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In 2003 we established the Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship to honor the work of Dr. Anita Borg, a computer scientist who dedicated her professional career to increasing the participation of women and other under-represented minorities in the field of technology. In her memory, we're pleased to announce the fifth class of Anita Borg Scholars in the U.S., and our first class of scholars in Canada.

The U.S. program awards $10,000 academic scholarships to 23 outstanding female leaders in technology, and $1,000 scholarships to 32 finalists. In Canada, 4 women will receive $5,000 scholarship awards, and 13 finalists will receive $1,000 scholarships. These undergraduate and graduate women are completing degrees in computer science and related fields. Each of these award recipients has demonstrated a commitment to advancing women in technology. We congratulate these leaders on their accomplishments.

The U.S. scholars and finalists recently visited the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA as part of the annual all-expenses-paid Google Scholars' Retreat. Students attended technical workshops and discussions with Google engineers and executives, and heard first-hand about the life and work of Anita Borg from Telle Whitney, President of the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology. The retreat enables these scholars to meet each other and create a network of future leaders in computer science. The 2008 recipients of the Google United Negro College Fund Scholarship and Hispanic College Fund Scholarship also attended.

The 17 Canada Anita Borg Scholars and Finalists will attend a Scholars' Retreat for their inaugural class this Thursday and Friday at our engineering office in New York.

Visit our scholarships page to learn more about our programs. The Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship is also available to female computer science students in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

The 2008 U.S. Anita Borg Scholars ($10,000 winners)
  • Allison Park Heath - Rice University, PhD Computer Science
  • Amy Hurst - Carnegie Mellon University, Ph Human Computer Interaction
  • Betsy Nora DiSalvo - Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD Human Centered Computing
  • Diane Marie Budzik - University of California, Los Angeles, PhD Electrical Engineering
  • Elizabeth Arrowsmith Bales - University of California, San Diego, PhD Computer Science
  • Emily Anne Fortuna -Rice University, B.S. Computer Science
  • Erika Shehan Poole - Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD Human Centered Computing
  • Gabriela Marcu - University of California, Irvine, B.S. Informatics
  • Ghinwa Fakhri Choueiter - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
  • Gina-Maria Pomann - The College of New Jersey, B.A. Math
  • Jennifer C. Stoll - Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD Human Centered Computing
  • Jennifer Denise Tam - Carnegie Mellon University, PhD Computer Science
  • Jill Patrice Dimond - Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD Human Centered Computing
  • Julie Maureen Letchner - University of Washington, PhD Computer Science
  • Katherine Mary Everitt - University of Washington, PhD Computer Science
  • Nancy Dougherty - Stanford University, B.S. Electrical Engineering Raluca Ada Popa - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, B.S. Computer Science
  • Sally Kadry Wahba - Clemson University, PhD Computer Science
  • Sarita Ann Yardi - Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD Human Centered Computing
  • Silvia Lindtner - University of California, Irvine, PhD Information & Computer Science
  • Svetlana Yarosh - Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD Human Centered Computing
  • Tammara Massey - University of California, Los Angeles, PhD Computer Science
  • Yvon Hall Feaster - Clemson University, B.S. Computer Information Systems
The 2008 U.S. Anita Borg Finalists ($1,000 winners)
  • Aditi Suhas Pendharkar - Carnegie Mellon University, M.S. Information Networking
  • Alokika Dash - Univeristy of California, Irvine, PhD Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
  • Ashley Leonora Podhradsky
  • Dakota State University, PhD Information Systems
  • Carla Mae Webb - Western Illinois University, B.S. Computer Science & Math
  • Christina Marie Williams - Colorado State University, B.S. Computer Science
  • Devorah Gurwitz - Touro College, B.S. Computer Science
  • Eakta Jain - Carnegie Mellon University, PhD Robotics
  • Elena Jocelyn Jakubiak - Tufts University, PhD Computer Science
  • Geeta Sharad Shroff - Carnegie Mellon University, B.S. Computer Science
  • Jessica Lee Heier - Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD Industrial & Systems Engineering
  • Karen Edwards Works - Worcester Polytechnic Institute, PhD Computer Science
  • Kathy Tran Pham - Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S.Computer Science
  • Kimber Diane Lockhart - Stanford University, B.Eng. Computer Science
  • Kriti Rameshlal Puniyani - Carnegie Mellon University, PhD Computer Science
  • Liangrong Yi - University of Kentucky, PhD Computer Science
  • Lisa Deanne Brown - Carnegie Mellon University, M.A. Entertainment Technology
  • Lisa Marie White - University of Notre Dame, B.Eng. Computer Science
  • Lisa Minerva Tolentino - Arizona State University, PhD Media Arts & Computer Science
  • Meghan Katheleen Revelle - The College of William and Mary, PhD Computer Science
  • Nahid Mahfuza Alam - Clemson University, PhD Computer Engineering
  • Ramya Raghavendra - University of California, Santa Barbara, PhD Computer Science
  • Rashida Zalika Davis - University of Delaware, PhD Computer & Information Sciences
  • Renuka Ajay Apte - Georgia Institute of Technology, M.S. Computer Science
  • Ruth Lorraine Wylie - Carnegie Mellon University, PhD Human-Computer Interaction
  • Sara Gatmir Motahari - New Jersey Institute of Technology, PhD Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Sofia Jeon - Drexel University, PhD Computer Science
  • Sonya Stoyanova Nikolova - Princeton University, PhD Computer Science
  • Stiliyana Boycheva Stamenova - Macalester College, B.A. Math & Computer Science
  • Tasneem Kaochar - University of Arizona, B.S. Computer Science
  • Valerie Henderson Summet - Georgia Institute of Technology, PhD Human Centered Computing
  • Vibha Laljani - California Institute of Technology, B.S. Computer Science
  • Yi Mao - Purdue University, PhD Electrical & Computer Engineering
The 2008 Canada Anita Borg Scholars ($5,000 CAD Winners)
  • Angelica Lim - Simon Fraser University, BSc Computer Science
  • Celina Gibbs - University of Victoria, MSc Computer Science
  • Christina Boucher - University of Waterloo, PhD Computer Science
  • Mireille Gomes - Queens University, BCompH Biomedical Computing
The 2008 Canada Anita Borg Finalists ($1,000 CAD Winners)
  • Alma Juarez-Domiguez - University of Waterloo, PhD Computer Science
  • April Khademi - University of Toronto, PhD Electrical Engineering
  • Carrie Demmans - University of Saskatchewan, MSc Computer Science
  • Cristina Ribeiro - University of Guelph, MSc Computer Science
  • Gail Carmichael - Carleton University, MSc Computer Science
  • Georgia Kastidou - University of Waterloo, PhD Computer Science
  • Jocelyn Simmonds - University of Toronto, PhD Computer Science
  • Katelyn Kent - University of New Brunswick, BSc Computer Engineering
  • Ming Hua - Simon Fraser University, PhD Computer Science
  • Pooja Viswanathan - University of British Columbia, PhD Computer Science
  • Terri Oda - Carleton University, PhD in Computer Science
  • Thuy Vu - University of Toronto, BSc Computer Science
  • Viann Chan - University of British Columbia, PhD Computer Science

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Did you notice the chrome tulips on Google's homepage today? They are part of a special Google doodle done by renowned artist Jeff Koons. And that isn't the only art appearing anew on Google today. As part of our iGoogle Artists project, we have collaborated with almost 70 artists in 17 countries on 6 continents to create special iGoogle themes -- works of art that appeal to all ages and interests. Artists, designers and other notables involved include Jeff Koons, Dale Chihuly, Coldplay, Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Michael Graves, Philippe Starck, Robert Mankoff, Mark Morris, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Geddes and Tory Burch. While the list of those who have contributed themes is impressive (I've only listed 1/5th(!) of the artists here), even more impressive is the art itself -- it's spectacularly beautiful!

Until now, iGoogle has been about getting the content you want on your homepage. The iGoogle artist themes take personalization to the next level -- allowing you to select world-class art that really reflects your personality for your pages. It's what happens when great art meets technology.

As part of our launch, we will be holding an outdoor art gallery this weekend in New York's Meatpacking District, where on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights the art from the iGoogle artists project will be projected on the buildings, sidewalks, and streets. This is a map of where you can find the display. We will post video of the event on YouTube.

Check it out. The art speaks for itself. Select your iGoogle artist theme today at www.google.com/artistthemes!

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This post is one of a series devoted to online security. - Ed.


Millions of people have gotten "urgent" emails asking them to take immediate action to prevent some impending disaster. "Our bank has a new security system. Update your information now or you won't be able to access your account," or "We couldn't verify your information; click here to update your account." Sometimes the email claims that something awful will happen to the sender (or a third party), as in "The sum of $30,000,000 is going to go to the Government unless you help me transfer it to your bank account."

People who click on the links in these emails may see a web page that looks like a legitimate site they've visited before. Because the page looks familiar, these people enter their username, password, or other private information on the site. What they've actually done is given an unknown third party all the information needed to hijack their account, steal their money, or open up new lines of credit in their name. They just fell for a phishing attack.

The concept behind such an attack is pretty simple: Someone masquerades as someone else in an effort to fool you into sharing personal or other sensitive information with them. Phishers can masquerade as just about anyone, including banks, email and application providers, online merchants, online payment services, and even governments. And while some of these attacks are crude and easy to spot, many of them are sophisticated and well constructed. That fake email from "your bank" can look very real; the bogus "login page" you're redirected to can seem completely legitimate.

The good news is there are things you can do to steer clear of phishing attacks:
  • Be careful about responding to emails that ask you for sensitive information. You should be wary of clicking on links in emails or responding to emails that are asking for things like account numbers, user names and passwords, or other personal information such as social security numbers. Most legitimate businesses will never ask for this information via email. Google doesn't.
  • Go to the site yourself, rather than clicking on links in suspicious emails. If you receive a communication asking for sensitive information but think it could be legitimate, open a new browser window and go to the organization's website as you normally would (for instance, by using a bookmark or by typing out the address of the organization's website). This will improve the chances that you're dealing with the organization's website rather than with a phisher's website, and if there's actually something you need to do, there will usually be a notification on the site. Also, if you're not sure about a request you've received, don't be afraid to contact the organization directly to ask. It takes just a few minutes to go to the organization's website, find an email address or phone number for customer support, and reach out to confirm whether the request is legitimate.
  • If you're on a site that's asking you to enter sensitive information, check for signs of anything suspicious. If you're on a site that's asking for sensitive information -- no matter how you got there -- check for the signs that it's really the official website for the organization. For example, check the URL to make sure the page is actually part of the organization's website, and not a fraudulent page on a different domain (such as mybankk.com or g00gle.com.) If you're on a page that should be secured (like one asking you to enter in your credit card information) look for "https" at the beginning of the URL and the padlock icon in the browser. (In Firefox and Internet Explorer 6, the padlock appears in the bottom right-hand corner, while in Internet Explorer 7 the padlock appears on the right-hand side of the address bar.) These signs aren't infallible, but they're a good place to start.
  • Be wary of the "fabulous offers" and "fantastic prizes" that you'll sometimes come across on the web. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is, and it could be a phisher trying to steal your information. Whenever you come across an offer online that requires you to share personal or other sensitive information to take advantage of it, be sure to ask lots of questions and check the site asking for your information for signs of anything suspicious.
  • Use a browser that has a phishing filter. The latest versions of most browsers -- including Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera -- include phishing filters that can help you spot potential phishing attacks.
All fairly simple, right? What it all comes down to is if someone asks you to share personal or other sensitive information online, take a moment to think through the request carefully. Doing so will help you stay safe online, and help us all put phishers out of business.

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The Chinese stock market has caught people's attention in recent years. People all over the country started investing, and [stock information] has become one of the most popular search keywords in China. After adding Shanghai/Shenzhen market data into Google Finance and launching the Chinese finance onebox last year, we are excited to announce the launch of Google Finance China. Now it's easier to get Chinese stock and mutual fund data through our easy-to-use and familiar interface in Chinese.

This was a joint effort across continents with engineers from New York and Shanghai. We hope Google Finance China will become a practical tool for Chinese investors to get up-to-date and comprehensive financial information. The site includes popular features such as Google Suggest for stock codes, whether you enter the stock code or name in Chinese or pinyin, and a display of financial information from Chinese sources on the stock price chart.

At the same time we have launched a newly redesigned home page for all our Google Finance sites (U.S., Canada, U.K., China). It's now easier to follow the latest news affecting the market as well as those that are relevant to your portfolio. We hope you enjoy this new look. The simultaneous launch of the new homepage across countries is just one of the new features and updates to come.

As usual, we encourage you to provide us with your ideas and comments through the Help Center. Your feedback is very important for us to continuously improve Google Finance.

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Late in 2007, our User Experience (UX) group—which does user interface design, visual design, user research, web development, and user interface writing—set out to articulate the principles that ought to guide Google designs worldwide. What are the fundamentals that all Google designers and researchers accept? Which approaches to design are particularly "Googley"? How can we encourage teams throughout Google to dream big and make smart design decisions?

A small team gathered to discuss these questions and define the Googley Design Principles:
1. Focus on people—their lives, their work, their dreams.
2. Every millisecond counts.
3. Simplicity is powerful.
4. Engage beginners and attract experts.
5. Dare to innovate.
6. Design for the world.
7. Plan for today's and tomorrow's business.
8. Delight the eye without distracting the mind.
9. Be worthy of people's trust.
10. Add a human touch.
These UX principles flow naturally from the Ten things Google has found to be true and the UX group's stated mission: to design products that satisfy and delight our users. We described the principles as "Our Aspirations" for two reasons:
  • We have a lot of work to do when it comes to implementation.
  • Every real-world product will have to strike a balance between all ten principles.
Still, we don't want to waffle too much. These principles represent the User Experience group's declaration of beliefs. With "Satisfy and Delight" stitched on our leotards, we're determined to get up on the tightrope and start juggling principles. Please applaud or boo, as appropriate, so that we can make the next act even better.

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According to UNESCO, one in five adults is illiterate, with the majority living in the developing world—where access to books, libraries, and education is often limited. But the barrier to literacy isn’t simply a question of access, nor is it limited to the developing world. It’s a problem we see in the U.S. as well. People may struggle to read for lots of reasons. Some of these have to do with basic literacy skills, such as inadequate vocabulary.

Sometimes readers have trouble "decoding" what that string of letters on a page really means--they might have reading disabilities, for example. Readers may not have enough background knowledge about a story’s characters, geography, or culture.

At the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), an educational nonprofit near Boston, we have spent the past two decades working to leverage the potential of personal, digital technologies to customize educational media to meet individual needs. In celebration of World Book Day, CAST has created a powerful new tool, UDL Editions, that showcases how classic and sometimes difficult texts—such as Shakespeare’s 18th Sonnet and Jack London’s Call of the Wild—can be rendered in smart, reader-friendly ways to provide a whole host of learning supports—such as multimedia glossaries, chapter summaries, and read-aloud features, links to Google Maps to place settings in contemporary contexts.

The books are one of the many projects being featured starting today on The Literacy Project, a joint effort by Google, LitCam, and UNESCO’s Institute for Lifelong Learning. The project encourages literacy and reading organisations from around the globe to connect and share materials and best practice—from a searchable maps database to e-learning tools—like PlanetRead’s same-language subtitling videos—that can be used in the classroom.

We’re really excited to be participating in the project. Come join us on the site and share your thoughts!

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As you know, the Democratic primary is coming down to the wire, and American voters are following each set of state results more closely than ever before.

We wondered what would make the difference in the tight Pennsylvania primary—and what those results might indicate about the rest of the primary process and the general election. So we turned to numbers-cruncher Jim Barnes from the National Journal and asked him to weigh in on different sets of demographic data. Jim helped us set up an embeddable Google Map comparing different essential factors for the Democratic primary in Pennsylvania.

As you’re watching the results from this race on April 22, Jim says there are five things to look for—and they have interesting implications for the general election in November:

Age. Barack Obama has generally drawn more support from younger voters while Hillary Clinton’s base has come from older voters. With 15.2 percent of its overall population aged 65 or older, Pennsylvania has the third biggest population of seniors in the country after Florida and West Virginia. The candidate who does a better job turning out this core age group could take a big step towards winning the primary. Take a look at the percentages of registered Democrats by age bracket.

Democratic primary in the 2002 gubernatorial race. In 2002, then-Pennsylvania State Auditor General Bob Casey Jr. lost the Democratic gubernatorial primary to then-Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell, who went on to capture the statehouse. Casey carried 57 of the state’s 67 counties in that primary, but Rendell won the contest because of his strength in the southeastern part of the state, specifically the four suburban and exurban counties outside of Philadelphia—Bucks, Delaware, Chester and Montgomery—where he carried more that 80 percent of the vote. In the Democratic presidential race, Rendell has endorsed Clinton, and Casey is backing Obama. Whether Rendell can help Clinton hold down Obama’s margins in the Philadelphia area, where he is still popular, or Casey can give Obama a boost among his political base in western, central and northeastern Pennsylvania could be pivotal in this primary’s outcome. Here are county-by-county results for the 2002 Democratic primary for governor.

Geography and growth. Based on the results seven weeks ago for the primary next door in Ohio, Clinton should be favored in the Keystone State, but Pennsylvania is more diverse state in terms of its patterns of growth. It has rural and metropolitan areas that are losing population, and fast-growing exurbs. For Obama to do well, he must win not only in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but also in some of the faster-growing parts of the state. Track the rate of population growth in Pennsylvania counties from 2000-2007.

Race. Obama has had some difficulty winning a significant share of support from white voters in most of the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, but at the same time he has dominated Clinton in regard to the African-American vote in these contests. Here is the racial breakdown of Pennsylvania's 67 counties.

Religion. Obama and Clinton recently participated in a forum on issues of faith that was held at Messiah College in Pennsylvania. So far in this primary season, Sen. Obama has done well among Democratic primary voters who identify as Protestants and other denominations, but lagged among Catholics. Review the data on religious adherence by county.

As technology continues to be an influential part of this race for President, we hope you can use this map to gain a better understanding about which factors are causing Pennsylvania citizens to cast their vote. Try using the data to make your own predictions for the Pennsylvania outcome, then check if you're right by following live results tonight on Google Maps.

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Happy Earth Day! I'm sure some of you are wondering how Google is celebrating, and we want to know what you're doing too. We work to make our business more environmentally sustainable throughout the year, but this month, we want to support the hard work you're doing to fight climate change. Last week we blogged about some of Google's new green tools, and now we have even more ways to help you observe Earth Day 2008:

  • Today we're launching the largest batch of new Google Transit cities yet. Travelers in San Francisco, Denver, Milwaukee, Kansas City, Rhode Island and other locations across the country can now use Google Maps to plan trips using public transportation.
  • Google Checkout continues to help you and your friends and family team up and donate to environmental organizations. We have a new video to help you learn how to donate and see how easy it is to map your network of generosity.




Finally, I'll leave you with some photos of our team's trip to Washington, D.C. for this past Sunday’s Earth Day concert on the National Mall. It got a bit soggy, but we had a blast showing attendees how the Google Checkout donation campaign works. We're especially proud of our booth, which was made of sustainable materials and powered by energy from clean hydrogen fuel cells.

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Last year, we shared our vision for Google Video and announced a renewed focus on organizing all the web's video. We have a lot of new features to tell you about, so head over to the Google Video Blog for more information about our new look.

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We live in a world focused on celebrity, but there are also luminaries -- those guiding lights who actually inspire celebrities along with the rest of us. Today there's a luminary we'd like to call out: Tom Lehrer. It hasn't escaped our attention that Mr. Lehrer turned 80 last week. (We have it on good authority that his view of numbers is such that 80 is not so different than 79, so he probably won't mind this belated note.) We think he's great. We're fans.

Mr. Lehrer is the Harvard mathematician turned parodist songwriter-performer whose sense of humor, intelligence and rhythm created a cult following that, weirdly enough, anticipated a lot of what Google's culture tries to be about. His work is clever, playful and fun and connects things in ways that surprises, delights and inspires. (Consider "The Element Song", his ode to the periodic table, or his lesson on "New Math".) How could we not be inspired by someone who can craft a good laugh, a great tune, and an elegant equation?

From "The Masochism Tango" to "Who's Next" to "Poisoning Pigeons in the Park" (trust us, you have to hear it), Mr. Lehrer's unique music carved out a distinctive place in popular music in the 1950s and '60s. He made his fans feel smart. An entrepreneur -- and we like entrepreneurs -- he self-produced and sold his songs via mail order. And for all the edginess in his humor, he ended up writing some ten clever songs for the '70s public television children's program The Electric Company, including a tune about the letter 'e.'

Although Wikipedia notes that he performed only 109 shows and wrote just 37 songs over 20 years, we think his impact and influence goes well beyond those numbers. He was the best kind of "geek" before the word made its way into pop culture. He's the kind of character as comfortable teaching a university course on the history of the musical -- which he did -- as running a seminar on the nature of mathematics -- which he did.

We hope that in retirement Mr. Lehrer is enjoying himself even a fraction as much as we've enjoyed his work. We're grateful that he's such a great example of how science, humor, music and mathematics can be combined to create such wonderful things.

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We recently began a series of posts related to online security that focus on how we secure information (with posts like these) and how you can protect yourself online. Here's the latest in the series.- Ed.

As part of this ongoing security series, we'd like to talk a little about malware. The term malware, derived from "malicious software," refers to any software specifically designed to harm your computer or the software it's running.

Malware can be added to your computer, with or without your knowledge, in a number of ways -- usually when you visit a website containing malware or when you download seemingly innocent software. It can then slow down your system, send fake emails from your email account, steal sensitive information like credit card numbers or passwords from your computer, and more.

The conventional wisdom was that you could avoid malware by learning to spot sites that were created with the sole purpose of spreading it, and by staying away from other sites that might be risky. But recent research from Google suggests that an increasing number of malware attacks are taking place on sites you'd normally regard as safe or legitimate, but have actually been compromised.

Google works closely with the security community to identify malware on the web and then share that information more broadly. We've set up a number of automated systems to scour our index for potentially dangerous sites, and we add a label to those that appear to be a vehicle for malware. If you're searching on Google and click on a link that we've flagged, a warning page will appear before you move forward.

We also notify webmasters if we discover that a site is no longer secure and provide a method for webmasters that clean up their sites to request a review. And starting soon, we'll be providing more detail on sites that appear to be spreading malware, so users have a better sense of why we have flagged a given site and webmasters can more easily identify and correct issues on their sites.

All this stems directly from our security philosophy: We believe that if we all work together to identify threats and stamp them out, we can make the web a safer place for everyone. Of course, we can't catch everything, so our users play a crucial part of this effort too. Below are a few tips that can help you reduce your chances of being affected by malware:
  • Use anti-virus software. Most anti-virus software is specifically designed to find and remove harmful software on your computer. Be sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer (you can get a free trial through Google Pack if you don't), keep it current, and use it to run frequent full-system checks.
  • Make sure your operating system and browser are up to date. Attackers typically target vulnerabilities in your operating system (OS) and your browser to install malware on your computer. OS and browser providers frequently release updates to close those vulnerabilities. Enable automatic updates for both your browser and your OS, and check for alerts to ensure you have the latest and greatest protection.
  • Be careful about what you download. While Google and everyone else in the online community is working hard to identify harmful sites, new sources of malware are emerging all the time. Whenever you're prompted to download an email attachment, install a plug-in, or download an unfamiliar piece of software, take a moment to think it through. You won't always be able to identify a risky download, but if you practice some reasonable caution, you'll be able to reduce that risk.
If you come across a potentially dangerous site that hasn't already been flagged, please report it. To learn more about malware and how to protect yourself, check out StopBadware.org's help page.

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On April 22nd, millions of people around the world will come together to celebrate Earth Day -- a commitment to taking care of our planet, and to fighting climate change. In anticipation of Earth Day, Googlers from many of our offices have been looking for ways to demonstrate our commitment to sustainability. We also want you to have more ways to support the goals of Earth Day, and to share ideas on reducing your own environmental impact. Here are a few to get you started:
  • If you use Google Checkout to donate to a non-profit environmental organization on behalf of anyone you know, we'll generate a personal view of Google Maps that includes a marker representing your donation. The people you donate on behalf of will get an email about your contribution, and if they follow your example, their donation will be marked on your map as well. We'll connect the markers, so that you can watch how your generosity spreads as more and more people donate. Visit Checkout's Earth Day page to learn more.
  • Hot on the heels of last week's Google Transit launch in Chicago, a whole new batch of transit agencies have made their data available on Google Maps. From Lubbock, Texas to Walla Walla, Washington, people in communities across the country will now find it easier than ever to leave their cars at home.
  • I hope you'll take a moment to download the newest version of Google Earth, which launched earlier today. While you're exploring its fancy new features, be sure to check out some of the latest Global Awareness layers (found in the left-side "Layers" panel) that celebrate the beauty and biodiversity on Earth, like ARKive's Endangered Species and Greenpeace's Stop Climate Change. And I encourage you to visit the Google Earth Outreach Showcase, which features a number of environmentally-focused KMLs that can be downloaded and viewed in Google Earth.
Tell the world what you're doing for Earth Day (and beyond) by uploading a message to our Earth Day '08 site. Get together with friends, family or coworkers, grab a camera, and take five minutes to put yourselves on the map. From the everyday to the extraordinary, we want to hear about your plans to take on climate change and make our planet a greener place.

Earth Day 2008

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On the Google Earth team, we're big fans of Earth Day, so much so that we couldn't hold out until it arrives next week to release our latest labor of love: Google Earth 4.3. With this version, we have completely rethought how you might interact with the 3D world. We've redesigned the navigation to make it much easier to fly from the heavens down to the streets of your town. And with all of the great user-created buildings in the 3D Warehouse, we wanted to make it easy for you to get right up close to see the rich detail.



Here's a sample of what you'll find in this release:

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HTML has completely transformed our world. Through the web, a previously inconceivable amount of information is now just a few keystrokes and mouse clicks away. What makes this possible is the fact that web browsers, web servers, and many other pieces of Internet infrastructure all speak the same language. Because of Internet standards like HTML, any web browser can view any web page. Internet standards are what makes the web a flourishing marketplace.

Today, a new standard was born: The Open Geospatial Consortium has announced its acceptance of KML 2.2 as an official OGC Standard. KML started as a file format for Google Earth, a way to save out the list of restaurants or parks or hiking trails that you might have drawn as a custom map. It's since matured into something much larger, and is supported on a wide variety of mapping platforms produced by a range of companies. You can even view KML on your cell phone! There are tens of millions of KML files available online -- a testament to just how much user-generated content is now map-based information.

Mapping has come a long way from the origami paper creations of the past. Our choice to give KML to the OGC is part of our strong commitment to open standards. It's our belief that KML's standardization will do much to make more geographic-based content accessible online.

There's more on KML's standardization on the Lat Long blog.

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Since it was founded in 1984, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) has reported more than 570,000 child exploitation leads to law enforcement agencies and assisted with more than 140,900 missing child cases, resulting in the recovery of more than 124,500 children.

The advent of the Internet has unfortunately provided child predators with a new avenue to exploit children. In August 2006, we joined NCMEC's Technology Coalition Against Child Pornography, teaming up with other tech industry companies to develop solutions that hinder predators' ability to use the Internet to exploit children or traffic in child pornography.

In an outshoot of that industry initiative, I discovered some other areas where I thought Google could help the staff at NCMEC. For instance, to date, NCMEC analysts have reviewed more than 13 million child pornography images and videos to assist law enforcement agencies working to identify and rescue children. This task has been time-consuming, and NCMEC analysts were simply getting overwhelmed by all of the data they had to sift through.

One of our core strengths here at Google is our ability to manage and organize immense amounts of information -- whether it's text, image, audio, or video -- and make it more useful and accessible for users. As a member of Google's research group, I realized that NCMEC had an immediate need for some of our research-stage technology. They needed help organizing and making sense of the enormous number of images and videos sent to them every week through their CyberTipline and from law enforcement officers nationwide.

So we went into overdrive. I recruited some fellow engineers to help me build tools that NCMEC might find useful. Throughout 2007, using our 20% time, we created innovative software tools to help NCMEC track down child predators through video and image search. With these tools, analysts will be able to more quickly and easily search NCMEC's large information systems to sort and identify files that contain images of child pornography. In addition, a new video tool we built streamlines analysts' review of video snippets.

The keys here were organization, scalability, and search. In particular, the tools we provided will aid in organizing and indexing NCMEC's information so that analysts can both deal with new images and videos more efficiently and also reference historical material more effectively. We hope the tools we've built for NCMEC will help its analysts make the important and often time-sensitive work of investigating child predators faster and more efficient.

For me, working with NCMEC provided an incredible opportunity. It allowed us to immediately deploy some of our latest research in image and video analysis in a real-world setting. On a personal note, I've been truly inspired by the entire NCMEC team's dedication and diligence in completing such a heart-wrenching mission.

You always hope that your work will eventually be used do some good in the world, and this was an amazing chance to make that hope real by creating tools that have the potential to aid investigations of child predators, find child victims and reduce the flow of child pornography on the Internet.

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A little less than a year ago, we partnered with Salesforce.com to create Salesforce Group Edition featuring Google AdWords. It combines Salesforce.com’s CRM applications with AdWords to make it easier for businesses to generate leads, track, and close them.

Since then, people have offered up a constant stream of requests to streamline even more of the CRM process. At the top of list are everyday tasks like improved efficiency sending and sharing account emails, easier ways to create and share documents and presentations, and simpler ways to schedule meetings and events.

To address these requests, we set out to collaborate on another product integration. Live today, we're happy to unveil Salesforce for Google Apps, a new product for all of those using Salesforce.com available at no additional charge. It brings the collaboration and communications features of Google Apps directly into the user experience of Salesforce.com, and is focused on streamlining the activities most frequently requested by our users. (There's more detail on our Enterprise Blog.)

Here's a quick look at the problems we're trying to solve with Salesforce for Google Apps:



Regarding improvements, we'd like to remind developers that these new features -- as well as those announced today by our partners Astadia and Appirio -- were created using our respective open APIs. We share with Salesforce.com a commitment to make the web the best platform for application innovation.

Thanks to everyone for your good ideas so far. We hope you'll continue to share your thoughts about what you like and what can be improved.

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We're always interested in supporting computer science education, and in encouraging top talent from diverse backgrounds. Which is why we've just sponsored the Sixth Annual Spelman College Computer Science Olympiad for the second consecutive year. In all, 16 teams from eight Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs), or Association of Computer/Information Sciences and Engineering Departments at Minority Institutions (ADMI) participated.

These teams competed in five computer science-related events. One of these was a Google Gadgets competition, where the assignment was to build an interactive, creative and useful Google Gadget. Students brought their semi-completed gadgets and got troubleshooting advice and tips at a hack session, where Googlers and students worked together into the night to perfect them. The following day, each team presented their gadget to our panel of three judges (myself and 2 other Googlers).

We chose first, second and third place winners, whose gadgets will be uploaded to the iGoogle Directory soon:

  • First place: Morehouse College Team 2 (Lawrence Forrester, Kevin Walton, Mark Slade, Michael Davis)
  • Second place: Old Dominion University Monarchs (Duc Nguyen, Cesar Barbieri, Darrin Lee, Nicole Jackson)
  • Third place: Spelman College YOMamaBoards (Jonecia Keels, Jazmine Miller, Paige McReynolds, Arielle Baine)
It was inspiring to see the energy, enthusiasm, and skill of these future computer scientists -- our congratulations to all the teams that participated.


First-place winner.

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Have you ever wanted to tell a friend about a really great game gadget on iGoogle or help someone set up a gadget exactly the way you have it? You can do those things on iGoogle using the Share menu, but what you couldn't do before today was share a gadget and collaborate with your friends on the same gadget data. This means you can now view and edit gadgets just like Google Docs.

A simple gadget to share is one for sticky notes. Enter a grocery list, share it with family members, and everyone can see and edit the same list. If you like crosswords, but like me need plenty of help, just share your crossword with a friend and they can work on it with you.

Here's how in three steps:

Step 1: Click the triangle on the gadget you want to share and click "Share this gadget."


Step 2: If you're a Gmail user, just pick the friends you want to share with or type in their email addresses.


Step 3: Decide whether you want to let your friends edit your gadget content or just view it on their iGoogle page and click "Send invites." Your friends will get an email from you and they will be able to see a preview of the gadget in the email and add it to their own iGoogle page.


So go ahead, check out the full list of gadgets with this feature and give it a try. We've enabled this feature for some of our more popular gadgets to encourage collaboration, but of course it doesn't make sense for every gadget. For example, you can share a weather or movie listings gadget with a friend, but data sharing is not enabled - your friend gets an independent copy of the gadget, as before.

Developers, check out the Gadgets API Blog to learn how to incorporate this feature in your gadget with one line of code.

We would love to know what you think.

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As an engineer in Seattle, I can't wait for summer to arrive. This year, I'm not just looking forward to the beautiful weather, but also the Seattle Scalability Conference. It takes place on Saturday, June 14th.

Conference planning is underway, and the deadline for our call for papers is this Friday, April 11th! If you have an interesting approach for building and maintaining scalable systems, this is the perfect gathering to share it. Send a 500-word abstract of your 30-minute presentation to scalabilityconf at google.com -- and plan on enjoying the long-awaited Seattle sunshine with me this June.

Here are some of the topics that interest me (but I'm open to more ideas):

Scalable algorithms:
  • Parallelization techniques (fully automatic or programmer-assisted)
  • Algorithms that are robust in the face of system failures (flaky hardware, OS bugs, network failures)
Scalable systems:
  • Managing large, evolving data stores
  • Languages and tools for organizing high-throughput data processing systems
  • Handling partial failure (automatic failure detection/diagnosis/repair)
We'll be posting more information for conference attendees soon.

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With Americans spending the same amount of time online as they do watching television (so says this Pew/Internet study), organizations and campaigns have the opportunity to build awareness of election issues broadly through Google tools that make it easy for users to access information.

Gadgets -- which are basically interactive and dynamic mini-billboards -- are one of the fastest growing applications at Google. They're the foundation for iGoogle, the personalized version of the Google homepage that has tens of millions of users. They can also be included on most any page on the web with some simple copy-and-paste. Our top gadget developers include a database specialist from the University of Southern Maine, a stay-at-home mom from Utah, and a computer science major from Puerto Rico.

Now any campaign or organization with a live website can use the Gadget Builder for organizations to quickly create a gadget. You can drive traffic from your gadget on iGoogle to your website and help your organization be seen and heard on this new platform. Your gadget could feature news from your organization, blog updates, a YouTube video channel, polls, trends, speeches, and more. You can submit your gadget to the iGoogle directory and drive additional usage of your gadget from your website.

By making content accessible on iGoogle, organizations can engage supporters, reach undecided voters, and provide information to the uninformed. All you need to get started is access to a publicly available server where you can host your gadget files. If you already have a gadget, make sure it's in the appropriate category, for instance Politics or News. If you don't have a gadget yet, it only takes a few minutes to get started.

For more details on gadget creation, visit the Google Gadget Center.

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We just launched a preview release of Google App Engine, a way for developers to run their web applications on Google's infrastructure. In the same way that Blogger made it easy to create a blog, Google App Engine is designed from the ground up to make it easy to create and run web applications.

With Google App Engine, developers can write web applications based on the same building blocks that Google uses, like GFS and Bigtable. Google App Engine packages those building blocks and provides access to scalable infrastructure that we hope will make it easier for developers to scale their applications automatically as they grow. This means they can spend less time dealing with system administration and maintenance, and more time building and improving their applications. (There's more detail on the new App Engine Blog.)

Google App Engine is free to use during the preview release, but the amount of computing resources any app can use is limited. In the future, developers will be able to purchase additional computing resources as needed, but Google App Engine will always be free to get started.

Today's launch is a preview release. We've got a lot left to do, and there are a lot of features we still want to add to the system. What we'd really like is to get your feedback on it, so we know which features are most important to you. We'll use your suggestions to keep improving the system.

This preview of Google App Engine is available for the first 10,000 developers who sign up; we will increase that number in near future. So, developers, please sign up, download the SDK, and start your engines.

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As the 2008 election progresses, more and more voters are tuning into YouTube to stay on top of the action. Our You Choose '08 platform now features content from candidates, news organizations, and voters, and we've made it easier than ever to see where the candidates stand on each of the major issues in this election. The next big stop on the campaign trail is Pennsylvania, so we're partnering with C-SPAN to collect videos from voters across the country who will answer the question, "What is the most important issue to you in this election?"



This is our fourth voter video program. We started in Iowa, went on to New Hampshire, and then went national on Super Tuesday. With C-SPAN, we're adding a new twist: in the week leading up to the Pennsylvania primaries on April 22, we'll be on the C-SPAN election bus throughout the state, collecting videos straight from the campaign trail.

We think C-SPAN is the perfect partner for this program. Started in 1979, C-SPAN is a private nonprofit whose mission is to "provide public access to the political process." That mission is closely aligned with our own: to connect voters and candidates through the power of online video. In a way, YouTube politics has given voters everywhere the opportunity to create their own "C-SPANs" and make the election all the more transparent and accessible to voters everywhere. And that's a fundamentally good thing. So tune into C-SPAN's YouTube channel in the coming days to check out the videos we're getting from voters -- and to submit your own.

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For three weeks at the end of January and early February, a small team of us holed up in double super secret "war rooms" in Mountain View, CA and Washington, D.C. to bid on Google's behalf in the FCC spectrum auction. Bidding took place electronically, and literally billions of dollars were at stake with every mouse click. And because of the FCC's strict anti-collusion rules, we couldn't tell a soul what was going on behind closed doors.

But now that the FCC's rules have lifted, we can. As you probably know by now, Google didn't pick up any spectrum licenses in the auction. Nonetheless, partly as a result of our bidding, consumers soon should have new freedom to get the most out of their mobile phones and other wireless devices.

Google's top priority heading into the auction was to make sure that bidding on the so-called "C Block" reached the $4.6 billion reserve price that would trigger the important "open applications" and "open handsets" license conditions. We were also prepared to gain the nationwide C Block licenses at a price somewhat higher than the reserve price; in fact, for many days during the early course of the auction, we were the high bidder. But it was clear, then and now, that Verizon Wireless ultimately was motivated to bid higher (and had far more financial incentive to gain the licenses).

You may remember that as the FCC was setting rules for the auction last summer, we urged the Commission to adopt four openness conditions. Further, we vowed to bid at least $4.6 billion in the auction if the Commission adopted all four rules. Even though the FCC ultimately agreed to only two of the conditions, which nullified our original pledge, we still believed it was important to demonstrate through action our commitment to a more open wireless world.

We're glad that we did. Based on the way that the bidding played out, our participation in the auction helped ensure that the C Block met the reserve price. In fact, in ten of the bidding rounds we actually raised our own bid -- even though no one was bidding against us -- to ensure aggressive bidding on the C Block. In turn, that helped increase the revenues raised for the U.S. Treasury, while making sure that the openness conditions would be applied to the ultimate licensee.

The end of the auction certainly doesn't mark the end of our efforts toward greater wireless choice and innovation. We will weigh in at the FCC as it sets implementation rules for the C Block, and determines how to move forward with a D Block re-auction. Android is already off to a successful start, and we are likely to see handsets later this year based on the Android platform. We will continue advocating for the FCC to open up the vacant "white spaces" in the TV spectrum band for mobile broadband uses. And as more policymakers and regulators around the world evaluate their own spectrum policies, we'll continue pushing to help make the wireless world look much more like the open platform of the Internet.

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This week marks the fifth year of Google Grants. We're pleased to report that more than 4,000 grantees to date have benefited from approximately $273.3 million in free AdWords advertising -- and that's something to celebrate. Learn more about the history of this in-kind advertising program on the Google Grants Blog, and find out how your favorite not-for-profit group can apply by visiting the Google Grants page.

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Since we closed the acquisition of DoubleClick on March 11, we’ve been immersed in integration planning for each of our products and business units. Recently we completed this process for the DoubleClick Performics businesses, and have decided to split them into two separately-run business units: Affiliate Marketing and Search Marketing.

It’s clear to us that we do not want to be in the search engine marketing business. Maintaining objectivity in both search and advertising is paramount to Google’s mission and core to the trust we ask from our users. For this reason, we plan to sell the Performics search marketing business to a third party. We believe this will allow us to maintain objectivity and the search marketing business to continue to grow and innovate and serve its customers. While we have not yet identified a buyer, we’ve received preliminary interest from a number of our current partners. Search Marketing will continue to run as a separate entity until the division is sold.

We plan to integrate the affiliate marketing business into existing Google operations, providing enhanced value and reach for our affiliate advertisers, and additional tools and monetization opportunities for our publishers. Together, we believe that we can continue to grow this business and deliver on the high expectations from partners.

Where it’s applicable in Europe, these plans and their implications for employees are subject to consultation with staff and employee representatives. During this transition, we will ensure that all affiliate and search marketing customers receive the same high level of service they have always experienced.

Update on June 10, 2009: We announced that we were selling Performics to Publicis Groupe in August 2008. The transaction closed in September 2008.

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Google Docs is all about being able to share and collaborate, and now we're taking the idea of sharing a step further with a new Google Docs Community Channel. This is a place to watch videos from regular folks all about Google Docs, connect with others, and pick up smart tips about all the ways to use the application.

Whether you want an introduction video, step-by-step help instructions, or simply to see what others in the Google Docs community have been doing, stop by, share your videos and enjoy this new showcase for your ideas, your voice and your boundless creativity.

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In my life, I've had a lot of exciting adventures and launched a lot of ambitious business ventures. I'm delighted today to announce Virgle, Inc., a joint venture between the Virgin Group and Google which qualifies on both counts.


Virgle's goal is simple: the establishment of a permanent human settlement on Mars. Larry Page, Sergey Brin and I feel strongly that contemporary technology is sufficiently advanced to make such an effort both successful and economical, and that it's high time that humanity moved beyond Earth and began our great, long journey to explore the stars and establish our first lasting foothold on another world.

In the years to come, we'll be sending up a series of spaceships carrying (along with the supplies and tools needed to build the new colony) what eventually will be hundreds of Mars colonists, or Virgle Pioneers -- myself among them. If you think you might want join us (or invest in or otherwise assist this vast venture), I hope you'll read more here about how Virgle will work, what our brave Pioneers can expect and what the future holds for what just might be the most ambitious adventure in mankind's long and storied history.

See you on the north side of Kasei Valles!