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To paraphrase an old adage, ‘tis the season to go shopping—and this year, ‘tis the season for shopping smart. Beginning en masse on Thanksgiving, when a significant number of major retailers opened their doors to allow bargain detectives to take advantage of early deals, people have been showing their shopping savvy, with no signs of stopping.

Using Insights for Search and research data from a Google/OTX study, we took a look at some trends we’re seeing from consumers in the U.S.—a new kind of shopper, the rise of mobile and a near-seamless online-to-store connection—and then satisfied our inner cool-seeker by taking a look at some of the most searched-for holiday gifts.

The new shopper
This year’s holiday shoppers are the smartest searchers in history. They’re searching for more specific terms and looking for more information than ever—from printable coupons to take into their local store, to the location of said stores; some people are even scanning barcodes to get more information about a product.

For example, searches for [black friday ads], [thanksgiving coupons], [black friday shipping code] and [buy one get one free] skyrocketed this year, as super-smart shoppers did their research before heading online or to the stores. They also made sure to get ahead of the Cyber Monday game: searches for things like [cyber monday deals] and [cyber monday sales] rose much quicker and earlier this year than last.


Shoppers didn’t stop looking for information once Cyber Monday arrived: [best cyber monday deals 2010] was the second-fastest rising search in the U.S. yesterday. Other top searches related to Cyber Monday included:


Mobile matters
For years, we’ve heard that it’s “the year of mobile.” This year it’s actually true, and people are embracing access to information on the go. Anyone who has a smartphone has a personal assistant now—and in their pocket, no less! People are using their mobile phones to compare prices, look for store locations and inventory in stock locally, and find deals.

According to research we conducted with OTX, 52% of U.S. smartphone users plan to use their phone to compare prices during the holiday shopping season and 40% plan to use their phones to read product reviews. We’ve seen evidence of this trend through the increased use of Google Shopper, a mobile shopping app that helps shoppers on the go research items and find the best place to buy them—whether online or in a nearby store.

Online meets offline
This year, both consumers and retailers are thinking about shopping differently. Gone is the wall between online and offline research and purchasing; consumers think about online and offline behavior relatively seamlessly these days—and retailers do too. Retailers are integrating things like inventory data across channels so that people can find what they’re looking for easily, online and off. Search queries show this crystal clear connection between information-hunting online and purchasing offline.

Searches for [black friday store hours], [printable coupons], and specific store names and hours have risen dramatically in the last year, as consumers do their homework prior to leaving home to shop.


Hot holiday gifts
Each holiday shopping season brings with it a number of buzzworthy toys. While we can’t be sure which toys will be on that list this year, searches for a number of items have risen significantly in recent weeks and months.

Those looking for toys for all ages have recently looked for information related to [squinkies], [lalaloopsy], [educational toys] and [ereaders]; searches for all of the above have risen dramatically in the past 30 days, as have searches for classic toys such as [legos] and [cabbage patch kids].

For lovers of a different kind of gift, a royal engagement may have prompted a rush on sapphire rings; searches for the same have risen dramatically in the past 30 days.


If you’d like to learn more about this year’s holiday shopping season, including some tidbits on what retailers are thinking, check out the Google Retail Blog for useful information.

In the meantime, happy (smart) shopping—and we hope you had a fruitful Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

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(Cross-posted on the Google.org and LatLong Blogs)

Climate change is too often misunderstood to be simply an environmental issue, rather than a human issue. For our children and grandchildren, climate change is an issue of public health, economics, global security and social equity. This human side of climate change is explained in a new Google Earth tour narrated by former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Within these stories, you’ll find data and tools to explore this topic in more depth, and meet some of the people who are actively working on managing the risks of climate variability and change. We encourage you to take the tour to learn more about these human issues and the inspiring work of groups like the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) that are helping farmers cope with climate change. We hope this video will serve as a useful tool as educators help students around the world understand the complexity of this issue.



This is the latest in our series of climate change tours that we’re releasing leading up to the global U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16) talks in Cancun, Mexico this week.

As part of the Google Earth for Educators Community, we’ve also created a special Climate Change Educators Resources page that teachers can use in their classrooms. Here, teachers can find the tools they need to create lesson plans about climate change, including all the individual Google Earth KML layers available for download. Teachers and students can overlay multiple data layers that help illustrate climate change, and discuss and analyze them as part of K-12 and higher education curriculum. We’re also looking for lessons plans for any school grade that use this narrated tour or these Google Earth KML layers, so if you’re a teacher or instructor, please submit your lesson plan for review now.


Visit google.com/landing/cop16/climatetours.html or the Climate Change Educators Resources page to learn more about climate change today.

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(Cross-posted on the Google LatLong Blog)

Today we’re introducing the latest version of Google Earth, our interactive digital atlas. Now you can explore your childhood home, visit distant lands or scope out your next vacation spot with even more realistic tools.

In Google Earth 6, we’re taking realism in the virtual globe to the next level with two new features: a truly integrated Street View experience and 3D trees. We’ve also made it even easier to browse historical imagery. Over the next several days on our LatLong blog, we’ll be digging deeper into these great new features, but here’s an overview to whet your appetite.



Integrated Street View
When Google Earth was first introduced, people were wowed by the ability to virtually fly from outer space right down to the roof of their house. While flying over rooftops gives you a super-human view of our world, the ground level is where we experience our daily lives. We took our first baby steps toward bringing the Google Earth experience to street level with our implementation of Street View in Google Earth in 2008, which enabled flying into Street View panoramas. In Google Earth 6, the Street View experience is now fully integrated, so you can journey from outer space right to your doorstep in one seamless flight.

Now, you’ll notice that Pegman is docked right alongside the navigation controls—an ever-present travel companion ready whenever you want to get your feet on the street and take a virtual walk around. Just pick up Pegman and drop him wherever you see a highlighted blue road to fly right down to the ground. Once there, you can use the navigation controls or your mouse to look around. And unlike our earlier Street View layer, you can now move seamlessly from one location to another as if you’re walking down the street by using the scroll-wheel on your mouse or the arrow keys on your keyboard. If you want to visit somewhere farther away, simply click the “exit” button and you’ll immediately return to an aerial view where you can easily fly to your next destination.

Drag and drop Pegman to enter Street View. The blue lines indicate where Street View imagery is available.

3D trees
I think we can all agree that our planet without trees would be a pretty desolate place. Besides the ever-important task of providing us with the oxygen we breathe, trees are an integral part of the landscape around us. In Google Earth, while we and our users have been busy populating the globe with many thousands of 3D building models, trees have been rather hard to come by. All that is changing with Google Earth 6, which includes beautifully detailed, 3D models for dozens of species of trees, from the Japanese Maple to the East African Cordia to my personal favorite, the cacao tree. While we’ve just gotten started planting trees in Google Earth, we already have more than 80 million trees in places such as Athens, Berlin, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Tokyo. Through our Google Earth Outreach program, we’ve also been working with organizations including the Green Belt Movement in Africa, the Amazon Conservation Team in Brazil and CONABIO in Mexico to model our planet’s threatened forests.

To enjoy these leafy additions to Google Earth, make sure you turn on the 3D buildings layer on the left side panel. As a starting point, try a search for “Palace of Fine Arts San Francisco.” Once you arrive at your destination, click the zoom slider. You’ll then be taken down to the ground where you can use our new ground-level navigation to walk among the trees.

3D trees in San Francisco, California

Easy-to-use historical imagery
One of the features people told us they liked best in Google Earth 5 was the availability of historical imagery, which enables you to visually go back in time to see such things as Warsaw in 1935, London in 1945, and Port-au-Prince Haiti before and after the devastating earthquake of January 2010. But it wasn’t always obvious when historical imagery was available for a particular place, making this feature one of Google Earth’s lesser-known gems.

So with this new version, we’ve made it very easy to discover historical imagery. When you fly to an area where historical imagery is available, the date of the oldest imagery will appear in the status bar at the bottom of the screen. If you click on this date, you’ll instantly be taken back in time to view imagery from that time period. You can then browse through all the historical imagery available for that location, or simply close the time control and return to the default view.

The site of Google's Mountain View campus in 1948

To download Google Earth 6, or to see videos of our newest features, visit http://earth.google.com.

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When we here in the U.S. think of Thanksgiving, many of us think of our favorite foods: perhaps a fresh-from-the-oven pumpkin pie, a sweet glazed ham or a succulent turkey. But thanks to Charlie Hohorst III of Lafayette, La., tens of thousands of Americans dream instead of a turkey... stuffed with a duck... stuffed with a chicken.

For the past 15 years, Hohorst has run food shopping site Cajun Grocer, which specializes in more than 1,000 different authentic Louisianan foodstuffs and delicacies. The “turducken”—a Cajun dish consisting of a de-boned turkey filled with duck, chicken and stuffing—is “the bread and butter” of his business, says Hohorst. He can attest to their growing popularity as he ships an ever-increasing number of turduckens to cities all over the country, from Los Angeles to Boston.

Cajun Grocer’s business has grown hand-in-hand with the use of Google AdWords. Before starting AdWords campaigns in 2002, sales were fueled primarily by word of mouth, and reaching the right audience at an affordable price was a challenge. “With a specialty product like a turducken,” says Hohorst, “who do you target and how do you target them?” Using AdWords, Cajun Grocer can show off their products alongside relevant searches on Google and measure every penny spent on advertising.

Cajun Grocer’s ad for “turducken” searches, using AdWords Product Extensions.

The process of hand-crafting all eight types of turducken for the Thanksgiving rush starts in April and continues through packing and last-minute shipping as late as November 23.

Aside from their role in spreading the culinary influence of his native Louisiana, what Hohorst really loves about turduckens is that, much like the Thanksgiving holiday itself, they give people a reason to come together. “They’re a gathering item. Many people have heard of them, and when someone they know has one, it can bring in 10 or even 20 people.”

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As you may have seen, some key papers from British computer scientist and wartime codebreaker Alan Turing are up for auction today at Christie’s in London. Dr Turing is a hero to many of us at Google for his pioneering work on algorithms and the development of computer science. (He’s also an important figure for many across the world who face homophobic attacks and bullying, an issue that we have spoken about elsewhere.)

Why are these papers so important? Dr Sue Black, a computer scientist at University College London and a key campaigner for Bletchley Park, where Dr Turing worked, explains: “The lot includes codebreaker Max Newman's copies of many of Turing's papers. Some of the papers have on them comments from Newman, a friend of Turing’s who testified in his defence at his trial. These papers belong at Bletchley Park, home of the codebreakers, and where these two codebreakers worked together side by side, helping to save millions of lives during World War II.”

Sue asked Google for support in purchasing the papers for Bletchley Park, which we agree is clearly the right place to house them. As has been reported earlier today, we are backing the bid with a contribution of $100,000 towards a successful purchase.

There’s still a long way to go to raise all the money required; we hope that others will be able to come forward too. The deadline for contributions to the bid has been extended until 2pm GMT today. Anyone interested in supporting it should contact Sue directly, or go to http://www.justgiving.com/turing-papers/.

Posted by Simon Meacham, Developer Advocate

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This is one of a regular series of posts on search experience updates. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

On the web, a “place” can mean many different things. At Google, we think about regional domains (such as .uk for the United Kingdom) as places, but we also think about websites, the different parts of our interface and real world locations like restaurants and stores. This week’s changes span all these different kinds of places, making it easier for you to find information no matter where you are—Vietnam, Hungary, holiday shopping at your local mall or browsing the Google results page. Keep reading for the latest.

Google Instant on 18 new domains
In keeping with the spirit of Instant, we’ve been working to quickly bring results-as-you-type to people around the globe. This week we expanded to 18 new domains across Europe and Asia, almost doubling our total. Our new Google Instant domains include Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Finland, Hungary, Indonesia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Sweden, Vietnam. Now, whether you speak Catalan, Romanian or Tagalog, you’ll get search results before you’ve even finished typing.


Local product availability in search
Most of the time, when people shop, they actually buy their products from physical stores rather than online websites. This week, we made it easier for people to find local stores that sell the products they are looking by adding information about product availability to google.com. Simply search for a product and click the “nearby stores” label to see what stores carry it and whether it is in stock. We’ve partnered with more than 70 retail brands, including Best Buy, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Macy’s, and Office Depot. Through these partnerships, you can see where to buy 4 billion items and can also restrict your searches to only products that are in stock nearby. (If you’re a retailer who’s interested in taking part in this free program, you can learn more on the Google Retail Blog.)


Other searches to try: [hp printer], [circulon frying pan], [ipod touch]

More relevant results from the same website
When you get back from the store and hop online to do some searching, you’re visiting a different kind of place—a website. Sometimes it turns out that one website is extremely likely to have the information you’re looking for, like when you’ve typed a website name as part of your search, or you’re looking for information from an official government office. To help you find this information more quickly, a few months ago we made a change to show more results from a particular domain when we’re confident that those results are likely to be most useful to you. This week we expanded the feature to include more queries and to show additional results (up to four) from the same website.


That’s all for this week. Search on, wherever life takes you.

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(Cross-posted from the Google Small Business Blog)

When Uday Challu noticed a growing dissatisfaction with avenues for technical support, he was inspired to create a better way for people to get help with their tech troubles. So in 2007 he founded iYogi.com, India’s first direct-to-consumer remote technical support company. Founded on a belief in good karma, iYogi aims to mitigate frustrations with technical products and services by delivering a high-quality customer service experience.

iYogi Founder Uday Challu

iYogi provides round-the-clock, 24-hours service on a wide variety of technical products and issues, in Australia, Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. Uday uses Google AdWords to reach these international customers.

Uday says he saw search and, in particular, AdWords as a way to reach customers in need of technical support. He says, “iYogi services are currently available in multiple geographies and advertising with AdWords seemed like the most obvious way to reach customers who were turning to the Internet to find and fix their problems.”

With the intent of starting small and building to scale, Uday targeted his first campaigns to the U.S. only. Using location and language targeting, iYogi launched a U.S.-only campaign with general keywords related to customer support, and honed his campaign over time. “We gathered lots of intelligence from the Search Query Report, which helped us identify other keywords people in the U.S. were searching for,” says iYogi Vice President of Online Marketing K.R. Sreejith. "We also tested new ad texts and customized these ad texts to highlight popular keywords."

Then, using lessons from his experiences in targeting the U.S., Uday expanded into the Canadian market. He found his experience in the U.S. helpful for the Canadian campaign, but didn’t see similarly high volume. After examining the global competitive landscape, he decided to expand to Australia and the U.K.

“We quickly learned that ads in the U.K., for example, had to be different than ads in the U.S.,” says Sreejith. “Using the Search Query Report, we noticed that the popularity of certain keywords was different in the U.K. and that there are differences in the spelling of these terms. We also learned from our sales teams that U.K. customers spend more time on the phone than do U.S. customers. So, we edited our ad texts and landing pages to reflect these different keywords and values.”

Today, iYogi is one of the fastest growing remote tech support provider in the world. As Uday continues to expand his business internationally, he’ll continue to use insights gained from his ad campaigns and to provide the rest of the world with similarly karmic technical support experiences!

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The 2010 Google Faculty Summit was held Thursday and Friday, November 18-19 in Shanghai, part of our ongoing support for education in China. Senior Googlers from China and Mountain View, California gathered to explore hot topics at the cutting-edge of technology research with more than 65 experts and professors from around 30 universities and institutes including Tsinghua University, Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Other topics included how to deepen collaboration between Google and China universities in areas of joint research, curriculum development and cultivation of talents.

This year’s theme was “Fostering Understanding and Strengthening Cooperation” and the meeting served as a platform for academia and industry to explore ways of teaming up with Google on university-business cooperation and technology research. The Summit, which spanned a day and a half, was also Google China’s largest education event to date.

Our discussions on Thursday focused on deep discussion about two of Google China’s most important sectors, mobile computing and e-commerce, while the morning of Friday focused on cooperation in course development. The Summit examined course development for many of today’s hottest topics, including cloud computing, Android application development and web technology, thereby strengthening the cultivation of talent in these sectors. In addition, the Summit included several topic-specific discussion groups that allowed experts and professors from institutions of higher education to meet with Google staff and discuss relevant topics and cooperation with the hope of expanding upon currently existing areas of cooperation. We’ve posted more details on the Summit here in Simplified Chinese.

Cooperation between Google and Chinese universities and institutions of higher education began in 2005 with course development and gradually grew to include projects that supported Chinese universities to cultivate innovative professionals that meet industry needs. Projects currently underway include course development, teacher training, scholarship programs, research grants for doctoral students, donations of equipment, joint research, innovative student projects, campus lectures and educational summits. We’ve established 12 research projects with universities in Mainland China including Tsinghua University, Peking University, Zhejiang University and Shanghai Jiaotong University, as well as the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and the Hong Kong Chinese University. These projects focus on many areas of study, including mobile computing, machine learning, data mining, multimedia searches and natural language processing. Visit the University Relations website to learn more about our cooperation with universities. Moving forward, we’ll will continue to support our partner universities to deepen cooperation and expand areas of focus.

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This is the latest in our series of YouTube highlights. Every couple of weeks, we bring you regular updates on new product features, interesting programs to watch, and tips you can use to grow your audience on YouTube. Just look for the label “YouTube Highlights” and subscribe to the series. – Ed.

Since our last update, we’ve reached a new milestone in video uploads, seen new comedy and music programs launch, and shared a new, more “cinematic” YouTube viewing experience with Google Chrome. Read about all of it below.

35 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute
Remember in March when we shared that more than 24 hours of video was being uploaded to YouTube every minute? Well, our users continue to amaze us, and as of last week, 35 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. If we were to measure that in movie terms (assuming the average Hollywood film is around 120 minutes long), it’s the equivalent of more than 176,000 full-length Hollywood releases every week.

Laugh along with us and Comedy Thunder
NextNewNetworks, the YouTube partner responsible for bringing original content like Obama Girl and Key of Awesome to YouTube, recently launched a new series called “Comedy Thunder.” Eight comedy teams and comedians will each post a video based on a specific theme that changes every week. Here’s one of the latest videos:



Do you love K-POP?
Korean pop music or “K-POP” has earned millions of fans around the world. MBC, a major TV network in Korea, has joined with YouTube to search the world for the next big K-POP talent. Check out some of the top Korean music labels like YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment and JYP Entertainment for inspiration before submitting an audition video. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Korean; you can audition in any language.


The Mexican Revolution on YouTube
November 20 marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the Mexican Revolution and we’ll observe that anniversary on YouTube by celebrating a new revolution: Mexican film-making. Thanks to YouTube partner Mubi, we’ll present feature film Revolución, made up of 10 individual shorts that explore the topic of Mexico’s revolution from celebrated filmmakers such as Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Carlos Reygadas, Rodrigo Garcia and Patricia Riggen. You’ll also have the opportunity to get your questions answered by the filmmakers using Google Moderator for YouTube.



Google Chrome browser extensions for YouTube
For you movie buffs out there, we did some research and found a few handy Chrome extensions that can make your YouTube viewing experience more “cinematic.” For example, Window Expander for YouTube maximizes YouTube videos to fill your entire browser. With Turn Off the Lights, you can make the entire page outside the video fade to dark like you’re in a movie theater. The OpinionCloud extension summarizes comments on YouTube, so you can quickly get the crowd’s overall opinion.

The Google Chrome team also recently released an extension called YouTube Feed, which notifies you whenever new videos are available in your YouTube homepage feed. You can directly access, rate and like videos—right in your browser.

Give YouTube Topics on Search a whirl
We know that sometimes people come to YouTube looking for a specific video, but at other times, they have only a rough idea of the kind of videos they want. We’ve been there too, and have been thinking for a while about this challenge of searching when you don’t yet know exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s our take on how discovery for videos could work on YouTube in the not-too-distant future. Find out what happens when we search for [LOL] and [cat] to find funny cat videos.



YouTube marketing tips for advertisers
Many businesses use YouTube to get the word out about their company, launch a new product or connect with customers. Orabrush has earned 13 million video views from a video made for just $500 about its tongue-cleaner, and has used YouTube along with Google AdWords to achieve more than $1 million in sales. The Orabrush team offered five tips for success in this recorded webcast with AdAge.

And finally—if you missed the live-streamed Bon Jovi concert, you can still catch it on the band’s YouTube channel. To stay-up-to-date on YouTube news and events, visit us on the YouTube Blog.

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Twenty years ago this month, Tim Berners-Lee published his proposal for the World Wide Web. Today, the web is an explosion of pages and apps teeming with videos, photos and interactive content. These powerful new web experiences—such as "The Wilderness Downtown," our HTML5 collaboration with the band Arcade Fire—are possible thanks to cutting-edge web technologies that bring all this content to life in the modern browser.

But how do browsers and the web actually work? What is HTML5—or HTML, for that matter? What do terms like “cookies” or “cloud computing” even mean? More practically, how can we keep ourselves safe from security threats like viruses when we’re online?

To help answer these questions, we collaborated with the wonderful illustrator Christoph Niemann to publish an online guidebook called “20 Things I Learned about Browsers and the Web.” This handy guide is for those of us who’d like to better understand the technologies we use every day.


“20 Things” is written by the Chrome team, and continues our tradition of finding new ways to help explain complex but fascinating ideas about technology. Many of the examples used to illustrate the features of the browser refer back to Chrome.

We built “20 Things” in HTML5 so that we could incorporate features that hearken back to what we love about books—feeling the heft of a book’s cover, flipping a page or even reading under the covers with a flashlight. In fact, once you’ve loaded “20 Things” in the browser, you can disconnect your laptop and continue reading, since this guidebook works offline. As such, this illustrated guidebook is best experienced in Chrome or any up-to-date, HTML5-compliant modern browser.

For things you’ve always wanted to know about the web and browsers but may have been afraid to ask, read on at www.20thingsilearned.com (or, you can use the handy shortened URL at goo.gl/20things). If you find “20 Things” informative, don’t forget to share it with your friends and family!

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(Cross-posted on the Google Enterprise Blog and the Google Small Business Blog)

As customers begin to recognize large productivity gains with Gmail, Google Docs and the rest of Google Apps, they frequently ask when they’ll be able to use services like Google Voice, Reader, Blogger and AdWords with their Google Apps accounts. We’ve steadily added new functionality to Google Apps and recently added support for third-party apps, but we’re thrilled to swing the floodgates of new functionality wide open now. Starting today, customers worldwide can access a full spectrum of services from Google—including more than 60 productivity-boosting applications that extend far beyond any traditional software suite.

Coupled with the ability for administrators to provide different sets of applications to different groups of users, the possibilities for empowering workers in new ways are remarkable. For example, you could equip your marketing team with Picasa Web Albums so they can collect and share photos from customer appreciation events, and let that team publish your company’s blog with Blogger. Services like iGoogle and Alerts, on the other hand, may be broadly useful, and could be enabled for your whole organization.



Existing customers can transition at their own pace over the next couple months to the new infrastructure supporting these applications from the administrative control panel. New customers will automatically have the new infrastructure. The additional services are not covered by the Google Apps SLA or telephone support, but we’ll be watching for feedback how we can make these new applications even more useful.

In tandem with this big improvement, we’re also simplifying the names of the versions of Google Apps. Here’s how we now refer to our line-up:
  • Google Apps is our free service geared towards families, entrepreneurs and other groups up to 50 users.
  • Google Apps for Business offers 25GB of email storage per user, a 99.9% uptime guarantee, data migration capabilities, advanced management tools, telephone support, added security features and more, all for $50 per user per year.
  • Google Apps for Government is FISMA certified and designed with local, state and federal agencies in mind.
  • Google Apps for Education offers many benefits of Google Apps for Business, but at no cost to schools, universities and qualifying non-profits.
The team has worked hard to unlock all of this new functionality for our customers, and we think many of these new applications will become indispensable within your organization. To help get you started, each day the Google Enterprise Blog will profile how your organization could put a different application to use. The first post tomorrow will focus on Google Reader, so visit the Enterprise Blog to follow the series.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Docs Blog, Google Enterprise Blog and the Google Mobile Blog)

With Google Docs, we’re always trying to make you more productive—and part of that means making it possible for you to get things done from anywhere, at anytime. That’s why we’re excited that the new documents editor now supports editing on your mobile browser. We’re rolling this out over the next few days.

That means that...
  • You can work on that important memo...while on the bus or train to work.
  • If you’re behind on a group proposal, but really want to make it to the ball game tonight, your whole team can work on it from the bleacher seats.
  • You can take minute-by-minute notes at a concert so you’ll always remember the setlist. And your friends can jealously follow in real-time at home.
  • ...and the list goes on!
Take a look at this video to see mobile editing in action:



It’s easy to get started: visit docs.google.com in a browser on a supported device, and select the document you want to edit. Then, when you’re viewing it, press the Edit button to switch to the mobile editor.


In the next few days, we’re rolling this out to English-language users around the world on Android with Froyo (version 2.2) and on iOS devices (version 3.0+) including the iPad. We’ll be adding support for other languages soon. And as before, we also support editing of spreadsheets from your mobile device’s browser.

We hope you enjoy editing your documents on the go—especially when you’re at the game with a hot dog in your other hand.

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The way we shop for fashion is different from how we buy cameras—especially online. With fashion, reviews and specs are less important; fashion shopping is about discovering something that fits your taste and feels right. The web works well for buying cameras and other hard goods but for soft goods, such as clothing and accessories, it’s not the same as shopping in a store.

What’s more, the market for soft goods online is growing tremendously. A year and half ago, our team (which at the time was part of Like.com) started to wonder if we could create a better experience for people to shop online. Our team consists of PhDs in computer science with an emphasis on machine learning and computer vision, along with fashion designers and stylists—we jokingly called ourselves the computer nerds and fashion nerds (and a few of us were both). So, we set out to create a new way to browse, discover and shop for soft goods online.

Today, we’re excited to share with you our first step towards realizing this goal. It’s called Boutiques.com: a personalized shopping experience that lets you find and discover fashion goods, by creating your own curated boutique or through a collection of boutiques curated by taste-makers—celebrities, stylists, designers and fashion bloggers. Boutiques uses computer vision and machine learning technology to visually analyze your taste and match it to items you would like.


In fashion, there are lots of choices. If there are, say, 500,000 items in a store, that means there are literally billions of different combinations of outfits you can make with those items. How do you sort through all of this? This site had to be a collaboration.

First we partnered with taste-makers of all types. We asked them not just to curate 10-50 great items they loved, but also to teach our site their style and taste. They did this by telling us what colors, patterns, brands and silhouettes they loved and they hated. They took a visual quiz that taught the site to understand their style genre: Classic, Boho, Edgy, etc. Our machine learning algorithms use this information to enable you to shop all of the inventory in the style of that taste-maker, on top of the 50 items they’ve hand-curated.

These days, bloggers, stylists and everyday fashionistas are expressing their sense of style online. We invited them to create boutiques so people could shop their diverse styles. But you have a unique and independent style too, so Boutiques also lets you build your own personalized boutique and get recommendations of products that match your taste.

In addition to all this, Boutiques offers a variety of features to search and discover merchandise including:

Advanced search filters - Filter by genre, silhouette, pattern, color families and sizes.


Inspiration photos - Try a search for [yellow pumps] and you’ll see matching outfit ideas to the right of the search results. We feature images from streetstyle sites, and collage and styling sites to provide you with the online equivalent of styled mannequins to give you inspiration.

Complete the Look - Ever wonder what to pair with that dress? Our fashion designers wrote hundreds of style rules—like “heavily patterned handbags don’t tend to go with heavily patterned dresses”—that we used to develop a tool to suggest items that match.

Visual search - Sometimes you love an item but not in a particular color. We analyze the photograph of an item for its color, shape and pattern and try to help you find visually similar items.

Boutiques on your tablet - Download our iPad application, lean back and move through inventory as if you were flipping through clothes on a rack at the store.

You can start shopping now at Boutiques.com. At this time, Boutiques is only available in the U.S. and only for women’s fashion, but we plan to expand in the future. Tell us what you think on our feedback form. And if you’re a designer, stylist, celebrity or retailer and want to participate on Boutiques.com, drop us a line.

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(Cross-posted from the Google Voice Blog and on the Google Mobile Blog)

Earlier this year we launched a Google Voice HTML5 web app for iPhone users. Today we’re taking the Google Voice experience on the iPhone to a whole new level with the launch of the official Google Voice for iPhone app.

With this native app, you’ll continue to have access to all the major Google Voice features on your iPhone, like:
  • Cheap rates for international calls
  • Free text messaging to U.S. numbers
  • Voicemail transcription
  • Display your Google Voice number as caller ID when making calls
In addition to these benefits, the app provides some features that make using Google Voice on your iPhone a much better experience:
  • With push notifications, the app will alert you instantly when you receive a new voicemail or text message
  • Most of your calls will be placed via Direct Access Numbers, making them connect just as quickly as regular phone calls


Google Voice for iPhone is available to download from the Apple App Store today. You’ll need an iPhone with iOS 3.1 or later and a valid Google Voice account to use the app. At this time, Google Voice is available in the U.S. only.

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About a year ago, we launched Google Goggles, an app that enables people to search the web by taking pictures with their mobile devices. Since then, people have used Goggles to search for information about lots of different things: famous paintings, landmarks, products and much more.

Today, we’re announcing a Google Goggles marketing experiment. We’re working with five brands—Buick, Disney, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Air Lines—to extend some of their offline marketing to the mobile web. They have “Goggles-enabled” some of their print ads, movie posters and other media. When users take pictures of these with Google Goggles, they will be recognized by the app, and users will have the option of clicking-through directly to a mobile destination from the brand.

For a closer look at these specific campaigns, take a look at our video:


We developed Google Goggles so that people could more easily explore the world around them with a mobile device. In this experiment, we’re applying the same principles, and the same technology, by “Goggles-enabling” advertisements and other media, and offering to link people to the mobile sites from these brands.

When you scan this "Goggles-enabled" Buick ad with Google Goggles, you can connect directly with Buick's mobile experience. Click the image to enlarge.

To interact with these experimental campaigns, download Google Goggles from the Android Market or get Google Mobile App for iPhone from the iTunes store, and look for advertising and products from companies in the video above and others that are coming soon.

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Every year retailers start the holiday shopping season earlier and earlier—and still I procrastinate until late December before getting started. This year I've already made my list and I’m ready to go.

I usually get my holiday shopping done in two ways: online (e-commerce) and offline (“brick and mortar” stores). I’ve found that shopping online is best when you know what you're looking for—you can search for specific items, research multiple brands or compare reviews. On the other hand, shopping offline makes it easier to explore products in person and sometimes discover things that you didn’t know existed. Plus, it’s usually the only way to take your purchase home the same day.

The line between online and offline shopping is starting to blur: According to a study by Forrester while 93 percent of retail purchases today happen in a store, more than 46 percent of those in-store purchases are influenced by online research. Not to mention that shoppers can access the web from anywhere at anytime—including from their mobile phones when browsing the aisles of a local store.

All of this got our team thinking about how we could help further bridge the gap between online and offline shopping. This week, we’re introducing several new features to Product Search that start doing just that.

Local availability on Google Product Search: We’ve partnered with more than 70 retail brands—including national retailers like Best Buy and Williams-Sonoma, as well as software manufacturers like JDA, Epicor and Oracle—to connect shoppers searching online with local stores that have the items they’re are looking for in-stock. For example, if you’re looking online to get your son that new Wii video game he’s been wanting, you can click on the “nearby stores” link to see where it’s in stock nearby. (If you’re a retailer who’s interested in taking part, you can learn more on the Google Retail Blog.)


Local Availability in Google Product Search
Google Shopper 1.3: Our mobile shopping app helps shoppers on the go research items and find the best place to buy them either online or in a nearby store—and it already has more than 2.5 million downloads. This version includes new search filters like “price” and “brand” to help refine your search. And, you’ll still get features like Local Availability, voice search and rapid continuous barcode scanning (so you can point your phone at a product and get information from the web).

“Popular products” and “aisles”: We’ve borrowed an idea from successful brick and mortar stores and in the coming weeks, we'll roll-out two features called “popular products” and “aisles” to help people learn about and discover new products. When you search for a category of products such as “camera lenses,” our new popular products feature helps you get started by showing you the lenses other people are viewing online. “Aisles” helps you browse and discover products by organizing results into sub-categories that others have found helpful. For example, if you’re looking for a new TV, you can choose between display types like LCD and plasma. If you’re interested in camera lenses for that brand new SLR, you can shop by the aperture of the lens.

Aisles and Popular Products
We hope these features make it easier for you to get your shopping done this holiday season—whether it’s online, offline or in the new space in between.

Happy shopping!

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This is one of a regular series of posts on search experience updates. Look for the label This week in search and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

We’re always excited by the diversity of the search features and enhancements that we make in any given week. Each week we try to release a diverse set of search feature and enhancement to help you find what you’re looking for, faster. From getting sports information instantly, to making it even easier for you to find the right webpage, this week’s round up includes a slew of new changes.

NHL Live Result
Many of you are sports fans, and we’re always delighted to make improvements that help you find those scores, stats and recaps. We partnered with our friends at NHL.com to provide rich information in the snippets of the NHL.com results. These include real-time scores, schedules and team standings. They also include links for quick access to game previews, live streams, recaps and video highlights of completed games making it super-easy to keep up to date on the latest NHL action.

Example searches: [nhl], [rangers]


Help for those who need it
In times of crisis, it's especially important to find the crucial information you're looking for—and find it fast. After receiving positive feedback for poison control and suicide prevention special search features in the U.S., this week we launched one or more emergency search features in 13 countries: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.K. For certain queries, the feature displays the phone number to call for poison emergencies, suicide prevention or general emergency services.

Instant Previews
This week we were excited to take the speed of Google Instant even further with the launch of Instant Previews in almost all languages and domains. Instant Previews is a new, interactive feature that helps you select the right results by showing you a preview of each page and highlighting the most relevant sections for your query. You can activate the feature with a single click on the magnifying glass next to the result title. The tool is fast and interactive, with the average preview appearing in under a tenth of a second.

Learn more about Instant Previews here.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s updates. You can check out some of the top searches of the week on our latest edition of Google Beat—stay tuned for more!

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This is part of a regular series of Google Apps updates that we post every couple of weeks. Look for the label “Google Apps highlights" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

In this installment, we’re bringing you a little more flair for your Gmail inbox and a video introduction to real-time co-editing in Google Docs. We also have some nice improvements for organizations using Google Apps to save money and achieve even bigger productivity gains by collaborating in Google’s cloud.

Five new themes available in Gmail

Some people are happy with the classic white and blue color scheme in Gmail, others like to spice things up and make their inbox feel a little more personal. Last week we added five more themes to choose from in Gmail, bringing the total to over 35 designs. Take a look, maybe you’re in the mood for a floral backdrop or something more playful like this new Marker theme.


Visualizing character-by-character document co-editing
From day one, Google Docs allowed multiple people to work on the same document together at the same time from different computers. But until you experience this for yourself, it’s hard to understand how much time this can save. Imagine being able to work together without the hassles of shuttling attachments back and forth, and reconciling people’s edits each time. If you’re a Google Docs newbie, we think this video we created last week helps bring the possibilities to life.



The business value of faster collaboration
We recently commissioned the help of Forrester Consulting to measure the “Total Economic Impact” of Google Apps that customers can expect over three years by moving from traditional technologies to the cloud. While we encourage you to assess the potential impact for yourself, Forrester’s analysis (PDF) found that with Google Apps, a typical large business of 18,000 employees experiences:
  • Productivity gains even larger than cost savings
  • Ove 300% return on investment
  • Break-even under seven months
  • Total economic impact over $10,000,000 (NPV)
Service activity graphs for administrators
To give administrators a window into how users in their organizations are collaborating in new ways, last Tuesday we added service activity graphs to the Google Apps control panel. These charts make it easy for organizations to quickly spot usage trends that they might not have anticipated and make adjustments accordingly, like scaling back technical support for legacy technologies.


App Tuesday: eight new applications to choose from in the Apps Marketplace
The Google Apps Marketplace is where third-party software developers list their applications that integrate seamlessly with Google Apps—and the number of offerings in the Marketplace continues to grow. On Tuesday, we added eight new applications ranging from personal relationship management and administrative tools to idea management and Google Site management solutions.



Who’s gone Google?
It’s been two weeks since the last update here, which means tens of thousands of businesses, schools and organizations have moved to the cloud with Google Apps. Small businesses around the world like Belle and Rollo and YETI Coolers turn to Google Apps, so they can focus on business instead of managing complex technology. Companies like National Geographic save money in a tough economy with Google Apps, while giving their most demanding mobile workers better tools to work efficiently. And universities like NYU are joining the Google Apps family to give students the modern, web-based tools that allow people to work together in more collaborative ways. To all, a warm welcome!

I hope these updates help you and your organization get even more from Google Apps. For details and the latest news in this area, check out the Google Apps Blog.

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Today is Veterans Day, the annual U.S. holiday honoring military veterans and the end of World War I, also celebrated as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day in other parts of the world. As we did last year, we want to recognize and thank these courageous men and women who willingly serve to defend the freedoms and rights of others.

For those of us who haven’t served, it’s also a day when we can seek to understand what it means to serve in the armed forces—in any country—and the burdens that military personnel and their families bear on our behalf.

This year, we celebrate the holiday with a special doodle on google.com—and YouTube is featuring content from veterans sharing their personal stories about life in combat and beyond. You’ll hear from Peter, who was awarded a Silver Star, the third-highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of any branch of the U.S. armed forces for valor; Justin, a disabled veteran who is advocating for wounded warriors; and other brave men and women.

The Google Veterans Network, our employee group dedicated to veterans’ issues led 11 service projects in the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia—bringing employees together with those who have served or are still serving. Nearly 200 Googlers volunteered approximately 500 hours in local communities like Ann Arbor, MI. and Seattle, WA. In Mountain View, we taught 510 students at Monta Loma Elementary School about the historic meaning of November 11 and service to one’s country. We also offered Veterans Day and Remembrance Day menus in our company cafes, including military paraphernalia displays and samples of MREs (meals ready to eat).

Through financial and in-kind support, the Google Veterans Network has worked closely with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), the Coming Home Project, Fisher House Foundation (Puget Sound), the Ann Arbor VA Hospital, The Royal British Legion and The Returned and Services League of Australia to make this November 11 a special one.

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(Cross-posted from the google.org blog)

We know that in times of crisis, it's especially important for you to find the crucial information you're looking for—and find it fast. Today, in 13 countries, we’ll begin displaying some combination of special search results for searches around poison control, suicide and common emergency numbers that point to emergency information.

This effort started last year when I received an email from a mother in the U.S. who had trouble finding the phone number for the poison control hotline after her daughter accidentally ingested something potentially poisonous (fortunately, her daughter was fine). As a result, people in the U.S. performing various searches including "poison control" began to see a special result displaying the national phone number for the American Association of Poison Control Centers last fall.

Example of the poison control result in Spain

Soon after we added poison control information to search results, we heard from Googlers whose lives had been affected by suicide and who thought that suicide prevention could be another case for a special search result. In April we began prominently displaying the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at the top of the results page for certain search queries in the U.S. Since then, our friends at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline have reported a 9 percent increase in legitimate calls to its hotline.

Example of the suicide prevention result in the U.K.

So, following positive feedback from consumers and our hotline partners, we decided to expand the poison control and suicide prevention special search results beyond the U.S. Each of these 13 countries will see one or more of these results: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. We looked for hotlines that are available nationally and 24/7 and we hope to add additional countries in the future.

We're also introducing a new special search result for common emergencies, such as fire, medical and police emergencies. We want to make this information easier to find for residents as well as travelers, especially as some countries have different numbers for different emergencies.

Example of the emergency number result in France

An emergency is stressful enough. We hope this small step helps connect people with the information they need immediately.

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If you’re an online publisher running a website that relies on ad revenues—whether it’s a blog or an entertainment website—it can sometimes be complex to get started and to find new ways to make more money from your ads.

As I’ve previously written, we’re committed to helping online publishers—large and small—“find the advertising gold hidden within their sites,” so they can fund their websites and online content. At the core of these efforts—as it has been for more than seven years—is AdSense, which now has more than 2 million publishers in more than 200 countries who use it to fund great online businesses.

Over the last few years, we’ve invested significantly in improving AdSense so that it provides the best solution to help all publishers make the most money possible from online advertising. We’ve added a range of new ad formats (including video and rich media), improved our publisher filters, enabled better targeting that drives higher returns (like remarketing and above-the-fold targeting) and introduced increased competition for publishers’ ad space by bringing in additional advertisers and certified ad networks.

To continue helping our publishers, today we’re excited to be rolling out a completely new AdSense interface to all of our AdSense publishers, globally, in more than 30 languages and in each of the 200+ countries where AdSense is available. The AdSense interface is how publishers set up, manage, optimize and see reports on the ads on their sites.

With this new interface, AdSense is even easier to use, and we’re also providing publishers with all the tools they need to manage and increase their advertising revenue. We used lots of direct feedback from our publishers to make this overhaul. If you’re an online publisher, it helps you in three main ways:
  • More insights. We’ve built in simple, graphical reporting and more options for you to easily slice and dice your data, so you can see at a glance what ads are working and which are not, and adjust your strategies accordingly.
  • More control. We’ve made our ad controls richer and simpler to use, so you can better control which ads and advertisers you want to appear on your sites.
  • More efficiency. It’s now much easier to quickly see earnings and payment information, to run reports, to find relevant features and help, and to make account changes. Our engineers have spent countless hours making sure that the interface is stable and blazing fast. We’ve also spent many hours in our usability labs with publishers, focused on making the interface easy to learn and use for all types of publishers.
Since we started trialling this new interface, many of our early testers have commented on the power of the reporting tools. They’ve been able to quickly analyze data and identify new trends that help them maximize their online ad revenues through AdSense.

The new interface is just the latest milestone in our efforts to help you make more money from all your online content. We look forward to hearing from as many publishers as possible, to learn what you like about this interface and where we can continue to improve.

To learn more, read our post on the Inside AdSense blog or visit google.com/ads/newadsense.

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(Cross-posted from the Google Research Blog)

Welkom*!

Today we’re introducing Voice Search support for Zulu and Afrikaans, as well as South African-accented English. The addition of Zulu in particular represents our first effort in building Voice Search for underrepresented languages.

We define underrepresented languages as those which, while spoken by millions, have little presence in electronic and physical media, e.g., webpages, newspapers and magazines. Underrepresented languages have also often received little attention from the speech research community. Their phonetics, grammar, acoustics, etc., haven’t been extensively studied, making the development of ASR (automatic speech recognition) voice search systems challenging.

We believe that the speech research community needs to start working on many of these underrepresented languages to advance progress and build speech recognition, translation and other Natural Language Processing (NLP) technologies. The development of NLP technologies in these languages is critical for enabling information access for everybody. Indeed, these technologies have the potential to break language barriers.

We also think it’s important that researchers in these countries take a leading role in advancing the state of the art in their own languages. To this end, we’ve collaborated with the Multilingual Speech Technology group at South Africa’s North-West University led by Prof. Ettiene Barnard (also of the Meraka Research Institute), an authority in speech technology for South African languages. Our development effort was spearheaded by Charl van Heerden, a South African intern and a student of Prof. Barnard. With the help of Prof. Barnard’s team, we collected acoustic data in the three languages, developed lexicons and grammars, and Charl and others used those to develop the three Voice Search systems. A team of language specialists traveled to several cities collecting audio samples from hundreds of speakers in multiple acoustic conditions such as street noise, background speech, etc. Speakers were asked to read typical search queries into an Android app specifically designed for audio data collection.

For Zulu, we faced the additional challenge of few text sources on the web. We often analyze the search queries from local versions of Google to build our lexicons and language models. However, for Zulu there weren’t enough queries to build a useful language model. Furthermore, since it has few online data sources, native speakers have learned to use a mix of Zulu and English when searching for information on the web. So for our Zulu Voice Search product, we had to build a truly hybrid recognizer, allowing free mixture of both languages. Our phonetic inventory covers both English and Zulu and our grammars allow natural switching from Zulu to English, emulating speaker behavior.

This is our first release of Voice Search in a native African language, and we hope that it won’t be the last. We’ll continue to work on technology for languages that have until now received little attention from the speech recognition community.

Salani kahle!**

* “Welcome” in Afrikaans
** “Stay well” in Zulu

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The Google Apps Marketplace helps your business discover and deploy the right web-apps that integrate with Google Apps, reduce IT costs, and eliminate redundant log-ins and data entry. Every App Tuesday, we welcome even more apps that expand the range of solutions available to businesses.

Today, eight more apps join the Apps Marketplace, all with single sign-on convenience and hassle-free access through the universal navigation bar. Most apps have even deeper integrations—read below to learn more.


Embed this presentation on your own site to spread the word about our newest apps

Read more about the apps launching this App Tuesday on the Google Enterprise blog, or go shop the Google Apps Marketplace to find the perfect solutions to help you move further into the cloud.