Friday, January 18, 2013

[G] Bringing YouTube to Sundance and Sundance to you

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YouTube Blog: Bringing YouTube to Sundance and Sundance to you

It’s that time of year, film buffs! The 2013 Sundance Film Festival kicks off this weekend, celebrating innovation in independent cinema and introducing creative talent to the world.

Can’t make it to the festival? In The Screening Room, a YouTube channel curated by Sundance Institute and dedicated to showcasing ambitious and entertaining short films, you can watch 12 short films debuting at Sundance right now. These films were selected from the 64 shorts showing at the festival, out of more than 8,100 submissions this year.

Sundance is known for its diverse range of films, and with everything from trippy cats and zombies to a rooster king and an ambitious rodeo cowboy, The Screening Room shorts are no exception. When the festival ends, Sundance Institute will continue to curate The Screening Room, highlighting cutting edge short films from past Sundance filmmakers and the film festival circuit each week.

Lucky enough to be in Park City? We’re here too, presenting the 2013 Sundance Film Festival Shorts Program, where we’ll introduce original content from select YouTube channels to the audience at each screening.

At YouTube, we're proud to show our support and admiration for independent creators through our partnership with Sundance, and we hope you enjoy all the exciting new short form content that is uploaded to our platform every day.

Happy viewing!

Raymond Braun, YouTube Entertainment Marketing, recently watched "Broken Night" in The Screening Room


Thursday, January 17, 2013

[G] Responding to the severe flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia

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Official Google Blog: Responding to the severe flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia

The Google Crisis Response team has assembled a resource page to help track affected areas and provide updated emergency information for the millions affected by flooding in Jakarta. We also have a mobile page with emergency contact numbers and lists of shelters, and enhanced search results on to provide information directly when people search. We’ve also included this information in our FreeZone service to reach affected users on feature phones.

On both the page and map, which are available in English and Bahasa Indonesia, you'll see an update on flood locations and related data such as traffic conditions in areas affected by the flooding.

To share the page or embed these maps on your own site, click "Share" at the top of the page.

We’ll update the content as more information becomes available.

Posted by Alice Bonhomme-Biais, Software Engineer, Google Crisis Response

[G] Responding to the severe flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia

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Google Lat Long: Responding to the severe flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia

(Cross-posted on the Official Google Blog and the Blog.)

The Google Crisis Response team has assembled a resource page to help track affected areas and provide updated emergency information for the millions affected by flooding in Jakarta. We also have a mobile page with emergency contact numbers and lists of shelters, and enhanced search results on to provide information directly when people search. We’ve also included this information in our FreeZone service to reach affected users on feature phones.

On both the page and map, which are available in English and Bahasa Indonesia, you'll see an update on flood locations and related data such as traffic conditions in areas affected by the flooding.

To share the page or embed these maps on your own site, click "Share" at the top of the page.

We’ll update the content as more information becomes available.

Posted by Alice Bonhomme-Biais, Software Engineer, Google Crisis Response

[G] Dynamic links: Serve the right ad to the right user at the right time

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Google Affiliate Network: Dynamic links: Serve the right ad to the right user at the right time

We’re excited to announce the release of Dynamic links, helping you serve more relevant affiliate ads to users. Dynamic links enable new ways to create and serve ads that use Google’s best-in-class display advertising features, giving advertisers the ability to serve geo-targeted ads, rotate and optimize creatives, automatically schedule and update ads, and more. Dynamic links can contain multiple creatives and also support Flash.

Publisher benefits
Since Dynamic links automatically update based on changes an advertiser makes even after the ad has been placed on a publisher website, publishers will be able to serve the right advertiser creative to their audience, helping increase the opportunity for conversions and revenue via the affiliate channel.

Optimized, Scheduled or Targeted ads
Advertisers have three unique options when creating Dynamic links.
  1. Optimized – Set up the ad so creatives rotate evenly at first. As links generate activity, higher-performing creatives will get more exposure.
  2. Scheduled – Set up all limited-time promotions so publishers only need to use one tag to show the most up-to-date affiliate ads.
  3. Targeted – Set up country or US state specific targeting for localized creatives. Each creative can contain its own custom location targeting to country or US state.
Features available with Dynamic links
  • Inventory selection – Advertisers can create Dynamic links for any ad size and can associate any number of creative images or Flash rich media assets with their ads. Ads are available both as Link templates as well as Publisher-specific links, and publishers can easily preview each creative within a dynamic ad.
  • Ad trafficking – Ads from participating advertisers are available via the Links tab in the Google Affiliate Network interface. The ad serving code is a standard Iframe/JavaScript tag, and publishers only need to implement the tag once.
  • Reporting – Performance reporting is easily accessible in your Google Affiliate Network account.
Publishers can access Dynamic links from the Links tab in the UI, under the Browse all links sub-tab.

If you’re a publisher, just sign into your account, click the Links tab and filter by Dynamic links to find available Dynamic links. Once you select an ad, it’s easy to get the code and post to your website. For details on posting Dynamic links to your website, review our Help Center.

We welcome your feedback -- as we continue to iterate on this exciting new feature, we want to hear from you in our Product forum.

- Posted by: Matt Hansen, Software Engineer

[G] Expanding Reviews Content in the Google Places API

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Expanding Reviews Content in the Google Places API

Posted by: Justin Chu, Places API Product Manager

Cross-post to Geo Developers Blog

Starting today, the Google Places API will feature Place Summaries, reliable reviews about points of interest. This allows your application to embed useful review information. For example, car manufacturers can use the API to provide drivers with detailed reviews of local establishments directly in their in-car system.

Place Summaries are curated expert reviews and ratings, based on user feedback, that provide information about a location’s key attributes such as decor, quality and service. The API also shows Zagat-recommended establishments. So whether your customer is looking for a local Chinese restaurant or a national park, the Google Places API help them make a quick, informed decision about where to go and what to do.

We’re continually improving the Google Places API to deliver accurate and comprehensive information about local businesses across the globe. For more information about the Google Places API, contact our sales team.

[G] For schools: The new Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook

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Google Chrome Blog: For schools: The new Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook

The Chromebook journey has been about building a faster, simpler and more secure computer for everyone, and today we're excited to introduce a new Chromebook built for schools. Learn more about the Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook from today's post on the enterprise blog.

Posted by Caesar Sengupta, Director of Product Management

[G] For schools: The new Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: For schools: The new Lenovo ThinkPad Chromebook

Posted by Caesar Sengupta, Director of Product Management

Learning online is transforming today’s classrooms. More than 1,000 schools are using Chromebooks, opening the door for their teachers and students to take advantage of the web’s vast educational resources. Today, our newest partner Lenovo has announced a Chromebook based on their popular ThinkPad laptop. Meet the new Lenovo ThinkPad X131e Chromebook.

Classrooms have unique hardware and software needs and this new Chromebook combines the hassle-free experience of Chrome OS with the ThinkPad’s rugged design for the classroom environment. With specialized features like a rubber bumper around the top cover, stronger corners, reinforced hinges and hinge brackets, and a high definition (HD) LED anti-glare screen, the Lenovo ThinkPad X131e Chromebook is ready for schools. Lasting up to 6.5 hours* with a latest-generation Intel processor, the ThinkPad Chromebook will keep up with even the most active students and teachers.

Like all Chromebooks, the ThinkPad Chromebook delivers a simple computing experience with built-in security and automatic updates. It’s a fast computer that’s easy to share among multiple students with Google Apps for Education, and it includes over a thousand web-based educational apps from the Chrome Web Store.

Chromebooks can be managed and deployed centrally through the Chrome management console so schools can easily setup and manage users, apps, and policies across an entire school or district.

The new Lenovo ThinkPad X131e Chromebook will be available for $429 in the United States starting on February 26, 2013. Schools can add management and support from Google for a one-time cost of $30 per device. If you’d like to learn more, contact the Chromebook for Education team or visit our Google in Education booth (#1109) at FETC in Orlando from January 28-31, 2013.

*Actual battery life depends on usage and other factors.

[G] Ads Security: 2012 Retrospective

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Inside AdWords: Ads Security: 2012 Retrospective

While most people are working on productive New Year’s resolutions, scammers and bad actors will begin 2013 with the same old goal: make money with the help of bad ads.  Advertising helps fund businesses online and enables them to provide services and content for free to their users.  But, bad ads can ruin your web experience, putting you and legitimate businesses in harm’s way.  We have a vested interest in fighting bad ads and their sources with considerable firepower.

Luckily, our ads quality team hasn’t changed its New Year’s resolutions either: stop bad ads and eliminate bad actors from our systems.  In 2012, we continued to make progress towards this goal: we introduced new tools for stopping bad ads, provided greater transparency around the ads review process, and explained how advertisers can connect with us if we ever mistakenly disapprove good ads.  Below is a more complete look at our efforts to combat bad ads in 2012.

We will continue to do whatever it takes to keep our users, partners, and the web as a whole, as safe as possible.  We have zero tolerance for bad ads and will keep working tirelessly to maintain the most secure advertising systems in 2013, and beyond.

Signed by: David W. Baker, Ads Engineering

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

[G] Discover Israel on Google Maps

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Google Lat Long: Discover Israel on Google Maps

Last April we released panoramic imagery of sites and streets in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv-Jaffa via the Street View feature of Google Maps. Since then, people from all over the world have explored historical and cultural sites such as the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, the Baha’i Gardens in Haifa and the beaches of Tel Aviv-Jaffa.

Today, as part of our ongoing effort to make Google Maps even more comprehensive and accurate, we’re publishing street-level imagery of hundreds more cities, towns, villages, heritage sites and tourist attractions across Israel.

You can now virtually tour the picturesque city of Safed in the North, the coral reef in Eilat in the South, visit the lowest point on earth at the Dead Sea, and wander around the narrow passageways of the old city of Acre.

Visit Tiberias, one of Judaism’s four holy cities; the Sea of Galilee where, according to the Gospels, Jesus walked on water; and stop off at Capernaum, the ancient fishing village believed to be the home of St. Peter, or the ancient battle site of Tel Meggido, better known as Armageddon.

Capernaum, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee

The ancient Nabataean cities of Mamshit and Shivta, both of them UNESCO world heritage sites, can also now be seen directly in Google Maps. Tour around the Bet She’an National Park, one of the world’s largest archaeological sites; the Crusader fortress overlooking the excavations at Tzippori; or the sandstone and copper-rich nature reserve at Timna. Enjoy the colorful Druze market town of Daliyat El Carmel, the Bedouin town of Rahat, or take a ride down the ‘Burma Road’, a makeshift bypass road to Jerusalem built in 1948.

The 'Mushroom' red sandstone rock formation at Timna

Sports fans can even go inside Ramat Gan Stadium or Bloomfield. And museum lovers can take in Haifa’s National Museum of Science, Technology & Space, the Holocaust Museum at Kibbutz Yad Mordechai, the Ghetto Fighters Museum at Kibbutz Lochamei Ha’getaot, the Museum of Bedouin Culture in the Negev desert, or take a tour around the Egged Bus Museum.

We’ve added imagery from cities, towns and villages including Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be’er Sheva, Bnei Brak, Eilat, Isfyia, Kfar Qasem, Kiryat Gat, Nazareth, Netanya, Ofakim, Petah Tikva, Rishon LeTsiyon, Sderot, Tira, and many, many more. And stay tuned - we hope to expand coverage to still more of the region’s sites, streets, cities and towns in the future.

Posted by Ulf Spitzer, Street View Program Manager

[G] Kapitall Uses Content Experiments To Drive A 44% Conversion Increase

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Analytics Blog: Kapitall Uses Content Experiments To Drive A 44% Conversion Increase

Video game entrepreneur Gaspard de Dreuzy and financial technologist Serge Kreiker had a thought: why not use the gaming experience to break the traditional online investing mold? Their idea took hold and Wall Street firm Kapitall, Inc. was born in 2008. Based in New York, Kapitall now has 15 full-time employees providing a unique online investing platform and brokerage.

Kapitall has used Google Analytics Certified Partner Empirical Path since 2011 for analytics services on its JavaScript website. The complex implementation required custom JavaScript to allow for Google Analytics tracking within the trading interface as well as on landing pages. Empirical Path implemented Google Analytics tracking directly within the Kapitall interface so that decision makers could understand pivotal actions, such as how often brokerage accounts were being funded or where in the sign-up process potential investors were dropping out.

Challenge: Refining the landing page for maximum response 

Kapitall wanted to do more than simply capture data however; they also wanted to test the content of their landing page and then optimize it by targeting visitors with messages and options that would lead to conversions. Why was creating a truly effective landing page seen to be so critical? Kapitall’s gaming-style interface enlists traders to sign up for brokerage accounts and use the site to trade stocks or create practice portfolios. Every incremental sign-up is key to the company’s success.

Approach: Split testing to identify a winning landing page 

Kapitall understood that there was little point in making one-off ad hoc responses to analytics insights, or doing before-and-after comparisons that would inevitably be confounded by differences in the before and after audiences. Empirical Path recommended taking their analytics efforts to the next level with a closed-loop solution to eliminate complications and identify the best page version. 

The team proposed automated experiments to compare different versions of the landing page to see which performed best among a random sample of visitors. To accomplish this, Empirical Path first set Google Analytics’ Event Tracking and Custom Variables on brokerage accounts to distinguish current customers from traders. The team then designed Content Experiments in Google Analytics to understand which version of the landing page drove the greatest number of sign-ups.

Results: A new landing page with proven success

The outcomes from the test were illuminating, clearly identifying that the Angry Birds landing page was most effective. The winning version showed a dramatic increase in sign-ups of 44 percent and a 98 percent probability that this version would continue to beat the original. “Kapitall was impressed by how quickly Content Experiments was able to zero in on the Angry Birds version,” says Jim Snyder, principal at Empirical Path Consulting. “Having the ability  to quickly surface the best performing version directly resulted in attracting more investors at a faster rate, and that was a huge value-add to Kapitall.” Thanks to the split testing approach, Kapitall possesses valuable insights into the perfect blend of messaging and creative elements to optimize the page. With the strongest version now implemented, Kapitall is able to realize the true power of its online real estate. 

View the entire case study as a PDF here.

Posted by the Google Analytics Team

[G] New Mobile Ads Showcase App puts the best of mobile ads in agencies’ hands

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Inside AdWords: New Mobile Ads Showcase App puts the best of mobile ads in agencies’ hands

Smartphones and tablets can be great creative canvases for brand advertisers, and many agencies are helping brands go big on mobile. But it’s hard for agencies and advertisers to experience the full interactivity of mobile rich media -- mobile video and HTML5 ads --  through static images alone. Last night at our annual Creative Sandbox event in New York, we unveiled the new Mobile Ads Showcase App, which lets you experience mobile ads exactly as your users will.

The app lets you explore what best-in-class advertisers are doing with mobile rich media, and learn about all that’s possible with Google Mobile Ads. Additionally, agencies can use the app as their mobile portfolio by coding, testing and uploading their HTML5 ad examples to the MRAID-compliant “My Ads” screen. The app is now available for Android smartphones and tablets through the Google Play Store.

See the app in action and learn more about how it works on the Creative Sandbox site

Posted by Jessica Sapick, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Ads

[G] Promoting civic innovation through technology

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Google Public Policy Blog: Promoting civic innovation through technology

Posted by Matthew Stepka, VP,

Cross-posted from the blog

The Internet is redefining citizenship in the 21st century. Technology is helping people to connect, engage, and contribute to society and each other like never before.

We’ve seen developers use our Civic Information API to bring election data to citizens in new and exciting ways. Our live election results maps have been viewed by billions around the world, bringing real-time transparency to elections in Egypt, Mexico, Ghana, and more. Last week, we launched the Kenya Elections Hub for citizens to access the latest news and resources for the country’s presidential election.

Beyond elections, technology can improve everyday civic life: the way we connect, engage, access and act on critical government information. Worldwide, organizations are developing new ways to encourage more open and innovative societies. is supporting two of these leaders--the Sunlight Foundation and mySociety--and their work on tech solutions for civic innovation.

We are providing $2.1 million to the Sunlight Foundation to grow their programs for open government data, with a focus on making civic information for U.S. cities transparent, available, and useable. By opening up information at the city level for developers as well as citizens, Sunlight is creating opportunity for new ideas that can have an impact in local markets.

We are also supporting mySociety, providing $1.6 million to build a global platform to equip developers with tools and resources--such as open source code--to more easily and quickly launch new civic apps and services. This initiative can promote collaboration between civic-minded technologists, regardless of geography. For example, a civic app created in Finland might be easily replicated 9,000 miles away by a developer in Chile.

Both organizations are working to bring together a larger community--governments, developers, companies, nonprofits, and citizens--with an interest in improving societies. By creating these open platforms today, we can open doors to ambitious new solutions in the future.

[G] Recruitment group Randstad Chooses Google Apps for its 29,000 Employees

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Recruitment group Randstad Chooses Google Apps for its 29,000 Employees

Posted by Martijn Nykerk, Senior Consultant Group IT

Editor's note: Our guest blogger this week is Martijn Nykerk, Senior Consultant Group IT at Randstad, the Netherlands-based global provider of HR services and the second largest staffing organization in the world. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

HR is fundamentally about people. That may seem obvious, but in our firm that takes unusual dimensions. Randstad is one of the biggest staffing companies in the world and has some 29,000 employees working from more than 4,500 branches in 40 countries around the world. We help companies and candidates connect in industries such as engineering, finance and accounting, healthcare, human resources, managed services, pharma and technology. To give you an idea, we place on average well over 500.000 people per day. We’ve grown to become quite large since we began as a small company started in a student dorm room in 1960 and our business has changed quite a bit in that time. But at its core, we’re still the same. We’re all about people.

With so many employees in locations across the world, we had several different email and collaboration systems in place and were looking to standardize. A majority of employees around the world were using Microsoft Outlook for email and Lotus Notes for collaboration, but we ran into several problems. For one, both Outlook and Lotus Notes weren't seamlessly integrated with other systems, requiring our employees to find workarounds and solve formatting issues on their own. This wasted valuable time on the part of both the employee and IT department. In addition, both Outlook and Lotus Notes are primarily hosted solutions, which makes it difficult to collaborate across our many locations.

Our decision making process involved several companies, but ultimately we decided on Google for a few different reasons. We have a workforce of younger, web-savvy employees and we heard the feedback that they are quite familiar with Google tools like Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and Google+ Hangouts in their personal lives, and on a variety of devices, and that they'd like to use them at work too. Also, because the Google tools are all integrated, we wouldn't run into the problem of having employees across offices and countries having to work with several different pieces of technology that don’t work well together. Lastly, the availability of resellers such as G-company was a big plus. We wanted to provide our employees with as much training as they needed and G-company were able to provide that. Our rollout will eventually include all 29,000 Randstad employees, 5,000 of whom are located in the Netherlands. Our employees in France, approximately 7,000, are already on Google.

We’re right in the middle of our rollout, but early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We can simply do things that weren't possible before. For example, it has become much easier search and access mail, calendar and documents when on the road, or for an employee in France to schedule a video chat with an employee in The Netherlands in a Hangout. It’s a conference call, but it’s so much more - it’s a conference call that’s based around people, not technology. For an HR company, that’s exactly what we’re looking for in a technology partner.


[G] Never ass-ume

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Google Lat Long: Never ass-ume

Over the last 24-hours concerned members of the public and the media have been speculating on the fate of a donkey pictured in Street View in the Kweneng region of Botswana.

Because of the way our 360-degree imagery is put together, it looked to some that our car had been involved in an unseemly hit and run, leaving the humble beast stranded in the road.

As our imagery below shows, the donkey was lying in the path - perhaps enjoying a dust bath - before moving safely aside as our car drove past. I’m pleased to confirm the donkey is alive and well.

Images 1 & 2: our car, driving on the left hand side, approaches the donkey lying down in the road.

Image 3: the donkey gets up and moves aside.

Image 4: a shot taken from the back of our car shows the curious animal back on its feet.

I hope you continue to enjoy some of the spectacular images of Botswana and its wildlife, big and small.

Posted by Kei Kawai, Group Product Manager, Google Maps

[G] Your optimization checklist, Part 1

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Inside AdSense: Your optimization checklist, Part 1

With a fresh start to the year, now is a great time to review your AdSense strategy to ensure you’re making the most out of your ads. With that in mind, we’re kicking off a two-part optimization checklist series to help you increase your earning potential. In this first post, we’ll review some oldie-but-goodie tips; take a look, check off the items that you’ve already covered, and see if there’s anything you may have missed.
  1. Increase ad coverage: Placing additional ad units on your site can have a big impact on your earnings. You can put up to three standard AdSense for content ad units (note only one 300x600), three link units and two AdSense for search boxes on each page of your site. Sometimes publishers find it difficult to decide whether an additional ad unit makes sense for their site. Watch this short video to help you make sure you're following best practices, as outlined on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, when placing new ad units on your site. As always, it’s important to consider the amount of ads in relation to the quality content on your site. 
  2. Use recommended ad sizes: As a rule of thumb, wider ad sizes tend to outperform their taller counterparts, due to their reader-friendly format. If positioned well, wide ad sizes can increase your earnings significantly. The sizes we've found to be the most effective are the 728X90 Leaderboard, the 336x280 Large Rectangle, the 300x250 Medium Rectangle, and the 160x600 Wide Skyscraper. Keep in mind that while these ad sizes typically perform well, you should use the size that best complements your pages.
  3. Show both text and image ads: Image ads compete in the same auction for your ad space that text ads do. So, choosing to display both text and image ads increases the competition for ads to appear on your site, and may help you earn more. Check this case study to see how displaying both text and image ads helped one publisher. You can also find instructions how to enable image ads in our Help Center.
  4. Experiment with ad color combinations: Choosing the right ad styles can mean the difference between ads your users will notice -- and click -- and ads they'll skip right over. There are three techniques you can use to design ad styles that will be successful for your site: blend, compliment and contrast.  Experiment with ad color combinations to find the best fit for your site. See this Help Center article for additional information. 
  5. Ensure optimal ad placement: The placement of your ads plays a big role in revenue earning potential and user experience. While we often recommend placing an ad above the fold, it’s also important that users can easily find the content they are looking for. Check out this resource for more tips on ad placement, and see our heat map for even more information. 
  6. Add a search box (or two): As mentioned in #1, you can put up two AdSense for search boxes (along with three standard AdSense for content ad units and three link units) on each page of your site.  AdSense for search is a free product that lets you place a Custom Search Engine on your site to provide users with web search. You'll also earn revenue from relevant ads on the search results page.
We hope you find these tips useful. If you have additional tips to share, or would like to let us know about your experience with using an optimization tip, leave a comment on our AdSense +page. Stay tuned for our second part of the series, where we’ll cover some advanced optimization tips.

Posted by Jamie Firkus - Inside AdSense Team

Monday, January 14, 2013

[G] Inviting kids to dream big: Doodle 4 Google 2013 is open for submission!

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Official Google Blog: Inviting kids to dream big: Doodle 4 Google 2013 is open for submission!

We’re always thinking about ways to make everyday life a little easier and a little more fun. But what would the perfect day look like? We thought we’d ask the most creative folks out there: today we’re announcing our 6th annual U.S. Doodle 4 Google competition, inviting K-12 students around the country to create their own “doodle” (one of the special Google logos you see on our homepage on various occasions). This year’s theme: “My Best Day Ever...” Breakdancing with aliens? Sure! Building a fortress of candy? Okay by us! Riding to school on a brontosaurus? You get the idea—but if you need more inspiration, take a look at our video here:

The winning artist will see their work on the Google homepage for a day, win a $30,000 college scholarship, and win a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school.

The judging starts with Googlers and a panel of guest judges. This year our judges include journalist and TV personality Katie Couric; music maestro Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson of The Roots; Chris Sanders, writer and director of Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon; and Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time; among other great creative minds.

On May 1 we’ll open up a public vote for the 50 State Winners. They’ll be flown to New York City for a national awards ceremony on May 22. There, we’ll announce the National Winner, whose doodle will appear on the Google homepage the following day. In addition, all the State Winners will have their artwork on display at the American Museum of Natural History from May 22 to July 14.

Participating is easier than ever. You can download the entry forms on our Doodle 4 Google site and send in completed doodles by mail or online. All entries must be received by March 22 with a parent or guardian’s signature. We encourage full classrooms to participate too. There’s no limit to the number of doodles that come from any one school or family... just remember, only one doodle per student.

For more details, check out, where you’ll find full contest rules and entry forms. Happy doodling, and good luck!

Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead

[G] Plan your Big Game party on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Plan your Big Game party on YouTube

You don’t have to be an American football fan to know that the Big Game is almost here. It’s one of the biggest sports moments of the year, and we’re doing our bit to share the authentic Big Game experience, with the Ad Blitz Pre-Game program.

All those recipes for hot wings, multi-layer dips and things-wrapped-in-bacon that you’ve been searching for? The Ad Blitz Pre-Game channel has them all in one place with videos on party recipes and ideas. We’ve also curated playoff coverage and predictions for the Big Game, so you can sound like an expert. There’s even a video on how to freeze a six-pack in under three minutes, in case you’re stuck with warm drinks at kick-off time.

Ad Blitz Pre-Game is presented by Tide, and features sports content from channels like FOX Sports and Bleacher Report, plus great food suggestions from party-planning experts like Howcast and FoodWishes. The Pre-Game runs through February 2, after that you’ll be able to watch and vote on your favorite game commercials on the same Ad Blitz channel.

Whether you’re really invested in the outcome of the game, or even more excited about all the snacks, we hope you’ll have something to cheer about.

Leena El-Omar, YouTube sports program manager, recently watched “How to Make a Fried Onion Blossom.”


[G] Hello Browser

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Google Chrome Blog: Hello Browser

Using your voice to search on your computer or phone is handy, but there’s so much more you can do with voice commands. Imagine if you could dictate documents, have a freestyle rap battle, or control game characters with your browser using only your voice. With today’s Chrome Beta release, this future is closer than you think.

With the inclusion of the Web Speech API for developers, users can start enjoying new, interactive experiences with web apps, like in this demo where you can compose an email by speaking. With this new JavaScript API, developers can integrate speech recognition into their web apps. So, in the near future you’ll be able to talk apps into doing all sorts of things.

To make sure your Chrome installation isn’t being slowed down, today’s Chrome Beta will automatically disable some extensions on Windows that may have been added by third party programs without proper acknowledgement from users. The original intent was to give people an option to add useful extensions when installing applications, but unfortunately this feature has been widely abused by third parties who added extensions without user consent. A notification will appear with the option to re-enable the affected extensions.

Download Chrome Beta to give these latest enhancements a test drive. If you dig APIs more than chocolate cake you can get more details on the Web Speech API and this Chrome release over on the Chromium blog.

Posted by Glen Shires, Software Engineer and Speech Specialist

[G] Google Code-in 2012 comes to a close

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Google Open Source Blog: Google Code-in 2012 comes to a close

Congratulations to the 334* students who have been busy completing 1,913* tasks for the last seven weeks in the Google Code-in contest.  The 13-17 year-old students received a hands-on introduction to open source software development by working directly with 10 open source projects that have developed tasks for the students, complete with mentors to offer guidance along the way.

Students completed tasks like writing small pieces of code, creating tutorials to help new users of the software, reporting bugs, writing documentation for the open source projects and everything in between.

Stay tuned to this blog as we will be announcing the 20 Grand Prize Winners (2 from each open source organization) on February 4th. The Grand Prize Winners receive a trip for themselves and a parent/legal guardian to Google’s Mountain View, CA headquarters for four days this April where they will meet with Google engineers, explore the Google campus and enjoy a day full of adventures in San Francisco.

Congratulations again students on your accomplishments, we hope you had fun working with the open source organizations and mentors and will continue to stay involved in the community or with other open source projects in the future.

A huge thank you to all of the mentors and organization administrators who have spent many busy nights and weekends helping students learn about the many aspects of open source software development. This contest would not be possible without all of your dedication and excitement in sharing your passion for your projects with these students.

In the next few weeks we will post more stats on the contest and snippets about some of the extraordinary work the students completed during the Google Code-in.

Great job Students, Mentors and Organization Administrators!

* The final evaluations are currently being graded, these numbers will likely rise in the next few days.

By Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs