Friday, February 24, 2012

[G] Follow in Darwin's footsteps with the iNaturalist mobile app

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Google Lat Long: Follow in Darwin's footsteps with the iNaturalist mobile app

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest author is Dr. Scott Loarie, a fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford and co-director of, a biodiversity citizen-science website. Pepperwood Preserve was the recipient of a Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant, funded through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund at the Tides Foundation. We’re excited to share how the iNaturalist Android application developed as a result of this grant is being used in action at Pepperwood Preserve.

Last weekend, as I rolled back a piece of bark at Pepperwood Preserve to reveal a big black beetle, I was reminded of a great story about Charles Darwin. Out collecting beetles, Darwin already had a beetle in each hand when he spotted a third. To free up a hand, he popped one of the beetles in his mouth. No sooner had he done this when it excreted some sort of burning liquid onto his tongue forcing him to spit it out, drop the second, and miss his chance for the third.

Now in 2012, all I had to do was point my phone at the beetle and snap its picture with the iNaturalist app (available on iOS and Android). Beetle mishaps aside, following in Darwin's footsteps wasn't really something non-scientists could participate in until recently. Specimens had to be collected, stuffed and shipped to museums where they were identified, labeled and catalogued. But with new technologies like Google Maps and smartphones, contributing data to museums now only takes a single click.

Pepperwood Research Specialist Morgan Kennedy demonstrates how to use the iNaturalist app to observe a native grass at Pepperwood Preserve.

Last Saturday, Morgan Kennedy introduced the Pepperwood Vital Signs project on, a citizen-science website I help direct, to a group of about 20 community members at Pepperwood Preserve. The project aims to map the distribution of plants and animals across the preserve with geo-referenced photos contributed by community members. The community members participating in the project often don't know the name of the species they are photographing, but by passing the contributions on to international museum consortiums and conservation organizations, iNaturalist photos are usually identified by scientists and experts within a few days.

Over the last year, community members have documented more than 400 distinct species by uploading more than 900 geo-referenced photos from Pepperwood. As the pilot preserve participating in the new Bay Area Open Space Council BioAtlas initiative, Pepperwood is developing ways to use iNaturalist to assemble the contributed data into digital education materials that can be used by the preserves to further engage and educate their community members.

This Google Map shows the Pepperwood Boundaries and more than 900 contributions to the Pepperwood Vital Signs project on

Saturday's training was especially exciting because Morgan demoed the new Android App that iNaturalist developed with the support of a Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant to Pepperwood. By making the contribution of data to museums easy and fun, the Android app clears a major barrier towards recruiting non-scientists to participate.

These reinforcements couldn't have arrived sooner. Plants and animals are disappearing about 1,000 times faster than normal with ongoing climate and land-use change, and one of the most difficult hurdles towards addressing these challenges has been the basic scarcity of information about where plants and animals persist and where they do not. Without the help of non-scientists, the handfuls of museums and graduate students tasked with providing this information simply can't scale to meet these challenges.

Want to get involved? Download the app (on iOS or Android), get outdoors, and start documenting nature from wherever you are in the world! If you want to start your own regional project, like the Pepperwood Vital Signs project, you can do that here. You'll be following in Darwin's footsteps - just don't be tempted to put any beetles in your mouth!

Posted by Scott Loarie, co-director

[G] This week's top news on YouTube: Journalists killed in Homs, soldiers killed in Afghanistan riots, Buenos Aires train crash

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YouTube Blog: This week's top news on YouTube: Journalists killed in Homs, soldiers killed in Afghanistan riots, Buenos Aires train crash

Everyday on the CitizenTube channel (and @CitizenTube on Twitter), along with our curation partners @storyful, we look at how the top news stories are covered on YouTube. Each week we post a weekly recap of the top news stories of the week, as seen through the lens of both citizen-reported footage and professional news coverage.


[G] VP8 Hardware Decoder Version 5 “Eagle” Released

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: VP8 Hardware Decoder Version 5 “Eagle” Released

Today we have made available the fifth generation of the silicon-proven G-Series 1 VP8 hardware decoder IP, internally called “Eagle”.

Eagle has the following key figures:
  • 1080p 60fps VP8 decoding at 200MHz
  • Maximum clock frequency 290 MHz, up by 32% (65 nm LP process, topographical synthesis)
  • 357 kgates logic, 52 kB single-port SRAM
  • Less than 2 MHz host CPU load
The increased performance levels allow a great multi-channel playback experience suitable e.g. for TV channel preview, multi-party video conferencing and multi-tab YouTube watching. The G-Series 1 decoder has recently secured multiple design wins in leading Smart TV and Set-Top Box SoCs, proving the performance to be at an appropriate level even for the highest-quality content decoding.

The G1 v5 VP8 decoder is available for licensing at no cost to chip manufacturers at the WebM Project’s hardware page. The multi-format version of the IP and support services for the VP8 standalone core are provided by our channel partner Verisilicon.

WebM Project releases a new generation video IP every quarter to allow the semiconductor licensees to always take advantage of the latest technology. In our next decoder release, we are targeting significant performance boost and smaller silicon footprint.

Aki Kuusela is Engineering Manager of the WebM Project hardware team.

[G] Opening the Oscar (search) envelope

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Official Google Blog: Opening the Oscar (search) envelope

Time to polish the champagne flutes and brush up on your movie trivia—it’s almost Oscar night again. Before you make any Oscar bets, get an edge by exploring Google Insights for Search. Out of the major entertainment awards shows (Tonys, Emmys, Grammys) the Oscars are the most popular in terms of search volume, and as we discovered last year, patterns in search behavior can help us predict which stars will go home with shiny gold statues. So without further delay, let’s open the (search) envelopes and see who the Oscar (may) go to this year.

Best Picture
Last year we found that for three years running, the films that won best picture had two things in common when it came to search data. First, the winning movies had all shown an upward trend in search volume for at least four consecutive weeks during the previous year. Second, within the U.S. the winning film had the highest percentage of its searches originating from the state of New York. Looking at search data for 2011, there were three films that satisfied these conditions—The King’s Speech, The Social Network and Black Swan. Our prediction was on the mark: The King’s Speech took home the Oscar in 2011.

This year, if we assume the two “winning conditions”—at least four consecutive weeks of increasing search volume plus highest regional interest from New York—will apply, then we can narrow down the nominees to a field of four: The Artist, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Midnight in Paris and War Horse. But how to go from four to one?

Let’s again look back at last year’s finalists. When you compare search query volumes for The King’s Speech, The Social Network and Black Swan, the winning film, The King’s Speech, had the lowest search volume throughout the year leading up to the Oscars. It was the underdog that took home the statue.

We tried the same test on the Best Picture nominees from 2010. The nominated movies in 2010 that met the two conditions were The Hurt Locker and Inglourious Basterds. Once again, it was the the winning film, The Hurt Locker, that had lower search volume in 2009.

If the underdog trend holds this year, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close could be our surprise winner. If we go strictly by search popularity, however, The Artist or Midnight in Paris have the best chances—among our group of four, they’re currently blowing the competition out of the water.

If we’re having a popularity contest, it’s only fair to look at all nine nominees for best picture. A 2-step comparison shows that the most popular films by search volume are The Help and Martin Scorsese's Hugo.

Best Actor
Of this year’s five nominees for Best Actor, Brad Pitt (Moneyball) is clearly the most popular—searches for Brad in the last 12 months far outpace any of the other leading men, as was the case in 2009 when he was nominated for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. However, it could be Brad’s famous good looks that have us searching, which brings about a good point: the most searched-for nominee doesn’t guarantee a win. James Franco had the highest search volume in 2011 but Colin Firth won, and in 2010, George Clooney was the most-searched nominee but Jeff Bridges took home the Oscar.

The pattern emerging over the past few years is that the winner is generally in the middle of the pack in terms of searches and has relatively steady search volume throughout the year. First-time nominee Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) fits that bill this year, but so does George Clooney (The Descendants). Maybe it will finally be George’s year to win Best Actor.

Best Actress
For the past three years, the eventual Best Actress winner has seen a spike of interest in the preceding December. Additionally, two of the three most recent winners have had the strongest regional interest within the U.S. from the cities of Los Angeles and New York City (2010 winner Sandra Bullock is the exception).

Among this year’s nominees, Rooney Mara is the clear breakout star, with a huge surge in search volume this past December for the young lead in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. However, it’s Meryl Streep who has the highest regional interest in NYC and while Rooney is popular in LA, she’s even more popular in San Francisco. So it could be her name that is announced when the envelope is opened—or not.

Of course, we don’t have a Magic 8-Ball or access to the names in those top-secret envelopes, so our predictions are just that—but it’s always enjoyable to look at how what people are interested in online plays out in the real world. As you prepare for your Oscar viewing parties this year, put a visit to Insights for Search on your checklist before the red carpet walk begins (fun fact: searches for [red carpet] peak at Oscar time every year). Between dry cleaning your tuxedo and making hors d'oeuvres, tune in to a pre-Oscar hangout on the +Good Morning America page, where the live discussion will be the fashion dos and don'ts of the big night. You can also stay up to date on all Oscar news on +Oscars, the official Google+ Page of the Academy Awards.

Posted by Rebecca Mall, Entertainment Account Executive, LA office

[G] Open Monitor: Building a World Wide Internet Connectivity Monitor through Google Summer of Code 2011

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Google Open Source Blog: Open Monitor: Building a World Wide Internet Connectivity Monitor through Google Summer of Code 2011

Despite all the magnificent improvements to both technology and the internet these days, we lack a free and open source real time internet connectivity monitor from which anyone can tell what the connectivity conditions are in any part of the world. Solving this problem is a huge undertaking, but at Umit Project, we saw a chance to start developing such a solution through the Google Summer of Code when we were chosen as a mentoring organization for the 2011 program.


We chose a hybrid P2P approach that would consist of hybrid peers and a centralized server that we call the aggregator. The hybrid peers would be able to communicate with each other and pass along reports even if direct connection to the aggregator is blocked, acting as both a server and client and promoting themselves to super peers as needed. The aggregator would be responsible for gathering all the connectivity reports from the peers and showing them in real time in a Google App Engine based site using the Google Maps API.

We also thought of having three different kinds of peers: desktop peer, desktop super peer and mobile peer. The desktop peer runs on top of the same code base but promotion to super peer status is based on the peer's availability. The desktop version is very portable (runs on Mac, Linux and Windows) and is written in Python, while the mobile peer is Android based, can not turn into a super peer and is focused on getting us a view from inside mobile ISPs.

We were given three talented students for the three month long Google Summer of Code, and each of them tackled the different pieces of the system. Despite the overwhelming amount of work and the short time frame they were working with, the students managed to get these systems to form a network, communicate, run connectivity tests and share reports.

The Umit Project team has been working very hard since Google Summer of Code ended in August to deliver our first version of Open Monitor and we're very close to releasing an alpha in the next few weeks for selected trusted testers.

If you're interested in knowing more about the project, its motivation, and more technical details about it, we have released a video on YouTube of a presentation given about the project at the Creativity World Forum 2011 and another talk given at the Chicago Python User Group Meeting. Slides of the CWF11 presentation are also available to view.

Special thanks to Google for their amazing Google Summer of Code program!

By Adriano Marques, Director of Umit Project and Google Summer of Code mentor


[G] Get More Into: Australia’s Laneway Festival

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YouTube Blog: Get More Into: Australia’s Laneway Festival

Since we missed Music Tuesday this week, we wanted to take you back to Australia for another dose of the local music scene. Enjoy!

From big-time dream-pop to big-haired rock & roll, there are plenty of reasons to love festival season in the Southern hemisphere. Following the pumped up kicks, rockabilly licks, and modern-day lullabies that brought sold out crowds across Australia for Big Day Out, we spent the day hanging at St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival in Sydney. What began as a packed side-alley show in Melbourne has quickly developed into a national touring event and a favourite summer festival.

Between sets in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide, Auckland, and Singapore, here’s what some of Laneway’s biggest names had to say about touring down under, the Laneway vibe, and their favorite inspirational acts on YouTube:

  • The Horrors get into psychadelic pop and out-of-this world sounds of Connan Mockasin

  • Multi-instrumentalist, arranger, producer and vocalist Jonti talks big beats and big sounds of Flying Lotus

  • Hear what outstanding female vocalist have inspired The Drums to come together as a band

  • Recorded in their same hometown, Twin Shadows’ At My Heels brings laughs & tears to electronic pop duo Chairlift

  • M83, known the world over for reverb effects and loud instrumentals, has his first encounter with the electronic music of Jean Michel Jarre

The Laneway crew’s just completed their tour but you can enjoy your own little taste of this iconic Australian festival right here on YouTube.

Ernesto Soriano III, YouTube Australia, recently watched “Toro y Moi ‘Still Sound’.”


[G] Google welcomes broad industry agreement on advertising and privacy

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Google Public Policy Blog: Google welcomes broad industry agreement on advertising and privacy

Posted by Susan Wojcicki, SVP, Advertising

There’s been a lot of debate over the last few years about personalization on the web. We believe that tailoring your web experience -- for example by showing you more relevant, interest-based ads, or making it easy to recommend stuff you like to friends -- is a good thing. We also believe that the best way to protect your privacy is to enable you to exercise choice through meaningful product controls. That said, given the number of different browsers and products available online today -- many of which have different privacy controls -- we recognize that it can get confusing.

So we’re pleased to sign up to today’s industry-wide agreement (you can read the details here) -- put together by the White House, the Federal Trade Commission and the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), which represents over 90 percent of all online advertising in the U.S -- to create a simpler, more unified approach to privacy on the web. Under this agreement, users will be able to exercise choice under the DAA Principles by setting what has been called a “Do Not Track” header straight from their browser. The DAA Principles, and therefore the header, cover some aspects of tailored advertising. But, for example, if users have requested personalization (such as by signing up for particular services) or visit websites that use “first party” cookies to personalize the overall experience (for example a news website recommending articles to its readers, or a video site remembering your volume preferences), then browsers will not break that experience. In addition, today’s agreement supports continued innovation and competition on the web, as well as important, basic web functionality -- such as malware, spam and fraud detection.

We look forward to working with our industry partners, the White House, the FTC, the DAA and all the major browsers including Google Chrome, to adopt a broadly consistent approach to these controls -- rather than the situation today where every browser sets its own defaults, policies, and exceptions. In particular, we are pleased that today’s agreement will ensure that users are given an explicit choice, and be fully informed of the available options.

This agreement will not solve all the privacy issues users face on the web today. However, it represents a meaningful step forward in privacy controls for users. We look forward to making this happen.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

[G] Faster, better order management

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Google Affiliate Network: Faster, better order management

Since migrating to the Google stack last September, we’ve been working to improve the Google Affiliate Network interface by both adding new features and enhancing some existing ones.

As a part of that effort, we’ve just pushed out a brand new release of the Orders tab for both advertisers and publishers.

First, we've made the Orders tab fast. Very fast. Whether you’re looking up 10 orders or 10,000 orders, you'll see query results load in about the same amount of time.

Advertiser-facing changes:
We want to make it easier for you to handle bulk operations. So, we enabled inline order editing right from the Orders tab. No need to click through to another page -- you can simply edit the order inline. Once an order is updated, publisher and network fees are updated, too.

Also, it’s now easier to cancel orders in bulk. When you search for multiple orders, just select the orders you want to cancel and cancel them all at once.
Publisher-facing changes:
The key publisher feature we’ve added is the ability to directly edit the Member ID field for an order inline. If you're a publisher whose workflow involves verifying or editing the Member ID field, this process will now be much easier.

Finally, based on your feedback, we now display locked orders (e.g. those that have been paid out) in the tab, rather than just open orders. Keep in mind though that those locked orders can't be edited.

As always, we look forward to your feedback. Please use our forum for feedback and comments. Thanks!

Posted by:
Ali Pasha, Product Manager

[G] Imagery Update: Week of February 20th

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Google Lat Long: Imagery Update: Week of February 20th

The Google Earth and Maps Imagery team recently published another batch of satellite imagery. In this post, we’ll explore a few well-known locations from across the globe.

Our first example is the Bristol Motor Speedway, located outside of Bristol, Tennessee. This NASCAR short track speedway is the 8th largest sports venue in the world, and hosts up to 165,000 people.

Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, Tennessee

If you think the typical NASCAR race is too crowded, how about visiting a location with a few million others on a single day? That’s the estimated crowd size expected each year to the Kaba (shown below), in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on the day of the annual Islamic pilgrimage Hajj.

The Kaaba, Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Another great place to visit - either virtually or in person - is the Grand Mediation Amphitheatre located in the World Dhammakaya Centre in Pathum Thani Province, Thailand. As shown below, the Centre provides a place where anyone is welcome to meditate.

The World Dhammakaya Centre, Pathum Thani Province, Thailand

If you prefer to spend your leisure time contemplating classic literature, you’ll enjoy this final example from Spain’s central La Mancha region. This perspective view highlights the vineyards and arid plateaus that form the backdrop of The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha.

Perspective view of Castile–La Mancha, Spain

If you’d like to receive an email notification when the Google Earth and Maps Imagery team updates your favorite areas(s), we’ve got just the tool: The Follow Your World application!

These are only a few examples of the sites that can be seen and discovered in our latest batch of published imagery. Happy exploring!

Countries/regions receiving high resolution satellite updates:
Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antarctica, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mayotte, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, People's Republic of the Congo, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Bahamas, The Gambia, Timor-Leste, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

These updates are now available in both Google Maps and Google Earth. For a complete picture of where we updated imagery, download this KML for viewing in Google Earth.

Posted by Eric Kolb, Geo Data Strategist

[G] Enhanced search in Google Earth 6.2

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Google Lat Long: Enhanced search in Google Earth 6.2

Lao-tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In Google Earth, that single step is often searching for the name of the place you want to go. The search field is the gateway to all of the amazing places you might visit, and for the recent release of Google Earth 6.2, we worked hard to make it even more powerful and easy to use.

As a result, searching for a location in Google Earth 6.2 is a bit different: we’ve streamlined the look and feel of the search interface, removing tabs and consolidating all the search fields together into one (just like Google Search). We’ve also added features that Google Earth previously didn’t have, like transit directions and search layers. And we’ve made sure that underneath these shiny new features, you still have access to the power and flexibility of KML.

If you live in one of the many metropolitan areas supported by Google Transit, you’ve probably used the transit directions search on Google Maps to plan a trip. Now you can do the same thing in 3D with Google Earth. Select “Get Directions” and enter your endpoints, then choose the train icon at the top of the search results for public route instructions. You can also click on any of the transit stations or stops to fly there. Be sure to turn on 3D buildings - some train stations are really quite pretty! You’ll also notice icons for walking and biking directions, so if you’ve ever wanted to go on a virtual tour of your next cycling excursion, or find out just how steep that hill is before you commit to the journey, now you can.

New transit directions in Google Earth 6.2

Search layers were first introduced in Google Maps a few years ago, and at last, they’ve recently made their way to Google Earth. Search layers enable you to see all the results of your search on the map at once, not just the top ten, making it easy to find clusters of certain types of businesses like fast food restaurants or coffee shops. One of the more entertaining uses of search layers that I’ve found has to do with a road that will be familiar to anyone who’s visited California: El Camino Real. Stretching from Sonoma Valley to San Diego, El Camino is a great place to find shops and restaurants of all kinds - and lots of them! Here’s a search layer for all the pizza places in the San Francisco Bay area; can you spot El Camino?

Search in Google Earth is much more than a pretty face, though. Just beneath the surface lies the powerful KML language, which you can use to take full control of your searches. Right-click on any search listing to save it to My Places or copy it as KML text, or click one of the icons below the search results to save or copy everything all at once. Save your walking directions to My Places and start a tour of the route to get turn-by-turn directions from the comfort of your chair. You can also click on “History” below the search field to see all of your recent searches at once, and selectively hide and show results to get, say, a picture of the top ten hotels and crêpe restaurants in Paris, for optimal crêpe-eating efficiency.

We’ll continue to improve the search experience in Google Earth, so stay tuned, and keep those searches coming!

Posted by Brian Ellis, Software Engineer, Google Earth

[G] Helping you find what’s in the mind’s eye with improved related searches

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Official Google Blog: Helping you find what’s in the mind’s eye with improved related searches

Today we’re making it easier for you to hone in on that perfect image or explore your topic visually with an update to related search links. Related search links have been around for awhile—they’re the row of blue links running across the top of your image search results—but today we’re making them more visual to help you find exactly what you’re looking for or just have fun exploring.

For example, when planning a trip to Greece, I may not know what places are worth a visit, so I search for [greece] on Image Search. Now, with more visual search links, I can hover over the links on the top of the results, like [santorini greece], and see a panel pop up with images of Santorini. Without having to type more words into the search box or clicking through, I can quickly glance at the pictures of Santorini. If I decide to click through, I find new links for further refined or related searches, such as [oia santorini greece] or [santorini greece sunset]. Now I’m sold, I want to see more Santorini images.

You’ll start to see these links whenever you search for images as we roll this change out globally over the next few weeks.

Posted by Peter Linsley, Product Manager

(Cross-posted on the Inside Search blog)

[G] Four new Indian languages on YouTube: Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu

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YouTube Blog: Four new Indian languages on YouTube: Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu

YouTube opened its doors in India in May 2008, and since then we’ve been working to make YouTube accessible for the entire Indian population — and its 30 regional languages. Beyond Hindi and English, we’ve added Urdu, Marathi, Bengali, and Tamil over the years, and today we’re welcoming four more to YouTube.

Now you can navigate the site in Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam and Telugu, which are spoken by almost 200 million Indians. This also brings the total of available languages on YouTube to 58.

For Telugu, we have more than 100 films of Tollywood cinema, as well as partners like vegetarian cooking channel Gayatrivantillu who make videos for the web and have a growing global audience. For Kannada, Shemaroo Kannada and Anand Audio bring you music, drama, comedy and more to your homepage guide. Fans of Malayalam cinema should check out channels like Metro Matinee Videos and Hungama Malayalam. When it comes to news, YouTube’s partners like TV 9 provide news in both Kannada and Gujarati, and TheTimesKerala offers clips in Malayalam.


We hope this helps even more of you enjoy channels on YouTube in your native language, as we work to make the site accessible around the world.

Aditi Rajwanshi, YouTube India partner manager, recently watched "Chutney for Idli, Dosa, Upma, Vada etc."


[G] Collaborate and edit anywhere with the updated Google Docs for Android

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Collaborate and edit anywhere with the updated Google Docs for Android

Posted by Vadim Gerasimov, Software Engineer

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog, the Google Docs Blog, and the Google Mobile Blog.)

As I was sitting on the ferry commuting to Google’s Sydney office this morning, two thoughts occurred to me. First, Australia is beautiful. If you’ve never been here, you really should visit. And second, it’s amazing how productive I can be with just my Android phone and an Internet connection. I was responding to email, reading news articles, and editing documents—just like I do at the office. Only the view was better!

We want to give everyone the chance to be productive no matter where they are, so today we’re releasing a new update to the Google Docs app for Android. We've brought the collaborative experience from Google Docs on the desktop to your Android device. You'll see updates in real time as others type on their computers, tablets and phones, and you can just tap the document to join in.

We also updated the interface to make it easier to work with your documents on the go. For example, you can pinch to zoom and focus on a specific paragraph or see the whole document at a glance. We also added rich text formatting so you can do things like create a quick bullet list, add color to your documents, or just bold something important. Watch the new Google Docs app in action:

If you want to hear about the latest Docs news or send us feedback on the new app, visit Google Docs on Google+.

Gotta run—I’ve got another ferry to catch!

[G] Great presentations start with great discussions

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Great presentations start with great discussions

Posted by Michael Thomas, Software Engineer

(Cross-posted from the Google Docs Blog.)

Back in October, we released a preview of a brand new version of Google presentations, designed to make it easier to share ideas with others. We've been busy polishing the app based on your feedback and today we're excited to enable the new editor for all new presentations.

We’re also introducing a number of performance improvements and making it easier for you to collaborate by bringing the discussion feature you’ve used in documents to presentations.

With discussions in presentations, you’ll be able to:
Comment on a shape or an entire slide to give context to your discussion.
Send an email notification by adding someone to a comment.

Resolve comments to let collaborators know that they’ve been addressed, and to reduce clutter in your presentation.

Plus, to make it easy to get feedback without giving up control of who can make changes, you can now give others the ability to comment on (but not edit) your presentation.

If you’d like to convert existing presentations to the new version of the editor, create a new presentation and import your slides by selecting Import slides from the File menu. To learn more about how to import your old presentations, check out these instructions.

With discussions and real time collaboration, we hope you’ll love working together in Google presentations. We’re rolling out these changes slowly over the next several hours. If you’d like to give us your feedback live, we’ll be hosting a Hangout tomorrow at 2:30 EST to talk about the latest updates to presentations. Stop by our Google+ page to find out how to participate.

[G] Your Circles, now in Google Voice

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Google Voice Blog: Your Circles, now in Google Voice

To help make it even easier for you to organize your contacts, today we’re adding Google+ Circles to Google Voice. Circles give you more control over how you manage your callers; for example, calls from your “Creepers” circle can be sent straight to Voicemail, only your “College Buddies” circle will hear you rap your voicemail greeting, or you can set your “Family” circle to only ring your mobile phone.

You can customize your Circles settings by visiting the Groups & Circles tab in your Google Voice settings.

Give it a try and let us know what you think.

Posted by Tom Ford, Software Engineer

[G] Game on: YouTube Creator Playbook Version 2 now available

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YouTube Blog: Game on: YouTube Creator Playbook Version 2 now available

When we first released the YouTube Creator Playbook with tips for succeeding on YouTube, things were a little different. You didn’t have all the new channel features, the homepage didn’t yet have a guide to help you find and follow to channels you like, and you were uploading 48 hours a minute.

As we work on the site, we want to make sure you’re the first to know every tip and trick to succeed on YouTube, so today we’re launching version two of the YouTube Creator Playbook. In addition to these updates, almost every page includes your feedback (thank you!). Here’s a few of the key things to look for in the new version:

New channel & homepage section

With the launch of our new channel pages and updated homepage, we’ve created a new section on how to organize your videos for different audiences, and how to program your channel to help you make the most of the feed on the YouTube homepage.

Go global

Your channel reaches a global audience, so we’ve added a new section to help creators create, program, and optimize for audiences around the world.

Updates to annotations, playlists, publishing and more

Your feedback and new features helped us update much of the playbook on topics like annotations, playlists & video responses and call to actions.


If you’re new to YouTube or the Creator Playbook, we’ve included a glossary to help you quickly learn all the site’s features, and the strategies, terms, and topics used in the playbook.

We hope this update to the YouTube Creator Playbook is a helpful tool if you’re just coming to YouTube for the first time, as well as help YouTube pros quickly learn new features to keep expanding your audience. We’ll be talking more about the new playbook during our Partner Meet-Up Livestream on at 5pm PT today.

Ryan Nugent, audience development strategist, recently watched “Rodrigo y Gabriela and C.U.B.A. - Area 52 Album Trailer.”


[G] Announcing Google-hosted workshop videos from NIPS 2011

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Google Research Blog: Announcing Google-hosted workshop videos from NIPS 2011

Posted by John Blitzer and Douglas Eck, Google Research

At the 25th Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) conference in Granada, Spain last December, we engaged in dialogue with a diverse population of neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, statistical learning theorists, and machine learning researchers. More than twenty Googlers participated in an intensive single-track program of talks, nightly poster sessions and a workshop weekend in the Spanish Sierra Nevada mountains. Check out the NIPS 2011 blog post for full information on Google at NIPS.

In conjunction with our technical involvement and gold sponsorship of NIPS, we recorded the five workshops that Googlers helped to organize on various topics from big learning to music. We’re now pleased to provide access to these rich workshop experiences to the wider technical community.

Watch videos of Googler-led workshops on the YouTube Tech Talks Channel:

To highlight a few workshops: The Domain Adaptation workshop organized by Google, which fused theoretical and practical domain adaptation, featured invited talks from Shai Ben-David and Googler Mehryar Mohri from the theory side and Dan Roth from the applications side. This was just next door to Googlers Doug Eck and Ryan Rifkin's workshop on Machine Learning and Music, with musical demonstrations loud enough for the next-door neighbors to ask them to “turn it down a bit, please.” In addition to the Googler-run workshops, the Integrating Language and Vision workshop showcased invited talks by Google postdoctoral fellow Percy Liang on the pragmatics of visual scene description and Josh Tenenbaum on physical models as a cognitive plausible mechanism for bridging language and vision. Finally, Google consultant Andrew Ng was one of the organizers of the Deep Learning and Unsupervised Feature Learning, which offered an extended tutorial, several inspiring talks, and two panel discussions (one with Googler Samy Bengio as panelist) exploring the question of “How deep is deep?”

As the workshop weekend drew to a close, an airline strike in Spain left NIPS attendees scrambling to get home for the holidays. We hope the skies look clear for 2012 when NIPS lands in Google’s neck of the woods, Lake Tahoe!