Saturday, May 12, 2012

[G] AdWords Editor users: Migrate to v9.7.1 before June 12, 2012

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Inside AdWords: AdWords Editor users: Migrate to v9.7.1 before June 12, 2012

As of June 12, 2012, AdWords Editor versions 9.0 and prior will be sunset. After this date, changes made via these versions will not be implemented in your AdWords account. Please download the latest version (9.7.1.) at your earliest convenience, but no later than June 12, 2012.

You can upgrade to version 9.7.1 through the auto-update prompt or download the latest version from the AdWords Editor website. After you install the new version, you’ll need to download your account again. To preserve your comments and unposted changes, select the ‘Backup then Upgrade’ option in the automatic upgrade prompt, then import the backup file after downloading the account.

For a complete list of version-specific changes, please see our release notes. To see which version you're using, go to the Help menu > About AdWords Editor.

Posted by Allison Sommer, Inside AdWords Crew

[G] Model bid changes at scale with campaign bid simulator

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Inside AdWords: Model bid changes at scale with campaign bid simulator

When we launched bid simulator in 2009, we wanted to make it easy for you to understand the impact of bids on your advertising results. Until now, you’ve been able to access bid simulator at the keyword and ad group level.

To allow you to more easily simulate and apply bid changes at scale, we’re pleased to announce the launch of campaign bid simulator.

To access campaign bid simulator, go to the Opportunities tab and select “campaign bid simulator” from the left navigation tree.

With campaign bid simulator, you can:
  • View bid changes in aggregate and model changes even when keywords or ad groups might not have enough data for this on their own. 
  • See what might happen if you increased or decreased all your bids by a specific percentage (10%, for example). 
  • See whether you may need to increase your campaign budget to ensure it doesn’t become limited by budget at the new bid value. 
  • Model what happens if you changed all your bids in the campaign to a single value. 
  • Download the bid-simulation data at the account or campaign level. 
  • Download an AdWords Editor-compatible file with bid amounts at the simulated level and the ad groups and keywords to which they should be applied. 
Note: this is mock data only and should not be seen as a real or accurate simulation

For more information, visit the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Sheridan Kates, Product Manager, AdWords

[G] Spreadsheet Mapper 3: More placemarks, advanced customization, and more

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Google Lat Long: Spreadsheet Mapper 3: More placemarks, advanced customization, and more

Do you have a spreadsheet of locations that you’d like to see on a map? Here on the Google Earth Outreach team we talk to many nonprofits who use Google Earth and Maps to tell their stories and visualize their data. Often the data is in spreadsheets, or other tabular formats. Converting these rows and columns into a map brings the spreadsheet to life by providing geographic context and a new way to visualize the information.

Spreadsheet Mapper is a tool that enables anyone to easily create a well-designed KML file to show off their data in Google Earth and Maps. Since Spreadsheet Mapper is a Google Docs template, you fill in your data using the familiar interface of a spreadsheet, and create a great KML without any coding. It gives you all the cloud-based benefits of Google Docs, including collaborative editing and the ability to publish directly to the web.

When we released Spreadsheet Mapper 2 a few years ago, it had a number of limitations, especially with regard to the number of placemarks it could create and the available balloon templates. In response to user feedback, and taking advantage of new features in Google spreadsheets and Google Apps Scripts, we have upgraded Spreadsheet Mapper with a variety of new and improved features:
  • More placemarks: Support for 1,000 placemarks and ability to add more as needed
  • Flexible balloon design: Take advantage of even more balloon design templates and simplified starter templates
  • Simplified publication: Just click “Publish to the web” to share your map (no more fussing with URLs)
  • New customization options: Advanced users can change the default view and network link details
Ready to try it? The Spreadsheet Mapper v3 tutorial will get you started.

We hope these new tools make mapping from spreadsheet data easier than ever!

Posted by Christiaan Adams, Developer Advocate with the Google Earth Outreach team

[G] Obama supports marriage equality, Double explosion in Damascus, Supermoon occurs worldwide

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YouTube Blog: Obama supports marriage equality, Double explosion in Damascus, Supermoon occurs worldwide

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.

Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics Manager, recently watched "President Obama - Gay Marriage".


Friday, May 11, 2012

[G] VP8 Codec SDK "Eider" Released

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

"Eider," the fifth named release of the VP8 Codec SDK (libvpx), is now available. You can download the Eider libvpx snapshot (version 1.1.0) from our Downloads page, or clone it from our Git repository.

In addition to a number of enhancements, this release fixes a decoder bug first introduced in v1.0.0, "Duclair," so all users of that release are encouraged to upgrade.

Note that the VP8 format

[G] How Nissan Uses Ecommerce Tracking Without Directly Selling Online

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Google Analytics Blog: How Nissan Uses Ecommerce Tracking Without Directly Selling Online

This post originally appeared on the Google Analytics Japan blog.

Google Analytics’ e-commerce tracking allows online merchants to measure items sold and tie those results back to their digital marketing activities. But did you know that it can also be used to track non e-commerce activity?

Nissan Motor Company does just this. Nissan operates in the automobile industry, and owns a network of websites designed to help consumers around the world decide which Nissan vehicle they would like to purchase.

Nissan uses e-commerce tracking whenever a visitor submits a request for a test drive or a brochure. They treat each request as if a car were sold, and record details such as the model, colour, transmission type, and location of the vehicles people inquire after. A traditional Google Analytics implementation for a non e-commerce site would simply use goals to measure conversions. So why did Nissan opt to use e-commerce tracking instead?

They wanted to be able to measure more information about each inquiry within their Google Analytics reports. By implementing e-commerce tracking they are now able to pass additional information to their Google Analytics account, such as the category, colour, and model of car the visitor was interested in. Nissan's Global Marketing Strategy Division then analyses this information to understand which vehicles are in hot demand in each market; it then feeds those insights to their manufacturing plants across the globe to ensure that there is enough supply to satisfy demand. 

One of the benefits of Google Analytics is that you can decide who should have access to your suite of reports. Nissan’s Global Division uses this feature to decentralise access to their different market operations, allowing each country manager to log into Google Analytics and quickly assess the popularity of different models for their market. Nissan employed a Google Analytics Certified Partner in Japan, Ayudante, to help set up their account profiles and custom reports that could then be accessed by each of the country managers.

Nissan’s Global Marketing Strategy division says there are 3 key benefits they gain from Google Analytics as a whole:

  1. It is easy to assess product popularity globally and by market. The user experience is seamless and there was no complex setup necessary.

  2. Custom reports allow you to easily view complex information in one view. It dramatically reduces the time to summarize multiple reports, document it, and share it within the organisation.

  3. Google Analytics gives them access to timely information, which allows for better decision making.

Even if you are a non e-commerce site, you should explore e-commerce tracking as a means of measuring more information about the products or services your visitors are inquiring about. Then share that information with your wider marketing and product teams so that they can make effective decisions to maximise sales.

Posted by Noriyuki Ouchi, Google Analytics Solutions Consultant, Google Japan and Vinoaj Vijeyakumaar, Senior Conversion Specialist, Google Southeast Asia


Thursday, May 10, 2012

[G] People Making Good Sees the Good in Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: People Making Good Sees the Good in Google Apps

Posted by: Nicole Ravlin, Co-founder of People Making Good

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest blogger is Nicole Ravlin, Co-founder of People Making Good, a public relations company based in Burlington, Vermont.

People Making Good is a public relations and social media marketing firm focused on promoting healthy, socially responsible brands. In six years we’ve grown to ten employees and have a wide range of clients across the country and around the globe.

Over the past several years, we’ve been limited by our IT solutions, particularly since our clients are in multiple time zones and our staff travels frequently. Important tasks like scheduling meetings or tracking product launches often were made more difficult than they needed to be. About 18 months ago, our IT consultants recommended we try Google Apps for Business to help simplify our work processes. Not only has it kept us organized as a company, it’s also helped us stay in line with our core values, one of which is to be as paperless as possible.

Google Calendar has completely transformed the way we schedule meetings with clients, book trade shows, and schedule launch events. For one client we set up a shared calendar to manage events in multiple cities for the launch of a new product – everything from tracking industry events to meetings with retailers and press. Our client could see their schedule come together in real time, and it automatically synced with their mobile device. They knew exactly where to be and when, no matter what time zone they were in.

With Google Docs, we’re able to work with clients all over the world. Before, we’d email back and forth, and critical information got buried in people’s inboxes or lost for good. Now, we share documents directly with our clients and quickly work through things like media lists, press releases and blog posts. We often make comments and chat directly in a doc so we can avoid the hassle of multiple phone calls and emails.

Google Apps has helped us streamline our processes, even while we’re on the go. This gives us more time to continue our quest to help socially responsible companies tell their stories.

[G] Celebrating our super-mom users

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Official Google Blog: Celebrating our super-mom users

These days, moms use technology in a ton of creative and resourceful ways to keep their families running smoothly. As a working mom myself, I use Google Calendar to keep track of our three busy kids and all their different activities, sports and schools. Technology also keeps us connected—I’m always amazed at how a Google+ Hangout between my kids in California and their grandparents in France can make the distance between them feel so small.

In celebration of Mother’s Day this weekend, we thought we’d applaud the many tech-savvy super-moms out there by sharing a few of their stories.

Heather Fay, using Google+ to make her dream a reality
Heather, from New Haven, Conn., is a stay-at-home mom of two who has always had a passion for music and performing. Until recently, her music career took a backseat to her responsibilities at home, but when she signed up for Google+ in 2011, she realized she could find an audience using Hangouts—without stepping foot outside of her home. Now Heather can sing and play her guitar for people, no matter where they live in the world. Between changing diapers and cleaning up spilled cereal, she’s on Google+ engaging with more than 13,000 fans, collaborating with other musicians on an epic live concert and sharing the occasional mommy woes. You can find out more about her music on Google Play, where you can also hear a tribute to her daughter called “Ruby’s Song.”

Sarah Stocker, bringing robots to life with Chrome
Sarah, from San Francisco, is the co-founder of My Robot Nation, a Chrome web app that lets you create a unique robot online, then have it printed in full-color 3D and mailed to your door. When developing My Robot Nation, Sarah employed some of the most advanced web technologies, such as WebGL, to bring the 3D experience to the browser; however, making the app easy for people to use was paramount. Enter Sarah’s 10-year-old son Max. He designed the first robot and was My Robot Nation’s first “customer.” The fact that Max could create something online and then hold it in his hands made Sarah feel like the coolest mom ever—and he’s already told her that he wants to be an inventor, just like her.

Carol Galland Wildey and Danielle Yates, founders of Headcovers Unlimited
Almost 25 years ago, at the age of 40, Carol was diagnosed with breast cancer. After losing her hair due to chemotherapy treatments, she and her daughter Danielle realized how few options there were to help cancer patients look and feel like themselves throughout their treatment. In 1994, she and Danielle started Headcovers Unlimited, selling hats, wigs and scarves for patients with hair loss. Danielle helped take the business online in 1995, launching Based in League City, Tex., the Internet helps them reach women in more than 60 countries; and more than half their customers have come through online advertising with AdWords.

Betty Givan, preserving family recipes with YouTube
For years, Betty has been cataloguing and saving family recipes to pass along to her own daughter. At first, she used a scrapbook of recipe cards, but one day, while making nachos for a football game, she decided to make a video of the process and asked her daughter to film it. Soon, she was filming and posting her favorites on a YouTube channel and today, it’s become her full-time business from her Richmond, Ky. home. With more than 1,100 videos of her southern cooking recipes and 16 million video views, Betty has become a mom to people all around the world.

Karen Castelletti, Googler reunited with her birth mother using Google Search
Not only can search help you find what you’re looking for, it can also help you reconnect with the people you care about. Karen grew up knowing she was adopted, and always thought it would be too difficult to find and connect with her birth parents. Then, when she was 22, she received a message from her birth mom, Mary Ellen. Mary Ellen found Karen's name through public birth records, and used Google Search to find one of Karen's social networking profiles. They reconnected in time for Mary Ellen to watch Karen graduate from college alongside her adoptive parents, and today they speak regularly.

I hope the stories of these super-moms have inspired you to use technology in ways that keep you connected, organized and creative, so you can spend more time doing the things that matter—having fun with your kids!

Posted by Francoise Brougher, Vice President of SMB Sales and Operations and proud mom of three young boys

[G] 70 Korean cinema classics come to YouTube

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YouTube Blog: 70 Korean cinema classics come to YouTube

In the last few decades, South Korea has emerged as a powerhouse of cinema, with both Korean-made films winning global accolades and Hollywood remaking Korean mega-hits like My Sassy Girl, and, if industry gossip is true, Oldboy. Many of the all-time classic Korean films, however, have been hard for global audiences to get their hands on.

Working together with the Korean Film Archive, we now have 70 classic Korean films available globally for free on YouTube—complete with English and other translated subtitles. The films are all available at, organized in playlists by decade as well as by director.

Movies include A Hometown in Heart, made in the early years of Korean Independence; debut film of noted auteur Sang-soo Hong The day a pig fell into a well; A Coachman, the first Korean film to win awards internationally; and more. Many other titles like Aimless Bullet and The Barefooted Young are available in HD.

We hope this archive will keep Korean cinephiles busy for a while with films that have been too hard to find outside of Korea for too long.

Jae Hoon Jung, YouTube contents partnership manager, Google Korea, recently watched Woman of Fire.


[G] Turn on your cloud databases, Google Cloud SQL has a new pricing plan

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Turn on your cloud databases, Google Cloud SQL has a new pricing plan

Posted by Joe Faith, Product Manager

Google Cloud SQL frees you from the chores of managing, maintaining and administering relational databases. It powers your App Engine applications with a familiar relational database (MySQL) in a fully-managed cloud environment.

Since we launched preview last October, Cloud SQL has improved performance and added features like scheduled backups, multihoming to increase availability and to improve application performance, and more powerful instances. Many businesses and developers have also started using Cloud SQL to administer their databases in the cloud.

For example, Daffodil, a global software firm, wanted to build and scale cloud applications with an easy-to-use database management system. After trying different solutions, they migrated to Google App Engine and Google Cloud SQL last year. After the migration, the engineers at Daffodil saved 100 hours of engineering work, allowing them to focus on their app and worry less about infrastructure.

Today, we’re announcing a two-tier pricing plan to Cloud SQL that will be enabled on June 12th:
  • If you’re a business building lightweight applications or just want to try out the service, the flexible pricing option is for you. You pay for what you use.
  • If you’re a business building heavy-traffic applications, we offer pricing packages, which are more economical and help you predict costs in advance.
We hope the new Cloud SQL pricing plans help you build App Engine applications tailored to your business’s needs. Post your questions in our user forums or comments on our Enterprise Google+ page.

[G] Reminder: Migrate to the new Core Reporting API

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Google Analytics Blog: Reminder: Migrate to the new Core Reporting API

At the end of 2011 we announced the Google Analytics Core Reporting API as a replacement for the Data Export API. We also announced a 6 month deprecation period for the Data Export API version 2.3, after which all v2.3 queries will return a v2.4 response. Well, it's almost been 6 months since the announcement was made. If you haven't already moved to our shiny new APIs, and we know there are quite a few of you out there who haven't, we urge you to get movin' or risk your application not working come June.

The good news is that we published a new, easy to follow migration guide to help you make the transition and ensure your application continues to work after we shut down the Data Export API sometime in June.

If you are building a new application, we highly recommend using the Core Reporting API v3.0. For existing applications, we also recommend moving to v3.0 but it may be easier for you to migrate to v2.4 as an intermediary step, since it is backwards compatible with the Data Export API v2.3.

The great news is that if you make the move to v3.0, you'll be able to take advantage of any new features, and the compact JSON format that reduces response size by 10x!

To get started, check out the Migration Guide: Moving from v2.3 APIs to v2.4 & v3.0.

Additional details and support:

Posted by Pete Frisella, Google Analytics API team


[G] Meet our May “On The Rise” nominees

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YouTube Blog: Meet our May “On The Rise” nominees

Each month, we identify four YouTube partners whose channels have recently experienced significant growth but haven’t yet reached the 100,000 subscriber count for our On The Rise program. This month’s featured partners still have a ways to go to hit that mark, but we’re excited about how they’re exploring their passions on YouTube. Our May 2012 nominees have each tailored their channel to provide instruction to their viewers, so you can learn how to play blues guitar, about astronomy concepts, how to cook new recipes, or about gardening and sustainable living.

And not only can you learn from these partners, but you can help them grow their YouTube presence, starting with the opportunity for one of these partners to be featured on the YouTube homepage. Check out the videos below and vote for your favorite in the top right corner of this blog. In addition to your votes, each channel will be evaluated (by YouTube) on criteria such as viewer engagement and channel optimization techniques to decide which partner will be featured on the homepage, Google+, Facebook and Twitter at the end of the month.

In past months On The Rise nominees, partners like AnyoneButMeWebSeries and STRskillschool have gained many subscribers thanks to your support. The poll will be open until May 17 at 5pm PT, so don’t forget to vote for your favorite channel. Check back to see who secured the homepage feature on May 29th.


Anthony Stauffer has made a full-time job out of his music hobby: he was inspired by the music of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and now provides his own Texas-style blues guitar lessons online. Check out Anthony’s channel for free tutorials, premium tutorial previews, and gear reviews, and start learning how to play the blues!


Are you interested in astronomy concepts and news, or do you wonder how astronomy impacts our lives on a daily basis? Whether you have specific questions or are just curious, Tony Darnell’s Deep Astronomy channel will give you insight to and appreciation for the cosmos.


Jack Scalfani prefers “food guy” over the word “chef.” With no formal training, he fell into cooking and focuses his videos on no-fuss, easy-to-make recipes. Check out his Cooking with Jack channel which hosts a library of recipes, cooking tips, and honest product reviews.


Patty Moreno, the Garden Girl, has a variety of videos on sustainable living, cooking, and gardening. Check out her channel to learn everything from pruning a tree and growing your own organic vegetable garden to making a rosemary infused martini and homemade jam.

If you’re interested in checking out more rising YouTube Partners, visit our On The Rise Channel, which features nominees, trending partners and monthly blog winners.

Devon Storbeck and Christine Wang, YouTube Partner Support, recently watched “Lion tries to eat baby PART 1.”


[G] Google Summer of Code 2012 by the Numbers: Part 1.1

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Google Open Source Blog: Google Summer of Code 2012 by the Numbers: Part 1.1

So many of you have asked about the number of students from your particular country that we’ve decided to simply post the whole list.

Number of Accepted Students by Country
India = 227
United States = 173
Germany = 72
Russian Federation = 56
China = 45
Poland = 42
Sri Lanka = 42
Romania = 40
France = 38
Canada = 36
Brazil = 33
United Kingdom = 31
Italy = 30
Austria = 25
Ukraine = 25
Spain = 23
Singapore = 20
Greece = 18
Czech Republic = 15
Turkey = 15
Hungary = 14
Sweden = 14
Slovenia = 11
Belgium = 9
Croatia = 8
Finland = 8
Australia = 7
Belarus = 7
Ireland = 7
Macedonia = 7
Netherlands = 7
Switzerland = 7
Vietnam = 7
Slovak Republic = 6
Bulgaria = 5
Japan = 5
Serbia = 5
Argentina = 4
Egypt = 4
Latvia = 4
Lithuania = 4
Pakistan = 4
Portugal = 4
Bangladesh = 3
Chile = 3
Ecuador = 3
Israel = 3
Moldova = 3
Norway = 3
Peru = 3
South Korea = 3
Colombia = 2
Estonia = 2
Indonesia = 2
Taiwan = 2
Algeria = 1
Bosnia-Herzegovina = 1
Denmark = 1
Hong Kong = 1
Mauritius = 1
Mexico = 1
Nepal = 1
New Zealand = 1
Saudi Arabia = 1
South Africa = 1
Uruguay = 1
Uzbekistan = 1
Venezuela = 1

By Cat Allman, Open Source Programs


[G] Supporting Innovation in African News

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Official Google Blog: Supporting Innovation in African News

Cross-posted from the European Public Policy Blog

We’re eager to see journalism flourish in the digital age, in all forms and on all continents. Today, with half a dozen other generous sponsors, we’re taking a big step forward with a new $1 million African News Innovation Challenge.

This initiative is the latest in a series of projects to spur innovation in African journalism. Since 2010 we’ve been working with newsrooms across the continent to show journalists how the Internet can help them be better reporter. In Ghana we’re helping journalists produce evidence-based reporting on the country’s new oil wealth; in Senegal we gave journalists training on election reporting, and in Kenya we helped pioneer Africa’s first data journalism boot camp. Participants produced eight separate data-driven stories or news apps, including a TV documentary that exposed the plight of rural schools and an analysis of government spending at county level that has been nominated for an international award.

Now, we’re looking for even more innovations aimed at strengthening and transforming African news media. The News Innovation Challenge will provide grants ranging from $12,500 to $100,000 for project proposals falling into four categories: news gathering, storytelling, audience engagement and the business of news. Proposals can include ideas that improve everything from data-based investigative journalism and crowdsourced citizen reporting, to new ways of distributing news on mobile platforms, or new revenue models that help wean media off a reliance on advertising. In addition to cash grants, winners will receive technical, business development and marketing advice.

The African Media Initiative, Africa’s largest association of media owners and operators, is running the Challenge. Other partners include Omidyar Network, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the U.S. State Department, the Konrad Adenhauer Stiftung and the World Association of Newspapers & News Producers.

Entries must be submitted to this website by midnight Central African Time on July 10, 2012. While news pioneers from anywhere in the world are welcome, all entries must have an African partner that will help develop and test the innovation. Entries will be judged by an international jury, and finalists will get a chance to refine their proposals during one-on-one mentoring sessions at a “tech camp” in Zanzibar in August 2012.

The winners will be announced at the Africa’s largest gathering of media owners and executives, at the Africa Media Leaders Forum, in Ivory Coast in November 2012.

We’re also active in promoting digital journalism outside of Africa, such as supporting the Nordic News Hacker, the Global Editor Network’s data journalism prize and International Press Institute media innovation prizes. As media organizations continue to adapt to the new digital world, we’re committed to working with journalists to help them use technologies to gather and tell important stories.

Julie Taylor, Head of Communications, Sub Saharan Africa


[G] YouTube Presents K-Pop stars in Mountain View, California

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Presents K-Pop stars in Mountain View, California

Last December, we added Korean pop style K-Pop to our genres on the Music page, making it easier for the growing number of K-Pop fans in and out of Korea to find the latest videos from the top Korean artists and music labels. Now we’re bringing K-Pop to you live on YouTube!

We’ve teamed up with Korean broadcaster MBC to host a concert in the U.S. on Monday, May 21 featuring some of the top K-Pop acts. The concert, YouTube Presents MBC K-Pop Concert, will be held at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA and will start at 7pm PT. If you want to attend, you can reserve free tickets from this website. You can also tune into the livestream on the YouTube Presents channel during the concert on May 21.

The line-up includes several star-studded groups such as Girls’ Generation, Wonder Girls, TVXQ, Super Junior, f(x), BEAST, KARA, MBLAQ, and Sistar. This is the first time we’ve featured musical artists from Korea on YouTube Presents.

We hope to see K-Pop fans in the U.S. at Shoreline, and we hope the rest of you will tune in wherever you are. For those who are totally new to the genre, we recommend that you check out a few episodes of Simon and Martina’s YouTube show K-Pop Music Mondays.

Seon-Jeong (Sun) Lee, YouTube marketing manager for Asia-Pacific, recently watched “Girls’ Generation - The Boys.”


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

[G] A Google guide to summer vacation

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Official Google Blog: A Google guide to summer vacation

In the northern hemisphere, summer is just around the corner and U.S. National Travel & Tourism Week, recognized every year in May, officially marks the start of the biggest travel season of the year in the United States. Here are a few quick tips from us to make planning, traveling and sharing your summer adventures a bit easier.

Plan flights and hotels with just a few clicks: Flight Search & Hotel Finder

Left: Flight Search, Right: Hotel Finder

Begin your trip by finding, comparing and booking domestic or international flights from the U.S with Flight Search. Search for airports or cities, e.g., [flights to JFK] or [flights to New York City], at and flight results will immediately appear below. Select the time and price that work best for you or click "more results" to further filter your search.

You can use our Hotel Finder experiment to find your perfect hotel based on price, time, proximity to landmarks and user images and reviews. As you glance over specific hotels, add the ones you might be interested in to your own personal shortlist. Click the red “Book” button to go ahead and make the reservation.

Live like the locals: Maps, Translate and Goggles

Left and center: Know where you are and find offers near you with Google Maps, Right: Know how to ask with Google Translate

If you’re in need of a local guide, Google Maps for Android can help. Find driving, transit, walking and biking directions, voice-guided navigation and nearby places to eat, shop and play. We just added a few more improvements to the app, including walking directions for indoor maps (U.S. and Japan) and Google Offers near you (U.S. only) so you can discover great deals on the go. Street View technology is also taking you indoors on your mobile—view interiors of participating businesses and museums so you know what to expect before your visit. And of course, you can always use the Street View feature in Google Maps to preview vacations spots around the world, from public landmarks and gardens to amusement parks, zoos and other popular attractions that have partnered with us to get their locations online.

If you’re traveling to a region where you don’t speak the language, use the Google Translate app to bargain with a local vendor or tell a taxi driver where you need to go. You’ve also got Google Goggles at your disposal—one click and you’ll know exactly what you are ordering on a menu. Get it for both your Android and iOS devices.

Keep your memories, even if you lose your device: Google+ Instant Upload

Your photos from your phone get uploaded instantly to Google+, ready to share.

The Instant Upload feature, part of the Google+ app on Android and iOS, ensures that any photo snapped along the way will be instantly saved to the cloud for safekeeping in a private album, no matter what happens to your phone. Once uploaded it's easy to go into your Google+ photos via the mobile app or your computer, view photos “From Phone” and then easily choose to share to the circles you want. In the case above, I took some sunrise pictures, sorted them on my computer when I got back from my trip and then shared them with my family (if you’re wondering how I shot that panorama above, here’s a tip—if you have the latest Android operating system you can take beautiful panorama pictures by clicking panoramic mode).

For a live, firsthand look at how you can use Google to plan your summer vacation, join us for a Hangout on Air at 10:30am PT tomorrow, Thursday, May 10, on the Google +page. We'll have some in-house experts on hand to show you how to use Google to take your dream vacation.

Of course, we don’t want to make it too easy on you. Part of the joy of traveling is being adventurous and encountering the unexpected. We hope these tools help make your travels more informed and enjoyable, without losing the thrill of spontaneity or that hidden gem you may find when you take a wrong turn. Bon voyage!

Posted by Dave Kim, Product Marketing Manager, Google Maps


[G] Going Google with Gmail

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The Google Apps Blog: Going Google with Gmail

Posted by Preston Hershorn, Product Marketing Manager

If you are a frequent visitor to the Gmail blog, there’s a good chance you’re already a Gmail ninja. Maybe you use video chat in Gmail to keep in touch with family when you’re on the road. Perhaps you’ve created a superb organizational system with labels and Priority Inbox and even have a colorful theme to say “this inbox is mine.”

Sound familiar? If so, then you’ve seen the benefits of going Google. But we all know someone who hasn’t yet made the switch, and is missing out on the convenience of having email, chat, video, and calling all together in one place.

So, as part of our effort to let users know all the things they can do by going Google, we’ve put together a short video that shows just how easy it is to get things done with Gmail when you are living in the cloud. Take a look and then share it with one of your friends. They might just be the next person to go Google - and they’ll have you to thank!