Friday, July 30, 2010

[G] Swivel Viewer, an open source embeddable album viewer

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Google Open Source Blog: Swivel Viewer, an open source embeddable album viewer

A while back, we noticed that lots of sites were starting to show 360 degree views of their products.

So a few months ago we added a feature to Picasa Web Albums that lets you flip through the photos in an album in “Full Screen View” or “Slideshow” mode by dragging left and right on the current photo. This works especially well if you put an object on a turntable, but it also works fine for other albums, like our featured shots from the 2010 Winter games.

The embedded album viewer also supports this feature:

So any albums you've embedded already support swiveling.

If you prefer to host a viewer and images on your own site, check out
the Swivel Viewer site at, where you'll find an open source embeddable album viewer that also supports zooming and panning. Alternatively, you can go directly to the page about hosting your own viewer, or check out these other albums from the gallery:

We also posted tips on how to take your own 360 views, and even some sketches for our experimental high-volume object scanner:

Swivel viewers are fundamentally simple, but it’s tricky to communicate to the end user what they can do. I actually used the viewer for several weeks without realizing I could shift+drag to pan around while zoomed in! So we’re excited to see what UI enhancements you can come up with.

By Jason Holt, Google Street View Team

[G] Conversion Champion Challenge: Get those entries in!

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Inside AdWords: Conversion Champion Challenge: Get those entries in!

In early June, we announced the Conversion Champion Challenge, a contest challenging you to use free AdWords conversion products to increase your ROI, then submit a mini-case study telling us about your experience. The grand prize winner will receive an AdWords voucher as well as an all-expenses paid trip to Google Mountain View or Google Zurich, where the Google Conversions team will meet with you to review your account and provide customized recommendations.

For those of you who took us up on the challenge, final entries are due tomorrow, July 31 and can be submitted here. So get those entries in soon!

Posted by Jason Shafton, Inside AdWords crew

[G] Find a place for fun in sun with our latest imagery

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Google LatLong: Find a place for fun in sun with our latest imagery

It's time for another imagery update, and we have a great batch of new data that will help you scout out vacation spots where you can enjoy the height of summer. In our last update, we highlighted an ancient Egyptian temple; and this time, we've got updates of another Sphinx, an exhilarating hydroplane race, and of course, a beautiful summer resort where rest and relaxation await.

Las Vegas

Hydroplane racing

Baja California resort

High Resolution Aerial Updates:
USA: Seattle, Sacramento, San Jose, Las Vegas, Des Moines, Waukegan (IL), Boston, Portland (ME), Tallahassee, and the Florida counties of Sarasota, Levy, Hernando, DeSoto and Martin
Canada: Banff, Alert Bay
Netherlands: Soest, Maarssen, Bussum, Vlaardingen

Countries receiving High Resolution Satellite Updates:
Mexico, Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Somalia, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Madagascar, Turkmenistan, Kazahkstan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, China, Mongolia, Russia, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia

Countries receiving Medium Resolution Satellite Updates:
Canada, Nepal

Right now these updates are only available in Google Earth, but will be in Google Maps soon. For a complete picture of where we updated imagery, download this KML for viewing in Google Earth.

Posted by Matt Manolides, Senior Geo Data Strategist

[G] Google Publications

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Official Google Research Blog: Google Publications

Posted by Corinna Cortes and Alfred Spector, Google Research

We often get asked if Google scientists and engineers publish technical papers, and the answer is, “Most certainly, yes.” Indeed, we have a formidable research capability, and we encourage publications as well as other forms of technical dissemination--including our contributions to open source and standards and the introduction of new APIs and tools, which have proven to sometimes be foundational.

Needless to say, with our great commitment to technical excellence in computer science and related disciplines, we find it natural and rewarding to contribute to the scientific community and to ongoing technical debates. And we know that it is important for Google to help create the fundamental building blocks upon which continuing advances can occur.

To be specific, Googlers publish hundreds of technical papers that appear in journals, books, and conference and workshop proceedings every year. These deal with specific applications and engineering questions, algorithmic and data structure problems, and important theoretical problems in computer science, mathematics, and other areas, that can guide our algorithmic choices. While the publications are interesting in their own right, they also offer a glance at some of the key problems we face when dealing with very large data sets and demonstrate other questions that arise in our engineering design at Google.

We’d like to highlight a few of the more noteworthy papers from the first trimester of this year. The papers reflect the breadth and depth of the problems on which we work. We find that virtually all aspects of computer science, from systems and programming languages, to algorithms and theory, to security, data mining, and machine learning are relevant to our research landscape. A more complete list of our publications can be found here.

In the coming weeks we will be offering a more in-depth look at these publications, but here are some summaries:

Speech Recognition

"Google Search by Voice: A Case Study," by Johan Schalkwyk, Doug Beeferman, Francoise Beaufays, Bill Byrne, Ciprian Chelba, Mike Cohen, Maryam Garrett, Brian Strope, to appear in Advances in Speech Recognition: Mobile Environments, Call Centers, and Clinics, Amy Neustein (Ed.), Springer-Verlag 2010.

Google Search by Voice is a result of many years of investment in speech at Google. In our book chapter, “Google Search by Voice: A Case Study,” we describe the basic technology, the supporting technologies, and the user interface design behind Google Search by Voice. We describe how we built it and what lessons we have learned. Google search by voice is growing rapidly and being built in many languages. Along the way we constantly encounter new research problems providing the perfect atmosphere for doing research on real world problems.

Computer Architecture & Networks & Distributed Systems

"Energy-proportional Datacenter Networks," by Dennis Abts, Mike Marty, Philip Wells, Peter Klausler, Hong Liu, International Symposium on Computer Architecture, ISCA, June 2010.

Google researchers have called on industry and academia to develop energy-proportional computing systems, where the energy consumed is directly proportional to the utilization of the system. In this work, we focus on the energy usage of high-bandwidth, highly scalable cluster networks. Through a combination of an energy-efficient topology and dynamic fine-grained control of link speeds, our proposed techniques show the potential to significantly reduce both electricity and environmental costs.

Economics & Market Algorithms

"Quasi-Proportional Mechanisms: Prior-free Revenue Maximization," by Vahab S. Mirrokni, S. Muthukrishnan, Uri Nadav, Latin American Theoretical Informatics Symposium, LATIN, April 2010.

Say a seller wishes to sell an item, but the buyers value it vastly differently. What is a suitable auction to sell the item, in terms of efficiency as well as revenue? First and second price auctions will be efficient but will only extract the lower value in equilibrium; if one knows the distributions from which values are drawn, then setting a reserve price will get optimal revenue but will not be efficient. This paper views this problem as prior-free auction and proposes a quasi-proportional allocation in which the probability that an item is allocated to a bidder depends (quasi-proportionally) on their bids. The paper also proves existence of an equilibrium for quasi-proportional auctions and shows how to compute them efficiently. Finally, the paper shows that these auctions have high efficiency and revenue.

"Auctions with Intermediaries," Jon Feldman, Vahab Mirrokni, S. Muthukrishnan, Mallesh Pai, ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, EC, June 2010.

We study an auction where the bidders are middlemen, looking in turn to auction off the item if they win it. This setting arises naturally in online advertisement exchange systems, where the participants in the exchange are ad networks looking to sell ad impressions to their own advertisers. We present optimal strategies for both the bidders and the auctioneer in this setting. In particular, we show that the optimal strategy for bidders is to choose a randomized reserve price, and the optimal reserve price of the centeral auctioneer may depend on the number of bidders (unlike the case when there are no middlemen).

Computer Vision

"Discontinuous Seam-Carving for Video Retargeting," Matthias Grundmann, Vivek Kwatra, Mei Han, Irfan Essa, Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition, CVPR, June 2010.

Playing a video on devices with different form factors requires resizing (or retargeting) the video to fit the resolution of the given device. We have developed a content-aware technique for video retargeting based on discontinuous seam-carving, which unlike standard methods like uniform scaling and cropping, strives to retain salient content (such as actors, faces and structured objects) while discarding relatively unimportant pixels (such as the sky or a blurry background). The key innovations of our research include: (a) a solution that maintains temporal continuity of the video in addition to preserving its spatial structure, (b) space-time smoothing for automatic as well as interactive (user-guided) salient content selection, and (c) sequential frame-by-frame processing conducive for arbitrary length and streaming video.

Machine Learning

"Random classification noise defeats all convex potential boosters," Philip M. Long, Rocco A. Servedio, Machine Learning, vol. 78 (2010), pp. 287-304.

A popular approach that has been used to tackle many machine learning problems recently is to formulate them as optimization problems in which the goal is to minimize some “convex loss function.” This is an appealing formulation because these optimization problems can be solved in much the same way that a marble rolls to the bottom of a bowl. However, it turns out that there are drawbacks to this formulation. In "Random Classification Noise Defeats All Convex Potential Boosters," we show that any learning algorithm that works in this way can fail badly if there are noisy examples in the training data. This research motivates further study of other approaches to machine learning, for which there are algorithms that are provably more robust in the presence of noise.


"Clustering Query Refinements by User Intent," Eldar Sadikov, Jayant Madhavan, Lu Wang, Alon Halevy, Proceedings of the International World Wide Web Conference, WWW, April 2010.

When users pose a search query, they usually have an underlying intent or information need, and the sequence of queries he or she poses in single search sessions is usually determined by the user's underlying intent. Our research demonstrates that there typically are only a small number of prominent underlying intents for a given user query. Further, these intents can be identified very accurately by an analysis of anonymized search query logs. Our results show that underlying intents almost always correspond to well-understood high-level concepts.


"How does search behavior change as search becomes more difficult?", Anne Aula, Rehan Khan, Zhiwei Guan, Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI , April 2010.

Seeing that someone is getting frustrated with a difficult search task is easy for another person--just look for the frowns, and listen for the sighs. But could a computer tell that you're getting frustrated from just the limited behavior a search engine can observe? Our study suggests that it can: when getting frustrated, our data shows that users start to formulate question queries, they start to use advanced operators, and they spend a larger proportion of the time on the search results page. Used together, these signals can be used to build a model that can potentially detect user frustration.

[G] Google Apps highlights – 7/30/2010

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Official Google Blog: Google Apps highlights – 7/30/2010

This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

Over the last couple of weeks, we introduced several new capabilities in Google Docs for documents and drawings, and added the ability for organizations to tailor Google Apps to meet the needs of different groups within their organizations. We also launched a new version of Google Apps to meet the security and policy needs of government agencies in the U.S.

Document translation and undo smartquotes in Google Docs
On Tuesday we introduced automatic document translation to the new document editor in Google Docs. This allows you to instantly convert your document into any one of the 53 languages, powered by the technology behind Google Translate. And while we were at it, we added the ability for you to change smartquotes—angled quotation marks—back to straight quotation marks by pressing Ctrl-Z (Cmd-Z on a Mac).

Zoom and more in drawings
Last Monday, we also made improvements to the drawing editor in Google Docs, too. You can zoom in several different ways now: with the toolbar zoom icon, by drawing a rectangle around the area to zoom, zoom options in the “View” menu and with zoom keyboard shortcuts. We also introduced several changes to the shape-drawing tools, including pie and arc drawing improvements, the ability to duplicate shapes while resizing and rotating, new line ending decoration controls and new style options for the corners of shapes.

User policy management
One of the top requests from businesses, organizations and schools using Google Apps has been the ability to enable different applications for different groups within the organization. For example, a K-12 school may choose not to give Chat to students, but still allow faculty and staff to instant message with each other. Last Tuesday we launched user policy management, which lets administrators divide their users in to organizational units, and give each group access to different sets of services.

Google Apps for Government now available
On Monday we announced Google Apps for Government, a new version of Google Apps specifically tailored to the policy and security needs of federal, state and local governments in the United States. In addition to the applications and administrative controls available in the business edition of Google Apps, the service for government agencies has received Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) certification and accreditation from the U.S. General Services Administration, the first such certification for any cloud computing messaging and collaboration suite.

Who’s gone Google?
To go along with the launch of Google Apps for Government, we’re excited to share stories from two government organizations who are now using Google Apps. The U.S. Navy InRelief program is using Google Apps to improve coordination in disaster relief efforts, and the Berkeley Lab, a member of the National Laboratory system supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, is using Google Docs and Sites to support better collaboration among scientists and researchers.

We’re also thrilled to welcome another new crop of schools to Google Apps. Haverford College, Wayne County Community College District and Westwood College are all going Google!

I hope you're making the most of these new features, whether you're using Google Apps with friends, family, coworkers or classmates. For more details and updates from the Apps team, head on over to the Google Apps Blog.

Posted by Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager

[G] Swivel through your photos

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Google Photos Blog: Swivel through your photos

Posted by Jason Holt, Software Engineer for Street View

Ever marveled at the way many retail sites create 360 views of products? Now you can bring your own photo albums to life by clicking and dragging left and right on a photo in full screen mode. This works especially well if you put an object on a turntable, but even if you're not looking to create a 3-D effect, it also provides a unique browsing experience for albums in general, like our featured shots from the 2010 Winter games.

This feature is available in our embedded album viewer, or if you prefer to host a viewer and images on your own site, check out the Swivel Viewer site at, where you'll find an Open Source embeddable album viewer that also supports zooming and panning.

[G] Introducing a new ad format for mobile devices: location extensions with map features

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Inside AdWords: Introducing a new ad format for mobile devices: location extensions with map features

Earlier this year we launched click-to-call location extensions for search ads appearing on mobile devices with full Internet browsers. Today we’re excited to announce more ways location extensions can be used to connect with local users on the go, whether they’re using their phones to browse the mobile web or engage with their favorite mobile apps.

Many mobile consumers use maps to locate a business and get directions on their phones. With AdWords location extensions, you can now feature your business location and phone number on an expandable map ad that can appear on mobile websites and apps across the Google Display Network. The ad appears as a banner text ad with a business icon that expands to show your business location on a Google map along with your ad creative, click-to-call phone number and option to get directions. Since ads can be served based on the user’s location, a potential customer will see the phone number and map of the store location that’s nearest to them. By providing mobile consumers more options to connect with your business, you can drive more traffic to your store, visits to your website and calls to your business.

This new ad format is available on mobile devices with full Internet browsers and allows you to expand your advertising campaigns to reach highly engaged mobile users with relevant local information as they use their favorite apps or websites. Advertising with location extensions on mobile devices is also a great value because you’re only charged when a user clicks to call your business or clicks to visit your website. You’re not charged when users click to expand the map or get directions. The cost of a click to call your business is the same as the cost of a click to visit your website.

To get started using location extensions with the expandable map feature for mobile apps and websites, follow these three easy steps within your AdWords account:

1. Ensure your campaigns are opted into the Google Display Network.

2. Set up location extensions and add your business phone number and address. Be sure to also upload your business logo or icon, or choose from the set of icons available. Your ad will display a default icon if none is chosen.

3. Check that you've chosen to show your ads on iPhones and other mobile devices with full Internet browsers.

That’s it! You don’t need any special programming skills to create the map, we’ll automatically generate it for you based on your business location.

We hope that you’ll take advantage of this new ad format and the power of location extensions to create mobile-specific, locally relevant ads to reach mobile users on the go!

Posted by Dai Pham, Google Mobile Ads Marketing Team

[G] Known Issue: Email delivery disruption for parts of 29-Jul thru 30-Jul

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: Known Issue: Email delivery disruption for parts of 29-Jul thru 30-Jul

Issue: FeedBurner's regularly scheduled email delivery process was interrupted for a period beginning 15:00PST, 29-Jul and lasting until 06:00PST, 30-Jul, encompassing roughly 15 hours of inactivity. The issue has been resolved and all emails should be delivered by 11:00PST, 30-Jul.

[G] Google North American Faculty Summit - Day 1

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Official Google Research Blog: Google North American Faculty Summit - Day 1

Posted by Úlfar Erlingsson, Manager, Security Research

Thursday, July 29 was the first day of the Google North American Faculty Summit, our sixth annual event bringing together Google engineers and subject matter experts with leading computer science faculty, mostly from North America but some from as far away as Japan and China. This year’s summit is focused on three topics: cloud computing, security and privacy, and social networking. It was these first two areas that we discussed yesterday, in a series of talks by Googlers, informal meetings and small round-table discussions.

After an introduction from Alfred Spector, Google’s VP of Research and Special Initiatives, we dove right into the technical talks, covering the “arms race” of malware detection, privacy and public policy, passwords and authentication, and operations and infrastructure security at large scale. I gave a talk on the changes that cloud computing brings to security, both challenges such as privacy and authentication, as well as opportunities for security improvements, which I wanted to summarize briefly below.

Cloud services have defined a new model for end-user cloud applications that are accessed via single-user devices or browsers. Unlike software on personal computers, or on time-shared servers, cloud applications execute logically on stateless clients accessing a substrate of redundant back-end servers. While a single client may execute multiple applications, those applications are typically isolated and communicate only via the cloud, thus eliminating local dependencies and simplifying device management. As well as being isolated and stateless, clients are also provisioned with software upon use, which makes any client pretty much the same as any other and facilitates transparent access from different locations and devices.

There are many clear security benefits that accrue from this cloud application software model. To start with, it eliminates much of the complex, error-prone management traditionally required for each client. Also, because clients and servers are replicated or stateless, security policies can be enforced using simple, conservative fail-stop mechanisms. Cloud applications are also highly dynamic, with new software versions easily deployed through client restart or rolling server upgrades. Not only does this greatly simplify deploying fixes to software vulnerabilities, it also allows for the possibility of deploying specialized software versions, with custom security aspects, to different clients and servers. Such software instrumentation could be used for many diverse security purposes, especially when combined with randomization: these include artificially-induced heterogeneity as well as the large-scale construction and enforcement of models for appropriate software behavior. In short, cloud applications help with basic, but hard-to-answer security questions such as: Am I running the right software? Or, is it known to be bad? Is it behaving maliciously, and can I recover if it is?

Following my talk, faculty attendees had a variety of insightful questions—as they did for all the presenters today. Roy Campbell, from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, raised the issue of zero-day attacks, and how they might be handled and prevented. My response was that while it might be impossible to eliminate all security bugs, it is possible to get strong guarantees and higher assurance about fundamental software aspects. As an example, I mentioned the Native Client open source Google project that establishes strong, verifiable guarantees about the safety of low-level software. Another question raised was whether Multics-like protection rings were relevant to today's cloud computing applications. Although the mechanisms may not be the same as in Multics, my reply was that layered security and defense in depth are more important than ever, since cloud computing by necessity makes use of deep software stacks that extend from the client through multiple, nested back-end services.

On Friday’s agenda: the technical possibilities of the social web. We’ll be back with more highlights from the summit soon—stay tuned.

[G] Google Display Network series: Your toolbox for creative display ads

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Inside AdWords: Google Display Network series: Your toolbox for creative display ads

In last week’s installment of our Google Display Network series, we showed how DoubleClick Ad Planner can help you effectively plan your display ad campaigns and reach the right audience. Today we’ll talk about creating compelling display ads and the options available on the Google Display Network (GDN). Let’s look at each category of options you have today:

Great impact through Rich Media and Video. Rich media and video formats engage users at a whole new level, drawing them in and encouraging interactivity in a way not possible with other ad formats.

Example of a great rich media ad run by Volvo and the agencies Euro RSCG New York and Media Contacts:

If you use rich media and video formats to engage your customers, here’s what we offer through our DoubleClick Rich Media and Video solutions:
  • Choice of a variety of rich Media formats, based on your campaign objective.
  • Access to DoubleClick Studio, a free rich media production and workflow tool.
  • Analyze data on more than 100 unique interactions in every creative unit with Audience Interaction Metrics.
  • Integration with DoubleClick for Advertisers, a robust ad management, serving, and reporting solution that simplifies trafficking, reporting and billing of your Rich Media campaigns.
  • If you’re already working with another rich media vendor, we have many approved vendors we work with.
Build display ads in minutes. Creating display ads can be resource-intensive, and for many marketers, it may not be in the budget. So we introduced Display Ad Builder in 2008, a free tool for creating professional-looking display ads in minutes. Here’s what you can do with Display Ad Builder:
  • Create image, video (InVideo, Click-To-Play), Flash and rich media (including expandable) ads using hundreds of fully customizable templates or templates tailored for specific industries.
  • Stay true to your brand with your own images, text, videos and logos.
  • Automatically convert the ads you design into most standard IAB ad sizes.

Display Ad Builder is also great for testing different messages and creative elements, or to get insights for more complex display campaigns managed by your in-house team or agency.

Stand out by blending in. Text ads are a versatile ad format that are easy to create and edit. They’re especially effective as an extension of your existing search campaigns. Simply opt your search campaign into the GDN and your ads will show to users as they surf relevant web pages via our contextual targeting technology. Text ads also complement display campaigns by engaging users who ignore display ads (i.e. banner blindness). Further, they give your campaign wider reach since not every publisher may accept display ads, or may only accept a limited number of display ad formats and sizes on their site.

Whether your goal is to drive awareness or generate immediate sales, the robust creative toolbox available on the Google Display Network can help. We’ll see you next week when we talk about how you can reach your audience with the targeting technologies available on the GDN.

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Marketing Manager, Google Display Network

[G] Happy Birthday, Emily Brontë!

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Inside Google Books: Happy Birthday, Emily Brontë!

Posted by Archi Sarkar, Google Books Team

Portrait of Emily Jane Brontë (Source: LIFE Magazine)

No coward soul is mine,
No trembler in the world's storm-troubled sphere:
I see Heaven's glories shine,
And faith shines equal, arming me from fear.
-- Emily Brontë

The indomitable spirit that defined the Yorkshire poet and novelist Emily Brontë also formed the very essence of the classic Wuthering Heights -- her only novel.

In an age when contemporary English society refused to take women’s contributions to literature seriously, Emily and her sisters, Charlotte and Anne, adopted ambiguous pen names to have their works published and accepted. In 1846, the Brontë sisters collaboratively published Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell.

The Brontë sisters--Anne, Emily and Charlotte--painted by their brother Bramwell (Source: LIFE Magazine)

While Charlotte Brontë assumed the pseudonym Currer Bell and went on to write Jane Eyre, Anne Brontë settled for Acton Bell and produced Agnes Grey. Emily preferred to be called Ellis Bell in the first edition of Wuthering Heights, which was published in 1847.

And ever since, her creations of Heathcliff and Catherine have captivated audiences worldwide, making Emily Brontë not just a household name, but also a stalwart of romantic fiction. In combination, the courage and passion of her characters, the unusually innovative Gothic structure of her novel and the brilliance of her prose, enabled her to create one of the finest Romantic works.

Actors Merle Oberon and Laurence Olivier during filming of Wuthering Heights in 1939 (Source: LIFE Magazine)

Although Emily unfortunately succumbed to tuberculous at the young age of 30, her spirit continues to live on through her works -- a tribute to her genius.

Here’s remembering you, Emily Brontë! Happy Birthday!


Thursday, July 29, 2010

[G] Take the high road or the low road with Earth view in Google Maps

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Google LatLong: Take the high road or the low road with Earth view in Google Maps

Draggable driving directions is one of our most popular features in Google Maps. By simply clicking on a route and dragging it, you can choose an alternate - perhaps more scenic or more familiar - route to your destination. This feature wasn’t available when Earth view launched in Google Maps earlier this year, but we’re happy to announce that draggable driving directions are now in Earth view as well. After getting directions, just grab the blue route line with your mouse and drag it onto alternate highways or streets. The route will update automatically, redrawing your path in 3D as you move your mouse.

As an example, one of my favorite trips to make is to Yosemite Valley from my home in San Francisco. For those of you familiar with this route, there’s a steep shortcut called Old Priest Grade that saves time but can be challenging for larger vehicles. Here is the recommended route taking the grade:

By grabbing the blue line with your mouse cursor and dragging it within the map, you can quickly and easily pick a different route. In this case, I prefer to go around Old Priest Grade and take the gentler Highway 120.

The next time you plan to drive, whether it’s a short day trip to park you’ve never visited or a weekend road trip with your buddies, make sure to check the route and switch it up if you’d like. You can change these same directions to Yosemite, or click-and-drag any driving route you create!

Posted by Peter Birch, Product Manager

[G] Security First: Google at the International Conference on Cyber Security

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Security First: Google at the International Conference on Cyber Security

The Google Enterprise team is excited to be participating in the International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS), on August 2nd-5th, at Fordham University in New York City. ICCS brings together global leaders in emerging cyber threat analysis, operations and enforcement. More than 700 IT, business and law enforcement professionals from over 50 countries will gather to discuss the most significant emerging cyber threats and how the security and law enforcement communities are responding to them.

Eric Davis, Policy Manger and Director of Anti-Malvertising at Google will be giving a talk entitled: “Welcome to Malvertising” on Thursday, August 5th at 1:30 PM. Malvertising” is the intersection of malware and advertising, where ads install malware or redirect users to sites that install malware. Eric will discuss how malvertising occurs over ad networks. He will discuss incident response, as well as available systems, tools and best practices for preventing malware in ads.

If you'll be at the conference, please join us for our talk and stop by our booth to learn more about Google’s cyber security efforts as well as to learn more about how Google secures the data stored in our data centers. If you’re not going to be at the conference, you can find lots of information about cyber security in our Online Security Blog and information about the security of our data centers here.

Posted by Adam Swidler, Sr. Manager – Google Enterprise

[G] Notes from useR! 2010

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Google Open Source Blog: Notes from useR! 2010

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics, used by a growing number of economists, engineers, and data analysts every day at Google. We’ve even published our R Style Guide on Google Code. The R community has done a lot of great work with Google APIs, such as integrating the R programming language with Google Earth, Protocol Buffers, and Google Docs.

I've just returned from the annual useR! conference for the open source R programming language. This year the conference attracted nearly 500 individuals to the NIST campus outside Washington D.C.

The conference provided a great opportunity to meet with some of the package authors that are working on third-party extensions, including Romain Francois and Dirk Eddelbuettel who jointly gave a pair of well-attended talks on their RProtoBuf and Rcpp packages.

In addition to the 3 days of tutorials, panels, and presentations, Google sponsored a dinner for conference attendees at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. to facilitate the "hallway track" of informal discussions outside of the official conference program.

Thanks to all those presenters, sponsors, and organizers involved in putting together a successful conference. For those who weren’t able to attend, the abstracts and slides from the 168 presentations and a more limited number of videos are available from the technical sessions. Hope to see you next year...

By Murray Stokely, Software Engineering Team

[G] Rain or Snow, Now You Can See Weather in Google Earth

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Google LatLong: Rain or Snow, Now You Can See Weather in Google Earth

It’s the middle of summer, but for those of us who long for the return of cold winter weather and warm cups of cocoa, throw on your favorite poncho and check out the weather in Google Earth 5.2. The latest version projects images of rain and snow over the areas with those weather patterns as it’s actually happening! First enable the clouds layer, then zoom in to a particular location where it might be raining or snowing. I’m willing to bet London is a likely spot, even these days, or the Lone Star state (pictured below) which is in the midst of tropical storm season. Currently, our precipitation data cover some areas in North America and Europe; you can see if it’s available in certain places by enabling the radar layer.

This is a fun and useful tool for anyone planning to travel or who wants to check a specific area where a friend of relative might be visiting or living. For example, in preparation for my recent trip to the American southwest, I decided to check on the status of Hurricane Alex a few days in advance:

Via Google Earth, I could see that the hurricane was entering Mexico and Texas. Zooming close to ground, I saw that the Texas coastline was getting a bit of rain:

Luckily, I missed the hurricane by a couple of days!

You, too, can make like a meteorologist and track wet weather patterns ranging from light drizzle and snow to hurricanes and blizzards in Google Earth. Feel free to give it a try!

Posted by Quarup Barreirinhas, Software Engineer

[G] Upload limit increases to 15 minutes for all users

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YouTube Blog: Upload limit increases to 15 minutes for all users

We want YouTube to be the best place to upload video. Without question, the number one requested feature by our creators is to upload videos longer than 10 minutes. We’ve heard you, and today we’re pleased to announce that we’ve increased the upload limit to 15 minutes.

We encourage you to take full advantage of this new time limit by making a video of your “15 minutes of fame.” Imagine that this video is all the world will ever know about you: what would you want to communicate? What will be the enduring stamp you’ve left on us all? Tag your video with “yt15minutes,” upload it by Wednesday, August 4, and we’ll select a handful of people to truly gain their 15 minutes of fame by featuring them on the YouTube homepage in a future spotlight.

In the meantime, you may wonder “why now?” -- the upload limit for non-partners has been 10 minutes for years. Well, we’ve spent significant resources on creating and improving our state-of-the-art Content ID system and many other powerful tools for copyright owners. Now, all of the major U.S. movie studios, music labels and over 1,000 other global partners use Content ID to manage their content on YouTube. Because of the success of these ongoing technological efforts, we are able to increase the upload limit today. We will continue our strong commitment to provide advanced technology and tools to protect the rights of small and large copyright owners worldwide. We’ll also do everything we can to release incremental improvements like this one that benefit our video creators.

One final note: if you’re uploading a video that was previously rejected for being too long, you’ll have to go into “My Videos” and delete it before attempting to upload it again. Thanks and happy uploading!

Joshua Siegel, Product Manager, Upload and Video Management, recently watched "Gulf - Jack Conte VideoSong."


[G] Congratulations to Flumotion, who will be streaming the GUADEC

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: Congratulations to Flumotion, who will be streaming the GUADEC

Congratulations to Flumotion, who will be streaming the GUADEC developer conference live using the WebM video format. This is the first event to be streamed worldwide using WebM. Check it out at

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

[G] Destination: Beauty! YouTube’s gurus help you look your best

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YouTube Blog: Destination: Beauty! YouTube’s gurus help you look your best

Get your eyeliner sharpened, your mascara pumped, your hair ready to be oh-so-carefully tussled -- today, we're launching our first-ever beauty program, "Destination Beauty," sponsored by L'Oréal Paris. The year-long initiative will feature a constantly refreshed selection of videos offering tips and tricks on looking your best from partners like Panacea81, KandeeJohnson and Seventeen Magazine, all of whom are authorities in this space. Take a peek at the videos below as examples of what you'll find on the channel.

Emulating Katy Perry's "California Gurls Video" look:

Getting violet lips:

Constructing a quick summer up-do:

Check back every Monday for a new dose of only-on-YouTube tutorials in categories like makeup, hair and trends.

Mia Quagliarello, Community Manager,  recently watched "Get Leighton Meester's Cool, Colorful Eye Look!"