Friday, September 14, 2012

[G] The Benefits & Importance of Compatibility

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Official Android Blog: The Benefits & Importance of Compatibility

We built Android to be an open source mobile platform freely available to anyone wishing to use it. In 2008, Android was released under the Apache open source license and we continue to develop and innovate the platform under the same open source license -- it is available to everyone at: http://source.android.com. This openness allows device manufacturers to customize Android and enable new user experiences, driving innovation and consumer choice.

As the lead developer and shepherd of the open platform, we realize that we have a responsibility to app developers -- those who invested in the platform by adopting it and building applications specifically for Android. These developers each contribute to making the platform better -- because when developers support a platform with their applications, the platform becomes better and more attractive to consumers. As more developers build great apps for Android, more consumers are likely to buy Android devices because of the availability of great software content (app titles like Fruit Ninja or Google Maps). As more delighted consumers adopt Android phones and tablets, it creates a larger audience for app developers to sell more apps. The result is a strategy that is good for developers (they sell more apps), good for device manufacturers (they sell more devices) and good for consumers (they get more features and innovation).

In biological terms, this is sometimes referred to as an ecosystem. In economic terms, this is known as a virtuous cycle -- a set of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop. Each iteration of the cycle positively reinforces the previous one. These cycles will continue in the direction of their momentum until an external factor intervenes and breaks the cycle.

When we first contemplated Android and formed the Open Handset Alliance, we wanted to create an open virtuous cycle where all members of the ecosystem would benefit. We thought hard about what types of external factors could intervene to weaken the ecosystem as a whole. One important external factor we knew could do this was incompatibilities between implementations of Android. Let me explain:

Imagine a hypothetical situation where the platform on each phone sold was just a little bit different. Different enough where Google Maps would run normally on one phone but run terribly slow on another. Let's say, for sake of example, that Android implemented an API that put the phone to sleep for a fraction of a second to conserve battery life when nothing was moving on the screen. The API prototype for such a function might look like SystemClock.sleep(millis) where the parameter "millis" is the number of milliseconds to put the device to sleep for.

If one phone manufacturer implemented SystemClock.sleep() incorrectly, and interpreted the parameter as Seconds instead of Milliseconds, the phone would be put to sleep a thousand times longer than intended! This manufacturer’s phone would have a terrible time running Google Maps. If apps don’t run well across devices due to incompatibilities, consumers would leave the ecosystem, followed by developers. The end of the virtuous cycle.

We have never believed in a “one size fits all” strategy, so we found a way to enable differentiation for device manufactures while protecting developers and consumers from incompatibilities by offering a free "compatibility test suite" (CTS). CTS is a set of software tools that tests and exercises the platform to make sure that (for example) SystemClock.sleep(millis) actually puts the device to sleep for only milliseconds. Like Android, the test suite is freely available to everyone under the Apache open source license: http://source.android.com/compatibility/cts-intro.html 

While Android remains free for anyone to use as they would like, only Android compatible devices benefit from the full Android ecosystem. By joining the Open Handset Alliance, each member contributes to and builds one Android platform -- not a bunch of incompatible versions. We’re grateful to the over 85 Open Handset Alliance members who have helped us build the Android ecosystem and continue to drive innovation at an incredible pace. Thanks to their support the Android ecosystem now has over 500 million Android-compatible devices and counting!

Posted by Andy Rubin, Senior Vice President of Mobile and Digital Content
URL: http://officialandroid.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-benefits-importance-of-compatibility.html

[G] Keeping AdWords Policies Current

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Inside AdWords: Keeping AdWords Policies Current

Recently, we’ve been explaining how our systems and policies stop unwanted ads from showing on Google and elsewhere. One part of these efforts is our constant review of our policies for advertisers, to make sure they keep up with evolving practices on the web that can harm users’ experiences.

We regularly update our AdWords policies, clarify what they mean, and step up their enforcement where needed to ensure the best experience for our users and business partners. This year, we’ve already rolled out more than 30 updates to our policies, and today we’re updating our AdWords policies on Software Principles, Arbitrage, Advertiser Claims, and Relevance, Clarity and Accuracy. We’re announcing these updates now to enable advertisers to review their accounts and ensure that they’re in compliance; they’ll come into effect on October 15.

Details of these updates can be found here, along with more information for advertisers about how they can come into compliance with our policies. Here’s a quick overview:
  • We've added several specific examples of the kinds of advertiser behavior typically associated with arbitrage (sites that are designed solely or predominantly to show ads).
  • We've made it even clearer how advertisers must be fully transparent in their ads when describing the experiences on their landing pages.
  • We've beefed up our rules about the use of keyword insertion in ads.
  • We've reworked our AdWords policy governing Software Principles to ensure that users are given important information before downloading software on their computers and that the software is not harmful or hard-to-uninstall.
The web and its ecosystem of advertisers, publishers, and users continue to evolve rapidly. Over time, practices develop that can lead to a negative experience for users. In addition, some actors become more sophisticated in their ability to defeat the intent of our policies. Today’s changes make the guidance clearer for everyone and tighten the rules and enforcement needed to keep the online advertising ecosystem clear, consistent, and useful for consumers. The bottom line is that these revised policies and increased enforcement will help provide everyone with a safer, more trustworthy experience online.

Posted by Mansi Goel, Global Advertising Policy Lead
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/09/keeping-adwords-policies-current.html

[G] 500 Chrome Experiments and counting...

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Google Chrome Blog: 500 Chrome Experiments and counting...

The web is capable of amazing things and is becoming more capable all the time. To show some of the potential of a better web, we launched ChromeExperiments.com in March 2009 with 19 inspiring examples by the creative coding community of what’s possible when combining the latest web technologies with a little code and imagination. Some of those original experiments, like Google Gravity and Ball Pool, are still popular today. But we’re pleased to say that they’ve since been joined by hundreds of other contributions from around that world that have pushed the web even further.

Today marks our 500th experiment, and in celebration, we created Experiment 500 as a thank you note to everyone who submitted their work to the site. It’s an array of interactive particles, each one of them corresponding to a different submission. You can sort them by date or by category.

Celebrating 500 Chrome Experiments

As you browse the experiments, you’ll notice that Chrome Experiments has evolved along with the web in the last 3.5 years. After Google Chrome added support for WebGL, for example, we started seeing beautiful 3D graphics experiments like Evan Wallace’s WebGL Water Simulation and HelloEnjoy’s Lights. When Web Audio came out, we received experiments that let users compose music together, such as Brandon Lockaby’s Multiplayer Piano and Dinahmoe’s Plink. This summer, with the release of Chrome for Android and iOS, we also announced a new gallery of mobile experiments, with submissions including AlteredQualia’s Multitouch Toy and Dominic Szablewski’s X-Type. Lately, we’ve seen real-time coding experiments become popular, like Mr.doob’s Code Editor.

It’s been a blast, and we can’t wait to see what’s next. If you create a HTML5 / JavaScript experiment that breaks new ground on the web, or is just pure fun to play with, please don’t hesitate to submit it. We can’t accept them all, but we’d love to see what you’ve done.

See you at number 1000.

Posted by Aaron Koblin and Valdean Klump, Creative Lab
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2012/09/500-chrome-experiments.html

[G] Social that Adds Up: Performance and Measurement

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Google Analytics Blog: Social that Adds Up: Performance and Measurement

Join us for a webinar Tuesday, September 18th 11am PT, in partnership with Hootsuite, to learn how we can make better decisions based on performance metrics of social networks using Google Analytics social reports. Register today, it’s open to everyone! 











Adam Singer, the Product Marketing Manager for Google Analytics, will go beyond the current social metrics of followers, +1’s, likes and others, to discuss the true impact your social media is making on your brand’s bottom line. We often are asked about how businesses can measure their social media and how they can capture the value they create for their consumers. Many of our current metrics allow us to measure the reach of our message, but not necessarily the ROI. What impact does social have on a company’s performance? Learn how to connect visits to your social pages all the way through to a sale or conversion on your website. It’s time to prove the value of social media with the right measurement metrics.





You’ll also learn how social media can actually influence other media performance and drive conversions. When you verify your Google+ Page, Google may show more endorsements for your business from your customers and supporters within the search results page. This can raise the social awareness of your business and increase its relevance. Because 77% of US consumers trust recommendations from their social media connections more than any other media source, seeing a +1, can help them make a purchase decision. On average, search ads with annotations have a 5-10% uplift in clickthrough rate. Some of our advertisers have seen even higher uplifts, H&M achieved 22% uplift, Cadbury achieved 17% uplift and Laterooms.com achieved a 9% uplift in clickthrough rates on their search ads.









Start measuring the value you’re creating through your social media campaigns! 





Sources: Google Research 2012; Google internal data





Posted by the Google Analytics team






URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/e94UgHzDmEU/social-webinar-hootsuite.html

[G] Social Fridays: Gain visibility by verifying your Google+ page

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Inside AdSense: Social Fridays: Gain visibility by verifying your Google+ page


Every Friday, we’re posting Google+ tips to help publishers make the most of all of the features and resources available. Be sure to check back each week for the latest in our educational Social Fridays series!



Now that you’re regularly posting content to your Google+ page and using features like Hangouts, we’ll move on to the importance of verifying your +page.


What does it mean to verify a +page?




Verifying your +page confirms that the +page actually belongs to you. Once your +page is verified, it’ll appear with a checkmark designed to help our users find what they’re looking for.





Why should I verify my +page?



Not only does verification help users confirm the authenticity of your +page, but it also brings you a major benefit only available to verified +pages. Verified +pages that are popular and engaging may appear on the right side of relevant Google.com search results, for users who are logged in. This is designed to help users find the relevant content they’re looking for, and may increase the visibility of relevant +pages. Please keep in mind that to be eligible, the +page also needs to be active with regularly-updated content.







How do I verify my +page?



Follow these three steps:


  1. Link your +page to your website: Fill out the ‘About’ section of your Google+ page, being sure to enter your site’s top-level URL.

  2. Link your website to your +page: Add a Google+ badge or code snippet to your site, which lets us know that the site is associated with your +page. We recommend using the Google+ badge, as it can help you attract additional followers -- for top publishers, adding the Google+ badge helped drive a 38% increase in followers. You can select the size of the +badge for your pages, and with some of the larger sizes, users will be able to add your +page to their circles without leaving your site.

  3. Complete our verification request form.


As you complete the verification process, be sure to continue posting regularly to your +page to engage with your users. To help attract followers to your pages we also recommend promoting your +page on other relevant sites or blogs you own, as well as other social destinations. You can also place an author tag on your online materials, which means your authorized photo and name appear next to search results for content you’ve created.



Enjoy your weekend, and we’ll see you back here next Friday when we’ll show you a feature that allows you to track how your content spreads on Google+.



Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team






URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tuAm/~3/RBM5GcWZ5aY/social-fridays-gain-visibility-by_14.html

[G] Google Shopping: momentum and merchant success

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Inside AdWords: Google Shopping: momentum and merchant success

Originally posted on the Google Commerce blog

In May, we announced Google Shopping, a new way for people to find and research products, and discover where to buy those products online or nearby. Google Shopping helps people turn their shopping intentions into actions quickly and easily, and then connect directly with merchants to make purchases.  

Progress, improvements and easier onboarding 
We've been pleased by the rapid adoption of Google Shopping in the retail community; tens of thousands of merchants, including many marketplaces, have come on board and are participating in Google Shopping via the new model, based on Product Listing Ads (PLAs). Overall, this represents inventory from over one hundred thousand sellers. 

As the transition to the new model continues, we’ve made changes that will make it easier for merchants to participate in and get more out of Google Shopping. We outlined several of these last month and are pleased to share several more: 
 
  • Google Trusted Stores annotations are appearing on product pages within Google Shopping, providing participating merchants with greater ability to attract new customers and helping shoppers to make more informed shopping decisions.
  • For merchants that are not familiar with Adwords, we have created a simplified sign-up flow in Merchant Center to make participation easier.
  • AdWords Editor updates are reducing the amount of time it takes to optimize a PLA campaign -- from hours to minutes, in many cases.
  • Campaign Tracking URL templates have decreased the number of steps required to set up tracking in AdWords and are making the process easier for merchants.
     
     Google Trusted Stores annotations are now appearing on Google Shopping
    Of course, it’s not too late for merchants to get on board and optimize their campaigns prior to the upcoming holiday shopping season. We’ve recorded a series of Hangouts on Air to help small and mid-sized businesses transition to Google Shopping, and have made some Google Shopping best practices available here.  


    Some Google Shopping Superstars, and the Three C’s 
    We’ve seen some early success stories from a variety of retailers, demonstrating how Google Shopping has helped them to connect with consumers, drive clicks to their websites and improve conversion rates. Highlights from some mid-sized merchants are listed below; you can find the full text of all these success stories following each description.
     
    • Adorama, one of America’s largest photo retailers and mail-order suppliers, saw their click-through rate (CTR) jump by 176 percent and their conversion rate rise by 100 percent in June 2012, as compared to a year earlier; a similar year-over increase also occurred in July 2012. The full success story can be found here.
    • Campmor, a recreational equipment retailer, saw sales increase 10x between January 1 and the present, using PLAs and Google Shopping. The full success story can be found here.
    • Empire Covers, an online retailer offering protective covering for cars, trucks, boats, RVs, and motorcycles, along with accessories for pet travel and outdoor living, saw their cost-per-acquisition (CPA) decline by 36 percent between April and August 2012. Additionally, CPCs dropped by 11 percent from July to August 2012. The full success story text can be found here, and a video with more details here.
    • Plow & Hearth, a leading retailer of products for the home, hearth, yard, and garden that includes all of its products for all of its brands in PLAs on Google Shopping, saw a number of dramatic results: unique site visits increased by 129 percent, pages per visit increased by 6.3 percent and average visit duration increased by 14.7 percent, while their bounce rate dropped by 9.8 percent. The full success story can be found here.
    • ToolKing.com, an Internet Retailer 500 company offering tools, hardware, home-improvement items, outdoor goods, and more across multiple e-commerce channels, lists all its products in Google Shopping via PLAs. Since signing up for PLAs, ToolKing.com’s traffic and conversion rates have risen by more than 50 percent, average order value is up by nearly 15 percent and the sale of thousands of items it once considered “dead” have been reinvigorated. The full success story text can be found here and you can watch a video with more details here.
    • TravelSmith Outfitters, an outfitting resource for savvy travelers, used the expertise of Mercent to implement PLAs. Since then, product sales originating from PLAs and Google Shopping have increased by 200 percent. They have also increased consumer traffic by approximately 10 percent and have seen orders go up by 35 percent, with more than a 26 percent increase in sales conversions. The full success story can be found here.
     
    There’s more to come! 
    We look forward to sharing more with you over the coming months -- from new merchant tools that provide more control and flexibility, to new features that will make holiday shopping easier and more fun for consumers. We’re also in the process of planning our 2013 roll-out of Google Shopping in Europe, Asia and Latin America. We’ll have more to share in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

    Posted by Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Google Shopping
    URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/09/google-shopping-momentum-and-merchant.html

    [G] A new way of doing things on campus

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    Official Google Blog: A new way of doing things on campus

    Josh remembers the old days at college, when working on a group project meant trekking through the snow (uphill both ways, of course) to meet with his team in the library, followed by endless rounds of back-and-forth revisions (in red pen, no doubt). And by old days, he means last year. As Josh—a rising senior at Princeton University—heads back to campus this fall, he and his classmates will be getting a whole new experience with Google Apps for Education.

    Princeton is just one of the many colleges and universities now using Google Apps. In fact, seven of the eight Ivy League universities and 72 of this year’s top 100 U.S. Universities (as determined by 2013 U.S. News and World Report’s ranking) have gone Google, too.

    We’re also welcoming 14 other new schools to the Google Apps for Education family, just in time for back-to-school:
    • Bates College
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Georgetown University
    • Princeton University
    • Rice University
    • Smith College
    • Stony Brook University
    • University of California, Berkeley
    • University of Colorado, Boulder
    • University of Dayton
    • University of Mississippi
    • University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences
    • Vassar College
    • Virginia Tech
    By going Google, students and teachers have access to a whole new way of doing things: They can better collaborate in and out of the classroom; office hours can be held via hangouts; e-portfolios can be created and maintained in a Google Site; professors can give real-time feedback in a Google document (no red pen necessary); and group projects can take place across continents instead of side-by-side in a library.

    And this is just the beginning. As more schools go Google, we continue to be amazed by the creative ways students and teachers are using technology to work better together, and we’re looking forward to the surprises in store this school year.


    Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps for Education

    (Cross-posted on the Google Enterprise Blog.)
    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-new-way-of-doing-things-on-campus.html

    [G] Google Maps shows how we spent summer 2012

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    Official Google Blog: Google Maps shows how we spent summer 2012

    In the blink of an eye, summer is coming to an end. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was planning out all my summer activities as I eagerly awaited the start of long, sunny days and warm nights.

    Before we approach the official end of summer on September 21, our Google Maps team thought it’d be fun to see how those of us in the Northern Hemisphere have spent the dog days. To do this, we reviewed the summer search activity on maps.google.com in several countries between the end of May and the beginning of September. Within each country, a look at some of the top-rising searches and the often-searched landmarks on Google Maps gives us a sense of how people around the world spent their summers.

    We’re honored that people rely on the comprehensive and accurate imagery in Google Maps to research, plan, preview and digitally experience distant as well as local destinations across the globe. Take a look and click through for a larger image:


    North Americans sought out the best local beaches to help cool off from the summer heat. In comparison, many more people from Spain, Italy and France searched for community swimming pools. In cooler areas of the U.K. the rising Google Maps searches included many indoor activities such as squash, bars and going to the gym. And, as expected, travel was a clear choice for the summer, as indicated by a surge in searches for lodging in almost every region.

    Many popular destination searches were located outdoors. National parks and Hawaiian islands were the most popular searches in the U.S., while local parks, zoos, gardens and playgrounds topped Canada’s and Europe’s list. Major landmarks such as the Empire State Building in New York City, Niagara Falls in Canada, the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Taj Mahal in India also topped the list of often-searched places in Google Maps. And of course, with the Summer Games drawing in international audiences, Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Stadium were two of the most searched for locations throughout the U.K. this summer.

    Check out the destinations that captured people’s attention this summer and see how your interests compared to others around the world. We hope you enjoy this look back to remember the fun places we all went with Google Maps this summer, and we can’t wait to help you find your next adventure!

    Posted by Manik Gupta, Sr. Product Manager, Google Maps

    (Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)
    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/google-maps-shows-how-we-spent-summer.html

    Thursday, September 13, 2012

    [G] Enhanced sitelinks rolling out globally

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    Inside AdWords: Enhanced sitelinks rolling out globally

    In February, we announced enhanced sitelinks on desktop search ads. We display enhanced sitelinks by combining multiple sitelinks and closely related search ads into a larger nested format.


    Early testing showed that enhanced sitelinks could make ads that appear above the organic search results even more useful. And they could lead to significantly higher clickthrough rates for an advertiser than regular 2-line and 3-line sitelinks.

    Over the last several months, we’ve continued to improve the ad systems for creating enhanced sitelinks and determining when they’re most useful. Now, we’ve begun to roll them out in all countries where AdWords is available.

    Preparing your campaigns
    You can follow these tips to prepare your campaign to show enhanced sitelinks.
    1. Enhanced sitelinks can only show when your ad is above the organic search results. If a "top vs. other" report shows that your ads have few impressions in a top ad position, you can try increasing your Quality Score, increasing your max CPC bid, or a combination of the two.
    2. Add 6-10 sitelinks, each with a unique landing page.
    3. Have multiple active ads in your account with the same landing page URLs as your sitelinks. One ad to match each unique sitelink is the bare minimum.
    Like other forms of sitelinks, enhanced sitelinks are generated automatically so they might vary in appearance. And you might not see them show 100% of the time even when you’re eligible.

    Reporting and optimizing
    Click costs and reporting work the same with enhanced sitelinks as with other forms of sitelinks. If you decide to optimize your account around enhanced sitelinks, we suggest that you always evaluate your changes against multiple performance metrics (e.g., volume and cost effectiveness), not just whether CTR is increasing.

    Learn more and share
    For more details about sitelinks, please visit the AdWords Help Center. If you’re feeling social, you can ask questions and share tips at the AdWords Community.

    Posted by Pramod Adiddam, Senior AdWords Engineer
    URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/09/enhanced-sitelinks-rolling-out-globally.html

    [G] Translating Lao

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    Google Translate Blog: Translating Lao

    Today, we are adding Lao to Google Translate, making it our 65th supported language. We are excited to bring Lao content to users around the world, and to help Lao speakers access more of the world's web content in other languages.

    The Google Translate team is constantly working to improve automatic translations, both for languages that have been available for some time, and for currently unavailable languages whose translation quality have yet to meet our launch standards. This work includes collecting new data from which our system can learn and grow smarter; changing the algorithms behind Google Translate; and improving the grammaticality of translations. There are many languages we work on that are not there yet but that we hope to launch in the future.

    Support for Lao meets our launch standards, but translation quality is at the lower end compared to that of other languages we offer. We therefore designate Lao with an “alpha” status until we can make further improvements. While our Lao translations will be usable in some situations, like providing an English reader with the gist of an article written in Lao, they will fail in other situations where more precise translations are needed. We need your feedback in order to improve the quality of Lao translations.

    There are two ways in which you can directly help us improve the quality of Lao translation, or that of any other language:


    • Provide alternate translations by clicking on words or phrases of the translated sentence like in the example below:
         
    Your feedback is always greatly appreciated.  

    ຂອບໃຈຫຼາຍໆເດີ້ (Thank you very much).

    Posted by Minqi Jiang - Associate Product Manager for Google Translate
    URL: http://googletranslate.blogspot.com/2012/09/translating-lao_13.html

    [G] Finding the next generation of talented video educators with YouTube Next EDU Guru

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    YouTube Blog: Finding the next generation of talented video educators with YouTube Next EDU Guru

    Across the Northern Hemisphere, students and their teachers are heading back into the classroom for another year of reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. While what we learn has broadly stayed the same for years, how we learn is changing rapidly as technology advances. The rise of online educational videos is giving learners access to the world’s greatest thinkers and teachers, leveling the playing field for all.



    We believe that inspiring online educators can come from all walks of life, and we want to find the next generation of educational YouTube stars - people with a talent for explaining tough concepts in compelling ways, and the passion and drive to assemble a global classroom of students. YouTube educational channels like Khan Academy, CrashCourse, Veritasium, Numberphile, MinutePhysics and Ted-Ed have grown to millions of views and subscribers - could you be next?



    Today we’re teaming up with Khan Academy to start a search for the Next EDU Gurus--10 super talented and engaging content creators who we’ll support with training, promotion, and a $1000 B&H gift card for production equipment, so they can take the next step in their YouTube - and education - careers.



    Do you set historical events to music? Doodle your geometry? Sing your Shakespeare? We’re looking for content creators who create all kinds of curriculum-related videos, from grammar to geography, history to histograms. You can submit any style of video as long as it’s educational and family-friendly--just bear in mind that we’re looking for content creators who can take people on a journey through a topic, so if you could imagine making ten, twenty, or fifty more videos on the topic in the future, all the better!



    The 10 YouTube Next EDU Gurus will be selected by a panel from the YouTube Education team and the Khan Academy. One of these 10 will also be awarded the Khan Academy EDU Guru Prize. The program is open to creators in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand; it opens today and closes on October 1.



    Our new EDU Gurus will help meet the growing demand for great educational content on YouTube. In the last year, you all spent 50% more time learning from YouTube Education’s 700,000 videos, and the number of subscribers to YouTube’s educational channels more than doubled.

    Check out the YouTube.com homepage today for the latest videos from some of our most engaging educational creators. You can also see a playlist of their latest and greatest below.



     





    If you’re an educator, visit youtube.com/teachers to view more than 300 playlists curated by teachers to align with common education topics. And if you’re looking for inspiration about incorporating YouTube in your school curriculum, see how one school from Kent, WA uses YouTube to experience the world beyond the walls of their classroom.



     





    Angela Lin, YouTube Education team, recently watched “Capitalism and Socialism: Crash Course World History #33.


    URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/rtPzAi7TG5k/finding-next-generation-of-talented.html

    [G] A new way of doing things on campus

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    Official Google Enterprise Blog: A new way of doing things on campus

    Posted by Miriam Schneider, Google Apps for Education Team

    (Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog.)

    Josh remembers the old days at college, when working on a group project meant trekking through the snow (uphill both ways, of course) to meet with his team in the library, followed by endless rounds of back-and-forth revisions (in red pen, no doubt). And by old days, he means last year. As Josh—a rising senior at Princeton University—heads back to campus this fall, he and his classmates will be getting a whole new experience with Google Apps for Education.

    Princeton is just one of the many colleges and universities now using Google Apps. In fact, seven of the eight Ivy League universities and 72 of this year’s top 100 US Universities (as determined by 2013 U.S. News and World Report’s ranking) have gone Google, too.

    We’re also welcoming 14 other new schools to the Google Apps for Education family, just in time for back-to-school:
    • Bates College
    • Carnegie Mellon University
    • Georgetown University
    • Princeton University
    • Rice University
    • Smith College
    • Stony Brook University
    • University of California, Berkeley
    • University of Colorado, Boulder
    • University of Dayton
    • University of Mississippi
    • University of Pennsylvania, School of Arts and Sciences
    • Vassar College
    • Virginia Tech

    By going Google, students and teachers have access to a whole new way of doing things: They can better collaborate in and out of the classroom; office hours can be held via hangouts; e-portfolios can be created and maintained in a Google Site; professors can give real-time feedback in a Google document (no red pen necessary); and group projects can take place across continents instead of side-by-side in a library.

    And this is just the beginning. As more schools go Google, we continue to be amazed by the creative ways students and teachers are using technology to work better together, and we’re looking forward to the surprises in store this school year.

    URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/09/a-new-way-of-doing-things-on-campus.html

    [G] J2ObjC: A Java to iOS Objective-C translator

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    Google Open Source Blog: J2ObjC: A Java to iOS Objective-C translator


    We are proud to announce the open source release of J2ObjC, a Google-authored translator that converts Java source code into Objective-C source for iPhone/iPad applications.

    J2ObjC enables Java code to be part of an iOS application's build, as no editing of the generated files is necessary. The goal is to write an application's non-UI code (such as data access, or application logic) in Java, which can then be shared by Android apps, web apps (using GWT), and iOS.
    J2ObjC is not a Java emulator, but instead converts Java classes to Objective-C classes that directly use the iOS Foundation Framework.  It supports the full Java 6 language and most of its runtime features that are required by client-side application developers, including exceptions, inner and anonymous classes, generic types, threads and reflection. JUnit test translation and execution is also supported.  J2ObjC can be used with most build tools, including Xcode and Make.

    You can go to the J2ObjC project page for instructions on how to use the tool, check out the source code and view the list of reported issues.  The site also has detailed design docs for anyone interested in how the translator works.

    By Tom Ball, Google Engineer, Mountain View

    URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2012/09/j2objc-java-to-ios-objective-c.html

    [G] Your favorite apps, with Google Drive (Part 1)

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    Drive Blog: Your favorite apps, with Google Drive (Part 1)

    Google Drive is a place where you can create, share and keep all your stuff -- so you can live online and get things done in the cloud. Drive is also an open platform, which means you can use third-party applications to do things like send faxes, make floor plans, and create mockups directly from Drive.

    There are lots of great third-party Drive apps and Drive integrations out there, so we thought we’d periodically highlight a few useful ones on this blog.

    Magisto: Make movies in just a few clicks 
    These days you don’t need to rely on fancy desktop software or hard-to-use tools to combine multiple videos into a movie. From Drive, pick any video file, open it with Magisto, add a soundtrack and voila -- you’ll have a new movie, ready to share. (Chrome Web Store)


    Trello: Manage group projects more easily 
    With Trello, you can track complex projects and know exactly what needs to get done, who's going to do it, and what's coming up next. The Google Drive integration makes it simple to attach files to specific tasks on your projects, making them instantly accessible to the rest of the team. (Chrome Web Store)


    ASTRO File Manager: Organize stuff on your phone
    ASTRO File manager for Android helps you access all the files on your mobile device. With the Google Drive integration, you can search or browse through the contents of Drive right from Astro File Manager on your phone. (Play Store)


    Get started with Drive apps 
    Some integrations, like those three we mention on this post, don’t even require a download. Your favorite apps and services will just ask you for Drive access permission and that's it -- from then on they just work with Drive.

    It's also possible to get Drive apps by visiting the Chrome Web Store today. Drive apps that you install in Chrome will appear under the Create button for easy access inside Drive.


    Visit the Help Center to learn more about using third-party apps, and check back again soon -- we’ll feature a few more Drive apps on this blog periodically, so if you have any favorites that you’re using, let us know on our Google+ page.
    URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2012/09/thirdpartyappsseries1.html

    [G] Google Maps shows how we spent summer 2012

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    Google Lat Long: Google Maps shows how we spent summer 2012


    In the blink of an eye, summer is coming to an end. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was planning out all my summer activities as I eagerly awaited the start of long, sunny days and warm nights.

    Before we approach the official end of summer on September 21, our Google Maps team thought it’d be fun to see how those of us in the Northern Hemisphere have spent the dog days. To do this, we reviewed the summer search activity on maps.google.com in several countries between the end of May and the beginning of September. Within each country, a look at some of the top-rising searches and the often-searched landmarks on Google Maps gives us a sense of how people around the world spent their summers.

    We’re honored that people rely on the comprehensive and accurate imagery in Google Maps to research, plan, preview and digitally experience distant as well as local destinations across the globe. Take a look and click through for a larger image:


    North Americans sought out the best local beaches to help cool off from the summer heat. In comparison, many more people from Spain, Italy and France searched for community swimming pools. In cooler areas of the U.K. the rising Google Maps searches included many indoor activities such as squash, bars and going to the gym. And, as expected, travel was a clear choice for the summer, as indicated by a surge in searches for lodging in almost every region.

    Many popular destination searches were located outdoors. National parks and Hawaiian islands were the most popular searches in the U.S., while local parks, zoos, gardens and playgrounds topped Canada’s and Europe’s list. Major landmarks such as the Empire State Building in New York City, Niagara Falls in Canada, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and the Taj Mahal in India also topped the list of often-searched places in Google Maps. And of course, with the Summer Games drawing in international audiences, Wembley Stadium and the Olympic Stadium were two of the most searched for locations throughout the UK this summer.

    Check out the destinations that captured people’s attention this summer and see how your interests compared to others around the world. We hope you enjoy this look back to remember the fun places we all went with Google Maps this summer, and we can’t wait to help you find your next adventure!

    Posted by Manik Gupta, Sr. Product Manager, Google MapsPosted by Name, Title
    URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/09/google-maps-shows-how-we-spent-summer_13.html

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    [G] Getting America’s businesses online

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    Official Google Blog: Getting America’s businesses online

    The web is where we go to find things—somewhere to eat tonight, someone to cut your hair or someone to come quickly to tend to your plumbing disaster. Ninety-seven percent of Americans who use the Internet—pretty much all of us—are looking online for local goods and services. Businesses need to be where their customers are. In 2012, that’s online.

    Yet, more than half of all small businesses in the U.S. don’t have a website. Many of those businesses are completely invisible in the one place people are looking for them. The impact of being online is real: Businesses that make use of the web are expected to grow 40 percent faster and are nearly twice as likely to create jobs. Since small businesses make up half of the U.S. GDP and contribute two-thirds of all new jobs, the potential impact of getting these businesses (more than 15 million of them) online is enormous. We wanted to help spur a new wave of SMBs on the web, and change the perception that getting online is hard, expensive and time-consuming.

    In July 2011, we went to Austin to get Texas businesses on the web. Texas Get Your Business Online helped any business in Texas get a free, easy-to-build website as well as a free, customized domain name and web hosting for one year. The tools and resources made it fast, easy and free for any business in Texas to get online.

    The response from the small business community in Texas was tremendous—thousands of businesses started to get online at events throughout the state and on the web. So we decided to expand the program, going state-by-state to get businesses online. At the end of August 2012, we went to Alaska and Hawaii. These were our 49th and 50th states. Just over a year after our experiment in Austin, we’ve brought America Get Your Business Online to all 50 states, with help from ASBDC, Score, Intuit and over 500 local partners. We’ve had more than 20,000 small businesses attend more than 200 events throughout the country.



    This is just the beginning of our commitment to get businesses on the web and succeeding online. Today, small businesses throughout the U.S. can get online for free at www.AmericaGetOnline.com. Businesses get a free, easy-to-build website as well as a free, customized domain name and web hosting for one year. It’s fast, it’s easy and it’s free.

    If you’re a small business, get your business online today. Or, if you know a great business that is not online, use this tool to invite them to the web. Getting America’s businesses online may very well be the fastest, easiest step we can take to grow our small businesses and our economy.

    Posted by Scott Levitan, Director of Small Business Engagement
    URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/09/getting-americas-businesses-online.html

    [G] Exclusive promotions for fall

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    Google Affiliate Network: Exclusive promotions for fall

    Google Affiliate Network exclusive promotions are back! Over 40 limited-time deals are available only to Google Affiliate Network publishers from September 21st to September 24th. 




    Follow these steps to get started:
    1. Apply for Google Affiliate Network with your AdSense Publisher ID (or sign in if you're already a Google Affiliate Network publisher).
    2. Once approved, review the available promotions and click "Apply Link" for each one that you wish to promote.

    When can I post these promotions on my site?
    All promotions will be live on 12 am Central Time on September 21st, and they will expire at 11:59 pm Central Time on September 24th
    You can find the promotions in your Google Affiliate Network Home tab or by searching for “September Exclusive” in the Links tab.

    For additional questions, check out the Help Center or contact us.


    Posted by Erica Sievert, Product Marketing Manager
    URL: http://googleaffiliatenetwork-blog.blogspot.com/2012/09/exclusive-promotions-for-fall.html

    [G] Elephants in Peril

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    Google Lat Long: Elephants in Peril


    Editor’s note: Today’s guest authors are Rob Heittman from Solertium, Inc., a technical development company and Iain Douglas-Hamilton, founder of Save the Elephants, based in Kenya. Save the Elephants was the recipient of a Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant, funded through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund at the Tides Foundation. We’re hoping that mapping data patterns over time will shed much-needed light on the recent dramatic increase in poaching of elephants in Africa.

    History is currently repeating itself in a quite unpleasant way.

    Once again, as we did in the 1970s and 1980s, we are seeing previously tranquil elephants affected by huge surges in the illegal killing of elephants for ivory. We know, from past experience, that this ivory rush is fueled by a sudden increase in demand: new prosperity in Asian markets, where ordinary people can suddenly afford to buy ivory. After a relative respite since the 1989 ivory trade ban, I am sad to report that elephants are once again in peril.



    Save The Elephants operates a research camp in Samburu, Kenya; a very special place. The elephants there are protected by law, the ceaseless efforts of the Kenya Wildlife Service, local stakeholders, and amazing technology that helps secure their future. Within Samburu -- and other places in Africa -- we provide a tracking system which uses GPS radio collars to monitor the movements of elephants in near real time. Using Google Earth and our new, lightweight mobile apps, our team can be deeply knowledgeable about the Samburu elephants, and share data with the guardians to come to their aid if needed. Alerts tell us when unusual conditions occur. The most serious alert concerns immobility. This too often means another poaching incident, and another elephant's life lost to runaway demand for ivory.




    Save the Elephants’ private Android and iOS apps allow for real-time elephant tracking, alerting rangers to elephants movements and poaching incidents.

    We believe the ivory poaching we're seeing is a microcosm of what is going on across Africa. This past year, especially, there have been a series of massacres, for example, one in Cameroon in which almost an entire population was wiped out with automatic weapons.



    Just 10 years ago, the areas in red (where illegal elephant killing is peaking) were showing healthy and stable elephant populations. Explore the changes over time in the timelapse feature.

    The other necessary part of the solution is to reduce the demand. Here, technology can also be a powerful ally. We are now using new Google technologies to bring the same level of awareness to anyone with a Web browser. With our most recent initiative, the Elephants in Peril site (http://www.elephantsinperil.org), we have turned to Fusion Tables and Google Maps Engine to do two important things. First, we are working to bring together public data sets, often buried in boring official reports, to reveal the complete story of elephant populations over time, map them out, and understand what trends can be seen. Second, we aim to share the real, unvarnished scientific data from whatever sources in a citable, and highly usable form.

    As long as elephants continue to be threatened by surging ivory demand, we want Elephants in Peril to become a reliable source, whether a visitor wants to learn about the problem, write, tell about it, or take steps to help solve it. Google's simple data publishing and visualization tools make it possible for us to undertake this effort and reach a larger audience than would otherwise be possible.


    elephantsinperil.org maps illegal killing of elephants and changes in population density across Africa.

    We are in a race with the poachers; a race we have to win. Google Earth, Google Maps Engine, and Fusion Tables give us the advantage of speed. Already, we have used the system to share results with the media, and save weeks or months in achieving publicity. Later this year, we will publish original research that helps to tie our findings in Samburu to the challenges across the African continent, using the site to engage concerned individuals, NGOs and governments. In future, we look forward to translating the site into Chinese to improve its utility as a resource in Asia.

    Google Earth Outreach and the Tides Foundation have made our mobile apps and Elephants in Peril possible. We welcome the assistance of any concerned Google developers or users. Please visit our website; even better, visit us in Africa if you can, and give us your ideas to help us win this race.

    Posted by Dr. Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Founder of Save the Elephants, and Rob Heittman, CTO of Solertium, Inc.Posted by Name, Title
    URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/09/elephants-in-peril.html

    [G] A Summer in Crystal Space

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    Google Open Source Blog: A Summer in Crystal Space







    For the seventh year in a row Crystal Space, an open source 3D Engine, has participated in the Google Summer of Code program. In previous years we had great success stories, but this year has exceeded all of our expectations.  Below is a brief description of each of the seven student projects, some of which are continuations of student projects from previous years of Google Summer of Code.



    Deferred Rendering

    Matthieu Kraus worked on improving the deferred renderer in Crystal Space by cleaning up the deferred render pipeline and integrating dynamic shadows using Cascaded Shadow Maps. He also added deferred lighting and deferred shading.



    Extensions to the cseditor Framework

    A continuation of a Google Summer of Code project from 2007, Andrei Bârsan’s project was to create the base tools needed for the automated generation of a graphical user interface, and then to apply and test those tools on an object that had always strongly lacked a way to be manipulated: the particle mesh. The goals of the project were achieved and for the first time it is possible to modify particle systems easily and dynamically.



    Improved Physics in Crystal Space with Bullet

    Dominik Seifert continued revamping the Bullet-based physics engine in Crystal Space, a project started last year by another student. Dominik did much more than just improve the physics engine: he refactored it, pulled it apart, put it back together, and added a lot of new features and improvements. He worked on implementing handling of kinematic and dynamic actors, better coupling of rendering and physics parameters and objects, and more work on portals. He also added support for simple vehicles and physically more accurate particles.



    Improving Support for Water Bodies

    One of our most graphically oriented projects (together with deferred rendering) was the improvement of water bodies. Naman Gupta managed to fix several bugs in the ocean system, implemented reflection and refraction and implemented support for shorelines.



    Virtual File System v2: Modular and Extensible Redesign of VFS

    In Crystal Space we have a VFS plugin (Virtual File System) which takes care of loading and saving data transparently to archives and the regular file system. Our student, Touko, spent the summer cleaning up, refactoring the code, committing code and fixing some serious issues like buffer overflows with the old VFS plugin.



    Lighter2 Improvements

    Lighter2 is an application in Crystal Space that calculates static lightmaps for a level. The tool is quite complicated so this is the second year that we had a student work on the project. This year’s student, Steel Style, was mentored by the student who worked on the project last year. Steel implemented Sector Grouping, Lighter2 configuration option simplifications, and improvements in the packaging of the light maps. His work on Sector Grouping made light map computing faster by a factor of 5x-10x on the sample maps, an astonishing speedup.



    Updating Behavior Trees, Recast & Detour and the Life-Sim Demo

    Sam Devlin worked on several different tasks in his Artificial Intelligence-oriented project: improving the behavior trees that Sam actually created himself during a previous Google Summer of Code edition, improving the path-finding system that is the result of two other previous Google Summer of Code projects, and improving the demo and tutorial applications for these tools. There is still a lot of work that still has to be done, but all of these tools are now finally usable.



    At the end of the program the students spent a lot of time cleaning up their code, writing documentation and some of them even started helping us with the merging of their respective subversion branches into our main development branch. We believe that the experience for our students has been a good one and hope that what they have learned this summer will be valuable for them in the future. Several of the students expressed interest in continuing to work with Crystal Space and there was a lot of very useful code produced. All in all, a really good experience!



    By Jorrit Tyberghein, Crystal Space Organization Administrator






    URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/u3RcHkWX9Go/a-summer-in-crystal-space.html