Saturday, January 7, 2012

[G] Happy 100th birthday, Charles Samuel Addams

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Official Google Blog: Happy 100th birthday, Charles Samuel Addams

From time to time we invite guests to post about items of interest and are pleased to have H. Kevin Miserocchi, executive director of the Tee and Charles Addams Foundation, join us today to talk about cartoonist Charles Samuel Addams. Addams is best known as the creator of the Addams Family, and is the subject of a doodle today in honor of his 100th birthday. -Ed.

I spent the summer of 1979 fundraising with Tee Matthews Miller for the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons. We spent most of our time in the home she shared with her cartoonist paramour—and too many dogs and cats to name—during his weekends away from Manhattan. I’d met her partner several times before I realized that behind all the stacks of paper and collectibles and layers of dust and pet fur in Tee’s office den, the walls were decorated with familiar art. Not just any art—the original artwork from the pages of The New Yorker magazines that my brother and I had cut up or crayoned across when we were boys. Tee’s boyfriend was the Charles Addams—the one with two d’s. I was home, and our friendship was forever cemented.

They were married in Tee’s pet cemetery in Water Mill, NY in 1980—a surprise for the 60 guests coming for cocktails during the Memorial Day weekend. The wedding party all wore black. It was the union of a wonderful woman of gentle spirit and great generosity and a beguiling man with a subtly wicked sense of humor. Bashful and soft-spoken as he was, he had a devil-child glint in his eyes and a Lugosi-like mouth when he laughed, showing none of his teeth.

Eleven years after his 1988 death, his widow and I formed the not-for-profit Tee and Charles Foundation to protect his legacy as an extraordinary cartoonist with a painterly technique, and to educate people about Charlie’s gift by exhibiting his work worldwide. Following Tee’s passing in 2002, the Foundation dedicated the couple’s Sagaponack homestead, “The Swamp,” as a museum. They had moved there in the mid-1980s, and in true Addams style, they took their cemetery with them—a sweet place where their ashes are interred alongside those of their beloved dogs and cats.

Of the thousands of works Charlie published in his 55 years of cartooning, only 150 were devoted to the group of characters who became known as The Addams Family. But the perfectly off-center humor behind these characters won worldwide adoration even before they became the television and film family we know today. Even for those who never had the thrill of knowing the classy gentleman behind this unique art, Charlie’s family continues to capture the hearts of new generations of cartoon aficionados. We hope today’s doodle inspires you to seek out more of his work.

Posted by H. Kevin Miserocchi, Executive Director, Tee and Charles Addams Foundation

Friday, January 6, 2012

[G] Crowdsourcing to Protect: NCMEC’s Newly Redesigned CyberTipline

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Google Public Policy Blog: Crowdsourcing to Protect: NCMEC’s Newly Redesigned CyberTipline

Posted by Liz Eraker, Policy Counsel

We are strong believers in the importance of abuse reporting tools that identify harmful and illegal content online. That’s why we are proud to say we recently helped The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) launch a newly redesigned CyberTipline — the national reporting mechanism for cases of child sexual exploitation — to better protect all Internet users.

NCMEC receives a staggering amount of information. Since the CyberTipline’s inception over a decade ago, it has handled more than 1.25 million reports of child sexual exploitation. The National Center is at the forefront of efforts to protect society’s most vulnerable individuals by providing tools and resources for reporting abuse and working with law enforcement on child sexual exploitation investigations.

We are proud to have assisted NCMEC in building a more user-friendly and seamless reporting system for both the public and electronic service providers. In the spirit of our continued partnership with NCMEC, we hope that these improvements will help to better facilitate CyberTipline reporting and encourage more Internet users to join the fight against child sexual exploitation.

More details about the new CyberTipline are available on the NCMEC website here.

[G] Introducing Video Player Sample

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Google Open Source Blog: Introducing Video Player Sample

Have you ever wanted a fun and beautiful way to publish videos on your own site like the new 60 Minutes or apps from the Chrome Web Store? I'm excited to announce the release of The Video Player Sample! The Video Player Sample is an open source video player web app built using the same architecture as the 60 Minutes and apps. It can be customized, extended, or just used out of the box and populated with your own content.

How it works

When a user opens the Video Player Sample web app, they can choose to watch a single video or create a playlist of videos/episodes from a list that they have uploaded and populated to the app. The Video Player Sample is configured and information about the videos is stored in JSON files (config.json and data.json respectively), both of which are located in the data directory.

Key features

  • A beautiful video watching experience, including a full screen view

  • Ability to subscribe to shows, watch episodes, create play lists

  • Support for multiple video formats depending on what the user’s browser supports (including WebM, Ogg, MP4, and even a Flash fallback)

  • A Categories page with an overview of the different shows/categories available in the app

  • Notifications of new episodes (when the app is installed via the Chrome Web Store)

  • Built in support for sharing to Google+, Twitter and Facebook

  • To ensure easy customization, all source files, including the Photoshop PSD’s, are included

How it's built

The Google Video Application is written for the open web platform using HTML and JavaScript, broadly following the MVC (Model View Controller) pattern and structure.

Browser Support

In addition to working as an app that can be installed through the Chrome Web Store, the Video Player Web App has been tested and works in all of the modern browsers.

Try it out

You can see a demo of the video player in action in the demo app, or by Adding it to Chrome through the Chrome Web Store. To learn more about how the app works, check out the documentation.

You can grab the code from Google Code.


By Pete LePage, Chrome Web Store Developer Relations Team


[G] Speed and Security

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Google Chrome Blog: Speed and Security

Today’s Beta release improves on two of Chrome’s core principles: speed and security.

One of the things people like best about Chrome is that it loads web pages quickly. To get you where you want to go even faster, Chrome will now start loading some web pages in the background, even before you’ve finished typing the URL in the omnibox. If the URL auto-completes to a site you’re very likely to visit, Chrome will begin to prerender the page. Prerendering reduces the time between when you hit Enter and when you see your fully-loaded web page--in some cases, the web page appears instantly.

On the security front, improvements to Chrome’s Safe Browsing technology should help protect you from additional types of malware attacks. Previously, Chrome focused primarily on protecting you from sites that would exploit your computer with no user interaction required. Now, we’re seeing an increase in malicious websites that try to convince you to download and run a file that will harm your computer. Some websites even pretend this malicious file is a free anti-virus product.

To help protect you against malicious downloads, Chrome now includes expanded functionality to analyze executable files (such as “.exe” and “.msi” files) that you download. If a file you download is known to be bad, or is hosted on a website that hosts a relatively high percentage of malicious downloads, Chrome will warn you that the file appears to be malicious and that you should discard it. We’re starting small with this initial Beta release, but we’ll be ramping up coverage for more and more malicious files in the coming months. Remember, no technical mechanism can ever protect you completely from malicious downloads. You should always be careful about which files you download and consider the reputation of their source.

Try out these changes in the new Chrome Beta--we look forward to hearing your feedback. As always, please keep in mind that the Beta channel inherently comes with more bugs and kinks to work out.

Posted by Dominic Hamon, Software Engineer and Speed Demon

[G] Collaboration “on-the-go” in Singapore with Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Collaboration “on-the-go” in Singapore with Google Apps

Posted by Patrick Liew, CEO, HSR

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Patrick Liew, CEO of HSR Property Group, the leading real estate company in Singapore, with more than 2,000 agents. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Any large real estate company like HSR has to respond quickly to customer requests and market changes to stay competitive. Our agents are constantly out of their offices and showing properties. Their main access to email is via their tablets and smartphones. This isn’t really surprising, since smartphone use in Singapore is more than three times the global average.

Because mobility is so critical in our industry, it was important for us to find a solution that enabled access from any device. Our old email system also caused a lot of storage and performance bottlenecks. We wanted quicker, simpler access and easier ways to collaborate with each other and our clients. Google Apps was a good fit for our IT priorities and our business. From an IT-management perspective, Google Apps was intuitive for our users, scalable, and easy to manage.

Google Apps has helped HSR improve information flow and collaboration, leading to better engagement with our agents. We now use Google Sites to create intranets that provide our widely scattered agents with information on pipelines, co-broker opportunities, and training. Dashboards on these sites help us gauge each team's performance. Google Sites also allows us to share floor plans, maps, pricing, availability, and other real estate data, both internally and with clients. Google Docs serves as a company memo and lets colleagues update each other quickly on events, listings, and other important information. We track training sessions with Google Calendar, and share training content and attendance records with Google Docs.

We love Google Apps’ security features and cloud-based delivery, too. If an agent loses a phone in the morning, the data can be wiped remotely, and then—since contact information and other data are stored in the cloud—the agent can be up and running on another phone by noon. New government regulations also require real estate agents in Singapore to retain originals or copies of certain documents for at least three years. Google Apps provides simple archiving, and we now handle data retention through Google Postini.

Everyone at HSR is synchronized these days with Google Apps. We run our entire business using it, from selling to after-sales service. There’s no doubt—collaboration has never been made easier.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

[G] Announcing the 2012 Google News elections section

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Google News Blog: Announcing the 2012 Google News elections section

Posted by Scott Zuccarino, Product Manager

Who just endorsed whom? What do the latest polls say? How much money did they raise this quarter? Keeping up with the 2012 elections in the U.S. and staying abreast of breaking developments can be quite a task in today’s fast-paced news cycle.

So today, we’re excited to continue our tradition of supporting you during elections season. Google News is launching an Elections section on its homepage which will organize and present elections coverage as it grows through the general election -- Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

The Elections section will be visible by default for all US users and will be located beneath the Health section. It will bring readers the latest and most relevant news stories, using all of the ranking intelligence that users have come to expect of Google. You should also check out Google’s official elections page, YouTube’s collection of candidate videos, and the elections Trends Dashboard to find out more about how people are interacting with the elections online.

[G] New year, new start for the City of Pittsburgh

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: New year, new start for the City of Pittsburgh

Posted by Luke Ravenstahl, Mayor of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Editors note: Today Mayor Ravenstahl is announcing that almost 3,000 city employees just started using Google Apps for Government.

People love to work and live in Pittsburgh. It’s ranked America’s “Most Livable City” year after year due to a low, and decreasing, crime rate, a burgeoning arts and cultural scene, and an affordable cost of living that offers families the nation’s largest scholarship program for public school students. Pittsburgh also has a humming high-tech economy that builds off of our manufacturing past. To keep our city at the forefront of innovation, my administration adopts the latest technology applications that modernize our government, while cutting costs and improving our daily operations.

I am pleased to announce that in about four months we successfully retired our Microsoft Exchange 2003 email system and moved almost all 3,000 city employees to Google Apps for Government. This move will save us 25 percent or more in annual email support costs and allow us to deliver better services to our residents. Our employees are working more efficiently because they have 500 times more email storage and no longer need to waste time emptying their inboxes. We’re also able to capture and index all employees’ email and attachments in one centralized and searchable repository, which helps us meet e-discovery needs much more efficiently.

Since 40 percent of our employees already have personal Gmail accounts, the migration went smoothly with the help of Google implementation partner, Daston Corporation. Our employees are excited to collaborate on a single document simultaneously, and participate in video chats with each other no matter where we are. My staff is better able to address the needs of community members by creating a shared document that outlines neighborhood needs and tasks that all can reference and update.

We are also enhancing the security of our data while saving money. Our data now lives in a datacenter environment dedicated to US government entities that has been through the federal government’s FISMA certification process. “While the city still retains full ownership of our data, we can count on Google for data safety and security,” said CIO Howard A. Stern, Ph.D. who spearheaded the transition.“Our data is more secure with Google than with the previous system.”

We're grateful for Google's commitment to the tech sector in Pittsburgh, and we're proud to be using Google Apps in city government. As we kick off the New Year in the “cloud,” we look forward to exploring more ways to improve collaboration and productivity with Google Apps. We believe that this transition will help keep the City innovative.

[G] NOAA moves 25,000 to Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: NOAA moves 25,000 to Google Apps

Posted by Kennith Jackson, Deployment Manager, Google Apps

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is ringing in the new year with a new email and collaboration system for its 25,000 employees, contractors and associates. They have all successfully moved to Google Apps for Government, making NOAA the largest federal agency to complete the switch to cloud-based email and collaboration tools.

NOAA employees work with the latest technologies like environmental monitoring satellites and high-tech weather forecasting tools. Now, they have cutting-edge email and collaboration tools to match.

According to NOAA CIO Joseph Klimavicz, the speed and ease of moving to Google Apps was an important factor in the agency’s decision to select Google. Moving 25,000 people to a new system is no small task. To move a group this size to a unified email platform in just six months is a remarkable achievement.

The rapid deployment resulted from a well-coordinated effort by NOAA employees, prime contractor ERT Inc., and Google partners Unisys and Tempus Nova. NOAA issued a request for proposals in January 2011 and made the award to ERT in June. The team put in place an aggressive schedule to have the system implemented by December and delivered on the plan. NOAA staff now have a set of modern tools like instant messaging, video chat, and real-time, multi-user document collaboration to help the people of NOAA work together more effectively. What’s more, NOAA estimates the cost to the taxpayer is approximately 50% less than developing a solution in-house.

With operations around the nation, in the air and on the sea, NOAA needed applications that work anywhere without the hassle of managing hardware in all these locations. Many members of the workforce spend time outside the office collecting data on weather, climate, oceans, and coasts. As a result, access to work information on mobile devices is critical. Google Apps allows NOAA’s scientists and staff to get their email and other information wherever their work may take them.

We welcome NOAA as the latest -- and largest -- in a string of government agencies from Wyoming to the General Services Administration to Des Moines, Iowa that switched to Google Apps in 2011. We look forward to welcoming many others in 2012.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

[G] Google Correlate expands to 49 additional countries

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Research Blog: Google Correlate expands to 49 additional countries

Posted by Matt Mohebbi, Software Engineer

In May of this year we launched Google Correlate on Google Labs. This system enables a correlation search between a user-provided time series and millions of time series of Google search traffic. Since our initial launch, we've graduated to Google Trends and we've seen a number of great applications of Correlate in several domains, including economics (consumer spending, unemployment rate and housing inventory), sociology and meteorology. The correspondence of gas prices and search activity for fuel efficient cars was even briefly discussed in a Fox News presidential debate and NPR recently covered correlations related to political commentators.

Health has always been an area of particular interest to our team (Matt Mohebbi, Julia Kodysh, Rob Schonberger and Dan Vanderkam). Correlate was inspired by Google Flu Trends and many of us worked on both systems. So we were very excited when the BioSense division at the CDC published a page which shows correlations between some of their national trends in patient diagnosis activity and Google search activity. With just three years of weekly data, relevant search terms are surfaced. For example, the time series for bloody nose surfaces "bloody snot" and "blood in snot".

While these terms shouldn't come as a surprise, there are others which are more interesting, including searches related to static electricity, dry skin, and red cheeks. Of course, correlation is not causation but we hope that Correlate can be used as a method for researchers to generate new hypotheses with their data.

To help researchers outside the United States, we're pleased to announce support for 49 additional countries in Google Correlate. It's now possible to see correlations like "snorkeling" in Australia, "cherry blossoms" in Japan , and "beer garden" in Germany. We look forward to seeing what new correlations researchers can find with this data!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

[G] Happy New Year!

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Inside AdSense: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the AdSense team! We enjoyed celebrating the holiday and hope you did too.

Cheers to 2012!

Posted by Jamie Firkus - Inside AdSense Team


[G] Keeping up with the 2012 U.S. election with

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Official Google Blog: Keeping up with the 2012 U.S. election with

From the nineteenth century’s pamphlets to the twentieth century’s TV ad revolution, our elections have always been shaped by how we communicate and consume information. There’s no question that the Internet is set to deliver more political information, opinion and news than any other medium throughout the 2012 U.S. elections. The web offers candidate and issue info to voters; networking and fundraising platforms for campaigns; and research and productivity tools for journalists.

Today, just in time for the Iowa Caucuses, we’re launching, an election hub where citizens can study, watch, discuss, learn about, participate in and perhaps even make an impact on the digital campaign trail as it blazes forward to Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

The site enables voters, journalists and campaigns to quickly sort through election info by popularity, race or issues. People can also check out the Trends Dashboard to take the web’s real-time political pulse by comparing candidates’ YouTube video views, search traffic and Google News mentions. Campaign staffers, advocates and everyday citizens can utilize our tools and features to reach, engage and inspire voters.

There are a lot of miles to cover and coffee to be consumed before Election Day. We hope you’ll make one of your regular online stops along the way.

Posted by Eric Hysen, Google Politics & Elections Team

(Cross-posted from the Politics & Elections Blog)