Posted:
If you saw this text on a webpage, how would you figure out what it means?

Если вы читаете этот текст, вы, вероятно, уже говорите по-русски. Однако миллионы людей не знают русского и не могут прочитать миллионы русскоязычных веб-страниц.*

You would likely need to translate manually via our language tools or in Toolbar. Today we're excited to announce that translations will be even easier with the newest release of Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer. We have been working with the Translate team to make translations a faster and more integrated part of your browsing experience.

The Translate feature automatically detects if the language of a webpage you're on is different from your default language setting and allows you to translate it. With one click, you can now instantly translate the page and all of its text will appear in the new language.


Language detection happens only on your computer, so no information is sent to Google until you choose to translate a page. You can find more details about how the feature works in our help center.

If you go to another page in the same language, you will continue to see translations rather than have to translate one page at a time. And if the page has dynamic content, like Google Reader, you will get translations in real-time. Finally, if you frequently translate pages in the same language, Toolbar will let you translate that language automatically without any extra clicks in the future.

The new Translate feature is available in all international versions of Toolbar, including English, and the translation service supports 41 different languages: Albanian, Arabic, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Maltese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian and Vietnamese.

Download Google Toolbar for Internet Explorer to try it out for yourself. We'll add this feature to Toolbar for Firefox soon, too.

* In case you don't speak Russian, we translated the paragraph above for you using our translation engine:

If you are reading this text, you probably already speak in Russian. However, millions of people do not know Russian and cannot read the millions of Russian-language webpages.

Posted:
All around Google, we're proud of our work, our culture and, most importantly, our people. In the spirit of celebration, this spring and summer Googlers have participated in Pride celebrations in Tel Aviv, New York, Zürich, San Francisco and many other cities around the world. Pride is a time for the LGBT* community along with families, friends and supporters to stand up for equality, and to honor those who paved the way for us to express sexual orientation and gender identity openly.

In the U.S., this year's celebration is historically important: it's the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City, a response to what was then routine police harassment of LGBT people. Some 75 Googlers, family members and friends marched with several hundred members of New York's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center. Hundreds of Googlers also joined other U.S. celebrations in Pittsburgh, Chicago, and San Francisco.

Earlier this month, around 50 Googlers and friends gathered to celebrate at Europride, Europe's best-known Gay Pride celebration. This year it was in Zürich, Switzerland. After weeks of sunshine, on the morning of the parade it began to storm, but that didn't deter our intrepid Googlers from being out at 6:30am turning a 28-ton truck into a rainbow-colored nightclub on wheels. Hundreds of nuts, bolts and gallons of helium later, the truck was transformed, the sun came out and we were ready to march through the city streets, cheered on by a crowd of 50,000.

Google is a company that supports its LGBT employees, taking a public stand on issues that are important to our community. This is not the first year that Google has supported Pride, and it will certainly not be the last. We hope you enjoy this photo album of our global celebrations.




*LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered people and is also intended to include people who identify as queer, asexual or intersexed, amongst others.

Posted:
We use the Internet all the time: at home, at work (especially at Google!), on the move, and, increasingly, at school. We believe that the Internet and cloud-based tools are a key part of a 21st century classroom, helping students learn and teachers teach in collaborative and innovative ways. Students use Google Docs to work on group projects; classrooms use Google Sites to show off their work; and teachers use Forms in Google Docs for instant grading and Google Calendar for lesson planning. Google Apps Education Edition is helping schools build online communities for students, teachers and parents, and we now have 4 million students using Google Apps Education around the world.

This week the Google Apps Education team is launching a few new ways to make it easier for K-12 schools to use Google Apps, and attending the National Education Computing Conference (NECC) in Washington D.C. To help address schools' email security needs, Google Message Security (GMS) will be offered free to current and new eligible primary and secondary schools globally that opt in by July of next year. GMS filters out email messaging threats, and education IT departments can customize the filtering rules and group messaging lists to suit their schools. We're also launching the Google Apps Education Community site for educators and students to share tips and ideas for using Google Apps in their classrooms, as well as the Search Education Curriculum and a Google Apps Education resource center with more than 20 classroom-ready lesson plans for teachers. We'll be adding more to these resources going forward.

If you're at NECC this year, come visit the Google team in booth #3148. If not, the teaching and learning continues with some cool presentations and lesson plans on the Google Apps Education Community site, or you can learn more at google.com/a/edu.

Posted:
This is the first of a series of posts from YouTube's news and politics blog, Citizentube. -Ed.

YouTube is the biggest video news site on the Internet, and at no time in our site's history was that more apparent than in these last two weeks of the crisis unfolding in Iran. As hundreds of thousands of Iranian citizens took to the streets of Tehran to protest the national elections, the government kicked out foreign journalists, leaving citizens themselves as the only documentarians to the events unfolding there. We've been highlighting many of these videos and keeping track of the latest developments on our YouTube news and politics blog, Citizentube.

Though the circumstances in Iran are unique, this isn't the first time that citizens have played a crucial role in reporting on events around the world. Burmese citizens uploaded exclusive video footage to YouTube during the protests in Myanmar back in 2007; people in China's Sichuan province documented the devastating and historic 7.8-magnitude earthquake of 2008 in real-time; and eyewitnesses to the shooting of young Oscar Grant by Oakland police forces captured the event on their cell phone cameras and uploaded videos to YouTube for the world to see. Citizens are no longer merely bystanders to world events. Today, anyone can chronicle what they see and participate in the news-gathering process.

Though it's the phenomenon of citizen reporting that YouTube is probably best known for, we also have hundreds of news partners who upload thousands of videos straight to YouTube every day. You can see lots of these on our news page at youtube.com/news. Many of these organizations have used YouTube in unique ways, like asking the community to submit questions for government officials, providing a behind-the-scenes look at traveling with the Obama press corps and accepting video applications for a reporting assignment in West Africa. We believe the power of this new media landscape lies in the collaborative possibilities of amateurs and professionals working together.

And so today, we're launching a new resource on YouTube to help citizens learn more about how to report the news, straight from the experts. It's called the YouTube Reporters' Center, and it features some of the nation's top journalists sharing instructional videos with tips and advice for better reporting. Learn how to prepare for an interview; or how to be an investigative reporter from the legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward; or how to report on a global humanitarian crisis from Nick Kristof of the New York Times. All of the videos are available on the YouTube Reporters' Center channel.

Posted:
At Google we seek to serve a broad base of people — not only those who can afford to access the Internet from the convenience of their workplace or with a computer at home. It's important to reach users wherever they are, with the information they need, in areas with the greatest information poverty. In many places around the world, people look to their phones, rather than their computers, to find information they need in their daily lives. This is especially true in Africa, which has the world’s highest mobile growth rate and where mobile phone penetration is six times Internet penetration. One-third of the population owns a mobile phone and many more have access to one.

Most mobile devices in Africa only have voice and SMS capabilities, and so we are focusing our technological efforts in that continent on SMS. Today, we are announcing Google SMS, a suite of mobile applications which will allow people to access information, via SMS, on a diverse number of topics including health and agriculture tips, news, local weather, sports, and more. The suite also includes Google Trader, a SMS-based “marketplace” application that helps buyers and sellers find each other. People can find, "sell" or "buy" any type of product or service, from used cars and mobile phones to crops, livestock and jobs.

We are particularly excited about Google SMS Tips, an SMS-based query-and-answer service that enables a mobile phone user to have a web search-like experience. You enter a free form text query, and Google's algorithms restructure the query to identify keywords, search a database to identify relevant answers, and return the most relevant answer.












Both Google SMS Tips and Google Trader represent the fruits of unique partnerships among Google, the Grameen Foundation, MTN Uganda and local organizations*. We worked closely together as part of Grameen Foundation's Application Laboratory to understand information needs and gaps, develop locally relevant and actionable content, rapidly test prototypes, and conduct multi-month pilots with the people who will eventually use the applications have truly been a global effort, and created with Ugandans, for Ugandans.

We're just beginning. We can do a lot more to improve search quality and the breadth — and depth — of content on Google SMS, especially on Tips and Trader. Google SMS is by no means a finished product, but that's what's both exciting and challenging about this endeavor.

Meanwhile, if you're curious about what Google is doing in Africa, learn more at the Google Africa Blog.

Update: Corrected link to YouTube video for "rapidly test prototypes".
____
*BROSDI, (Busoga Rural Open Source and Development Initiative), Straight Talk Foundation, Marie Stopes Uganda.

Posted by Joe Mucheru, Head of Google Sub-Saharan Africa, & Fiona Lee, Africa Project Manager

Posted:
At Google, we are moved by the life and untimely passing of Michael Jackson. As word spread of his death, millions and millions of people from all over the world began searching for information about the pop icon. The following chart shows the meteoric rise in related searches around 3:00pm PDT:


Search volume began to increase around 2:00pm, skyrocketed by 3:00pm, and stabilized by about 8:00pm. As you can see in Google Hot Trends, many of the fastest rising search queries from yesterday and today have been about Michael Jackson's passing (others pertained to the death of another cultural icon, Farrah Fawcett). People who weren't near a computer yesterday turned to their mobile phones to check on breaking news. We saw one of the largest mobile search spikes we've ever seen, with 5 of the top 20 searches about the Moonwalker.

The spike in searches related to Michael Jackson was so big that Google News initially mistook it for an automated attack. As a result, for about 25 minutes yesterday, when some people searched Google News they saw a "We're sorry" page before finding the articles they were looking for.

Michael Jackson led an amazing and controversial life in the public eye. Many of us have a "Michael Jackson story." Mine is that he actually taught me how to moonwalk — thanks to many an hour I spent in front of the television trying to mimic his performances. Regardless of your story or personal opinions about this astounding performer, global interest in the King of Pop is undeniable.

Posted:
Huge congratulations to Daniel Halasz from Hungary, who was awarded the Google Photography Prize this week. This was a global student competition to create themes for iGoogle. More than 3,600 students from across the world entered, and a couple of weeks ago we asked you to vote on the shortlist. The six finalists who got the most public votes were Amelia Ortúzar (Chile), Fahad AlDaajani (Saudi Arabia), Matjaz Tancic (U.K.), Mikhail Simin (U.S.) and Vesna Stojakovic (Serbia) — congratulations to all of them! From that group, a jury of respected art critics and artists chose Daniel as the winner. They also gave a special commendation prize to Aliyah Hussain from the U.K.

You can see the work Daniel and the other finalists submitted at the Saatchi Gallery in London until Sunday, June 28th. Come by if you're in town, or have a look at their photographs on google.com/photographyprize, where you can also add them to your iGoogle homepage.

Posted:
A couple of months ago we announced Google Voice, a service that gives you one phone number to link all your phones and makes voicemail as easy as email. We are happy to share that Google Voice is beginning to open up beyond former GrandCentral users. If you requested an invitation on the Google Voice site or previously on GrandCentral, keep your eye out for an invite email.

Once you receive your invitation, just click on the link and follow the instructions to setup your new Voice account. To help you find a Google number that is personalized to you, we've added a number picker that lets you search by area code and text. See if you can find a number that contains your name, a specific word or a number combination.


To learn more about Google Voice, check out the video below. If you haven't signed up for a Google Voice invite, make sure to get on the list by leaving us your email address at www.google.com/voiceinvite.



Posted:
You don't have to be a mobile expert to see how smartphones are revolutionizing our daily lives. Lower prices, faster network speeds and unlimited data plans mean that people often reach for their cell phone rather than their computer when they are seeking information. As a result, mobile applications have become more and more popular, helping people find music, make restaurant reservations or check bank balances — all on their phone.

We want to contribute to the growth of these mobile applications, which is why we're happy to announce our beta launch of AdSense for Mobile Applications. After all, advertisers are looking for ways to reach potential customers when they are engaged with mobile content, and application developers are looking for ways to show the best ads to their users. We have already had a successful trial of this service with a small number of partners, and are excited that we can now offer this solution to a broader group.

AdSense for Mobile Applications allows developers to earn revenue by displaying text and image ads in their iPhone and Android applications. For our beta launch, we've created a site where developers can learn more about the AdSense for Mobile Applications program, see answers to frequently asked questions and sign up to participate in our beta. Advertisers can also learn about the benefits of advertising in mobile applications.

We're excited to open up this beta to more developers, and look forward to offering new features for our mobile advertisers and publishers in upcoming releases. We also want to say a big thank you to the partners who worked with us on the trial stages of this project including Backgrounds, Sega, Shazam, Urbanspoon and more.

Check out this short video of Howard Steinberg, Director of Business Development at Urbanspoon, discussing his experience with AdSense for Mobile Applications.



Posted:
Today, we invite you to take part in the Day in the Cloud Challenge, an online scavenger hunt that's being played simultaneously on the ground and in the air aboard Virgin America flights across the U.S. The Day in the Cloud demonstrates how people can use Google Apps to stay connected with friends, family and co-workers when they're away from their homes — even at 35,000 feet in the air.


The online game will be available until 11:59pm PDT today, so find a quiet spot, do some finger stretches, and take the challenge.

Posted:
From building data centers in different parts of the world to designing highly efficient user interfaces, we at Google always strive to make our services faster. We focus on speed as a key requirement in product and infrastructure development, because our research indicates that people prefer faster, more responsive apps. Over the years, through continuous experimentation, we've identified some performance best practices that we'd like to share with the web community on code.google.com/speed, a new site for web developers, with tutorials, tips and performance tools.

We are excited to discuss what we've learned about web performance with the Internet community. However, to optimize the speed of web applications and make browsing the web as fast as turning the pages of a magazine, we need to work together as a community, to tackle some larger challenges that keep the web slow and prevent it from delivering its full potential:
  • Many protocols that power the Internet and the web were developed when broadband and rich interactive web apps were in their infancy. Networks have become much faster in the past 20 years, and by collaborating to update protocols such as HTML and TCP/IP we can create a better web experience for everyone. A great example of the community working together is HTML5. With HTML5 features such as AppCache, developers are now able to write JavaScript-heavy web apps that run instantly and work and feel like desktop applications.
  • In the last decade, we have seen close to a 100x improvement in JavaScript speed. Browser developers and the communities around them need to maintain this recent focus on performance improvement in order for the browser to become the platform of choice for more feature-rich and computationally-complex applications.
  • Many websites can become faster with little effort, and collective attention to performance can speed up the entire web. Tools such as Yahoo!'s YSlow and our own recently launched Page Speed help web developers create faster, more responsive web apps. As a community, we need to invest further in developing a new generation of tools for performance measurement, diagnostics, and optimization that work at the click of a button.
  • While there are now more than 400 million broadband subscribers worldwide, broadband penetration is still relatively low in many areas of the world. Steps have been taken to bring the benefits of broadband to more people, such as the FCC's decision to open up the white spaces spectrum, for which the Internet community, including Google, was a strong champion. Bringing the benefits of cheap reliable broadband access around the world should be one of the primary goals of our industry.
To find out what Googlers think about making the web faster, see the video below. If you have ideas on how to speed up the web, please share them with the rest of the community. Let's all work together to make the web faster!



Posted:
While many organizations are doing great work to enable community service locally, it's not simple to search across opportunities from a variety of places to find what's right for you. We have some experience finding relevant information from among many scattered sources, and when we learned that President Obama and the First Lady were making community service a top priority even before taking office, we thought we could help make a difference.

With our mission in mind, a group of "20%" engineers, designers, and program managers from Google and other tech companies began work on All for Good, a new service to help you find volunteer events in your community, and share those events with your friends.

All for Good provides a single search interface for volunteer activities across many major volunteering sites and organizations like United Way, VolunteerMatch, HandsOn Network and Reach Out and Read. By building on top of the amazing efforts of existing volunteer organizations like these, we hope to amplify their efforts.


And in the spirit of open data, All for Good has a data API that anyone can use to search the same data displayed on the All for Good site. All for Good was developed entirely using App Engine and Google Base, with the full code repository hosted on Google Code Hosting. We'll be inviting developers to contribute to the open source application soon, so stay tuned.

Just as releasing the Maps API led to an surge of independent and creative uses of geographic information, we've built All for Good as a platform to encourage innovation in volunteerism, as much as an end product in itself. We hope software developers will use the API or code to build their own volunteering applications, some even better than the All for Good site!

And if you want to volunteer your video-creating skills to make a difference, check out YouTube Video Volunteers, a new platform designed to make connections between non-profits with video needs and skilled video makers who can help broadcast their causes through video.

All for Good is a new kind of collaboration between the private, public and nonprofits sectors to build free and open technology to empower citizens. Similar to the Open Social Foundation, we helped create a new organization called Our Good Works to make sure that the API, the platform, and social innovation that they inspire are supported for the long term. The leadership includes Reid Hoffman, Chris DiBona, Arianna Huffington and Craig Newmark on the board, and the organization aims to build support volunteerism services like All for Good.

Today the First Lady is in San Francisco calling on Americans to improve our communities by rolling up our sleeves and putting our time and talent towards doing good. You can learn more at serve.gov, where we're proud to power search.

Posted:
Science fiction books and movies have long imagined that computers will someday be able to see and interpret the world. At Google, we think computer vision has tremendous potential benefits for consumers, which is why we're dedicated to research in this area. And today, a Google team is presenting a paper on landmark recognition (think: Statue of Liberty, Eiffel Tower) at the Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) conference in Miami, Florida. In the paper, we present a new technology that enables computers to quickly and efficiently identify images of more than 50,000 landmarks from all over the world with 80% accuracy.

To be clear up front, this is a research paper, not a new Google product, but we still think it's cool. For our demonstration, we begin with an unnamed, untagged picture of a landmark, enter its web address into the recognition engine, and poof — the computer identifies and names it: "Recognized Landmark: Acropolis, Athens, Greece." Thanks computer.

How did we do it? It wasn't easy. For starters, where do you find a good list of thousands of landmarks? Even if you have that list, where do you get the pictures to develop visual representations of the locations? And how do you pull that source material together in a coherent model that actually works, is fast, and can process an enormous corpus of data? Think about all the different photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge you've seen — the different perspectives, lighting conditions and image qualities. Recognizing a landmark can be difficult for a human, let alone a computer.

Our research builds on the vast number of images on the web, the ability to search those images, and advances in object recognition and clustering techniques. First, we generated a list of landmarks relying on two sources: 40 million GPS-tagged photos (from Picasa and Panoramio) and online tour guide webpages. Next, we found candidate images for each landmark using these sources and Google Image Search, which we then "pruned" using efficient image matching and unsupervised clustering techniques. Finally, we developed a highly efficient indexing system for fast image recognition. The following image provides a visual representation of the resulting clustered recognition model:


In the above image, related views of the Acropolis are "clustered" together, allowing for a more efficient image matching system.

While we've gone a long way towards unlocking the information stored in text on the web, there's still much work to be done unlocking the information stored in pixels. This research demonstrates the feasibility of efficient computer vision techniques based on large, noisy datasets. We expect the insights we've gained will lay a useful foundation for future research in computer vision.

If you're interested to learn more about this research, check out the paper.

Posted:
Today, we added Persian (Farsi) to Google Translate. This means you can now translate any text from Persian into English and from English into Persian — whether it's a news story, a website, a blog, an email, a tweet or a Facebook message. The service is available free at http://translate.google.com.

We feel that launching Persian is particularly important now, given ongoing events in Iran. Like YouTube and other services, Google Translate is one more tool that Persian speakers can use to communicate directly to the world, and vice versa — increasing everyone's access to information.

As with all machine translation, it's not perfect yet. And we're launching this service quickly, so it may perform slowly at times. We'll keep a close watch and if it breaks, we'll restore service as quickly as we can.

We've optimized this service for translation between Persian and English. But we're working hard to improve Persian translation for the additional 40 languages available via Google Translate. If you see something you think is incorrectly translated, we invite you to click on the "contribute a better translation" link and we'll learn from your correction.

The web provides many new channels of communication that enable us to see events unfold in real-time around the world. We hope that Google Translate helps make all that information accessible to you — no matter what language you speak. So please visit Google Translate and try it out.

Posted:
What do painting murals, teaching tech classes, and gardening have to do with Google? These are a few of the activities Googlers have participated in over the past few weeks as part of our second annual GoogleServe — a chance for Googlers to give back to their local communities through service projects. Over the past couple of weeks about 5,000 Googlers from 60 of our offices took a break from their regular jobs to participate in volunteer opportunities. We've found that community service helps to revitalize and deepen our connections with the communities where we live and work, as well as bring us closer together as a team. This year we partnered with nonprofits, schools and local governments across the world on a wide range of activities. Here's a glimpse at some of the projects that we recently participated in:
  • We cleaned beaches with the Surfrider Foundation in Santa Monica, California and with the Irish Seal Sanctuary at Balbriggan Beach, Ireland.
  • We removed graffiti in Zurich, Switzerland with Beautiful Zurich.
  • We removed non-native plant species with Hands on Bay Area and the California State Parks Department in Half Moon Bay, California.
  • We painted murals with Team Up For Youth at the Edna Brewer Middle School in Oakland, California and with Ruach Tova at community centers in Tel Aviv and Haifa, Israel.
  • We prepped, packed, and sorted food for soup kitchens and homeless shelters with Resala in Cairo, Egypt and with the Greater Chicago Food Depository in Chicago, Illinois.
  • We led computer skills classes for NGOs in Beijing, China for senior citizens in Dublin, Ireland and for teens from orphanages in Krakow, Poland.
  • We refurbished computer labs at the Westview Middle School in Goose Creek, South Carolina and Schule Steinfeldstrasse in Billstedt, Hamburg, Germany.
Take a look at the photo album below to see Googlers in action. And if you're looking to give back to your community, websites like All For Good can help you find volunteer opportunities.



Posted:
Google's about to have its second tenth birthday. In late August, Blogger will officially turn 10 years old. As our birthday draws near, we thought it would be interesting to share some fun facts about Blogger:
  • Every minute of every day, 270,000 words are written on Blogger
  • Millions of people worldwide use Blogger to publish to their blog each week
  • Almost two thirds of Blogger's traffic comes from outside North America (What's the #2 country after the U.S.? Brazil, followed by Turkey, Spain, Canada, and the U.K.)
  • The most popular sport for our bloggers? Soccer (that's football to the rest of the world), more than four times larger than the #2 sport, baseball
While we're really excited about this milestone, we want the focus to be on you and the remarkable stories that you and millions of people around the world document on Blogger. After all, blogs are one of the true building blocks of the web, constantly updated not only with news and personal stories, but any kind of information you can imagine. Just this week, there's an Iranian student documenting the minute-by-minute proceedings in Iran, while a British woman is uploading nightly blog posts from her satellite phone while rowing solo from Hawaii to Australia, while an American college student is running from Amsterdam to Athens with nothing but the pack on his back. There are literally millions more.

What's your story? Did your blog help you find a job? Learn a language? Interact with your fans? Master a new skill? Battle an illness? Turn a hobby into a career? We read as many blog posts as we can, and what we do read is often brilliant. But we want to know more — we want to hear from you about what Blogger has meant to you over the past decade.

Do what you do best: tell your story. Write a post, and then let us know about it by filling out this form. Keep an eye on Blogger Buzz, where we'll be sharing some of our favorites over the coming weeks.

To the millions who have depended on Blogger to help you tell your story, thank you. To those of you who have yet to tell your story, creating a blog couldn't be easier: just visit blogger.com to get started. We can't wait to see what the next ten years bring — and stay tuned for details about the tenth birthday itself.

Posted:
Today, we're launching a host of new features in Google Books that give you more ways to browse and share the content from the Google Books collection. For example, we've added a feature that allows you to embed previews of books in your blog or website, so you can share pages of your favorite books as easily as you would a YouTube video. We've also added a thumbnail view of full book and magazine pages and an improved way to search within books.

To read more, head on over to the Inside Google Book Search blog for a tour of these updates.

Posted:
Around the world, schools and universities continuously face the difficult challenge of reducing costs while improving the quality of education they provide. This challenge becomes even more critical in turbulent economic times. Not to mention the fact that this next generation of students – the "millennials" – brings a different set of expectations to campus. For example, they expect the ability to work together without sitting in the same room, they want to take their data with them wherever they go, they want to chat (over voice and video) with friends and family, and they expect instantaneous and unwavering access to the Internet.

By harnessing the power of technology, we think we can offer the education community the means to meet these expectations. Google Apps Education Edition is a free suite of hosted tools including mail, calendar, document, and site creation that helps campuses save money while providing a rich set of technology tools that will enable schools to better meet the demands of savvy students. Millions of students, staff, and faculty are using Google Apps today, with more signing up every day. A big welcome to some of the schools we've recently welcomed to the Google Apps family, including:
  • Allegheny College
  • Beloit College
  • Boise State University (for faculty and staff)
  • Clemson University
  • Cornell University
  • Georgetown University
  • Pittsburgh State University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Temple University
  • Truman State University
  • University of Alaska
  • University of California at Davis
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Sunderland
  • Wagner College
To share info about these latest innovations, we'd like to invite you to a free live customer webinar on Thursday, June 25 at 10:00 a.m. PDT. In this session you'll hear directly from Arizona State University, the first school to deploy Google Apps Education Edition, back in 2006. Key administrators will talk about their decision to go with Google Apps, the results they've seen so far, and their future plans for Apps. Whether you're a student, work at a school, or went to school, we hope you'll join us to hear about how Google Apps can help institutions like ASU save money and IT resources, plus make students' lives easier with a set of tools for working together.

Posted:
We are excited to release a new set of iGoogle themes today. Drawing on the arrival of summer and the spectacular beauty of the world around us, our new iGoogle themes focus on nature. To create these themes, we worked with organizations and photographers who capture the world's best nature photography, including National Geographic Society, BBC and Ansel Adams Gallery.

At its core, iGoogle is about personal expression. Themes are one of many ways we invite you to personalize your homepage with things that inspire you — artists, fashion designers, musicians, video games or simply the stunning beauty of the world around us.

Here's a quick preview of some of the highlights in our new nature collection:
  • National Geographic's "Ocean Blue" takes you from shark territory in the Caribbean to ice floes on the polar caps
  • The National Audubon Society's "Birds of Prey" features winged predators depicted in the classic Audobon hand-drawn illustration style
  • Art Wolfe's "Travels to the Edge" includes views deep into the forests of North America and aerial shots of river deltas and rice paddies
  • Rodney Lough's "Deserts" presents striking images of the most desolate — and stunning — corners of our planet

So, check out the new nature themes. We hope you enjoy exploring the world's wonders from the comfort of your iGoogle page. Then get outside this summer and celebrate the real thing.

Posted:
As you might have noticed, there's a lot of fascinating stuff that happens on YouTube every day. For example, did you know that a nine-year-old recently used YouTube to successfully campaign to save his local kickball lot? Have you seen the video of a Guatemalan lawyer who predicted his own assassination on YouTube moments before it happened? Or did you know that YouTube and Google have launched a new technology platform for political debates, which allows you to submit and vote on the most important issues you want to discuss with political candidates?

These are the sorts of things you can stay on top of with Citizentube, a special YouTube blog devoted to chronicling the way that people are using video to change the world. If you've followed news and politics on YouTube, you might have noticed that we started Citizentube as a video channel on the site a few years back, but we soon realized that keeping track of all the phenomenal uses of YouTube by posting our own videos just wasn't fast enough — so now we're blogging, too. We generally focus on two types of posts: the compelling political and social uses of YouTube that we see the community bubble up every day, and our own programming initiatives and partnerships in the political, news, and nonprofit arenas.

Our team creates opportunities for you to engage with content that goes beyond the humorous or even the educational — content that changes the way you interact with your communities, institutions, and leaders. The first initiative we launched in this space was the You Choose '08 platform and the CNN/YouTube Debates in 2007. Since then we've expanded our programming to the fields of government, activism, and news & information. On the blog, we'll post an occasional series that gives a bigger picture perspective of what's happening in the worlds of news reporting, government, and social change on YouTube.

So be sure to check out www.citizentube.com and subscribe to our RSS feed (we're on Twitter, too: @citizentube). With more than 20 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, our blog helps provide you with a filter that you can use to see the way that video is changing our world.

Posted:
A few weeks ago we launched the Google Photography Prize, a global student competition for students to create themes for iGoogle. Our goal was to find talented student photographers and give them unprecedented online and offline exposure. It may seem a little brave to unleash student art on our homepage, but we've been hugely impressed the number and quality of entries we received.

From among the thousands of entries from around the world, we've just announced the shortlist of 36 finalists. Now they're up for your vote - the most popular six you choose will make it to the finals. The 6 finalists will be exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery in London and have the chance to win the first prize of £5,000 ($7,500), plus an invitation to spend the day with the internationally renowned photographer Martin Parr.

On the voting page you can also add your favourite as a theme to your iGoogle homepage. Millions of people have already chosen to adorn their iGoogle page with images, with everything from seascapes to original art. Now you can have some fantastic photography from some of the best up-and-coming photographic talent out there right on your homepage.

So take a look, enjoy the photographs, and please vote — the deadline is June 17th. And if you are in London this month, come see the exhibit of the winners at the Saatchi Gallery, starting the 24th and running for a week.

Posted:
(cross-posted with the Google Mobile Blog)

We like iGoogle because it lets us "snack" on interesting information all day long. We can read a little bit of news here and there, glance at finance portfolios, take a look at the weather forecast, and then do a Google search. It doesn't require a big commitment of time and energy — it's simply there for us whenever we need it. This kind of availability is even more important on a phone, where it can take a long time to surf. That's why iGoogle is so convenient on mobile devices. When you're waiting in line, you can check iGoogle on your phone for a quick "info snack" — even in areas with mediocre network coverage.

But speed isn't everything. Many of you have told us that you wanted to use more of your iGoogle gadgets on your phone. You wanted to see your tabs, too. We read your blog comments and forum posts and put your requests at the top of our to-do list.

Today, we're excited to roll out an improved beta version of iGoogle for the iPhone and Android-powered devices. This new version is faster and easier to use. It supports tabs as well as more of your favorite gadgets, including those built by third-party developers. Note that not all gadgets — like those with Flash — will work in mobile browsers.

One of our favorite new features is the in-line display of articles for feed-based gadgets. That means you can read article summaries without leaving the page. You can also rearrange gadget order or keep your favorite gadgets open for your next visit. None of these changes will mess up the layout of gadgets on your desktop computer, so feel free to play around and tune your mobile experience. 



The new version of iGoogle for mobile is available in 38 languages. To try it out, go to igoogle.com in your mobile browser and tap "Try the new Mobile iGoogle". Bookmark the page or make it your home page so you can return to it quickly. Finally, please fill out our survey by clicking on the "Tell us what you think" link at the top of the new home page. We'll continue to use your feedback to make iGoogle even better.

Update on 6/12 @ 8:50 AM: Video added. Check it out!

Posted:
Two years ago, we invited people around the world to participate in a video project imagining how Gmail messages travel around the world. The response was overwhelming, with 971 video submissions in total — many of which were really, absurdly cool.

Today, we are announcing a new global project. Your task? Film yourself building the Google Chrome icon in a creative way, with whatever materials, as big, small, or crazy as you want. We will feature the best submissions.

A handful of Googlers and a couple of our friends created some sample videos for inspiration. Check them out:



Learn more and submit your video by July 22. For more information on this project, visit the Google Chrome blog. We can't wait to see the clever ways that you build the Google Chrome icon.

Posted:
Google I/O has come and gone, and we've been working to get all of the content online so those of you who couldn't be there could experience some of the excitement. At the conference, we shared our thoughts on the future of the web along with some exciting announcements including a developer preview of Google Wave, our new collaboration and communication tool, and Google Web Elements, which makes adding a bit of Google to your website or blog as simple as copy and paste. In addition, I/O featured 80+ sessions of technical insight, and over 140 companies joined our developer sandbox at the conference to showcase the web applications they've been building using Google developer products. 

All of these sessions, along with interviews and screencasts from many of the sandbox developers, are now available for you to watch online. Also, to get a real feel for the happenings on the conference floor at Moscone Center in San Francisco, check out our interactive map to watch session videos embedded in their actual conference rooms, or browse our photo gallery.

You can stay tuned for further updates on all of our developer products at the Google Code Blog and code.google.com. We had a great time getting to meet all of developers building amazing apps using Google technology and want to thank the 140 other companies that participated. See you next year!

Posted:
Earlier today at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, we convened a group of journalists, partners and customers for a discussion on Google Apps in the enterprise. We're pleased to report that the "state of the cloud" is strong, and we've taken a number of steps to make it stronger.

At the event we discussed the growth of our business, introduced some new customers, and announced a feature that makes switching to Apps even easier. The Clift was a particularly appropriate venue because it's a member of the Morgans Hotel Group, which is deploying Google Apps to its 1,750 employees. JohnsonDiversey, a global provider of commercial cleaning and hygiene products and solutions, has also gone Google. Choosing Apps helped JohnsonDiversey migrate its 12,000 employees to one communications platform while lowering its IT costs and furthering its commitment to sustainability through the elimination of a number of energy-intensive email servers.

Of course, when big companies like Morgans move all their employees from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps, there are often a few folks who aren't ready to give up Microsoft Outlook right away. To help them make the transition, today we also introduced Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook to our Premier and Education edition customers. It lets Outlook work easily with Apps and — like offline Gmail and the Google Apps Connector for BlackBerry® Enterprise Server — is another example of how we're making it dead simple to switch to Google Apps.

To read more about Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook and hear why 1.75 million companies are now running their business on Google Apps, check out the Google Enterprise Blog.

Posted:
At Google, we consider translation a key part of making information universally accessible to everyone around the world. While we think Google Translate, our automatic translation system, is pretty neat, sometimes machine translation could use a human touch. Yesterday, we launched Google Translator Toolkit, a powerful but easy-to-use editor that enables translators to bring that human touch to machine translation.

For example, if an Arabic-speaking reader wants to translate a Wikipedia™ article into Arabic, she loads the article into Translator Toolkit, corrects the automatic translation, and clicks publish. By using Translator Toolkit's bag of tools — translation search, bilingual dictionaries, and ratings, she translates and publishes the article faster and better into Arabic. The Translator Toolkit is integrated with Wikipedia, making it easy to publish translated articles. Best of all, our automatic translation system "learns" from her corrections, creating a virtuous cycle that can help translate content into 47 languages, or over 98% of the world's Internet population.


Besides Wikipedia, we've also integrated with Knol, and we support common document types including Word and HTML. For translation professionals, we provide advanced features such as terminology and translation memory management.

For more information, check out our introductory video below. And if you're a professional translator or just a linguaphile, try Google Translator Toolkit for easier and faster translations. Be sure and let us know what you think.



Posted:
Today, Frank Lloyd Wright's 142nd birthday, we're excited to announce the Design It: Shelter Competition. Held by the Guggenheim Museum and Google SketchUp, the competition is inspired by Wright's assignment for his apprentices at Taliesin: If you wanted to study to be an architect with Wright, you had to design and build a shelter in the desert outside of Phoenix, Arizona. Then you had to live and study in it.

Unlike the Taliesin assignment, the shelters in this competition are virtual. To enter, use Google SketchUp to design a small structure where someone might sleep and work. Your shelter should be created for a specific site anywhere in the world and geo-located in Google Earth. It also should conform to size constraints and must not include running water, gas or electricity. When you're done with your design, upload it to the Google 3D Warehouse, then fill out the submission form on the Guggenheim website. Check out the video below to learn more:



The deadline for submissions is August 23rd. You can find more details, including information about judging and prizes, on the the Google SketchUp Blog or the competition website. Good luck!

Posted:
I use Picasa to manage the photos on my computer in part because it's the fastest way to manage all of the pictures I take. When I started working on Picasa Web Albums, the speed and responsiveness of the desktop program were a tough act to follow. Typically, when you move your photos from the desktop to the web, you have to choose between viewing high resolution photos that take forever to download, and tiny photos that lack any detail. For Picasa Web Albums, we thought we could do better.

We chose to show large images, the very biggest we can fit into your browser window. If you open up a slideshow or full-screen view, we can fill your entire monitor. But it wasn't snappy enough for us, so we had a choice to make: either use smaller images, make the Internet faster, or make our code smarter. We think large images are important, because seeing a photo's little details can make a big difference, and as much as we wanted to, making the whole Internet faster was a little impractical in the short term. So we went deep into the code and gave it a thorough tune-up.

The results, I hope, speak for themselves. Take a look at any album or slideshow on Picasa Web (here's one of mine) and you should notice that browsing photos is significantly faster. Give full-screen mode a try to see even bigger photos. If you've got a reasonable connection to the Internet, you should be able to hold down one of the arrow keys and zip through the entire album at a pretty good clip, flip-book style. Of course, while you could zoom past entire albums at ludicrous speed, we hope you'll enjoying spending your time looking at the photos themselves, rather than navigating between them.

Posted:
Some information is easy to find. If you want to learn the rules of golf, you can search Google for [golf rules] and we'll return a list of relevant web sites right at the top. But not all your information needs are that simple. Some questions can be more complex, requiring you to visit ten, perhaps twenty websites to research and collect what you need.

For instance, I'm a big fan of roller coasters. In the past I've used Google to search for information about roller coasters, such as which ones are the tallest, fastest, and have the most loops. Finding this information used to take multiple searches — I'd find roller coaster sizes on one website, heights on another, and speeds on a third. By manually comparing the sites, I could get the information I was looking for, but it took some time. With Google Squared, a new feature just released in Google Labs, I can find my roller coaster facts almost instantly.

Google Squared is an experimental search tool that collects facts from the web and presents them in an organized collection, similar to a spreadsheet. If you search for [roller coasters], Google Squared builds a square with rows for each of several specific roller coasters and columns for corresponding facts, such as image, height and maximum speed.


While gathering facts from across the Internet is relatively easy (albeit tedious) for humans to do, it's far more difficult for computers to do automatically. Google Squared is a first step towards solving that challenge. It essentially searches the web to find the types of facts you might be interested in, extracts them and presents them in a meaningful way.

This technology is by no means perfect. That's why we designed Google Squared to be conversational, enabling you to respond to the initial result and get a better answer. If there's another row or column you'd like to see, you can add it and Google Squared will automatically attempt to fetch and fill in the relevant facts for you. As you remove rows and columns you don't like, Google Squared will get a fresh idea of what you're interested in and suggest new rows and columns to add. See it in action in the video below:



If you click on any fact, you'll see the sources Google Squared gathered it from as well as a list of other possible values that you can investigate. So even if your square isn't perfect at the beginning, it's easy to work with Google Squared to get a better answer in no time. Once you've got a square you're happy with, you can save it and come back to it later.

To give Google Squared a whirl, try searching for [planets] or [romantic movies]. You can try out Google Squared now in Google Labs.

Posted:
Have you ever wondered what celebrities do when they use the web? Today, we're announcing the new iGoogle Showcase, which allows you to see and share the homepages of some of your favorite icons. These 30 preeminent people, including Dave Matthews, Rachael Ray and Katie Couric, are sharing their iGoogle pages with you in full so you can get a glimpse into their interests and how they experience the web.

The iGoogle Showcase allows you to either add a celebrity's entire iGoogle page to your own, or browse through the collection and choose different gadgets and themes from several pages. For example, you might select Al Gore's iGoogle page for his preferred theme and gadgets for keeping up on the latest media news, supporting the Alliance for Climate protection cause or browsing through photos from National Geographic.



In addition, many of our celebrity partners have created their own custom iGoogle gadgets to easily connect with their fans every day. If you're a Ryan Seacrest fan, his new gadget can help you keep up with all the latest entertainment news. You can follow his tweets, watch exclusive videos, listen to radio interviews, and view his photo albums. Donald Trump offers advice to entrepreneurs, Martha Stewart shares recipes and tips, and Anderson Cooper delivers headline news and extras from his CNN show AC360.

To get any one of our celebrity themes or gadgets on your own iGoogle page, visit the iGoogle Showcase. We've all heard about "six degrees of separation," but now, some of your favorite stars are just a few clicks away.

Posted:
It's hard to conceptualize the number 1,000,000,000. One billion sheets of paper could circle the earth at the equator well over five times. Counting to one billion would take about 30 years of your life, even if you never stop to sleep. And if you had to find a single piece of information by sorting through a billion documents it would take you, on average, about 2000 years. Businesses and large organizations have tons of documents and other types of data — some even have a billion documents that need searching, and it's unlikely that employees have 2000 years to dedicate to the hunt.

Figuring out how to navigate the complex content systems of large organizations is a tough problem, one we've dedicated years to solving. Today we're releasing the newest version of our solution, the Google Search Appliance 6.0 (GSA), which has the capacity to search billions of documents. So whether you own a small business with a few thousand docs or belong to a huge organization with a billion, the GSA can search them all. Even if the content you need lives in a bunch of different departments or locations, in all kinds of formats, languages and repositories, the GSA makes searching within your organization as simple as searching on Google.com. It also has helpful features like user-added results and query suggestions, so over time your coworkers' input improves search results. The GSA 6.0 also is full of customization features, as well as flexible security policies so that each enterprise or large organizations can tweak the settings to suit its needs. We believe that setting your enterprise up with the GSA can save you tons of employee hours spent looking for data — letting you focus on the actual work to be done.

We demonstrated the infrastructure you'd actually need to search a billion docs — check it out in the video below. To learn more about the GSA 6.0 or our search solutions for businesses, check out the Google Enterprise Blog or our website.




Posted:
If you're a local business owner, it's likely that Google plays a role in helping customers find you. And we're not just talking about your website — thanks to Google Maps and Google Search, you may also be getting a lot of online traffic to your business listing. You've probably seen one of these listings before:

You also probably know how they tend to work: A potential customer does a search on Google.com or in Google Maps, comes across your listing, clicks on it to see your reviews and details, and then gets directions to your location.

Now, imagine if there were a way for you to get a better understanding of how those customers are finding you. Did they search for "pizza" or "pasta" to get to the listing for your Italian restaurant? Do they live across town, but drive miles for your great selection of camping gear? What happens to traffic to your new dental practice when you start advertising in the local paper? With information like that, you'd be able to make better informed decisions on how to drive more traffic to your listing and attract more customers.

Later today, you'll be able to do just that, thanks to a new dashboard feature we're launching in the Local Business Center (www.google.com/lbc). The LBC is a free tool that enables business owners to control the content of their business listings as they appear in Google Search and Google Maps. All you have to do is claim your listing in the LBC and go through a quick verification process to get access to the following kinds of data:
  • Impressions: The number of times the business listing appeared as a result on a Google.com search or Google Maps search in a given period.
  • Actions: The number of times people interacted with the listing; for example, the number of times they clicked through to the business' website or requested driving directions to the business.
  • Top search queries: Which queries led customers to the business listing; for example, are they finding the listing for a cafe by searching for "tea" or "coffee"?
  • Zip codes where driving directions come from: Which zip codes customers are coming from when they request directions to your location.
The new dashboard will also let you dig into that data using all kinds of lists, maps, and graphs like this one, which measures impressions and actions for a hotel's business listing:



When you sign in to the LBC today, you'll find that we've already populated the dashboards for claimed listings with data from the last 30 days. After that, new information will be added every day, so you can check in often to see how things are going. We're also working hard to add more historical information, and to make this available for businesses outside the U.S. All the data we share through the dashboard will be anonymous and aggregated, to protect the privacy of Google users.

We're really excited to be able to open up this data to local business owners. Before now, you could track usage metrics on your website using a tool like Google Analytics, but data about how customers found you in other ways never got back to you. That all changes today, and we think business owners will really get a lot out of this new information. So if you're a local business owner and you feel the same way, be sure to check out this new dashboard.

To learn more about accessing and using the dashboard, take a look at the video below and then visit the Lat Long Blog for a more in-depth overview.



Posted:
Since we launched the Custom Search AJAX gadget for Blogger on our experimental site, we've gotten some great feedback. Now, the tuned-up search gadget is available to all Blogger users. You can configure this gadget to help your readers search all the information that's relevant to your blog — your posts, webpages that you link to, and sites that you link to from the sidebar — all in one shot. When your readers search using this gadget, the results are displayed with the look and feel of your blog. And they show up inline, so readers don't have to leave your blog. After they're done, they can quickly dismiss the results and go back to reading your blog posts. Take a look at how S. Krishna's Books uses the gadget.


You can configure the gadget on your blog with just a few clicks:
  • Edit your blog's layout, and click "Add a Gadget"
  • Select and configure the search box gadget
The search box will then show up on the sidebar on your blog.


By default, the following 3 search tabs are configured:
  • This blog: searches across your blog posts
  • Linked from here: searches blog posts, webpages linked from your posts, blog lists, and link lists
  • The web: searches across all pages on the web
The gadget also provides an option that lets you restrict search results to pages linked from a specific blog list or link list. For example, if you have many link lists on your sidebar, you can choose to surface only the most important ones in specific search tabs. "Linked from here" includes pages from all of them.

The goal of this gadget is to expand the search capabilities of your blog and give your readers a better search experience. If you're using it, we'd love to hear your feedback on other improvements we can make. Learn more at the Custom Search Blog.

Posted:
You're invited to take the Day in the Cloud Challenge, the first-ever online scavenger hunt to be played simultaneously in the air and on the ground. We've teamed up with Virgin America to sponsor this challenge on June 24, 2009, the "Day in the Cloud." At Google, we've gathered a small group of gamers extraordinaire to come up with unique puzzles, trivia, and brain teasers, many of which use Google Apps. So if you're game, get ready for the Day in the Cloud Challenge.

More and more people are storing their data (such as documents, calendars, email, and photos) online "in the cloud" with services like Google Apps. All that you need is an Internet connection to access and share that information with friends, family, and co-workers. With airlines like Virgin America offering in-flight Wi-Fi, it's now even easier to stay connected while you travel, even when you're flying through the sky.

Those of you paying close attention might remember that we've held a puzzle extravaganza in the past. The Day in the Cloud Challenge will be different in that each contestant will have just one hour to play the game. Everyone is encouraged to take on the challenge between 12:00am and 11:59pm PDT on Wed, June 24, 2009. And if you happen to be flying on Virgin America, in-flight Wi-Fi service will be complimentary on June 24th so that you can play during your flight.

The top five scorers in the challenge will receive a "Year in the Cloud" prize package, which includes a year of free flights and free in-flight Wi-Fi from Virgin America, an HP netbook computer, and 1 terabyte of Google account storage for all of your photos and email. Not a puzzle fanatic? Don't worry. The questions come in various difficulty levels so there will be some easy puzzles and others that might drive even the most experienced competitors crazy. A final note on eligibility: You must be a legal resident of the U.S. and at least 18 years of age to be eligible for a prize.

Check out www.dayinthecloud.com for more information. While you're there, sign up for an email reminder to receive practice clues and tips.

We'll see you in the cloud.