Friday, July 30, 2010

YouTube Increases Video Length Limit to 15 Minutes

YouTube decided to increase the video length and limit from 10 minutes to 15 minutes. It may seem like a small change, but YouTube is testing the waters before dropping this limitation.

"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," informs YouTube's blog.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
The main reason why YouTube added a 10 minutes limitation back in the 2006 was that a lot of users uploaded full-length movies and TV shows. Now that YouTube uses a content identification software and Viacom lost the case against YouTube, Google's video site can safely remove this from arbitrary limitation. YouTube is cautious, so it will release incremental improvements.

"We've spent significant resources on creating and improving in 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 are used 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," explains YouTube.

Alex Trebek, teachers and Googlers unite at the Google Geo Teachers Institute

What do the Alex Trebek, teachers and the Googlers have in common? Last week, these individuals and groups all came together at the Googleplex in the Mountain View, CA to celebrate exploration and learning.

Google hosted its first Geo Teachers Institute, an intensive two-day workshop in which 150 educators received hands-on training and experience with Google Maps, Google SketchUp and Google Earth, including features like Mars, Moon and SkyMaps. Attendees from around the globe not only learned how these products work, but also discovered tips and the resources for introducing these tools to students and using them to conceptualize, visualize, share and communicate about the world around them. Through this event, teachers were hopefully inspired to bring the world's geographic information to students in compelling, fresh and fun ways.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
As part of our continued effort to collaborate with the teachers and help students get a better sense of places across the globe, we also announced that Google Earth Pro is now available to educators for free through the Google Earth for Educators site. Educators from higher educational and academic institutions who demonstrate a need for the Pro features in their classrooms can now apply for single licenses for themselves or site licenses for their computer labs. A similar program exists for SketchUp Pro through the Google SketchUp Pro Statewide License Grant, which is currently being provided via grants to 11 states, and available to all others at the K-12 level at no cost.

In conjunction with these exciting Geo-related events and announcements, the Geo Education team also thought it’d be timely and fun to test Googlers’ geographic knowledge by hosting the company’s first ever Google Geo Bee. With help from National Geographic, 68 teams have relived their school years and took a written geography exam, competing for a spot on the stage with Alex Trebek, who hosted the main event. The competition was based on the group version of the National Geographic Bee for students, which Google has sponsored for the past two years. Questions included those like “Which country contains most of the Balkan Mountains, which mark the boundary between the historical regions of the Thrace and Moesia?” and “Ben Nevis, the highest peak in the United Kingdom, is located in which mountain chain?”

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
The final three Google teams (the Tea-Drinking Imperialists, the Geoids and the Titans) all showed off their geographic literacy and answered a plethora of the diverse and complex questions. In the end, it was the Tea-Drinkers who emerged the winners when they figured out that Mecca was the answer to the clue, “Due to this city’s location on a desert trading the route, many residents were merchants, the most famous of whom was born around A.D. 570.” And they didn’t just walk away with bragging rights; thanks to Sven Linblad from the Linblad Expeditions, they also won an amazing adventure trip to either the Arctic, the Galapagos or Antarctica.

Through all of these education efforts — for the teachers, students and grown-up Googlers alike — we hope people of all ages never stop exploring.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Light summer reading: entertaining legal opinions

Last November, we added legal opinions to the Google Scholar. Legal opinions consider serious issues and help to refine the laws that govern our country—but they can also be surprisingly entertaining. We’ve shared some of these for your summer reading pleasure on the Google Scholar blog.

Rimes v. Curb Records, Inc., 2001 the opinion is written as a series of the songs to be sung to tunes by LeAnn Rimes. It starts:

LeAnn Rimes
A very rich and famous star
Wasn't so rich in times afar
But what a talent she had!


Read the rest on the Google Scholar blog

Google Punch

A video posted by the Google shows the name of a new Google Docs feature: Google Punch. A "punch" is a Google Docs with filetype, just like a document, a spreadsheet or a presentation.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comHere's the video:



One of the definitions of the word "punch" is "an iced mixed drink that are usually containing alcohol and prepared for the multiple servings; normally served in a punch bowl". Maybe Google Punch is a free-form document that lets you to combine data from other documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms. What do you think?

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Strange Gmail Bug

Steven Schofield noticed a strange Gmail bug: attachments used more than storage than they should.

For example, one of my Gmail accounts used 1567 MB of the storage. I composed a new message, attached a file that had about 8.42 MB and saved it as a draft. Gmail's footer message was: "You are currently using the 1590 MB (21%) of your 7479 MB." Gmail used 3 times more the storage for my message and MIME encoding couldn't add so much a overhead. I discarded the message and Gmail informed me I was using 1579 MB. After composing a new message and deleting it, I lost about 12 MB.

I composed another message, attached with the same file and sent it to an email address. Gmail used 23 MB to send a file that only had 8.42 MB. After deleting the message, I lost it once again 12 MB of storage.

The most likely explanation is that Gmail's Flash uploader creates the hidden messages for each file that you upload. When Gmail launched the Flash uploader, these temporary messages were sent to the trash. Now they're probably no longer displayed.

Update (a day later): it's fixed. Google now shows the temporary messages from the trash.

Google's New Dictionary OneBox

Google added a new OneBox result for the definitions. The OneBox uses data from the Google Dictionary, shows pronunciation information, short definitions and links to other reference sites like the Dictionary.com and Answers.com. Google shows the definition of an English word only if it's likely to be useful, so you'll usually see the OneBox when you have search for the obscure words or technical terms.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
"We added the implicit triggering, which means you can simply search for [flummox] and find the definition, you don't have to search for [define flummox] or [what is flummox]. We've also improved the definition result with snippet to show more details such as parts of speech and the pronunciation," explains Google.

Unfortunately, Google's new OneBox is redundant and are inconsistent. If you type [salient] in Google's search box, Google Suggest already shows a definition of the word from the Princeton's WordNet.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Search for [define salient] and Google shows a definition from the WordNet, not from the Google Dictionary.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Tip: to trigger the new OneBox when it's not displayed by its default, add en:en to your query. For example, search for [en:en emulsion].

Friday, July 23, 2010

Video Sitemaps 101: Making your videos searchable

We know that some of you, or your clients or the colleagues, may be new to online video publishing. To make it easier for everyone to understand the video indexing and Video Sitemaps, we’ve created a video -- narrated by the Nelson Lee, Video Search Product Manager -- that explains everything in the basic terms:



Also, last month we wrote about some of the best practices for getting the video content indexed on Google. Today, to help the beginners better understand the whys and hows of implementing a Video Sitemap, we added a starting page to the information on the Video Sitemaps in the Webmaster Help Center. Please take a look at and share your thoughts.

YouTube Play jury selected and ready to view your work

For the artists, YouTube is a 21st century canvas. Since the YouTube Play project was announced on last month, more than 6,000 videos ranging in the genres, topics and budget have been submitted from 69 countries, and the YouTube Play channel has received over with 2 million views.

Today, we’re unveiling the jury for the YouTube Play, which includes some of the world’s leading artists, from the international film festival winners and renowned photographers to the performance and video artists on the cutting edge of the art.

YouTube Play jurors which includes musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson; musical group of Animal Collective; visual artists Douglas Gordon, Ryan McGinley, Marilyn Minter and the Takashi Murakami; artists and filmmakers Shirin Neshat, Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Darren Aronofsky; and graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister, with the Guggenheim Chief Curator and Deputy Director Nancy Spector serving as a jury chairperson.

Over the course of the next few months, these jurors will watch the countless hours of videos that are submitted by the international YouTube community and select the most creative and the inspiring work to showcase at the Guggenheim museums in October.

Already, this campaign has drawn some of the remarkable talent, and we’re looking forward to seeing more of your submissions in our quest to find the most creative video art in the world and showcase it alongside van Gogh and Picasso. The deadline for getting your videos is on July 31. For more information about the jurors and to learn more about how to participate, check out in youtube.com/play.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

He said, she said: a sibling search story

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

My sister is my one of the best friend in the world. But that was not always the case. When we were young, my sister and me always had our sibling rivalries. Quarrels over who got more (or fewer) birthday presents, ongoing to debates around whose week it was to walk the dog and your average diary lock-picking weren’t uncommon. But now that we've grown older, it's become clear that those moments have brought us to closer together, and today my sister is my best friend.

Our search story this week really struck a chord with me, and I’m excited to help introduce our latest video, “Brother and Sister.” It’s a fun, playful snapshot of an evolving sibling friendship. I hope you enjoy this week’s video as much as than I did.

2010 EMEA Scholars’ Retreat: top CS students share their impressions

Back in June, our Zurich engineering headquarters welcomed 100 of the EMEA’s brightest computer science students to our annual Europe, Middle East and the Africa Scholars’ Retreat. Recipients of the Google Europe Scholarship for the Students with Disabilities joined Anita Borg Memorial Scholars and the Finalists for three days of workshops, technical talks, poster sessions, networking events and, of course, lots of fun! Check out our video below to hear from the scholars and speakers in their own words:



Our academic scholarships are designed to support a new generation of the talented, diverse computer scientists from all the backgrounds. If you want to learn more, visit www.google.com/university/emea for a complete list of the scholarships, grants and the other opportunities available to students and academics.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Google Font Previewer

Google added an option to preview the fonts from the Google Font directory. Before embedding the code, you can also edit the sample text, change the text size and spacing, capitalize the text, add underlines and shadows.

"The Google Font Directory lets you to browse all the fonts available via the Google Font API. All fonts in the directory are available for use on your website under an open source license and are being served by Google servers," explains Google.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Google offers a lot of tools for the web developers and the nice thing is that Google hosts the required files. Google has an impressive API for charts Google hosts many popular JavaScript libraries and open-source fonts, Google offers APIs for processing feedsdisplaying maps adding search features and more.

Google Image Search Bugs

The most significant Google image search redesign now with many useful features and a lot of bugs.

If you type a query in the Google Image Search, click on the search button, scroll the page, click on the Google logo, type another query and select the "images" option, Google scrolls to a random part of the page. For example, it would scroll to the page 57.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Another issue is that Google's large thumbnails for the PNG files are sometimes pixelated JPEGs.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Clicking on the "more" link in the Google's sidebar refreshes the page and doesn't show additional Google services. When you go back to the results page after clicking on the results, you need to wait until the Google scrolls to the right position and some of the images are loaded again. Scroll the results page, resize the browser's window and then you'll notice that Google readjusts the images and jumps to the top of the page.

The new interface has too many bugs and should have been tested more thoroughly before being then released. Google offers an option to switch to the previous version at the bottom of the page, but it's not very persistent.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Reducing our carbon footprint with the direct purchase of renewable energy

When we decided in 2007 to voluntarily become the carbon neutral, our intent was to take responsibility for our carbon emissions and to promote sustainable environmental solutions. We approach this goal in three ways. First, we minimize our energy consumption; in fact, we’ve built some of the world’s most energy efficient data in centers. Second, we seek to power our facilities with renewable energy, like we did in the Mountain View, CA with one of the largest corporate solar installations. Finally, we purchase the carbon offsets for the emissions we cannot directly eliminate.

We just completed a substantial 20-year green Power Purchase Agreement that allows us to take responsibility for our footprint and then foster true growth in the renewable energy sector. On July 30 we will begin purchasing the clean energy from 114 megawatts of wind generation at the NextEra Energy of Resources Story County II facility in Iowa at a predetermined rate for 20 years. Incorporating such a large amount of wind power into our portfolio is to tricky (read more about how the deal is structured), but this power is enough to supply with several data centers.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
By contracting to purchase so much energy for so long, we’re giving the developer of the wind farm financial certainty to build the additional clean energy projects. The inability of renewable energy developers to obtain financing has been a significant inhibitor to the expansion of the renewable energy. We’ve been excited about this deal because taking 114 megawatts of wind power off the market for so long means producers have the incentive and then means to build more renewable energy capacity for the other customers.

We depend upon large quantities of the electricity to power Google services and want to make large actions to support the renewable energy. As we continue operating with the most energy efficient data centers and working to be carbon neutral, we’re happy to also be directly purchasing energy from the renewable resources.

Google Tests New Image Search Interface

The unofficial blog google.org.cn reports that the Google tests a new interface for the Image Search. The experimental interface uses bigger thumbnails and no longer shows the information about images. To find useful information like the size of the image or the domain that links to the image, you need to mouse the over image.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Google's new UI is very similar to the Bing Image Search's interface. It's not the first time when Google tries to hide the image details. In 2007, Google launched an image search interface that only displayed the information about a result when you hovered over an image, but a lot of users complained and the old interface has been brought to back.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Deeper understanding with Metaweb

Over time we’ve improved search by deepening our understanding of queries and web pages. The web isn’t merely words—it’s information about things in the real world, and understanding the relationships between real-world entities can help us deliver relevant information more quickly. Today, we’ve acquired Metaweb, a company that maintains an open database of things in the world. Working together we want to improve search and make the web richer and more meaningful for everyone.

With efforts like rich snippets and the search answers feature, we’re just beginning to apply our understanding of the web to make search better. Type [barack obama birthday] in the search box and see the answer right at the top of the page. Or search for [events in San Jose] and see a list of specific events and dates. We can offer this kind of experience because we understand facts about real people and real events out in the world. But what about [colleges on the west coast with tuition under $30,000] or [actors over 40 who have won at least one oscar]? These are hard questions, and we’ve acquired Metaweb because we believe working together we’ll be able to provide better answers.

In addition to our ideas for search, we’re also excited about the possibilities for Freebase, Metaweb’s free and open database of over 12 million things, including movies, books, TV shows, celebrities, locations, companies and more. Google and Metaweb plan to maintain Freebase as a free and open database for the world. Better yet, we plan to contribute to and further develop Freebase and would be delighted if other web companies use and contribute to the data. We believe that by improving Freebase, it will be a tremendous resource to make the web richer for everyone. And to the extent the web becomes a better place, this is good for webmasters and good for users.

We look forward to working with the talented Metaweb team. We’ll be sure to share details on our progress in the coming months. In the meantime, if you’re interested to learn more about Metaweb’s technology, we encourage you to read their post and do check out the helpful video there.

Gmail's SHVA Parameter

Ever since Google has launched a new version of the Gmail, back in 2007, some people wondered why Gmail's address includes a parameter called "shva"

"Just curious, what does the SHVA parameter in the new gmail URL stand for? Is it an acronym? I'm not really asking about the technical usage or the functionality; I'm just interested in the choice of the name," and asked BRKR. "I know GMail is not an Open-Source program so we can trace the code. But every website tries to make the URL shorter so that they ideally shouldn't add redundant data to the URL," thinks Omar Dolaimy.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
According to the Mike Sego a former Gmail engineer, "shva" is an acronym for "should have a valid authentication". Apparently, the parameter is only included with after a successful authentication.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our 2010 EMEA CS4HS Awardees

We recently told to you about CS4HS, our workshop program for the high school and middle school computer science teachers in the U.S. We now have the some additional news to share: our 2010 EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) CS4HS awardees have been selected!

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
The CS4HS program provides funding to the European, Middle Eastern and African universities which work in tandem with local high schools and middle schools to engage pre-university students in computer science. Awardees meet strict requirements: the projects must be scalable, impact a wide cross-section of students from all the backgrounds, conform to a “train the trainer” model and, most importantly, interest and inspire the next generation of computer scientists.

The application review team said that many of the projects receiving funding directly address the training of the computer science teachers in secondary schools. They were particularly excited by the Makerere University and University of Cape Town projects, both of which propose to spread best practice amongst educators in Africa—a new region for CS4HS.

You can find a list of all 14 awardees and their projects on the EMEA section of the CS4HS site.

Translating Wikipedia

We believe that the translation is the key to our mission of making information useful to everyone. For example, Wikipedia is a phenomenal source of the knowledge, especially for speakers of common languages such as English, German and French where there are hundreds of thousands—or millions—of articles available. For many smaller languages, however, Wikipedia doesn’t yet have anywhere near the same amount of the content available.

To help Wikipedia become more helpful to the speakers of smaller languages, we’re working with volunteers, translators and Wikipedians across India, the Middle East and Africa to translate more than 16 million words for the Wikipedia into Arabic, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Swahili, Tamil and Telugu. We began these efforts in 2008, starting with translating Wikipedia articles into Hindi, a language spoken by tens of millions of Internet users. At that time the Hindi Wikipedia had only 3.4 million words across 21,000 articles—while in the contrast, the English Wikipedia had 1.3 billion words across 2.5 million articles.

We selected the Wikipedia articles using a couple of the different sets of criteria. First, we used Google search data to determine the most popular English Wikipedia articles read in India. Using Google Trends, we found the articles that were consistently read over the time—and not just temporarily popular. Finally we used the Translator Toolkit to translate articles that either did not exist or were placeholder articles or “stubs” in Hindi Wikipedia. In three months, we used a combination of human and machine translation tools to translate 600,000 words from more than 100 articles in the English Wikipedia, growing Hindi Wikipedia by almost 20 percent. We’ve since repeated this process for other languages, to bring our total number of words translated to 16 million.

We’re off to a good start but, as you can see in the graph below, we have a lot more work to do to bring the information in Wikipedia to people worldwide:

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
We’ve also found that there are many Internet users who have used our tools to translate more than 100 million words of Wikipedia content into various languages worldwide. If you do speak another language we hope you’ll join us in bringing Wikipedia content to other languages and cultures with Translator Toolkit.

We presented these results last Saturday, July 10, at Wikimania 2010 in Gdańsk, Poland. We look forward to continuing to support the creation of the world’s largest encyclopedia and we can’t wait to work with Wikipedians and volunteers to create more content worldwide.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Picasa Web Integrates with Picnik

Picasa Web Albums added an option that lets you to edit photos in Picnik, the online photo editor acquired by Google in the March. After clicking on the "Edit" button, Picasa Web Albums uploads the photo to the Picnik and opens Picnik in a pop-up box.

Picnik is still a Flash application and it doesn't load quickly, so you have to wait at least for 10 seconds until you can use it. The online photo editor doesn't have all the features that are been available in Picasa, but there's an useful "auto-fix" option similar to the "I'm feeling lucky" button from Picasa, you can crop the photos, repair red-eye flaws, remove color casts automatically and fix exposure.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
The nice thing is that you no longer have to sign in to Picnik and that the changes can be saved to the Picasa Web Albums after you click "save to my album", but that's nothing new. Flickr has been offering a similar feature since 2007.

"Picnik's rich editing tools are now integrated into the Picasa Web Albums allowing you to experience them without ever having to leave your account. As long as you're using Picasa in one of the Picnik supported languages, just click 'edit' from the edit drop down menu or from the new handy Picnik icon. Then, Picnik away by applying an effect, adding a sticker, or exploring your own creative path with the advanced tools. When you are done editing your photo, save back to your album by either replacing the existing image or making a new copy," suggests Google.

I expect that Picnik will be rewritten as an HTML5 application, so that it can have a better performance and then properly integrate with Picasa Web Albums. Instead of opening the editor in separate box, Picasa Web Albums should let you edit the photo in place.

Install Google Web Apps in Google Chrome

If you use the Google Chrome Dev Channel or a recent Chromium build, you can install 3 Google apps: Gmail, Google Calendar and the Google Docs.

"An installed web app could be separated visually from the other tabs, could integrate better with the OS, and could be granted increased with permissions. Installing a web app in Google Chrome is easy and quick, with no restart required. At its simplest, installing a web app is like creating a super-bookmark to it," then explains Google.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
To install a web app, you need to write a small Chrome of extension that includes one or more icons, the URLs used by the applications and the permissions that are required.

Chrome already includes extensions for 3 popular Google services and here's how to add them:

1. Make sure you use the Chrome Dev Channel 6 or a recent Chromium build.

2. Edit Chrome's desktop shortcut and add a command-line in flag. In Windows, right-click on the shortcut, then select "Properties", append a space followed by --enable-apps in the Target field and restart Chrome.

3. Open Chrome, go to chrome://extensions and click on "Developer mode".

4. Click on the "load unpacked extension" and navigate to Chrome's resources folder. Here's the location of the folder in the Windows:

%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\[Version]\resources (Vista, Windows 7)
%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\Application\[Version] \resources (Windows XP)

5. Click on one of the three folders: gmail_app, calendar_app, docs_app and repeat the steps 4-5 for the other two of folders.

6. To add the applications to the tabstrip, you need to click on the icons from the new tab of page.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Web apps are added to the new tab page, they use special pinned tabs that no longer include the Omnibox and the Gmail app has an option for the desktop notifications, which doesn't seem to be enabled.

"Once installed, a web app gets a big icon in the Google Chrome's app launcher area, as well as some integration with the host OS. When running, an installed web app has a special frame and other UI enhancements to make the web app easier to the distinguish from other web content. This special treatment makes running apps easier to find and then prevents accidentally opening multiple copies of them."

Google will launch a Chrome Web Store for web apps, where you'll be able to find an install the other applications. Until then, you can create extensions for your favorite web apps.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Introducing our Google Fiber for Communities website

On February we announced our plans to build the experimental, ultra-high speed broadband networks. Over the past several months, our team’s been hard at the work reviewing the nearly 1,100 community responses to our request for the information—not to mention the nearly 200,000 responses from individuals across the U.S.

Throughout this process, one message has come through the loud and clear: people are hungry for better and the faster Internet access. With that in mind, today we’re launching a new site called Google Fiber for the Communities, where you can learn more about fiber networks and keep up-to-date on our project. You’ll also be able to advocate for the common-sense federal and local policies that would help fiber deployments nationwide.

We also wanted to thank every community and the individual that submitted a response, posted a YouTube video, started a website, joined a rally or otherwise let their voice be heard. We were so honored by the grassroots enthusiasm across the country for this project that we put together a short type video to say thank you:



As we explained back in March, we plan to name our target community or communities by the end of this year. We still have some work ahead of us before we’re ready to make that announcement, but in the meantime, we hope this site will helps to keep the conversation going.

Google Tests Multiple Accounts Sign in

Google tests a feature that allows you to sign in to the multiple Google accounts in the same browser. Multiple sign-in only works for Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Reader, Google Docs, Google Sites and the Google Code, but it's likely that other Google services will be added when this feature will be not publicly available.

If you use a service that doesn't support the multiple sign-in, it will default to the first account that you signed in using your browser. Google suggests to use with a different browser, but you can also use Chrome's incognito mode to sign in to an additional Google account.

Another limitation is that Gmail's offline mode is disabled if you turn on to multiple sign-in.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Multiple sign-in will let you open Gmail in multiple tabs, log in by using different accounts and read the messages from all your accounts without opening another browser. Right now, you have to log out before logging in to a different account.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

YouTube Plays 4K Videos

YouTube added support for playing the videos that are bigger than 1080p. "Today at the VidCon 2010 conference, we announced the support for videos shot in 4K (a reference resolution of 4096 x 3072), meaning that now we support to original video resolution from 360p all the way up to 4096p. To give some perspective on the size of 4K, the ideal screen size for a 4K video is 25 feet; IMAX movies are projected through two 2k resolution of projectors," explains YouTube.

There aren't many 4K videos uploaded to YouTube, but you can find some of the examples in this playlist. To switch to 4K, select "original" from the list of versions that are available. YouTube says that you need an "ultra-fast high-speed broadband connection" and it's probably a good idea to play the videos in the fullscreen on a big-screen TV.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
For now, the support for 4K videos doesn't mean too much, but it's nice to see YouTube pushing technological boundaries.

Google Suggest as a Context-Sensitive Spell Checker

This is one of the most useful features that are released by Google this year. Google Suggest, which usually auto-completes your query as you type, is now also a spell-checker. Even if the Google can't find popular queries that start with the words you've typed, it will still show a "did you mean" entry that corrects your spelling mistakes.

The most impressive thing about this feature is that the spell checker is in context-sensitive, so the suggestions are actually relevant. It's likely that Google uses the smart spell checker from the Google Wave.

If you type [this is a rlly], Google suggests that [this is a rally] and is more appropriate. Most browsers offer the same suggestion. If you type the another word and your query is [this is a rlly beautiful], Google shows with a different suggestion: [this is a really beautiful].

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.comType [Why its so important too eat hole grains] in a text field from a web page and that your browser won't find any spelling mistakes. Not even Gmail's will spell checker can find the mistakes. That's because most of the applications use dictionaries to find the words that are spelled incorrectly. Google Suggest is now smarter because it tries to find if the words make sense in the context of your query.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com

Monday, July 12, 2010

App Inventor for Android

App Inventor is a new tool in the Google Labs that makes it easy for anyone—programmers and non-programmers, professionals and students—to create the mobile applications for Android-powered devices. And today, we’re extending invitations to the general public.

For many people, their mobile phone—and access to the Internet—is always within the reach. App Inventor for Android gives everyone, regardless of programming experience, the opportunity to control and reshape their communication with experience. We’ve observed people take pride in becoming the creators of mobile technology and not just consumers of it.

For the past year, we’ve been testing the App Inventor in classrooms around the United States, and we’ve found that it opens up the world of computer programming to students in new and powerful ways. David Wolber, professor of the computer science at the University of San Francisco and part of the initial pilot program, says “students are traditionally intimidated by technology are motivated and excited to program with App Inventor.” One student from Professor Wolber’s class told us: “I used to think that no one could program the except CS people. Now, I've made dozens of the applications for the Android phone!” Another student, who struggles with the dyslexia, was inspired by App Inventor to take more computer science classes and is now learning Python. Check out this video to hear more about the App Inventor for Android at University of San Francisco.

Visit our site to learn more about App Inventor and to see sample apps. To request an invitation, fill out this form and you’ll soon be on your way to building the mobile applications. And check out the video below to see how it works. We can’t wait to see what you create!

Google's Anagram Easter Egg

Search for [anagram] using Google and you'll notice with a weird suggestion: "Did you mean: nag a ram". Obviously, "nag a ram" is an anagram of the word "anagram".

"An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or the phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once," according to Wikipedia.

Google can't find the anagrams of a word, but you can use WolframAlpha to find them.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
This is not the first Google Easter egg that helps you understand a query: [ASCII art] and [recursion] are two other examples.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Shorter Google Maps URLs

Google Maps URLs are very long because they include a lot of parameters. They're way too long to be added to a Twitter message, a news article or a banner.

To solve this problem, Google Maps Labs added a feature called "short URLs" that shows short permalinks when you click on "Link". The nice thing about this feature is that it uses Google's URL shortening service, which is very fast, and URLs are more descriptive because they include "goo.gl" and "maps".

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com/
To get the full permalink, you need to right-click on "Link" and copy the location. Unfortunately, Google removes the embedding feature if you enable "short URLs". Maybe it would make more sense to show the short URL as an additional option.

Google's Stats About the Web

Google has recently published a report about the Web, which includes a lot of interesting stats. The results were obtained from a sample of 4.2 billion web pages indexed by Google.

"The average web page takes up 320 KB on the wire (Google took into account the embedded resources such as images, scripts and stylesheets). Only two-thirds of the compressible material on a page is actually compressed. In 80% of pages, 10 or more resources are loaded from a single host."

The average number of images per page is 29.39 and the average size of all the images from a page is 205.99 KB. A web page includes an average of 7.09 external scripts and 3.22 external stylesheets. The average size of the scripts is 57.98 KB and the size of the stylesheets is 18.72 KB. Google also found that only 17 million pages from the sample use SSL (about 0.4%).

Urs Hölzle, Google's Senior Vice President of Operation, said that the average web page takes 4.9 seconds to load and it makes 44 calls to different resources. "Speed matters. The average web page isn't just big, it's complicated. Web pages aren't just HTML. A web page is a big ensemble of things, some of which must load serially," said Urs Hölzle.

Google offers a lot of tutorials that help web developers improve the performance of their websites. Google advises to use Gzip compression, use HTTP caching, optimize JavaScript code and properly combine scripts and stylesheets

Friday, July 9, 2010

YouTube Leanback

YouTube released now a preview of the Google TV interface: it's called as YouTube Leanback. "YouTube Leanback is all about letting you to sit back, relax and be entertained. Videos tailored to your interests play as soon as then you visit the site and they play in full screen and high definition, continuously. There's no need to click, search, or browse, unless you want to, of course. Watching YouTube becomes as easy as watching TV," suggests YouTube's blog.

By default, YouTube plays videos from your subscriptions, but you can also select a category to play the popular comedy videos, short films, music videos, news, travel videos and more. The interface doesn't work with a mouse, as you can only use the arrow keys and then Enter to skip a video, select a category, search, pause or resume a video. YouTube Leanback will work well with the Google TV's remote control, but you can also install an application like Air Mouse on your mobile phone.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Leanback is not the first YouTube interface designed for TVs: there's also YouTube XL, but the interface isn't fluid and there are too many options that get in the way.

Gmail Adds Rich Text Signatures

Gmail added one of the most frequently requested features: rich text signatures. If you go to the settings page, you can edit now your signature and change text formatting, add links and images. You can only create a rich text signature if you have enable rich formatting in the "compose mail" page.

"Some of you have tried your own solutions, including the Greasemonkey scripts, browser plugins, and even using the canned responses from Gmail Labs. Others have simply lived with the frustration of not being able to change the colors or font size of your signature, or insert images and links. Either way, you'll be happy to know that today we're launching the ability to write with your own rich text signatures right in Gmail," says Mark Knichel, from Google.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Another useful new feature lets you to create distinct signatures for the email accounts you're using when sending messages. If you send mail from a different addresses, it makes sense to have a distinct signature for each account.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
Unfortunately, the new features only work in the desktop standard with Web interface. "Currently, only the latest desktop version of the Gmail supports rich text signatures and multiple signatures. The older version and the HTML version of Gmail, along with the mobile versions, use a plain text version of your primary account's signature."

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Better YouTube Mobile

Google's services have a big advantage: a lot of mobile phones now include applications for services like YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, Google Search. Unfortunately, the native applications are now rarely updated, so users miss the new features added to Google's services.

A good example is the YouTube application for iPhone, developed by the Apple, which still uses 5-star ratings, doesn't support captions, annotations or search suggestions and offers with a single sharing option: email. Google's YouTube application for Android is not much better, even if it's updated faster.

Web applications evolve faster, as they aren't updated only when a new version of the iOS or Android is released. The latest update of the YouTube Mobile site shows that a web application can be almost as good as a native application, even when you're talking about the mobile phone.

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com
"We launched YouTube on the mobile devices in 2007 with about 1,000 videos available on the mobile site (m.youtube.com). While this suddenly opened up the possibility to access videos on the go, our site, mobile browsers and the hardware had limitations that prevented the mobile experience from keeping up with YouTube on the desktop. Today, more than ever, we know that you want to be able to find and access your favorite videos wherever you are. That's why we're rolling out and on updated version of the mobile site," explains YouTube's blog.

The latest update adds features like search suggestions, replaces ratings with like/dislike buttons, adds the option to create playlists and to watch a high-quality version of a video even if you don't use WiFi. The site loads faster and it's easier to use on a touchscreen. "As we make improvements to Youtube.com, you’ll see them quickly follow on our mobile site, unlike native apps which are not updated as frequently."

Growing our appetite for geeky girl dinners

We’re always looking for the to partner up with organizations that promote diversity and encourage women to excel in technology. Girl Geek Dinners is a world-wide initiative that does exactly that—it helps to build communities of women who have a passion and interest in science, technology and other traditionally male-dominated fields by hosting social events around the world.

We recently sponsored the Amsterdam Girl with Geek Dinner and I attended the event with my colleague Noha, who, like me, is a software engineer for Google in Zurich. At the dinner, we had the opportunity to meet and mingle with the other women in the tech community and talk about what it’s like being a woman in the field of computer science. The keynote speaker at the event was renowned mathematician lonica Smeets and I can’t imagine a woman for more inspiring.

Google shares a similar goal to Girl Geeks—we want to make it possible for everyone to pursue the careers in technology, regardless of gender. And, in our presentation at the event, we outlined our numerous initiatives to promote and support diversity in technology. We have various scholarship programs to help the students and to pursue their interests, excel in their studies and become leaders. And to encourage more female computer scientists to attend and participate in research conferences around the world, we also offer travel and conference grants in the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions. You can learn more about our diversity programs, here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Taking off with ITA

Today, almost half of all airline tickets are sold online. But for many of the people, finding the right flight at the best price is a frustrating experience; pricing and availability change constantly, and even a simple two city itinerary involves with literally thousands of different options. We’d like to make that search much easier, which is why I’m pleased to announce that today we have signed an agreement to acquire ITA, a Boston-based software company specializing in organizing airline data, including flight times, availability and prices.

While online flight search is rapidly evolving, we think there is room for more in competition and greater innovation. Google has already come up with new ways to organize hard-to-find information like images, newspaper archives, scholarly papers, books and geographic data. Once we’ve completed our acquisition of ITA, we’ll work on creating new flight search tools that will make it easier for you to search for the flights, compare flight options and prices and get you quickly to a site where you can buy your ticket.

We’re confident that by combining ITA’s expertise as the leading developer of flight information software with the Google’s technology we’ll be able to create great user innovations in flight search. ITA has built a very successful QPX business, and we're looking forward to working with their current and future customers. Google will honor all existing agreements, and we're also enthusiastic about adding new partners. You can read more about this deal here, and we’ll keep everybody up to date as we work to close this exciting acquisition.

Life in a Day

Every day, 6.7 billion people view in the world through their own unique lens. Imagine if there was a way to collect all of these perspectives, to aggregate and then mold them into the cohesive story of a single day on earth.

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of “Life in a Day,” a historic cinematic experiment that will attempt to do just that: document one day, as seen through the eyes of the people around the world. On July 24, you have 24 hours to capture a snapshot of your life on camera. You can film the ordinary -- a sunrise, the commute to work, a neighborhood soccer match, or the extraordinary -- a baby’s first steps, your reaction to the passing of a loved one, or even in a marriage.

Kevin Macdonald, the Oscar-winning director of films such as The Last King of Scotland, Touching the Void and One Day in September, will then edit the most compelling footage into a feature documentary film, to be executive-produced by the Ridley Scott, the director behind films like Gladiator, Black Hawk Down, Thelma & Louise, Blade Runner and Robin Hood. LG Electronics is supporting "Life in a Day" as a key part of its long-standing "Life’s Good" campaign and to support the creation of quality online content that can be shared and enjoyed by all.

The film will premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival and if your footage makes it into the final cut, you’ll be credited as a co-director and may be one of the 20 contributors selected to attend the premiere.



Want to take part? Here’s what to do.

1. Visit the “Life in a Day” channel and learn more about the project. Be sure to read through the steps you need to take to participate and the guidelines for creating your video(s). Also check out some of the sample videos for inspirational ideas.

2. On July 24, capture your day on camera.

3. Upload your footage to the “Life in a Day” channel any time before July 31.

Regardless of whether your footage makes it into the final film, your video(s) will live on on the “Life in a Day” channel as a time capsule that will tell future generations what it was like to be alive on July 24, 2010.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

CS4HS: helping high school teachers reach their potential

Computer science is a tough field to teach, especially in the high school level. Not only do you need to persuade teenagers that coding isn’t too geeky to attempt, but since CS is a growing field, it’s hard for teachers to keep up with all the latest techniques and computing the tools. To help teachers face these challenges, we’re funding a program called Computer Science for High School (CS4HS). CS4HS is a workshop for high school and middle school computer science teachers that introduces new and exciting concepts in computing and how to teach them. The ultimate goals are to “train the trainer,” develop a thriving community of high school CS teachers, and spread the word about the awe and beauty of computing.

This summer, we’re funding 20 workshops at colleges across the U.S. and will sponsor another 14 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. If each workshop in the U.S. has an average of 20 teachers in attendance, and each of them teaches 90 students in a year*, that means that the workshops have the potential to make a difference for 36,000 students—an important start.

We had the chance to attend a CS4HS workshop in our own backyard this week. UC Berkeley’s CS4HS highlighted hands-on skills that teachers can take directly back to the classroom. Twenty local math and CS teachers had a chance to share tips and best practices around teaching CS, and created a solid foundation for a community. One of the most popular sessions over the two days was a demo of Scratch, a popular programming language geared towards K-12 students that makes it easy to create interactive stories, animations, games, music and art. Attendees also had the opportunity to form the Golden Gate chapter of the Computer Science Teacher Association (CSTA).

Although the summer workshops are just getting started, they're already making a difference for teachers. Emmanuel Onyeador, who teaches AP CS at Oakland Technical High School, told us: “CS4HS is the missing link—as computer science teachers, you find yourself isolated in your classroom. When I sit here I find that we’re all talking about the same issues and the same type of students. What I bring back to my classroom will make a big difference.”

http://felix-googleblog-archive.blogspot.com