Thursday, September 27, 2007

YouTube and Checkout for the non-profit world

Ever since YouTube first launched, people and organizations have been using it to broadcast their causes and engage supporters around the issues they care about. In that spirit, today YouTube unveiled its Non-Profit Program at the Clinton Global Initiative to help non-profit organizations more easily connect with the world's largest online video community. In the past few years, online video has emerged as a key tool for grassroots organizing on the Internet -- a short, simple video can demonstrate the impact and the needs of an organization in a uniquely compelling fashion. This program will enable non-profits to create dedicated YouTube channels for themselves, making it even easier for people to find, watch, and engage with the organization's video content. The initial participants are 13 organizations including the American Cancer Society, Friends of the Earth, and YouthNoise.

One other thing the YouTube Non-Profit Program offers: the ability to collect donations directly from these channels using the new Google Checkout for Non-Profits. Checkout for Non-Profits -- which can also be integrated directly into a non-profit's site -- helps drive more donations for U.S.-based 501(c)(3) groups by making it possible for supporters to contribute quickly and securely. It also offers supporters the satisfaction of knowing that 100 percent of their contributions will be sent to the non-profit, as Google has committed to processing donations through Checkout for free through at least the end of 2008. This functionality is particularly exciting, as today's fund-raising is increasingly moving online -- and Checkout for Non-Profits makes the entire process even easier. You can learn more here.

Our testimony on Google-DoubleClick

You may have read that a U.S. Senate committee in Washington is holding a hearing today looking at online advertising and our acquisition of DoubleClick. Check out our Public Policy blog for more details about Google's testimony.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A new caffeine-free way to stay alert

Since new videos are constantly appearing all over the web, it's difficult to keep tabs on all of them. But now Google Alerts will make it easy for you to add video to your other Alerts: News, Web, Blog and Groups.

Video Alerts enables you to specify any topics or queries of interest so we can deliver interesting and relevant videos on a daily, weekly, or as-it-happens basis (your choice) to you via email. To start receiving Video Alerts, you can visit the Google Alerts homepage directly or set up the alert during your normal video searches. Videos may come from Google Video, YouTube, or many other video sources on the web.

What are you waiting for? Stay up to date with the One Laptop Per Child program. Find the latest videos on the Lunar X-Prize. Impress Grandma by updating your scarf-knitting skills.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Search privacy and Personalized Search

Online privacy isn’t always an easy thing to understand—or to explain. When I recently joined the company, I was happy to learn that Google was continuing with the effort to make our privacy practices (and your choices) even clearer and more accessible. We are using YouTube to post videos that explain how, when, and why we collect information about searches, and how you can protect your privacy while using our search engine.

If you watched the first privacy video, you learned about some of the information we collect (IP addresses, cookies, and search queries) and how we use this information to improve your search experience as well as prevent against fraud and other abuses. We appreciated all of the feedback we got in response to the first video.

In response to your requests for more detailed information, in our second video we're offering a closer look at personalization and the privacy tools available when you choose to personalize your search. Personalization has been an area that raises concerns about privacy, and we want you to understand how we personalize search results while protecting your privacy.

As the video explains, search algorithms that are designed to take your personal preferences into account, including the things you search for and the sites you visit, have better odds of delivering useful results for you. So if you’ve been checking out sites about the Louvre and you search for [Paris], you’re more likely to get results about the French capital than the celebrity heiress. The privacy tools we’ve designed — such as “pause” and “remove” buttons — help put you in control of personalization.

So sit back, take a look, and then tell us what you think about this video (and the earlier one too). We look forward to hearing from you.

It's all about today

A lot of us love video games, and everyone here has their favorite from the latest generation of consoles. We have a game room in our building that happens to have all three of the latest systems: Artem loves Microsoft's Xbox 360, Niv can't part with Sony's Playstation 3, and Corey is hopelessly addicted to the Nintendo Wii. After some serious work organizing the world's information, we like to kick back with a round of Wii Tennis or a trip to Rapture. The problem is that there's only one TV in the game room, and of course only one system can be played at a time. In true Googley fashion, we look to data to decide which console gets first dibs. For that, we used Google Trends, which lets us see what the world is searching for.

Take, for example, a comparison across the systems:

Looks like a pretty tight race. Let's take a closer look at 2007.

Wow, they're definitely neck and neck (and neck) -- the top console could change anytime. Fortunately, Google Trends is now updated every day with the latest information. (Until now, Trends was only updated once a month.) Now we can follow the console race (or any other topic) every 24 hours, whether it's The Office vs Heroes or the candidates for the next presidential election.

In addition to daily updates, we've also created an iGoogle gadget and a feed for Hot Trends. If you have ever wanted to know what the Internet was thinking right now, Hot Trends can tell you just that. Hot Trends shows you what the fastest rising search queries are on Google. Now you can keep track of Hot Trends three ways: by visiting the site, adding the gadget to your homepage, or subscribing to the feed by adding the feed URL to Google Reader or your favorite feed reader.

We'd love to hear about any interesting trends you've discovered. Please send them to us at We'll feature the best ones in a future post.

Pour on the pedal power


You may already know that we're working to reduce our impact on the environment in a number of ways. We opt for locally-grown food whenever possible in all of our cafes. We've covered our roofs with solar panels. We offer a rebate on our employees' fuel-efficient car purchases. When it comes to getting people to the office, we offer round-trip shuttle service to our Bay Area Googlers, as well as incentives for creative commuting, from walking to biking and even to kayaking (depending, of course, on where the office is).

Over at, the RechargeIT project is collecting data on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in an effort to accelerate commercial adoption of the cars as well as vehicle to grid technology. To the same end, we just issued a $10 million request for investment proposals to encourage companies and individuals to develop sustainable transportation solutions.

And now, we encourage all of you to get your wheels spinning to offset climate change. Google has teamed up with Specialized and Goodby Silverstein & Partners on the Innovate or Die Pedal-Powered Machine Challenge, to give you problem-solvers a chance to show us with a YouTube video how you harness pedal power in innovative ways. In January, you could win $5,000 in cash and Specialized Globe bikes to keep up your commitment. We're doing our bit to support new solutions. Are you feeling inspired?

Friday, September 21, 2007

iGoogle tackles the Rugby World Cup

Salut! You may have heard by now that France (relieved after our recent win over Namibia) is currently hosting the sixth Rugby World Cup, which is a gathering of the best rugby teams from around the world competing for the coveted Ellis Cup. You Yanks should imagine the Super Bowl, but held only once every four years, with 20 teams from around the globe -- and without padding or helmets!

Four years ago, when England won the last Rugby World Cup, we French Rooster fans began planning for the next global matchup. Meanwhile, our French superstar S├ębastien Chabal -- otherwise known as The French Beast, The Anesthetist, Attila or the Caveman -- has grown longer hair, a longer beard and bigger muscles. And he's back for this year's World Cup! To help track The French Beast's team's (or any other team's) progress towards victory, we created an iGoogle tab complete with a variety of gadgets that puts you in the middle of the action. The tab features live scores, group standings, a map of the venues, fan videos from YouTube, and a fun "make some noise" gadget that lets you cheer on your favorite team. With the iGoogle Rugby World Cup tab, you can experience the action in an entirely new way. Even if you've never used iGoogle before, you can add the tab here. Alternatively, type [rugby] into the Google search box and click on "add to my Google page."

In line with the international aspect of this sporting event, this tab is available in the following countries: USA, Canada, Portugal, Ireland, UK (Wales, Scotland and England), Romania, Georgia, Namibia, South Africa, Japan, Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, France, Italy and Argentina. Whether you're a fan of S├ębastian Chabal, Dan Carter or Stirling Mortlock, use the iGoogle Rugby tab to keep track of the action. And if these names don't mean anything to you, tune into the Rugby World Cup and they soon will!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Google Reader goes multilingual

I've been traveling a bunch in the past few days, and the one thing I've noticed is the variety of newspapers you're offered on every flight in Europe. In London, where I am now, my hotel has between 10 and 15 newspapers in the lobby from around the world in different languages. So I started thinking about how news plays an increasingly important role across the world.

Of course, blogs have also become an international phenomenon. They're not constrained by language or nationality — in fact, blogs have become an important way to bring rise to independent reporters and writers. And there are more and more people who wish to read blogs in other languages. Up until now, our blog and news site service, Google Reader, was only available in English. As of today, it supports these languages: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Dutch, English (UK), Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Japanese, and Korean.

With this announcement (you might enjoy this take from the Reader blog), I'm also happy to tell you that we're removing the "Labs" label from Google Reader. It's a small textual change, but we believe it solidifies our commitment to make reading blogs and news sites easier than ever. So try Google Reader and get all your blogs and news sites in one place.

Update: Added Dutch, which is now live.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Our feature presentation

In April we announced that we were working to bring presentations to Google Docs. (Astute readers may recall learning about this even earlier, which caused a bit of excitement around here.) And today we're unveiling the new Google Docs presentations feature and invite you to try it at Maybe more than any other type of document, presentations are created to be shared. But assembling slide decks by emailing them around is as frustrating as it is time-consuming. The new presentations feature of Google Docs helps you to easily organize, share, present, and collaborate on presentations, using only a web browser.

Starting today, presentations -- whether imported from existing files or created using the new slide editor -- are listed alongside documents and spreadsheets in the Google Docs document list. They can be edited, shared, and published using the familiar Google Docs interface, with several collaborators working on a slide deck simultaneously, in real time. When it's time to present, participants can simply click a link to follow along as the presenter takes the audience through the slideshow. Participants are connected through Google Talk and can chat about the presentation as they're watching. Not wanting anyone to feel left out, we've made the presentation feature available in 25 languages; Google Apps customers can also access it as part of Google Docs.

We hope the millions of people who already create and share documents and spreadsheets will find presentations a welcome addition to the Google Docs family, and we can't wait to add even more features and enhancements.

If you're new to Google Docs, watch this video to learn more about creating and collaborating on documents (and now presentations!).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Australia readies itself for a Google election

Looking from down under, the long U.S. election cycle ensures that there is no shortage of political headlines generated more than a year out from the actual Presidential election. Many of you may not realise that Australia is also readying itself to enter campaign mode. A federal election is anticipated to be held before the end of the year. You can be sure as the Australian parties get out on the hustings, babies will be kissed, doors knocked and hands vigorously shook -- but this election campaign is already a lot different to others, with digital media playing a new and important role.

Today, in Sydney, we announced the launch of a Google Australia election website, so that Australian voters can have an intimate look at the parties, candidates and election issues, all in one Google location. These services, spanning Search, Maps, News, video, Earth, Trends, and iGoogle, enable voters to organise, find and share Australian election information more easily than ever.

We created a Picasa Web Album to showcase all the elements, and we're pleased to offer these world-first tools that were developed in our Australian office. Here's hoping Australians will find them useful and even fun. It's our view that democracy on the web works -- and the web can work for democracy.

We've officially acquired Postini

As of today, Postini becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Google, and we couldn’t be happier about it. (Here's the FAQ.) Since July 9, when we announced the agreement to acquire Postini, plenty of businesses have told us how much they respect Postini and how the acquisition makes sense for customers of both companies.

We view this as welcome news, but also a sign of things to come. With the more than 100,000 businesses on Google Apps, 35,000 businesses and more than 10 million users of Postini products, we see great potential on both sides. We're committed to continue to deliver the type of innovative and useful business products our customers have come to expect. And we plan to announce even more product offerings in the very near future.

Separately, both companies shared a vision for what the world of hosted applications can become for businesses of all sizes. Together, we look forward to achieving it.

Fly me to the moon

In 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to go into space and orbit the Earth. Two years later, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space (she orbited the earth 48 times -- take that, Yuri). By the end of the decade, the Apollo teams, rising to President Kennedy's challenge, made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin the first human beings to walk on the Moon.

Great things can happen when you reach for the stars. That's why we're thrilled to be sponsoring the Lunar X-PRIZE, which will award a total of $30 million to teams competing around the world to land privately funded spacecraft on the Moon.

Why does Google love space? Well, for one thing, we just think it's cool. More seriously, space exploration has a remarkable history of producing technological breakthroughs, from ablative heat shields and asteroid mining to invisible braces and Tang; the X-PRIZE, too, could lead to important developments in robotic space exploration, a whole host of new space-age materials, precision landing control technology, and who knows what else.

Finally, we hope the contest will help renew public interest in fields like math, engineering and computer science, especially among the young people on whom we'll all be depending to tackle tomorrow's technical challenges, whether they're on the web or among the stars.

As Neil Armstrong famously pointed out, small steps lead to giant leaps. We hope that our sponsorship of the Lunar X-PRIZE is one of those small steps, and we can't wait to see what giant leaps result. By the way, just so the teams can scout locations and plan accordingly, Google Moon just went live. For more information, visit the Google Lunar X-PRIZE site.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Get your cricket scores here

With the start of the Twenty20 world championship, cricket fever is upon legions of enthusiasts. To make it easier for you to indulge your interest in a game John Fowles characterized as "chess made flesh," we've simplified your search for cricket scores. Just type [cricket] in a Google search box and you'll see a brief score of all the current cricket matches. A single click will also give you access to a detailed cricket score card.

If you're a diehard India fan, then type [cricket india] or [cricket score India England] to get results for Indian matches. Of course, feel free to replace India with the country of your choice for country-specific results.

A new RFP

Today, has issued a request for proposals to the tune of $10 million in order to advance sustainable transportation solutions. We're inviting entrepreneurs and companies to show us their best ideas on how they can contribute to this important cause. We need catalytic investments to support technologies, products and services that are critical to accelerating plug-in vehicle commercialization.

There's more about this on the blog.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Our plans for Code Jam

What do you do if you've got a head full of good ideas, and nothing interesting to do with them? You might need a good dose of competitive programming. During a programming competition you contort your brain, trying desperately to figure out that tiny trick that will let your program run a thousand times faster, or searching for the elusive mathematical fact that will lead you to the solution. Then you tell your computer what to do, and watch it solve that torturous problem faster than you can blink. If you're like me, you eagerly participate in every coding competition that comes along.

Since 2003, we have supported the fun and intensity of competitive programming around the world by offering code jams powered by TopCoder. Contests like the ACM ICPC, the TopCoder Open and our TopCoder-powered code jams have formed a great community of contests and contestants; now we're excited to join that community in our own right, by producing a Google Code Jam of our own! There aren't too many details to share yet, but we have some big plans: there are quite a few super-competitive programmers here, and we've put them to work preparing challenges for you.

So start brushing up with a couple of practice problems -- and it's well worth checking out some old problems from the ACM ICPC and TopCoder too. We're also excited to hear what you think would make for a great Google-run programming contest, so send us your feedback -- and get ready for a challenge.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Find a needle in a feedstack with Google Reader

The fundamental problem with information is that there's too much of it, and this is probably why we all go to our trusted sources to learn what we really need to know. Your sources filter out the noise and present the most interesting bits to you in a useful way. For many of us, these sources include newspapers, magazines, and of course blogs. We built Google Reader as a way for you to see all of your online sources in one place.

So if you want to keep up with the chatter about the new iPods or Superbad, now you can. We've added a familiar search box to the top of Google Reader so you can search across all the blogs and sites to which you're subscribed.

See if this doesn't help with your information overload. And by the way, if you want to learn more about feed readers, here's a great explanation:

Collect, share, and discover books

Books often live a vibrant life offline, and through digitization Google Book Search tries to help them live an even more exciting life online through full text search. Today we're launching some new features that go beyond search so you can collect, share, and discover new books.

To start, you can create your own personal collection on Book Search, and use it to help find just the right book from your collection for any occasion. Other people can view your library, so you can share your collection as Bethany has done. Or take a look at some other interesting collections.

Digitized text is useful beyond search, too. It enables us to infer connections between books through shared passages. For example, Sir Isaac Newton once said:
I know not what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to
have been only like a boy playing on the sea shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.
This quote has resonated and been used in hundreds of books from the early 1800s to 2007. You can discover connections between books through quotations like this in a feature we call "Popular passages." Read more and dive into the meme pool.

We've also launched a way to let users, select, copy and embed segments of public domain books (like the Newton quote) in any web page. We hope to make it as easy to blog and quote from a book as it is from any web page. Like many innovations at Google, a stellar summer intern worked on this .

We hope these new features help you discover, collect, and share some of the great truths just waiting to be discovered (or maybe re-discovered) in the great ocean of books before us.