Saturday, March 31, 2012

[G] Introducing Gmail Tap

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Official Gmail Blog: Introducing Gmail Tap

Posted by Reed Morse, Software Engineer

The QWERTY keyboard was invented in 1874 and yet it is still used today, largely unchanged. Today we're excited to introduce a new input method designed for the future: Gmail Tap for Android and iOS. Watch the video for an overview:

Gmail Tap takes the keyboard from 26 keys to just two. Every letter of the alphabet is represented by a simple pattern of dots and dashes, and once you know them you can type without even looking at your screen. This makes it ideal for situations where you need to discreetly send emails, such as when you're on a date or in a meeting with your boss.

We're also introducing a new mode, multi-email. Double your productivity by typing multiple emails at once:

To get started with Gmail Tap, head over to our informational page and watch our video. Then let us know what you think on Google+.

[G] Introducing Click-to-Teleport Ad Extensions

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Inside AdWords: Introducing Click-to-Teleport Ad Extensions

Exactly one year ago we rolled out Teleport Search in select markets, expanding the Google Search results beyond providing links and allowing users to travel through time and space. Today, we’re rolling out this functionality to AdWords and DoubleClick with a new ad extension: Click-To-Teleport (beta)*.

While features like call extensions and location extensions have aimed at solving the "online to store" marketing objective for multichannel advertisers, Click-to-Teleport shortens the offline conversion funnel by allowing a user to teleport directly to your business location by clicking on your search ad.

You’ll additionally be able to tailor Click-to-Teleport extensions to your business goals by choosing to either:
  • Optimize for closest location: Least disorienting for visitors, and helps you maintain a local feeling.
  • Optimize for conversions: Teleports visitors to locations where your customers are most likely to convert.
  • Rotate evenly: Teleports visitor to a random business location and helpful for avoiding overcrowded business locations.
Please be aware that while Click-to-Teleport is in beta, there is no “teleport back home” option for users. You are responsible for providing return transportation or calling a taxi for any teleport customer. At this time, Click-to-Teleport extensions are available in all countries and languages on Earth but are not compatible with our recently launched planetary targeting options.

To learn more, visit the Click-to-Teleport site.

Posted by David Kaufman, Teleportation & Time Travel Marketing Manager

*IMPORTANT: Though we have worked out most of the kinks with Click-to-Teleport, the technology is still in beta. Google will not be held responsible for any teleporting related injuries, unexpected time travel or any other teleporting risks, such as those demonstrated in The Fly.

[G] The YouTube Collection: hold ALL the magic of YouTube in your hands

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YouTube Blog: The YouTube Collection: hold ALL the magic of YouTube in your hands

Loved a video so much that liking it, favoriting it, sharing it and even subscribing to the channel wasn’t enough? Just had to hold it in your grasp and never ever let it go?

We know the feeling, so today we’re making The YouTube Collection available for you in a new holdable version: DVD. A direct result of your feedback and demand, The YouTube Collection is a first of its kind offering in web video.

Here's a video outlining the details:

Want to try before you order? Take The YouTube Collection for a test drive with a simulator button we installed on a select group of YouTube videos. Just head "home."

The future of YouTube is waiting. You can find out more at this link:

And please remember it. Look for our other links soon!

Chet Flanagan, director of DVD product management, YouTube Global, recently watched "Toshiba HD- A2 HD-DVD Player - Unboxing."


[G] Bringing self-driving cars to NASCAR

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Official Google Blog: Bringing self-driving cars to NASCAR

Ever since mankind could go fast, we have longed to go faster. And ever since we’ve done work, we have longed to have someone else, or something else, do that work for us. You might already be familiar with our self-driving car project. We’ve spent years working on a tough engineering problem—how to create a hardware and software system capable of gathering and interpreting massive amounts of real-time data and acting on that knowledge swiftly and surely enough to navigate innumerable varieties of crowded thoroughfares without ever once (among other human frailties) exploding in a fit of road rage at the guy who just cut hard left across your lane without even bothering to flash his blinker.

Well, our autonomous cars have now been test-driven (or rather, test-ridden) for more than 200,000 miles without a single machine-caused mishap. And today we're moving the project one great leap forward with Google Racing, a groundbreaking partnership with NASCAR to help self-driving vehicles compete in the world of stock car racing. We think the most important thing computers can do in the next decade is to drive cars—and that the most important thing Google Racing can do in the next decade is drive them, if possible, more quickly than anyone else. Or anything else.

Find more photos on our Google+ page

The program remains in its infancy; we’ll surely face numerous testing and competitive hurdles before our first car peels out into a NASCAR race. But I couldn’t be more excited about the possibilities. NASCAR’s ambitious technology investments—from driver safety to green initiatives—and the sport’s spirit of challenge, effort and execution all beautifully embody our most deeply held values as a company. Having skidded around a parking lot last week myself, I’m pretty sure that none of those test miles were as hard as it will be for one of our cars to hold its own in a field of 43 jacked-up, 800-horsepower beasts screaming down a straightaway within inches of each other at upwards of 200 miles per hour. I can't imagine a more exciting challenge for our team than to race our autonomous vehicles against their carbon-based competitors.

Find more photos on our Google+ page

Larry and I have always believed in tackling big problems that matter, and we’re surer than ever that self-driving cars are one of them, capable of changing the world in all kinds of truly important ways, like reducing traffic and accidents by driving more efficiently, making correct split-second decisions and never shifting their focus off the road to check a map, text a friend, apply rear-view mirror mascara or dip a piece of tekka maki into a lid of soy sauce jostling over on the passenger seat. I hope that today’s announcement of Google Racing will mark another step along this path, and spur innovations that improve the daily lives of people all over the world. Or at the very least offer us a few cool new thrills on hot weekend afternoons.

Posted by Sergey Brin, Co-founder

[G] A new way to multitask

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Google Chrome Blog: A new way to multitask

On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart rocked the computing world with The Mother of All Demos. One of the many advancements Engelbart discussed was the creation of a simple, intuitive pointing device that would allow you to manipulate a cursor on a screen with the movement of your hand. The world met the mouse.

Before the mouse, the primary way to interact with a computer was to type a command, wait for a response, and type a second command. The ability to coordinate between the movement of a marker on the screen and a flick of the wrist was truly revolutionary, and has transformed the way we interface with our machines today.

However, for decades, the full power of the mouse has been limited. While we’ve been mousing away with one hand, our other hand has often been idle. As information has moved faster and faster, our mousing capacity has stayed the same.

On the Chrome team, we’ve been working to address this problem. Today, we’d like to announce a new way to get twice as much web from your browser. We call it Multitask Mode.

Multitask Mode lets you have access to multiple mice at the same time, so you can make a chess move while you watch a dance move, or draw a horse while you draw on a friend for relationship advice.

Chrome can handle as many mice, touchpads, styli, joysticks, trackballs, and other pointing devices as you can plug into your computer, so you and your friends can browse dozens of sites at the same time.

Try it out and let us know what you think!

Posted by Glen Murphy, Designer and Stylus Stylist

[G] A red pin to mark a dream: Competing in the National Geographic Bee

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Google Lat Long: A red pin to mark a dream: Competing in the National Geographic Bee

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest author is Luke Hellum. Luke is an 9th grader who has been studying geography since he was in kindergarten, making it to Arizona's state geographic bee three times, placing in the National Geographic Bee finals last year, and returning to the National Geographic Bee this year as a youth correspondent. Google is excited to sponsor this year’s event and we wish all participants the best of luck.

Today, thousands of grade-school and middle-school students will compete in state-level Geographic Bees, thanks in part to Google’s sponsorship of the competitions. State and U.S. territory bee winners will advance to the national bee prelims in Washington, D.C. on May 22, and ten will be part of the final broadcast on the National Geographic Channel. Like many of these young “mapheads,” starting at the age of five, I dreamed of participating in the bee and one day making it to the finals.

As a sixth grader, I reached the Arizona state competition for the first time, finishing fourth. The following year, I placed second, and although it was an improvement, I was disappointed and committed to ramping up my preparation efforts in 2011 for my final year of eligibility. I began studying rigorously again in the summer, averaging about 20 hours a week.

During the fall, my mom went to Washington D.C. for an Online News Association conference and met Jesse Friedman, a Product Marketing Manager from Google. She shared with Jesse her appreciation for Google’s sponsorship of the bee, and told him that I’d been heartened by the fact that former bee competitors were now Google employees, demonstrating through their work on Google Earth and other projects that geography can have a place in my future career. I realized that the value of my knowledge wouldn’t end with the bee. Jesse wished me luck and gave my mom two stickers of the Google Maps red pin to pass along to me and my brother (who will be competing for the first time in this year’s Arizona bee).

One of my study resources was a 12’ x 6’ map that covered the wall of our office. When I got the iconic pin, I decided to put it on Washington, D.C., representing my goal to reach the national bee. At times, eagerness, anxiety and restlessness would plague my study efforts. Glancing across the room at that pin would help me press on, remind me why I was working so hard, and ultimately pushed me to study harder. After many months of preparation, I won the state bee, achieved my goal of getting to Washington D.C. and placed 7th in the finals. I even got to meet Brian McClendon, Engineering VP of Google Earth and Maps.

The red pin has remained a fixture on the map. It’s still on Washington D.C., as I will be returning to the bee this year as National Geographic’s youth correspondent for the bee broadcast. After that, I plan to move it around on the map as my goals shift to places I want to go in the future: New York City, where I’m moving in June and Palo Alto, where I hope to attend Stanford University someday before founding my own startup.

Wherever the red pin may end up, it will continue to symbolize the confluence of my passions: geography, technology, and discovering the world.

Are you similarly looking to be inspired by what you can do with geography? Watch the video below to see how individuals from a variety of fields use their geography education to pursue their passions.

Posted by Luke Hellum, 2011 Arizona National Geographic state bee champion and finalist in the 2011 National Geographic Bee

[G] Why maps matter: Using digital cartography tools to change the world

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Google Lat Long: Why maps matter: Using digital cartography tools to change the world

People have created maps since early civilization, but only recently have digital mapping tools like Google Earth and Maps made it easy to build sophisticated and interactive maps that can be disseminated to hundreds of millions of people online. Non-profits have taken advantage of these tools to create maps that matter, and that are truly initiating change around the world. That’s why my team, Google Earth Outreach, exists: to help public benefit organizations use Google’s mapping tools for good.

Find out how non-profits are changing the world with maps.

There’s no better inspiration for creating your own map than the stories of accomplishment from organizations like the ones featured in the video above. We invite you to check out the new Success Stories section of the Google Earth Outreach website. Along with a completely new look and feel, our website now allows you to learn all about a variety of organizations that are using maps for good.

Get started by reading about how the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation partnered with Google to collect Street View imagery for the Amazon. It’s now possible to virtually float down the Rio Negro and its tributaries, see ground-level images of riverside communities, and trek down a trail into the Amazon rainforest, all without leaving the comfort of home. You’ll also learn about Architecture for Humanity, an organization using Google SketchUp to design architectural solutions for communities in need.

Collecting Street View imagery in the Amazon

Once you’ve read through the stories and have an idea of what you might like to create, you can browse through our tutorials or request a software grant for our enterprise-level products like Google Earth Pro. Or, if you’re interested in an overview of all the tools available to you from Google, feel free to check out our Explore Tools page, where you’ll find information about the many Google mapping tools (both free and Pro) that are available to non-profits.

If you’re looking for additional training beyond the tutorials, check out our new Events page, where you can see where Google Earth Outreach will be next and where we’ve been in the past, including rich resources from past workshops.

If you want to change the world, we hope these new tools help. Happy mapping!

Posted by Raleigh Seamster, Google Earth Outreach

[G] The Big Tent, and big ideas, arrive stateside

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Official Google Blog: The Big Tent, and big ideas, arrive stateside

The Internet has transformed society in so many ways, and that’s bound to continue. The aim of our Big Tent events is to bring together people with diverse views to debate some of the hot-button issues that transformation raises.

This week we hosted our first Big Tent event stateside at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. The theme was Digital Citizenship, and over the course of the day we discussed child safety online, the most effective ways to incorporate technology with education and what governments and civil society can do to maintain a responsible and innovative web.

The policymakers, commentators and industry members who attended heard from a variety of speakers, from child prodigy and literacy evangelist Adora Svitak to filmmaker and Webby Awards founder Tiffany Shlain. Wendy Kopp, the CEO and founder of Teach for America, gave a keynote about the need to integrate technology into education thoughtfully, not as a panacea, but rather within a greater context that supports critical thinking and other crucial curriculum goals. In a fireside chat with David Drummond, Jennifer Pahlka, the founder and executive director of Code for America (which takes the idea of skilled service from Teach for America and applies it to programmers) laid out her vision for a growing corps of young coder volunteers with an “agile, maker-and-doer mentality” that can help local governments better serve their citizens, and help citizens better participate in their democracy. “Instead of a chorus of voices,” she said, “I’d like to see a chorus of hands.”

We also launched a new Big Tent YouTube channel with a collection of content from past Big Tents and information about upcoming events around the world. Visit the channel to watch speaker videos, participate in the debate via the comments, get more information on the presenters and see how different communities approach many of the same issues. Stay tuned for future Big Tents, both here and abroad.

Posted by Katharine Wang, Policy Analyst

[G] An improved Google Authenticator app to celebrate millions of 2-step verification users

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Google Online Security Blog: An improved Google Authenticator app to celebrate millions of 2-step verification users

Posted by Sara "Scout" Sinclair, Associate Product Manager, Google Security Team

Since we first made 2-step verification available to all Google users in February of 2011, millions of people around the world have chosen to use this extra layer of security to protect their Google Accounts. Thousands more are signing up every day. And recently, we updated the feature’s companion smartphone app, Google Authenticator, for Android users.

2-step verification works by requiring users to enter a verification code when signing in using a computer they haven’t previously marked as “trusted.” Many users choose to receive their codes via SMS or voice call, but smartphone users also have the option to generate codes on their phone by installing the Google Authenticator app — an option that is particularly useful while traveling, or where cellular coverage is unreliable. You can use Google Authenticator to generate a valid code even when your phone isn’t connected to a cellular or data network.

We want 2-step verification to be simple to use, and therefore we are working continually to make it easier for users to sign up, manage their settings, and maintain easy access to their verification codes at any time and from anywhere. Our updated Google Authenticator app has an improved look-and-feel, as well as fundamental upgrades to the back-end security and infrastructure that necessitated the migration to a new app. Future improvements, however, will use the familiar Android update procedure.

Current Google Authenticator users will be prompted to upgrade to the new version when they launch the app. We’ve worked hard to make the upgrade process as smooth as possible, but if you have questions please refer to the Help Center article for more information. And, if you aren’t already a 2-step verification user, we encourage you to give it a try.

Friday, March 30, 2012

[G] JetBlue emergency landing, Pope visits Latin America, Wildfire devastates Colorado

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YouTube Blog: JetBlue emergency landing, Pope visits Latin America, Wildfire devastates Colorado

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.

  • We viewed appalling scenes in the air over America as a JetBlue flight was forced to make an emergency landing after the pilot was restrained for "erratic behavior".
  • We saw the Pope endear himself to Latin America, donning a sombrero in Mexico and meeting Fidel Castro in Cuba.
  • We witnessed devastating wildfires in Colorado force the evacuation of hundreds of residents, with at least one death reported.
  • We observed a sense of 'petrol panic' as motorists in the UK and beyond were worried by rising oil prices and a potential fuel shortage because of strikes.
  • We followed the GOP candidates as the presidential race took yet another turn, with Rick Santorum winning his 11th state of the campaign in Louisiana.
  • We marked a successful run-off presidential election in Senegal, won by Macky Sall amid many economic challenges in the country.
  • We saw no let up in the controversy surrounding the Trayvon Martin case, as Trayvon's frustrated parents took their plea for justice to a Congressional forum on neighborhood watch groups and racial profiling.
  • We overheard US President Barack Obama talking about a future after the next presidential election during a 3-day tour in South Korea that focused on securing nuclear stability in the region.
  • And finally, we watched one man go where few have gone before, as Titanic director James Cameron plunged to the deepest point on Earth in his submarine: the Deepsea Challenger.
Come back to see the news unfold on YouTube.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "Suu Kyi set for parliament in key Myanmar vote".


[G] A new way to access quality content online

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Google News Blog: A new way to access quality content online

Posted by Paul McDonald, Product Manager

Whether we’re getting the latest election news, making sense of the day’s stock market activity or looking for an update on our favorite celebrities, we rely on publishers to inform and entertain us. Online publishers often fund the creation of this content through ads; sometimes they ask you to pay for content directly, by buying a subscription or purchasing a particular article.

Now, you may see a new option: the ability to access some of this content by responding to microsurveys, without having to pull out your wallet or sign in. When a site has implemented this option, you’ll see a prompt that offers you a choice between answering a market research question or completing another action specified by the publisher (such as signing up for an account or purchasing access). All responses are completely anonymous -- they aren’t tied to your identity or later used to target ads. The prompts look like this:

Publishers get paid for hosting surveys. A number of publishers, such as the The Texas Tribune, the Star Tribune and Adweek have already started running these microsurveys on their sites.

So what’s the point of these questions? From international brands to local food trucks, every business owner wants to make important decisions with their customers’ feedback in mind. That’s why we’ve created Google Consumer Surveys, a new business-facing product that makes custom market research easy. It enables companies to ask questions (the ones you'll later see on your screen) and get back quantitative results quickly, accurately and cost-effectively. Companies have already been using it to research everything from online shopping behavior (Lucky Brand Jeans) to gluten-free baking mixes (King Arthur Flour), and to assess brand awareness (Timbuk2) and inform product development (479 Popcorn). Google shares the money these companies spend with our publisher partners.

The idea behind Google Consumer Surveys is to create a model that benefits everyone. You get to keep enjoying your favorite online content, publishers have an additional option for making money from that content, and businesses have a new way of finding out what their customers want.

If you’re a publisher interested in running microsurveys on your site, let us know.

[G] Posted by: LeighAnn Montieth, General Manager, New York Yoga

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Posted by: LeighAnn Montieth, General Manager, New York Yoga

Posted by: LeighAnn Montieth, General Manager, New York Yoga

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blogger is LeighAnn Montieth, General Manager of New York Yoga, a neighborhood Yoga studio with two locations in New York City.

New York Yoga is a neighborhood yoga studio that specializes in Vinyasa and Hot Yoga. It is also one of the first studios to offer On-Demand Yoga Internet videos, so that yogis can practice the discipline anytime, anywhere.

When I joined the studio staff five years ago, we were all using our personal email addresses and I didn’t think that was the best way to present the business. There was also the challenge of staff scheduling. Between the two studios, we have eight full-time employees and over 50 teachers who work as part-time independent contractors. For many, yoga is not their primary focus so when their schedules are split or busy, scheduling can be tricky. Having dozens of teachers calling us each week to ask what time they were teaching, or scheduling substitutes on a paper calendar, wasn’t a great use of our time, or theirs.

We needed one central place where all of our staff members and teachers could stay organized, and easily communicate. That’s when we decided to transition to Google Apps for Business for our team. Now, all of our email addresses are at, which helps us better brand our business and makes everyone feel like part of the team. And we use Google Docs to track substitute and other employee requests, as well as membership log-ins.

Having all of our information in one location has been extremely beneficial. It helps me save time fielding multiple phone calls and spend more time focusing on our clients. Even if I’m on vacation or working from home, I’m able to quickly log in, make sure all classes have an assigned teacher, and also stay up-to-speed with our client-base in real time. The ability to be mobile and access information from anywhere is something we’ve never had before, and it makes my job a lot easier.

Google Apps has given us the communication and organizational tools we need to succeed and maintain a healthy level of zen.

[G] Upcoming Webinar: Measurement and optimization on the GDN

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Inside AdWords: Upcoming Webinar: Measurement and optimization on the GDN

Looking to measure and optimize your GDN campaigns? We'll be hosting a webinar on April 2nd at 3:00pm GMT to discuss how to create successful GDN campaigns. You can use the GDN to target specific sites, categories, topics and audiences, and in this webinar we'll discuss best practices surrounding the creation and optimization of GDN campaigns. This webinar will be presented by a UK-based Google Display Specialist and more specialists will on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Register now here! For upcoming live webinars and webinar recording links, please visit

Posted by Lauren Barbato, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Updates to Google Merchant Center Terms of Service

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Inside AdWords: Updates to Google Merchant Center Terms of Service

(Cross-posted from the Google Commerce blog)

Back in January, we announced our new Google Terms of Service to provide a more consistent experience for users across Google's products. Starting today, March 29, Google Merchant Center will be covered by the new Google Terms of Service along with a short set of additional terms and conditions specific to Merchant Center.

While the substance in the additional Merchant Center terms and conditions remains unchanged from the previous version, the new additional terms and conditions are shorter and reworded to be easier to understand. We encourage you to take the time to review the new Google Terms of Service along with the additional Merchant Center terms and conditions.

Posted by Mayuresh Saoji, Senior Product Manager, Google Merchant Center team

[G] A fast, accurate, and affordable way to do online market research

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Inside AdWords: A fast, accurate, and affordable way to do online market research

From international brands to local food trucks, every business wants to make important decisions with their customers’ feedback in mind. Which version of your new logo will people like better? How much interest do dog owners have in organic dog food? Is your brand awareness growing over time?

We now have a new option for companies looking to answer these types of questions and more: Google Consumer Surveys. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 company or a local bike shop, Consumer Surveys makes market research fast, accurate, and affordable.

You can create an online survey in minutes, have responses within hours and fully analyzed results in days. We do all the heavy lifting for you, finding interesting nuggets of information (or “insights”) and providing you with tools for digging deeper.

Here’s how it works: people browsing the web come across your questions when they try to access high quality content like news articles or videos. Answering the question gives them near instant access to the page they want. All responses are anonymous; they aren’t tied to users’ identity or later used to target ads. This provides an alternative to the traditional paywall model: site visitors don’t have to pull out a wallet or sign in, publishers get paid as their site visitors respond, and you gain insight into what people think -- for just $0.10 per response for the general US population or $0.50 per response for custom audiences.

We’ve already been working with a number of companies researching everything from online shopping behavior (Lucky Brand Jeans) to gluten-free baking mixes (King Arthur Flour), and using Consumer Surveys to track brand awareness (Timbuk2) and inform product development (479 Popcorn). Check out to learn more.

Posted by Brett Slatkin, Software Engineer

[G] Localize your apps and content more easily -- new formats in Translator Toolkit

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Google Open Source Blog: Localize your apps and content more easily -- new formats in Translator Toolkit

At Google, we put a lot of energy into helping localize the world’s information to make it more useful to more people. It’s not just about localizing our own products -- we want to provide tools that make it easy for translators and developers around the world to localize their own apps and content. Google Translator Toolkit is our online translation tool for amateur and professional translators -- it’s built on Google Translate and supports more than 100,000 language pairs.

This week, the Translator Toolkit team has launched support for four new translation-related file formats:

Android Resource (.xml)

Application Resource Bundle (.arb)

Chrome Extension (.json)

GNU gettext-based (.po)

With these new file formats, you can use Translator Toolkit to localize your apps and other products and content much more quickly and easily.

For example, to translate your Android application, go into the res/values directory and upload strings.xml into Translator Toolkit -- Translator Toolkit will now automatically translate it. You can then share your translations with amateur or professional translators, who can localize the text using Translator Toolkit’s WYSIWYG online editor.

When you’re finished, you can export your translated application and store it in a locale-specific directory in Android. Voilà -- easy localization! 翻译起来太方便了!

In addition, we’ve made the Translator Toolkit interface more intuitive for these new file formats so users can translate faster and more accurately. For example, you can turn on ‘Customized colors’ so translators can annotate the edited segments, ‘Number of characters in the segment’ to make sure the text doesn’t run too long (very important for mobile devices), and ‘Synchronized scrolling’ so you can scroll the original and translated text at the same time, which makes navigation much easier.

With these new file formats and UI features, along with the file formats we already support (.aea, .srt, .html), we hope Translator Toolkit can help you reach more users around the world.

When you’re ready, give Google Translator Toolkit a try and suggest any improvements you’d like to see so we can work on making it even better.

Posted by Chris Yang, Product Manager and Haidong Shao, Software Engineer, Translator Toolkit


[G] Create your own video duels with YouTube Slam

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YouTube Blog: Create your own video duels with YouTube Slam

Last year we started experimenting with the idea that you could find the next big thing on YouTube. YouTube Slam pits two videos against each other, where you get points for picking the crowd favorite. In just a few months, hundreds of thousands of you cast more than a million votes on Slams we created, and today we’re turning the game controls over to you.

You can now turn any of your playlists into a YouTube Slam. Play solo, share the YouTube link with your friends or even play together in a Google+ Hangout. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Make a playlist with the videos you want to include in the Slam (you’ll need at least two videos and they have to be public), or choose a playlist you have already

  2. Go to

  3. Click the “Create Slam” button next to one of your playlists. It’ll look like this:

When you click “Play Slam” you’ll be taken into your game, and we’ll show the highest scoring videos and players on the leaderboard page of your Slam. Click “View the winners” at any time to check it out.

Want to get your friends involved? You can now play custom or existing Slams live with friends inside a Google+ Hangout by clicking the “Play Slam with your friends” link. You can also share the YouTube Slam link with friends directly to get more people playing. If you feel like the Slam has been settled, you can remove it at any time.

Slam is still a work in progress, and we want to hear your feedback. Let us know what you think in the comments below or by clicking the “Feedback” link on any Slam.

Interested in learning more about the research behind YouTube Slam? Check out our recent Google Research Blog post about gamification of search ranking, or find out about our work on finding funny videos and talented musicians.

Sanketh Shetty, software engineer, recently played a “Tree Cutting Fails” Slam.


[G] Traffic and Transit Come to Google Maps in Malaysia

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Google Lat Long: Traffic and Transit Come to Google Maps in Malaysia

We originally launched Google Maps in Malaysia back in 2009, and since then, Malaysians have been avid users of the service on both their desktops and mobile devices. So today, we are happy to announce three new features for Malaysia that we hope will make the map even more useful — especially for a nation with a lot of commuters.

First up, we have implemented the Traffic layer, which provides data about real time road congestion right on the map. Users can quickly see whether roads are congested or flowing freely based on colour coding — red for choc-a-bloc, yellow for slow moving, and green for smooth flowing.

Traffic Layer in Kuala Lumpur

Second, Transit information is now available, meaning that Malaysian public transportation details can now be found on Google Maps. This means that train and bus stops are now listed on the map, but more importantly, when you go to the “Get Directions” tab, you will see a new option — designated with a bus icon — to plan your route via public transport. The results of your search will give you step-by-step public transportation directions on how to get from Place A to Place B via bus, LRT, monorail, and Komuter train.
Transit Information in Google Maps Mobile in Kuala Lumpur

Finally, Google Maps is now available in Bahasa Malaysia, giving Malay native speakers better accessibility and the option of interfacing and navigating with Google Maps. Since 60 percent of Malaysians use Bahasa Malaysia as their primary language with over 90 percent proficiency, this localisation should make it easier for Malaysians to get the most from Maps.

To plan your journey and and get ahead in your travels, go to

To learn more about traffic in Google Maps you can watch this video tutorial:

Posted by Jing Lim, Software Engineer, Google Maps Malaysia

[G] Find out your trip duration based on current traffic

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Google Lat Long: Find out your trip duration based on current traffic

Should I take public transit or a taxi to the airport? What’s the fastest way to get to my appointment on time: local streets or the expressway? Oftentimes, the answer to these questions depends on the current traffic conditions.

Now using both live and historic traffic data, Google Maps enables you to once again see the estimated length of time your journey might take. In areas where the information is available, this new and improved feature evaluates current traffic conditions and is constantly being refreshed to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date estimate possible. To see this feature, simply access directions as you normally would on Google Maps. Below the time estimate for how long your trip might take without any traffic, you’ll see the adjusted estimate that factors in current traffic data.

For example, if I’m trying to get to JFK Airport from Manhattan I can see it is quicker to take the train versus a taxi during rush hour.

Comparing Driving Time vs. Transit Time

If the roads you’re traveling do not yet show the current traffic information, don’t despair. You can help your fellow drivers and improve traffic data about road conditions and speeds by turning on the My Location feature on Google Maps for Android.

We hope being able to plan your travels based on current traffic information saves you time, and perhaps even prevents some road frustration. Happy driving!

To learn more about directions and navigation on your Android phone, start here.

Posted by Szabolcs Payrits, Software Engineer, Google Maps

[G] YouTube Shows comes to Korea

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Shows comes to Korea

Over the last year Korean TV stations have been opening up YouTube channels and offering a wide variety and deep catalog of their shows—everything from weekly dramas to K-Pop musical programs. The main three terrestrial broadcasters all have multiple channels with their top shows — KBS (Main Channel, Drama, Entertainment, KBS Life, Documentary, KBS world), MBC (Kpop, Entertainment, Drama, MBC World), and SBS (Entertainment, Drama, FreeVOD, Culture). YouTube also has many top cable shows such as Pororo from Iconix animation studio and Sonbadak TV.

To help you find Korean TV on YouTube, viewers in Korea now have a new Shows page organizing all programs available. For the rest of the world, you can still find the shows through, but note that not all programs are available in all countries.

On the Shows page in Korea, you’ll find new programs like Infinite Challenge (무한도전) and classics like My Lovely Sam-Soon (내 이름은 김삼순), with subtitles in English, Spanish and other languages. The new Shows pages also gives you key information about the program, such as a cast list and credits.

In many cases, each episode is divided into clips, but there’s no need to click on each video one at a time. The first video selected will automatically link to the next video and that one to the next. So once you start watching, you can easily flow to the end of the show.

If you have a favorite TV program, subscribe to the channel so that you’ll be updated on your homepage whenever there’s a new episode. We’ll be adding more programs from more stations in the future, so check back frequently.

Brian Suh, head of YouTube partnerships, Google Korea, recently watched “Infinite Challenge (무한도전).”