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(Cross-posted on the Google Green Blog)

I've always loved the ocean—I was born in Shanghai, which means "upon the sea.” And as a chef, I'm always drawn to food that claims a spirit of place. After moving to California, near Half Moon Bay, I began visiting the docks to buy seafood, and got to know the fishermen.

Over time, it became evident to me that this part of our food supply is broken: many consumers purchase stale, unsustainably-raised fish from chain grocers. Meanwhile, fishermen often sell their diminishing catch to wholesalers at a very low profit, meaning their livelihoods are no longer sustained by their catch. There’s also the environmental factor to consider: Overfishing and illegal practices cause worldwide decline in ocean wildlife populations and wreak havoc on underwater habitats—not to mention the carbon footprint of transporting seafood far from its origin.

Google’s chefs have long been committed to sourcing food for our cafes as locally, seasonally and organically as possible. And in our Mountain View headquarters, many employees cook with the same ingredients at home thanks to on-site Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. When I joined the team as an executive chef in Mountain View, I wanted to make a difference in our purchasing program for seafood. For the five years leading up to then, I wrote a column for the San Francisco Chronicle called “Seafood by the Season,” and I knew it could be done. In early 2010, we began a push to apply the most rigorous standards to our seafood-buying practices, and respond to the in-the-moment fluctuations of the catch from small, independent fishermen.

Things took off from there. My colleague Quentin Topping dreamed of providing the same high-quality seafood we serve in our cafes for Googlers to take home to their families. That idea became the Google Community Supported Fishery (CSF), which we launched in May 2011. In this program, Googlers sign up to purchase a weekly supply of local, sustainable seafood, supplied through a partnership with the Half Moon Bay (HMB) Fisherman’s Association.


The Google Culinary team on a visit with fishermen in Half Moon Bay, Calif.—Quentin and I are the second and third from the left, in black.

We tend to think on a massive scale at Google—whether it’s how to deliver instant search results around the globe or help thousands of small businesses get online—but when it comes to feeding our employees at work and at home, it really comes down to a local touch. Knowing where our seafood, meat and produce come from, as well as knowing how they’re raised, farmed or harvested, makes all the difference in the on-the-ground work of sustainability. We see many bright spots ahead for our Community Supported Agriculture and Fishery programs, such as expansion to other offices and adding a grass-fed beef and pasture-raised poultry program. It’s exciting to work someplace where we can think big and local.

We know of two CSFs in the Bay Area. The Half Moon Bay Fishermen’s Association supplies only Google at the moment, but will soon add public drop-off sites—keep posted by visiting Farmigo.com. The other is CSea out of Bodega Bay. If you live elsewhere, we hope you’ll consider stepping up to create one in your area.

And even if you don’t live near the ocean or have direct access to fresh-caught seafood, the choices you make about what fish to purchase or order in restaurants can make a real difference. You may want to consider following the guidelines that we used for our Google Green Seafood policy: Whenever possible, purchase species caught locally and in-season, by small, independent fisher-families, using environmentally-responsible methods. We think it’s important to be responsive to the fluctuations of catch too, and source from fisheries that enforce catch limits or are guided by ecosystem-based management programs. As for us, we’ll continue to research and source responsibly managed farmed seafood, and always keep transparency and Googler health at the center of our program.



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(Cross-posted on the Online Security Blog)

Earlier this year, we introduced a security feature called 2-step verification that helps protect your Google Account from threats like password compromise and identity theft. By entering a one-time verification code from your phone after you type your password, you can make it much tougher for an unauthorized person to gain access to your account.

People have told us how much they like the feature, which is why we're thrilled to offer 2-step verification in 40 languages and in more than 150 countries. There’s never been a better time to set it up: Examples in the news of password theft and data breaches constantly remind us to stay on our toes and take advantage of tools to properly secure our valuable online information. Email, social networking and other online accounts still get compromised today, but 2-step verification cuts those risks significantly.

We recommend investing some time in keeping your information safe by watching our 2-step verification video to learn how to quickly increase your Google Account’s resistance to common problems like reused passwords and malware and phishing scams. Wherever you are in the world, sign up for 2-step verification and help keep yourself one step ahead of the bad guys.

To learn more about online safety tips and resources, visit our ongoing security blog series, and review a couple of simple tips and tricks for online security. Also, watch our video about five easy ways to help you stay safe and secure as you browse.

Update on 12/1/11: We recently made 2-step verification available for users in even more places, including Iran, Japan, Liberia, Myanmar (Burma), Sudan and Syria. This enhanced security feature for Google Accounts is now available in more than 175 countries.

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(Cross-posted on the Lat Long Blog)

Starting today, you can get public transport directions for London within Google Maps. One of Europe’s largest metropolitan areas, London is a major destination for both business travelers and tourists. More than 1 billion passengers are serviced by Transport for London (TfL) every year across over 18,000 bus stops and over 250 Underground stations.

Let’s say you’re at Trafalgar Square, and you want to visit Madame Tussauds. With a simple directions search, you’ll see all the possible public transport connections. In Maps, click “Get directions” in the left-hand panel, and then the train icon to see public transport directions. Enter your departure location next to A, and your destination next to B. These can be either street addresses or names of popular places, businesses or restaurants. When you’re done, click the “Get directions” button and suggestions for your trip will appear below.


Public transport directions are available on both Google Maps and Google Maps for mobile, so you always have access to a trip planner. When you’re on mobile, Maps even uses your current location to determine the best trip to your destination. Just search for your destination location, select it on the map and choose the “Directions” option. The suggested trips will be based on your location by default, and provide you multiple alternatives whenever possible.

If you’re using an Android-powered device, you can also get public transport directions with Transit Navigation (Beta) in Google Maps. With this new feature, which we launched earlier this month, you’ll get alerts when it’s time to get off the bus or train at your destination or to make a transfer. Transit Navigation is available in all regions where public transport directions are available, including London.


TfL is among the first agencies in a major European city to make its timetable information publicly available through the London Datastore. We’re strong supporters of open data and bringing information out into the open, and believe that making information publicly accessible can be an enormous engine of economic growth and innovation. ITO World has been a great partner in this launch by ensuring TfL’s data was adapted correctly and ready for our use.

Public transport directions are available for all Underground, bus, tram and Docklands Light Railway (DLR) lines, and we’ll include more public transport information as soon as it’s available. Whether you use public transport every day or infrequently, as a commuter, on a business trip or as a tourist, we hope that public transport directions in London make planning your trips more convenient!

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(Cross-posted from the Gmail Blog)

I switched to Gmail the first month it came out, mere seconds after receiving an invitation from a friend and two years before joining Google. Since then, I’ve invited hundreds of people, most of whom have happily made the switch to Gmail and never looked back.

But I have one friend, Andy, who’s the straggler in the group. A couple months ago, I sent out an email about a barbecue I was having. On the “To:” line, there were 15 Gmail addresses and then Andy. He stuck out like a sore thumb. Shortly thereafter, Andy was complaining to us about how much spam he got. That was the last straw.

My friends and I sat Andy down and talked him through how to import his contacts. We answered his questions, guilt-tripped him a little, and a few painless minutes later we were done. Andy had Gmail.

We all have a story like this. On the Gmail team, we affectionately refer to them as “email interventions.” We hear about them all the time: the cousin who finally switched from an embarassing address like hottie6elliot1977 to a more professional elliot.d.smith@gmail.com, a co-worker who helped his dentist switch after he heard her grumble about having to pay for IMAP access, etc.

It’s for these folks we created emailintervention.com, a site that makes it easier than ever to help your friends and family make the switch.



Staging an intervention is simple:
  1. Visit emailintervention.com
  2. Sign in and automatically identify who from your contacts has yet to make the switch, or just enter a friend’s email address manually
  3. Choose from one of three intervention message templates (“straightforward”, “concerned” or “ embarrassed”), and add your own intervention video if you’d like
  4. Send a customized email and follow up as needed



Your loved ones are counting on you. Even if they don't know it yet.

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(Cross-posted from the Lat Long and Student Blogs)

This island has a population of about 57,000 people, with the most settlements concentrated on the west coast. Very little of this island is suitable for agriculture.

After eight rounds of questions from none other than quiz king Alex Trebek himself, the team from Russia was crowned the National Geographic World Champions today at our Mountain View, Calif. headquarters after answering this final question correctly.

(By the way, the answer is Greenland.)


The National Geographic World Champions from Russia (photo courtesy of National Geographic)

Students from 17 regions around the world competed in the 2011 National Geographic World Championship. Today’s final round included answering a series of challenging questions like the one above. The students also interpreted maps and museum artifacts from the University of California Berkeley and fielded questions about live animals from the San Francisco Zoo during the earlier rounds of the competition.

Congratulations to the Russian team and to all of the students who participated. We look forward to seeing where your explorations and knowledge take you.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Chrome Blog)

We all have a song or a personal soundtrack that speaks to us. But it doesn’t always say exactly what we want it to say.

In All is Not Lost — an HTML5 music collaboration between the band OK Go, the dance troupe and choreographers Pilobolus, and Google—you can embed your message in a music video and have the band dance it out. The band and Pilobolus dancers are filmed through a clear floor, making increasingly complex shapes and eventually words—and messages you can write yourself.


All is Not Lost is built in HTML5 with the browser Google Chrome in mind. Different shots are rendered in different browser windows that move, re-size and re-align throughout the piece. With HTML5’s canvas technology, these videos are drawn in perfect timing with the music.


OK Go are well-known for their delightfully creative music videos, including Here It Goes Again, their first work featuring half a dozen treadmills, and This Too Shall Pass, based around an extraordinary Rube Goldberg machine—both of which have become extraordinarily popular on YouTube. We’re excited to collaborate with them on another project that finds its natural home on the web.

This project also has a special significance for the team here at Google Japan, who worked on this collaboration alongside OK Go. In the wake of the devastating Tōhoku earthquake, the band suggested using All is Not Lost as a message of support to the Japanese people during this difficult time.

All is Not Lost is best experienced in Chrome at allisnotlo.st. For web developers curious about how the experience was created, you can read more on the Google Code Blog.

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(Cross-posted on the Lat Long and Google Student blogs)

It’s summer vacation for many kids, but 51 students from 17 different regions have been spending their time off polishing and fine-tuning their geographic skills to prepare for this year’s National Geographic World Championship, a biennial geography competition hosted by the National Geographic Society.

This year, Google is the proud sponsor and on Wednesday, July 27, we’ll host the three final teams from Canada, Chinese Taipei and Russia at our campus in Mountain View, California. The preliminary rounds included a written exam on Sunday and activities at the San Francisco Zoo on Monday morning. Teams ventured to various zoo exhibits and were asked to identify climate maps and geographic locations associated with 10 different animal habitats housed throughout the zoo.


Teams from Canada, Chinese Taipei and Russia will move on to the National Geographic World Championship

Since most of you can’t be here to witness the action in person, we’re going to live stream the finale, hosted by Alex Trebek of the game show JEOPARDY!. Tune into the National Geographic YouTube Channel Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. PDT to cheer on these young competitors from wherever you are in the world.

Through this competition, we aim to inspire the future generation of leaders and innovators to become more geographically literate and have a deeper understanding about the world they live in. We hope you are as excited as we are to see such enthusiasm and passion around geographic education.

Please join us in wishing all of these young geographic experts the best of luck!

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(Cross-posted on the Public Policy and YouTube blogs)

College friends make trick basketball shots into a career. A small blender company gets international attention by blending glow sticks and iPads. A musician goes from bagging groceries to beatboxing around the world. One of the most inspiring things about YouTube is the way people across the U.S. and around the world use it as a way to express their passions—and to turn those passions into careers.

There are more than 20,000 people in the YouTube Partner Program, and numerous other companies and organizations use YouTube to draw attention to their causes and promote their businesses. Hundreds of people are making six-figure incomes on the site, enabling them to hire editors and producers and create even more original content. We’re helping our Partners grow their careers by running programs like YouTube NextUp and Creator Institute, and working to make the site a better and better place for people to grow businesses and build audiences.


To shine a light on the many inspiring things happening on YouTube, we’ve put together a report sharing the stories of 20 YouTube Partners who are changing lives, businesses and in some cases, history. You can download a PDF version of “YouTube: Celebrating the next generation of creative video” or visit it online at youtube.com/awesomeytpartners. YouTube is a very special place because of the passion of our Partners and the positivity they bring, and we hope you’ll find these stories as uplifting as we do.

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(Cross-posted on the Lat Long, Inside AdWords and Small Business blogs)

Today, we're officially introducing AdWords Express, a faster and simpler way to start advertising online in under five minutes. We first launched this product as Google Boost last October for a small number of local businesses. Since then, we’ve continued to improve the product and enabled all U.S. businesses new to online advertising to reach customers with ease. AdWords Express is designed to help local businesses that aren't already AdWords advertisers create effective campaigns—watch the video below to see how you can create and run an online campaign from start to finish in just a few clicks:



AdWords Express helps potential customers find your website or Place page, and gives you a quick and straightforward way to connect with them and grow your business. You simply provide some basic business information, create your ad, and your campaign is ready to go.


After you sign up, the campaign will be automatically managed for you. AdWords Express will figure out which searches should trigger your ad to appear and displays it when these searches happen. Your ad will be shown in the Ads section of search results pages—on the top or right hand side—and in Google Maps with a distinctive blue pin. Customers can see your ad whether they’re searching on laptops or mobile phones.


As with all our ad products, you pay only when a customer clicks on your ad. To make things even easier, AdWords Express optimizes your ads to get the most out of your advertising campaign and budget.

Many businesses are already finding success through AdWords, but we know many of you are looking for an easier way to begin advertising online. Visit www.google.com/awexpress to sign up or learn more about how it works.

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We use research, analysis and insights—from inside and outside Google—to inform our decision-making and our products. We've spoken to a lot of our partners about how to help them access the same insights and conversations that inform our strategies, and today we're announcing a thought experiment for our clients called Think Quarterly. It’s intended to be a snapshot of what Google and other industry leaders are thinking about and inspired by today.

The first edition focuses on the broad concept of “innovation” and provides some perspectives on how it's possible to simultaneously lead and change the direction of an industry. We’ve included content from Macy’s CMO Peter Sachse on the future of mobile retail marketing, Ogilvy & Mather’s Russell Davies on the “Internet of Things,” and our very own Amit Singhal on how science fiction is becoming a reality in search.

Our aim with Think Quarterly is to regularly tap our homegrown visionaries, as well as heads of industry, innovators and experts from around the world, to lend their insights and analyses to our partners who are seeking to navigate the ever-changing digital world. We hope you enjoy (and +1) it at ThinkWithGoogle.com/quarterly.

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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.

We’ve added more than a dozen new features to Google Apps so far in July. Read on to learn about a few of our favorites: a new look for Gmail and Google Calendar, ways we’ve made Gmail safer and easier to use, a couple new mobile capabilities and more.

Preview new looks for Gmail and Google Calendar
A couple weeks ago we began rolling out a visual refresh to Gmail and Google Calendar, which is consistent with design changes happening across many other Google products. The idea is to make the interfaces even more focused, elastic and effortless. If you’d like to see the new look, you can try it out in Gmail and Google Calendar now.


Pick your favorite inbox style
In addition to Gmail’s new look, we added new options to let you choose an inbox layout that best suits your email habits. You can decide between Priority Inbox, important messages first, starred messages first or unread messages first—or stick with a classic inbox style.


Make multiple calls in Gmail
A while back we added the ability to place phone calls to land lines and mobile phones from your Gmail browser window for free or at greatly reduced calling rates. On Wednesday we made this feature better by allowing multiple simultaneous calls. You can place a second call by putting your first call on hold, or put your first call on hold to pick up another incoming phone call.


View ZIP and RAR contents from Gmail attachments
Before last week, when you received a ZIP or RAR attachment you had to download the file and extract its contents to view what someone sent you. Now you can simply view the contents of ZIP and RAR in your browser without the hassle of downloading and extracting. This is a faster, safer and more affordable way of viewing attachments than opening potentially harmful files with software on your computer.


Phishing detection
Gmail has also started keeping you safer by displaying more information about the origin of certain messages. Email coming from senders who aren’t in your contact list will display the sender’s full email address. We’ll also show you when messages come from an email-sending service (like a news site’s article sharing system) and display a warning when it looks like the sender may have spoofed a Gmail address.


Read receipts for business and government customers
Many organizations that use Gmail have asked for a way to tell if important sent email has been opened, and since Tuesday, Google Apps for Business and Government administrators can activate read receipts from the control panel. Administrators can control which users can request or return read receipts, and whether receipts are issued automatically or manually by recipients.


New spreadsheet keyboard shortcut menu and PPTX support
In Google Docs, this week we added a handy keyboard shortcut cheat sheet to help you work more quickly in spreadsheets. Just hit Ctrl+/ (or Cmd+/ on a Mac) to bring up the keyboard shortcut guide. We also launched support for PPTX conversions, so now you can bring all those PowerPoint files from your desktop into Google Docs, and edit them with your classmates and colleagues from the browser.


More options for videos in Google Docs
Recently we made it easier to work with videos that you upload Google Docs. Now you can embed Google Docs videos into Google Sites pages, embed them on other webpages and even add text captions to your videos.


Share files from the Google Docs Android app
In April we introduced the Google Docs app for Android devices, making it easier to find and open Google Docs files on your phone or tablet. A couple weeks ago we added the ability to share files right from the Google Docs app, so now you’re covered when you need to give others access to a document, spreadsheet, presentation or any other type of a file when you’re on the move.


Five new mobile site templates
The Google Sites mobile experience also got an upgrade. We added five new mobile site templates to make it easy to build and launch a site that looks great on the small screen. This video explains how:



Who’s gone Google?
It’s been another banner few weeks for new customers. A hearty welcome goes out to Aperam, Nexteer, Premier Salons, Quality Distribution and tens of thousands of other businesses that moved to Google Apps since our last update. We also welcome our new education and government customers, including the University of Connecticut and the City of Pittsburgh!

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

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On July 14, Google U.K. launched a partnership with Generating Genius at an event in our London office. Google director Adrian Joseph, Member of Parliament Simon Hughes and advisor on culture and youth Munira Mirza spoke alongside Generating Genius founder Tony Sewell. They stressed the importance of encouraging students from underrepresented backgrounds to receive higher education degrees and inspiring them to become innovators in the technology industry. Afterward, two program participants shared their Generating Genius experiences and their plans for university this fall.

Joining forces with Generating Genius is part of our ongoing commitment to provide exceptionally talented young black students from London’s inner city schools with the key computing and technology skills needed to apply for the very best computer science degrees. We believe it’s crucial to get students engaged in computer science early and enable them to become creators—not just consumers—of technology.

Students accepted into the Generating Genius program are guided via mentors through engineering summer schools and weekend programs for a full five years (from 13 to 18 years of age). Early results of the program have been fantastic: all of the first participants to graduate from the program have received offers to attend elite universities this autumn. Ninety-five percent of them are the first in their families to go on to higher education. Google's funding is enabling Generating Genius to include girls this year for the first time, as well as helping to expand upon the computer science component of the program.

Director of Generating Genius Tony Sewell (center) and two students who have completed five years in the program and are now headed to elite universities to study computer science and physics.

This partnership follows on the heels of the Top Black Talent Program that we kicked off in April, which recruits talented computer science students from African Caribbean Society chapters at U.K. universities for a mentoring program at Google. Paired with a Google mentor, the students attended a series of talks and workshops, including career-focused sessions with resume and interviewing advice and technical discussions that provided real-life insights into the tech industry.

You can hear more from Googlers, executives, scholars and partners about our programs and initiatives for minority students by watching our You Tube video. For further details on the Top Black Talent program or to register for the next cohort of Top Black Talent students, please get in touch. And for more on our general education outreach, visit google.com/edu.

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Our homepage doodle today celebrates the birthday of Alexander Calder, an American artist best known for inventing the mobile.

Last year I wandered into a white room at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago full of Alexander Calder’s delicate “objects,” all beautifully balanced and proportioned, moving gently in the air currents like a whimsical metal forest. Calder took ordinary materials at hand—wire, scraps of sheet metal—and made them into brilliant forms, letting space and motion do the rest. As an engineer, I work with abstractions, too, so this really struck me.

But you kind of want to play with the things. They do not let you do that at museums.

So I coded up a very basic demo of a mobile and showed it to a friend, who showed it to one of our doodlers—and then this amazing thing happened: talented artists and engineers who liked the idea just started to help! What we ended up with is way cooler than anything I could have built on my own. I’m proud to work for a company where an idea like this can actually happen.

This is Google’s first doodle made entirely using HTML5 canvas, so you need to use a modern browser to interact with it. It runs a physics simulation on the mobile’s geometry, and then does realtime 3D rendering with vector graphics. Only recently have browsers advanced to the point where this is possible.

I like to think Calder would have appreciated today’s doodle, since we’re setting up shapes and abstractions and letting them act on their own. Hint: try it out on a laptop with an accelerometer!

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Last week we explained that we’re prioritizing our product efforts. As part of that process, we’ve decided to wind down Google Labs. While we’ve learned a huge amount by launching very early prototypes in Labs, we believe that greater focus is crucial if we’re to make the most of the extraordinary opportunities ahead.

In many cases, this will mean ending Labs experiments—in others we’ll incorporate Labs products and technologies into different product areas. And many of the Labs products that are Android apps today will continue to be available on Android Market. We’ll update you on our progress via the Google Labs website.

We’ll continue to push speed and innovation—the driving forces behind Google Labs—across all our products, as the early launch of the Google+ field trial last month showed.

Update 3:36pm: To clarify: we don't have any plans to change in-product experimentation channels like Gmail Labs or Maps Labs. We'll continue to experiment with new features in each of our products.

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(Cross-posted on the Research Blog)

Last week, we held our seventh annual Computer Science Faculty Summit. For the first time, the event took place at our New York City office; nearly 100 faculty members from universities in the U.S., Canada and Latin America attended. The two-day Summit focused on systems, artificial intelligence and mobile computing. Alfred Spector, VP of research and special initiatives, hosted the conference and led lively discussions on privacy, security and Google’s approach to research.

Google’s Internet evangelist, Vint Cerf, opened the Summit with a talk on the challenges involved in securing the “Internet of things”—that is, uniquely identifiable objects (“things”) and their virtual representations. With almost 2 billion international Internet users and 5 billion mobile devices out there in the world, Vint expounded upon the idea that Internet security is not just about technology, but also about policy and global institutions. He stressed that our new digital ecosystem is complex and large in scale, and includes both hardware and software. It also has multiple stakeholders, diverse business models and a range of legal frameworks. Vint argued that making and keeping the Internet secure over the next few years will require technical innovation and global collaboration.

After Vint kicked things off, faculty spent the two days attending presentations by Google software engineers and research scientists, including John Wilkes on the management of Google's large hardware infrastructure, Andrew Chatham on the self-driving car, Johan Schalkwyk on mobile speech technology and Andrew Moore on the research challenges in commerce services. Craig Nevill-Manning, the engineering founder of Google’s NYC office, gave an update on Google.org, particularly its recent work in crisis response. Other talks covered the engineering work behind products like Ad Exchange and Google Docs, and the range of engineering projects taking place across 35 Google offices in 20 countries. For a complete list of the topics and sessions, visit the Faculty Summit site. Also, a few of our attendees heeded Alfred’s call to recap their breakout sessions in verse—download a PDF of one of our favorite poems, about the future of mobile computing, penned by NYU professor Ken Perlin.

A highlight of this year’s Summit was Bill Schilit’s presentation of the Library Wall, a Chrome OS experiment featuring an eight-foot tall full-color virtual display of ebooks that can be browsed and examined individually via touch screen. Faculty members were invited to play around with the digital-age “bookshelf,” which is one of the newest additions to our NYC office.

Over on the Research Blog, we’ve posted deeper dives on a few of the talks—including cluster management, mobile search and commerce. We also collected some interesting faculty reflections. For more information on all of our programs, visit our University Relations website. The Faculty Summit is meant to connect forerunners across the computer science community—in business, research and academia—and we hope all our attendees returned home feeling informed and inspired.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Online Security Blog)

The Internet brings remarkable benefits to society. Unfortunately, some people use it for harm and their own gain at the expense of others. We believe in the power of the web and information, and we work every day to detect potential abuse of our services and ward off attacks.

As we work to protect our users and their information, we sometimes discover unusual patterns of activity. Recently, we found some unusual search traffic while performing routine maintenance on one of our data centers. After collaborating with security engineers at several companies that were sending this modified traffic, we determined that the computers exhibiting this behavior were infected with a particular strain of malicious software, or “malware.” As a result of this discovery, today some people will see a prominent notification at the top of their Google web search results:


This particular malware causes infected computers to send traffic to Google through a small number of intermediary servers called “proxies.” We hope that by taking steps to notify users whose traffic is coming through these proxies, we can help them update their antivirus software and remove the infections.

We hope to use the knowledge we’ve gathered to assist as many people as possible. In case our notice doesn’t reach everyone directly, you can run a system scan on your computer yourself by following the steps in our Help Center article.

Update July 20, 2011: We've seen a few common questions we thought we'd address here:
  • The malware appears to have gotten onto users' computers from one of roughly a hundred variants of fake antivirus, or "fake AV" software that has been in circulation for a while. We aren't aware of a common name for the malware.
  • We believe a couple million machines are affected by this malware.
  • We've heard from a number of you that you're thinking about the potential for an attacker to copy our notice and attempt to point users to a dangerous site instead. It's a good security practice to be cautious about the links you click, so the spirit of those comments is spot-on. We thought about this, too, which is why the notice appears only at the top of our search results page. Falsifying the message on this page would require prior compromise of that computer, so the notice is not a risk to additional users.
  • In the meantime, we've been able to successfully warn hundreds of thousands of users that their computer is infected. These are people who otherwise may never have known.

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In the world of URLs, bigger is not always better. In 2009, we helped shrink up long, unwieldy URLs by launching our public URL shortener, goo.gl. Today, we’re announcing a new URL shortcut that will link only to official Google products and services: g.co.

The shorter a URL, the easier it is to share and remember. The downside is, you often can’t tell what website you’re going to be redirected to. We’ll use g.co to send you only to webpages that are owned by Google, and only we can create g.co shortcuts. That means you can visit a g.co shortcut confident you will always end up at a page for a Google product or service.

There’s no need to fret about the fate of goo.gl; we like it as much as you do, and nothing is changing on that front. It will continue to be our public URL shortener that anybody can use to shorten URLs across the web.

We’d like to thank our friends at .CO Internet SAS who operate .co domain names for facilitating the acquisition of g.co, and keep your eyes open as we start rolling out g.co as our official URL shortcut for Google websites.

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(Cross-posted on the Google News Blog)

On Google News, the average reader of political news has read 20 articles about politics in the last six months. Where do you stand?

Starting today, in the U.S. edition of Google News, you can see how voracious a news reader you are by earning Google News badges as you read articles about your favorite topics. The more you read, the higher level badge you’ll receive, starting with Bronze, then moving up the ladder to Silver, Gold, Platinum and finally, Ultimate.



We have more than 500 badges available, so no matter what kind of news you’re into, there’s a badge out there for you. Here’s a taste:


Your badges are private by default, but if you want, you can share your badges with your friends. Tell them about your news interests, display your expertise, start a conversation or just plain brag about how well-read you are. You can also add custom sections by hovering on a badge and clicking “add section” to read more about your favorite topics. To get started with badges, visit Google News from a signed-in account with web history enabled and then visit this page on our Help Center for instructions.

This is just the first step—the bronze release, if you will—of Google News badges. Once we see how badges are used and shared, we look forward to taking this feature to the next level.

In the spirit of continually trying to improve Google News, we have heard loud and clear from the many of you who asked us to separate our Sci/Tech section into two distinct sections. We are happy to report that we have now done this for all English editions, with more languages coming soon. We also combined some personalization settings from the “News for you” and News Settings menu into one handy sidebar at the top right corner of the home page, so you can easily tell us what you want to read on your Google News.



We hope you’ll badge up on Google News to keep track of what you’re reading, read more of what you love and share your passions with your friends.

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A while back, a few of us wanted to make a little tool that we could use to show just about anybody more of what Google makes. That led to some simple ideas, and then a few more ideas and ultimately, to a challenge: how we could connect people to products they might not know about and may find useful, but make the discovery relevant to them and keep it fun.

Playing about with that challenge produced a website—What Do You Love?—that we hope meets at least some of the challenge by demonstrating how different Google products can show you different things about any particular search query. Like always, you’re the judge, so give it a go. Type in something that you love—polar bears, space travel, pickup trucks, Lady Gaga, early Foghat—whatever strikes your fancy (for some reason, the results for cheese always crack us up, so try that if you’re momentarily stumped). No matter what it is, we’ll give you back something that will let you get even more into what you love.



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Yesterday, our top 15 Google Science Fair finalists descended on Google’s headquarters and wowed our luminary judges—as well as more than 1,000 local attendees plus Googlers who stopped by to check out the action. Our exhibit hall was buzzing with energy and excitement as everyone wondered which young scientists would go home with our top prizes.

The results are in—and this year was all about girl power. Our top three winners by age category are:
  • Lauren Hodge in the 13-14 age group. Lauren studied the effect of different marinades on the level of potentially harmful carcinogens in grilled chicken.
  • Naomi Shah in the 15-16 age group. Naomi endeavored to prove that making changes to indoor environments that improve indoor air quality can reduce people’s reliance on asthma medications.
  • Shree Bose in the 17-18 age group. Shree discovered a way to improve ovarian cancer treatment for patients when they have built up a resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs.
Winners (from left to right): Lauren Hodge, Shree Bose, Naomi Shah

We also awarded one Grand Prize and the Grand Prize Winner is...Shree Bose; congratulations!

Our judges said the unifying elements of all three young women were their intellectual curiosity, their tenaciousness and their ambition to use science to find solutions to big problems. They examined complex problems and found both simple solutions that can be implemented by the general public—like changing your cooking habits or removing toxins from your home—as well as more complex solutions that can be addressed in labs by doctors and researchers, such as Shree’s groundbreaking discovery, which could have wider implications for cancer research.

The winners took home prizes furnished by Google and our partners CERN, LEGO, National Geographic and Scientific American. Shree received a $50,000 scholarship, a trip to the Galápagos Islands with a National Geographic Explorer and aninternship at CERN. Naomi and Lauren each received $25,000 scholarships and internships at Google and LEGO. All three were awarded lifetime digital subscriptions to Scientific American. Beyond the grand prizes, everyone went home with some pretty cool loot, along with plenty of photos and memories that we hope will last a lifetime. If you’d like to watch last night’s events, including a speech from our chairman, Eric Schmidt, and presentations from judges Dean Kamen and Tierney Thys, you can find video on our YouTube channel.

On behalf of Google, our partners and science lovers everywhere, we’d like to thank all of our finalists and everyone who submitted a project to the inaugural Google Science Fair. We are humbled by your ingenuity, your dedication and your skill. We are heartened to know that our future is in the capable hands of our young scientists—young men and women who tackle big ideas to bring significant, actionable change to the world.

If you’d like information about next year’s Google Science Fair, let us know and we’ll be in touch soon, or keep an eye on the Google Science Fair site for regular updates.

Update 5/14: We've added Scientific American to our list of partners.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Commerce Blog)

Following our first launch of Google Offers beta in Portland last month, we’re bringing great deals to the Big Apple and the Bay Area starting today. Subscribers who sign up at www.google.com/offers or via the new “Today’s Offer” tab in Google Shopper 2.0 for Android will start receiving emails with local offers in New York and the San Francisco Bay Area today.

We’re kicking off our bi-coastal rollout with offers from some local favorites:
We caught up with the small business owners of New York Dog Spa & Hotel, Yoshi’s Jazz Club in Oakland and San Francisco plus Toy Boat Dessert Cafe in San Francisco to learn more about them and why they’re running Google Offers in the coming weeks.



Also starting later today, you can buy, view and redeem a Google Offer of the day with Google Shopper 2.0 for Android. Once you’ve bought or saved an offer, it will appear in the My Offers tab in both the Shopper app and when you visit www.google.com/offers. Shopper will also connect you to all kinds of deals that are near you in the Nearby Offers tab, so wherever you are, you can still get great offers from Google even if you haven’t signed up for the daily deals in Portland, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area.



This is all just the beginning. Whether it’s touring Napa wineries, grabbing a slice of deep dish pizza in San Francisco or Albany, CA or catching an improv show in New York, stay tuned for deals from the best these areas have to offer.

Next up, we’ll be heading to Austin, Boston, Denver, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Point your browser to www.google.com/offers to sign up ahead of time so you don’t miss the sweet deals when we launch in these cities.

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The young scientists of the world have proven themselves truly impressive people—inventing technologies to improve the accuracy of prosthetic devices, developing video-audio memory aids for dementia patients and improving switch designs to prevent train derailments. These are just three of the top 15 projects competing for the grand prize in the inaugural Google Science Fair final tonight, which we’ll be live streaming at 7pm PDT at youtube.com/googlesciencefair.

Back in January, we launched the first Google Science Fair in partnership with CERN, LEGO, National Geographic and Scientific American. We asked young people from ages 13-18 all over the world to submit projects online that were creative, inspiring and groundbreaking. Ten thousand students from 91 countries submitted 7,500 projects, from which our international team of judges selected the top 15 finalists.

Today, those finalists are at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. where they’ll present their projects to a panel of science luminaries, inventors and Nobel laureates. The winners will receive amazing prizes including $100,000 in scholarships, internships at Google or our partners and a National Geographic Expedition to the Galápagos Islands.

So pull up a chair in your home laboratory and tune in to a live stream of the first Google Science Fair to find out which budding young Einstein will take home the grand prize. The event begins tonight, Monday July 11, at 7pm PDT—watch at youtube.com/googlesciencefair.

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(Cross-posted from the Inside Google Books Blog and the Google Commerce blog)

Starting this coming Sunday, July 17, the iriver Story HD e-reader will be available for sale in Target stores nationwide and on Target.com. The iriver Story HD is the first e-reader integrated with the open Google eBooks platform, through which you can buy and read Google eBooks over Wi-Fi.


The iriver Story HD, which retails for $139.99, is slim and lightweight with a high-resolution E Ink screen and a QWERTY keyboard for easy searching. It includes over-the-air access to hundreds of thousands of Google eBooks for sale and more than 3 million for free. With the Story HD you can now browse, buy and read Google eBooks with your e-reader through Wi-Fi, rather than downloading and transferring them from computer to e-reader with a cord as you can already do with more than 80 compatible devices.

We built the Google eBooks platform to be open to all publishers, retailers and manufacturers. Manufacturers like iriver can use Google Books APIs and services to connect their devices to the full Google eBooks catalog for out-of-the-box access to a complete ebookstore. You can also store your personal ebooks library in the cloud—picking up where you left off in any ebook you’re reading as you move from laptop to smartphone to e-reader to tablet.

In December, Google eBooks launched with the ability to read Google eBooks on any device with a modern browser, on Android and iOS devices using the Google Books mobile apps, through our Chrome Web Store app and on compatible ereaders. Since then, we’ve added new retailers—growing to include more than 250 independent bookstores—and made Google eBooks available in Android Market. We’ve also extended our affiliate network and updated our family of Google Books APIs.

The Story HD is a new milestone for us, as iriver becomes the first manufacturer to launch an e-reader integrated with Google eBooks. You can learn more about the Story HD on the iriver website.

Stay tuned for more Google eBooks-integrated devices to come. If you’re a manufacturer interested in integrating your next device with the Google eBooks e-commerce platform, please contact us at books-devices-request@google.com.

Update 7/13: We've corrected the word "e-ink" to the more precise "E Ink" as that is the technology brand used in the device's high resolution screen.

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This year, we’re mixing up our annual Zeitgeist conferences with the launch of Young Minds, a competition hosted by youth engagement agency Livity, supported by Google and hosted on YouTube. Starting this week, we’re searching for 12 inspirational young people who are making an impact on their world to attend Zeitgeist Americas 2011—our annual gathering of 400+ businesses and thought leaders from across the continent held each year in Paradise Valley, Ariz.

The winners will be invited to the two-day event, where they’ll take part in a series of tailored master classes hosted by Google and meet some of the most powerful and thought-provoking people on the planet. We want the pioneers, changemakers and leaders of tomorrow to take their place alongside the greatest minds of today and use Zeitgeist as a springboard from which they can continue to do amazing things to make the world a better place.

The Young Minds competition is open to people aged 18-24 from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. For your chance to win a slot at Zeitgeist Americas 2011, go to www.zeitgeistyoungminds.com before August 25 and upload a video that shows us how you’re making a positive impact on the world.

Update 7/8: Although previously stated that this competition was open to all of the Americas, please note that it is only open to people from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

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(Cross-posted from the Mobile and Lat Long Blogs)

One way we bring you new product features is through Google Labs—a collection of fun, experimental features you can turn on if you’re interested in the functionality. In fact, Google Maps itself started as a lab. In addition to our desktop Maps Labs, Google Maps for Android has a few tricks you can try out right from your phone. We’d like to introduce you to one new experimental feature, “Download map area," but also remind you of two other ones we already have: “Scale bar” and “Measure.”

Download map area
When you’re visiting an unfamiliar location, Google Maps for mobile is great for getting an idea of how close you are to your destination, where streets and landmarks are in relation to each other, or just for getting “un-lost.” But what if you don’t have a data signal, or you’re abroad and don’t have a data plan? We say that if you use Google Maps for mobile, you’ll never need to carry a paper map again. The “Download map area” lab in Google Maps 5.7 for Android is a step in making that statement true even when you’re offline.

Let’s say later you’re visiting Bordeaux during a trip to France. If you were to open Google Maps for mobile and zoom into Bordeaux without data coverage or wifi, you’d see the image on the left:


Left: Bordeaux with no data or wifi. Right: Bordeaux with downloaded map area

That’s not particularly useful when you’re trying to find out how close you are to the Cathedrale St. Andre. But a little advance planning and “Download map area” can help. Before you take your trip, while you still have access to WiFi or data coverage, you can open up any Places page in the world, click “More” to get the Place page menu, and download Google’s maps for a 10-mile radius.


Left: Tap a landmark to enter its Place page. Right: Place page “more options” menu

The download can take as little as a minute or two. This download stores only the base map tiles and the landmarks on the map, so you still need a data connection to see satellite view and 3D buildings, search for Places and get directions. But we hope the level of detail available will help you find your way!


Left: Status screen for download. Right: Coverage of downloaded map area

All your downloaded map areas can be managed in your Google Maps cache settings so you can delete maps you no longer need or if you want to free up storage. After 30 days, all downloaded map areas will be removed from your cache; they can be re-downloaded any time.

Scale bar
Google Maps has approximately 20 different zoom levels that range from a 2,000 mile scale to a 20 foot scale. With finger gestures making it really quick and easy to zoom in and out, sometimes it’s not always clear what zoom level you’re at. What might be just a few streets away can be quite a long walk depending on the scale. To help with this, you can turn on a scale bar, which updates based on your zoom level.


Scale bar in the lower left

Measure
If you ever need to know the distance between San Francisco and New York (about 2602 miles) or between any other two points on the map, the “Measure” lab can help you out. Once it’s enabled, you’ll notice a tape measure icon just above the zoom buttons. After clicking that icon, you’ll be prompted to tap two points on the map and Google Maps will calculate the straight distance between those points (this direct distance is “as the crow flies”).


Example of the “Measure” Labs feature

To access Labs on your phone, press your phone’s menu button once in Google Maps, choose “More” and select Labs. On a tablet, click the menu button in the upper-right corner of Maps. The “Download map area” lab requires Android 2.1+ and the latest version of Google Maps. We look forward to bringing you more experimental features soon and hope you enjoy trying out Labs in Google Maps for Android.

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(Cross-posted on the Google Lat Long Blog and the Google Mobile Blog)

Today we’re releasing Google Maps 5.7 for Android. From Bangkok to Baltimore, we’ve added Transit Navigation (Beta), updated access to directions, better suggested search results and a photo viewer to Place pages—all of which can help you whether you’re traveling to an unfamiliar part of town or visiting a city across the world.

Transit Navigation (Beta)
Google Maps Navigation (Beta) currently provides over 12 billion miles of GPS-guided driving and walking directions per year. Now, GPS turn-by-turn (or in this case, stop-by-stop) navigation is available for public transit directions in 400+ cities around the globe with Transit Navigation.



Transit Navigation uses GPS to determine your current location along your route and alerts you when it’s time to get off or make a transfer. This is particularly helpful if you’re in a city where you don’t speak the language and can’t read the route maps or understand the announcements. After starting your trip with Transit Navigation, you can open another application or put your phone away entirely and Google Maps will still display an alert in your notification bar and vibrate your phone when your stop is coming up.


Left: Transit directions without Navigation. Right: with Navigation



Navigation alerts appear even if you switch to another app

Now you can spend more time enjoying the sights out the window and less time worrying about how many stops are left, where you are along the route or whether you missed your stop. Since Transit Navigation relies on GPS signals, we recommend using this feature for above-ground transit.

Updated Directions
Now that we’ve improved our directions services, we wanted them to be incredibly easy to pull up on your screen. If you select the driving or walking icon and your route is supported by Google Maps Navigation, the Navigation icon will automatically appear so you can get access to step-by-step directions in one click. Note: this change is currently only in place for driving and walking and does not appear for public transit.


One-click access to Navigation from directions

We’ve also streamlined how you access directions from within a Place page. Before, clicking directions in a Place page would bring up options for “Driving Navigation,” “Walking Navigation” and “Directions.” Now, you’ll be taken straight to the map and see the new directions box shown above.

Improved Search Suggest
We’ve made two changes to search suggestions that improve their quality and speed. First, we’ve added category icons, so instead of all search suggestions displaying the same icon, the icon next to the listing will reflect the type of result. You’ll see a pin for a Google Places listing, a star for a starred Place or location, a clock for a previously used search term, a person for contacts and a magnifying glass for “anything else.”


Two examples of search suggest with new icons

Also, any place you got directions to or called directly from its Places page will be included as a suggestion for a relevant search. For example, if you recently received directions to the U.S. Post Office on Wilshire Boulevard, afterward, when you begin a search with [p] or [bou], that U.S. Post Office would appear as a search suggestion.

Photo viewer for Place pages
Since we released business photos for Place pages last October, millions of photos have been added to Place pages around the world. To enable you to view these photos on the run, a slick new photo viewer has been added so you can browse photos while deciding where to go.


Left: Business photos in Place pages. Right: New photo viewer

To start using Google Maps 5.7 for Android, download the update here. This update requires an Android OS 2.1+ device and works anywhere Google Maps is currently available. Learn more at our help center and have fun exploring, whether it be by car, transit, bike or foot.