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.  

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Google AdMob Ads Within A UITableView

  We previously talked about docking AdMob ads to the bottom or top of a UITableView. In response to that post, we’ve had a lot of developers asking us about embedding AdMob ads within the UITableView cells, so we wanted to share how this can be best achieved. Challenge Placing ads within a Table View in iOS as list items can bring up a number of issues:
  • Inflated impression numbers because tables in iOS refresh when the user scrolls.
  • The one-to-one mapping between data in the Table View and the application’s model will usually be lost.
    Choosing A Solution Table Views in iOS are populated by implementing the tableView:cellForRowAtIndexPath: method. Cell objects are often reused so that new ones aren’t instantiated each time the Table View is refreshed (by a scroll for example). There are two ways that ads can be implemented within Table View cells:
  1. Only use one GADBannerView throughout the table. This would mean that the same ad is displayed in different cells in the table (preferred).
  2. Leverage dequeueReusableCellWithIdentifier: so that GADBannerViews are created only when new cells are created.
Using one GADBannerView throughout the table does decrease ad diversity but generally increases the CTR for the ads that are shown because the user will more likely see the ads that are displayed. The example below will show how to implement this approach as it is the better practice. Solution - Single GADBannerView Method For the purposes of this example, let’s assume that every 10th element in the list is going to be an ad. This means tableView:cellForRowAtIndexPath: will be set up with a conditional that modifies the placement of the GADBannerView for every tenth cell:
- (UITableViewCell *)tableView:(UITableView *)tableView
         cellForRowAtIndexPath:(NSIndexPath *)indexPath {
  int row = [indexPath row];

  // Assume that kFrequencyAdsInCells is 10 so every 10th row is an ad
  // Don't want first item to be an ad so use 10-1=9 instead of 0
  if ((row % kFrequencyAdsInCells) == (kFrequencyAdsInCells)) {
    cell = [tableView dequeueReusableCellWithIdentifier:CellIdentifier];

    //Need to create a new cell object
    if (cell == nil) {
        cell = [[[UITableViewCell alloc] initWithFrame:CGRectZero
    // If bannerView_ has a superview, then it has been added to a cell
    if (!bannerView_.superview) {
      // First ad request made, make the ad request and add it to this cell
      [self requestAd];     
    // The banner will be removed from the other cell and put into here
    [cell.contentView addSubview:bannerView_];

Since ads are being inserted into the Table View now, any previous mapping to data in the model will be lost. Some quick math is necessary here to figure out how the rows in the Table View line up.
  // Complete in cellForRowAtIndexPath: if not ad

  // Make sure we get all of the items from our model
  row = row - floor((float)row/kFrequencyAdsInCells);

  cell.textLabel.text = [dataController_ objectInListAtIndex:row];
The methods tableView:NumberOfRowsInSection: and tableView:heightForRowAtIndexPath: will need to be modified as well. The method tableView:NumberOfRowsInSection: would now return the number of elements (including ads in that number) and tableView:heightForRowAtIndexPath: would return the height of an ad for every tenth cell, respectively.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

The new local search experience across your devices

How often are you doing a Google search from your computer to find information about a place before going there? Now, next time you go to on your Android phone or iPhone, information about that place will be conveniently available under the new “Recent” icon. Calling, getting directions or seeing details about the places you just searched for is now only one tap away.
We provide this new convenience feature for users who have Web History enabled and are logged into Google when doing their search. Start by searching for a place on your PC or other devices, then login to’s mobile homepage and check the Recent icon. Information about previously searched places will be available under the Recent icon for about a day.
The new “Recent” icon shows information about places you have recently searched for on any of your devices. Try swiping to the right to see more icons for other categories of places. (Cross posted on the Inside Search Blog)

Monday, 5 March 2012

Излезе BGmaps for Android - beta |

Излезе BGmaps for Android - beta |

'via Blog this'

The Web Audio API, multiplayer and live in WebGL

The Web Audio API, currently available in Chrome, provides a considerable amount of aural power to developers interested in integrating audio into their apps and games. Low latency audio playback, audio generation and realtime effects are available with a sensible API in Chrome stable. We worked with to develop Technitone, a web audio experience that lets you join other players to plot tones on a grid, construct melodies and modify the output with a robust toolset of effects.
technitone logo
Click on over and poke around.
  • Your tone samples can come from your own recordings, or any of the available samples.
  • The left side Tools panel offers realtime audio filters, like echo reverb and pitch shift.
  • We keep you connected to other players in realtime using WebSockets and Node.js.
  • You can drop into solo mode or invite your friends to join you in a session.
  • Get inspired by others’ audio creations in the gallery.
If you’re interested in the techniques and software behind the project, take a look at the case study with plenty of sample code and demos on HTML5 Rocks:

Google Developers House at SXSW

This year at SXSW our developer team is putting together an action-packed two days of lightning talks, code labs, developer hangouts, a LEGO Mindstorm hackathon, a mixology event, and fun surprises. Our Google Developers House (#googlesxsw) will be open on March 10th - 11th and is part of the Google Village at SXSW, which is free to all conference attendees. Come hang out with Google Developer Advocates, Engineers, Product Managers, and other Googlers from across the company. Come for major hacking or just to chill at the Google TV lounge or roast s'mores by the GTUG firepit. If you can’t make it, don’t worry. Our partners at NewTek will be live streaming our lightning talks and the LEGO Mindstorm Rumble on our YouTube channel.
SXSW Google Village logo
Here are a few of the activities you can look forward to at our Google Developers House at SXSW: Lightning talks From 11am to 2pm on March 10th we’ll be serving up lunch and fun, demo-loaded, 25-minute lightning talks to learn more about what you can build and design with the latest Google developer products. Check out the schedule to see which talks you won’t want to miss. Code labs Following the lightning talks on March 10th, from 3pm to 6pm we are holding interactive programming classes. Choose a code lab, roll up your sleeves, and get waist-deep in code. Learn how to build Google+ hangout apps, upgrade your Android app for tablets, or incorporate high-quality YouTube video playback in your product. Both Google+ and Android code labs are on a first come, first serve basis, but due to space constraints please fill in this form if you’d like to attend the YouTube code lab. Mixology event co-hosted by Startup Weekend Love science and cocktails? We do too. That’s why we’re hosting an event combining the artistry of master mixologists shaken with the science behind the craft. Be guided through various techniques, tricks and tastes. This event is co-hosted by Startup Weekend and will take place from 6pm to 8pm on March 10th. Google Developers LEGO Mindstorm hackathon The Google Developers LEGO Mindstorm Hackathon returns to SXSW on March 11th in even more epic proportions. Spend the day with a team building LEGO race bots controlled by Android leading up to the ultimate rumble that evening. Developer Hangouts In Real Life Need to debug your code? Wondering about the latest SDK release? Sign up for 15 minutes of one-on-one time on March 11th with product experts from the Google Developer Relations teams. Come armed with your code snippets, questions, curiosity, and hang out with the Googlers who know the products best.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Street View finally arrives in Russia

  Google has just released Street View in Russia, and while it only covers two cities so far (Moscow and St. Petersburg), the coverage in those cities is quite solid.   russia.jpg  To see the new imagery for yourself, you simply search for one of the cities in Google Earth and then drag the peg man on to the map. Here's a quick video to show how that works:     You can also check out the Russian Street View Gallery that was assembled by Keir Clarke at Google Maps Mania, as he's found some great locations to highlight in there.

Pro Case Study: Safety Training

In our third and final installment in our blog series profiling Turner Construction, Jim Barrent, Director of Integrated Building Solutions explains how Turner uses SketchUp Pro as an innovative training tool: Turner takes advantage of SketchUp Pro’s ease-of-use, friendly environment and the 3D Warehouse as a fundamental tool for introducing Turner engineers, superintendents, and safety managers to Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).
  Safety Example Model: Excavation Logistics   Turner training courses begin with teaching SketchUp Pro. Many VDC concepts are taught through SketchUp. SketchUp Pro is also a core tool and foundational step towards Turner’s advanced VDC tools and processes.
  Turner Safety Manager Training in SketchUp   Jim explains, "We find that SketchUp Pro is a great tool for introducing fundamental modeling and analysis skills to all construction families. At Turner, we include SketchUp Pro as part of the standard program installation package on all computers. This makes SketchUp just a click away for all users."
  Safety Example Model: Edge Protection and Opening Coverings  

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Updates to Google Docs app for Android

There may be times when you don’t have an Internet connection on your Android device, but you still want access to a file you’ve saved in Google Docs. Now you can select any file in Google Docs to make it available offline. So regardless of whether you’re connected to the internet, you’re always connected to those files.
Even better, Google Docs automatically updates your offline files when you’re on Wi-Fi. You can also manually update files anytime you have a data connection by opening the file or tapping ‘Update’ from the Offline section of the app.
Make file available offline Update online file
Make file available offline
Update offline file
For those of you with Android tablets, we’ve also improved the Google Docs reading experience. Now, when you open a Google document on your tablet while online, you’ll get a high-resolution version of the document. Swipe left and right to flip between pages, or use the slider at the bottom to page ahead quickly.
New reading layout on Android tablet
You can learn more about offline capabilities and the new reading layout in our Help Center.

Friday, 10 February 2012

What would you 3D print?

  It’s easy to see why 3D printing has captured the imaginations of modelers around the globe -- it’s captured ours as well! Being able to hold what you’ve modeled in your hand brings a new dimension (no pun intended) of understanding and usefulness to the 3D design process.
  We’re curious to learn more about what SketchUp users want out of 3D printing: if you were going to (or already have!) print a SketchUp model, what would it be?

The first Think Quarterly of 2012

In the amount of time it takes you to read this blog post, roughly 382 Android phones will be activated, 250,000+ words will be written on Blogger and 48 hours of video will be uploaded to YouTube. The world is moving faster than ever before, bringing us instant access and split-second connections to people and information. Speed is important in technology, but equally essential in business. Consumer expectations are rising as we learn to take speed for granted; today’s email is tomorrow’s snail mail. In our hyper-real-time world, nanoseconds matter—which means we need to question old assumptions. How will we respond to consumer expectations as the demand for instant access to everything intensifies? How will we keep pace in a world that moves at web speed? The new Speed issue of Think Quarterly explores these questions and more. Our SVP of Engineering Urs Hölzle shares our efforts to speed up the Internet, while Astro Teller, Director of New Products, dreams about the amazing inventions these improvements will unleash. Paul Gunning, CEO of Tribal DDB, talks about the rise of real-time marketing. And journalist Jeff Jarvis wonders if we’re really that fast after all. We hope you enjoy the issue. Let us know what you think on +Think With Google. And if you’re at CES this week, drop by our Room to Think in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center and tell us your thoughts live.

Sea Turtle migrations

Over the years, we've seen some great ways that Google Earth can be used to track the migration of various animals, including birds in Russia and Osprey. Today's tool is used for tracking a single animal - Jklynn, a female Hawksbill sea turtle - as she makes her annual migration. sctb.jpg WIDECAST, the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network that is a 2011 Google Earth Outreach grant awardee, tracks Jklynn via a transmitter and plots her location on a map. They've also turned it into a game ("The Great Migration Game"), encouraging students to try to predict where Jklynn will end up after nesting season. Thanks to the transmissions of her location, they were able to capture video of Jklynn's first hatchlings on Klein Bonaire, seen here: If you wish to follow Jklynn's journey, you can also track her via Twitter or Facebook. Be sure to also check out the other various organizations on the Google Earth Outreach site. (via Google Lat Long Blog)

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Doodle 4 Google

Starting today, we’d like to invite K-12 students in the U.S. to participate in our fifth annual U.S. Doodle 4 Google contest. Draw your rendition of the Google logo and you may see it on the ultimate gallery: the Google homepage. The winning doodler will also take home a $30,000 college scholarship and a $50,000 technology grant for his or her school. The theme for this year’s contest is “If I could travel in time, I’d visit...”. That could mean visiting a past, present or future setting—whether it’s traveling back in time to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the future to witness everyday space travel, or to just a few moments ago to relive a poignant experience. Building on last year’s record-breaking participation (107,000 entries!), we’ve made a few enhancements to the 2012 contest. First, we’re opening Doodle 4 Google up to an even wider audience—with a winner from every state. There will be five finalists and one winner per state, so everyone will have a local doodle champion to cheer on. From these 50 State Winners, we’ll find 5 National Finalists and the lucky National Winner. We’re also partnering with Crayola this year and the winning doodler’s artwork will appear on a special edition of the 64-crayon box—a first! Participating is easier than ever, since we’ve eliminated the registration step. All you need to do is submit your child’s or student’s artwork by March 20 with a signed and completed entry form. Contest judging starts with Google employees and a panel of guest judges—including multi-platinum singer Katy Perry, Phineas and Ferb creator and executive producer Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, and recording artist Jordin Sparks, as well as other great illustrators and artists—who will help us pick the state finalists and winners. Then, on May 2, we’ll put the 50 state winners up for public vote. All 50 State Winners will be flown to New York City for the national awards ceremony on May 17, with the winning doodle appearing on May 18. The doodles by the 50 State Winners will be displayed at The New York Public Library's historic Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street in an exhibition open to the public over the summer. We’ll also be partnering with museums across the country to display the artwork of the state finalists in areas near their homes. For more details, check out, where you’ll find full contest rules and entry forms. Happy doodling and good luck!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Calendar API v3 Best Practices

  We recently posted some best practices for working with recurring events in Google Calendar API v3. In this blog post we’ll highlight another improved area in the v3 API: event reminders.


Google Calendar API v3 offers developers flexible control over event reminders, including per-calendar default settings and custom overrides for individual events. The user’s default reminders for events on a given calendar can be found in the corresponding entry in the Calendar List collection. The Calendar List collection acts a bit like a list of bookmarks, containing entries for the calendars that the user owns or has looked at in the past (it corresponds to the content of the "My Calendars" and "Other Calendars" list on the bottom left in the Web version of Google Calendar). Each entry is annotated with user-specific settings for the individual calendar, such as the preferred color in the UI and the default reminders. Google Calendar currently supports three ways of reminding its users of events: "popup", prompting a message directly in the browser, mobile phone or desktop client, as well as "email" and "sms" for messages sent through the respective channels. To change the defaults, update the Calendar List entry and include the reminder method and how many minutes in advance the user should be alerted. In the following example, we set an email reminder to be sent 60 minutes before an event, and a popup reminder 10 minutes before.
 "summary": "Work Calendar",
 "defaultReminders": [
     "method": "email",
     "minutes": 60
     "method": "popup",
     "minutes": 10
  A Calendar List entry with title and default reminders.  The default reminders will be applied to all existing and future events on this calendar, provided they don’t have custom reminders set already. In contrast to earlier versions of the API, newly created events will also have reminders set by default. Sometimes, there are events that we want a special reminder for, or none at all. To override the defaults for a specific event, switch the useDefault flag in the reminders section to false, and include a set of custom reminders, or leave the list empty. When you define a set of override reminders for a recurring series, they are automatically applied to each of its occurrences, unless they have been overridden explicitly. Like the default reminders on the calendar, these are personal reminders for the user that is logged in, and will not influence the settings others might have for the same calendar or event. Here is an example that overrides the default reminders with a 15 minute SMS reminder for that specific event.
 "summary": "API Office Hours",
 "reminders": {
   "useDefault": false,
   "overrides": [
       "method": "sms",
       "minutes": 15
  An event representation with title and reminder overrides.  The defaults for the given calendar are included at the top of any event listing result. This way, reminder settings for all events in the result can be determined by the client without having to make the additional API call to the corresponding entry in the Calendar List collection. In this post and an earlier post about best practices with recurring events, we have covered some improved areas of the latest version of the Google Calendar API. Have a look at the migration guide for a more complete view of other changes we made in the new version, and let us know what you think. If you have any questions about handling reminders or other features of the new Calendar API, post them on the Calendar API forum.

Monday, 6 February 2012

3D Android at Google

  As you may have noticed over the years, we're big fans of Google Android. Google Earth is phenomenal on recent devices (3D buildings on the tablets and on the Galaxy Nexus). Each release of Android is given the name of a tasty treat -- Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich. As each version is released, Google erects a statue in front of their headquarters of the most recent treat. GEB reader 'Arek' felt that those statues deserved to be shown in Google Earth, so he modeled all of them and they've just been accepted into the main [3D Buildings] layer in Google Earth. They look great!   treats.jpg  To see them for yourself, simply fly over there by using this KML file. Be sure you have the [3D Buildings] layer enabled. You can also view the collection that Arek created in the Google 3D Warehouse. Of course, even better is viewing the 3D Android statues on an Android device, so here you go!   android-buildings.jpg    via: GoogleEarthBlog

Google Cloud Storage

By Navneet Joneja, Product Manager Google Cloud Storage is a robust, high-performance service that enables developers and businesses to use Google’s infrastructure to store and serve their data. Today, we’re announcing a new feature that gives you greater control over concurrent writes to the same object, and the availability of an App Engine Files API that makes it easier to read and write data from Java App Engine applications. Write concurrency control A number of our customers have asked us for greater control over concurrent writes, in order to implement features like strongly consistent write operations and distributed locking semantics in the cloud. In response to your feedback, we’re announcing the release of version-based concurrency control. Every time you update an object, it gets assigned a 32-bit, monotonically increasing sequence number. This version number is returned as a header with every GET or HEAD request. You can then use a conditional write operation to manage concurrent updates to the object (for example, when you want read-modify-write semantics). This feature is currently experimental. AppEngine Files API for Java applications Last fall, we announced the ability to read and write your Google Cloud Storage data using the App Engine Files API for Python applications. Today, we’re making the Files API available to Java App Engine applications too. This feature is currently experimental, and we’ll continue to enhance it in the months to come. As always, we welcome your feedback in our discussion group. If you haven’t tried Google Cloud Storage yet, you can sign up and get started here.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Visualization with Google Earth and the Google Analytics API

  Does your organization have several websites, each serving a particular geographic region? If so you know how challenging it is to analyze the data across these regions in a meaningful way. Visualizations can help, but they can be difficult to design. Newland communities, a developer of residential and urban home communities, manages numerous web properties for each community and is no stranger to these challenges. To address them, Newland used the query tool from ShufflePoint. The tool enabled the combination of data from Google Analytics and Google Earth, allowing Newland to visualize the data in new ways. ShufflePoint implemented a pilot project after discussing the idea with Chief Ingredient and their client Newland Communities. Their goal: deal with some of the problems associated with clarifying large amounts of data in a visually appealing manner. The outcome of the project was an integration of Google Analytics data with Google Earth. Using the Google Analytics API, the ShufflePoint query tool extracts metrics by location from Google Analytics for multiple Newland Communities web properties and creates KML representations viewable in Google Earth. The mashup provides advanced visual reporting on location based campaigns, showing their effect on pageviews, and highlighting any anomalies requiring further investigation. Additionally, the visualization is a great fit for promotional videos, or digital signage needs. “ShufflePoint uses almost every feature and capability of the Google Analytics API. The API has all of the characteristics that a developer could hope for, including great performance, correct semantics, OAuth for authentication, and good community support. The Google Earth based application has given ShufflePoint recognition for doing innovative and challenging things with Google Analytics. This has been beneficial for promoting ShufflePoint’s offerings.” Chris Harrington, CTO The ShufflePoint application can be found on the ShufflePoint website. If you’re interested in developing solutions for the Google Analytics platform, visit Google Analytics Developer Program.   [Cross posted from the Google Analytics Blog]

Improvements to Autocomplete

Custom Search Autocompletions allow you to add to the list of useful queries users see as they type in the search box. Today we are announcing two major improvements. Promotions in Autocomplete: Promotions are a great way to call special attention to a result by putting it at the top of search results and making it visually distinct. Now you can choose to display them in autocomplete too. To enable this feature, simply click Show promotions in autocomplete in the Promotions section of your CSE’s Control Panel. Note that promotions based on regular expressions or the $q variable will not appear in autocomplete. If you’d like to have promotions that appear in autocomplete but not in search results, you can add them via the new Autocomplete Promotion tab of the Custom Autocompletions in the Autocompletion section of your CSE’s Control Panel.  
Match mode: Match mode give you options for how Google displays autocompletions. The following are now available in the Promotions section of your CSE’s Control Panel. Changes to match mode will require you to update the CSE code snippet on your site.
  • Prefix (default) mode matches the opening words of the user’s query: “how to bake” will trigger “how to bake a pie”.
  • Ordered mode doesn’t require the words to be in the opening, but their order must match the user’s query: “bake a pie” will trigger “how to bake a pie”.
  • Any mode matches regardless of the order of the words in the user’s query. “pie bake” will trigger “how to bake a pie”.
We hope these new options make autocompletions even more useful for your site. Read more about Promotions in Autocomplete and Match mode. Let us know what you think in our discussion forum.

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Take Google Maps Indoors

More info: Lost indoors? Take Google Maps on your Android phone to select airports, malls, and retail stores to get floor layouts and accurate location readings. Figure out how to get to departments, airport gates, and even restrooms all from the palm of your hand.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Google Reducing the Local Search Result

  I first noticed this yesterday where every search for “storage + city” returned a 3-pack result regardless of the city that was searched (ie storage Toronto, storage Detroit, storage Miami etc etc etc ). This was true even on international searches like storage Paris, Fr.This change apparently occurred about two weeks ago and despite doing a range of searches both logged in and not, the ”storage + city” never returned a Blended Result nor a Pack other than the 3-Pack. While this search result was strange enough, today at least, many search results that were returning 7 Blended results or the 7-Pack are now returning many fewer pinned results. So my questions for you: 1)Are any of you in the storage business and how long have you been seeing this 3-pack only result? 2)For all of you, are your local searches now returning fewer pinned results in the main SERPS?

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Free imagery for Western Australia

There is new free imagery for Western Australia that will be of great use for mining and exploration industry: Satellite ASTER Geoscience Map of Western Australia. Quoting from media release, “ASTER, Japanese imaging instrument flying on the US TERRA satellite, launched in December 1999, has 14 spectral bands spanning wavelengths sensitive to important rock forming minerals, including: iron oxides, clays, carbonates, quartz and “Hydrothermal” minerals such as muscovite and chlorite.” “ASTER geoscience maps provide new mineral information not available from other current technologies. This new mineral information is valuable for more accurate mapping of the regolith cover that blankets much of Australia and finding those often small islands of bedrock materials, such as greenstones that may be associated with gold.”
The project was a collaboration between the Department of Mines and Petroleum’s (DMP) Geological Survey of Western Australia (GSWA) and the Centre for Three Dimensional Mineral Mapping Centre of Excellence (C3DMM) and was led by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO). The State ASTER maps have been carved into 1:1,000,000 mapsheets with individual file sizes reduced to ~100 MB each and can be downloaded for free in JPG2000 GeoTIFF format from CSIRO. The complete data set (~500 Gigabytes), is available from Geological Survey Western Australia product sales.

Branded Local Search Results: Google Vs. Bing

With the rollout of Google Search Plus Your World, there has been a great deal of discussion about whether Google’s actions are a basis for antitrust. The issues revolve more around user trust than antitrust. The full impact of the change has yet to be felt in Local BUT a number of other recent efforts by Google to cross promote their own properties have started to impact local results. Here is a branded local search for Barbara Oliver Buffalo. Google has made sure that Barbara Oliver’s local brand and website are readily accessible from search. She certainly seems to be benefiting from Google’s brand focus. However, her site, like many SMB sites, uses an embedded Google MyMap on the directions page and and offers an embedded YouTube video. She also has a very lightly used Plus Page. That hardly seems to warrant the high ranking that each of those pages have received. There are seven links to Google properties above the fold that lead to Maps, Places, YouTube, Plus and MyMaps. Clearly Google is also cross promoting their other properties but one certainly has to question whether the searcher is best served by these results. I have captured a Bing search result for comparison purposes so that you can decide which engine returns the most relevant results for the branded search. Let me know which one you think offers more relevant results. (click to see larger) To see the Bing screen shot of the branded search for Barbara Oliver Buffalo….

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