Friday, February 22, 2013

[G] A Summer of Code for Science

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Google Open Source Blog: A Summer of Code for Science



For our second year participating in Google Summer of Code, Computational Science and Engineering at TU Wien successfully mentored nine students. A total of 37 mentors from five different faculties worked with the students, sharing their passion in their area of research.



Tim Jerman was working on a RAW loader for nomacs.org. He successfully improved and extended the RAW processing with an additional post-processing that reduces chromatic noise. His image manipulation toolbox allows users to enhance their images manually, including gamma correction, exposure compensation, and saturation manipulation.





Fedor Morozov implemented HDR imaging for nomacs.org that allows for displaying, reading, and writing the most common HDR file formats such as .hdr, .exr, and .pic. In addition, he added a converter for creating HDR images from multiple LDR images.



Jan Kis worked on the parallelization of OpenPixi, a physics simulation for electromagnetic plasmas. A large part of the work was devoted to designing a parallel scheme for exchanging field and particle information between neighboring nodes of the simulation. Parallelization was implemented in Java using the IBIS portability layer project. The new framework allows for various types of boundaries including hard wall and periodic boundary conditions. The good performance of the final code was demonstrated on the Vienna Scientific Cluster.



Benjamin Venditti and Thomas Perl made fantastic progress on the MoveOnPC project. They implemented a library for tracking multiple PS Move controllers robustly on multiple platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac and Meego). Now a variety of cameras can be used (PS Eye, webcams, up to HD 1080p cameras) for optical tracking. Various language bindings (C, Python, Java, Processing and C#) provide flexibility in the use of the developed PS Move API. Benjamin Venditti focused on the computer vision part of the project and implemented a robust color calibration and optical tracking algorithm with OpenCV. His developments are described on the MoveOnPC blog. Thomas Perl focused on reading and fusing sensor data, hardware programming, and implementing all language bindings and creating examples. His progress is documented on this MoveOnPC project page, where his master thesis summarizing his work on the MoveOnPC project is available.



Joseph Boudou worked on the Skeptik project improving and developing state of the art algorithms for the compression of propositional resolution proofs generated by automated deduction tools, particularly SAT-solvers and SMT-solvers. He has become a regular contributor to our project, and his work has been so successful that the results of his work are going to be submitted to a major conference.



Harald Hofstätter implemented a server for the upcoming interface standard, OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA). By integration into the Monitoring System Toolkit a number of software tools can now access data of sensors and actors in buildings in real-time.



Volodymyr Kysenko worked on a GPU-accelerated solver for the generalized eigenvalue problem in ViennaCL. He also contributed code for computing the singular value decomposition of a matrix and presented a paper about work, that was initiated during Google Summer of Code 2011, at the NLDB 2012 conference in Groningen.



Alexander Kowarik worked on integrating C++ code for the R package sdcMicro. Because of his work, now all methods of this state-of-the-art package on statistical disclosure control are well optimized to work on large data sets. In addition, he revised the point-and-click interface of the package so that also non R-users have the possibility to anonymize their data.



All of us at TU Wien were very pleased with the progress our Google Summer of Code students made, and wish them every success going forward.



By Karl Rupp, Computational Science and Engineering at TU Wien Organization Administrator and team






URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/SZQV_E7J5vM/a-summer-of-code-for-science.html

[G] A look back at a merry multi-screen holiday season

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Inside AdWords: A look back at a merry multi-screen holiday season

Note: this was posted earlier today on the Google Mobile Ads Blog.

This past holiday season, homes were aglow with the twinkling lights of large screens (like laptops, desktops and tablets) and mobile phones alike. In our holiday consumer survey, conducted in partnership with Nielsen, we found that consumers relied on their devices more this holiday season, moving fluidly between devices based on their setting and context. 63% of consumers frequently used more than one digital device to shop for gifts this holiday season, and 67% of consumers believe that “having access to multiple devices makes it easier to shop”.

Another important finding was that more screens means more shopping. People using one device to research and shop made online and offline purchases across an average of six product categories (like electronics, apparel, auto parts, etc), while those that used two devices purchased across eight categories, and people who used all three devices shopped across an average of nine categories.


In many cases, consumers discovered a business on one device, for example on their smartphone while in a store, and would then engage further with that business on another device at a later time. We saw that 65% of holiday shoppers were frequently engaging in this sequential behavior throughout all of their shopping. For multi-screen shoppers, different devices fulfill specific objectives. For example, smartphones were the preferred device for contacting or navigating to a business with 71% of shoppers using a store locator on their phone, while 82% of shoppers used a larger device like PC or tablet for making online purchases.

These same multi-screen trends carried us into 2013 as people used multiple devices to make and keep new years resolutions. Looking at search query behavior around New Years, we saw an interesting twist on the classic resolution of becoming more healthy. People used their smartphones on January 1st to look up things like gym memberships, diets, or cleanses, and then the following day, searches for those same words spiked on tablets and desktops as people continued their research on these devices at home or at work. This behavior demonstrated the growing trend of using multiple devices in combination to help make everyday decisions.


Implications for businesses
This multi-screen consumer behavior doesn't fade away with the holiday. In fact, better understanding how people searched, shopped and seamlessly moved between multiple screens during the holiday can give us insight into this new constantly connected consumer. So what can businesses do about it?

One good answer is to think context. All these new search patterns have created new opportunities for businesses to be more relevant to people’s context. Context signals like time of day, general location, and the kind of device a person is using, provide powerful insights into what they may be looking for and where they are in the buying cycle.

Within AdWords, advertisers now have the opportunity to use enhanced campaigns, which help them reach people across all devices with smarter ads that are relevant to their intent and context. Learn more about enhanced campaigns here.

This multi-screen behavior will only continue throughout the year. As device penetration grows and multi-screen behavior becomes the norm, those businesses that evolve their marketing strategy along with it will remain the most relevant and see the greatest results.

Posted by: Adam Grunewald, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Ads
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/02/a-look-back-at-merry-multi-screen.html

[G] Google Research Awards: Winter, 2013

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Google Research Blog: Google Research Awards: Winter, 2013

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education & University Relations



Another round of the Google Research Awards has just been completed. This is our bi-annual open call for proposals on a variety of computer science-related topics, including systems, machine perception, natural language processing, security and many others. Our grants cover tuition and travel for a graduate student and provides faculty and students the opportunity to work directly with Google scientists and engineers.



This round, we received almost 600 proposals from 46 different countries. After expert reviews and committee discussions, we decided to fund 102 projects. The subject areas that received the highest level of support were human-computer interaction, machine learning, and mobile. In addition, 22% of the funding was awarded to universities outside the U.S.



Google’s University Relations funding falls into three categories. This first is the Google Research Award program which funds new faculty and innovative projects, or helps faculty get a new research program off the ground. We fund over 200 projects annually through this program. We feel this is a great way for Google to support a large number of faculty and projects, and it helps us keep a pulse on what’s going on in academic computer science research.



The second category of funding goes toward more focused, longer-term projects, where we collaborate closely on projects of mutual interest. Our PhD Fellowship program is also a part of our focused program strategy. The third category goes toward new programs and initiatives, and to the development of research and education in emerging countries.



Congratulations to the well-deserving recipients of this round’s awards. If you are interested in applying for the next round (deadline is April 15), please visit our website for more information.


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/gJZg/~3/L4LciIaiX-8/google-research-awards-winter-2013.html

Thursday, February 21, 2013

[G] Our first-ever Google Journalism Fellowship winners

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Official Google Blog: Our first-ever Google Journalism Fellowship winners

More than 2,300 students from across the globe applied for the first Google Journalism Fellowship. The interest the Fellowship attracted clearly demonstrates the need for these types of opportunities, especially as the worlds of journalism and technology increasingly become one.

The students who have been picked for the 10-week program will get the chance to work with organizations focused on exciting projects ranging from those steeped in investigative journalism to those working for press freedom around the world and to those that are helping the industry figure out its future in the digital age. They will also spend a week with the Knight Foundation and a week with Google.

We had so many applications—on the last day they poured in at a rate of roughly one every two minutes—that we extended our review period by a week to make selections. Our host organizations had the unenviable task of choosing just one Fellow out of the mass of talented students who applied; the Nieman Journalism Lab is taking two Fellows.

The Fellows who will take part in the program are:


Thank you to everyone who made the effort to apply and to the host organizations for their hard work.

Posted by Maggie Shiels, Google Communications and former BBC journalist
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/our-first-ever-google-journalism.html

[G] Improved search experience for customers and employees – Österreichische Post AG opts for Google Search Appliance

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Improved search experience for customers and employees – Österreichische Post AG opts for Google Search Appliance

Posted by Peter Hutterer, Content Manager, Österreichische Post AG

Editor's note: Our guest blogger this week is Peter Hutterer, Content Manager at Österreichische Post AG, Austria’s leading logistics and postal service provider.

Österreichische Post AG has been the leading logistics and postal service provider in Austria since 1999. More than eight million Austrians trust us every day to deliver their letters, advertising materials and packages securely and quickly. As a stock market listed company, we make an important contribution towards maintaining and securing the communication and logistics infrastructure in Austria. We always look to the latest technologies to further enhance the quality of our service, and are convinced that good service is only possible if our customers, employees and partners can find what they are looking for quickly and easily.

That is why we chose to implement the Google Search Appliance 7.0. The recently launched project – first implementing GSA for our website and online shop pages and later using it for our intranet – is expected to be completed by mid-2013. Initially, 9,000 employees in our stores across Austria will use the GSA, which will allow them to locate internal information and documents, share these with the entire workforce and improve our internal networking.

The personalized intranet search experience enabled by the GSA is another key factor that played a role in the decision to go with Google’s Enterprise Search solution. With the GSA, we can also search within the organisation for experts in different subject areas, and thus tap into the “wisdom of many” across all our locations to execute our work. In addition, while up to now we've been using various search engines within the company, the move to one and intuitive GSA will lower our IT spend.

However, GSA doesn’t just give our employees a fast and easy search experience that yields the most relevant results; our customers also benefit from our implementation of the Google search solution. They are used to finding everything they need extremely fast by searching on Google.at. And now the GSA will give them the same experience on our website, making it easier to navigate the jungle of our diverse service portfolio, including information about package rates, mail forwarding services, e-letters, store locations and more. The GSA helps people find the right information faster and delivers the most relevant results for their queries. What’s more, with the GSA, our IT staff can better analyze customer search queries, which, in turn, lets them design the website to be more user-friendly. But that’s not the end of it: in the future, we will use GSA to better calibrate our service offers to make sure we meet and exceed the needs of our customers.

See what other businesses that use the Google Search Appliance have to say.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2013/02/improved-search-experience-for.html

[G] Bringing voice recognition to the web

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Google Chrome Blog: Bringing voice recognition to the web

Web apps, listen up. Today's Chrome Stable release includes support for the Web Speech API (discussed last month), which developers can use to integrate speech recognition capabilities into their web apps. To see what this might look like, check out this demo on how to compose an email just using your voice.

In addition, today’s release also disables silent extension installs in Chrome for Windows. This keeps Chrome fast and safe by ensuring that you consent to every extension that’s installed on your computer.

Thanks to auto-update, you’ll get these enhancements as we roll out the release. And if you don’t have Chrome yet, you can give it a spin here.

Posted by Glen Shires, Software Engineer and Speech Specialist
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2013/02/bringing-voice-recognition-to-web.html

[G] The Chromebook Pixel, for what’s next

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Official Google Blog: The Chromebook Pixel, for what’s next

Chromebooks were designed to make computing speedy, simple and secure. For many of you, they have become the perfect, additional (and yes, affordable) computer: ideal for catching up on emails, sharing documents and chatting via Hangouts. We’re tremendously grateful to our partners—Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and HP—for their commitment. The momentum has been remarkable: the Samsung Chromebook has been #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for laptops every day since it launched 125 days ago in the U.S., and Chromebooks now represent more than 10 percent of notebook sales at Currys PC World, the largest electronics retailer in the U.K.

So what’s next? Today we’re excited to announce our newest laptop—the Chromebook Pixel—which brings together the best in hardware, software and design to inspire the next generation of Chromebooks. With the Pixel, we set out to rethink all elements of a computer in order to design the best laptop possible, especially for power users who have fully embraced the cloud. The philosophy of Chrome has always been to minimize the “chrome” of the browser. In much the same way, the goal of the Pixel is to make the pixels disappear, giving people the best web experience.


Let’s start with the screen. This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today. Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colors and extra-wide viewing angles. With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it—so we added touch for a more immersive experience. Touch makes it simple and intuitive to do things like organize tabs, swipe through apps and edit photos with the tip of your finger.

The Pixel has been engineered with the highest quality components to ensure it’s comfortable to use all day long and meets the needs of demanding power users. The body of the Pixel is made from an anodized aluminum alloy to create a smooth and durable surface; vents are hidden, screws are invisible and the stereo speakers are seamlessly tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard. The touchpad is made from etched glass, analyzed and honed using a laser microscope to ensure precise navigation. The Pixel also has powerful, full-range speakers for crisp sound, a 720p webcam for clear video, and a total of three microphones designed to cancel out surrounding noise.

Other aspects of the Pixel include:

  • Speed: Speed has been a core tenet of Chrome and Chromebooks since the beginning. For Pixel, it’s critical that the overall experience, everything from loading webpages to switching between apps, is near instant. Powered by an Intel® Core™ i5 Processor and a solid state Flash memory architecture, the Pixel performs remarkably fast.

  • Connectivity: The Pixel has an industry-leading WiFi range thanks to carefully positioned antennas and dual-band support. Long-term evolution (LTE) is engineered directly into the machine, delivering fast connectivity across Verizon's network, the largest, fastest 4G LTE network in the U.S. (LTE model optional). It also comes with 12 free GoGo® Inflight Internet passes for those times you need to connect while in the air.

  • Storage: Since this Chromebook is for people who live in the cloud, one terabyte of Google Drive cloud storage* is included with the Pixel. This enables you to save, access and share photos, videos, documents, and all of your stuff from all of your devices, from anywhere.

Finally, as you’ve come to expect from all Chromebooks, all of your favorite Google products like Search, Gmail, YouTube, Maps and Google+ Hangouts are integrated and just a click away. And since it’s based on Chrome OS, the Pixel boots up in seconds and never slows down, requires almost zero setup or maintenance, and comes with built-in virus protection. Best of all, it stays up to date with automatic updates every few weeks.



If you want to be part of the next step in the Chromebook journey, the Pixel will be available for purchase starting today on Google Play in the U.S. and U.K., and soon on BestBuy.com. The WiFi version ($1,299 U.S. and £1,049 U.K.) will start shipping next week and the LTE version ($1,449) will ship in the U.S. in April. If you’re interested in a hands-on experience, you can visit select Best Buy (U.S.) and Currys PC World (U.K.) store locations.

It’s one of the most exciting times in the history of personal computing, thanks to a rapid pace of change, innovation and consumer adoption of devices. Our goal is to continue to push the experience forward for everyone, working with the entire ecosystem to build the next generation of Chrome OS devices. We hope you enjoy what’s next.

Posted by Linus Upson, Vice President of Engineering

*You will have 1TB of free storage for 3 years, starting on the date you redeem the offer on eligible Chrome devices.
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-chromebook-pixel-for-whats-next.html

[G] Doodle 4 Google: A stately competition

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Official Google Blog: Doodle 4 Google: A stately competition

Are you a young artist from California? Alabama? Or Indiana (like me!)? Well, get doodling with the topic “My Best Day Ever…” for a chance to see your very own artwork on the Google homepage—and help represent your piece of the union.

Today marks the 30-day countdown to the March 22 submission deadline for the U.S. Doodle 4 Google competition. And in the spirit of friendly competition, we’re inviting you to rally fellow students and teachers in your state to take part in Doodle 4 Google’s 30-day Race to the Finish with an interactive map that shows the top submitting states. States are ranked in order of submissions relative to student population size.


Whether your state tops the submissions race or not, you still have the chance to become the individual state winner. The 50 state winners will win an all-expenses paid trip to New York City in May for the final awards ceremony, where we’ll reveal the winning doodle. The national winner will see his or her doodle on the Google homepage, win a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. Download an entry form today to get doodling!

Fun fact for those of you who can’t get enough doodles: we run Doodle 4 Google competitions in many countries worldwide, year-round. Vote for your Irish favorites now—the winner will appear on www.google.ie on April 16.

As always, happy doodling!

Posted by Ryan Germick, Doodle Team Lead
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/doodle-4-google-stately-competition.html

[G] Oscar fans: we’ve got you covered

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Official Google Blog: Oscar fans: we’ve got you covered

We all love a night at the movies. Whether it’s romance, horror, or action adventure, there's no better way to step into another world—even if just for a couple of hours. And for the past 85 years, millions of people throughout the world have gathered around their TVs to watch the Oscars and celebrate the people who make these moments possible.

For the first time, we've created a one-stop shop to help you get more of what you love about the Oscars.

First, if you missed any of the nominees in the theaters, don’t fret! We’ve put together a Year in Review video of 2012’s top movies. Take a whirlwind tour through your favorite moments, or see what you may have missed:



Want to explore more about the nominees? You can:
  • Click through our movie and celebrity knowledge graphs to learn more about your favorite picks, directly on the page.
  • Explore our customized Google Map, which shows you where some of your favorite nominated movies were filmed, as well as where the nominees were born. It’s geography with a celeb twist.
  • Download the Official Oscars App for Android, available for the first time in the Play Store.
Or, maybe you’re making bets with your friends on who’s going to win... Try taking a hint from Google Trends and see who the most searched-for nominees of 2012 were. You never know—the actual winners may end up being pretty similar to Google’s Search “winners.”

For those of you with the itch to win an Oscar yourself, see what it feels like in a Google+ Hangout—we've got a new effect that will make you feel like a star. And if you end up being so inspired by the idea of holding an Oscar, then we’d also like to hear what you’d say if you won the real thing, using the Oscars “Acceptance Speech” widget.

Oscars night is about celebrating the movies—whether you starred in them or just dreamed about the stars. We hope this site will help you get the most out of the night, so go ahead and join Google on the red carpet at google.com/oscars. And don’t forget to tune in on February 24 at 7pm EST / 4pm PST on ABC to see who this year’s lucky winners are.

Posted by Liz Wessel, Associate Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/oscar-fans-weve-got-you-covered.html

[G] The Chromebook Pixel, for what’s next

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Google Chrome Blog: The Chromebook Pixel, for what’s next

Chromebooks were designed to make computing speedy, simple and secure. For many of you, they have become the perfect, additional (and yes, affordable) computer: ideal for catching up on emails, sharing documents and chatting via Hangouts. We’re tremendously grateful to our partners—Samsung, Acer, Lenovo and HP—for their commitment. The momentum has been remarkable: the Samsung Chromebook has been #1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for laptops every day since it launched 125 days ago in the U.S., and Chromebooks now represent more than 10 percent of notebook sales at Currys PC World, the largest electronics retailer in the U.K.

So what’s next? Today we’re excited to announce our newest laptop—the Chromebook Pixel—which brings together the best in hardware, software and design to inspire the next generation of Chromebooks. With the Pixel, we set out to rethink all elements of a computer in order to design the best laptop possible, especially for power users who have fully embraced the cloud. The philosophy of Chrome has always been to minimize the “chrome” of the browser. In much the same way, the goal of the Pixel is to make the pixels disappear, giving people the best web experience.

Let’s start with the screen. This Chromebook has the highest pixel density (239 pixels per inch) of any laptop screen on the market today. Packed with 4.3 million pixels, the display offers sharp text, vivid colors and extra-wide viewing angles. With a screen this rich and engaging, you want to reach out and touch it—so we added touch for a more immersive experience. Touch makes it simple and intuitive to do things like organize tabs, swipe through apps and edit photos with the tip of your finger.

The Pixel has been engineered with the highest quality components to ensure it’s comfortable to use all day long and meets the needs of demanding power users. The body of the Pixel is made from an anodized aluminum alloy to create a smooth and durable surface; vents are hidden, screws are invisible and the stereo speakers are seamlessly tucked away beneath the backlit keyboard. The touchpad is made from etched glass, analyzed and honed using a laser microscope to ensure precise navigation. The Pixel also has powerful, full-range speakers for crisp sound, a 720p webcam for clear video, and a total of three microphones designed to cancel out surrounding noise.

Other aspects of the Pixel include:

  • Speed: Speed has been a core tenet of Chrome and Chromebooks since the beginning. For Pixel, it’s critical that the overall experience, everything from loading webpages to switching between apps, is near instant. Powered by an Intel® Core™ i5 Processor and a solid state Flash memory architecture, the Pixel performs remarkably fast.
  • Connectivity: The Pixel has an industry-leading WiFi range thanks to carefully positioned antennas and dual-band support. Long-term evolution (LTE) is engineered directly into the machine, delivering fast connectivity across Verizon's network, the largest, fastest 4G LTE network in the U.S. (LTE model optional). It also comes with 12 free GoGo® Inflight Internet passes for those times you need to connect while in the air.
  • Storage: Since this Chromebook is for people who live in the cloud, one terabyte of Google Drive cloud storage* is included with the Pixel. This enables you to save, access and share photos, videos, documents, and all of your stuff from all of your devices, from anywhere.

Finally, as you’ve come to expect from all Chromebooks, all of your favorite Google products like Search, Gmail, YouTube, Maps and Google+ Hangouts are integrated and just a click away. And since it’s based on Chrome OS, the Pixel boots up in seconds and never slows down, requires almost zero setup or maintenance, and comes with built-in virus protection. Best of all, it stays up to date with automatic updates every few weeks.



If you want to be part of the next step in the Chromebook journey, the Pixel will be available for purchase starting today on Google Play in the U.S. and U.K., and soon on BestBuy.com. The WiFi version ($1,299 U.S. and £1,049 U.K.) will start shipping next week and the LTE version ($1,449) will ship in the U.S. in April. If you’re interested in a hands-on experience, you can visit select Best Buy (U.S.) and Currys PC World (U.K.) store locations.

It’s one of the most exciting times in the history of personal computing, thanks to a rapid pace of change, innovation and consumer adoption of devices. Our goal is to continue to push the experience forward for everyone, working with the entire ecosystem to build the next generation of Chrome OS devices. We hope you enjoy what’s next.

Posted by Linus Upson, Vice President, Engineering


*You will have 1 TB of free storage for 3 years, starting on the date you redeem the offer on eligible Chrome devices.
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-chromebook-pixel-for-whats-next.html

[G] Google Cloud Platform introduces new support packages

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Cloud Platform introduces new support packages

Posted by Brett McCully, Google Cloud Platform Team

Support is as important as product features when choosing a platform for your applications. And let’s face it, sometimes we all need a bit of help. No matter which Google Cloud Platform services you are using—App Engine, Compute Engine, Cloud Storage, Cloud SQL, BigQuery, etc.—or what time of day, you should be able to get the answers you need. While you can go to Stack Overflow or Google Groups, we realize some of you may need 24x7 coverage, phone support or direct access to a Technical Account Manager team.

To meet your support requirements, we’re introducing a comprehensive collection of support packages for services on Google Cloud Platform, so you can decide what level best fits your needs:

  • Bronze: All customers get access to online documentation, community forums, and billing support. (Free) 
  • Silver: In addition to Bronze, you can email our support team for questions related to product functionality, best practices, and service errors. ($150/month) 
  • Gold: In addition to Silver, you'll receive 24x7 phone support and consultation on application development, best practices or architecture for your specific use case. (Starts at $400/month) 
  • Platinum: The most comprehensive and personalized support. In addition to Gold, you’ll get direct access to a Technical Account Manager team. (Contact Sales for more information)

Sign up or click here to find out more information about the new Google Cloud Platform support options.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2013/02/google-cloud-platform-introduces-new.html

[G] Google Shopping global transition is underway

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Inside AdWords: Google Shopping global transition is underway

On February 13, Google Shopping results in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil, Australia, Switzerland and the Czech Republic began to transition to a new commercial experience built on Product Listing Ads. If you’re a merchant in one of these countries and you’re currently promoting your products on Google Shopping for free, you’ll need to create a Product Listing Ad campaign to maintain your traffic and presence. You can learn more about this transition in our recent announcement.

KEEP YOUR PRODUCTS VISIBLE
To ensure that your products remain eligible for promotion on Google Shopping, we’ve built an easy way for you to create Product Listing Ads.

You can complete the following three simple steps in Merchant Center:
  1. Set up a basic Product Listing Ad campaign
    You’ll be able to create a new AdWords account in Merchant Center if you don’t already have one.
  2. Customize your campaign
    Set a daily budget and one single maximum cost-per-click bid. You can modify these settings any time after you create your campaign.
  3. Provide your billing information
    You’ll be taken to your AdWords account to provide or confirm your billing information.
For a detailed step-by-step guide to getting started with Product Listing Ads and to apply for a promotional credit (available for a limited time only), please visit this page.

PROMOTE YOUR PRODUCTS ACROSS DEVICES
With the recent launch of AdWords enhanced campaigns, it’s now easier than ever to promote your products across devices. This is crucial in a world where people are constantly connected and moving from one device to another. We encourage you to upgrade existing product listing ad campaigns to an enhanced campaign with appropriate bid adjustments.

If you need help getting started with Google Shopping, please visit the Google Shopping website or email us through this form.

Posted by: Sameer Samat, Vice President of Product Management, Google Shopping
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/02/google-shopping-global-transition-is.html

[G] Understand Updates To Your Account With Change History

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Google Analytics Blog: Understand Updates To Your Account With Change History


Have you ever wanted to learn more about changes made to your Google Analytics account, wanted to refresh your memory as to when a particular profile setting was changed, or wondered who on the team made a goal change? Now, all of that is possible with the launch of Change History.




What it does


Change History presents a summary of many important changes to your account over the last 180 days. Users will find records of changes made to users, accounts, properties, profiles, goals, and filters. This feature is available only to Analytics account administrators.





How to find it


We are rolling out Change History to our customers over the coming weeks. Once it’s enabled on your account, you’ll be able to see it by clicking the “Admin” button in the upper right corner of the Analytics interface, selecting the appropriate account, and clicking the tab labeled “Change History.” In this new section, you will see a list of changes on your account, when the change took place, and who made the change.










Conclusion


The new Change History helps you better understand how your accounts evolve over time, improves account collaboration, and provides an additional tool for optimal configuration.





Be sure and view our help center article for additional information. 





Posted by Scott Ellsworth and Matt Matyas, Google Analytics team




URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/3spjnYESTsg/understand-updates-to-your-account-with.html

[G] YouTube Just Got Hotter: Views Added to Billboard’s Charts

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Just Got Hotter: Views Added to Billboard’s Charts

Billboard and Nielsen have shaped the core measures of success for entertainers around the world. These institutions created the standard we all look to when assessing the popularity of an artist, an album or that song you just can’t stop playing. Each week, their rankings are eagerly awaited by budding musicians, bona fide rock stars and music executives alike.



Of course, the music industry has changed dramatically in recent years. We’ve seen artists become stars through channels that simply didn’t exist a decade or two ago. From Gangnam Style and grandpa style to the Alabama Shakes and the Harlem Shake, YouTube has become a place where artists connect with new audiences, and music fans are finding songs, bands and genres they never knew they loved.



That’s why we’re partnering with Billboard and Nielsen to include our U.S. data into their “Hot” charts--the Hot 100 List, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, R&B Songs, Rap Songs, Hot Latin Songs, Hot Rock Songs and Dance/Electronic Songs. Meaning, all official videos on YouTube, including user-generated clips that utilize authorized audio, will now factor into how a song’s popularity is determined.



This announcement marks a big step in accurately reflecting how music lovers are finding their new favorite songs. And it builds upon our efforts to share this kind of data with key industry analytical tools like Next Big Sound and BigChampagne, which also help artists succeed both on and offline. Most importantly, we hope this news will excite our users, who have helped us discover some of the biggest stars and songs of the past seven years.



AJ Frank, New Business Development, recently watched “Harlem Shake (Matt and Kim Edition).”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/cAlznRGk7g4/youtube-just-got-hotter-views-added-to.html

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

[G] Australia goes back to school with Google Apps for Education

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Australia goes back to school with Google Apps for Education

Posted by Suan Yeo, Head of Google Education, Asia-Pacific

With a new academic year comes a new way of learning.
   
Increasingly primary, secondary, and university students and faculty are using Google Apps for Education, a free suite of productivity tools designed to help people work together better. This also include three top-tier universities in Australia who are going back to school this year with Google Apps. The universities of Griffith, Macquarie and Monash join the community of thousands of institutions worldwide using Google Apps for Education to enhance their students’ learning and to increase organizational efficiency. This community includes 72 of the top 100 schools in the USA and 20 million students and teachers worldwide.

Griffith University is a leading research university with a strong international focus spread over 5 campuses. They were looking for an easy-to-use communication and collaboration platform that offered more storage capacity and a better user interface, regardless of access device or location.

Monash University has a presence in Malaysia, South Africa, India, Italy and China, and benefits from being able to streamline communication among its dispersed students and staff.

“How could you not consider Google Apps in the world we are in today? It, to me, is the best productivity tool you could imagine, in the most intuitive fashion.” 
—Adam Shoemaker, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), Monash University


Macquarie University was in fact the first university in Australia, and amongst the first in the world, to offer Gmail to their students, setting up 68,000 accounts back in 2007. Since then, they have switched on more and more of the suite’s features, and in 2012 even became the first Australian university to map its campus 3 dimensionally in Google Earth.
   
Several students from each of these universities have also been appointed as Google Student Ambassadors this year, and will join students from 25 other universities this week in our Sydney office. They will learn first-hand how Google Apps for Education can help to uncover a new way of learning, and help others on their campuses to use technology for good.

For more information about Google Apps for Education, and to sign up today, visit www.google.com/apps/edu. Or say hello in person June 3-5 at EduTECH in Brisbane, Australia.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2013/02/australia-goes-back-to-school-with.html

[G] Fireside Hangouts: Join First Lady Michelle Obama in a Google+ Hangout to discuss Let’s Move!

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Official Google Blog: Fireside Hangouts: Join First Lady Michelle Obama in a Google+ Hangout to discuss Let’s Move!

In the past month, both the President and Vice President of the United States have come to Google+ to participate in "Fireside Hangouts" to discuss the challenges the country faces and answer people's questions. On March 4, it's First Lady Michelle Obama's turn as she joins her first-ever Fireside Hangout to discuss Let’s Move!, her initiative to ensure that all our children grow up healthy and reach their full potential. The First Lady will be joined by Kelly Ripa, Emmy award-winning co-host of popular daytime talk show "LIVE with Kelly and Michael," and families from around the country.

Three years ago, the First Lady launched the Let's Move! initiative to unite the country around our kids' health and create real support for families to live healthier lives. Since then communities across the United States have worked together to share, collaborate on and create ways to improve the health of our nation's children. This year, the First Lady is using Google+ to celebrate the anniversary of Let's Move! and to connect with communities on Google+ who are passionate about healthy eating, fitness and parenting.


For a chance to join the Google+ Hangout with First Lady Michelle Obama, share your thoughts and questions on raising healthier families and communities on the Let's Move YouTube channel. Submit a video or text entry (video is preferred) telling us a bit about yourself, what your family does to stay healthy and a question for the First Lady by Thursday, February 28, 2013.

Then tune in to the First Lady's Fireside Hangout live on the White House Google+ Page or Let's Move YouTube channel at 11:10 am ET on March 4.

Posted by Ria Tobaccowala, Google+ Community Partnerships
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/fireside-hangouts-join-first-lady.html

[G] Preview files in Google Drive

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Preview files in Google Drive

Posted by Ian Kilpatrick, Google Drive Engineer

(Cross-posted on the Google Drive Blog.)

It may sound obvious, but sometimes the best way to find something is to start looking. Beginning today, Google Drive will let you quickly preview more than 30 file types and quickly flip between files until you find the one you want.

You’ll see the new preview automatically if you open a photo, video, or PDF. To see a preview of a Google document, right-click on the file name and select “preview.” Once the preview window is open, you can click on the arrows on either side to flip to other files. And right from within the preview, you can watch video files or scroll through multi-page documents.


You can select and copy text from the preview -- even for a PDF or Microsoft Word document -- or use the zoom buttons to see a file in more detail. Each file preview also gives you one-click access to share, download, print or open a file for editing.


This feature will roll out over the next few days to Rapid Release customers.

URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2013/02/preview-files-in-google-drive.html

[G] Are you a Datavore? Insights on the use of online customer data in decision-making

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Google Analytics Blog: Are you a Datavore? Insights on the use of online customer data in decision-making


The following is a guest post contributed by Hasan Bakhshi and Juan Mateos-Garcia who work at Nesta, an independent charity based in London. Nesta’s mission is to help people and organizations bring great ideas to life by providing investments and grants, and mobilizing research, networks and skills.



We surveyed 500 of the UK's companies that were actively online and promoting their products. We asked about the collection, analysis and use of online customer data in their decision-making, and the impact this has on their bottom line. Our research suggests that a startlingly high number of businesses in the UK's Internet Economy would benefit from reading Michael Loban's post on data resolutions for 2013. Here, we revisit some of his insights backed up by our data to illustrate how big the online data gap is for many UK companies, and what they must do to bridge it.



Insight 1: 'Address your data phobia'. 

We identified a cohort of companies in our sample with apparently no fear of data. We call them 'datavores'. When making decisions about how to grow their sales, they rely on data and analysis over experience and intuition. They collect data comprehensively, analyze it thoroughly and use it to make decisions. But they are in the minority: only 18% of the companies we surveyed compared with 43% who make decisions on the basis of experience and intuition. These ‘gut-driven’ companies would stand to reap significant commercial benefits from their online data if they could get over their data phobia. We find that datavores are four times more likely to report substantial benefits from their online customer data.



Insight 2: Get on with social network marketing. 

Only 40% of businesses in our sample report that online data is important for designing and evaluating their social media strategy. Lacking the right data to make decisions, perhaps we shouldn’t therefore be surprised to learn that more than half of the businesses we surveyed were hesitant to dip their toes in social network marketing, despite the fact that nearly 1/2 of the UK population* uses social media actively. (* cited from UK Office for Communications)



Insight 3: Tools are great, but great analysts are awesome. 

Our survey suggests that fully harnessing the potential of online data requires up-skilling the workforce. Over three-quarters of businesses who have trained their staff to improve their data capabilities in the past two years report significant benefits from online data (compared with only 20% of those who haven’t provided training). Another of our findings leads us to add a coda to Michael’s resolution, however - while it is true that great analysts are awesome, it appears that great analysts who are empowered to act on the basis of their insights are even better. Datavores are much more likely to delegate decision-making than other firms. The implication is that making most of your data is not always painless. It may require re-organizing the business, changing its culture and rethinking the role of managers. 'No pain, no gain', as they say about most New Year's Resolutions.



Insight 4: ACTION!

This brings us neatly to perhaps our most important finding: in order to benefit from online data UK businesses need to put their data to work. They need to use it to improve their website to be sure, but they also need to feed it into decision-making process in other parts of their business – such as in product development and business strategy. In fact, the ‘use of data to make decisions’ turns out to be the main factor discriminating between the datavores and the other companies we surveyed. And that, controlling for other relevant business characteristics, ‘using data’ is what really makes a difference on the impact of data on performance. To put it in stark terms, if you don’t use your data, you may as well not have collected and analyzed it.



We present the findings above (and many more) in greater detail in our Rise of the Datavores report. This is the first milestone in our program of research and action looking at the potential of online data for innovation and growth.



In the coming months, we will be matching our survey responses to financial data to measure in quantitative terms the connection between data-driven decision-making and sales growth, profitability and productivity. To get a really robust handle on the direction of causality in this relationship we are looking to run a controlled experiment to measure the impact of an Online Analytics intervention on a randomly selected group of UK businesses. In related research we plan to quantify the extent of business demand for data-savvy talent and assess the adequacy of the UK's education system in supplying it.



Last, but not least, we will be looking through practical work to identify datavores in the public and third sectors, and work to encourage the transfer of good data practices across different parts of the UK’s economy and society.



In all these areas we will be looking for data experts to work with, to probe whether we are asking the right questions, to refine and help implement our research plans. Drop us a line if you want to hear more!



hasan.bakhshi@nesta.org.uk

juan.mateos-garcia@nesta.org.uk



Posted by Hasan Bakhshi and Juan Mateos-Garcia at Nesta



URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/6jIuqNsRfBo/are-you-datavore-insights-on-use-of.html

[G] Get your YouTube video captions professionally translated into 36 languages

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Google Translate Blog: Get your YouTube video captions professionally translated into 36 languages

(Cross-posted from the Official YouTube Partners & Creators Blog)

Back in September, we launched a feature that made it easier to make your YouTube video accessible in more than 300 languages and help grow your audience globally, by translating the video’s captions yourself or inviting friends or people you know to help translate. Now you can connect directly with translation vendors and pay to get your captions translated quickly and professionally.  

When you request a translation for your captions in YouTube, we’ll display a list of vendors along with their estimated pricing and delivery date so you can easily compare. We’ve initially collaborated with two companies, Gengo and Translated.net, to make their services available to you and to streamline the ordering process.


Just click “Start order” next to the vendor you’d like to use. This will then create an order and direct you to the vendor’s website to complete payment. When the translator completes the translation, they’ll send the translated caption directly back to YouTube. Once you approve, the translated caption will now be available for all your viewers!

Need to add a caption track to your video?


Before you can translate your video, you’ll first need a caption track for your video. One of the easiest and quickest way to create a caption track is to create or upload a transcript of your video. YouTube will then automatically sync your transcript with the video and create the time codes to generate the caption track. For more info, watch this video or take a look at this helpful guide.

Don’t know which languages to translate your video into?


If your video has already been published, let YouTube Analytics help. YouTube Analytics can show you the top geographies viewing your video, so you can choose the languages spoken in these countries. Learn more about YouTube Analytics here.


Posted by Jeff Chin, Product Manager, who recently watched the “H+” digital series which has been captioned and subtitled into Spanish.

URL: http://googletranslate.blogspot.com/2013/02/get-your-youtube-video-captions.html

[G] Apply for a 2013 Google Policy Fellowship

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Google Public Policy Blog: Apply for a 2013 Google Policy Fellowship

Posted by Nicklas Lundblad, Director, Public Policy

The Internet policy world is ripe with fascinating issues. From cybercrime to government surveillance and security, to public procurement, trade and open access to information, there has never been a more exciting time to get involved. We’re excited to launch the 6th summer of the Google Policy Fellowship, with new opportunities to work with organizations from Africa, Europe and Latin America in addition to ones in U.S. and Canada. Applications are open today, and students of all levels and disciplines are welcome to apply before March 15, 2013.

Fellows will spend ten weeks this summer working on a broad portfolio of topics at a diverse set of organizations, including: 

Africa 


Europe



Latin America
North America


You can learn about the program, application process and host organizations on the Google Public Policy Fellowship website.




URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2013/02/apply-for-2013-google-policy-fellowship.html

[G] Enhanced campaigns: New bidding tools and mobile bid adjustments

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Inside AdWords: Enhanced campaigns: New bidding tools and mobile bid adjustments

Today, people are constantly connected and searching from all kinds of devices. Advertisers are looking for ways to reach people with ads that are relevant to their context, like their location, the time of day and the device they are using. With an enhanced campaign, you can easily vary your bids across devices, locations, and time of day – all within a single campaign.
Example: A multichannel retailer wants to reach people close to their stores searching for “party supplies.” Using bid adjustments, with three simple entries, they can bid 50% higher for people searching up to a mile away, 20% lower for searches on weekdays, and 25% higher for searches on smartphones.
In this post and a Learn with Google webinar this Thursday, February 21st, at 10am PST (sign-up here), we’ll look more closely at the new bidding tools and mobile bid adjustments. This Thursday’s webinar will also dive deeper into some of the improvements with mobile ads.

Bid adjustments
With an enhanced campaign, you start by setting default bids that reach all devices. You can then set bid adjustments to increase or decrease your bids for mobile devices and different contexts – like location and time of day. Setting higher bids when and where you’re more likely to satisfy a customer’s intent can boost your ad’s visibility and potentially lead to more visits and sales. Setting lower bids for contexts where your lead quality or average order value is lower can improve your ROI, although you may see fewer visits and lower total sales.

Bidding for devices with larger screens, like desktops, laptops and tablets, is grouped together in enhanced campaigns. We and others in the industry see that users’ search behavior on these larger devices is very similar, and likewise, overall advertiser performance is very similar across these devices.

Bid adjustments combine using multiplication. If you set multiple location-based bid adjustments, only the most specific adjustment will apply.

Continuing the example above: The retailer’s max CPC bid for the keyword [party supplies] is $1. When someone searches for “party supplies” on a smartphone within a mile radius from the store on Wednesday, then the location, time, and mobile bid adjustments set will apply. So this retailer’s CPC bid for this particular search would be adjusted to $1.50 ($1 x (100% + 50%) x (100% - 20%) x (100% + 25%) = $1.50).
The AdWords interface provides a calculator to show you how multiple bid adjustments might combine to affect your bids.


(click image to expand)

Valuing mobile and setting a mobile bid adjustment
People can take a wide range of actions on smartphones. Beyond purchasing directly from your mobile site, customers might call your business, click on driving directions to visit a store, download an app, or even convert on another device later. But traditional online conversion reporting may not show the full consumer journey across devices and can therefore lead to undervaluing mobile. Savvy marketers are looking deeper to consider the full value that mobile brings to their business. Check out how Radio Shack, a large multi-channel consumer electronics retailer, approaches their mobile bidding and measurement strategy here as an example.

With an enhanced campaign, you can choose a mobile bid adjustment to influence your ad position, clicks and cost on mobile devices. For a bit of perspective, here are a few of examples of how advertisers set their mobile bids as a percentage of desktop over the course of the last several months (actual CPCs may differ).
  • On average, advertisers in the Australian retail sector set mobile bids to 103% of desktop.
  • On average, advertisers in the US real estate sector set mobile bids to 91% of desktop.
  • On average, advertisers in the Canadian travel sector set mobile bids to 88% of desktop.
With each campaign you upgrade to an enhanced campaign, you’ll see the estimated change in impressions, clicks and cost depending on your selected mobile bid adjustment. The suggested bid adjustment shows you how similar advertisers bid on mobile compared to other devices.


(click image to expand)

Experienced search marketers know that bids are one of many factors that influence overall campaign performance, along with keywords, ads, extensions, and landing pages. So after setting a mobile bid adjustment, periodically measure your results and make changes as needed to better meet your campaign goals.

Feedback
We want you to succeed with AdWords, so we’re very interested in hearing your feedback. As you begin using enhanced campaigns, please share your thoughts using this form so we can continue to improve the product.

Posted by Surojit Chatterjee, Group Product Manager
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/02/enhanced-campaigns-new-bidding-tools.html

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

[G] An update on our war against account hijackers

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Official Google Blog: An update on our war against account hijackers

Have you ever gotten a plea to wire money to a friend stranded at an international airport? An oddly written message from someone you haven’t heard from in ages? Compared to five years ago, more scams, illegal, fraudulent or spammy messages today come from someone you know. Although spam filters have become very powerful—in Gmail, less than 1 percent of spam emails make it into an inbox—these unwanted messages are much more likely to make it through if they come from someone you’ve been in contact with before. As a result, in 2010 spammers started changing their tactics—and we saw a large increase in fraudulent mail sent from Google Accounts. In turn, our security team has developed new ways to keep you safe, and dramatically reduced the amount of these messages.

Spammers’ new trick—hijacking accounts
To improve their chances of beating a spam filter by sending you spam from your contact’s account, the spammer first has to break into that account. This means many spammers are turning into account thieves. Every day, cyber criminals break into websites to steal databases of usernames and passwords—the online “keys” to accounts. They put the databases up for sale on the black market, or use them for their own nefarious purposes. Because many people re-use the same password across different accounts, stolen passwords from one site are often valid on others.

With stolen passwords in hand, attackers attempt to break into accounts across the web and across many different services. We’ve seen a single attacker using stolen passwords to attempt to break into a million different Google accounts every single day, for weeks at a time. A different gang attempted sign-ins at a rate of more than 100 accounts per second. Other services are often more vulnerable to this type of attack, but when someone tries to log into your Google Account, our security system does more than just check that a password is correct.

Legitimate accounts blocked for sending spam: Our security systems have dramatically reduced the number of Google Accounts used to send spam over the past few years

How Google Security helps protect your account
Every time you sign in to Google, whether via your web browser once a month or an email program that checks for new mail every five minutes, our system performs a complex risk analysis to determine how likely it is that the sign-in really comes from you. In fact, there are more than 120 variables that can factor into how a decision is made.

If a sign-in is deemed suspicious or risky for some reason—maybe it’s coming from a country oceans away from your last sign-in—we ask some simple questions about your account. For example, we may ask for the phone number associated with your account, or for the answer to your security question. These questions are normally hard for a hijacker to solve, but are easy for the real owner. Using security measures like these, we've dramatically reduced the number of compromised accounts by 99.7 percent since the peak of these hijacking attempts in 2011.


Help protect your account
While we do our best to keep spammers at bay, you can help protect your account by making sure you’re using a strong, unique password for your Google Account, upgrading your account to use 2-step verification, and updating the recovery options on your account such as your secondary email address and your phone number. Following these three steps can help prevent your account from being hijacked—this means less spam for your friends and contacts, and improved security and privacy for you.

Posted by Mike Hearn, Google Security Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/02/an-update-on-our-war-against-account.html