Monday, May 31, 2010

Chrome Extensions for web development

The Chrome Developer Tools are great for debugging HTML, JavaScript and CSS in Chrome. If you're writing a webpage or even a web app for the Chrome Web Store, you can inspect elements in the DOM, debug live JavaScript, and edit CSS styles directly in the current page. Extensions can make Google Chrome an even better web development environment by providing additional features that you can easily access in your browser. To help developers like you, we created a page that features extensions for web development. We hope you’ll find them useful in creating applications and sites for the web.
For example, Speed Tracer is an extension to help you identify and fix performance issues in your web applications. With Speed Tracer, you can get a better idea of where time is being spent in your application and troubleshoot problems in JavaScript parsing and execution, CSS style, and more.
Another useful extension is the Resolution Test that changes the size of the browser window, so web developers can preview websites in different screen resolutions. It also includes a list of commonly used resolutions, as well as a custom option to input your own resolution.
With the Web Developer extension, you can access additional developer tools such as validation options, page resizing and a CSS elements viewer; all from an additional button in the toolbar.
Another extension you should check out is the Chrome Editor that allows you to easily code within your browser, so you don’t have to flip between your browser and code editor. You can also save a code reference locally to your computer for later use.
These are just a few of the extensions you can find in our extensions for web development page. You can also look for more in the extensions gallery.

Written by Koh Kim, Google Chrome Team

This week in search 5/30/10

This is one of a regular series of posts on search experience updates. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series.
Safety, security and privacy are important parts of the search equation for us at Google, particularly as we continue to bring you the best possible search experience on the web. Security in particular can be an important part to your interaction with the Google search box, so we're always looking for ways to make changes and enhancements to that interaction secure. Especially as we all spend more time online, the importance of security has taken center stage. So in addition to this week's secure search enhancement, you can read our latest news and insights at our Online Security Blog.
More secure searches
Years ago we added Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption to products ranging from Gmail to Google Docs, as part of our effort to advance the safety and security of our products for you. Now you have a new choice to search more securely using When you use this https address, an encrypted session is established between your browser and Google that uses an SSL connection. Just like on an online banking page, the "https" confirms that you are using a more secure connection that will help protect your search terms and your search results from being intercepted by a third party. For more information on this security enhancement, read our announcement.
Example of encrypted search: [flowers]
Whether you're planning a trip by train or scouring the real-time web, this week's roundup also includes two search enhancements that should greatly improve the richness of yor search results -- no matter what you're looking for.
Images in real-time search updates
Ten blue links on a search results page can provide you with a lot of really helpful information, but sometimes you're searching for content that is richer than a textual web page. For instance, what are people saying about Lady Gaga's latest garb? Until now, it's been hard to get this kind of rich visual detail that's really fresh. So this week we began rolling out a feature for images in real-time search. When searching for the latest content across the real-time web, you'll be able to quickly see the images people are talking about right now (based on URLs of those images in their public updates.) To view this new feature, click on "Updates" in the lefthand panel when you complete a search. Then click on "Updates with images."
Example search: [pac-man doodle]
Transit search enhanced
Often when we search, it's to get from point A to point B, such as when the best route is by train. Then it's important to know the specific details of the train station near you, like which lines it serves. Now you can easily get this information in the lefthand panel on Google Maps by searching for the transit station. The lines are colored and grouped by transit type to make it easier to find the line you're looking for. For rail trains, you can see the departure time directly. For other types of transit like subways, buses and commuter trains, you can click on the line name to get the next departure time of each direction—all without having to leave the current page.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Adobe Reader for Android

After releasing Flash Player for Android, Adobe launches a PDF reader for Android. The applications is available in the Android Market and it can be installed only if your phone runs Android 2.1 or later and it has at least 256 MB of RAM and a 550 MHz processor.

Nexus One already comes with a document viewer based on Quickoffice, but the application doesn't do a great job at previewing PDF files. Adobe Reader for Android opens PDF files much faster than Quickoffice and it has a better zooming feature.

"Adobe Reader for Android offers multi-touch gestures, like pinch-and-zoom, as well as double-tap-zoom, flick-scrolling and panning. We've also added a reflow mode, which will take text-heavy documents with wide margins, and automatically wrap the content for easy viewing on smaller screens," explains Adobe.

The application doesn't include basic features like search or support for password-protected files, but it's snappy, documents are readable and the applications opens in full screen. There aren't many free PDF viewers for Android and Adobe's application is clearly the best right now.

Happy 1st birthday, Google Wave!

Last week, we opened sign-ups for Google Wave to everyone as part of Google Labs and made it available for all Google Apps domains. Here is the quick (seven minute) update on the state of the product from this year's Google IO conference:

Today, it's been a full year since the Wave team first got on stage at the Moscone Center and demoed a new vision for communication and collaboration to a crowd of developers. In a guest article on the Huffington Post last week, Lars described innovation and working on Google Wave as a rollercoaster—and this year has certainly been a fascinating ride. For the past year, I've had the pleasure and the challenge of explaining why this new technology is useful. Unlike some other products that I have also been lucky enough to work on, Wave is not a more advanced approach to a known application like webmail or the browser. It's actually a new category, which can be kind of hard to wrap your head around.

I work in Wave every day, and we have identified a number of clear use cases for getting things done in groups at businesses and at schools. But people also ask me how I use Wave outside of work to understand how they should start using it themselves. As it turns out, the ways I use Wave aren't revolutionary or groundbreaking—I communicate about everyday things, but it is these incredibly ordinary and important communications that are transformed in unexpected ways when you use Wave.

I wave with my family—with my mom, who is across the country, and with my sister who is a graduate student. We're all on different schedules and very rarely all online at the same time. In one wave, we decided what to wear for a friend's wedding—adding suggestions for each other with links and pictures, updating the wave as we had side conversations and made decisions. My mom and I chatted about my dress choice when we were both online, and then my sister was easily able to catch up later, adding her ideas. It kept all three of us up to speed in one place, rather than having several phone conversations, emails and chats. Sharing these small personal projects in a wave removes the little bits of friction to make the discussions more dynamic and productive.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comFrom talking to other people who use Google Wave, I know I'm not alone. I've been struck by the really personal nature of communicating and working together in Wave, and the emotional response people have to their first uniquely wavey experience, what we call the "Wave a-ha moment." For many people it's the live typing that does it; for others it's the first time they create an in-line reply, embed a YouTube video or edit someone else's text.

You really do have to try it to believe it, though—so if you checked out Google Wave six months ago and found yourself at a bit of a loss, take another look. The product is much faster and more stable and we have templates and tutorials to help you get started. Next time you find yourself taking notes while you are on the phone, do it in a wave and add your colleagues, or pull a couple friends or family members onto a wave for a small project... like going to the movies.

for more post visit : google blog

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Google Chrome 5 Stable Released

Google launched the first stable version of Google Chrome that's available for Windows, Linux and Mac. Google's browser has been initially released for Windows and then it was ported to Linux and Mac.

As this image shows, it wasn't easy to port a complex Windows application to other operating systems:
... but the results are surprisingly good:

Google Chrome 5 Stable Released

Google Chrome 5 Stable Released
The Mac version has a polished UI and great features that aren't available in Safari: full-screen mode, bookmark sync, extensions and themes. Some Windows users would probably like to see the menu from Google Chrome for Mac.

Chrome's Linux version has improved a lot since the first dev channel release and will probably compete with Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome. For those who don't like the GTK+ theme, Chrome lets you enable the classic theme from Windows.

Chrome 5 has many small new features: extensions in incognito mode, reordering toolbar buttons, disabling individual plug-ins, native geolocation, new bookmark manager which is now a web page, zoom settings saved for each domain, Integrated Windows Authentication and more. It's also much faster than Chrome 4. An important missing feature is the built-in Flash plug-in, which will be added in a future update, when Adobe launches Flash 10.1.

We’re excited to follow all of the 54 finalists to see where in the world they land.

Congratulations to Aadith Moorthy, the 2010 National Geographic Bee Champion

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comTswana is a Bantu language spoken by the largest ethnic group in what landlocked country?

The production of yerbe maté, a tea made from an evergreen plant, is important to the economy of Misiones. This province is located in which country that borders Paraguay?

The Øresund Bridge, opened in 2000, connects Copenhagen, Denmark with what Swedish city?

The largest city in northern Haiti was renamed following Haiti’s independence from France. What is the present-day name of this city?

Aadith Moorthy tackled these and other questions to win this year’s National Geographic Bee held today in Washington, D.C. While he missed his first question of the day, he didn’t let that get get in his way. His win is the culmination of many months of preparation and local competitions that began last fall at schools across the country.

Aadith is a 13-year-old 8th grader from Palm Harbor, Florida and attends the Palm Land Middle School. When not studying geography, he is a South Indian classical (Carnatic) music concert singer. At the beginning of the final round, he gave the audience a taste of his talent when Alex Trebek, the host of the Bee, asked him to sing on the spot.

We’re proud that Google is this year’s sponsor of the National Geographic Bee. This contest exemplifies the importance of being geographically literate and showcases just how well these students understand the world around them. This skill-set will be a vital asset as they continue their education and careers. As you can tell from the questions above, it’s not just a matter of memorizing state and country capitals!

I had the great opportunity to speak at both the preliminary and championship rounds of the Bee and was impressed by the dedication of the teachers who made special efforts to train their school finalists and the depth of knowledge of the students. This is contest with important implications for their future lives and careers.

We’re excited to follow all of the 54 finalists to see where in the world they land.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Add-ons for Disabling Google Analytics Tracking

Google released plug-ins for Internet Explorer 7+, Firefox 3.5+ and Chrome 4+ that disable Google Analytics tracking. Google Analytics is by far the most popular free service for getting statistics about the visitors of a site and it's used by a lot of sites, including this blog. Even if the service doesn't show personal information about the visitors and it only provides aggregated data, some people are concerned that Google can track the sites they visit using a seemingly innocuous Google Analytics script.
Google explains that Google Analytics uses first-party cookies to track visitor interactions, so the data can't be aggregated for all the domains. "The Google Analytics Terms of Service, which all analytics customers must adhere to, prohibits the tracking or collection of [personal] information using Google Analytics or associating personal information with web analytics information."

Those that are concerned about their privacy can install an add-on and permanently disable the script. After installing the add-on, you'll notice that the browser still sends a request for this file: when visiting a page that uses Google Analytics, but it no longer sends information to Google Analytics.

If a lot of users install the add-on, website owners will no longer have accurate stats, they'll no longer be able to find if their content is popular and what sections of their site still need some work. Even if Google didn't release opt-out add-ons, users could still block Google Analytics by adding an entry to the HOSTS file, but the add-ons make it easier to opt-out.

Google also added a feature for website owners: Google Analytics can now hide the last octet of the IP address before storing it. "Google Analytics uses the IP address of website visitors to provide general geographic reporting. Website owners can now choose to have Google Analytics store and use only a portion of this IP address for geographic reports. Keep in mind, that using this functionality will somewhat reduce the accuracy of geographic data in your Analytics reports. "

The 2010 Doodle 4 Google winner: Makenzie Melton’s Rainforest Habitat

Congratulations to Makenzie Melton, a third grader at El Dorado Springs R-2 Schools in El Dorado Springs, Missouri. Her winning design, entitled "Rainforest Habitat,” expressed her concern that "the rainforest is in danger and it is not fair to the plants and animals.” Makenzie’s design triumphed over more than 33,000 student submissions from all over the country. Makenzie’s colored-pencil creation beautifully embodied this year’s theme.

Makenzie received a $15,000 college scholarship, a netbook computer and a $25,000 technology grant for a new computer lab at her school. Her doodle will also be featured on the homepage tomorrow, May 27, for millions of people to enjoy all across the country.

Our congratulations also go out to other three national finalists. They were selected as having the best doodle in their grade groups by the online public vote, and each student will receive a netbook computer:

Grades 4-6
Raymundo Marquez, Grade 6, of Nellie Mae Glass Elementary, Eagle Pass, Texas for his doodle entitled "Save Our Rainforest." The background of Raymundo’s work depicts deforestation and the effects it can have on our land. He says, “we will eventually have less oxygen and clean air. We need to unite to protect not just our lives, but the lives of all the rare and beautiful plants and animals that live there.”

Grades 7-9
Vance Viggiano, Grade 7, Heritage Home School Academy, Long Valley, New Jersey, for his doodle entitled "The Love of Art." Vance says, “If I could do anything, I would... enrich the world with an intense passion for art and the everlasting joy it provides. Art embodies the creator's expression, and offers exquisite exuberance towards both the artist and the viewers, also serving to soothe an ailing soul in distress.”

Grades 10-12
Bevan Schiffli, Grade 9, Highlands School, Highlands, North Carolina, for her doodle entitled "Branch Out." Bevan says, “My doodle expresses my desire to understand other views and cultures. I want to branch out to gain a strong sense of the world; not only in one perspective, but many. My wish is to show people my experiences through a pursuit of art/design in my future career.”

Our four winners were announced at an event today at the Google New York office and were celebrated at the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, where we also unveiled an exhibit of the 40 regional winners that will be on view until August 15, 2010. The finalists were treated to a day in New York City, including doodle classes with our doodle team and the opportunity to meet some of this year’s expert jurors who helped judge this year’s final doodles around the theme “If I Could Do Anything, I Would..." Judges at today’s event were well known artists and animators from Disney, the Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates and Peanuts gang, Barbie/Matell and the Sesame Street Workshop.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Google’s U.S. economic impact

In 1978, people told Douglas Twiddy he was crazy when he started renting out vacation homes in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. More than 30 years later, his son Ross is using our AdWords advertising program to help attract prospective renters — and grow his small business, Twiddy. Thanks in part to AdWords, in just the past two years the company has added 100 new homes to its listings and hired 16 full-time employees, and it brings on another 50 seasonal employees each year.

This week is National Small Business Week, and Ross will be with me on Capitol Hill in Washington today to share his story and help unveil something that means a tremendous amount to me: a new report detailing, for the first time ever, Google’s economic impact in all 50 states.

People think of Google first and foremost as a search engine, but it’s also an engine of economic growth. In our report, we’re announcing that in 2009 we generated a total of $54 billion of economic activity for American businesses, website publishers and non-profits. Over the years people have asked us whether we could quantify our economic impact on a state level, and we’re pleased to do that for the first time with this report, which you can download at

In a time of tighter budgets and a slow economic recovery, we’re glad to support so many small businesses and entrepreneurs across the country by helping them find new customers more efficiently and monetize their websites through targeted advertising.

Here’s a video from me and our Chief Economist, Hal Varian, with more background on where we get the numbers:

Send Links from Google Chrome to an Android Phone

One of the most interesting APIs in Android 2.2 allows developers to create applications that can receive messages from servers. "Android Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) is a service that helps developers send data from servers to their applications on Android devices. The service provides a simple, lightweight mechanism that servers can use to tell mobile applications to contact the server directly, to fetch updated application or user data."

To try the new APIs, you can install an Android app and a Chrome extension that let you send a link from the browser to your phone and automatically open the URL in Android's browser. Install the Android application, register your device and enable "launch browser/maps directly". Then install the Chrome extension, click on the icon and log in to the same Google account used in Android. Now you can send links to your phone by clicking on a button in Google Chrome.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comThe application requires Android Froyo, which is only available for Nexus One at the moment.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Flash in Android Froyo

Google has started updating Nexus One phones to Android Froyo and the update file is already public. I updated my phone using a pre-rooted version from Modaco which doesn't require the stock recovery image.

Even if it's not included in Android, the Flash runtime is one of the few applications that require Android 2.2. Right now, you can install from the Android Market the first beta release for Flash 10.1.

Whether you love it or hate it, installing Flash changes the way you look at a mobile phone. HTML5 may be the future, but a lot of websites use Flash for playing video, music, games and interactive content. Instead of getting messages that recommend you to install the Flash plug-in, you'll see the actual content.

The trouble with Flash on a mobile phone is that most Flash content is designed for a computer and it's difficult to use on a device with a small screen. Video players have small buttons and it's challenging to click on one of them, some websites serve high-quality videos that aren't appropriate for a slow Internet connection, clicking on a Flash object is a disrupting experience because you might open a new page, pause a video or display the Flash content in full-screen.

I've tried to open many sites that use Flash and the experience isn't smooth. Animations are sometimes choppy, web pages load much slower, scrolling web pages that use Flash is slow and there's a lot of lag when zooming a page with Flash content. In some cases, the browser is no longer responsive for a few seconds and you need to wait until you can switch to another page. Fortunately, Adobe managed to optimize the code and using Flash doesn't drain your phone's battery much faster.

The version you can install from the Android Market is not the final release, but don't expect too many changes until next month. It's nice to have options, so I recommend to install the Flash runtime and to change the browser settings so that plug-ins are loaded "on-demand". This way, web pages will continue to load fast and you'll only display Flash content when necessary.

Keeping up-to-date on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill

It is estimated that at least 6 million gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf of Mexico since the Deepwater Horizon explosion a month ago. Cleanup efforts are underway, but the oil has spread extensively around the Gulf and along the southern U.S. coastline. Oil has begun washing up on the beaches of Louisiana and the delicate wetlands along the Mississippi River, and can spread to Florida and throughout the Gulf as weather conditions change. This sequence of images, coming from NASA’s MODIS satellites, illustrates the movement and growth of the oil slick over the past few weeks:
The last image, taken earlier this week (on May 17), shows the coastal areas currently at risk from the spreading oil, and can help those working on the wide range of relief efforts.
You can view this and other MODIS imagery in Google Earth by downloading this KML. You can also view additional imagery and find other resources and news at our oil spill crisis response page.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Google TV Announced

Google TV is a new platform that aims to bring the Web to TVs. Google developed a custom Android version that runs Google Chrome and improves the TV viewing experience by allowing you to find TV programs, showing recommendations and integrating content from the Web.

"With Google Chrome built in, you can access all of your favorite websites and easily move between television and the web. This opens up your TV from a few hundred channels to millions of channels of entertainment across TV and the web. Your television is also no longer confined to showing just video. With the entire Internet in your living room, your TV becomes more than a TV — it can be a photo slideshow viewer, a gaming console, a music player and much more," explains Google.

Google's demo from the Google I/O conference wasn't very convincing. Google acknowledged that many other companies tried to create similar products without too much success. The explanation is probably that they were ahead of their time, but Google says that they were unsuccessful because they dumbed down the Web experience, they were closed and users had to choose between watching TV and browsing the Web.

"The project started 2½ years ago, with a vision of a walled garden of TV-optimized web services. But the landscape keeps shifting, particularly in the capabilities of mobile devices. The only solution big enough for the problem is to bring the whole web to your TV," says Vincent Dureau, who is in charge of Google TV.

Google partnered with Sony, Intel and Logitech to add Google TV to "televisions, Blu-ray players and companion boxes". The first Internet-enabled TV that runs Google's software will be launched this fall by Sony and it promises to provide "richer internet access so you can browse the web just like you would from a computer."

But why not connect your TV to a computer? Android is a great operating system for a mobile phone, but it doesn't look very well on a big HDTV. Not all the Android applications are useful on a TV and those that are useful won't take advantage on the huge screen estate of the TV. Google promises to introduce a Google TV SDK and some APIs for web applications, but that will happen next year.

Google TV has a lot of potential and I'm sure it could eventually become a great product. The software could make TV programs more interactive by detecting phone numbers, addresses or URLs, it could allow you to chat with a friend while watching the same TV show, it could create chat rooms for everyone who watches the same show, it could use visual search to show information about an object from the screen or it could translate a foreign-language movie.

If you already have an Android phone, you can use it as a remote control. Since the TV and the phone can run the same applications, you'll be able to sign in using the same Google Account and synchronize your data. Favorite an YouTube video on a phone, watch it later on your TV and use it to generate a list of recommended TV shows.

Celebrating PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday

When I was growing up, my dad had the best job I could possibly imagine: he was an arcade game and pinball technician. For me, that meant summer trips through Poland’s coastal cities with their seasonal arcade parlors; peeking inside cabinets to learn programming and engineering secrets; and—of course—free games!

One of my favorites was PAC-MAN, whose popularity transcended the geopolitical barriers of that time. During the heyday of space shooters, Tōru Iwatani’s creation stood out as one of the first video games aimed at a broader audience, with a cute story of pizza-shaped character gobbling dots in a maze, colorful (literally!) characters, friendly design, very little violence and everlasting fun.

Today, on PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday, you can rediscover some of your 8-bit memories—or meet PAC-MAN for the first time—through our first-ever playable Google doodle. To play the game, go to during the next 48 hours (because it’s too cool to keep for just one day) and either press the “Insert Coin” button or just wait for a few seconds.
Google doodler Ryan Germick and I made sure to include PAC-MAN’s original game logic, graphics and sounds, bring back ghosts’ individual personalities, and even recreate original bugs from this 1980’s masterpiece. We also added a little easter egg: if you throw in another coin, Ms. PAC-MAN joins the party and you can play together with someone else (PAC-MAN is controlled with arrow keys or by clicking on the maze, Ms. PAC-MAN using the WASD keys).

PAC-MAN seems like a natural fit for the Google homepage. They’re both deceptively straightforward, carefully hiding their complexity under the hood. There’s a light-hearted, human touch to both of them. And we can only hope you find using Google at least a quarter as enjoyable as eating dots and chasing ghosts. You know, without actually needing any quarters.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Google Voice invites for students

We’ve found that Google Voice can be useful in many different ways to many different people. But one group of people that it's especially well-suited for is students. We’ve heard college students in particular really appreciate getting their voicemail sent to their email, sending free text messages and reading voicemail transcriptions rather than listening to messages (especially handy while in class).

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comBut since Google Voice is currently only available by invite, a lot of students are still listening to voicemail and sending text messages the old-fashioned way. As a recent college graduate, I can’t think of anything more painful! So starting today, we’ll be giving priority Google Voice invites to students. To get an invite, just visit and enter an email address that that ends in .edu.

So if you’re a student, submit your email address and a Google Voice invite will arrive in your inbox within 24 hours. Keep in mind that only one invite will be be sent per email address and Google Voice is currently only available in the U.S. And if you’re new to Google Voice, check out our introductory videos at

Google Chrome Has 70 Million Active Users

Asa Dotzler has a similar graph for Firefox, which shows that Firefox grew from 265 million users to 365 million users in the same period. To put things in perspective, Firefox has 5 times more users than Google Chrome.
It's a great achievement for Google and Chrome's market share will increase as the stable versions for Linux and Mac are released and Chrome OS becomes available. Even if you won't use Google Chrome, your browsers will be better because more people care about browser speed, process isolation and simple user interfaces.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Simplify common tasks with the new Google Apps Script

Last year at our Google I/O Developer Conference, we launched Google Apps Script, a software tool that lets you customize and automate Google Apps. Today, on the verge of our first birthday, we’re releasing significant updates to Google Apps Script, including its integration with other properties like Google Maps and Google Docs as well as third-party services and databases through the new Java Database connectivity

Check out our new scripts templates to try out some of the common tasks and processes that this new version of Google Apps Script can easily simplify and automate. And to learn more about how organizations can use it, head over to the Google Enterprise blog. Finally, if you’re attending this year’s Google I/O, we’re holding a session on using scripts to automate business processes — maybe we’ll see you there!

Doodle 4 Google, meet the 40 Regional Finalists (we did!)

For the first time ever, as part of this year’s Doodle 4 Google competition, we’re heading straight to classrooms all across the United States. From Gig Harbor, WA to Niceville, FL, Googlers are visiting the schools of our top 40 Regional Finalists to celebrate art and technology with thousands of K-12 students and teachers.

With our top 40 Regional Finalists unveiled, it’s now your turn to vote on the top 40 doodles! Starting at 6:00 a.m. PDT today through May 25 at 5:00 p.m. PDT, you can cast your online votes for your favorite Regional Finalist’s doodle (one from each of the four grade groups). On May 26, we’ll announce the national winner at our awards ceremony in New York City, and the winning design will appear on on Thursday, May 27. The national winner will also receive a $15,000 college scholarship and $25,000 towards a new computer lab for their school.

The Doodle 4 Google contest is all about designing and dreaming big, and this year we asked students to design our Google logo with the theme, “If I Could Do Anything, I Would...” More than 33,000 submissions poured in from all 50 states, and we were absolutely delighted by the creativity and talent of the submissions we saw. How exactly did we get from 33,000 to the top 40? We were lucky to have in our judging process not only Google employees but also 12 Expert Jurors, well-known cartoonists and animators from companies like Disney, Pixar Animation Studios and The Peanuts Gang/Charles Schulz.

In addition to our top 40 Regional Finalists, we’d like to congratulate the 400 State Finalists as well as our Extra Credit Technology Booster award winners.

Doodle 4 Google wouldn’t have been possible without the help and guidance of teachers and administrators who work hard every day to encourage art and creativity in the classroom — it is this sort of creativity that will lead to tomorrow's designers, technologists and engineers.

Monday, May 17, 2010

WiFi data collection: An update

Nine days ago the data protection authority (DPA) in Hamburg, Germany asked to audit the WiFi data that our Street View cars collect for use in location-based products like Google Maps for mobile, which enables people to find local restaurants or get directions. His request prompted us to re-examine everything we have been collecting, and during our review we discovered that a statement made in a blog post on April 27 was incorrect.

In that blog post, and in a technical note sent to data protection authorities the same day, we said that while Google did collect publicly broadcast SSID information (the WiFi network name) and MAC addresses (the unique number given to a device like a WiFi router) using Street View cars, we did not collect payload data (information sent over the network). But it’s now clear that we have been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open (i.e. non-password-protected) WiFi networks, even though we never used that data in any Google products.

However, we will typically have collected only fragments of payload data because: our cars are on the move; someone would need to be using the network as a car passed by; and our in-car WiFi equipment automatically changes channels roughly five times a second. In addition, we did not collect information traveling over secure, password-protected WiFi networks.

So how did this happen? Quite simply, it was a mistake. In 2006 an engineer working on an experimental WiFi project wrote a piece of code that sampled all categories of publicly broadcast WiFi data. A year later, when our mobile team started a project to collect basic WiFi network data like SSID information and MAC addresses using Google’s Street View cars, they included that code in their software—although the project leaders did not want, and had no intention of using, payload data.

As soon as we became aware of this problem, we grounded our Street View cars and segregated the data on our network, which we then disconnected to make it inaccessible. We want to delete this data as soon as possible, and are currently reaching out to regulators in the relevant countries about how to quickly dispose of it.

Maintaining people’s trust is crucial to everything we do, and in this case we fell short. So we will be:
* Asking a third party to review the software at issue, how it worked and what data it gathered, as well as to confirm that we deleted the data appropriately; and

* Internally reviewing our procedures to ensure that our controls are sufficiently robust to address these kinds of problems in the future.
In addition, given the concerns raised, we have decided that it’s best to stop our Street View cars collecting WiFi network data entirely.

This incident highlights just how publicly accessible open, non-password-protected WiFi networks are today. Earlier this year, we encrypted Gmail for all our users, and next week we will start offering an encrypted version of Google Search. For other services users can check that pages are encrypted by looking to see whether the URL begins with “https”, rather than just “http”; browsers will generally show a lock icon when the connection is secure.