Saturday, January 28, 2012

[G] YouTube Creator Playbook: Use analytics to build an audience

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Creator Playbook: Use analytics to build an audience

This is part of an ongoing series sharing tips from the YouTube Creator Playbook, a resource of best practices and tips you can start using on your Channel and videos right away.



There’s tons of data and information available about your Channel, videos and audience in YouTube Analytics, but the power of this information rests in how you use it. Here are tips for how to monitor the overall performance of your Channel and how to assess your videos based on the what the data is telling you.



Find the Story Behind the Data

  • Learn what each metric means and how the different metrics correlate to one another to find the 'why' and 'how' of trends you're seeing. Don't just kick your feet up when you see a nice spike in views - dig deeper to learn more. Find what video is causing the increase or look at traffic sources to see where the new views are coming from.

  • Hear FreddieW discusses how he uses tracking and measuring to assess the impact of all the strategies he tries on his Channel:





Peaks, Most, Biggest

  • Use Analytics to investigate the ‘peaks,’ the ‘most,’ and the ‘highest’ of each metric. What videos are driving the most subscribers and why? What week did your Channel get the most views and what traffic source makes up the biggest portion of your views? Answers to these can help you plan your future videos based on where you’re seeing the most success.

  • Gunnarolla uses Analytics to find out where his views come from for his Channel:





Videos Driving Subscribers

  • Now you can not only track your daily subscriber gains and losses, but you can see what specific videos are driving your subscriptions. Find out which call-to-action are helping you get the most people to subscribe to your Channel.

Use Your Archive

  • YouTube Analytics is a great way to keep an eye on how your archive is performing, beyond just new uploads. The 'Top 10' and video level metrics allow you to see which videos from your archive are still performing well or maybe even spiking in viewership. Use this information to prioritize what videos to optimize with annotations, new thumbnails or playlists.

To learn more about using YouTube Analytics to help your Channel succeed and many other tips, check out the YouTube Creator Playbook.



Ryan Nugent, audience development strategist, recently watched “Echoes...


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/miCSKY_JUII/youtube-creator-playbook-use-analytics.html

[G] Drupal usability study at Google

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Google Open Source Blog: Drupal usability study at Google







Drupal is an open source content management system with thousands of active community members behind it. A popular solution for both small and large scale websites, Drupal is extremely flexible and offers thousands of add-on modules.  Drupal’s user experience (UX) layer, however, can be daunting and frustrating for beginners to learn. I am working on an exciting project in conjunction with the Drupal User Experience team and the Google Open Source team to help determine some of the key UX issues new users of Drupal encounter. The usability study will have participants (all Googlers) building a website and will help to gain insight into the stumbling blocks users encounter along the way.



The usability study will be streamed live and available for everyone to watch. The usability study is planned to take place February 1-3. Details about the live stream will be posted in the comments section below in the coming days. You can follow the discussion about this study on the Drupal.org wiki page.



Saturday, January 28 at Drupal Camp San Diego (SANDCamp) I will be presenting a talk called “Usability Studies for you and Drupal too!” on the fundamental principles of user experience and an introduction to the usability study. Jen Lampton from Chapter Three is co-presenting with me to talk about why UX is so important to Drupal, what the Drupal UX team has discovered through past studies, and how to get involved with the project.



Stay tuned for another post on the results, and make sure to check back on the Drupal.org wiki for details on how to watch live!



By Becky Gessler, Google Search Quality team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/wn9TbHjdzHI/drupal-usability-study-at-google.html

[G] VP8 Codec SDK "Duclair" Released

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: VP8 Codec SDK "Duclair" Released

"Duclair," the fourth named release of the VP8 Codec SDK (libvpx), is now available. You can download the Duclair libvpx snapshot (version 1.0.0) from our Downloads page or clone it from our Git repository.

This release fixes a decoder crash bug introduced in Cayuga (v0.9.7), so we encourage all Cayuga users to upgrade.

Note that the VP8 format definition has not changed, only the SDK. Duclair is ABI incompatible with prior releases of libvpx, so the major version number has been increased to 1, and you must recompile your applications against the v1.0.0 libvpx headers. The API remains compatible, so code changes shouldn't be required in most applications.

New Features

This release introduces substantial new VP8 encoder features that are especially useful for real-time use cases such as live streaming and videoconferencing.
  • Temporal scalability produces a video stream that can be decimated to different frame rates, with independent rate targeting for each substream.
  • Multiframe postprocessing can make visual quality more consistent in the presence of frames that are of substantially different quality than the surrounding frames, as in the temporal scalability case and in some forced keyframe scenarios.
  • Multiple-resolution encoding enables simultaneous encoding of the same content at different resolutions, resulting in much faster encoding than processing them separately.
Performance Improvements

In this release we focused on optimizing VP8 decoder speed and the real-time modes of the encoder.
  • Decoder speed on x86 processors improved 10.5%. 
  • Encoder improvements followed a curve where speed settings 1-3 improved 4.0%-1.5%, speeds 4-8 improved <1%, and speeds 9-16 improved 1.5% to 10.5%, respectively.
See the CHANGELOG for a complete description.

Thanks to everyone who worked on Duclair, and welcome to our four new contributors:
  • Alpha Lam
  • Deb Mukherjee
  • Jeff Faust
  • Rafaël Carré 
John Luther is Product Manager of the WebM Project.
URL: http://blog.webmproject.org/2012/01/vp8-codec-sdk-duclair-released.html

[G] Google Supports the European Cloud Partnership

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Supports the European Cloud Partnership


Posted by Patrick Ryan, Policy Counsel, Open Internet

Last year, we were excited about the effort initiated by the U.S. government to promote cloud adoption through the Cloud First initiative. Through this initiative, the federal government declared that taxpayers' money should be used in a more productive way, and having the government run its own data centers (more than 2,000 of them) didn't make sense. They’ve targeted the shutdown of more than 1,000 in what they call their “year of change in federal IT,” saving more than $2 billion in taxpayer money. Through leading by example, the federal government went Google with several large agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Government Services Agency (GSA). They join other public entities like the states of Wyoming, and Utah, Washington DC, and the cities of Orlando and Pittsburgh. Also, quasi-public entities have embraced Google Apps, including more than 61 of the top 100 U.S. universities.

In 2012, we hope to see the same movement in Europe. On January 26th, the European Commission's Vice President Neelie Kroes announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos the European Cloud Partnership, and they're backing it with an investment of 10 million EUR to create "a strong common basis for cloud procurement by public authorities." Commissioner Kroes also addressed many of the concerns about local clouds in a decisive way:

“There is one thing that does not make sense and I want to be clear about it: The Cloud Partnership, and indeed our overall Cloud Computing strategy, is not about building a European super-cloud, neither outright nor by forcing the integration of existing public cloud infrastructures. Cloud business models, and the set-up of cloud suppliers' and publicly-run data centres, should be determined by efficiency considerations on the market.”

We believe that the European Cloud Partnership will be a positive thing for public authorities, not just in Europe, but around the world. According to recent studies, the Internet already accounts on average for 3.4% of GDP in a group of 13 emerging and developed economies, helps to spur economic growth and initiatives like this will help to promote its positive economic impact further.

URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/01/google-supports-european-cloud.html

[G] This week's Trends: lights, wind, guitars

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YouTube Blog: This week's Trends: lights, wind, guitars

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:

  • We took in some dazzling videos of the Northern Lights captured on camera.



  • We collected video from Egypt's one-year anniversary of its revolution.



  • We examined how a certain very popular trend of 2012 has gone local.



  • We checked in on the ever-growing popularity of dubstep.



  • We were blown away by crazy footage of a California wind storm.



  • And we met an 8-year-old girl who might just be one of the best elementary school metal guitarist that we've seen:






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 "Ignition."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/vaVJh2ZEbhQ/this-weeks-trends-lights-wind-guitars.html

[G] A Billion Annoying Oranges Later....

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YouTube Blog: A Billion Annoying Oranges Later....

Today, we’re excited to welcome long-time YouTube Partner Annoying Orange to the blog to celebrate an impressive milestone - one billion views on his channel. Now, for a fresh perspective:



Hey! Hey Youtubers! HEEEEEEY! Thanks for letting me borrow your blog! I promise not to chop it! HAHAHAHA!



Wow. You know I've never actually written a blog before. Or read one. I usually just stick to emoticons. Oh! Oh! Here's one of me going NYAH, NYAH, NYAH, NYAH:



(:^)



And this is me smiling with waffle fries in my mouth:



(:#)



And this is pear with a mustache:



(:{)







No, he doesn't actually have a mustache. It's just peach fuzz! HAHA!



And that one:



(:O)



That one means, "Thanks to all our fans for tubing in… ONE BILLION TIMES!" I've been using that one a LOT lately!



Oh! Oh! One more! One more!



Do you know what this means:



!!!!



Hey! Hey! Do you give up yet!? You give up!? How 'bout now?! Now?! OH! OH! NOW!?



Okay, I'll tell you! It means "Holy smokes, the Annoying Orange is celebrating his BILLIONTH VIEW with an EPIC new video up now! You saw the action, now see the REVENGE! Wall-to-wall jokes, all your favorite guest stars, and lots and lots of FIRE!!! Don't miss it!"



See, with an emoticon like that, what else do you really have to say? You know, besides (:^)



See you then!



A to the O!



Annoying Orange, Guest to the YouTube Blog, recently watched, “Annoying Orange Comedy Roast!.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/B-5u9gip-us/billion-annoying-oranges-later.html

Friday, January 27, 2012

[G] Setting the record straight about our privacy policy changes

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Google Public Policy Blog: Setting the record straight about our privacy policy changes

Posted by Betsy Masiello, Policy Manager

A lot has been said about our new privacy policy. Some have praised us for making our privacy policy easier to understand. Others have asked questions, including members of Congress, and that’s understandable too. We look forward to answering those questions, and clearing up some of the misconceptions about our privacy policies that first appeared in the Washington Post.

So, here’s the real story:
  • You still have choice and control. You don’t need to log in to use many of our services, including Search, Maps and YouTube. If you are logged in, you can still edit or turn off your Search history, switch Gmail chat to “off the record,” control the way Google tailors ads to your interests, use Incognito mode on Chrome, or use any of the other privacy tools we offer.
  • We’re not collecting more data about you. Our new policy simply makes it clear that we use data to refine and improve your experience on Google — whichever products or services you use. This is something we have already been doing for a long time.
  • We’re making things simpler and we’re trying to be upfront about it. Period.
  • You can use as much or as little of Google as you want. For example, you can have a Google Account and choose to use Gmail, but not use Google+. Or you could keep your data separate with different accounts -- for example, one for YouTube and another for Gmail.
For more detail, please read the new privacy policy and terms, and visit this site to learn more.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2012/01/setting-record-straight-about-our.html

[G] Welcome customers into your business on Google

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Google LatLong: Welcome customers into your business on Google


(Cross-posted on the Small Business Blog.)

When we initially announced the Business Photos pilot program, we wanted to give business owners an easy way to get customers in the door online using interactive, high-quality, 360-degree images of places on Google Maps and on Google Search results. With thousands of businesses under our belt — from salons to gift shops — we’ve been hearing the same question again and again from both business owners and photographers alike: How can I participate?

Well, with the overwhelming success of the first pilot, we’ve decided to unveil a complementary initiative that will help us reach more interested business owners, more quickly: Trusted Photographers.

Click and drag to view the inside of Spice Market, New York City.

It’s simple. Visit our new website and search for a Google Trusted Photographer in your area. Either email or call a photographer in your area to schedule a time and agree on a price that you will pay the photographer for a photoshoot of your business. This self-serve model makes for easier scheduling and quicker turnaround, while also supporting the local photographers in your community. During the hour it should take for the shoot, you can collaborate with the photographer about how best to display and capture your business. When finished, the photographer will upload the images to Google, and shortly thereafter, you’ll see 360-degree panoramic views of your business on Google.com, Google Maps and on your Google Places listing.

See how Business Photos has helped Toy Joy of Austin, Texas.

Trusted Photographers are available in 14 U.S. cities, as well as in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and France. Don’t see a photographer in your area? Let us know, as that will help us determine where more Trusted Photographers are needed.

Posted by Gadi Royz, Product Manager, Google Maps
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/01/welcome-customers-into-your-business-on.html

[G] Google Earth 6.2: It’s a beautiful world

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Google LatLong: Google Earth 6.2: It’s a beautiful world


(Cross-posted on the Official Google and SketchUp blogs)

We're taking bird's eye view to a whole new level with the latest version of Google Earth, released today. With Google Earth 6.2, we’re bringing you the most beautiful Google Earth yet, with more seamless imagery and a new search interface. Additionally, we’ve introduced a feature that enables you to share an image from within Google Earth, so you can now simply and easily share your virtual adventures with family and friends on Google+.

A seamless globe


The Google Earth globe is made from a mosaic of satellite and aerial photographs taken on different dates and under different lighting and weather conditions. Because of this variance, views of the Earth from high altitude can sometimes appear patchy.

Today, we’re introducing a new way of rendering imagery that smoothes out this quilt of images. The end result is a beautiful new Earth-viewing experience that preserves the unique textures of the world’s most defining geographic landscapes—without the quilt effect. This change is being made on both mobile and desktop versions of Google Earth. While this change will appear on all versions of Google Earth, the 6.2 release provides the best viewing experience for this new data.

Grand Canyon before and after

Sri Lanka before and after

Share your explorations with Google+
Google Earth is a great way to virtually explore the globe, whether revisiting old haunts or checking out a future vacation spot. With the Google Earth 6.2 update, we’ve added the option to share a screenshot of your current view in Google Earth through Google+. If you’ve already upgraded to Google+, you can share images of the places you’ve virtually traveled to with your Circles, such as family, friends or your local hiking club. To try this new feature, simply sign in to your Google Account in the upper right hand corner of Google Earth and click “Share.” Images of mountains, oceans, deserts, 3D cities, your favorite pizza shop on Street View—you can now experience all these amazing places around the world with people on Google+.


Search improvements
We’ve also made some updates to the search feature in Google Earth. Aside from streamlining the visual design of the search panel, we’ve enabled the same Autocomplete feature that’s available on Google Maps. We’ve also introduced search layers, which will show all the relevant search results (not just the top ten), so now, when looking for gelato in Milano, you can see all the tasty possibilities. Finally, we’ve added biking, transit and walking directions, so if you’re itching for a change of scenery or looking for a new route for your regular commute, you can now use Google Earth to generate and visualize all your options.

Biking directions in Google Earth


Download Google Earth 6.2 and start exploring and sharing today!

Posted by Peter Birch, Product Manager, Google Earth
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/01/google-earth-62-its-beautiful-world.html

[G] New Biking Directions Legend

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Google LatLong: New Biking Directions Legend


If you’re looking for new ways to get around for fun or to work, or might be trying to live a greener lifestyle in 2012, why not try biking? In March 2010 we introduced biking directions and since then Google Maps has been sharing biking directions with cyclists across the U.S and Canada.

Since no bike path is the same, many users have requested an easier way to differentiate the different types of bike routes that are available. Starting today, a new legend feature can help you understand what the different colors on the bike maps symbolize.
  • Dark green is for dedicated trails and paths
  • Light green is for roads with dedicated lanes
  • Dotted green is for roads that are friendly for cyclists
Look for the biking legend in the upper right hand corner of the map

You can view this legend by clicking on the widget in upper right corner of Google Maps and selecting the Bicycling layer. You can also access biking directions on your Android device or by going to maps.google.com on your mobile browser.

Whether you want to drive, take transit, walk or even bike, Google Maps can help you get around. To see how it works on your Android phone take a tour here.

Posted by Dave Kim, Product Marketing Manager, Google Maps
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-biking-directions-legend.html

[G] Public Alerts now on Google Maps

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Google LatLong: Public Alerts now on Google Maps

(Cross posted from the Google.org Blog)

Today marks the launch of a new Google Crisis Response project: Google Public Alerts, a platform designed to bring you relevant emergency alerts when and where you’re searching for them.

If a major weather event is headed for your area, you might go online to search for the information you need: What’s happening? Where and when will it strike? How severe will it be? What resources are available to help?

The Google Crisis Response team works on providing critical emergency information during crises. Our goal is to surface emergency information through the online tools you use everyday, when that information is relevant and useful.

With today’s launch of Public Alerts on Google Maps, relevant weather, public safety, and earthquake alerts from US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Weather Service, and the US Geological Survey (USGS) will be accessible when you search on Google Maps. For instance, at the time of this post, “Flood Indiana” triggers an alert for a Flood Warning in Northern Indiana.



If you click through to “more info” on this alert, you’ll find a page showing more details about the alert, with the full description from the alert publisher, in this case the National Weather Service, a link to their site and other useful information.



Whether you see an alert depends on which alerts are active at a given location, their severity, and your search query. If you’re interested in seeing all of the active alerts in one place, visit our homepage at www.google.org/publicalerts. This page also provides a link to more information on our new platform and gives instructions to interested organizations who want to make their emergency data available through this tool.



We’re learning as we go and we’re working hard to continuously improve the range and relevance of the content you see, so we’d really like your feedback. Please send feedback our way using the link at the far right of our Google Public Alerts homepage.

We hope Google Public Alerts provides you with information to make better decisions in times of crisis.

Posted by Steve Hakusa, Public Alerts Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/01/public-alerts-now-on-google-maps.html

[G] Take a tour of South Korea using Street View

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Google LatLong: Take a tour of South Korea using Street View


Tourism to South Korea is on the rise, with neighbors from East Asia and beyond making trips to see the birthplace of Korean dramas and K-Pop, sample authentic kimchee, and find cutting-edge fashions in the capital’s Myeongdong shopping district. Today we’re introducing Street View imagery for the two biggest cities, Seoul and Busan, making it even easier for travelers to plan their next visit to South Korea using Google Maps.

For example, you can preview your vacation in Seoul by starting right in Gwanghwamun square. Viewing the surroundings and statue of naval commander Yi Sun-sin provides a sense of the city’s unique intersection of modern and traditional.


For those who want to stretch their legs, we recommend walking in Insadong, a famous shopping area for art and antiques, and then taking in the beautiful autumn foliage at the Stone Wall of Deoksugung when it’s time for a rest. Fans of the universally-beloved Korean soap opera Winter Sonata may want to check out a few background sites from the show, including the hallowed gates of Choongang High School or the Seoul Plaza Hotel.


In the southern seaside city of Busan, famous for its film festival, view the water from Namhang Bridge and then the woody romance of Dalmaji Road, famous as a spot for couples to view the moon at night.

We’re thrilled to release this new street-level imagery and hope it helps tourists — both real and virtual — better find their way to Korea’s great destinations. We also look forward to bringing more Street View coverage to Korea over the coming year.

Learn more about Street View here.

Posted by Sun-Gi Hong, Product Manager, South Korea
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/01/take-tour-of-south-korea-using-street.html

[G] New 45° imagery available for 24 cities

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Google LatLong: New 45° imagery available for 24 cities


The second 45° imagery update of 2012 includes new imagery for 17 U.S. and 7 international locations in Google Maps.

Ulm is a university town in southern Germany, located at the Danube river. One of the most famous buildings in this town is the Ulm Minster in Gothic style which measures more than 160 meters in height. Climbing the 768 steps to the top platform, visitors will see a breathtaking panoramic view of the Alps on clear days.


View Larger Map


Cleveland, Ohio is an important hub at the southern rim of Lake Erie. Many banks, insurance companies, and healthcare firms are headquartered here; this is also the home of the famous Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame:


View Larger Map


In the southern hemisphere, we’ve published imagery of Porto Alegre in the very south of Brazil. It has more than one million inhabitants. The many parks in Porto Alegre makes this city one of the most beautiful in all of Latin America.


View Larger Map


Have fun exploring the new sites!

Here is a list of updated cities:

US:
Boise/Caldwell, ID; Buffalo, NY; Chattanooga, TN; Cleveland, OH; Denver, CO; Greenville, SC; Houston/Pasadena, TX; Kansas City/Gladstone, MS; Knoxville/Louisville, TN; Memphis/Bartlett, TN; Mobile, AL; Nashville, TN; Pensacola, FL; Racine, WI; Santa Monica, CA; Sarasota/Englewood, FL; Stockton, CA

Europe:
Baiona, Spain; Basel, Switzerland; Friedberg, Germany; Mannheim, Germany; Santander, Spain; Ulm, Germany

South America:
Porto Alegre, Brazil

Posted by Bernd Steinert, Geo Data Specialist
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/01/new-45-imagery-available-for-24-cities.html

Thursday, January 26, 2012

[G] Love at first Search

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Inside AdWords: Love at first Search


More and more people are falling in love with Valentine’s Day. According to a recent survey by ORC International, Valentine’s Day is now the number two gift giving holiday, right behind Christmas, with 88% of Americans saying they plan on giving a present to their loved ones. This should be great news for businesses, but marketers still have trouble making a love connection with consumers based on charts that look more like dated EKG readings than real-time insights into the heart of the consumer.

Since getting the affections of one person is hard enough, below are some timely insights from Google’s “database of intentions” to keep you ahead of the game as you create your Valentine’s Day campaigns.

Search is where the heart is

Already we’re seeing Google searches related to Valentine’s Day increase 35% compared to last year. Not only are more people searching, they’re searching earlier - last year people began looking for Valentine’s Day ideas on January 9th. This year the upward trend began two days earlier, on January 7th.


Across categories, jewelry is seeing a 42% increase in mobile and desktop queries compared to January of last year; gifts jumped 27%, and flowers saw an 18% spike.

Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice

The results from this graph show women look for gift ideas earlier and more often than their male significant others. Maybe men are more last minute about buying gifts than women, but it doesn’t mean they’re cheap about it! In 2011 the average man spent $158 for Valentine’s Day, about $80 more than women.

Looking for a change of heart?

Valentine’s Day is less than three weeks away, which means that this is the great opportunity for marketers to influence people with their products since consumers are still searching for ideas. If you look at the word cloud below (spoiler alert!), a good chunk of people are searching for “diy valentines gifts” and “valentines day baskets,” which means there will be quite a few people unwrapping homemade gifts or pre-made gift baskets this year. The biggest cluster of phrases, “valentines day border,” “valentines day drinks,” and “valentines day meals,” signal that people are also planning on celebrating in style. Now would be a good time to promote recipes and decoration ideas in your campaigns.


For more useful trends and tips for your campaign, download and review the 2012 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions Deck on Think Insights. Hopefully it helps you steal away some hearts!

By Christina Park, Product Marketing Manager, Think with Google


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/01/love-at-first-search.html

[G] Resources to support a new and open world for learning

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Official Google Blog: Resources to support a new and open world for learning

Googlers are the types who never really leave the classroom. Guest speakers come to campus to give talks on subjects ranging from fiction to physics. Diverse groups of people work together to understand and solve big problems while groups of Googlers engage in passionate debate in our cafeterias. Given this environment, it’s no surprise how highly we value our external work in education. We have a growing number of successful education programs from primary school through to university, as well as a suite of free and open tools that reach families and classrooms around the world.

Recently, we decided to gather our resources and lessons learned into one place for educators everywhere. “Google in Education: A New and Open World for Learning” highlights how people are using Google resources to enhance teaching and learning. This booklet isn’t your typical annual report; it’s a living document for educators to use year-round. We’ve also revamped our website, google.com/edu, to be a one-stop shop for teachers, students, parents and organizations to explore all of our offerings. We’ve launched a Google+ page, where everyone can stay updated on our educational tools, products and programs, and join the conversation.


To develop all of these new materials, we went straight to the source, relying on dozens of educators to provide stories and feedback. We hope these resources will inspire and enable teachers, while affirming our commitment to increasing access to an excellent education for all.

Thanks to educators, students and supporters everywhere for helping to extend our spirit of lifelong learning into classrooms around the globe.

For more information about Google in Education, visit www.google.com/edu/about, and to stay updated on the world of education at Google and connect with fellow educators, follow us on Google+.

Posted by Jordan Lloyd Bookey, Head of Global K-12 Education Outreach
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/resources-to-support-new-and-open-world.html

[G] Google Earth 6.2: It’s a beautiful world

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Official Google Blog: Google Earth 6.2: It’s a beautiful world

We're taking bird's eye view to a whole new level with the latest version of Google Earth, released today. With Google Earth 6.2, we’re bringing you the most beautiful Google Earth yet, with more seamless imagery and a new search interface. Additionally, we’ve introduced a feature that enables you to share an image from within Google Earth, so you can now simply and easily share your virtual adventures with family and friends on Google+.

A seamless globe


The Google Earth globe is made from a mosaic of satellite and aerial photographs taken on different dates and under different lighting and weather conditions. Because of this variance, views of the Earth from high altitude can sometimes appear patchy.

Today, we’re introducing a new way of rendering imagery that smoothes out this quilt of images. The end result is a beautiful new Earth-viewing experience that preserves the unique textures of the world’s most defining geographic landscapes—without the quilt effect. This change is being made on both mobile and desktop versions of Google Earth. While this change will appear on all versions of Google Earth, the 6.2 release provides the best viewing experience for this new data.

Grand Canyon before and after

Sri Lanka before and after

Share your explorations with Google+
Google Earth is a great way to virtually explore the globe, whether revisiting old haunts or checking out a future vacation spot. With the Google Earth 6.2 update, we’ve added the option to share a screenshot of your current view in Google Earth through Google+. If you’ve already upgraded to Google+, you can share images of the places you’ve virtually traveled to with your Circles, such as family, friends or your local hiking club. To try this new feature, simply sign in to your Google Account in the upper right hand corner of Google Earth and click “Share.” Images of mountains, oceans, deserts, 3D cities, your favorite pizza shop on Street View—you can now experience all these amazing places around the world with people on Google+.


Search improvements
We’ve also made some updates to the search feature in Google Earth. Aside from streamlining the visual design of the search panel, we’ve enabled the same Autocomplete feature that’s available on Google Maps. We’ve also introduced search layers, which will show all the relevant search results (not just the top ten), so now, when looking for gelato in Milano, you can see all the tasty possibilities. Finally, we’ve added biking, transit and walking directions, so if you’re itching for a change of scenery or looking for a new route for your regular commute, you can now use Google Earth to generate and visualize all your options.


Biking directions in Google Earth


Download Google Earth 6.2 and start exploring and sharing today!

Posted by Peter Birch, Product Manager, Google Earth

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/01/google-earth-62-its-beautiful-world.html

[G] More options for Google+ badges

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Inside AdSense: More options for Google+ badges


(Originally posted on the Google+ Platform Blog, cross posted on the Webmaster Central Blog)



When we launched Google+ pages in November, we also released Google+ badges to promote your Google+ presence right on your site. Starting today in developer preview (and soon available to all your users), we're adding more options for integrating the Google+ badge into your website. You can configure a badge with a width that fits your site design and choose a version that works better on darker sites. You'll also see that Google+ badges now include the unified +1 and circle count that we added to Pages last month.









If you’re still considering whether to add a Google+ badge on your website, consider this: We recently looked at top sites using the badge and found that, on average, the badge accounted for an additional 38% of Google+ followers. When you add the badge visitors to your website can discover your Google+ page and connect in a variety of ways: they can follow your Google+ page, +1 your site, share your site with their circles, see which of their friends have +1’d your site, and click through to visit your Google+ page. These activities can help you expand your audience by enabling your users to share and recommend your content.



The Google+ badge makes it easy for your fans to find and follow you on Google+. With these additional options, we hope it's even easier to create a badge that fits your website.



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Posted by Lucy Hadden, Software Engineer, Google+


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tuAm/~3/jiEhwjkCU4o/more-options-for-google-badges.html