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Monday, November 13, 2006

Your wish is our command

<p>Here's some recent changes we've made to Reader that we thought you'd like to know about:</p> <p><img src="http://googlereader.blogspot.com/uploaded_images/reading-list-controls.png" width="281" height="90" alt="Reader list controls" align="right"><strong>Reading list ordering defaults:</strong> Your reading list can be sorted in different ways (by date or "automatically", which shows you more relevant items first). Additionally, it can have read items hidden or always visible. Until this week, the default combination was to sort automatically and show read items. Unfortunately, this meant that new items did not necessarily end up at the top, which was confusing to some users. We've therefore changed the defaults to sort by date and hide read items. If you prefer a different combination, these settings can be controlled by the links at the bottom of your reading list (pictured on the right).</p> <p><strong>Related subscriptions menu:</strong> When we made the <a href="http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2006/06/careful-where-you-step-were-moving.html" title="recent improvements">recent improvements</a> to reading by subscription or label, we neglected one use case, which was to see a list of subscriptions that have a particular label. Based on <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/Google-Labs-Reader/browse_thread/thread/ec3482d479d35d05?tvc=2" title="feedback">feedback</a> from our users, we've added a new menu, "Related subscriptions," that shows up when selecting a label or a subscription that has labels.</p> <p><strong>Starring in the mobile interface:</strong> Our <a href="http://www.google.com/reader/m/" title="mobile interface">mobile interface</a> is handy for when you're on the go, but occasionally you can come across an item that you would like to re-read when you're back at your computer. Until now, the mobile interface provided no way to flag an item so you could find it later. Now all items that you read have a "Add star" link at the bottom of the page, so you can easily add it to your starred items.</p> <p><strong>Bugfixes:</strong> As usual, with each release we try to polish Reader by fixing bugs here and there. Some recent ones that we've squashed include: better Safari support on the settings page and when marking items as read, better support for non-audio enclosures and better support for <a href="http://www.intertwingly.net/blog/2006/04/02/Relative-References" title="relative URLs in entries">relative URLs in entries</a>. <p>A lot of these changes were made in response to user feedback and bug reports. The best way to make yourself heard is to post in <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/Google-Labs-Reader" title="our discussion group">our discussion group</a>.</p> [more]

Spotlight on a Support Team Member: Yvonne Chen

By Yvonne Chen, Google Base Support

Hi, my name is Yvonne Chen. I have a business background in marketing and leadership, and am delighted to be a part of the Google Base support team. I started working at Google in May 2006 as an Online Operations Coordinator, and am responsible for reviewing bulk uploads submitted by our providers, as well as answering any questions they may write in about. The satisfaction of our providers is very important to us and we are constantly trying to improve processes so that Google Base is simple and useful for everyone.


My favorite feature in Google Base is its integration with Google Checkout. With this feature, you can include Google Checkout as a purchase option for single-item posts and bulk uploads. This means that you don't have to have your own website or buy any additional technology in order to process transactions. If you are interested in adding the Google Checkout feature to your Google Base items, please let me or anyone on the team know, and we will be happy to help you get started.

Looking for some tips? As far as Base goes, first, please make sure that your prices are correct. One of the quickest ways to get your bulk upload disapproved is to include the wrong prices. We really want to provide a quality user experience, and all know how annoying it can be to click on an item and find out that instead of $13.99 it's $139.99 . . . watch those decimals, folks. I also recommend that you try to use as many relevant attributes as possible. Some basic attributes such as: title, link, description, image_link, price, and id are required. However, if you would like to have a better chance of matching a "refinement" query, be sure to include additional attributes. If you'd like to view a list of our attributes, please visit:

http://base.google.com/base/help/attributes.html

And lastly, if you bulk upload your items, please make sure that you include working links. We know that you want users to be able to find your items when they click on your links in our search results. Before submitting your file, double check your item links to make sure that they are working and that they direct users to a specific item.

When I am not working on Google Base, you will find me snowboarding, playing the piano, cooking, trying out new restaurants, traveling, exploring San Francisco with friends, or pondering the idea of business school.
[more]

Teen read week

<span class="byline-author">Posted by Ryan Sands, Book Search Support Team</span><br /><br />This week is Teen Read Week, promoted by the American Library Association, and the theme for 2006 is "Get Active @ Your Library." We're excited by anything that gets more people reading, and Young Adult fiction is often where the freshest books are being released -- the kinds of unhinged stories that turn teen readers into lifetime book lovers. During this week, we hope that Google Book Search and the <a href="http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/teenreading/teenreading.htm">Teen Read Week website</a> help teens and adults find books that spark their interest.<br /><br />On the Teen Read Week site, you can weigh in on your favorite Young Adult books of 2006 <a href="http://www.ala.org/trw06template.cfm?section=trw&template=cfapps/yalsa_trw/survey.cfm">by taking a survey</a> (I'm voting for <i>Peeps</i>, <i>Skybr eaker</i>, and <i>A Certain Slant of Light</i>). The site also includes <a href="http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/teenreading/trw/trw2006/psa.htm">radio spots</a> by <i>The Princess Diaries</i> author Meg Cabot, <a href="http://books.google.com/books?as_q=&num=10&btnG=Google+Search&as_epq=&as_oq=&as_eq=&as_libcat=0&as_brr=0&as_vt=&as_auth=meg+cabot&as_pub=&as_drrb=c&as_miny=&as_maxy=&as_isbn==">many of whose books</a> are discoverable in Google Book Search.<br /><br />It's a wonderful time for Young Adult fiction, with exciting titles in all genres coming out each month. For those of you looking for a place to start, check out some of the books honored with the <a href="http://www.ala.org/ala/yalsa/booklistsawards/printzaward/Printz%2C_Michael_L__Award.htm">Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature</a>. They represent a real ly cool swatch of contemporary YA fiction, and a number of the winners and nominees can be found on Google Book Search, including:<br /><ul><br /><li> 2006 Nominee <i><a href="http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0060743905&id=tdJU9jxxhI0C&pg=PA3&lpg=PP1&sig=tTEd0ilBm-xDYsxX-uA5UK4j7wY">Black Juice</a></i> by Margo Lanagan, a great collection of unique, dark fantasy short stories about families, elephants, and (what else but) clown assassins.<br /><br /></li><li>2005 Nominee <i><a href="http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0060531800&id=whh8tqQIcGEC&pg=PA1&lpg=PP1&sig=9AjGxzUQD57EMU_NKmU0QW4b6hg">Airborn</a></i> by Kenneth Oppel, an alternate universe adventure story about a teenage boy, airships, and exploration, set against a fantastical Victorian backdrop.<br /><br /></li><li>2003 Winner <i><a href="http://books .google.com/books?id=bLRcYvBQPlUC&vid=ISBN0525468633&q=postcards+from+no+man's+land&pgis=1">Postcards From No Man's Land</a></i> by Aidan Chambers, which follows two intricate narratives (one in the past, one in the present), depicting adolescence in times of war.<br /><br /></li><li>2000 Winner <i><a href="http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0064407314&id=dX5YBgIkFJ0C&amp;amp;amp;pg=PA7&lpg=PA7&amp;vq=monster&dq=monster&sig=TLbHDDZU2RM6W9oZ2cEgC3WoFQ4">Monster</a></i> by Walter Dean Myers, an unconventional novel as written by a 16-year-old accused felon, told as a makeshift screenplay/journal.</li></ul><br />That's only a taste. You can check out the complete list of <a href="http://www.ala.org%2Fala%2Fyalsa%2Fbooklistsawards%2Fprintzaward%2Fpreviouswinners%2Fwinners.htm+">winners and nominees</a> on the Teen Read Week site. [more]

Searching the Inside AdWords blog

The Inside AdWords blog has been running for 17 months, 8 days and 4 hours (give or take) and now includes over 200 posts. That's a lot of information detailing how you can use AdWords more effectively. If you haven't been following the blog the whole time, or if you want to get back to something you missed, you can use our search function to find information on just about any topic we've covered.

Take a look at the upper right corner of the blog. Just below the Google logo you'll see the search box, labeled "Search Inside AdWords", where you can type your query. Here's one query you can try: ad not showing. This will bring up all of the posts on this topic.

Since our search box is powered by Google, you'll see your search results on a page that looks like any regular Google search. Similarly, you can use all the handy tricks that you already use with Google search to find exactly what you want. Below are two of the more helpful search operators for searching the Inside AdWords blog, as mentioned in the very useful Essentials of Google Search -- specifically Phrases and Negative Terms.

Phrases - Putting your search terms in quotation marks will search for posts that contain those terms in that order. For example, if you only wanted results about the Google network, then you should enclose your search term in quotes, "Google network". (Please note that while we've capitalized Google in this example, the search itself is not case-sensitive -- so a search on "google network" would give you the same result.)

Negative Terms - You can take out words that you're not looking for using the negative operator (the "-" sign). If you search for report center -analytics, for example, you'll only find posts on The Report Center that do not mention analytics in your search results.

For more tips on using Google search, check out this printable cheat sheet. And, if by any chance you do a search for a topic that's important to you and get no results at all, please let us know. You may have just discovered the next post we should be writing! Happy searching!
[more]

Video post: AdSense at San Jose SES

Back in August, the AdSense team landed at the Google booth at the <a href="http://adsense.blogspot.com/2006/07/do-you-know-way-to-san-jose.html">Search Engine Strategies Conference</a> in San Jose, CA. We had a blast meeting all of you in person, providing optimization advice on the spot, and listening to what you had to say about AdSense. Whether or not you were able to attend, I'm excited to share with you a video recap of the conference.<br /><br /><embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=8113978340557621536&hl=en" flashvars=""> </embed><br /><br />Didn't get a chance to meet our optimization specialists at SES? Don't worry -- you can read through their helpful <a href="http://adsense.blogspot.com/archives/2006_08_01_adsense_archive.html">'Optimization Month' posts</a>, or visit our <a href="https:/ /www.google.com/adsense/tips?sourceid=aso&subid=ww-en-et-asblog_2006-10-30&medium=link">Optimization Tips page</a> to learn more about how you can optimize AdSense for your site.<br /><br /><span class="byline-author">Posted by Dan Friedman - AdSense Product Marketing</span> [more]

Now anyone can Talk

Google Talk is now open to everyone! Until now, users needed a Gmail account to use Google Talk. Now, anyone can use the service by creating a Google Account.

Happy Talking!
[more]

Google and Creative Commons

Because of the important work <a href="http://www.creativecommons.org/" title="Creative Commons">Creative Commons</a> accomplished over the past year, Google has decided again to donate $30,000 to their cause. Here's an update on some of the awesome work they've been doing:<br/> <ul> <li> <a href="http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CcHost" title="ccHost">ccHost</a>, the engine that powers <a href="http://ccmixter.org/" title="ccMixter">ccMixter</a>, developed further support for more media types (audio, video, image, text). It also won the <a href="http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/6026" title="LinuxWorld Product Excellence Award">LinuxWorld Product Excellence Award</a> for "Best Open Source Solution" in August 2006.</li><br> <li> <a href="http://wiki.creativecommons.org/CcPublisher" title="ccPublisher">ccPublisher</a> can connect to other media repositories (such as the In ternet Archive), and has been localized.<br/></li> <br> <li>Creative Commons established an <a href="http://developer.creativecommons.org" title="open source developer's community">open source developer's community</a>, a portal for discussion lists, projects and challenges that focus on the standards and technology that support the Creative Commons licenses.</li><br><li> From January 2006 to July 2006, CC license linkbacks grew from 40,000,000 to 140,000,000, indicating a near exponential growth in CC license adoption.</li></ul> <br> [more]

Announcement from the Emetrics Summit

Today, in a speech to the entire Emetrics Summit audience, Brett Crosby from Google announced the beta launch of a new tool, Website Optimizer.

Website Optimizer is a free tool that helps AdWords advertisers test different landing pages and determine which one drives the most conversions. A true multivariate testing tool, Website Optmizer allows you to test variations of headlines, promotional copy, and images. The tool allows you to update your site with the winning test combination and continue to experiment.

The beta launch of Website Optimizer is a limited release that is offered to AdWords advertisers on a sign-up basis.

Professional, consulting and implementation services for customers will be provided by select Google partners such as Optimost, EpikOne, and ROI Revolution who include Website Optimizer within their suite of professional offerings.

For more details, read the Google AdWords Blog post.

[more]

What we're reading

There are some pretty fantastic resources on the web for people who use Google Analytics, and those interested in learning more. We want to mention a few blogs on web analytics generally and on Google Analytics that we've been reading. We highly recommend these to all of you who use data to back up your online decisions.

ROI Revolution Blog
ROI Revolution is a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant (GAAC). This frequently updated blog contains interviews with web analytics experts, as well as Google Analytics tips and in-depth explanations of reports with screenshots. Great reading. Take a look at these two recent posts:
Start at the Beginning: Making Sense of the Google Analytics Toolbox by Meredith Smith
Understanding Google Analytics' Data Over Time Report by Michael Harrison


GA Experts Blog
A European GAAC affiliated with Omega Digital Media and a very informative Google Analytics-focused blog addressing practical questions and offering some pretty ingenious solutions. Learn about a new filter called "Override Bid Term Filter" that will show you the actual search keywords that brought a visitor to your site, not just the keyword that you bid on in your PPC account, in the recent post How to Get Detailed PPC Keyword Data from Google Analytics

This Just In
Written by Justin Cutroni who works at EpikOne, a one-stop, do-it-all GAAC on the east coast, which has its own informative blog. Justin posts helpful, troubleshooting articles that help clarify Google Analytics and make it even more understandable, useful, and accessible. Check out Justin's recent posts:
Google Analytics: How to Tell When Something is Wrong
Google Analytics Configuration Mistake #3: Third Party Domains


Occam's Razor
Written by Avinash Kaushik, head of web research and analytics at Intuit, and a vocal and visible analytics practitioner, advocate, and thought leader. Every web analyst, marketer, webmaster, IT specialist, and executive should read his recent post: Seven Steps to Creating a Data Driven Decision Making Culture


[more]

Custom Search Engine Support

Last night Google launched the <a href="http://google.com/coop/cse/">Google Custom Search Engine</a>. (You can read more on the <a href="http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2006/10/eureka-your-own-search-engine-has.html">Google Blog</a>.) We added support for this to the AJAX Search API so you get results from your Custom Search Engine through GwebSearch(). <br><br> Your Custom Search Engine is identified by its ID, which shows up as a "cx" value in the search box code (e.g., "000455696194071821846:reviews"). In order to restrict a web search to only search results from your Custom Search Engine just call .setSiteRestriction() and pass it its unique ID. You can read more about this in our <a href="http://code.google.com/apis/ajaxsearch/documentation/reference.html#_class_GwebSearch">online documentation</a>. <br><br> It's not our style to leave you hanging with just words, so we put together a <a href="http://www.google.com/uds/samples/cse/index.html">sample application</a> that uses Custom Search Engines with the AJAX Search API. The sample application uses four Custom Search Engines: one that's all about product reviews, one for price comparisons, one for forums and message boards, and one for shopping. In addition, we threw in a tab for Blog Search, one for unrestricted Web Search, and one for News. For a little color, there's a <a href="http://www.google.com/uds/solutions/videobar/index.html">Video Bar</a> across the bottom as well. In addition to demonstrating Custom Search Engines, the sample also shows some advanced CSS styling and coordination of multiple search controls from a single search form. We hope you find this useful, and we'll look for your comments in the <a href="http://groups.google.com/group/Google-AJAX-Search-API">developer forum</ a>. [more]

Custom Search Engine Refinements

On Tuesday we announced our support for Custom Search Engines. We asked you for your input and many of you suggested that we add support for Custom Search Engine Refinements. This evening we launched support for Custom Search Engine Refinements in a way that complements what many of you are trying to build. We extended .setSiteRestriction() so that in addition to passing the Custom Search Engine Id, you can also pass a Custom Search Engine Refinement label. See the code snippet below:
 var cseId = "017576662512468239146:omuauf_lfve"; searcher = new GwebSearch(); searcher.setSiteRestriction(cseId, "Lectures"); 
To demonstrate this new capability, we have produce a new sample. The AJAX Search API based Curriculum Search Sample performs parallel searches over a Curriculum Search Engine as well as the engine with a "Lectures", "Assignments", and "Reference" refinements. This sample is based on the full blown Curriculum Search Engine hosted on code.google.com/edu. As always, please continue to provide feedback.
[more]

The Blogger Outages (a novel)

<span style="font-style: italic;">It was a dark and stormy night. The air was quiet. Too quiet. Yet stormy. Suddenly, a beep rang out from a bedside pager. The engineer woke up, grabbing a soda to sharpen his senses. Blogger was down. He needed to bring it back up.<br /><br /></span>When I get the chance to write my pulp story of a gritty Blogger engineer struggling to keep the site alive, I may look back on this past week as a prime source of choice dramatic fodder. Until then, I, like many of you, will look upon this past week with irritation, disappointment, and maybe even a bit of anger.<br /><br />You need to look no further than our <a href="http://status.blogger.com/" title="status blog">status blog</a> or perhaps your own experiences to know that <span style="font-weight: bold;">Blogger had a significant number of unplanned outages this last week</span> (forgive me my euphemisms?) and a handful of planned one s to clean up from the unplanned ones. It’s been a Murphyesque cavalcade of power failures, fileserver trouble, and wonky network hardware, and I hope you’ll believe me when I say that the Blogger staff is even more sick of it than you are.<br /><br />First up, <span style="font-weight: bold;">our apologies</span>. We really regret these outages, which were a nuisance (or worse) to you. The past week’s performance was <span style="font-style: italic;">not</span> representative of the kind of service we want to provide for you.<br /><br />More importantly, though, what are we doing to prevent this in the future? Some good news:<br /><ul><li> In the short term, <span style="font-weight: bold;">we’re replacing quirky hardware and increasing our monitoring</span> to stop problems before they start (forgive me my clichés?). This afternoon’s planned outage did just such a thing. </li& gt;<li> In the long term, <span style="font-weight: bold;">we’re developing a new version of Blogger</span> with some great new features that is built on technology and hardware that has proven, Google-quality reliability. The current Blogger infrastructure is — albeit in a very <a title="Abe Lincoln’s axe" href="http://desertcraftsmen.com/Abe.shtml">Lincoln’s axe</a> way — the same that Google acquired four years ago. Sure, we’ve built on it and expanded it significantly since then, but the truth is we’ve more than out-grown it. The new version is ground-up more scalable and less error-prone.<br /></li></ul>The news gets better: We foresaw the need for the long-term solution, well, a long time ago. Long enough ago that <span style="font-weight: bold;">it’s almost done, and you can use it</span> as the <a href="http://beta.blogger.com/" title="new version of Blogger in beta">new version of Blogger in beta</a>. If you can switch to it (see <a href="http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=44404&topic=9083" title="requirements">requirements</a>) you really should. The new version of Blogger is better in almost* every way, including reliability. (It’s worth pointing out that none of this past week’s trouble affected the new version of Blogger or its blogs.)<br /><br />It’s been a bad week for Blogger, and, as I hope you can tell, we’re not denying it. Instead, we have taken and will continue to take specific steps that make Blogger a more reliable, overall better service for you to use.<br /><br />Oh, and as a final <a title="dogfoodish" href="http://buzz.blogger.com/2006/10/chowing-down-on-dogfood.html">dogfoodish</a> note, I’m pleased to point out that our <a href="http://status.blogger.com/" title="status blog">status blog</a> is now powered by the new version of Blogger. Thi s means that we will be free of the Catch-22 of problems with the current version of Blogger preventing us from reporting about the problems with the current version of Blogger. (And we’ll fix that bug that makes it look like all the posts came from me. We’re on it.)<br /><br />* The new version of Blogger is available only in English, which we will remedy very shortly. Also FTP publishing isn’t there yet, but that’s coming soon, too. Once these are in place, the new version <span style="font-style: italic;">will</span> be better than the current version in every way. [more]

Join a User Study

We're currently looking for bloggers to participate in a user study to improve our product. You've given us feedback and we've listened, and now we're looking for more. If you're interested (and if you've been maintaining a blog for at least 3 months), just fill out this form. We are especially looking for people in New York City and San Francisco Bay Area, but others are welcome as well!

P.S. Just to let you know, filling out the survey doesn't guarantee you'll be contacted.

P.P.S. Thanks in advance. Studies like this are immensely helpful, letting us make Blogger as fun and useful as possible for all of you.
[more]

API Changes Take Effect Today

As we first announced on April 11, 2006, today marks the start of the new AdWords API Beta program terms and conditions. Starting today, the current developer quota limits have been abandoned and developers will begin to accrue charges at the rate of $0.25/1000 quota units consumed (or local currency equivalent). We believe these changes will result in more flexible and scalable system for quota allocation and consumption.

You can find more information on the billing process at http://www.google.com/support/adwordsapi/bin/answer.py?answer=46894.

If you are having difficulty accessing the AdWords API, please verify that you have completed your registration and have incorporated your approved Developer Token and Application Token into your API request headers.

-- Rohit Dhawan, Product Manager
[more]

Tips for Handling Error 129

It seems that some of you have recently encountered Error 129 (“You can't use the API until you complete the signup process and are approved”).

If you encounter this error, please check the following:
  • Have you completed the API registration process? If you have not completed the process, you should see warning messages on the AdWords API Center prompting you to complete the necessary steps.
  • Did you update your request header to incorporate the new developerToken and applicationToken arguments? And are the proper tokens entered for each?
  • Have both your Developer Token and Application Token been approved? You can check this from the AdWords API Center.
If you answer ‘yes’ to all of these questions, and are still encountering error 129, then please send an example of your SOAP request and response for which you get this error to api-migration-help@google.com. Please keep the other headers intact in the Request XML and replace your password with "xxx". If you need help, the sample code section of the AdWords API site shows you how to get these SOAP traces in various languages.

-- Jon Diorio, Product Marketing
[more]

WEB OFFICE COLLABORATION IS KILLER APP

In all of the breathless coverage of a possible suite of Web-based productivity applications, a few level-headed types have pointed out that the only way to guarantee adoption is to provide apps that deliver a better experience than what is currently available on the desktop. Unfortunately, that largely hasn’t been the case to date. Google Spreadsheets is [more]

HOW TO CLOSE THE ITBUSINESS COMMUNICATION GAP

All too often, it seems as if IT and the business just aren’t speaking the same language. Business types have a tough time conveying their requirements to IT in language they understand. And IT often doesn’t explain the value it brings to the organization in plain enough English — enough about “uptime” already. So it’s good to see some [more]

ULTIMATELY REMOTE SECURITY IS UP TO USERS

A story at VARBusiness, which reports on a survey from Cisco and InsightExpress, offers many facts and figures on how well remote workers guard security. Indeed, the second page of the story simply is a recap of all the questions asked and responses received. Respondents’ answers are broken down according to country. The survey can’t be seen [more]

THE QUICKLY EVOLVING WORLD OF WLAN SECURITY

It’s easy: The big names in wireless local area network (WLAN) security are, according to this Processor story, WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA-EAP (also known as WPE-Enterprise), WPA2-PSK, and WPA2-EAP. But you knew that, right? Okay, we didn’t either. The point is that like so many things in modern telecommunications, WLAN security is a huge and complex afterthought: Consumers [more]

MIXED MESSAGES ON BANKS AND OFFSHORING

As someone who used to work in the financial services trade press, I was interested in the results of a recent Datamonitor survey discussed in the Business Banking Review, which found that bankers seem largely impervious to the offshoring trend. According to Datamonitor, just 18 percent of retail banks had offshored business processes, while 40 percent had [more]

REDUCED TECH SPENDING ISNT NECESSARILY A BAD THING

In a recent blog entry, Nicholas Carr uses the results of InformationWeek’s recent survey of the InformationWeek 500, the companies it recognizes as among the most innovative users of IT, to support his continued contention that IT is becoming less strategic and is little more than a cost center for most companies. We are a little [more]

WANING WORTH OF IT CERTIFICATIONS

What are companies looking for in their IT employees? Broader business and problem-solving skills? Check. IT certifications? Not so much, according to a recent survey from Foote Partners. The firm found that compensation for 129 certified skills dropped 2 percent in the third quarter of 2006. During the same period, pay for non-certified skills rose 1.4 [more]

WILL PAULSON MAKE SARBOX REFORM A REALITY

People have been talking about changing or doing away with Sarbanes-Oxley since it became law four years ago. Many have even attempted to turn that talk into action, either within the regulatory framework — by proposing new Securities and Exchange Commission rules – or with new legislation. So far, nothing concrete has come of these efforts. If what we’ve read [more]

SEC TO TAKE SARBOX SUGGESTIONS IN DECEMBER

A news brief posted on WebCPA today reminds interested parties that the Securities and Exchange Commission will be accepting recommendations for changes to Sarbanes-Oxley (aka Section 404) at an open meeting in two months. So will Treasury Secretary Paulson’s “posse” have submitted all of their respective proposals before then? The Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, which also has Paulson’s [more]

SARBANES OXLEY WHISTLEBLOWERS IN FOR LONG HAUL

One of the first people to seek protection under the whistleblower provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is still awaiting resolution of his case. According to a CFO.com story, David Welch alleges that he lost his job as CFO of a financial institution in 2002 after questioning the company’s internal controls and refusing to sign off on [more]

DOES LATE FORM 4 SIGNAL STOCK OPTION BACKDATING

Months after many brushed off the revelation of widespread option back-dating as something that would just blow over, at least 100 companies have filed financial restatements as the result of internal investigations, high level executives have left their companies and/or face criminal charges, and the Securities and Exchange Commission has issued new rules on executive pay disclosure. And [more]

VOTING FOR SARBANES OXLEY REFORM

No matter how strongly you feel about the issues, we’d venture to guess that you’re sick of campaign signs cluttering the landscape and political ads invading your downtime in front of the television. Thankfully, by this time next week it will be almost over. Before we get there, though, consider this: An analysis posted at Financial News this [more]

HPS PROBLEM IS SARBANES OXLEYS FAULT

We’ve written before that it’s far too easy to blame the tough requirements in Sarbanes-Oxley for business or market failures: If we’re losing money, it’s because we had to spend so much on Sarbox compliance, darn it. Certainly, the U.S. stock exchanges are losing listings to London and other markets because Sarbanes-Oxley is too burdensome. So [more]

FRANK NO RUSH TO REFORM SARBANES OXLEY

Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank, who is slated to take over for the retiring Michael Oxley as head of the House Financial Services Committee if Democrats gain control of the House in tomorrow’s elections, is proving Foley & Lardner attorney Tom Hartman’s point. Last week, we noted that a Financial News piece quoted Hartman as saying that the push for [more]

ACCOUNTING GIANTS SEEK FINANCIAL REPORTING REFORM

The current financial reporting system “is broken,” according to a KPMG representative quoted at MSNBC recently. Six of the world’s top accounting firms (PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, KPMG, BDO and Grant-Thornton) say the quarterly financial reports put together and verified according to Sarbanes-Oxley requirements need to be replaced by real-time, Internet-based financial information that [more]

INDUSTRY BUZZING AGAIN WITH TALK OF ORACLE LINUX

Has it been six months since we last heard Oracle CEO Larry Ellison making noise about jumping into the open source market with an Oracle version of the Linux operating system? The only thing Oracle needs to offer a complete software stack, he told the Financial Times back in April, is an operating system, and [more]

DOES RED HAT HAVE A CHOICE

Analysts and pundits alike haven’t stopped talking since Oracle made the big announcement (that it would offer inexpensive support services for Red Hat Linux) and Red Hat responded in “tough guy” fashion that it will continue to compete in the market — without dropping prices. Most have been critical of Red Hat’s approach, thus far. iTWire’s Stan Beer says the company [more]

MICROSOFT LINUX PART 2 RED HAT RESPONDS

It didn’t take long for Red Hat to comment on the Microsoft-Novell agreement, which will pit the leading Linux distributor directly against the software juggernaut. An Ars Technica piece published over the weekend quotes Red Hat’s executive secretary as saying that the company will be the only player in the Linux market a year from now. The Microsoft-Novell deal, [more]

WHATS THE REAL SOA STORY LET THE READER BEWARE

Everyone who reads the IT trade press knows that SOA has moved from the hot trend stage to mainstream adoption. And how do they know? By reading the IT trade press. Granted, there’s a certain circular logic here. But the people who need this knowledge –  like CIOs or developers trying to build the right skill [more]

APPLIANCES NOT FOR DUMMIES

The name of the first executive who used the term “appliance” to describe an IT product is lost in the annals of IT history, but the concept of trying to make complex processes simple for the user – pretty much as simple as a toaster – lives on. It’s an interesting idea, but have we gone [more]

SOA VENDORS SELL BUSINESS BENEFITS

An interesting bit of information came to light in a recent informal conversation with a vendor of process integration solutions – notably, the quote-to-cash process. The company in question uses Web services and SOA to create its solutions, and its initial marketing efforts involved touting the SOA approach to IT organizations. The IT people were [more]

AJAX THE HERO OF LONG TAIL APPS

Ajax has been a hero in the Trojan War, a popular cleaning product, an acronym, and now, according to Ron Schmelzer of ZapThink, a style of programming that puts more power in the hands of individual employees and gives credence to the newest fad in business thinking, “long-tail” economics. Ajax appeared on the media radar in [more]

IS METADATA WORTH IT

The Butler Group, a respected IT consultancy, has produced an interesting statistic.  Enterprises waste 10 percent of their total salary costs because employees can’t find the information they need. Did we really need a survey to tell us this? But seriously, the 10 percent figure and others like it are often used by consultants and vendors to [more]

TIME TO ENCOURAGE WEB 20

In a recent interview with JotSpot co-founder and CEO Joe Kraus, we went a little beyond our normal focus on data and process integration and uncovered some perspectives that may have huge implications for the enterprise. To take a step back, JotSpot’s product offering is a corporate wiki. A wiki, as almost everyone now knows due [more]

BOILING THE OCEAN AN OVERWHELMING DATA ISSUE

We always like unambiguous responses to our efforts, and reader Matt Stitz came through for us in his comments about a recent IT Business Edge interview with Ron Schumacher, the CTO of Initiate Systems. “What a useless column/article!” wrote Stitz. He was referring to the question of “which data should [be in] a central hub master, and [more]

YES ITS NAGGING BUT REGISTRIES ARE CRUCIAL TO SOA

David Raab and Kathy Campbell of CRM Buyer provided a brilliant insight in a recent article on choosing a CRM system: “Projects like this almost always originate with a very specific business problem.” While their point was related to CRM, it’s equally valid for SOA, where this problem-oriented approach can be a problem in itself. When [more]

SOME GOOD NEWS ON OFFICE 2007

There is a fair amount of commentary regarding the new Office 2007 suite coming out this fall, most of it positive. John Carroll, blogging on ZDNet, said the ribbon-based GUI takes a little getting used to, but in the end is a very intuitive approach that gets you where you need to be quickly. Mac users, meanwhile, [more]

COMBINING STORAGE VIRTUALIZATION AND ILM

A couple of key questions surfaced this week regarding storage virtualization and its ability to adequately track and monitor data being shuttled between a growing multitude of sources and destinations. One writer from McDATA was quick to point out that seemingly new technologies like virtualization and information lifecycle management are the modern equivalents of device emulation and heirarchical [more]

MOVING AHEAD WITH IPV6

Computer Sciences Corporation’s decision to deploy IPv6 got us thinking about whether enterprises will see any benefits besides enhanced security if they, too, adopt the protocol. It turns out there are a slew of operational bonuses as well. Not only will it improve communications and management capabilities between HQ and remote offices, it will help lower costs and [more]

THE DRIVE TO IMPROVE THE DATA CENTER

Data center issues have been front and center for most enterprises for the past several years. From powering and cooling to backup and recovery, it seems like a lot of investment is being made to ensure that the business stays up and running during an emergency and files and records remain handy in case the [more]

THE VIRTUAL WORKSTATION BIGGER THAN THE DATA CENTER

Ever since Parallels came out with virtualization software allowing you to run Windows and the Mac OS on a Mac workstation, people have been wondering how long it would take VMware to get into the act. Well, the company finally let slip that it is working on the Fusion platform that will let IntelMacs run [more]

WEB 20 IN FITS AND STARTS

It’s turning out to be the debate of the ages. Are new monikers like Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and SOA 2.0 really new generations of technology that are poised to shake the foundations of the digital world? Or are they just buzz words to get you to buy more stuff that you don’t need? Our guess [more]

NEWS ON BLADE STORAGE

Blades are having an impact on the data center in more ways than one. The tighter, denser servers draw more power for both processing and cooling operations, which is a serious concern in itself. But each blade also requires someplace to store data, which adds to the burden of the data center, in terms of power, [more]

MOVING TOWARD REAL DATA MANAGEMENT

There are certainly lots of tools for enterprise data management (EDM). They fall under a number of categories: data governance (DG), master data management (MDM) and customer data integration (CDI), to name a few. But they all perform various flavors of the same function, that is, integrating data sets from a wide diaspora of environments and [more]

DONT LET SHORT TERM THINKING AFFLICT SOA DEPLOYMENTS

One of the main benefits of implementing an SOA strategy is the end of legacy data silos that exist in most enterprises. The thinking is that greater access to data and applications across all organizational units improves efficiency, productivity and competitiveness. But now we’re hearing that a vast number of SOA implementations are being made not [more]

HPC AFFECTS STORAGE TOO

High-powered computing (HPC) begins in the research labs and eventually trickles down to the commercial world. And while much of the attention is given to faster processing, the fact is that HPC is having a real-world effect on the data center. Leading researchers are taking a good, hard look at how ever-increasing computer power is affecting storage [more]

TELCOS KEEP PUSHING VOIP

AT&T, in another example of the legacy telephone companies’ “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” strategy, has landed a contract to provide VoIP services to the architectural firm of Bucher, Willis & Ratliff. The deal, which covers a San Antonio headquarters and six offices across the country, includes networking and data services in addition [more]

COULD VOIP HELP PUSH ONLINE COMMERCE

The key to online commerce is the ability to cut through the clutter, grab hold of visitors and lead them to actually buy something. That’s easier said than done, since leaving any site is only a mouse-click away. This TMCNet story says that iSupporter is providing customers such as Jumpeye Creative Media and FlashStore Products with an application [more]

FIBER NEW CABLE TECH PUSH BROADBAND SPEEDS

The numbers from RVA Market Research are dramatic: The firm, cited in a ComputerWorld story on fiber deployment, estimates that there were more than 1 million fiber users in North America as of September. That’s almost a three-fold increase from the 332,700 subscribers at the end of last year and more than six times the 146,500 [more]

WIRELESS VOIP HANDSETS TAKING OFF

We know a hot market when we see one, and it’s clear that wireless VoIP handsets fit the bill. An announcement from Cicero Networks, an Irish company, says that its product — cleverly named the CiceroPhone — can be hosted by Nokia’s S60 family of handsets. That puts the CiceroPhone in the pockets of a whole [more]

GOOD REVIEWS FOR CINGULAR HSDPA PHONE

New cellular phones are being thrown at consumers at an ever-accelerating rate. This is a review of one such phone, the Cingular 8525. The outstanding thing about the new entry, according to the reviewer, is its support for High Speed Packet Downlink Packet Access (HSPDA), a next-generation 3G cellular technology. The author likes more than she [more]

IP PBXES ARE DIFFERENT ANIMALS MAKE THAT WORKHORSES THAN LEGACY VOICE BOXES

Research from In-Stat raises an important point, in addition to providing interesting numbers on the growth of Internet protocol-based public branch exchanges (IP PBXes). The firm says that the growth of the devices will be driven, at least to some extent, by the fact that they are called on to perform more tasks than legacy [more]

ARUBAS WIRELESS VOIP PLAY

Aruba Networks plans to mobilize its portfolio of wireless local area network (WLAN) switches to support wireless VoIP. The company is entering the third phase of a five-stage plan. Fixed mobile convergence, the attaching of wireless VoIP functionality to fixed line infrastructure, is an important next step in communications. Many telecommunications players — including traditional carriers, [more]

IS 3G A VICTIM OF THE HYPE MACHINE

The Democrats won. That’s their big problem: Now they have to do more than complain. They have to govern. If history is any guide, it won’t be long until people call them failures. 3G is facing the same sort of challenge. The platform has gradually been rolling out, but naysayers already are calling it a flop. The [more]

WERE NUMBER TWENTY ONE

This Washington Post op-ed, written by FCC commissioner Michael Copps, bemoans the state of broadband in the United States. Most dramatically, Copps cites an International Telecommunication Union report that says that the United States is 15th in the world in broadband penetration and 21st (after Estonia, that hotbed of broadband activity) in a “digital opportunity” [more]

MICROSOFT SET FOR VOIP PUSH

Microsoft, to nobody’s great surprise, is gearing up for a full frontal Microsoft-like assault on the VoIP market. This was promised by CEO Steve Ballmer and set up by the acquisition in August, 2005, of VoIP startup Teleo. It should be interesting. News reports say that the company is somehow combining VoIP with the Vista operating [more]

GOOGLE BUYS WIKI TOOLS DEVELOPER JOTSPOT

Google, the company that has made free search engines a multi-billion-dollar behemoth, has turned its attention to developing wiki tools. In a deal announced today, Google is set to acquire JotSpot, a California company that develops tools that enable users to create, change and delete contributions posted by others in a workgroup. Joe Kraus, JotSpot co-founder and [more]

SEAGATE DRIVE TIP OF ICEBERG ON NEW WAYS TO PROTECT AGAINST LAPTOP THEFT

Security and laptops go together like love and divorce, but BusinessWeek has some pointers to help pave the way to computing bliss. It puts Seagate Technology’s new hard-drive encryption software front and center, reasoning that the biggest threat to the data stored on laptops is theft. The portable computers are small, easily stolen and very expensive [more]

SYSTEMS BUILDERS TO AMD WHERE ARE ALL THE CHIPS

It’s not hard to find folks willing to say that Dell can’t do much right these days. There are the financial investigations, exploding batteries, miffed customers, and falling revenue. Now even Dell’s hookup with AMD chips for PCs and servers is a target for another group of very unhappy tech folks. Smaller system builders say their supply [more]

LIVEOFFICE VS GOOGLE APPS HOW WILL SMALL BUSINESS PAY FOR SOFTWARE

Microsoft’s plans for its Web-based Office Live services for small businesses sound a lot like a me-too Google’s Apps: simplified Web site design and hosting, e-mail sent from the company’s domain and tie-ins to instant messaging. The big difference is that while Microsoft is admittedly hitting the SaaS market a little late, it is coming with [more]

IN THE NEW CENTURY WHAT MAKES A MONOPOLY

More than 116 years after Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, the FTC has embarked on a series of hearings aimed at determining just what a monopoly looks like in the 21st Century. At a hearing held Wednesday in Washington, the commission turned its eye on so-called “tying” arrangements — a practice by which the sale [more]

LOVE CORE 2 DUO CORE 2 EXTREME QX6700 IS HERE TOO

If you liked the Intel Core 2 Duo processor’s benchmark results — and there was a lot to like — wait till you see the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6700 “Kentsfield” quad-core processor. And it hasn’t been much of a wait, either. Is Kentsfield a real quad-core? Depends on your definition. The Extreme is two side-by-side [more]

INTERNET GROWTH SPARKS RESEARCH EFFORT TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE

We’ll try to be brief, since by the time you finish reading this, you will have missed the debut of at least 10 other new blogs.  Technorati reports that a new blog lands on the Web every half-second, so you won’t want to miss all those new bits of wisdom. The Web’s growth rate is accelerating [more]

LICENSING FLACK OVER WINDOWS VISTA RE INSTALLS FOR ENTHUSIASTS ONLY

It will have little impact on most businesses, but Microsoft is getting some begrudging credit this morning for backing away from what we have to say was a pretty strident licensing condition for consumer Windows Vista users. In its Vista end user license agreement (EULA), Microsoft had moved to limit to one the number of times [more]

AMAZON WANTS TO HELP YOU BUILD THE NEXT AMAZON

Choosing a Web services vendor? Would the process be easier if one of the choices was a company that had come through the dot-com boom, the dot-com bust, and the pooh-poohing by countless analysts and business experts of its business plan to become one of the biggest online success stories around? Not coincidentally, this company also built a massive back-end [more]

WIKIS AND COPYRIGHT WORTH A LITTLE USER TRAINING

From the Nobody Can Actually Be Surprised By This department: The Associated Press is reporting this morning that Wikipedia Watch publisher Daniel Brandt, a critic and sometimes personal antagonist of the user-edited encyclopedia, has found 142 examples of plagiarized biographical articles at the site. Wikipedia has pulled down the content in question, and its founder says that while some copyrighted materials [more]

HOW MUCH WINDOWS VISTA CAN SAVE IT TOO TRICKY TO TELL

Your company is going to save so much money when it upgrades all its PCs and laptops to Windows Vista. So says Microsoft (go figure). Say around $35 per PC per year for the OS move alone and $340 per PC for a move including all the related Vista products (security, remote management, etc.). Savings will come primarily from [more]

TECHNOLOGY LIKELY TO HAVE MORE IMPACT ON THE ELECTION THAN ELECTION WILL HAVE ON TECHNOLOGY

With forecasts calling for heavy Democratic gains in the House, and with a smaller chance of Dem showers in the Senate, tech industry insiders are already asking, “What’s in it for us?” Answer: Not so much. Tech issues, many argue, rarely split down party lines, making which party is in charge less important than which individual [more]

WINDOWS BUG IS SECOND ZERO DAY FLAW THIS WEEK FROM MICROSOFT

An ActiveX flaw in Microsoft XML Core Services 4.0 is actively being exploited by hackers to take control of computers running Windows 2000, XP SP2 or Server 2003, security firms and Microsoft are reporting. What’s worse, for both Redmond and users, is that the flaw is related to a vulnerability supposedly patched in October’s patch release, [more]

WITH MERGER ATT THREATENS TO DETHRONE ITS MOTHER

Ma Bell’s place as one of the most powerful monopolies in U.S. history (the other being Standard Oil) is about to be usurped by her offspring, some analysts are predicting. When AT&T buys BellSouth, a deal that is still pending approval by a sharply divided FTC, it will become more powerful in many key ways than [more]

NTP TURNS PATENT LAWSUIT LOOSE ON PALM

What’s old is new again. NTP, the firm that nearly hobbled BlackBerry maker RIM — and its customers — with a patent infringement lawsuit is now leveling the same charge against Palm. The Monday filing claims seven of NTP’s patents are being infringed upon by Palm in several of its smartphones and PDAs. NTP’s fight with RIM resulted [more]

DELL AMD DEAL MOVES AHEAD TAKING ORDERS ON INTEL QUADS

Squawking from long-time AMD partners about apparently tight supplies of chips isn’t likely to slow down soon, as the direct-sales giant Dell has quietly added laptops alongside its AMD-based desktop line announced back in August. TheStreet.com reports this morning that the Dell Web site has “quietly” been moving AMD-based laptops to both consumers and businesses this week. The [more]

AUTHENTICATION AUTHORITY CONTROLS NEEDED TO MOVE WEB 20 FORWARD

Everybody’s favorite tech buzz word, Web 2.0, may have gotten a bit ahead of itself, which is par for the course for hot trends. News.com is reporting that participants in the Web 2.0 Summit this week are discussing why the lack of a usable universal authentication system for end users of social networking and collaboration sites [more]

ELECTION REWRITES TERMS OF DEBATE OVER NET NEUTRALITY

Democratic control of both the House and Senate would likely give Net Neutrality supporters reason for optimism. Net Neutrality is a concept aimed at preventing broadband carriers from favoring some content over others, something the major telco companies would like to be able to do.  (Not everyone who opposes the concept does so out of support [more]

PICTURE THIS IMAGE SPAM ELUDING DETECTION BY ANTI SPAM SOFTWARE

Monitoring firms are noting a huge spike in spam levels, beginning in October. MessageLabs, for one, suggests that spam-mongers are beefing up their Trojan-spewing botnets in preparation for the busy holiday season. Another rising problem: image spam. Spammers have figured out a number of ways to embed text into images — where anti-spam solutions based on text [more]

COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE OXYMORON OR OPPORTUNITY

Tim O’Reilly, the organizer of the Web 2.0 Summit just concluded in San Francisco, wants us to believe that users, not developers, are the hidden strength of the commercial Internet of the future. “We’re just at the beginning of a world where everything, everything is going to be connected,” O’Reilly is quoted as saying in an internetnews.com [more]

Learn more about Googlebot's crawl of your site and more!

We've added a few new features to webmaster tools and invite you to check them out.

Googlebot activity reports
Check out these cool charts! We show you the number of pages Googlebot's crawled from your site per day, the number of kilobytes of data Googlebot's downloaded per day, and the average time it took Googlebot to download pages. Webmaster tools show each of these for the last 90 days. Stay tuned for more information about this data and how you can use it to pinpoint issues with your site.

Crawl rate control
Googlebot uses sophisticated algorithms that determine how much to crawl each site. Our goal is to crawl as many pages from your site as we can on each visit without overwhelming your server's bandwidth.

We've been conducting a limited test of a new feature that enables you to provide us information about how we crawl your site. Today, we're making this tool available to everyone. You can access this tool from the Diagnostic tab. If you'd like Googlebot to slow down the crawl of your site, simply choose the Slower option.

If we feel your server could handle the additional bandwidth, and we can crawl your site more, we'll let you know and offer the option for a faster crawl.

If you request a changed crawl rate, this change will last for 90 days. If you liked the changed rate, you can simply return to webmaster tools and make the change again.


Enhanced image search
You can now opt into enhanced image search for the images on your site, which enables our tools such as Google Image Labeler to associate the images included in your site with labels that will improve indexing and search quality of those images. After you've opted in, you can opt out at any time.

Number of URLs submitted
Recently at SES San Jose, a webmaster asked me if we could show the number of URLs we find in a Sitemap. He said that he generates his Sitemaps automatically and he'd like confirmation that the number he thinks he generated is the same number we received. We thought this was a great idea. Simply access the Sitemaps tab to see the number of URLs we found in each Sitemap you've submitted.

As always, we hope you find these updates useful and look forward to hearing what you think.
[more]

New third-party Sitemaps tools

Hello, webmasters, I'm Maile, and I recently joined the team here at Google webmaster central. And I already have good news to report: we've updated our third-party program and websites information. These third-party tools provide lots of options for easily generate a Sitemap -- from plugins for content management systems to online generators.

Many thanks to this community for continuing to innovate and improve the Sitemap tools. Since most of my work focuses on the Sitemaps protocol, I hope to meet you on our Sitemaps protocol discussion group.
[more]

Careful where you step! We're moving the furniture in Google Reader.

We just made some improvements to managing your stuff in Google Reader to better enable doing lots of things at once. If Reader were a house, I guess we just knocked down a wall -- so you can finally get to the bathroom from the bedroom. (And we added a new patio while we were at it.)

A new settings page.
There's now a link in the top right that says "Settings". Clicking on that link opens up a new screen that lists all of your subscriptions and labels, and allows you to make edits to more than one item at a time. We've also added a bunch of new filtering and selection controls. And there's a new feature as well: you can rename any of your subscriptions.



Menus
We've replaced the drawer on the front page with menus for subscriptions and labels. They're faster to load, especially if you have a lot of subscriptions. What's best, the menus allow you to select things without having to shove most of the application out of view.



You are probably already thinking of a number of cool things these changes could allow. You can probably imagine being able to sort subscriptions, or see what things have new stuff in them. Yep. We can too, and we'll be working on that stuff actively.
[more]

Tech Tip: There's a new operator in town – inmeta


There was talk in the Google Search Appliance group this week about the new inmeta query operator; I thought it's time to introduce this new feature to a wider audience.

In a recent release of the Google Search Appliance we added the inmeta query operator allowing search-users to easily create more advanced queries based on meta tag values. The appliance has had this capability for a long time using the requiredfields and partialfields parameters as part of the search API protocol. The inmeta operator allows search users to issue partialfields and requiredfields type searches directly from the search box (in the q= parameter).

The syntax is pretty simple:

inmeta:{meta_tag}
inmeta:{meta_tag}~{meta_tag_value}
inmeta:{meta_tag}={meta_tag_value}
The first query syntax shows how to issue a requiredfields search, which will restrict the results to any containing the meta tag specified. The second will execute a partialfields search with a value, matching any results that have that meta tag with a value matching some or all of the value specified in the query. The third is how to issue a requiredfields search matching the exact value specified in {meta_tag_value}.

For example, if you had content source with all documents having meta tag author and each document having a different value for author meta tag such as john, rajesh, mike, etc. A search-user may be interested in the documents that provide information about "Q3 Revenue" but restrict to only those documents that were authored by John, as John the CFO of the organization. To express such a query she would simply enter a query like:

Q3 revenue inmeta:author=john

Now, if you didn't know that the data was well formatted, and some might have John's full name (John Smith), and some might have his email address (john@acme.com) then you would want to use the following syntax:

Q3 revenue inmeta:author~john

As you see from the above examples, it is very easy to express your queries and perform advanced, sophisticated searches across structured, semi-structured, and unstructured information. We welcome the new inmeta operator to the search town!

[more]

Isn't it cool when....

As a developer who has been working on (commercial and open source) APIs and frameworks for the last several years, I can honestly say that <span style="font-weight: bold;">one of the most rewarding and cool things is when another developer takes something you've done and builds on top of it in ways that you'd never imagined</span>. That's why the folks working on <a href="http://code.google.com/apis/gdata/index.html" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">the Google data APIs</a> were excited to see <a href="http://www.globelogger.com/item.php?id=824" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">this post by Charlie Wood</a>, that includes a video clip from his presentation at <a href="http://www.salesforce.com/conference" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">Dreamforce 06</a>, the <a href="http://salesforce.com/" target="_blank " onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">Salesforce.com</a> user and developer conference.<br /><br />On <span style="text-decoration: underline;"></span><a href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=5189481313185269993&sourceid=docidfeed&amp;hl=en" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">the video clip</a> starting around the 17:25 minute mark, Charlie talks about how he's used <a href="http://code.google.com/apis/gdata/calendar.html" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">the Google Calendar data API</a> to synchronize the scheduling functions of <a href="http://www.salesforce.com/us/developer/docs/sforce70/wwhelp/wwhimpl/js/html/wwhelp.htm" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">the Saleforce AppExchange API</a> with Google Calendar, seamlessly integrating the functionality of two com pletely different services on the Web. <span style="font-weight: bold;">The ultra-cool part of this is that Charlie doesn't work for either Google or <a href="http://salesforce.com/" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">salesforce.com</a></span>, but the fact that both expose APIs made it possible for him to independently do this integration.<br /><br />Some quotes from the video that make an API developer's heart beat a little faster: <span class="q"><br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">"You can create something really incredibly powerful with a</span><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">really modest investment of time and energy, and even time and energy </span><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">spent learning. So if you can look at your app and see how it might</span><br /><span style="font-style: italic;"& gt;be extended by integrating with the Google apps, I'd encourage you to </span><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">do it, and I think you'll find it straightforward and pretty</span><br /></span><span style="font-style: italic;">rewarding." (39:20) </span><span class="q"><br /><br /><span style="font-style: italic;"><br />"The integration between Salesforce and Google Calendar has</span><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">proven to be really, really popular and really interesting to a lot of </span><br /><span style="font-style: italic;">people, so I think we'll definitely be doing integration with other</span><br /></span><span style="font-style: italic;">Google apps." (43:35) </span><br /><br />Charlie, thanks for sharing what you've been up to and for working with us to help to improve the APIs.<br />&l t;br />Anyone else out there working on a cool application or service using <a href="http://code.google.com/apis/gdata/calendar.html" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)"> the Google Calendar data API</a>, <a href="http://code.google.com/apis/base/" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">the Google Base data API</a>, <a href="http://code.google.com/apis/gdata/blogger.html" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">the Blogger data API</a>, or <a href="http://code.google.com/apis/gdata/codesearch.html" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)"> the Codesearch data API</a>? <br /><br /><a href="http://groups.google.com/group/google-help-dataapi">We want to hear about it!</a><br /><br />Kyle Marvin <span class="sg"><br />Software Engineer, Google data AP Is</span><br /><span class="sg"><br /></span> [more]

New feature: Email invoices



If you ever need to send your customers a bill via email, now you can do it in just a few clicks from your Google Checkout account. Set a dollar amount for the invoice, compose a quick message, and send it off. Your customer will receive the email and pay using Google Checkout.

Try it now on the Send an Invoice page (requires a Checkout merchant account). As always, we're happy to hear your feedback.
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It's all about location

<span class="byline-author">Posted by Ethan Russell, Product Manager</span><br /><br />We've had lots of <a href="http://base.google.com/base/testimonials.html">success</a> working with the real estate industry to make home listings more easily discoverable on Google. And we're constantly attending real estate industry events and working daily with partners to help connect them with potential home buyers by adding more and more of their listings to Google web search. Over and over again, we hear from you: keep it free and keep it simple and keep it free.<br /><br />So today, on our first day at the <a href="http://www.realtor.org/convhome.nsf/pages/confhome?OpenDocument">NAR event in New Orleans</a>, we're happy to let you know that we've further simplified the process for real estate providers looking to <a href="http://www.google.com/base/search?ui=g&a_n0=housing&a_y0=9&a_n0=housing&a_y0=9&a_ o0=&gl=us&hl=en&nd=&showrefine=0&q=&btnG=Search+Housing&a_n2=listing+type&a_y2=1&a_o2=0&a_v2=&a_v2=&a_n363=property+type&a_y363=1&a_o363=0&a_v363=&a_v363=&sl=true&a_n152=location&a_y152=6&a_o152=0&a_t152=30&a_v152=columbus%2C+oh&a_n303=price&a_u303=usd&a_y303=8&a_o303=4&a_v303=&a_f303=&a_t303=&a_n650=bedrooms&a_y650=2&a_o650=4&a_v650=&a_f650=&a_t650=&scoring=aa_152&us=0">make listings searchable on Google</a> (and it's free, of course). Regardless of what kind of real estate professional you are, now you can easily go to <a href="http://base.google.com/base/help/realestate.html">one page</a> to upload your listings to Google Base so that people can find them through Google. There are even dedicated pages for you --whether you're <a href="http://base.google.com/base/broker.html">brokers</a>, <a href="https://services.google.com/inquiry/base_agents">agents</a>, <a href="http://base.google.com/base/mls.html">MLS</a> , or <a href="http://base.google.com/base/idx.html">IDX vendors</a>.<br /><br />If you're tech-savvy, you can of course continue to send listings to <a href="http://base.google.com/base/overview.html">Google Base</a> yourself. But in any case we hope you find the many upload options available to you friendly and easy to use. If you're interested in Google and real estate, do check out all of the <a href="http://www.google.com/intl/en/events/realestatetools/index.html">tools available to you</a>. And if you happen to be in New Orleans this weekend, stop by our NAR booth. [more]

Keep track of your Maps searches, too



Google Personalized Search now includes Google Maps, which means you'll no longer have to remember searches you do for addresses, businesses, or directions on Maps. Instead, you'll be able to browse, search for, and bookmark them directly from your search history, just as you already can with your web, images, news, Froogle, and video history.

If you already have Personalized Search enabled, you can access your history through the "Search History" link in the upper right corner of Google Maps. Otherwise, you can sign up for Personalized Search, and make sure you're signed in to your Google Account when searching.
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Where are my images?

By Clint Guerrero, Google Base Support

I see a variant of this question nearly every day of the week, and it's one that I'm eager to answer. After all, an image can describe an item much better than a thousand words.

To help you make sure your images appear the first time around, here are some of the most common issues:

HTML "images:" Faulty image links are the most common cause of an image not appearing. To successfully process an image, its associated image_link must link to an image rather than web'sge. Typically an image_link should end in the extension of one of our supported image file types: .gif, .jpg (or .jpeg), .png, .bmp, or .tif.

Re-directs: An image_link should also link directly to an image. If the image_link redirects to another URL of the image we won't be able to grab a copy of your image to add to search results. The URL in your bulk upload must match the URL that displays the image exactly.

HTTP headers: Every time information is passed through the "tubes of the Internet," it's preceded by a short description generally called a header. If the header info for an image isn't what is expected, the image processor is unable to cache a copy of your image. Typically, headers may only be an issue for images that are dynamically generated. If you don't know if your images are dynamically generated, this isn't likely to be the problem.

Two header fields that must be passed are "content-type" and "content-length." Content-type describes the file type you're sending. Two common values for images are "image/gif" and "image/jpeg." Content-length lets us know the file size for an image. A header field that shouldn't be passed is "cache-control." If you choose to add header fields, please make sure that they are appropriate for the image.

Image size: We will accept images up to 4MB or 8 million pixels in total size, but it's best to include images of 400x400 pixels or a bit larger. This image size allows us to include a non-distorted image in search results and reduces the possibility of overwhelming your server by requesting your super-sized images.

Robots.txt: A robots.txt file provides restrictions to search engine robots ("bots") that crawl the web. If it's set to prevent access to a certain directory, such as /images, we will be unable to visit that directory to retrieve your images.

This should cover the vast majority of problems you'll face, but if you're still running into issues, shoot us an email and we'll take a look.

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All the news that's fit to research

<span class="byline-author">Posted by Dan Abbe, Google Book Search Support Team</span><br /><br />We get lots of positive feedback about the potential for Google Book Search to affect research, but the word “research” might call to mind long hours of intensive reading for academic study. Google Book Search assists scholars, but it also helps us “everyday" researchers dig a bit deeper.<br /><br />Let's say you've just read an article in <span style="font-style: italic;">The Boston Globe</span>. The <span style="font-style: italic;">Globe</span>’s job is to keep you updated on current events, but what about context? Well-written pieces usually include background information -- but in most cases, it's just enough to introduce the topic at hand. This isn’t to say that newspaper articles aren't useful -- they just don’t have the space to stretch out and fully explain themselves. Books excel at this! And Google Book Search is great way to find relevant books.<br /><br />Imagine you’ve <a href="http://www.boston.com/sports/basketball/celtics/articles/2006/10/28/passing_of_a_celtics_legend/">read</a> that legendary Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach just passed away. Do a quick search for “Red Auerbach,” and you’ll find his <a href="http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0316738239">autobiography</a>, which should be an excellent complement to articles you can read from other sources. Or maybe you’ve read about the recent political unrest in Fiji. Why not search for “Fiji history” and read a <a href="http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0824814185">historical analysis</a> of the country? You can even read up on military chief <a href="http://books.google.com/books?q=Bainimarama&btnG=Search+Books">Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama</a> from a variety of sources.<br /><br />This is just a simple way to apply the power that having a database of fully searchable books gives you. Given that we’re always adding more books to our database (and as our <a href="http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2006/09/madrids-complutense-university-opens.html">recent posts</a> to this blog demonstrate, in more and more languages), your "everyday" research results will become more and more comprehensive, whether you're investigating <a href="http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN069102037X">17th-century philosophy</a> or just curious about <a href="http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN019263285X&id=ALxG44e0bfAC&pg=PA7&lpg=PR1&dq=cures+common+cold&sig=GybZ8z5UwxdxZ22g6t5qYAG3FRk">the common cold</a>. [more]

What's up, Docs & Spreadsheets?

Have you ever struggled to keep track of different versions of your documents or site layouts while collaborating with other webmasters? If so, you'll find <a href="https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?service=writely&passive=true&continue=http%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2F&ltmpl=WR_tmp_2_lfty&nui=1&utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-adsblog&utm_medium=adsblog">Google Docs & Spreadsheets</a> the best pain reliever ever -- it's our new web-based word processing and spreadsheet program to help manage your site's content and easily share it with others.<br /><br /><a onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/1366/1469/1600/DocSpreadsheets2.png"><img style="display:block; margin:0px auto 10px; text-align:center;cursor:pointer; cursor:hand;" src="http://photos1.blogger.com/blogger/1366/1469/400/DocSpreadsheets2.png" border="0" alt="" /></a>& lt;br />With Google Docs & Spreadsheets, you can edit and save in HTML to create mock-ups of your webpages. You're also able to access your files from any computer via a web browser, and easily send them to collaborators to review and edit. Even more exciting, you can view all past revisions to your file, so if you change your mind about that bright purple highlighting after you've put it into your document, simply revert back to a previous version.<br /><br />Google Docs & Spreadsheets also provides an easy way to distribute content. Your users won't need to download anything from your site; just create your content in Docs & Spreadsheets or upload an existing file, publish it, and then link directly to the file from your website.<br /><br />Aside from all the web publishing benefits Google Docs & Spreadsheets offers, it's also a great tool for managing a small business. You can collaborate and share information about your online a d activities, draft proposals and budgets, and keep track of your Google Analytics tags all in one place. Many of the entries on this blog wouldn't have turned out quite so well without team collaboration on the content using Docs & Spreadsheets.<br /><br />Google Docs & Spreadsheets is free, secure and easy to try out. Get started by uploading your desktop files. Check out the <a href="http://www.google.com/google-d-s/tour1.html">product tour</a> for an overview of how the product works, or just <a href="https://www.google.com/accounts/ServiceLogin?service=writely&passive=true&continue=http%3A%2F%2Fdocs.google.com%2F&ltmpl=WR_tmp_2_lfty&nui=1&utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-adsblog&utm_medium=adsblog">sign up here</a>. <br /><br /><span class="byline-author">Posted by Jen Mazzon - Google Docs & Spreadsheets Product Manager</span> [more]

Saturday maintenance for AdSense ... and for you, too?

This Saturday, November 11th, our engineers will be performing routine system maintenance from 10am to 2pm PDT. Although you won't be able to access your account during this time, ads will still be served to your pages and we'll continue to track your earnings as normal.<br /><br />While we know it will be hard to drag yourself away from your account for 4 hours, maybe this will give you a chance to clear away those cobwebs you told friends were "Halloween decorations." Take your pal Jack O. Lantern for a visit to that new neighborhood hot spot, the compost heap. When you've eradicated all the ghouls and goblins from your home, gear up for the next celebration by doing a quick search for <a href="http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=turkey+recipes">turkey recipes</a> (or <a href="http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=tofurky+recipes">Tofurky recipes</a>, if you prefer).<br /><br />And thanks for your patience!<br /> <br /><span class="byline-author">Posted by Julie Beckmann - AdSense Publisher Support</span> [more]

How-To Part 1: Adding Friends

Google Talk has been out for over a year now, and here on the support team we're pretty used to the bells and whistles that make it a special product. But we realize that many people are new not just to Google Talk, but to chatting online itself. So we're pleased to be rolling out a series of video tutorials that cover the basics.<br /><br />Up first is adding friends. Most people are excited to hear that their Gmail contacts are automatically loaded into their Friends list, but it's also easy to add new people to chat and talk with. <a href="http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-597965277445150559">Check out the video</a> and give it a try.<br /><br />Peter Adams<br />Online Operations Coordinator<br /><br /><embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" align="middle" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=-597965277445150559&hl=en" quality="best" bgcolor="#ffffff" scale="noScale" salign="TL" FlashVars="playerMode=embedded"> </embed> [more]

Ubuntu Developer Summit at Google

Last week, Google hosted the Ubuntu Developer Summit at our Mountain View headquarters. Developers and community members from across the world congregated over six days to plan the next release of Ubuntu Linux, code named Feisty Fawn. More details about the technical sessions are available. For those interested in learning more about the distro and community, you may enjoy the video of Mark Shuttleworth's presentation to interested Googlers about Ubun tu.

Thanks to the Ubuntu community for visiting and being such wonderful guests!
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