, and we’ve closed our efforts. We will continue our work to generate cleaner, more efficient energy—including our on-campus efforts, procuring renewable energy for our data centers, making our data centers even more efficient and investing more than $850 million in renewable energy technologies.
Posted by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations & Google Fellow

[G] Which came first, the turkey or the hand?

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Official Google Blog: Which came first, the turkey or the hand?

Creating hand turkeys remains one of my favorite elementary school memories—glue on the table, colorful feathers stuck to your sleeve and glitter everywhere. This year, you have the option to skip the actual mess involved with making these classic Thanksgiving decorations and craft a unique turkey from the comfort of the Google homepage.

Whether you want to customize the headpiece, feet or individual feathers—or just prefer a random surprise by pulling on the turkey's wing—there are many ways to show off your creativity. We can’t stick your creations on our fridge, but thanks to a collaborative effort between our engineers and artists, you’ll be able to share your turkeys via Google+ or a shortened URL. This way all your friends and family, wherever they may be, can see your festive creation.

The doodle will be up from now until Thanksgiving in the United States, and you can make as many different turkeys as you like. With nearly three days to express your inner child or artiste and millions of possible combinations, you may find you unlock a surprise or two... or three... or 12!

Posted by Willie Real, Doodler

[G] Pre-order your favorite ebooks at the Google eBookstore

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Inside Google Books: Pre-order your favorite ebooks at the Google eBookstore

Posted by Stella Loh, Google eBookstore Product Manager

Excited about Michael Connelly's upcoming new book The Drop? Can't wait to get your hands on True Blue by Diana Palmer? Worried your bookstore will run out of Dean Koontz's The Moonlit Mind before you can get your copy?

Have no fear: Pre-ordering in the Google eBookstore is here!

We are excited to announce that the our eBookstore now supports pre-orders for many titles that have not yet been released. No longer must you wait outside in long lines and in the cold, or worry that you'll forget to call ahead with enough time to reserve a copy of that sequel you've been dying to read.

Simply sign into your Google Account, search for the title you want to pre-order and click on "Pre-order eBook" button.

After you’ve confirmed your pre-order, the title will appear in your purchase history. Once the title is officially released to the public, your credit card will be charged, and we'll send you an email letting you know that your book is ready to read!

[G] Interactive weather results, now in 34 languages

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Interactive weather results, now in 34 languages

Earlier this year, we introduced interactive weather information in mobile search results and now this feature is available in 33 more languages. Now when you search for ‘météo’, ‘tempo’, ‘날씨’, or ‘weather’ in your language, you’ll see the current temperature, humidity level and wind speed for your location. You’ll also get an overall forecast and the weather outlook for the next few days. To see weather conditions at various times throughout the day, move the slider across the next 12 hrs; that way you’ll know if you’ll need a light jacket in the afternoon or perhaps an umbrella in the evening.

Give it a try by searching Google for ‘weather’ in your language on your Android or iOS mobile device.

Posted by Sungjoon Jung, Software Engineer

[G] Music Tuesday: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork, “Occupy” songs and more

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YouTube Blog: Music Tuesday: Alan Lomax’s American Patchwork, “Occupy” songs and more

It’s a short holiday week in the United States, and as a chunk of the North American continent prepares to gorge themselves this Thursday for Thanksgiving, we threw together what we hope is an inspiring playlist of...well...feast-oriented music videos. In the meantime, we thought it was a good week to celebrate America’s musical history, pre-YouTube.

An American Patchwork

How do you describe Alan Lomax? The man was committed to capturing the music of ordinary people around the world: songs that had passed down through the family, sometimes played on instruments people had made themselves. Much of what we know about early American music comes from his efforts (and those of his folklorist father John Lomax). Between 1978 and 1982, Lomax traveled through the American South with a video camera for the first time, catching on film a breathtaking array of music talent and traditions. The 400+ hours of footage were edited down for a 1991 PBS special called American Patchwork but were never made available to the public. Over the past few years, the Alan Lomax Archive has been painstakingly uploading these videos. Find this cultural treasure trove at

Songs of Occupation

The Occupy movement shows few signs of slowing down -- even as encampments are cleared out in certain cities, other protests and encampments spring up. It’s a many-headed hydra of a movement, and we wondered if any songs have emerged as anthems for the protesters the way they did for Tunisians during the Arab Spring. The short answer is: no. But there are certainly a lot of interesting songs being uploaded -- including one that the Hawaiian artist Makana performed recently for 19 unsuspecting world leaders during the APEC summit.

Michael Kiwanuka: Home Again

Haven’t heard of Michael Kiwanuka? Now’s the time to start listening. This young singer-songwriter has opened for Adele and garnered comparisons to no less than soul great Bill Withers. Yep, he’s got a voice, a viewpoint, and a way with a guitar. 21st-century soul music? Sounds like it to us.

Sarah Bardeen, Music Community Manager, recently watched “Zaz à Montmartre: Les Passants.”


[G] ‘Tis the season for Chromebooks

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Google Chrome Blog: ‘Tis the season for Chromebooks

The Chrome team elves have been busy packing a few goodies into Chromebooks in time for the upcoming holiday season.

A simple, streamlined user interface

From the moment you hit the power button and watch your Chromebook boot up in eight seconds flat, you’ll notice that the operating system got a bit of a facelift. For example, the Chromebook now sports a fresh, clean login experience.

We’ve also revamped the New Tab page to make it easier to manage your apps, bookmarks and most visited sites. By popular demand, we’ve added a few handy new shortcuts to the New Tab page: a shortcut to the File Manager on your Chromebook, as well as to music apps and games in the Chrome Web Store.

You may have also noticed, we recently gave the Chrome Web Store a new look, so that you can easily scan the wall of images to discover fun and useful apps and extensions.

Hassle-free for the holidays

We’ve heard from many of you that one of the things you enjoy most about the Chromebook is its hassle-free simplicity. If you’re someone who’s often called upon to provide tech support when you’re home for the holidays like I am, you’ll be happy to know that the Chromebook gets your loved ones up and going on the web quickly, without the usual pains of computing like seemingly endless boot times and setup manuals. With that in mind, we wanted to share a few updates to the lineup of Chromebooks that make them more giftable to loved ones.

For folks in the United States, Samsung is introducing a sleek, black version of its Wi-Fi only Samsung Chromebook Series 5.

We’ve also been working closely with our partners to continually improve the overall Chromebook experience while making them even more affordable. So, we’re excited to share that beginning this week Acer and Samsung Chromebooks will be available starting at $299. The updated prices will be available through our online retail partners.

Lastly, if you’re in the U.S. and you’d like to take a Chromebook for a test drive, visit the Samsung Experience in New York City or check one out when flying with Virgin America. We’re excited to hear your feedback, as we continue to build a faster, simpler and more secure experience on a computer that always gets better. In the meantime, we’ll leave you with one in a series of new film shorts that highlight some of the reasons why we think Chromebooks make a great holiday gift.

Posted by Venkat Rapaka, Senior Product Manager