Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Brown University has gone Google

From time to time we invite guests to blog about the initiatives of interest, and are very pleased to have Geoff Greene join us here. Geoff is the Director of IT Support Services at Brown University, and here he shares an update on their campus-wide migration to Google Apps for Education for all students, staff and faculty. - Ed.

About a year ago we put our 6,000 undergraduate students with Google Apps. The results were phenomenal: people were happy, they were productive, they were now excited...and then some people got jealous. Our faculty and staff members started coming to us asking “When do we get to go Google?” Turns out they also wanted access to the same tools to better to connect and engage with students and with each other.

We thought about it for a bit and realized that they had a point. So we decided to bring the entire Brown University community together—faculty, staff, medical and grad students—with a common set of tools: Google Apps for Education. This summer, our Computing & Information Services team is in the process of migrating everyone to our new GoogleApps@Brown system. The positive experience our undergrads have had using the Apps suite helped our Provost David Kertzer decide that the change would bring significant benefits and the cost savings to the university as a whole. In fact, we predict this change could save us somewhere around $1 million each year.

Our students were really the ones that led us down the Google path. They knew these tools would work because they already used them in their non-school lives. We also decided to go this direction because of the functionalities that we believe will bring our university together, namely tools like collaborative documents, better email (with nearly 30 times the storage space that we had with our previous system!) and video chat.

The icing on the cake is that we signed a zero dollar contract for all these top-notch tools. But it’s not just about saving money—it’s also about investing in our university’s future. Google Apps helps us work better together, and we can feel the excitement building on campus as a result. Here’s a little glimpse:

Since some faculty and staff members aren’t as familiar with the new tools just yet, we also hosted a “roadshow” to spread the word and gear up training sessions tailored for each campus group or department. Our training efforts are robust (you can check it out at and we have Google Guides—enthusiastic staff and student volunteers—helping their peers with the transition. We feel confident that once people start using these tools together, they’ll never look back.

Race to the finish line in a flash

We recently released a new version of the Google Chrome browser with Adobe Flash Player built in, automatically bringing you the latest and greatest updates. To celebrate, we teamed up with a few new creative folks to make Chrome FastBall, a Flash-based game built for YouTube. Want to race?

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comComplete various games to get the shiny chrome ball to finish the line in the shortest possible time. (So far, the fastest time on the Chrome team is 1 minute, 20 seconds.)

Try your luck with Chrome FastBall, and if you haven’t taken the Chrome for a test drive yet, download the newest stable release of the browser at

Due to the overwhelming response to the game, some things aren't quite working as we hoped due to server-side overloading. Please forgive the maintenance work as we get the game back once up again. Thanks!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Gay Google Search Box

Each year in June, Google searches results pages for gay-related queries include a multicolored bar. This time, Google added the colorful bar below the search box.
In the US, June is the "Gay & Lesbian Pride Month". "This month is meant to recognize the impact Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender individuals have had on the world. Gay, lesbian, and bisexual groups celebrate this special time with the pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost from hate crimes as well as with HIV and AIDS, and other group gathering events that attract thousands upon thousands of individuals."

Erica Baker pointed to a shirt of one the Googlers marching in the Global Pride Parades:
{ Photo licensed as Creative Commons by magic robots. Thanks, M. }

Mobile Google Docs Viewer

Google Docs Viewer, a service that lets you to preview online PDFs, Word documents and PowerPoint presentations, is now available for iPhone and Android devices.

Google added some features that make the service more useful on a touchscreen device: pinch to zoom (only for iPhone and iPad), buttons for to zoom and pagination.

Unfortunately for Google, iPhone's built-in PDF reader and the Microsoft Office viewer are much better than Google Docs Viewer because they don't convert documents to images. Some Android phones include a document viewer based on the Quickoffice, which also does a better job than Google Docs Viewer. There's also Adobe Reader for the Android, probably the best Android PDF reader you can download for free.

Monday, June 28, 2010

This week in search 6/27/10

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. - Ed.

Speed is a common theme at Google—the notion of speed is baked into all of our products, from Google Chrome to web search. Often, we also simply develop features that help deliver answers fast. Whether by displaying the exact content you're looking for at the top of your search results page or by optimizing the way you search, many of these speed enhancements save you keystrokes—and time.

This week, we released two new features:

Sunrise and Sunset Search feature
Whether you're looking to find the best time for a morning jog or trying to plan that perfect moment for a wedding proposal, knowing exactly when the sun rises or sets can always be helpful. This week, we were happy to launch a Sunrise and Sunset feature for search. It gives the precise times of sunsets and sunrises for any location around the world. Unlike the weather, sunrises and sunsets are quite predictable, and as a result, we don't use a data source. Instead, we calculate sunrise and sunset times based on latitude, longitude and the current time. This calculation has been of interest to astronomers and mathematicians for millennia, so they’ve had time to get it just right. And for most locations, it’s accurate to within a single minute.
Example searches: [sunrise port jefferson ny] or [sunset cancun]

Google Search by Voice expanded to more languages
Google Search by Voice enables people to search the web faster than ever before—getting you answers with fewer keystrokes. This service was originally launched in English, and was offered in the U.S., U.K., India, Australia and New Zealand. We later introduced Japanese and Mandarin to expand the number of possible users. Just a week ago, we launched the service in French, Italian, German and Spanish. Given that local dialects are a factor in the performance of speech recognition, we first launched our service in the four countries most closely associated with these languages: France, Germany, Italy and Spain. This week we followed with Korean and the launch in Taiwan of Traditional Mandarin.
To get started with Google Search by Voice, visit the Google mobile page in your country's domain (for example, in France go to and download the application for your phone’s operating system in your locale. You'll find this available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry phones. Ultimately, our goal is to bring Google Search by voice to speakers of all languages, so stay tuned for more announcements here.

We'll see you back here next week for more new announcements.

The search for 16

With the group round of the World Cup coming to a close and the round of 16 under way, it’s the perfect time to see what’s piqued searchers’ interest since our pre-tournament search trends kick-off.

Understandably, searches for [world cup standings] climbed steadily during the first week of play as fans around the globe watched the various teams jockey within their groups to qualify for the next round. Upsets in the group round have been particularly effective at driving increased search volume. Switzerland’s win over Spain on June 16 (one of the tournament’s earliest upsets) drove its share of search traffic, and New Zealand’s unexpectedly good performance against Italy, the 2006 tournament champion, inspired people to look for information about the “All Whites” (the Kiwi team’s nickname). Until England’s keeper let in a “soft” goal in the game against the U.S., [striker] was a more popular term than [fullback], [goalkeeper] or [midfielder]—but since then, searches for [goalkeeper] have largely outpaced the other positions. Searches for [england keeper] and [rob green] also spiked on the day of that game.

One of the rising—and controversial—stars of the World Cup’s initial days was the ubiquitous vuvuzela, which, at its peak on June 15, nearly overtook searches for [waka waka], the official song of the 2010 World Cup sung by Shakira. Viewers—and listeners—around the world searched for information about the South African horn, although after the initial spike it seems people have become accustomed to this unofficial match soundtrack, or perhaps purchased their own (listen for the German fans in the round of 16!).

But the vuvuzela is certainly not the only aspect of this year’s World Cup under scrutiny. Controversies have cropped up throughout the tournament, and a rise in search volume was never far behind. Interest in the much-debated 2010 World Cup ball, or [jabulani], has remained high throughout the first two weeks, and searches for [world cup referees] reflect the growing awareness that an official’s decision can make or break the fate of a team. Search volume for this topic peaked on June 18, the day a potentially tie-breaking U.S. goal against Slovenia was disallowed by a controversial offsides call. Searches for [offsides] also spiked on June 18, as well as on June 11 following an offsides call during the opening game between Mexico and South Africa, and June 23 after a call in the U.S. game against Algeria. Among English-speaking countries, most of these searches came from the U.S., a country relatively less familiar with “the beautiful game.”

Participating teams and individual players have also done their part to spark controversy. The French team has been in the spotlight for a variety of reasons: qualification for the tournament in a win over Ireland credited to a Thierry Henry handball, refusal to train after Nicolas Anelka was sent home for insulting the team’s coach (searches for [anelka] spiked following his departure), and their eventual elimination from the tournament. In another newsworthy twist, searches for Algerian player Rafik Saifi have skyrocketed in the last days after his altercation with an Algerian journalist.

As the stakes climb even higher in the elimination rounds, we’re all on the look-out for more exciting (and controversial) moments and emerging stars. So stay tuned—we’ll be back with more search trends as the World Cup action continues.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Celebrating Android

Today, Verizon and Motorola announced the newest device that powered by Android at an event in New York. We were thrilled to be there, and humbled by what our partners have been able to accomplish with Android. Every day 160,000 Android-powered devices are activated -- that’s nearly two devices every second, used for the first time by the people from New York to New Zealand.

Android started with one simple idea: Provide a powerful, open with mobile platform to drive faster innovation for the benefit of consumers. This idea has come to life around the world. Today, there are 60 compatible Android devices, delivered via a global partnership network of 21 OEMs and 59 carriers in 49 countries. The volume and the variety of Android devices continues to exceed even our most optimistic expectations. In some instances, Android devices are selling faster than they can be manufactured.

To celebrate, we are open-sourcing the new 2.2 version of Android, which we call Froyo, to our partners who manufacture Android devices around the world. Customers will now enjoy great new features and improved browser performance. And developers will benefit from new tools such as Android cloud-to-device messaging (which makes it easier for mobile applications to sync data).

We want to thank our partners for joining us in our vision, for creating such as compelling devices, and for continuing to push the limits of what is possible in a smartphone.

Graduation: our latest Search Story

This is part of our summer series of new Search Stories. Look for the label to Search Stories and subscribe to the series. -Ed.

My dad’s family grew up in Vietnam. Even as they faced an uncertain future, they have attended school, believing strongly in the value of the education. So when my aunts and uncles are immigrated to the U.S., they went to great lengths to make sure their sons and daughters had the best opportunities. It wasn’t always easy—learning with a new language and finding a new job was a struggle at first. But through their selfless efforts, my cousins and I were able to excel in our studies and pursue college degrees.

So for this reason, and on behalf of the Search Stories team, I’m delighted to introduce the latest video, Graduation. It’s both poignant and relevant to my family’s own experiences, and I think it speaks to devoted caregivers the world over.

Visit to check out the whole collection, or to create your own story.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

YouTube Adds Vuvuzela Button

YouTube's player added a new button for playing a vuvuzela sound file. If you watch the World Cup football matches on TV and you're missing the loud vuvuzela noise when you're watching YouTube videos, there's a new button for you.

"The vuvuzela is a typical 65 cm (2 ft) plastic blowing horn that produces a loud, distinctive monotone B♭3 note. The vuvuzela is most used at soccer matches in South Africa, and it has become a symbol of South African soccer as the stadiums are filled with its loud and raucous sound that reflects the exhilaration of supporters," informs Wikipedia.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comUnfortunately, if you click on the vuvuzela button, you might not be able to hear the original sound of the video. YouTube has an option that provides automatic captions for videos, but the results are rarely accurate.

YouTube wins case against Viacom

Today, the court granted our motion for summary judgment in Viacom’s lawsuit with YouTube. This means that the court has decided that YouTube is protected by the safe harbor of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) against claims of copyright infringement. The decision follows established judicial consensus that online services like YouTube are protected when they work cooperatively with copyright holders to help them manage their rights online.

This is an important victory not just for us, but also for the billions of people around the world who use the web to communicate and share experiences with each other. We’re excited about this decision and look forward to renewing our focus on supporting the incredible variety of ideas and expression that billions of people post and watch on YouTube every day around the world.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Vote for the international “I love football” Doodle 4 Google winner

In April, we invited young artists in 17 countries to create a Google doodle based on the theme “I love football.” Since then, more than 35,000 children in Australia, Germany, Ghana, South Korea, New Zealand, South Africa, United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Kenya, UAE and Israel have created original designs for this first-ever international doodling competition.
From footballs to goalposts, we saw some truly creative designs that prove just how much you can do with an “l,” an “e,” and a couple “o’s” and “g’s.” In the past two weeks, the winner of each country’s competition had their design shown on their country’s homepage for a day. Now, we need help deciding which of these top doodlers’ artwork will be featured on the Google homepage of all 17 participating countries on July 11. You can vote for the international winner from June 21 until June 28—visit this site to weigh in.

The winning doodler will receive a trip to South Africa for themselves and their family, offered by the South Africa Tourism Board. And the runner-up will win two VIP tickets to a Premiere League football match in the U.K. offered by Sports New Media.

So whether you’re an art lover or a football lover—vote for your favorite doodle today!

Google Voice for everyone

A little over a year ago, we released an early preview of Google Voice, our web-based platform for managing your communications. We introduced one number to ring all your phones, voicemail that works like email, free calls and text messages to the U.S. and Canada, low-priced international calls and more—the only catch was you had to request and receive an invite to try it out. Today, after lots of testing and tweaking, we’re excited to open up Google Voice to the public, no invitation required.

Over the past year, we’ve introduced a mobile web app, an integrated voicemail player in Gmail, the ability to use Google Voice with your existing number and more. Over a million of you are now actively using Google Voice, and many of the features released over the past year (like SMS to email and our Chrome extension) came as a result of your suggestions, so thanks!

If you haven’t yet tried Google Voice, we can’t wait for you to try it out and let us know what you think. Check out our revamped features page to learn about everything Google Voice can do, and if you haven’t seen it yet, this video provides a good overview in less than two minutes:

We’re proud of the progress we’ve made with Google Voice over the last few years, and we’re still just scratching the surface of what’s possible when you combine your regular phone service with the latest web technology. It’s even more amazing to think about how far communication has come over the last couple hundred years. To put things in context, we created this infographic to visualize some recent history of human communication and how Google Voice uses the web to help people communicate in more ways than ever before (click the image for a larger version):

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Quality links to your site

A popular question on our Webmaster Help Forum is in regard to best practices for organic link building. There seems to be some confusion, especially among less experienced webmasters, on how to approach the topic. Different perspectives have been shared, and we would also like to explain our viewpoint on earning quality links.

If your site is rather new and still unknown, a good way marketing technique is to get involved in the community around your topic. Interact and contribute on forums and blogs. Just keep in mind to contribute in a positive way, rather than spamming or soliciting for your site. Just building a reputation can drive people to your site. And they will keep on visiting it and linking to it. If you offer long-lasting, unique and compelling content -- something that lets your expertise shine -- people will want to recommend it to others. Great content can serve this purpose as much as providing useful tools.

A promising way to create value for your target group and earn great links is to think of issues or problems your users might encounter. Visitors are likely to appreciate your site and link to it if you publish a short tutorial or a video providing a solution, or a practical tool. Survey or original research results can serve the same purpose, if they turn out to be useful for the target audience. Both methods grow your credibility in the community and increase visibility. This can help you gain lasting, merit-based links and loyal followers who generate direct traffic and "spread the word." Offering a number of solutions for different problems could evolve into a blog which can continuously affect the site's reputation in a positive way.

Humor can be another way to gain both great links and get people to talk about your site. With Google Buzz and other social media services constantly growing, entertaining content is being shared now more than ever. We've seen all kinds of amusing content, from ASCII art embedded in a site's source code to funny downtime messages used as a viral marketing technique to increase the visibility of a site. However, we do not recommend counting only on short-lived link-bait tactics. Their appeal wears off quickly and as powerful as marketing stunts can be, you shouldn't rely on them as a long-term strategy or as your only marketing effort.

It's important to clarify that any legitimate link building strategy is a long-term effort. There are those who advocate for short-lived, often spammy methods, but these are not advisable if you care for your site's reputation. Buying PageRank-passing links or randomly exchanging links are the worst ways of attempting to gather links and they're likely to have no positive impact on your site's performance over time. If your site's visibility in the Google index is important to you it's best to avoid them.

Directory entries are often mentioned as another way to promote young sites in the Google index. There are great, topical directories that add value to the Internet. But there are not many of them in proportion to those of lower quality. If you decide to submit your site to a directory, make sure it's on topic, moderated, and well structured. Mass submissions, which are sometimes offered as a quick work-around SEO method, are mostly useless and not likely to serve your purposes.

It can be a good idea to take a look at similar sites in other markets and identify the elements of those sites that might work well for yours, too. However, it's important not to just copy success stories but to adapt them, so that they provide unique value for your visitors.
Finally, consider making linking to your site easier for less tech savvy users. Similar to the way we do it on YouTube, offering bookmarking services for social sites like Twitter or Facebook can help spread the word about the great content on your site and draw users' attention.

As usual, we'd like to hear your opinion. You're welcome to comment here in the blog, or join our Webmaster Help Forum community.

Save iPhone Notes to a Gmail Account

Apple's iOS 4 (iPhone OS 4) added an important missing feature: a way to save your notes online. If you add an IMAP mail account like Gmail or Yahoo Mail and enable the notes feature, you can create notes that are saved to your email account.
For Gmail, Apple creates a label called Notes and saves the notes created in the Gmail section to your Gmail account. The notes can only be edited from an iPhone or iPod Touch and the changed are reflected in Gmail. other new iOS 4 features that should be useful for Google users: Google Suggest in Safari's search box, an option to search the Web in Spotlight and the ability to add multiple Exchange accounts.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Gmail's Redesigned Contact Cards

Gmail's contact cards, which show up when you mouse over the sender of a message or a Gmail Chat contact, have a new interface. Action buttons are displayed at the bottom of the card and you can no longer edit the name of a contact inline. When you click on the name of a contact, Gmail opens the contact manager.
Contacts cards haven't changed too much since 2007, when Google released a major Gmail update.
If you'd like to see how much Gmail has evolved since 2007, open
Gmail's old version. It's surprising to see that Gmail still offers the old version, which lacks most of the features released in the past three years

Use Google Services from the Command Line

Not every one likes beautiful interfaces with big buttons, controls for entering text and uploading files. Sometimes it's faster to type commands in a terminal.

GoogleCL is a project that makes it easy to use Google services like Blogger, Picasa Web, YouTube, Google Docs ans Google Calendar from the command-line. It's a wrapper for the Google Data APIs, so you first need to install Python 2.6 (or 2.5) and Google Data APIs Python Client Library.

It's not very difficult to install a Python package. For example, in Windows you need to extract the archive, open the folder in Windows Explorer, shift + right-click in a blank space, select "Open command window here" and type: python install.

After installing Python, Google Data APIs Python Client Library and Google CL, you can type commands that let you upload photos to Picasa Web, upload videos to YouTube, publish Blogger posts, add events to Google Calendar, find Gmail contacts and more.

Here are some of my favorite commands:

google calendar add "Meet Mary tomorrow at 10am"
(add an event to Google Calendar)

google picasa get "Album Title" c:\files\picasa\
(download the files from one of your albums)

google picasa create --title "Miami Beach" c:\files\photos\miami\*.jpg
(upload photos to a new Picasa Web album)

google youtube post --title "Summer in Rome" c:\videos\rome.avi
(upload a video to YouTube)

google docs get --title "Reports .*"
(download documents that have titles starting with "Reports" as text files)

google docs upload c:\files\*.doc
(upload the *.doc files from a folder to Google Docs)

For a more comprehensive list of commands, type google --help or read the manual.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Switch to HD When Playing YouTube Videos in Full Screen

YouTube added a clever option for those who want to see a better video quality in full screen. If a video is available in a HD format, you can view it in HD when switching to the full screen mode.

Just click on the drop-down menu for switching between formats, click on "Settings" and enable "Always play HD when switching to fullscreen (when available)". You can also change playback quality settings from this page.
Unfortunately, when you exit the full screen mode, YouTube doesn't switch to the previous format. As YouTube's help center explains, "if you play HD video in a small player, the computer works overtime to scale down the video to fit within the player, which may result in choppy playback. It's always best to play the video size that best fits the size of the video player."

Searching for football connections

In a previous post, we talked about popular World Cup search queries. It turns out that people who search for one player frequently follow that immediately with a query for another player. In this post, we explore these timely connections between queries. Below, a thick line connects Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi because a lot of people followed a search for one of them with a search for the other. A thin line connects Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona because fewer people searched for them together.
Why are some players connected while others aren’t? Here are some of our discoveries:

The world’s most popular players are well-connected. The highest paid footballer Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) is tightly connected to other popular players including Lionel Messi (Argentina), Fernando Torres (Spain), Wayne Rooney (England) and Didier Drogba (Côte d'Ivoire). These players form a nucleus connecting all the other players.

A country’s players are usually connected—but not always. For example, Arjen Robben connects all the Netherlands players. In contrast, Ronaldo connects Brazilian player Kaká to his teammates Robinho, Nilmar and Grafite. France’s players Thierry Henry and Yoann Gourcuff are likewise connected through Ronaldo.

Players in the same football club are connected. Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard play together on Chelsea but represent Côte d'Ivoire and England in the World Cup. Similarly, Steven Gerrard (England) and Fernando Torres (Spain) both play for Liverpool.

If you’re interested in exploring how players connect to each other, try searching for a player’s name using Google Insights for Search and look at the “Top searches” in the bottom left to see if other footballers are listed. For example, Clint Dempsey, the U.S. player who made the match-tying goal against England last Saturday, is connected to Landon Donovan.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Summer is here, and so is Google Commerce Search 2.0

School is out for the summer, and that means it’s time for some swimsuit shopping, travel purchases and—before we know it—buying back-to-school supplies.

To help retail sites get ready for the summer shopping season, today we’re launching Google Commerce Search 2.0 for retailers in the United States and United Kingdom. The new version of Google Commerce Search provides a better experience online for shoppers and greater control—with immediate ROI—for retailers.

Google Commerce Search, first launched a little over six months ago, is an enterprise-grade website search solution hosted in Google’s cloud and designed specifically for online retailers. This second release includes a number of improvements:

  • More merchant customization: Today we’re introducing a full merchandising dashboard, which gives merchants more control over promotions, ranking rules and filtering. Marketers and product merchandisers can now do all of this themselves—no custom code necessary. New intuitive retailer controls like time-based promotions, navigation bar with filters, and simple product ranking rules mean seasonal optimizations can be done on the fly.
  • Better shopper experience: With query autocompletion, retailers can offer common queries to shoppers in real time, as they type, without any custom coding. GCS is also faster and more relevant than before thanks to search quality improvements. Because it’s hosted in the Google cloud, search results are returned to shoppers in less than a second. We’ve also added spelling and stemming dictionaries and new custom synonym options to make shopping on a retail site as easy and accurate as searching on
  • Improved browsing and navigation: Many shoppers depend on the search bar on retail sites when they’re looking to make a purchase, but some people will always prefer to navigate through different categories and discover new products. Now, Google Commerce Search allows visitors to shop by browsing around your site as well as searching directly for products.

Finally, we’re making the benefits of Google Commerce Search 2.0 available to a wider range of retailers by introducing a pricing model that starts at $25,000/year. Get in touch with us to learn more.

As more consumers turn to online channels to purchase and research products, it’s important for your site to keep up with them using the best technology out there. So with summer just around the corner, make sure your sunscreen’s on, your beach blanket is ready and your e-commerce site is optimized with Google Commerce Search

Easier sharing in Google Docs

Today, I rarely work on documents in isolation. I share docs with teammates for feedback, help them with their design docs and presentations and regularly make my files available to all of Google.

When using applications to collaborate with others, it's important to have control over your data and how it's shared. With Google Docs, you've always been able to share documents with individuals and groups. Today, we're making it even easier with a new simplified interface that make it even easier to share and see who has access to your files. For an overview of what's new, take a look at this video:

Documents, spreadsheets and presentations can now be identified as “Private,” “Anyone with a link” or “Public on the web.” As before, all docs start out as private by default.
These new visibility options appear as a link next to the title of every doc. Clicking this link or the “Share” button takes you straight to the new interface where you can see who has access, manage sharing access and invite others to share the doc.

These improvements have started to roll out and should be available to everyone in the next week. If you’re interested in learning more about these changes and other new sharing features, check out our post on the Google Docs blog. If you’re using Google Apps for your school or business, our post on the Enterprise Blog covers how you can share docs more easily within your organization.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Google Earth Includes a Web Browser

Google Earth 5.2 no longer uses the operating system's web browser when you click on links. Google Earth comes with a WebKit-based browser, so you'll never have to leave the application to open a Wikipedia page or the website of a local business.

"Sometimes when you want more information, you may want to click through to a link to see the full Google Places page for a business, or learn more about a photographer whose photo you really enjoy. In the past, this has required opening a link in an external browser to see the full page. For Google Earth 5.2, we've added an embedded browser that lets you browse the full web. Click on a link, and the browser pane slides across the screen. When you want to return to the Earth view, just click the Back button," explains Google.
Apparently, Google Earth uses the Qt port of WebKit (QtWebKit) and it doesn't include the V8 Javascript engine from Google Chrome. I tried to run the V8 benchmark suite in Google Earth and the result was very poor: about 10 times lower than the latest Chromium build.

As in the previous versions, Google Earth for Windows and Mac also includes a plug-in that lets you embed a Google Earth view in any web page. Google Maps is the most popular service that lets you use Google Earth in your browser. Now you can browse the Web in Google Earth and use Google Earth in a Web browser.

If you don't like the embedded browser, you can disable it by going to Tools > Options > General and checking "Show web results in external browser".

YouTube Video Editor

YouTube has a new video editor that lets you create videos using excerpts from the videos you've already uploaded. You can also add a music file from the AudioSwap library, but YouTube mentions that it might display ads if you use some of the audio files.
http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comIn 2007, YouTube launched a more advanced Flash-based video editor called YouTube Remixer, but it was discontinued. The service was based on Adobe Premiere Express and, despite offering features like transitions, captions, adding images, it was slow and buggy.

Here are some videos created using YouTube's new video editor.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bringing sixteen more apps to the Google Apps Marketplace

We created the Google Apps Marketplace to make it easier for businesses and universities to benefit from the rapidly growing ecosystem of apps in the cloud. Apps in the Marketplace come in many sizes, from bite-sized apps that focus on providing a single feature to larger standalone apps that run major business systems and processes—and they’re all conveniently integrated with Google apps.

We believe it should be as easy to discover and purchase cloud apps for your organization as it is to get mobile apps for your smartphone. And, once you install and evaluate an app, it’s easy for your administrator to deploy them to users with just a few clicks. (Check out this video to see how it works).

We’ve added some great new apps since we launched in March and today we’re bringing you 16 new apps to the Marketplace. They represent a cross-section of the innovation happening on the web around integrated applications, where information is shared between applications allowing people to get their work done, faster:

  • Jive: Jive Social Business Software combines collaboration, community and social networking software, allowing you to engage employees, customers and the social web.
  • Harvest: Harvest is a simple time tracking application that makes it fast and easy for businesses to track billable hours and create invoices.
  • Floorplanner Pro: Floorplanner Pro provides a quick and easy way for real estate agents and facilities professionals to create and share interactive floor plans in both 2D as 3D.

Check out our post on the Enterprise Blog for more information on all 16 apps, or go right to the Marketplace.

What's Still Missing in Google Chrome?

When Google released Chrome almost two years ago, many people complained that Google's browser lacked basic features that were available in all the other browsers, it didn't support extensions and could only be installed in Windows. Since then, Google Chrome has added many missing features (bookmark manager, form autofill, options for disabling cookies, images and scripts, full-page zoom, themes, extensions), the browser has been ported to Mac and Linux and it continues to be fast and to evolve rapidly.

While Google Chrome focuses on implementing useful features for improving the transition to web apps (HTML5 features, cloud printing, desktop notifications, extensions for web apps, Native Client, WebGL), many basic features are still missing. Google Chrome still can't print selected text and lacks print preview (both features should be available in Google Chrome 6), you still can't drag text from a tab to another tab, there's no way to find the size of an image or to automatically clear the cache when closing the browser.

What other basic features would you like to see in Google Chrome? Please keep in mind that Google Chrome is a minimalistic browser and it shouldn't include features that would be used by a small number of people or features that could be implemented as extensions.

Monday, June 14, 2010

YouTube Play: searching with the Guggenheim for the world’s most creative online video

Do you ever look at a YouTube video and think, "That's a work of art?" Yep, so do we—and now, so does the Guggenheim.

In five years, YouTube has redefined media culture by changing the way the world creates, distributes and watches video. Online video is exploding not just as a medium, but as an art form, and we’re proud of the originality and innovation that YouTube has fostered among our users. Our community has produced some of the most creative and celebrated works on the Internet, videos that have been viewed by millions of people around the world.

We want to celebrate phenomenal video-makers and recognize the creative potential of the medium. So today we’re collaborating with the Guggenheim Museum to discover the most creative video in the world, and showcase exceptional talent working in the ever-expanding realm of digital media: YouTube Play: A Biennial of Creative Video. This global online initiative is presented in collaboration with HP.

We’re looking for animation, motion graphics, narrative, non-narrative, or documentary work, music videos and entirely new art forms—creations that really challenge the world’s perceptions of what’s possible with video. We want to elevate the debate. This presentation, we hope, will garner some of the finest creative work from every corner of the globe—not only to showcase it on one of the biggest stages online, but also in one of the most iconic artistic venues in the world, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and throughout the Guggenheim network of museums in Bilbao, Venice and Berlin.

Participants must submit their videos to YouTube Play to enter. The deadline for submission is July 31, 2010, after which the Guggenheim will assemble a shortlist to be evaluated by an international jury of experts from the worlds of art, design, film and video. Up to 20 videos will be presented at the Guggenheim Museum in New York on October 21, with simultaneous presentations at the Guggenheim museums in Bilbao, Venice and Berlin. The presentations will also be viewable to on the YouTube Play brand channel at

As we did with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra, we hope to build an aspirational place for some of the world’s best artists to showcase their works and talents. For more information about how to enter, go to

Google Doodle Notifier

If you picked a background image for Google's homepage, you probably noticed that Google uses a special white logo. Unfortunately, the customized homepage can't show the regular Google logo and Google doodles for special events.

That's the reason why Google shows a small notification icon next to the logo when there's a doodles you can't see.
When you click on the colorful icon, Google shows the doodle on a white background.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comI wonder if Google will use full-page doodles for users who picked a background image.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Follow your football team in South Africa, wherever you are

Whether you’ll be in South Africa in person this month, or simply cheering your team on from back home, our new tools for football fans can help you soak up the atmosphere and follow your team wherever you are in the world.

You can check out the brand new Street View imagery for South Africa which includes amazing pictures from seven of South Africa’s new football stadiums, including Soccer City in Johannesburg, Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane and Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban. Each one can be explored from pitch-level in 360 degrees, both inside and out—see a preview on the Lat Long blog. These detailed images were collected over the last few months, using the Street View Trike and some serious pedal power!

You can also zoom around the host cities and stadiums in 3D. Simply turn on the 3D buildings layer in Google Earth or switch to Earth View in Google Maps, and zoom in to the chosen destination. All 10 of the football stadiums have been modelled in amazing 3D detail, as well as the South African cities of Rustenburg, Nelspruit, Polokwane, Cape Town, Durban, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Johannesburg.

To make it easier for people to find all these great places, South African Tourism have provided information on the most important sights. Visit to start virtually exploring South Africa.

If you’re staying back home but want to find a great place to watch the match with your friends, take a look on Google Maps and look for the special football icon—that tells you that the location is one of tens of thousands of businesses who have added themselves to Google Places as a football viewing location.

Our first global Doodle 4 Google competition is well underway, with tens of thousands of children in 17 countries around the world sending us their amazing designs for a doodle around the theme of “I Love Football.” The winning doodle will be displayed internationally on the Google homepage for a day on July 11, 2010.

To make it easy for you to customize your photos to show the world which team you’re cheering for, we’ve launched a set of football-themed photo effects in Picnik. With just a few clicks, you can add digital face paint, soccer-themed stickers and team flag overlays, customized for each of the 32 qualifying teams.

Finally, it’s not just the professional players who’ve been put through their paces ahead of kick-off. In the run-up to the games, fans from around the the world have joined the legendary Dutch midfielder Edgar Davids on his Street Soccer Tour for Charity from Amsterdam, London and Paris and to eight cities in Senegal, Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Edgar and his team of Street Soccer Legends have been competing against local players as they make their journey to South Africa and you can watch them on YouTube.

May the best team win!

Woody and Buzz star in a Google Search Story

Hopefully some of you have seen one or two of our Search Story videos. We’ve been blown away by the creativity and brilliance of everyone that shared their own search story using the Search Stories Video Creator. It’s been a pleasure to see how all kinds of people use search to tell tales—whether silly, inspiring, true or imagined.

It seemed like the next logical step was to ask the world’s best storytellers to get involved, so I called up my friend at Pixar. He liked the idea, the writers at Pixar were into it—and a few days later, we were brainstorming with the minds behind WALL-E, Finding Nemo and, of course, Toy Story. We’re huge fans of their work, so getting to explore what the Toy Story gang would discover using Google has been pretty special. Together, we ended up creating a short video that looks at Google through the eyes of Andy’s toys and how they deal with the fact that Andy’s about to leave for college.

A big thank you to the nice folks at Pixar for their spirit and their sense of collaboration. Check it out now online and in theaters nationwide kicking off Toy Story 3, opening June 18.

We hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did making it.

The art of a homepage

Last week, we announced a new feature that lets you add a favorite photo or image to the background of your homepage.

To provide you with an extra bit of inspiration, we‘ve collaborated with several well-known artists, sculptors and photographers to create a gallery of background images you can use to personalize your Google homepage. Included in the collection are photographs of the works of Dale Chihuly, Jeff Koons, Tom Otterness, Polly Apfelbaum, Kengo Kuma (隈研吾), Kwon, Ki-soo (권기수) and Tord Boontje, as well as some incredible photos from Yann Arthus-Bertrand and National Geographic. We’ll be featuring these images as backgrounds on the Google homepage over the next 24 hours.

Of course, since we want your Google homepage to be personal to you, you can still choose an image or photo from your computer or your own Picasa Web Album. Whether you select an image from our new artist collection or prefer to have a more personal touch on your homepage, you’ll still enjoy the speed and ease of use that you’ve come to expect from Google.
We’re also excited to announce that this feature is now available internationally. We hope you enjoy the new artist collection and making Google feel more like your own!

Google Web Alerts No Longer Available

Google will no longer offer alerts for web search results and will replace them with comprehensive alerts that include results from Google Web Search, Google News and Blog Search. Marcel Gordon, Product Manager for Google Alerts, says that web alerts weren't very popular.

"We've decided to retire Web alerts because they are used by very few people and an alert of type Everything will find the same results. This week we'll be changing all alerts of type Web into alerts of type Everything. You may receive more results after this change. If you find that you are getting too many results, you can change the "How often" setting to "once a day" or "once a week." You can also change your search query. You can do this on the alerts management page, or by removing the alert using the link at the bottom of each alert email and creating it again with different settings."
Maybe Google should discontinue Google Alerts and provide regular feeds for search results. Right now, you can create feeds for web search results using Google Alerts, but they have URLs that can't be generated automatically. Google News, Blog Search, and Google Video already offer feeds for search results.