Friday, October 5, 2012

[G] ReFr: A New Open-Source Framework for Building Reranking Models

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Research Blog: ReFr: A New Open-Source Framework for Building Reranking Models

Posted by Dan Bikel and Keith Hall, Research Scientists at Google

We are pleased to announce the release of an open source, general-purpose framework designed for reranking problems, ReFr (Reranker Framework), now available at: http://code.google.com/p/refr/.

Many types of systems capable of processing speech and human language text produce multiple hypothesized outputs for a given input, each with a score. In the case of machine translation systems, these hypotheses correspond to possible translations from some sentence in a source language to a target language. In the case of speech recognition, the hypotheses are possible word sequences of what was said derived from the input audio. The goal of such systems is usually to produce a single output for a given input, and so they almost always just pick the highest-scoring hypothesis.

A reranker is a system that uses a trained model to rerank these scored hypotheses, possibly inducing a different ranked order. The goal is that by employing a second model after the fact, one can make use of additional information not available to the original model, and produce better overall results. This approach has been shown to be useful for a wide variety of speech and natural language processing problems, and was the subject of one of the groups at the 2011 summer workshop at Johns Hopkins’ Center for Language and Speech Processing. At that workshop, led by Professor Brian Roark of Oregon Health & Science University, we began building a general-purpose framework for training and using reranking models. The result of all this work is ReFr.

From the outset, we designed ReFr with both speed and flexibility in mind. The core implementation is entirely in C++, with a flexible architecture allowing rich experimentation with both features and learning methods. The framework also employs a powerful runtime configuration mechanism to make experimentation even easier. Finally, ReFr leverages the parallel processing power of Hadoop to train and use large-scale reranking models in a distributed computing environment.

URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2012/10/refr-new-open-source-framework-for.html

[G] New features for teachers

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YouTube Blog: New features for teachers

It’s World Teachers’ Day, and to honor the hard-working and talented people in front of classrooms everywhere, we’ve put together some new resources to make YouTube even more useful for learning. (Oh, and we’re celebrating teachers in the YouTube logo today too! Check it out!).

First, we’ve created a special YouTube EDU Creator Playbook Guide (download it here), full of video best practices for online educators to learn from each other. The Guide suggests ideas for organizing curriculum videos on YouTube, attracting a bigger audience to your educational content, and explains how to use YouTube features like annotations and playlists to make educational channels more interactive.

Second, we asked James Sanders, KIPP Bay Area Innovation manager (and former YouTube teacher-in-residence), to create a presentation on 10 ways teachers can use YouTube to build a 21st century classroom. It’s full of great, proven ideas for using YouTube to bring educational topics to life. For more advice, and playlists of educational videos visit YouTube.com/Teachers.

Today we also hit a great milestone at YouTube EDU - more than 1000 educational channels to learn from. So whether you’re a teacher looking to make physics more fun, an art student looking for inspiration, or a parent needing help with algebra homework, there’s a channel on YouTube EDU for you.

If you create great educational content and are interested in having your channel added to YouTube EDU, you can nominate your channel here.

And to teachers everywhere - thank you for all you do!

Arthur Woods, YouTube EDU team, recently watched “Dan Pink: The Puzzle of Motivation”.


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/NnDjndrCgRw/new-features-for-teachers.html

[G] Education On Air: Connecting teachers and learners across the world

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Education On Air: Connecting teachers and learners across the world

Posted by Tia Lendo, Google in Education Team

Twelve years ago, in my first year teaching, I often felt very isolated. Not only was my fourth grade class housed in a mobile trailer outside of the main school building, putting physical distance between me and my peers, but I also rarely had time or ways to connect with other teachers outside the school day.

Thankfully, educators and schools today aren’t limited to the resources they have within the 4 walls of their classroom. The web is bringing students and educators together with information and opportunities that we never dreamed were possible in the year 2000. For example, today over 20 million students, faculty and staff engage in real-time collaboration and communication for free using Google Apps for Education.

Today, on World Teachers’ Day, we celebrate all of the amazing teachers around the world by offering them two new ways to connect with and support each other using Google+:
  • Education On Air: We have organized a series of over 100 Hangouts On Air that will be led by educators and Googlers. Topics range from “Flipping Your Classroom” to “Weekly Office Hours staffed by “Tech Sherpa” High School Students” to “A Conversation with Sal Khan”, founder of the Khan Academy.
  • Topics-of-the-day: Starting Monday we will begin a program of daily content aimed to help educate and inspire. We’ll reshare posts from educators on the following topics:
    • “Magic Moment Monday” - Inspiring, magic moments in schools
    • “Tutorial Tuesday” - Google Apps tips and tricks
    • “Web Apps Wednesday” - Web-based resources and apps
    • “Chrome Tip Thursday” - Chrome Ninja tips to make the most of the browser
    • “Fabulous Find Friday” - Any fabulous Education resource
    • “Show it Saturday” - YouTube EDU content
    • “Search for it Sunday” - Google Search Education tips

We encourage you to follow the Google in Education Google+ page and to visit the Edu On Air site to sign up for Hangouts and add them to your calendar. We hope these provide a way for educators to link with their peers so that they can collaborate even after the sessions are over.

In the meantime, check out the highlight reel from some of the 46 Education On Air Hangouts that educators held on May 2, 2012.



#wtd2012
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/10/education-on-air-connecting-teachers.html

[G] Supersonic freefall from the edge of space to Earth, live on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Supersonic freefall from the edge of space to Earth, live on YouTube

This Monday, the launch window opens for aviation pioneer Felix Baumgartner to freefall from the edge of space back to Earth, hoping to break the speed of sound with nothing but his body and a parachute on the way down—live on Red Bull’s YouTube Channel. The mission aims to collect scientific data for the advancement of aerospace safety.



”All systems are a go” for The Red Bull Stratos Mission starting 6:00am PT on October 8. Since freefalling from space requires perfect weather conditions, the full launch window extends for two weeks. To find the exact time of the launch, check the Red Bull YouTube Channel or sign up for email updates at redbullstratos.com.







How it works

The 120,000 foot jump over Roswell, New Mexico is the culmination of over five years of work by Felix and the Red Bull Stratos mission team, who are now prepared to break the 102,800 ft record set by US Air Force legend, Col. Joe Kittinger 52 years ago. After rising in a capsule propelled by 30 million cubic feet of helium, Felix will jump from 23 miles above Roswell, New Mexico. You’ll see a live data feed that will show exactly where Felix is in the sky, his rate of speed during the freefall, and how high above earth he is throughout the entire flight. You’ll also be able to hear Felix’s conversations with Col. Kittinger who will be the only voice from Mission Control advising Felix.



Enjoy the ride.



Tim Katz, Sports Partnerships Manager, recently watched “Supersonic Freefall - Red Bull Stratos CGI.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/ZqjBHOx1J4Q/supersonic-freefall-from-edge-of-space.html

[G] The New York Times uses Hangouts on Air to cover breaking news

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Inside AdSense: The New York Times uses Hangouts on Air to cover breaking news

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!

A few weeks ago, we talked about the possibilities around using Google+ Hangouts on Air to hold live broadcasts. This free feature allows you to live stream a conversation between 10 participants, directly from your Google+ page, your YouTube channel, and even your website, for a global audience to view.

The New York Times has been hosting frequent Hangouts on Air to engage with their audience, with topics ranging from foreign affairs to professional baseball to voter concerns. Since setting up the +New York Times page in November 2011, the Times has aimed to create a hub for their online readers to not only discover news, but to also participate in discussion.

Recently, the Times used Hangouts on Air to cover a breaking news story and reach a wide online audience. Just hours after the the Supreme Court’s monumental decision to uphold President Obama’s Affordable Healthcare Act, the Times became the first major media outlet to discuss the news via live web video. The Hangout video was broadcasted live on the +New York Times page as well as on the NYTimes Opinion page, allowing the discussion and analysis to be shared with a wider audience.


The Times team prepared for a smooth Hangout by securing guest participants for their live broadcast a week in advance. When the date of the decision arrived, the Times added a graphic placeholder to the NYTimes Opinion page and published a post to their +page to publicize the upcoming Hangout. Once the Hangout started, they embedded the video directly into the Opinion page and also added a homepage promotion to their site to drive awareness. After the Hangout was completed, the Times team quickly edited the video footage on YouTube and uploaded it to the front page of NYTimes.com for additional visibility.

For more information, read the full case study. If you’re ready to start broadcasting, be sure to review our tips and then get started with your own Hangout on Air. If you have any advice of your own to share about Hangouts, feel free to post them to our AdSense +page!

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-new-york-times-uses-hangouts-on-air.html

[G] Win Moments that Matter with Learn with Google Webinars

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Inside AdWords: Win Moments that Matter with Learn with Google Webinars


As we’re nearing the end of 2012, we’ve all got business goals to meet. Some of you might even be prepping for your busiest season. Today, we’re announcing our next series of Learn with Google webinars, which will arm you with the tools you need to get the most out of your holiday ad dollars. We’ve got a special series on remarketing as well as a few holiday-specific strategies to help you navigate the season successfully. Over the next couple of months, 20 webinars will teach you tips and how-to’s to help make the web work for your business.

Check out the full schedule of webinars below:
  • 10/16 [Search] Drive Traffic to your Locations with your Online Campaigns 
  • 10/18 [Video] TrueView Video Advertising Strategies for the Holidays
  • 10/23 [Mobile] Understanding your App Users with Google Analytics
  • 10/24 [Research] Real-Time Insights with Google Consumer Surveys
  • 10/25 [Display] Remarketing Series: Getting Started with Remarketing
  • 10/30 [YouTube] TrueView Video Advertising for Agencies
  • 10/31 [Social] Social Media Best Practices for a Successful Holiday Season
  • 11/01 [Video] Optimizing TrueView Video Ad Campaigns
  • 11/02 [Analytics] Attribution Modeling for Digital Success     
  • 11/06 [Video] YouTube Analytics for Advertisers
  • 11/07 [Video] Remarketing Series: YouTube and Video Remarketing
  • 11/08 [Social] How to Make your Google+ Marketing More Accountable 
  • 11/13 [Analytics] Getting Started with Google Tag Manager
  • 11/14 [Social] Supercharge your Social Media Initiatives with Video   
  • 11/15 [Display] Remarketing Series: Getting Started with the New Remarketing Tag
  • 11/27 [Display] Remarketing Series: Getting Started with Similar Audiences
  • 11/29 [Mobile] New Research: How to Win on the Third Screen
  • 12/05 [Mobile] Capturing the Full Value of Mobile with Click-to-Call and Call Metrics
  • 12/06 [Social] Building a Digital Brand with Google+
  • 12/12 [Analytics] Remarketing Series: Remarketing with Google Analytics
All webinars are at 10 ET/ 1 PT.

Visit our webinar page to register for any of the sessions and to access past webinars on-demand. You can also stay up-to-date on the schedule by adding our Learn with Google Webinar calendar to your own Google calendar to automatically see upcoming webinars.

Learn with Google is a program to help businesses succeed through winning moments that matter, enabling better decisions and constantly innovating. We hope that you’ll use these best practices and how-to’s to maximize the impact of digital and grow your business. We’re looking forward to seeing you at an upcoming session!

Posted by Erin Molnar, Marketing Coordinator
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/10/win-moments-that-matter-with-learn-with.html

[G] ReFr: A New Open-Source Framework for Building Reranking Models

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Google Open Source Blog: ReFr: A New Open-Source Framework for Building Reranking Models

We are pleased to announce the release of an open source, general-purpose framework designed for reranking problems, ReFr (Reranker Framework), now available at: http://code.google.com/p/refr/.

Many types of systems capable of processing speech and human language text produce multiple hypothesized outputs for a given input, each with a score. In the case of machine translation systems, these hypotheses correspond to possible translations from some sentence in a source language to a target language. In the case of speech recognition, the hypotheses are possible word sequences of what was said derived from the input audio. The goal of such systems is usually to produce a single output for a given input, and so they almost always just pick the highest-scoring hypothesis.

A reranker is a system that uses a trained model to rerank these scored hypotheses, possibly inducing a different ranked order. The goal is that by employing a second model after the fact, one can make use of additional information not available to the original model, and produce better overall results. This approach has been shown to be useful for a wide variety of speech and natural language processing problems, and was the subject of one of the groups at the 2011 summer workshop at Johns Hopkins’ Center for Language and Speech Processing. At that workshop, led by Professor Brian Roark of Oregon Health & Science University, we began building a general-purpose framework for training and using reranking models. The result of all this work is ReFr.

From the outset, we designed ReFr with both speed and flexibility in mind. The core implementation is entirely in C++, with a flexible architecture allowing rich experimentation with both features and learning methods. The framework also employs a powerful runtime configuration mechanism to make experimentation even easier. Finally, ReFr leverages the parallel processing power of Hadoop to train and use large-scale reranking models in a distributed computing environment.

By Dan Bikel and Keith Hall, Research Scientists at Google
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2012/10/refr-new-open-source-framework-for.html

[G] 5 Principles of User Experience, Part 3

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Inside AdSense: 5 Principles of User Experience, Part 3

This is the final post of a three-part series highlighting five user experience principles to keep in mind when designing your site. Using these principles will help provide a great experience for users on your site. To see these principles applied to an AdSense publisher’s site, we'll host a live Google+ Hangout on October 9th at 10:30am PT with an AdSense publisher. We will be applying these very principles to help improve their site! Go to the Google AdSense G+ page on the 9th to see it live!

In our first and second posts in this series we discussed how to identify your user’s goals, the structure of your site, how to help guide users through your site and a few tips for a better experience on mobile. In this post we’ll provide our fifth and final user experience tip and lay out some strategies for converting a casual user into a loyal one.

5. Turn casual visitors into loyal users

So far we’ve discussed ways to make sure you understand what your users are looking for and how to present it to them. But you may be wondering how do you keep users coming back again and again? After all, repeat business is the lifeblood of businesses both online and offline. To get users to return, you need to do more than just answer their questions; you need to give them reasons to return to your site.

Tips:
Below are a few ways you can turn one-time visitors into repeat visitors:
  • New content: First and foremost, make sure to constantly provide new, high-quality content. Next, make sure you are showcasing new content on your top landing pages.
  • Related content: Show users similar content elsewhere on your site. Create a section that links users to popular content on the same subject. This will drive more engagement.
  • Social: Make it easy for users to connect with you via their favorite social networks. All major social networks have widgets that you can put on your site to allow users to follow you. Once you have them make sure you push out your most popular content to drive return visits.
  • Email: Make sure you have a way for users to subscribe to your email list for updates and/or a newsletter.
  • User engagement: Make it easy for users to interact with your content, through forums, a rating system or recommendations.
    Example:
    If you have a deal site where users can search for deals, you can first prompt them to sign up to be notified via email when new offers that match their interests are added to the site. You can also showcase how many people recommend a deal so users see which deals are popular. 

    We hope you enjoyed this three part series on user experience and we welcome your comments below!

    Thinking about implementing some of these changes? We’d love to hear about it! Let us know what you changed in the comments section below.

    Don’t forget to check out the User Experience Google+ Event Page on October 9th at 10:30am PST/1:30pm EST to join a Hangout On Air and see a real AdSense publisher put these principles in action!

    Posted by David Richards - Google AdSense

    Resources:Get a Google+ Page  - http://www.google.com/+/business/
    Allow users to subscribe to your updates via Google+.
    URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2012/10/5-principles-of-user-experience-part-3.html

    [G] Street View comes to Google Maps on your Mobile Browser

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    Google Lat Long: Street View comes to Google Maps on your Mobile Browser


    To make Google Maps even more comprehensive, accurate and useful, today we’re making Street View available on mobile browsers. With access to Street View on your phone, you can use panoramic, street-level imagery to explore and navigate the places around you, even on the go.

    Times Square, New York
    Times Square, New York
    District Wine Bar, San Francisco
    Starting today, use Street View on your mobile browser to check out a new shop across town or get a feel for the ambiance at a restaurant before you arrive. To use Street View on your mobile browser simply go to maps.google.com and search for a location. Then click the “pegman” icon at the bottom right of your screen to access Street View. And to view still more helpful imagery, such as a photos shared by users or interior panoramas, visit the business’ Google+ Local page.

    Access Street View by clicking on the “pegman” icon
    Also, transit, driving, biking and walking directions continue to be available on your mobile browser to help you help guide you to your destination.

    For quick access to Google Maps on iOS devices, you can save a bookmark to your home screen. Simply click “Save to Home Screen” on the bottom of the page when you’re in Google Maps, or follow the instructions here.

    Posted by Amanda Leicht, Product Manager Google Maps
    URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/10/street-view-comes-to-google-maps-on.html

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    [G] Improving Content ID

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    YouTube Blog: Improving Content ID

    In the nearly five years since we launched Content ID, it has helped everyone from large media companies to up-and-coming creators manage their content when it appears on YouTube. More than 3,000 content owners have supplied more than 500,000 hours of reference files to the system. Content ID hasn’t stood still over the last five years. We’ve been rolling out regular updates and we want to highlight three particular efforts that we think improve Content ID for everyone.

    A New Appeals Process
    Users have always had the ability to dispute Content ID claims on their videos if they believe those claims are invalid. Prior to today, if a content owner rejected that dispute, the user was left with no recourse for certain types of Content ID claims (e.g., monetize claims). Based upon feedback from our community, today we’re introducing an appeals process that gives eligible users a new choice when dealing with a rejected dispute. When the user files an appeal, a content owner has two options: release the claim or file a formal DMCA notification.

    Smarter Detection of Unintentional Claims
    Content owners have uploaded more than ten million reference files to the Content ID system. At that scale, mistakes can and do happen. To address this, we’ve improved the algorithms that identify potentially invalid claims. We stop these claims from automatically affecting user videos and place them in a queue to be manually reviewed. This process prevents disputes that arise when content not owned by a partner inadvertently turns up in a reference file.

    Smarter claim detection minimizes unintentional mistakes. Of course, we take action in rare cases of intentional misuse, up to and including terminating Content ID access.

    Improved Matching Quality
    At the heart of Content ID is the matching technology that identifies partners’ content among all the videos on YouTube. Earlier this year we introduced a significant improvement to how the matching happens. We continue to work on ways to make the matching more precise through better algorithms and a more comprehensive reference library.

    There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but we believe that these are significant steps forward in our efforts to keep YouTube a vibrant place where the rights of both content owners and users are protected and everyone can control their original content and make money from it - money which can be put towards the production of more great content.

    For now, keep on watching, upload a video or two and please, please keep the feedback coming.

    Thabet Alfishawi, Rights Management Product Manager, recently watched/danced to "Psy - Gangnam Style"


    URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/RrkIh7dLZW0/improving-content-id.html

    [G] Enhanced email management for user groups

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    Official Google Enterprise Blog: Enhanced email management for user groups

    Posted by Adam Dawes, Product Manager, Google Apps

    Google Apps delivers a stream of innovation that brings new features to end users. That same innovation also applies to our Apps administrators. In the past 3 months, admins have gained a number of new capabilities in the control panel, including the ability to search email logs, manage mobile devices more easily, and manage email delivery.

    Today, Apps admins have another new capability to support the needs of different user groups in their business or organization. Email settings can now be applied to groups of users, known as organizational units, or OUs. Examples of these email settings include: IMAP & POP access to Gmail, offline access, email forwarding, email footers and many more.

    Applying email management settings to user groups helps Apps administrators tailor the use of Gmail within their organization. It’s especially beneficial for organizations that have user segments with different compliance or security needs, such as allowing IMAP access to a specific group of users.

    Like all the features that Google Apps delivers, administrators just need to refresh their browser to get access to these updates. For more information on email settings for organizational units, please visit our Help Center.

    URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/10/enhanced-email-management-for-user.html

    [G] Building great websites and apps with the Google Maps API

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    Google Lat Long: Building great websites and apps with the Google Maps API


    We’re constantly working to build the most comprehensive, accurate and usable maps in the world for our users--no matter where or how they access Google Maps. While millions of people come directly to maps.google.com to search for a nearby business or get directions, many people around the globe experience Google Maps on their favorite website or application thanks to the Google Maps API (and some very talented developers). In fact, today 800,000 active websites and apps are using the Google Maps API to create interesting and useful experiences for you.

    MoreThanAMap.com
    To demonstrate the capabilities and features of the Google Maps API, today we’re launching a new website called morethanamap.com. This site showcases the unique features of the Google Maps API and how developers are using it.

    Visit morethanamap.com to learn more!

    Through morethanamap.com you’ll learn how developers can embed popular Google Maps features like Street View, public transit directions, location data, and advanced data visualization capabilities into their website or app. The interactive demos on morethanamap.com show how these features are ready to be added to any website or app.


    Developers can use the Google Maps API to embed Street View imagery into their sites and apps

    Even if you’re not a developer, the animated London Heathrow flight map or global population heat map are a fun way to visualize data and explore the power of Google Maps.

    Google Maps Developers Stories from Around the World
    Morethanamap.com also features stories from our community of developers who are using the Google Maps API to start businesses, help improve their communities or save the environment. Starting next week we’ll showcase these stories weekly on the Geo Developers Blog. And follow us on Google+ to learn more.



    With just a backpack and a camera Google Maps team member Carlos Cuesta went on a global tour to video blog six distinct developers who are creating thriving applications with the Google Maps API.

    Start exploring what’s possible with the Google Maps API today at: morethanamap.com.

    Posted by Ken Hoetmer, Google Maps API Product Manager
    URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/10/building-great-websites-and-apps-with.html

    [G] Who’s New in Google Summer of Code 2012: Part 6

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    Google Open Source Blog: Who’s New in Google Summer of Code 2012: Part 6



    For our final installment of our summer series featuring new organizations that participated in Google Summer of Code 2012 we have wrap up posts from OWASP, Outercurve and 52°North.




    Being part of Google Summer of Code this year was truly an awesome experience both for students and OWASP mentors alike. OWASP is an open source community dedicated to enabling organizations to conceive, develop, acquire, operate, and maintain applications that can be trusted. However, it is usually challenging getting students to develop code for OWASP projects because application security is considered a difficult, and sometimes complex subject. 


    Google Summer of Code acted as a window between OWASP and the academic world, enabling students to work first-hand with highly skilled application security professionals. 


    The following OWASP projects took part in Google Summer of Code 2012: 


    OWASP Zed Attack Proxy


    • Cosmin Stefan rewrote the existing ZAP spider, making it it much faster and more accurate. He also enhanced ZAP to manage HTTP sessions, which will be a key feature that we can build on for future releases.

    • Guifre Ruiz added a new Ajax spider to ZAP by integrating with crawljax project, which will allow ZAP to spider AJAX applications much more effectively. He not only had to understand the ZAP code but also delved into the crawljax code and has submitted a series of enhancements back to the crawljax project as well.

    • Robert Koch (c/o Mozilla) added Web Sockets support to ZAP, exceeding the capabilities of any other  security tool in this aspect, free or commercial.


    "This is the first year I've been involved in Google Summer of Code, and I'm delighted to say it has been an overwhelming success. We had 3 students working on the Zed Attack Proxy project, and I have been very impressed with the quality of their work. They all required a lot less hand-holding than I expected - they all just got stuck in, while still keeping their mentors up to date and asking questions when necessary. They were all very dedicated and produced code which has significantly enhanced the project. While I'm obviously hoping that they will carry on contributing, even if they don't I'll still consider this to have been very worthwhile and will be very keen to participate next year." - Simon Bennetts, mentor 


    OWASP AppSensorRauf Butt extended the AppSensor project by building a SOAP-based web service in Java to allow multiple Java applications to access the same AppSensor detection engine. 


    "The Google Summer of Code was a good experience for the AppSensor project. We had lots of needs to cover, so our scope was initially too large. Through the course of the first half of the summer, it became evident that this was the case. Through helpful discussions with our student as well as experiences related from those who had been through the process before, we were able to narrow our focus and produce a more defined project that will serve as the basis for the next version of AppSensor." - John Melton, mentor 


    OWASP Hackademics “Pragya Gupta developed a new frontend for the OWASP Hackademic Challenges which implements CMS-like functionality, simplifies installation and facilitates the automated addition of new challenges. The additional functionality will significantly help professors and tutors in real class environments.” - Konstantinos Papapanagiotou, mentor 


    Kudos to the Open Source Team at Google and special thanks to Carol Smith who guided us through this initiative! 

    By Fabio Cerullo, OWASP Google Summer of Code 2012 Org Administrator


    ----------


    The Outercurve Foundation provides software IP management and project development governance to enable and encourage organizations to develop software collaboratively in open source communities.  Outercurve was accepted as a mentoring organization for our first Google Summer of Code in 2012, being awarded two slots for student projects.  


    Of the project proposals we received, a number of students stood out in discussing and evolving their proposals with Outercurve mentors during the submissions period.  The two projects we chose were: 



    • Irina Grosu from Romania with her project to add modules to Outercurve Mayhem to integrate Microsoft Office, the Google API, Bluetooth connectivity, and Skype.   

    • Cristina Turken, also from Romania, worked on creating a GUI-based desktop application that allows software publishers to create an Outercurve CoApp package, (instead of using the command line tools).  


    While we were very excited to participate in the Google Summer of Code, we had a problem: these were not the only two excellent proposals we received from students. The Outercurve Mayhem and Outercurve CoApp projects each wanted to support at least one more student proposal. The project leaders (finding budget at Microsoft) and Outercurve jointly funded two more student proposals. 


    The two "Outercurve" Summer of Code projects accepted were:  



    • Henrik Juvonen in Finland wanted to build CoApp for Visual Studio so that CoApp library packages (native C/C++ and .NET) can be discovered, installed, and updated without ever having to leave the development environment.

    • Anirudh Ranganath India wanted to add a number of events and responses to Mayhem for monitoring charging states, noting USB device connect/disconnect, and an Alarm event, as well as putting the computer in different power modes (sleep, hibernation, shut down) and setting the volume level.




    Over the next few weeks we will showcase all of our students’ work. I’d like to thank Google for the opportunity to participate, the project leaders for finding the funds to co-sponsor additional student projects, and our mentors.  I would especially like to thank our students for all their hard work. I hope they all found the summer worthwhile and will continue to participate with their Outercurve Foundation projects of choice. 


    By Stephen R. Walli, Outercurve Foundation Technical Director 


    ---------- 


    The open source software initiative 52°North is an open international network of partners from research, industry and public administration. Its main purpose is to foster innovation in the field of Geoinformatics through a collaborative R&D process. The R&D process takes place within 52°North R&D communities, which develop new concepts and technologies such as for managing near real-time sensor data, integrating geoprocessing technologies into SDIs, making use of GRID and Cloud technologies. The developers evaluate new macro trends, such as the Internet of Things, the Semantic Web or Linked Open Data, and find ways to unfold their use in practice. 


    As a Google Summer of Code first-timer, 52°North was thrilled to be chosen as a mentoring organization and particularly proud to welcome four students to work on different projects in the fields of Sensor Web, Web of Things and Geoprocessing this summer. 52°North’s overall goals with the student projects this summer was to improve the usability of the products and extend the user base to new domains. 



    • Sarah Harvey’s project, On-demand transformation of Open Street Map Data into common GIS format, brings the power of the 52°North WPS to the popular Open Source Mapping project. It deals primarily with providing bindings for OpenStreetMap data so that they may be used within the Web Processing Service (WPS).

    • Alexander Kmoch enabled easy integration of user implemented encodings for observations to the 52°North Sensor Observation Service (SOS). In his “Exchangeable Encodings for SOS” project, he developed and integrated a plugin mechanism into an SOS server for plain CSV (comma separated values), as well as WaterML 2.0 response formats.

    • In his project, GIS link to the Web of Things, Sidhant Hasija created a link between the rising Web of Things with standard GIS by implementing the GeoServices REST Specification for the Arduino-powered SenseBox devices.

    • Shubham Sachdeva focused on 52°North Sensor Observation Services installation and subsequent maintenance issues. In his project, "SOS Administrator", he developed an initial configuration and installation wizard, as well as a powerful administrative back-end, both browser-based and platform independent.


    By Daniel Nüst, 52°North Google Summer of Code Organization Administrator





    We will start posting more Google Summer of Code wrap-ups from returning organizations later this week.



    By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs




    URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/KdzyNU8xuUc/whos-new-in-google-summer-of-code-2012.html

    [G] Make better decisions in AdWords with your Google Analytics data

    | More

    Analytics Blog: Make better decisions in AdWords with your Google Analytics data

    A version of the following post originally appeared on the Inside AdWords Blog.

    Google Analytics users already know how useful it is to analyze advertising and web data together. Now we’re making it possible to use your Google Analytics data right in AdWords. After setting up AdWords to import your Google Analytics data, you’ll have access to key metrics like Bounce Rate, Pages Per Visit, and Average Visit Duration directly in the AdWords interface. With more performance data available right where you’re managing your campaigns, you can make better informed decisions and improve your AdWords ROI.

    Using your Google Analytics data
    With Google Analytics you can find insights that matter, including how visitors arrive at your website, how they use it, and how you can keep them coming back. Here are some ways you can take advantage of the new Google Analytics data available in AdWords to improve your results.
    • Attract more engaged users. If highly engaged users are an important goal, sort your ad groups to find the ones that deliver visitors who stay on your site the longest (“Average Visit Duration” or “Pages Per Visit”), and bid more for these.
    • Discover opportunities to convert more engaged visitors. You might find certain keywords or ads that have relatively low conversion rates, but great engagement metrics. You could lower your bids by a little and move on. Or you could see this as a great opportunity to convert clearly engaged visitors into buyers. By adjusting your offer, adding an incentive (like a coupon or discount code), or making your call to action more obvious and accessible, you might be able to improve your ROI and your conversion volume. To look for these types of opportunities, create a filter based on conversion rate and sort by Average Visit Duration, Pages per visit, or Bounce Rate.
    • Identify ads with badly matched landing pages or inaccurate targeting. Pages with both low conversion rates and low engagement metrics (low Average Visit Duration or High Bounce Rate) could indicate a poor landing page for a particular ad or keyword. It might also suggest inaccurate targeting. To identify and troubleshoot these problems, set up a filter for low conversion rate and low engagement rate and regularly monitor it. Since you’re using Google Analytics, you can easily set up A/B testing on the landing page using a Content Experiment.
    Success in action
    Casamundo, the biggest vacation rental listing service in Europe, has been an early tester of this new feature. They've used Google Analytics since 2008 and over the past 5 years they've grown and refined their AdWords campaigns to over 50 million active keywords across 10 languages. Their analysis shows that converting visitors research vacation rentals over an average of 7.4 visits, so understanding whether their ads and keywords can create strong engagement is vital to their business and how they optimize their AdWords campaigns. Seeing high bounce rates and low average time on site for a keyword means that the offer or destination page might not be a good match for that keyword.

    Having easier access to Google Analytics data right in AdWords has helped Torge Kahl, Online Marketing Manager, at Casamundo make better decisions and make optimizations more quickly. According to Torge: 
    “The combination of using both Google AdWords and Google Analytics has proved to be the perfect set of tools for us to achieve our goals, and we're very happy to see this combination get more integrated and powerful. Using Analytics data right within AdWords has let me better optimize our account and significantly improve the return on our AdWords investment."
    More details
    Please visit the AdWords Help Center for step-by-step directions on how to connect your Google Analytics profile data to your AdWords account and for more details. 

    To exchange tips and ask questions of others, please visit the AdWords community. You can always contact AdWords support for help if you need it.

    Posted by Dan Friedman, AdWords Product Manager
    URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2012/10/make-better-decisions-in-adwords-with.html

    [G] 5 Principles of User Experience, Part 2

    | More

    Inside AdSense: 5 Principles of User Experience, Part 2

    This is the second of a three-part series highlighting five user experience principles to keep in mind when designing your site. Using these principles will help provide a great experience for users on your site. After the next post we’ll host a live Google+ Hangout on October 9th at 10:30am PT with an AdSense publisher. We will be applying these principles to help improve their site! Visit the AdSense Google+ page on the 9th to see it live!

    In our last post about user experience, we provided two tips to help you identify some goals for your site and your users.

    In this post we’ll share another two tips; you’ll learn how to steer users around your site and how different use cases (desktop or mobile) require different setups.

    3. Ensure that users know what action to take on your site


    Users should always know what action to take next on your site. When a user lands on your page it should be very clear what they should pay attention to first, second, and so on. There should also be a clear next action for them to take whether it's clicking “buy” to make a purchase or reading a related article.

    Tips:
    Consider these points when creating meaningful calls to action:
    • Emphasis: Give emphasis to the call to action by its size, color, contrast and/or use of white space.
    • Simple: Don’t clutter your page with too many different actions. Really think about what you want your users to do and prioritize those actions in your design.
    • Incentive: Give an incentive to take action. This can be seen in discounts, gifts, raffle entry or access to more content
    • Proximity: Make sure your call to action is in a logical placement on the page. For example, if the page features an article, you may want to put the call to action below the article.
    • Consistency: Have your call to action show throughout the site and keep its appearance consistent. 

          4. Tailor your experience to your users’ situation

          Your site needs to provide a great experience to users whenever and wherever they need it. It’s important to put some thought into how your users use your site differently in different situations. Be sure to consider their time constraints and whether they are on a mobile device or a computer.

          Tips:
          Use these tips to help you think about the use cases your users might experience:
          • Situation: What situation is the user in that caused them to seek out information on your site?
          • Limit features: The mobile version of your site should only include the core features of your site that will help your users find the information they’re looking for. Save the other advanced features for your desktop site where your users have a little bit more time.
          • Speed: Users only have a couple of seconds so make sure your site loads lightning fast. Google’s Page Speed tool can help you optimize your load time.
          • Forgiveness: Users make mistakes, especially on mobile. Let them easily undo and return to where they were, without having to use the back button.

          Example:
          Suppose you’re a restaurant review site. How does a mobile user’s behavior differ from that of a desktop user? First off, mobile users are probably on the move; they could even be walking down the street as they browse your site. They won’t have time to navigate through several pages of restaurants like they do on the desktop site. They expect your site to use the phone’s GPS to locate them and show them popular restaurants nearby based on their search. Your site can even optimize the review experience for mobile by showing the most popular short reviews since users don’t have time to read long reviews.

          Remember, it’s all about thinking about the situation that the user is in when they reach your site and tailoring the user experience to match.

          Check in tomorrow and we’ll talk about generating return visits to your site and creating customer loyalty through a great UX.

          Posted by David Richards - Google AdSense

          Resources:
          Google Analytics Events  - http://www.google.com/analytics/
          Measure the impact of design changes and monitoring the continued usage of your site will keep you updated on how your users are interacting with your site, and how their usage can shift, change or evolve over time. Google Analytics Events will help you measure these changes by measuring clicks on pre-defined elements of the page.

          Site Speed Tool - https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/
          Google has provided some great tools to helping improve your site speed.

          How to GoMo - http://www.howtogomo.com/
          Google has created a quick tool to see how your website looks on a mobile phone. It also provides some great resources to help build your mobile site.

          DUDA mobile - http://gomo.dudamobile.com/
          Duda Mobile is a partner with Google GoMo and allows you to create your mobile site in minutes. 
          URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2012/10/5-principles-of-user-experience-part-2.html

          Tuesday, October 2, 2012

          [G] Take your Chrome to work day

          | More

          Google Chrome Blog: Take your Chrome to work day

          Chrome is speedy, simple and secure making it a great browser to use at home, and now it's even better for your IT folks at work. Check out today's post from the enterprise blog and send it to your IT department if you'd like to use Chrome at work.

          Posted by Cyrus Mistry, Senior Product Manager and Business Simplifier
          URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2012/10/take-your-chrome-to-work-day.html

          [G] Enhanced Chrome browser support for Google Apps customers

          | More

          Official Google Enterprise Blog: Enhanced Chrome browser support for Google Apps customers

          Posted by Fred Beckebanze, Manager, Google Apps Technical Solutions Engineers

          Business is moving to the web. The web allows organizations of all sizes to get stuff done from anywhere, and work better together. The Chrome browser helps businesses get onto the web securely and quickly – and today, we’re adding phone and email support for Chrome for Google Apps customers.

          Moving forward, Google Apps for Business, Education and Government customers may contact Google via phone or email to receive support on Chrome installation, functionality, security, browser policy settings and Google Apps interoperability for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

          With Chrome you can securely sync your bookmarks, apps, settings and open tabs across devices – useful for the 98% of us who move between screens throughout our day. Google Apps also work great with Chrome, as features like offline document editing, desktop notifications and homescreen apps are currently only available in Chrome.

          If your organization uses a legacy app that isn’t compatible with Chrome, we suggest adopting a dual-browser strategy. The costs of using an old browser can range from reduced speed and feature gaps to exposure to critical security holes – far greater than the costs of supporting a second browser.

          Editor’s note: For Apps organizations running Windows, download the Microsoft Installer version of Chrome and centrally configure and deploy it to your employees. For organizations that support multiple operating systems, users or IT can download the Chrome client directly.

          Join us for a Google+ Hangout on Air on Wednesday, October 3 at 11am PDT (2pm EDT) to review new Chrome features and deployment practices for Google Apps customers. Go to the Google+ Your Business page at the start time and you’ll be tuned in.

          URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/10/enhanced-chrome-browser-support-for.html

          [G] Make better decisions in AdWords with your Google Analytics data

          | More

          Inside AdWords: Make better decisions in AdWords with your Google Analytics data

          If you’re already using Google Analytics, you know how useful it can be to help you make better decisions and improve your online marketing. Now, we’re making it possible to use your Google Analytics data right in AdWords. After setting up AdWords to import your Google Analytics data, you’ll have access to Bounce Rate, Pages Per Visit, and Average Visit Duration columns directly in the AdWords interface. With more performance data available right where you’re managing your campaigns, you can make better informed decisions and improve your AdWords ROI.

          Using your Google Analytics data
          With Google Analytics you can find insights that matter, including how visitors arrive at your website, how they use it, and how you can keep them coming back. Here are some ways you can take advantage of the new Google Analytics data available in AdWords to improve your results.
          • Attract more engaged users. If highly engaged users are an important goal, sort your ad groups to find the ones that deliver visitors who stay on your site the longest (“Average Visit Duration” or “Pages Per Visit”), and bid more for these.
          • Discover opportunities to convert more engaged visitors. You might find certain keywords or ads that have relatively low conversion rates, but great engagement metrics. You could lower your bids by a little and move on. Or you could see this as a great opportunity to convert clearly engaged visitors into buyers. By adjusting your offer, adding an incentive (like a coupon or discount code), or making your call to action more obvious and accessible, you might be able to improve your ROI and your conversion volume. To look for these types of opportunities, create a filter based on conversion rate and sort by Average Visit Duration, Pages per visit, or Bounce Rate.
          • Identify ads with badly matched landing pages or inaccurate targeting. Pages with both low conversion rates and low engagement metrics (low Average Visit Duration or High Bounce Rate) could indicate a poor landing page for a particular ad or keyword. It might also suggest inaccurate targeting. To identify and troubleshoot these problems, set up a filter for low conversion rate and low engagement rate and regularly monitor it. Since you’re using Google Analytics, you can easily set up A/B testing on the landing page using a Content Experiment.
          Success in action
          Casamundo, the biggest vacation rental listing service in Europe, has been an early tester of this new feature. They've used Google Analytics since 2008 and over the past 5 years they've grown and refined their AdWords campaigns to over 50 million active keywords across 10 languages. Their analysis shows that converting visitors research vacation rentals over an average of 7.4 visits, so understanding whether their ads and keywords can create strong engagement is vital to their business and how they optimize their AdWords campaigns. Seeing high bounce rates and low average time on site for a keyword means that the offer or destination page might not be a good match for that keyword.

          Having easier access to Google Analytics data right in AdWords has helped Torge Kahl, Online Marketing Manager, at Casamundo make better decisions and make optimizations more quickly. According to Torge:
          “The combination of using both Google AdWords and Google Analytics has proved to be the perfect set of tools for us to achieve our goals, and we're very happy to see this combination get more integrated and powerful. Using Analytics data right within AdWords has let me better optimize our account and significantly improve the return on our AdWords investment."
          More details
          Please visit the AdWords Help Center for step-by-step directions on how to connect your Google Analytics profile data to your AdWords account and for more details.

          To exchange tips and ask questions of others, please visit the AdWords community. You can always contact AdWords support for help if you need it.

          Posted by Dan Friedman, AdWords Product Manager
          URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/10/make-better-decisions-in-adwords-with.html

          [G] EMEA Faculty Summit 2012

          | More

          Google Research Blog: EMEA Faculty Summit 2012

          Michel Benard, University Relations Manager




          Last week we held our fifth Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Faculty Summit in London, bringing together 94 of EMEA’s foremost computer science academics from 65 universities representing 25 countries, together with more than 60 Googlers.




          This year’s jam-packed agenda included a welcome reception at the Science Museum (plus a tour of the special exhibition: “Codebreaker - Alan Turing’s life and legacy”), a keynote on “Research at Google” by Alfred Spector, Vice President of Research and Special Initiatives and a welcome address by Nelson Mattos, Vice President of Engineering and Products in EMEA, covering Google’s engineering activity and recent innovations in the region.




          The Faculty Summit is a chance for us to meet with academics in Computer Science and other areas to discuss the latest exciting developments in research and education, and to explore ways in which we can collaborate via our our University Relations programs.




          The two and a half day program consisted of tech talks, break out sessions, a panel on online education, and demos. The program covered a variety of computer science topics including Infrastructure, Cloud Computing Applications, Information Retrieval, Machine Translation, Audio/Video, Machine Learning, User Interface, e-Commerce, Digital Humanities, Social Media, and Privacy. For example, Ed H. Chi summarized how researchers use data analysis to understand the ways users share content with their audiences using the Circle feature in Google+. Jens Riegelsberger summarized how UI design and user experience research is essential to creating a seamless experience on Google Maps. John Wilkes discussed some of the research challenges - and opportunities - associated with building, managing, and using computer systems at massive scale. Breakout sessions ranged from technical follow-ups on the talk topics to discussing ways to increase the presence of women in computer science.




          We also held one-on-one sessions where academics and Googlers could meet privately and discuss topics of personal interest, such as how to develop a compelling research award proposal, how to apply for a sabbatical at Google or how to gain Google support for a conference in a particular research area.




          The Summit provides a great opportunity to build and strengthen research and academic collaborations. Our hope is to drive research and education forward by fostering mutually beneficial relationships with our academic colleagues and their universities.




          URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/gJZg/~3/j3S9lpqR4Zs/emea-faculty-summit-2012.html

          [G] Another Chrome Beta release out for delivery

          | More

          Google Chrome Blog: Another Chrome Beta release out for delivery

          Today’s Chrome Beta channel release is hot off the press and ready to go. If technical speak makes your heart throb more than a YouTube star does, you can find more details about this release over at the Chromium blog. For everyone else, enjoy!

          Posted by Karen Grunberg, Technical Program Manager and Beta Printer
          URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2012/10/another-chrome-beta-release-out-for.html

          [G] 5 Principles of User Experience, Part 1

          | More

          Inside AdSense: 5 Principles of User Experience, Part 1


          This is the first of a three-part series highlighting five user experience principles to keep in mind when designing your site. Applying these principles will help provide a great experience for users on your site. After the series we’ll host a live Google+ Hangout On Air on October 9th at 10:30am PT, when we'll put these principles in action by helping an AdSense publisher make UX improvements to their site. Visit the AdSense Google+ page on the 9th to see it live!


          User experience can make or break your site’s success. With many other sites offering similar services, it’s important to differentiate your site in the eyes of your users by providing a better experience. Because a user’s attention is limited, you'll only have a few seconds to provide a good experience and quickly guide the user to what they’re looking for.



          Today, we've provided our first two important design tips and techniques to help you identify goals for both your site and its users.


          1. Focus on your users’ goals




          Step back and first ask yourself, “How can I give my users what they want while getting what I want?” The first step in answering this is to figure out what your users’ goals are, what your goals are and how they work together. You’ll need to think about what your site’s core offerings and strengths are. We recommend keeping this to one or two strengths. Though your site may be good at many things, you should focus on what it’s great at.



          Tips:

          Some questions to ask yourself when starting out are:


          • How are your users finding your site?

          • What are they looking for?

          • Do you give them what they want?

          • What do you want from your users?

          • How do you get a desired response from them?












          Example:

          You’re a tech news site and after considering each of the questions above, you determine that:


          • Most of your users come from search engines and land on the article page

          • Your user is looking for the content of the article they searched for

          • You show them a full page article on the landing page

          • Your goal is to keep the user engaged, so that they stay longer and see more content

          • The answer to here is the real challenge. You need to prove to the user that there’s other valuable content on your site and encourage them to read more. This can be accomplished by including some related or popular articles at the bottom of each article.




          2.  Employ a clear structure to guide users



          No matter what page a user lands on, you only have a few seconds on that first screen with the space above the fold to get their attention and show them what you’re all about. Employing a simple hierarchy will give your page a clear structure that will guide users and highlight what you want them to see.



          Another thing to keep in mind is the information architecture of your site. Users are able to recognize familiar pages from unfamiliar based on the consistent way you organize and display information on your site. If your website’s structure is not logical or what they expect, users will be lost and not sure where to go next. This adds to overall frustration and can lead to users leaving your site.

          Tips:

          Use these simple design tips to create a structure for your page:


          • Contrast: Using color, saturation, or opacity to juxtapose elements on the page.

          • Size: Size is one of the easiest design levers to guide your users. Don’t be afraid to use BIG and BOLD elements to draw users’ attention to the most important information on the page.

          • Alignment: Elements that share a common axis appear related.

          • Whitespace: Drawing attention to specific elements by leaving empty space around them. It also makes your design more appealing to the eye.

          • Grid: Using a simple grid to layout elements on your page will create a sense of order and structure.






          Example:

          Newspaper sites usually do a great job creating structure through hierarchy. The breaking story or most important piece of news dominates the screen. This ensures it’s the first thing you see. Major headlines from other sections are also big and bold so a user that’s browsing can quickly and easily pick them out. The size and contrast of photos and headlines helps to guide users through the page.



          Thanks for reading and check back tomorrow for our second installment of Publisher Insights!



          Posted by: David Richards - Google AdSense



          Resources:   
          Google Analytics: Google’s free tool to help you measure your traffic and how users are currently using your site. Additionally, it can help you test how changes to your site affect performance.
          Webmaster Guidelines: Creating a clear hierarchy and sitemap will help Google crawlers find and rank content on your site.



          URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tuAm/~3/Bl8aXaxkOQY/publisher-insights-part-1-5-principles.html