Saturday, June 23, 2012

[G] Towards Crowdsourcing Forest Monitoring: lessons from SAD powered by Google Earth Engine

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Google Lat Long: Towards Crowdsourcing Forest Monitoring: lessons from SAD powered by Google Earth Engine


Editor's note: Throughout this week we'll be publishing a series of blog posts about our activities at Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. This guest post is from Google Earth Engine partner Carlos Souza of Imazon

In the last seven years Brazil has reduced deforestation considerably, and forest monitoring has been a key part of this effort. Imazon, a Brazilian NGO working to promote sustainable development in the Amazon, has developed a forest monitoring system called SAD, and has been working with Google to integrate Google Earth Engine into our work. We’re now ready to share our progress and to take the next step in our efforts to crowdsource forest monitoring in Brazil and, potentially, the rest of the world.

First a bit about Imazon and our work. SAD is an acronym, in Portuguese, for Sistema de Alerta de Desmatamento, or Deforestation Alert System. This system detects and measures deforestation and forest degradation in Brazil by analyzing MODIS satellite imagery. The idea is to track deforestation in the same way the government tracks inflation, making it a regularly updated indicator of the overall health of the country.

SAD analysis is quite complex, involving a great deal of satellite data. The end result of the analysis is a ratio of soil, photosynthetic vegetation, and non-photosyntheic vegetation for each pixel in a MODIS image covering the Brazilian Amazon. SAD tracks and reports deforestation and forest degradation on a monthly basis by calculating changes in this ratio for satellite images acquired at different times. We provide this map, along with deforestation alerts, to key authorities working to fight illegal deforestation in the Amazon.

This past weekend at Google’s “From the Ground to the Cloud” event at Rio+20 we proudly announced the next step in the evolution of SAD: SAD-EE, powered by Google Earth Engine. Starting in July, Imazon's monthly deforestation reports -- which includes deforestation happening while we are here at Rio+20 -- will be generated by SAD-EE. 







SAD-EE improves Imazon’s forest monitoring program in several ways:
  • We can now access and process the data using Google’s cloud, which dramatically changes how we work. For instance, during the testing phase of using SAD-EE we reduced the amount of time we spend downloading and managing the very large data sets of MODIS images by 50%, and analysis in the cloud is much faster than on our desktop computers. Getting this information to the authorities faster can be translated into several hectares of forests saved each month 
  • SAD-EE is integrated with the Internet, mobile phone and computer tablet technologies, making it easier for local organizations to access it. 
  •  The system can be used outside Brazil, allowing other tropical forest countries to monitor their forests. Indeed, there is now a project to make this happen through a partnership with Google and the World Resources Institute, via the Global Forest Watch Program.


    SAD-EE's reporting tool
    For me, the most exciting aspect of SAD-EE is that the system demonstrates the potential for Google Earth Engine to become a multi-sensor, multi-algorithm, multi-technology, crowdsourcing environmental monitoring platform. As Google Earth Engine evolves, it is allowing scientists and remote sensing users to share their knowledge and tools and enabling large groups of people to track and report changes in our planet.

    Posted by Carlos Souza, Senior Researcher, Imazon
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/06/towards-crowdsourcing-forest-monitoring.html

[G] A tribute to Turing, the father of modern computing

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Official Google Blog: A tribute to Turing, the father of modern computing

“The past is a foreign country—they do things differently there.” It’s a saying that rings especially true in the world of technology. But while innovating requires us to focus on the future, there are times when it’s important to look back. Today—the 100th anniversary of Alan Turing’s birth—is one such moment.

Statue of Alan Turing at Bletchley Park

Turing’s life was one of astounding highs and devastating lows. While his wartime codebreaking saved thousands of lives, his own life was destroyed when he was convicted for homosexuality. But the tragedy of his story should not overshadow his legacy. Turing’s insight laid the foundations of the computer age. It’s no exaggeration to say he’s a founding father of every computer and Internet company today.

Turing’s breakthrough came in 1936 with the publication of his seminal paper “On Computable Numbers” (PDF).  This introduced two key concepts, “algorithms” and “computing machines”—commonplace terms today, but truly revolutionary in the 1930’s:
  • Algorithms are, in simplest terms, step-by-step instructions for carrying out a mathematical calculation. This is where it all started for programming since, at its core, all software is a collection of algorithms.
  • A computing machine—today better known as a Turing machine—was the hypothetical device that Turing dreamed up to run his algorithms. In the 1930’s, a “computer” was what you called a person who did calculations—it was a profession, not an object. Turing’s paper provided the blueprint for building a machine that could do any computation that a person could, marking the first step towards the modern notion of a computer.
Considering the role computers now play in everyday life, it’s clear Turing’s inventions rank among the most important intellectual breakthroughs of the 20th century. In the evolution of computing, all paths trace back to Turing. That’s why Turing is a hero to so many Google engineers, and why we’re so proud to help commemorate and preserve his legacy.

In 2010, Google helped Bletchley Park raise funds to purchase Turing’s papers so they could be preserved for public display in their museum. More recently, we’ve been working closely with curators at London’s Science Museum to help put on a stunning new exhibition “Codebreaker - Alan Turing’s Life and Legacy.” This tells the story of Turing’s vast achievements in a profoundly moving and personal way, through an amazing collection of artifacts—including items loaned by GCHQ, the U.K. government intelligence agency, never before on public display. Topics addressed include Turing’s early years, his code-breaking at Bletchley Park, his designs for the Pilot Ace computer, his later morphogenesis work, as well as his sexuality and death. The exhibition opened on June 21 and is well worth a visit if you’re passing through London in the next year.


And finally, we couldn’t let such a momentous occasion pass without a doodle. We thought the most fitting way of paying tribute to Turing’s incredible life and work would be to simulate the theoretical “Turing machine” he proposed in a mathematical paper. Visit the homepage today— we invite you to try your hand at programming it. If you get it the first time, try again... it gets harder!

Turing was born into a world that was very different, culturally and technologically, from ours—but his contribution has never been more significant. I hope you’ll join me today in paying tribute to Alan Turing, the forefather of modern computing.

Posted by Andrew Eland, Engineering Director, Google U.K.
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/tribute-to-turing-father-of-modern.html

[G] Project Re: Brief, the documentary

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Official Google Blog: Project Re: Brief, the documentary

A few months ago, we introduced Project Re: Brief, our experiment to reimagine online advertising. We took some of the most loved ad campaigns from the ‘60s and ‘70s and and brought them back to life for the digital age with the help of the advertising legends that made them in the first place. Together, we created a series of ads designed to start conversations and fire up imaginations about what technology can make possible, such as ads that enable two strangers on opposite sides of the world to connect over a can of soda, or that translate a customer service experience into an instant, shareable, personalized animated video.

But Re: Brief is not just about the ads themselves. It’s also about the creative process behind them: bringing “old school” advertising legends and technologists into the same room to create digital ads that consumers love as much as they loved the iconic campaigns of yesterday. To share this experience, today we premiered the documentary film Project Re: Brief, directed by Emmy winner Doug Pray, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—also available on YouTube.

This hour-long documentary follows the story of the five art directors and copywriters who made the original ads as they come out of retirement to “Re: Brief” their classic campaigns: Harvey Gabor (Coca-Cola’s “Hilltop); Amil Gargano (Volvo’s “Drive it like you hate it”); Paula Green (Avis’ “We try harder”); and Howie Cohen and Bob Pasqualina (Alka-Seltzer’s “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing”). While major shifts in technology have reshaped the advertising business, as we learned from our heroes of the past, the basic tenets of storytelling haven’t changed. We found these icons’ ideas, wisdom and passion for great advertising inspiring and hope you do as well.



For more details on the film and the Cannes Lions festival, visit our Agency Blog.

Posted by Aman Govil, Project Re: Brief Lead
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/project-re-brief-documentary.html

[G] Fueling great nonprofits with technology

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Official Google Blog: Fueling great nonprofits with technology

Technology can make collaboration easier, cut costs and help operations run more efficiently. Unfortunately, the organizations trying to solve some of the world’s most difficult problems—nonprofits—often lack resources to fully take advantage of technology to further their causes.

That’s why we worked with the HandsOn Network, a Points of Light Enterprise, to create HandsOn Tech, an initiative that pairs U.S. nonprofits with individuals who are passionate about technology and looking to make a difference. Last year, we funded 24 full-time AmeriCorps VISTA positions. These VISTA members provided technology training to more than 1,300 small, poverty-focused nonprofits nationwide. Further, these VISTA participants engaged skilled volunteers, including lots of Googlers, to assist nearly 200 nonprofits in creating individualized, comprehensive tech plans that will help them to work more efficiently.

Each HandsOn Tech VISTA project varies based on different nonprofit needs. In the past year, projects have included:

  • Migrating Dreams for Kids, a Chicago nonprofit empowering at-risk and disabled youth, to Google Apps—enabling them to more efficiently and effectively collaborate without the restriction of limited office space.
  • Building a dynamic website and social media strategy for Doing Art Together, a NYC-based nonprofit providing hands-on programming and GED prep for under-resourced youth.
  • Using Google Maps and Fusion Tables to help Atlanta’s The Drake House create a map that helps staff better visualize the local homeless population in order to more effectively distribute their services.

HandsOn Tech Pittsburgh hosted a panel on social media tools, including Google+, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, with local nonprofits at the Google Pittsburgh office

The program has been so successful that we’re expanding—it will now include one additional city and 28 new VISTA positions, with the goal of reaching even more nonprofits. The new HandsOnTech VISTAs will start in August with a one week training at our campus in Mountain View, Calif., where they’ll learn about cloud-based tools from a variety of technology companies including the Google For Nonprofits suite that allows many nonprofits to use free online advertising, Google Apps and YouTube channels. Once they are armed with tech know-how they’ll spend the rest of the year in two and three-person teams serving nonprofits in the Bay Area, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, Pittsburgh and Seattle.

HandsOn Tech is accepting applications for VISTA members now through June 27. If you’re passionate about technology and helping nonprofits on the front line of fighting poverty, then we hope you’ll apply!

Posted by Matt Dunne, Head of Community Affairs
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/fueling-great-nonprofits-with.html

Friday, June 22, 2012

[G] Hot Summer Games

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Google Chrome Blog: Hot Summer Games

In my mind, summer always means more free time. And more free time is the perfect opportunity to play some of the latest Chrome Web Store games.

I’m really excited to play From Dust, an award winning strategy adventure in which you control nature to help your tribe survive. The newly released Cut the Rope is also at the top of my list. This addictive physics game requires precise planning and timing to successfully feed candy to a little green monster called Om Nom.


Another game I’m hooked on is Fairway Solitaire, a mix of golf and solitaire played against a pesky gopher. Other cool new titles include Go Home Dinosaurs, Command and Conquer, and many, many more. And if I’m traveling for the summer and don’t have Wi-Fi, I can always enjoy of my favorite offline games, such as Angry Birds, Ookicookie and Solitaire.


To get these and other games, just visit the Chrome Web Store. For those of you who don’t have Chrome, you can download it here with 17 of our favorite games pre-installed.

Have fun playing!

Posted by Ricardo Bruno, Web Store Merchandising Coordinator and Expert at Cutting Ropes
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2012/06/hot-summer-games.html

[G] With new search ads in Google Maps for Mobile, mo' lo' means mo' dough for advertisers

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Inside AdWords: With new search ads in Google Maps for Mobile, mo' lo' means mo' dough for advertisers

People use their mobile devices to discover and engage with the world around them. Searching for local information is one of the most common activities on mobile - in the US, 94% of respondents said they had done so, and nearly every surveyed country reported numbers over 80%. With Google Maps, they make informed decisions about places to see, shops to visit, meals to eat, and more.

To enable advertisers to better connect with potential customers via mobile search, we have redesigned our local ad formats for Google Maps for Mobile. These have produced measurable results - in initial tests, these redesigned formats increased click-through-rates by 100%. This visual redesign will be rolling out today to the newer versions of Android phones. 


The updated formats feature several key improvements:
  • Important calls to action like “get directions” and “click to call” are now more prominent in the ad and clickable in more places.  
  • A new hyperlocal marker shows the user how close they are to an advertiser’s business location.
  • Clicking on the ad now takes the user to an advertiser’s website from within the app, making it simple to browse the site without losing context or access to maps app navigation.
Above: Current view of local ads in Google Maps for Mobile  
Below:  Launching today, newly redesigned local ads in Google Maps for Mobile

Ads in Google Maps for Mobile are one of many ways advertisers are delivering relevant local answers to people’s questions on mobile. Likewise, a recent campaign from T-Mobile shows how search ads, combined with location extensions, enabled them to reach users close to their store locations across mobile search and maps.

T-Mobile understood that they needed to adjust their goals and tactics to cater to mobile user behavior. On the difference in user behavior between desktop and mobile campaigns, Kari Nicholas, Media Director of T-Mobile USA explained, “Consumers searching on mobile devices tend to be further down the purchase funnel and have a more informed opinion about what they want, which presents an opportunity for us to influence their decision regarding where to buy while they’re on the go. That’s why we felt it was essential to provide a way for them to easily find our retail locations.” T-Mobile’s approach of using mobile location extensions drove over 160,000 click-throughs and a click-through-rate of 13%. To read more, download the full case study, here.

T-Mobile’s mobile search ads on Google.com and Google Maps for Mobile contain locally relevant information like a user’s distance from their closest location, and the ability to call and get directions to their closest store.
Mobile technology is enabling people to connect with businesses in new ways via smartphones and tablets. People use search and click to businesses’ websites, but they are also clicking to make phone calls, find directions to walk into local stores, and more. To take advantage of these new local search ads on Google Maps for Mobile, make sure you’ve done the following:
  • Target the relevant campaigns to mobile devices
  • Enable ads to show to search partners
  • Finally, have location extensions enabled within AdWords to take advantage of all these new features - so be sure to enable them if you haven’t already!
We’re looking forward to further understanding mobile usage trends and helping businesses better connect with their customers on the go.

Posted by Jay Akkad, Product Manager, Mobile Ads

URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/06/with-new-search-ads-in-google-maps-for.html

[G] Introducing Google Maps Coordinate: Organize teams on the move

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Google Lat Long: Introducing Google Maps Coordinate: Organize teams on the move

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Enterprise Blog)

Imagine you are a call center operator at an electric utility company.  A call comes in reporting a downed powerline in one of the northern suburbs of your city, and an entire neighborhood is without power.  You need to quickly dispatch one of your line repairers to the site, which is almost an hour away.  To save time and get the power back up quickly, you want to know which line repairers are already in the area and send them the relevant information about the job.

That’s where Google Maps Coordinate comes in, a new tool designed to improve communication between businesses and their employees in the field.  As the number of mobile employees continues to grow, so does the need for a location sharing solution that works in real-time.  Research firm IDC estimates that there will be over 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015 (37.2% of the total workforce)*. Google Maps Coordinate combines the power of Google’s mapping technologies with modern smartphones to help organizations assign jobs and deploy staff more efficiently. 


When a business signs up for Google Maps Coordinate, they get access to the Google Maps Coordinate web and mobile apps.  

Employees in the field download the mobile app to their phone and then can:
  • Share real-time location. Google Maps Coordinate is built on Google’s mapping and geolocation infrastructure so the app will send an accurate location, even if you’re indoors (Google Maps Coordinate integrates with Google Indoor Maps). 
  • Record data.  Mobile teams often need to collect information while out in the field. Google Maps Coordinate allows the admin to customize the fields that the mobile team needs to capture and collect – from measurements to client contact details – directly in the app.
Meanwhile, a designated dispatcher back in the office can: 
  • Create teams. Add team members to a Google Maps Coordinate team and see their locations in the Google Maps Coordinate web and mobile app.  For example, our electric utility company might create a special team for home electricians and another for line repairers.
  • Manage jobs. Easily create jobs, precisely locate the job, assign the job to the nearest team member and notify them instantly.  The next time there is a downed powerline, the operator at the utility company will have no problem identifying the closest team member and assigning them to investigate the issue.  
  • View past jobs and locations. Get the hard data needed to make strong business decisions. With Google Maps Coordinate, businesses can easily visualize the locations of all their jobs and teams, including current and past jobs.  Businesses can assess where they should be assigning or hiring more workers and how to optimally place their teams.


Any business can sign up for Google Maps Coordinate.  Google Maps Coordinate is built to work seamlessly with the entire Google Enterprise Maps and Earth experience, and it comes with an API that can integrate with any of your existing systems.  

Contact our sales team or a Google Enterprise Maps and Earth reseller if you’re interested in signing up for  Google Maps Coordinate. Share your Google Maps Coordinate use cases and feedback on our Enterprise G+ page.

*IDC, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast, Doc #232073, December 2011

Posted by Daniel Chu, Senior Product Manager 
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/06/introducing-google-maps-coordinate.html

Thursday, June 21, 2012

[G] Introducing Google Maps Coordinate: Organize teams on the move

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Introducing Google Maps Coordinate: Organize teams on the move

Posted by Daniel Chu, Senior Product Manager

Cross-posted on the Google LatLong Blog.

Imagine you are a call center operator at an electric utility company. A call comes in reporting a downed powerline in one of the northern suburbs of your city, and an entire neighborhood is without power. You need to quickly dispatch one of your line repairers to the site, which is almost an hour away. To save time and get the power back up quickly, you want to know which line repairers are already in the area and send them the relevant information about the job.

That’s where Google Maps Coordinate comes in, a new tool designed to improve communication between businesses and their employees in the field. As the number of mobile employees continues to grow, so does the need for a location sharing solution that works in real-time. Research firm IDC estimates that there will be over 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015 (37.2% of the total workforce) 1. Google Maps Coordinate combines the power of Google’s mapping technologies with modern smartphones to help organizations assign jobs and deploy staff more efficiently.


When a business signs up for Google Maps Coordinate, they get access to the Google Maps Coordinate web and mobile apps.

Employees in the field download the mobile app to their phone and then can:
  • Share real-time location. Google Maps Coordinate is built on Google’s mapping and geolocation infrastructure so the app will send an accurate location, even if you’re indoors (Google Maps Coordinate integrates with Google Indoor Maps).
  • Record data. Mobile teams often need to collect information while out in the field. Google Maps Coordinate allows the admin to customize the fields that the mobile team needs to capture and collect – from measurements to client contact details – directly in the app.

Meanwhile, a designated dispatcher back in the office can:
  • Create teams. Add team members to a Google Maps Coordinate team and see their locations in the Google Maps Coordinate web and mobile app. For example, our electric utility company might create a special team for home electricians and another for line repairers.
  • Manage jobs. Easily create jobs, precisely locate the job, assign the job to the nearest team member and notify them instantly. The next time there is a downed powerline, the operator at the utility company will have no problem identifying the closest team member and assigning them to investigate the issue.
  • View past jobs and locations. Get the hard data you need to make strong business decisions. With Google Maps Coordinate, businesses can easily visualize the locations of all their jobs and teams, including current and past jobs. Businesses can assess where they should be assigning or hiring more workers and how to optimally place their teams.



Any business can sign up for Google Maps Coordinate. Google Maps Coordinate is built to work seamlessly with the entire Google Enterprise Maps and Earth experience, and it comes with an API that can integrate with any of your existing systems.

Contact our sales team or a Google Enterprise Maps and Earth reseller if you’re interested in signing up for Google Maps Coordinate. Share your Google Maps Coordinate use cases and feedback on our Enterprise Google+ page.

1 IDC, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast, Doc #232073, December 2011
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/06/introducing-google-maps-coordinate.html

[G] Pinteresting videos are coming your way from YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Pinteresting videos are coming your way from YouTube

We love sharing videos on Google+, Facebook and Twitter as much as you do, so today we’re kicking off our next sharing adventure—YouTube’s on Pinterest.



Since Pinterest introduced video pins, we’ve been ever so eager to join the party. We’ve brought together a Pinterest dream team at YouTube to share videos we hope you’ll find particularly useful, informative and inspiring—with a goal that every video we share will “wow” you.



Here are a few Pinterest boards from us:


  • Pinspiration - Inspiring and motivating videos to make your world a little more awesome

  • Make It Yourself - To help you get crafty

  • Life 101 - Cut corners in your hectic schedule with quick lifehacking tips & tricks

  • The Beauty Corner - Find advice for novice to pro style & beauty gurus

  • NomNomNom - Discover 15-minute meals to gourmets eats and baking tutorials

  • Work It Out - Your personal fitness video center


We’ve got LOTS more, too—so you can also just follow all of our Pinterest boards to get all our goodies.







Danielle Paquette, social media manager, recently pinned “Where the Hell is Matt? 2012


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/8JuK_-mC0Ak/pinteresting-videos-are-coming-your-way.html

[G] When the economy gets tough, the tough get innovative

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: When the economy gets tough, the tough get innovative

Posted by Carmella Sabaugh, Register of Deeds, Macomb County Clerk

Editors note: In March 2011, we announced the Macomb County Circuit Court and Clerk/Register of Deeds have gone Google. Almost a year later, we’re honored to recognize Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh as one of our Government Transformers.

Like others hit hard by the recession, the Macomb County Clerk’s office in Michigan was forced to make tough decisions. But when faced with setbacks, we respond boldly. To borrow Theodore Roosevelt’s words, “We refuse to be among those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat.” Macomb County is now one of only 67 counties nationwide to earn a AAA bond rating from Standard & Poor’s. 'AAA' is the highest issuer credit rating assigned by Standard & Poor's, recognizing that a county has extremely strong capacity to meet its financial commitments.

One way we innovate is to use Google Apps for Government to improve service and save money. In the past it could be disruptive for court clerks to receive phone calls while court was in session since they’d be helping judges work through their dockets. But some matters require immediate attention. Google Chat makes it easy for court clerks to instantly get information without disrupting the docket flow, and it reduces incoming phone calls and walk-up requests. Clerks can work from any courtroom or back office without requiring a complicated workstation setup or changes.

The circuit court clerk also uses a Google spreadsheet to maintain a dashboard for the office. Everyday the attendance data of all job duties gets automatically populated and color coded with a progress chart. This allows the chief court clerk to allocate staff efficiently to keep the office running smoothly and efficiently. The clerk’s office uses Google Docs to create county commission meetings minutes which allows real-time collaboration among the commissioners. The public can watch it as it’s being created and learn about voting results right away.

Our staff is able to improve citizen services with the latest technology tools. We are a government of the people by the people and for the people. We are the Macomb County Clerk’s office. And we’ve gone Google.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/06/when-economy-gets-tough-tough-get.html

[G] AdWords’ new look rolling out globally

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Inside AdWords: AdWords’ new look rolling out globally

Since we showed you a preview of AdWords’ new look, we’ve been reviewing feedback and working to make even more improvements. Over the next several days, we’ll begin rolling out the new design to all AdWords accounts.

The new look simplifies the interface with newly designed menus, tabs, navigation, and buttons so that the important things -- such as your data -- stand out. The latest web technologies have been used to make the interface more visually appealing and zippy, while keeping the features where you are accustomed to finding them.



If you’re curious about specific design choices, or how we think about UX (user experience) at Google more generally, please join me for a live discussion and Q&A on Thursday, June 21st at 9:30am PST/12:30pm EST. To tune into this Hangout On Air:

  1. Visit the Google Ads +Page at 9:30am PST/12:30pm EST Thursday June 21st.
  2. Look for the stream post (see image below for what it will look like), and click to tune in. Be sure you’re signed into Google+!


We aim to deliver a simpler, more beautiful experience across all Google products. I hope you’ll find the experience using AdWords easier and more enjoyable, too. I’m looking forward to hearing your comments and questions soon!

Posted by Greg Rosenberg and the AdWords User Experience Team
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/06/adwords-new-look-rolling-out-globally.html

[G] The Endangered Languages Project: Supporting language preservation through technology and collaboration

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Official Google Blog: The Endangered Languages Project: Supporting language preservation through technology and collaboration

The Miami-Illinois language was considered by some to be extinct. Once spoken by Native American communities throughout what’s now the American Midwest, its last fluent speakers died in the 1960s. Decades later, Daryl Baldwin, a citizen of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, began teaching himself the language from historical manuscripts and now works with the Miami University in Ohio to continue the work of revitalizing the language, publishing stories, audio files and other educational materials. Miami children are once again learning the language and—even more inspiring—teaching it to each other.

Daryl’s work is just one example of the efforts being made to preserve and strengthen languages that are on the brink of disappearing. Today we’re introducing something we hope will help: the Endangered Languages Project, a website for people to find and share the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about endangered languages. Documenting the 3,000+ languages that are on the verge of extinction (about half of all languages in the world) is an important step in preserving cultural diversity, honoring the knowledge of our elders and empowering our youth. Technology can strengthen these efforts by helping people create high-quality recordings of their elders (often the last speakers of a language), connecting diaspora communities through social media and facilitating language learning.



The Endangered Languages Project, backed by a new coalition, the Alliance for Linguistic Diversity, gives those interested in preserving languages a place to store and access research, share advice and build collaborations. People can share their knowledge and research directly through the site and help keep the content up-to-date. A diverse group of collaborators have already begun to contribute content ranging from 18th-century manuscripts to modern teaching tools like video and audio language samples and knowledge-sharing articles. Members of the Advisory Committee have also provided guidance, helping shape the site and ensure that it addresses the interests and needs of language communities.

Google has played a role in the development and launch of this project, but the long-term goal is for true experts in the field of language preservation to take the lead. As such, in a few months we’ll officially be handing over the reins to the First Peoples' Cultural Council (FPCC) and The Institute for Language Information and Technology (The LINGUIST List) at Eastern Michigan University. FPCC will take on the role of Advisory Committee Chair, leading outreach and strategy for the project. The LINGUIST List will become the Technical Lead. Both organizations will work in coordination with the Advisory Committee.

As part of this project, research about the world’s most threatened languages is being shared by the Catalogue of Endangered Languages (ELCat), led by teams at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and Eastern Michigan University, with funding provided by the National Science Foundation. Work on ELCat has only just begun, and we’re sharing it through our site so that feedback from language communities and scholars can be incorporated to update our knowledge about the world’s most at-risk languages.

Building upon other efforts to preserve and promote culture online, Google.org has seeded this project’s development. We invite interested organizations to join the effort. By bridging independent efforts from around the world we hope to make an important advancement in confronting language endangerment. This project’s future will be decided by those inspired to join this collaborative effort for language preservation. We hope you’ll join us.

Posted by Clara Rivera Rodriguez and Jason Rissman, Project Managers, The Endangered Languages Project
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/endangered-languages-project-supporting.html

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

[G] Adjust your wardrobe for summer with YouTube style tips

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YouTube Blog: Adjust your wardrobe for summer with YouTube style tips

The first day of summer is officially here in the U.S. As the temperature heats up, so do searches for what you can wear to the office to keep cool while not showing too much skin. Web search interest for “summer business casual” is skyrocketing in the U.S., and YouTube search interest for “summer fashion” in 2012 has nearly quadrupled since 2008.



Luckily, YouTube creators have answers to this pressing style challenge. Check out great tips on summer style and how to dress for the office without overheating:







And gentleman, worried about trying to rock a suit in this heat? Don’t fear - there are great summer style tips for you too:







Welcome to summer! If you’re in a part of the world where July and August bring cold weather, there are plenty of tips for how to dress for cooler temperatures too.



Jessica Mason, communications associate, recently watched “DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - Summertime.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/2RIitvHSO8M/adjust-your-wardrobe-for-summer-with.html

[G] Five Years of Summer Love in Chicago

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Google Open Source Blog: Five Years of Summer Love in Chicago



Google Summer of Code is in full swing and, besides all the coding, participants are also organizing meetups all over the world. These meetups allow Google Summer of Code students and mentors to meet in person and talk about the awesome contributions they will be making to open source projects over the summer.






Nathaniel Manista welcomes Chicago-area students to Google’s Chicago offices




One of the longest-running meetups is the one held each spring in Chicago. This meetup started in 2008 after five University of Chicago students were accepted to Google Summer of Code. The university’s ACM Student Chapter approached Google’s Chicago office about hosting a meetup for them, which was attended by around 30 students.



The following year, we opened up the event to students in all of Chicago’s major universities and since then, the Chicago meetup has been getting bigger and bigger each year. A few weeks ago, we held the fifth annual Chicago-area meetup and we had more than 160 students sign up for it!



As usual, the meetup revolved around a series of lightning talks delivered by accepted Google Summer of Code students and by Google engineers. Google Chicago hosts the event, providing dinner for all attendees. The dinner’s theme seems to change every year and, as a Spaniard, I was thrilled to walk into Google Chicago’s conference room this year to find big trays of paella, croquetas, and flan waiting for me.






Jacob Walker shares details on his upcoming summer work for Shogun




This year, four of the Google Summer of Code students that attended the meetup gave lightning talks on their upcoming summer work:


We also had a chance to hear from several Google engineers who shared some interesting (and often amusing) perspectives on various topics:


  • Robin Anil, a former Google Summer of Code student himself, told us about doing machine learning on a mammoth scale with Apache Mahout.

  • J.J. Lueck told us about the awesome stuff the Data Liberation Front is up to.

  • Nathaniel Manista, our gracious host for the evening, told us about inheritance, and why he no longer uses it.

  • Jeremy Wall told us about some of his favorite idioms in Go.





J.J. Lueck tells students about the Data Liberation Front




As usual, a great time was had by all. Many thanks to Google for continuing to host this event, and congratulations to all the Chicago-area students who will be participating in this year’s Google Summer of Code!





By Borja Sotomayor, Lecturer, University of Chicago and Google Summer of Code Organization Administrator (Globus Alliance, 2008-2011)



Photos by Ge Yang and Nathaniel Manista


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/PGlcoObHiiE/five-years-of-summer-love-in-chicago.html

[G] Get traffic conditions in 7 new countries and updates in 19 existing ones.

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Google Lat Long: Get traffic conditions in 7 new countries and updates in 19 existing ones.


Google Maps has expanded live traffic coverage to include 7 new regions in 7 new countries including Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Mexico, Peru, Romania and South Africa.



The traffic data allows you to see current traffic conditions, and also gives you estimated travel times.

Aside from these new additions, we have also improved and expanded our coverage to more roads in 19 countries and regions, where traffic data is already available; the countries include: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and the UK.


A quick glance at our traffic coverage around the globe

For our new users, you can check traffic conditions by visiting maps.google.com and clicking on the traffic layer in the widget on the upper right-hand side of the map. This useful traffic information is also available on Google Maps for Mobile devices and Google Maps Navigation.

If the roads you are traveling do not yet show traffic information, don’t despair. You can help your fellow drivers and improve traffic data by using Google Navigation or Google Maps for Mobile while traveling.

We hope the traffic feature in Google Maps will help more users around the globe to save time and patience by planning their trips accordingly.

Posted by Matthias Ernst, Software Engineer, Google Maps
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/06/get-traffic-conditions-in-7-new.html

[G] Street View says "Aloha" from Hawaii

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Google Lat Long: Street View says "Aloha" from Hawaii

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

Before joining Google, I lived in Hawaii for several years. Now, one look at a photo of palm trees swaying in front of an impossibly blue-green ocean transports me back to the islands—relaxing on the beach and listening to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. If one photo can do that for you, how would you feel if you had access to millions of them?


View Larger Map
The Kohala coast on the Big Island of Hawaii


Our newly expanded Street View coverage of Hawaii’s six major islands enables you to take a virtual vacation to paradise. Explore panoramic imagery of local beach parks, tropical rainforests, volcanic lava fields, oceanfront resorts and more. Can you feel the ocean breeze yet? Now let's do some digital island-hopping...

Oahu
We begin our island adventure on Oahu, home to the capital city of Honolulu and a number of popular destinations. This island has something for everyone, from the top surfing locations of Waikiki Beach and Waimea Bay, to the USS Arizona Memorial Museum and Iolani Palace for history buffs, to the home of the NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium. Fans of the TV shows “Lost” and “Hawaii Five-0” or movies like “Jurassic Park” will love looking around for filming locations at Kualoa Ranch.


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Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu


Maui
Hopping over to Maui, we can sunbathe at oceanfront resorts in Ka’anapali, hit the links on challenging golf courses in Kapalua and learn the hula at the famous Old Lahaina Luau. One of my favorite memories of Maui is driving along the scenic “Road to Hana” with my friends, an experience I can now relive with Street View.


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The “Road to Hana” on the island of Maui


Big Island
We now fly over to the island of Hawaii, also known as the Big Island, where we visit one of the most active volcanoes in the world at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. We check out the scene in the funky seaside town of Kailua-Kona, explore tropical gardens in Hilo, and climb above the clouds on Mauna Kea. We end our Big Island sojourn with a little oceanside relaxation at the luxurious resorts in Waikaloa, Kamuela or Hualalai.


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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island


Molokai
Over on Molokai, people enjoy the quiet life. With no buildings taller than a coconut tree and not a traffic light to be seen, miles of untouched shorelines and excellent outdoor activities will help you leave the modern world behind.


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The untouched coastlines of Molokai


Kauai
Now let’s jump to the incomparable Kauai, with its jaw-dropping landscapes around every turn. Whether you’re staying in Poipu or Hanalei, be sure to visit Waimea Canyon, which Mark Twain called the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific”. You might also enjoy a leisurely stroll along the coast at Lydgate State Park.


View Larger Map
Waimea Canyon on the island of Kauai


Lanai
Our virtual tour of Hawaii comes to an end on the romantic, tiny island of Lanai, the “pineapple island.” This island has so many memories for me, from the day I proposed to my wife (a few hundred feet from here) to the morning we spent swimming with dolphins in Hulopoe Bay. I can’t wait to go back again!


View Larger Map
An upcountry retreat on the romantic island of Lanai.


We hope this little taste of Hawaii will inspire you to use Street View the next time you're planning a vacation—whether you’re taking a trip around the block, across the world or just down memory lane. Check out a more complete list of Street View’s off-the-road locations in Hawaii here or visit our Scenic Hawaii collection in the Street View gallery.


Street View car at Kualoa Ranch on the windward coast of Oahu.


Aloha!

Posted by Evan Rapoport, Product Manager, Street View
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/06/street-view-says-aloha-from-hawaii.html

[G] School of Rock tops the charts with Google Apps for Business and Chromebooks

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: School of Rock tops the charts with Google Apps for Business and Chromebooks

Posted by Evan Trent, Vice President of Digital Strategy and Technology, School of Rock

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Evan Trent, Vice President of Digital Strategy and Technology at School of Rock, a national music program headquartered in Burr Ridge, Illinois. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.



For more than a decade, School of Rock has been inspiring kids to rock on stage and in life. We offer music lessons on guitar, bass, piano, vocals and drums in a performance-based environment at over 90 company-owned and franchised schools in the U.S. and Mexico. Our goal is to inspire our students to learn, motivate them to excel, and, as a result, help them to gain confidence.

We’ve been growing rapidly in recent years, primarily been through franchising. We ran Microsoft® Exchange for years, but as the number of franchise schools continued to grow, we found it more and more difficult to offer a simple start-up process and manage and deliver remote support. We needed to move to a web-based solution that didn’t require multiple installations, software updates, and desktop support. After researching a few different options, we found Google Apps for Business had the tools we needed to rock on. We also found that many of our franchisees were already big fans of Google products and were using them outside of School of Rock.

We began the transition to Google Apps in January 2012 through our implementation partner, Cloud Sherpas. The migration was straightforward, and Cloud Sherpas offered training sessions for our employees and franchise partners to ensure a seamless transition. Google Apps completely transformed how we work with our franchisees and how each location works together as a team. Sharing information with students, faculty and parents has become much easier with Google Docs and Google Groups. We also find Google’s mobile-friendly approach in tune with our younger and more mobile employees.

Since we struck an amazing chord with Google Apps, we also decided to rethink our PC-based culture. We no longer wanted to deal with the administrative overhead and the security and reliability issues that came with traditional PCs. So in March, we deployed Google Chromebooks to about one quarter of our locations, and we’ve been rolling them out to increasingly more schools. We use them for just about everything, from accounting to video conferencing to putting on shows. The Chromebooks are extremely fast, require zero support, are easy to manage across multiple remote locations, and they cost only a few hundred dollars each. They’ve also been incredibly helpful for those of us who travel often since the battery life often lasts much longer than our previous PCs and they have built-in 3G access.

Google Apps for Business and Chromebooks have greatly reduced the time, money and energy our franchisees need to invest in technology, and that’s music to our ears.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/06/school-of-rock-tops-charts-with-google.html

[G] Watch Kenny Chesney live today on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Watch Kenny Chesney live today on YouTube

He may give you the impression he’s a beach bum with “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problem” on constant repeat in his truck, but country music star Kenny Chesney is actually one of the hardest-working men in show business. With 15 albums under his belt and a swath of awards so wide they’d span the Mississippi, this Tennessee boy has become one of country music’s most recognizable stars.



Today at 5:30pm PT you’ll get a chance to see just how hard working Chesney is when he electrifies New Jersey’s Wildwood Beach with a live American Express UNSTAGED performance, directed by Jonathan Demme and presented in partnership with YouTube and VEVO. Tune into youtube.com/KennyChesneyVEVO to watch; the show will last for 75 minutes, followed by an immediate rebroadcast.







Kenny Chesney is a true self-made talent in an era when many stars are often heavily coached and crafted. He started playing music in college, and though he graduated with a degree in advertising, he immediately moved to Nashville to start plying his trade. He landed a weekly gig there, honing his skills in the small bar scene, and over time he began to attract label attention. Studio execs were impressed with a singer-songwriter who’d developed his considerable skills outside the Music City circuit, and within a few years Chesney was commanding the charts with songs like “She’s Got It All” and “You Had Me From Hello.”







If director Jonathan Demme seems an unlikely choice to direct a Kenny Chesney concert, he is -- and he’s not. The director best known for his Academy Award-winning work on Silence of the Lambs hasn’t just dabbled in music: he directed The Talking Heads’ seminal 1984 concert film Stop Making Sense, as well as the 2006 Neil Young concert film Heart of Gold. He’s even directed music videos for New Order and Bruce Springsteen, among others.







If you miss today's live show, don't worry: the show will be rebroadcast on Chesney’s channel immediately following the webcast.



Sarah Bardeen, music community manager, recently watched “Kenny Chesney - She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/Syr76MZrw2w/watch-kenny-chesney-live-today-on.html