Sunday, 8 September 2013

Russian fifth-generation T-50 fighter - part 6 of 6

Russian fifth-generation T-50 fighter - part 5 of 6

Russian fifth-generation T-50 fighter - part 3 of 6

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Google Earth 7.0 released for Android with new 3D imagery

Google updated a whole bunch of their Android apps this afternoon, including Google Earth. Quietly included in that update is the new 3D imagery that they unveiled a few weeks ago. As we already knew, it's a limited number of cities that have this feature at the start. That said, it's a fairly impressive list of cities: Boulder, Boston, Charlotte, Lawrence, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Tampa in the United States, along with Rome, Italy. sf.jpg The imagery is very impressive from the air, though fairly rough from ground level. I expect that quality to improve greatly over time. If you're not seeing the 3D imagery, be sure that the "3D buildings" layer is enabled. boston.jpg In addition, they've included a new Tour Guide feature to help guide you around to popular destinations in various cities. You'll see a strip of images at the bottom of the screen in Google Earth that you can click and play. la-tour.jpg This update is available right now from Google Play, and will be available for iOS devices soon. Still no word on when this 3D imagery will arrive on desktop versions of Google Earth, but we'll be sure to let you know when we find out. (via Google Lat Long Blog)

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Google Places Pages Are No More

  Today Google announced the integration of business pages with Google + and the demise of their Google Place page. This is a change that has long been anticipated and one that simultaneously gives a business more control over their page AND dramatically enhances the review environment. Greg Sterling has a good overview of how specific details will change. Effectively Google + has become a destination for local search and a shared local experience. And tasks that were accomplished on the Place Page like reviews will happen on Plus instead. This explains the missing review buttons on mobile and the desktop. According to Greg Sterling “Not unlike some similar functionality offered in Foursquare, users will be able to sort and filter search results by several criteria, including “your circles,” which will reveal places “touched” by friends. Currently this means reviews and posts, but could extend to check-ins later.” But while the display of the page has changed, many other parts of the local ecosystem at Google have remained the same. Google Places is composed of three parts; the business listing display, a backend management tool and a ranking system. This change essentially moves the location of the business listing display, gives a business more control over the visuals and allows for more segmented social activity around reviews. However the current backend, the Places Dashboard will remain the primary location for input. Here is what I posted at David Mihm’s recent article about the coming Place – Plus merger: There is no doubt that Google is integrating (slowly) Places with the social backbone and the single login logic of their update. There has also been a trend away from highlighting the stand alone Place page… For example Google has pushed the Places result out the front page with the rollover option and made the Places page difficult to get to from Maps… So when thinking about what is coming I segment Places into three components 1)The display (search result or otherwise) 2)The SMB management interface 3)The back end architecture that assembles Places listings, dedupes the list, attaches reviews to a listing (or not :) ) Lets look at #3 first. This might be upgraded but it appears that the technology to automatically generate a business directory world wide will continue to persist and will survive any changes. Google is actively investing in the architecture with recent changes and tools & staff to fix the artifacts of its workings. #1 – Certainly Google is interested in displaying search results where ever and when ever they make sense and can generate ad revenue. While Place Pages are perhaps being directly displayed less on the desktop they might still make sense in mobile. They most certainly would make sense in the context of Plus in the many ways that you point out. #2 the Dashboard – It is likely that an SMB dashboard will continue to exist in some form or another. It will likely undergo a radical redesign so as to be able to provide a simple self service interface to Adwords, Analytics, Offers, Punchd etc. It makes all kinds of sense to add Plus to that mix for all the reasons that you point out. There certainly needs to be more reasons for SMBS to return to it but it seems unlikely that the primary interface for SMBS with Google will go away. Essentially this has transpired. The Dashboard is still awaiting an update but Google has confirmed that it will remain the point of contact for creating a business listing. The algo, while it will evolve to include more social signals, is still the algo and it will still rank businesses. It has been evolving right along but Google rarely throws away ranking algos rather they add and change the important elements. As for the backend that assembles the listings, dedupes the list, merges similar businesses that too will stay. It is being improved and enhanced but over the past year signficant investments in this technology has been made and it will not disappear. Google is still rolling out the change so the details of how all this will work are not yet clear. But they note “If you don’t yet have a Google+ Page for your business, we encourage you to create one now. And if you do already have one, hold tight for news on how to get it linked to your local listing.” So while some has changed, and the change is important, it is incremental change and not revolutionary change. It is a change that will hopefully engage more businesses in claiming and keeping their “place” current and one that will hopefully engage more customers with the business. But it is not a change that will fundamentally change (at least initially) how a business is ranked in the main search results nor how listings are created and assembled.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

A look inside our 2011 diversity report

We work hard to ensure that our commitment to diversity is built into everything we do—from hiring our employees and building our company culture to running our business and developing our products, tools and services. To recap our diversity efforts in 2011, a year in which we partnered with and donated $19 million to more than 150 organizations working on advancing diversity, we created the 2011 Global Diversity & Talent Inclusion Report. Below are some highlights. In the U.S., fewer and fewer students are graduating with computer science degrees each year, and enrollment rates are even lower for women and underrepresented groups. It’s important to grow a diverse talent pool and help develop the technologists of tomorrow who will be integral to the success of the technology industry. Here are a few of the things we did last year aimed at this goal in the U.S. and around the world: We not only promoted diversity and inclusion outside of Google, but within Google as well.
  • We had more than 10,000 members participate in one of our 18 Global Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Membership and reach expanded as Women@Google held the first ever Women’s Summit in both Mountain View, Calif. and Japan; the Black Googler Network (BGN) made their fourth visit to New Orleans, La., contributing 360 volunteer hours in just two days; and the Google Veterans Network partnered with GoogleServe, resulting in 250 Googlers working on nine Veteran-related projects from San Francisco to London.
  • Googlers in more than 50 offices participated in the Sum of Google, a celebration about diversity and inclusion, in their respective offices around the globe.
  • We sponsored 464 events in 70 countries to celebrate the anniversary of International Women's Day. collaborated with Women for Women International to launch the “Join me on the Bridge” campaign. Represented in 20 languages, the campaign invited people to celebrate by joining each other on bridges around the world—either physically or virtually—to show their support.
Since our early days, it’s been important to make our tools and services accessible and useful to a global array of businesses and user communities. Last year:
  • We introduced ChromeVox, a screen reader for Google Chrome, which helps people with vision impairment navigate websites. It's easy to learn and free to install as a Chrome Extension.
  • We grew Accelerate with Google to make Google’s tools, information and services more accessible and useful to underrepresented communities and diverse business partners.
  • On Veterans Day in the U.S., we launched a new platform for military veterans and their families. The Google for Veterans and Families website helps veterans and their families stay connected through products like Google+, YouTube and Google Earth.
We invite you to take a look back with us at our 2011 diversity and inclusion highlights. We’re proud of the work we’ve done so far, but also recognize that there’s much more to do to. These advances may not happen at Internet speed, but through our collective commitment and involvement, we can be a catalyst for change.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Your Map and the Internet

Sometimes it’s important to explain the fundamentals, just to make sure everyone is starting on the same page and to keep expectations in check. Because our heads are constantly caught up in maps and the internet, we sometimes forget that there are a few basic underlying concepts that others (clients, friends, family, etc.)  might not be grasping fully when they use our maps. A better understanding might help them through potential rough spots and frustrations, often simply resulting from a poor internet connection. We found that explaining these concepts with words alone didn’t get the message across very well. Words like “server”, “code” and “wireless” can stick better when accompanied by a picture, as can the broader concepts that surround them related to how computers request and receive code and data for mapping purposes. This is the internet infographic we came up with:


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Why a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Affiliate Website Photo
Current Website Photo (click to read the fine print)
Original Website Photo
Wikipedia Photo
Thanks to Linda Buquet of Catalyst Marketing for additional “research”.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

The Knowledge Graph: things, not strings

Search is a lot about discovery—the basic human need to learn and broaden your horizons. But searching still requires a lot of hard work by you, the user. So today I’m really excited to launch the Knowledge Graph, which will help you discover new information quickly and easily. Take a query like [taj mahal]. For more than four decades, search has essentially been about matching keywords to queries. To a search engine the words [taj mahal] have been just that—two words. But we all know that [taj mahal] has a much richer meaning. You might think of one of the world’s most beautiful monuments, or a Grammy Award-winning musician, or possibly even a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Or, depending on when you last ate, the nearest Indian restaurant. It’s why we’ve been working on an intelligent model—in geek-speak, a “graph”—that understands real-world entities and their relationships to one another: things, not strings. The Knowledge Graph enables you to search for things, people or places that Google knows about—landmarks, celebrities, cities, sports teams, buildings, geographical features, movies, celestial objects, works of art and more—and instantly get information that’s relevant to your query. This is a critical first step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do. Google’s Knowledge Graph isn’t just rooted in public sources such as Freebase, Wikipedia and the CIA World Factbook. It’s also augmented at a much larger scale—because we’re focused on comprehensive breadth and depth. It currently contains more than 500 million objects, as well as more than 3.5 billion facts about and relationships between these different objects. And it’s tuned based on what people search for, and what we find out on the web. The Knowledge Graph enhances Google Search in three main ways to start: 1. Find the right thing Language can be ambiguous—do you mean Taj Mahal the monument, or Taj Mahal the musician? Now Google understands the difference, and can narrow your search results just to the one you mean—just click on one of the links to see that particular slice of results:
This is one way the Knowledge Graph makes Google Search more intelligent—your results are more relevant because we understand these entities, and the nuances in their meaning, the way you do. 2. Get the best summary With the Knowledge Graph, Google can better understand your query, so we can summarize relevant content around that topic, including key facts you’re likely to need for that particular thing. For example, if you’re looking for Marie Curie, you’ll see when she was born and died, but you’ll also get details on her education and scientific discoveries:
How do we know which facts are most likely to be needed for each item? For that, we go back to our users and study in aggregate what they’ve been asking Google about each item. For example, people are interested in knowing what books Charles Dickens wrote, whereas they’re less interested in what books Frank Lloyd Wright wrote, and more in what buildings he designed. The Knowledge Graph also helps us understand the relationships between things. Marie Curie is a person in the Knowledge Graph, and she had two children, one of whom also won a Nobel Prize, as well as a husband, Pierre Curie, who claimed a third Nobel Prize for the family. All of these are linked in our graph. It’s not just a catalog of objects; it also models all these inter-relationships. It’s the intelligence between these different entities that’s the key. 3. Go deeper and broader Finally, the part that’s the most fun of all—the Knowledge Graph can help you make some unexpected discoveries. You might learn a new fact or new connection that prompts a whole new line of inquiry. Do you know where Matt Groening, the creator of the Simpsons (one of my all-time favorite shows), got the idea for Homer, Marge and Lisa’s names? It’s a bit of a surprise:
We’ve always believed that the perfect search engine should understand exactly what you mean and give you back exactly what you want. And we can now sometimes help answer your next question before you’ve asked it, because the facts we show are informed by what other people have searched for. For example, the information we show for Tom Cruise answers 37 percent of next queries that people ask about him. In fact, some of the most serendipitous discoveries I’ve made using the Knowledge Graph are through the magical “People also search for” feature. One of my favorite books is The White Tiger, the debut novel by Aravind Adiga, which won the prestigious Man Booker Prize. Using the Knowledge Graph, I discovered three other books that had won the same prize and one that won the Pulitzer. I can tell you, this suggestion was spot on! We’ve begun to gradually roll out this view of the Knowledge Graph to U.S. English users. It’s also going to be available on smartphones and tablets—read more about how we’ve tailored this to mobile devices. And watch our video (also available on our site about the Knowledge Graph) that gives a deeper dive into the details and technology, in the words of people who've worked on this project: We hope this added intelligence will give you a more complete picture of your interest, provide smarter search results, and pique your curiosity on new topics. We’re proud of our first baby step—the Knowledge Graph—which will enable us to make search more intelligent, moving us closer to the "Star Trek computer" that I've always dreamt of building. Enjoy your lifelong journey of discovery, made easier by Google Search, so you can spend less time searching and more time doing what you love.

Friday, 25 May 2012

How to correct map errors in Google Earth

  We get a lot of emails from users asking us to correct data errors in Google Earth -- incorrect road names, mis-marked addresses, etc. We can't do that directly, but fortunately Google has a great solution to help you out. To start, you don't actually fix the errors in Google Earth; you fix them in Google Maps, and those corrections are synced into Google Earth over the course of a few weeks. To suggest a correction, simply right-click on an area inside of Google Maps and choose "Report a problem". The following screen will pop-up and will walk you through the process:   report-problem.jpg  I've suggested quite a few edits to my local area, and all have been accepted into Google Earth/Maps and helped make my town more accurate. It's a great tool to help make Google products more accurate for everyone. To learn more about how this process works, you can visit this page in the Google Maps support system.


A world of opportunity at the G(irls)20 Summit

We’re pleased to have Farah Mohamed join us today to talk about her organization, the G(irls)20 Summit, of which Google is a proud sponsor. The mission of the G(irls)20 Summit is to showcase how girls and women can impact a country’s economic prosperity, political stability and social innovation. - Ed. Research shows that investing in girls and women can help the global economy. Consider the following examples:
  • According to Plan UK, an extra year of education increases a girl’s income by 10 to 20% and is a significant step on the road to breaking the cycle of poverty.
  • In Kenya, adolescent pregnancies cost the economy $500 million per year, while investing in girls could potentially add $32 billion to the economy (NIKE Foundation, 2009, Girl Effect).
  • If men and women had equal influence in decision-making , an additional 1.7 million children would be adequately nourished in sub-Saharan Africa (International Labour Organization, 2009).
These are significant estimates, and they highlight a real opportunity for global economic growth. That’s why the G(irls)20 Summit is working with Google and many other corporate and foundation partners to empower girls and women. Launched in 2010 at the Clinton Global Initiative, the G(irls)20 Summit precedes the G20 Leaders Summit, and brings together one girl aged 18 to 20 from each G20 country plus the African Union. The delegates attend workshops and participate in panel discussions to come up with tangible, scalable solutions for how to engage and empower girls and women around the world. Then, at the end of the summit, they lead a press conference and present a set of recommendations for the G20 leaders to consider. This year, the Summit will take place in Mexico City from May 28-31. But the impact of the Summit will be ongoing, thanks in part to the power of the Internet and social media. Take past Summit participants July Lee of the U.S. and Noma Sibayoni of South Africa, who launched Write With A Smile to encourage teens to continue with their education. Or Riana Shah of India who co-founded Independent Thought & Social Action (ITSA India), an education reform organization that aims to empower socially responsible youth leaders. And the African Union’s Lilian Kithiri continues to persevere creating awareness around reproductive health to communities living in the rural areas of Kenya. There are a few ways you can experience the Summit: Whether you’re a girl, boy, woman or man, we all have a role to play in empowering girls and women. As UN Under Secretary-General Michelle Bachelet once said, “gender equality and women’s empowerment are goals in their own right and central to all other goals—must be more than a mantra. It must become a lived reality for women and men and boys and girls in all countries.”

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Spain wins the 2012 Model Your Town Competition

We've talked about Pedro Domecq Aguirre, better known as "PeterG", quite a few times on here. He recently got some big news, and him and his teammate Josetxo Perez Fernandez were announced as the winners of Google's 2012 Model Your Town Competition! Of the six finalists in the running, their models of Getaria, Gipuzkoa, Spain were voted as being the best. As you can see from the image below, they certainly did an awesome job: getaria.jpg Their awesome work will help to show the world how great Getaria is, and it also earned a $25,000 prize to a local school!

Monday, 21 May 2012

Russian satellite brings us real-time Google Earth

  We often get questions from users wondering how to access the "real-time Google Earth imagery". As you probably know, that doesn't yet exist. In fact, if you understand how Google Earth imagery works, you'll realize that we're a long way from a real-time version of Google Earth. However, we're a small step closer to that goal with the release of a 121-megapixel image from a Russian satellite, the highest-resolution non-stitched image of the earth that has ever been captured:   russian.jpg  It seems likely that the only way to achieve a real-time Google Earth will be to have satellites capturing incredibly high-resolution images and transferring them back down to earth. While this image is certainly remarkable, it's roughly 1000 meters per pixel. Decent imagery in Google Earth is 1 meter per pixel (or better), so cameras will need to capture imagery at much higher resolution to make it work. In addition to that, there's the issue of transferring the imagery to earth, properly aligning it, dealing with clouds, etc. We're still years away from a real-time Google Earth, but this has brought us one small step closer to it! (via CNET)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

What Should You Tell A Client When Google Loses Their Reviews

  Google continues having technical issues with losing reviews  particularly when the CID of a listing changes due to a merge. Also they seem to be tightening down what appears to be a relatively unsophisticated spam algo (first confirmed in November 2010)  that is catching a number of good reviews with the bad. Don Campbell, amongst many others over the past few days, asked me what to tell rightfully upset clients that lose reviews from their Google Places page. Here is what do when I have a client that has lost reviews: 1) Educate the client: I refer people to this Google authored article, Having technical issues with the reviews on your listing? In it Google outlines most of the issues as to why reviews go missing. The issues range from spam abatement to Google simply losing them in certain situations. Google notes that in most situations there is often little to be done even by The Google themselves until the issues are fixed and appropriate tools are developed. (In fact it really make the most sense to educate your client BEFORE they lose reviews so that they know what to expect and when it does happen you are not the one that they take their frustration out on.) 2) Provide a dose of humor and reality: Since there is not much a client or SEO can do, I also I provide them with the 6,6,6 rule for lost reviews to guide them as to what to expect in terms of recovery of the reviews. It might provide some small comfort. What is the 6,6,6 review rule? (any client imagined thoughts about the devil suggested by my guideline are actively encouraged) If reviews don’t come back to the Google Places page in 6 days, they might return in 6 weeks If they don’t return in 6 weeks they might return in 6 months If they don’t return in 6 months they have descended to Dante’s 6th Ring of Hell 3) Encourage them to stick with the plan: Regardless of what Google is doing (or more likely not doing) in regards to reviews this week, the best tactic is to keep on truckin’… continue to get more reviews at both Google AND 3rd party sites. I know it is hard and discouraging when difficult to obtain reviews are lost but neither the client (nor we) can control what Google does. The client can, in the end, only control what they do. It is better to have some reviews rather than none. A steady stream of reviews at the review sites will guarantee that the business has a solid review base no matter what and no matter whether Google has lost em again. 4) Advise the business to take control of their own destiny: (Contributed by Jacob Puhl) With the realization that some percentage of reviews will likely continue to disappear, the client should take it upon themselves to make copies of the reviews they do recieve at Google. If the reviews do disappear repurpose those that disappeared as testimonials on the client web site. In the same vein, implement hReview/ formatted testimonials on your site to highlight these “lost” reviews so that there is the chance of getting the additional review stars in search. Be sure that the testimonial page has enough prominence that there is a chance that it will be used by Google as a review page. Reviews are hard to come by and painful to lose but just because Google doesn’t have their act together doesn’t mean that your client shouldn’t either. The value of reviews in terms of increased credibility & conversions is too high for the SMB to just give up on the process when confronted with adversity.

The Terbuka University in 3D

  Over the past few years we've seen a variety of 3D University maps in different formats, including Harrisburg, Cantabria, Central Florida, Duke, Northeastern, Bowling Green and many others. The latest is a slick 3D map developed by from a variety of Universities in Indonesia, including Tebuka University.   terbuka-plug-in.jpg  Along with the excellent interface using the Google Earth Plug-in, Exist is also the company behind all of the excellent 3D models for the campus. All of the models are in the main 3D Buildings layer in Google Earth, and they look great!   terbuka.jpg  You can explore them for yourself by using this KML file. Be sure to check out Google Earth Plugin-powered version at

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Google Currents is hot off the press

We strive to give you beautiful and simple ways to experience all the content the web has to offer, such as sharing photos on Google+, watching YouTube videos and discovering books, movies and music from Android Market. Today we’re expanding our content offering with the introduction of Google Currents, a new application for Android devices, iPads and iPhones that lets you explore online magazines and other content with the swipe of a finger.
We’ve worked with more than 150 publishing partners to offer full-length articles from more than 180 editions including CNET, AllThingsD, Forbes, Saveur, PBS, Huffington Post, Fast Company and more. Content is optimized for smartphones and tablets, allowing you to intuitively navigate between words, pictures and video on large and small screens alike, even if you’re offline. To get started, simply download the app and choose the publications you want to subscribe to for free. You can also add RSS, video and photo feeds, public Google+ streams and Google Reader subscriptions you’re already following. In addition to consuming your favorite media, you can also use the trending tab to discover related content that matches your tastes. Alongside Google Currents, we’re also launching a self-service platform that gives publishers the flexibility to design, brand and customize their web content. For example, if you’re a small regional news outlet, a non-profit organization without access to a mobile development team, or a national TV network with web content, you can effortlessly create hands-on digital publications for Google Currents.
Great content needs a great audience, which is why Google Currents is integrated with Google+ so users can share articles or videos they’ve enjoyed with their circles. Publishers can also associate their account with Google Analytics in order to increase their awareness of consumers’ content preferences, device use and geographic distribution. Google Currents is now available for download in Android Market and the Apple App Store for US users. Whether you’re a reader or a publisher, we hope that Google Currents helps you easily experience the best content on the web. Try it here now and stay tuned for more to come.

Parsing mailboxes using Python

  Google Apps domain administrators can use the Email Audit API to download mailbox accounts for audit purposes in accordance with the Customer Agreement. To improve the security of the data retrieved, the service creates a PGP-encrypted copy of the mailbox which can only be decrypted by providing the corresponding RSA key. When decrypted, the exported mailbox will be in mbox format, a standard file format used to represent collections of email messages. The mbox format is supported by many email clients, including Mozilla Thunderbird and Eudora. If you don’t want to install a specific email client to check the content of exported mailboxes, or if you are interested in automating this process and integrating it with your business logic, you can also programmatically access mbox files. You could fairly easily write a parser for the simple, text-based mbox format. However, some programming languages have native mbox support or libraries which provide a higher-level interface. For example, Python has a module called mailbox that exposes such functionality, and parsing a mailbox with it only takes a few lines of code:
import mailbox

def print_payload(message):
  # if the message is multipart, its payload is a list of messages
  if message.is_multipart():
    for part in message.get_payload(): 
    print message.get_payload(decode=True)

mbox = mailbox.mbox('export.mbox')
for message in mbox:
  print message['subject']

Monday, 19 March 2012

Apple's Map Data is Missing Large Features

  Taking a deeper look at Apple’s map tiles reveals much about their source. Here in Tempe, large sections of freeways built in the late 90s are missing. Take a look at Loop 101 which has been around for over a decade. On Apple’s new maps it is missing: Apple Tempe Map Clearly Google has the road: Google Tempe Map I’m guessing that Apple used older free map data in many places, this might be something like TIGER 1990 I suppose. It isn’t just this freeway, most of the Phoenix area is missing large sections of development. For showing the location of photos these map errors aren’t an issue at all, but if we are ever going to navigate, Apple has a ton of work cut out for them. I’ve you’d like to browse the Apple Map tiles yourself, give this website a try: In looking at the data closer, at least here in the Phoenix area, I’m sure this is TIGER data. Compare the Apple tiles with OSM.  

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