Archive for November, 2013

If we’re going to solve some of the world’s biggest problems, we need more people and teams to take on “moonshots”—audacious projects that create 10x improvement, not 10 percent. Part of that involves encouraging and celebrating the audacity of the attempt. So last week we partnered with Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer to run a special session of Solve for X on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to discuss and debate audacious science and technology moonshots that could transform the world.

Neil Gershenfeld holding up a “Pop FabLab” with Nadya Peek as an example of how 21st century manufacturing won’t just happen in large factories, but out of portable briefcases like this one.

Solve for X is a community of individuals and organizations that work together to accelerate progress on moonshots—and what better group of people to work with than those already thinking about our country’s future? As Susan Molinari, our VP of public policy and government affairs, said at the event: “Policymakers are trying to solve big, intractable problems—and so are engineers. Engineers are tackling challenges that have no answers to date, and so are our policymakers.”

The D.C. event brought together a group of exceptional technologists, entrepreneurs, polymaths-at-large, AAAS fellows, Members of Congress and their staff. Pioneers in their respective fields proposed moonshots in manufacturing, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education, and access to natural resources:

Neil Gershenfeld and Nadya Peek from the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms proposed setting up FabLabs to bring manufacturing back to America—and in a way appropriate to the 21st century
Theresa Condor from NanoSatisfi proposed an inexpensive way to give all students direct access to personal satellites to conduct their own science experiments and to transform adoption of STEM
Chris Lewicki from Planetary Resources proposed mining asteroids for natural resources

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (above) said in his opening remarks: “We work in a world of problems, that frankly, any given day somebody could tell you we’ve got a solution for—it’s just about summoning the will to try and actually accomplish it.”

Following the moonshot proposals, we broke into small groups to brainstorm resources, technology and people that could help make the ideas better and happen faster. At Solve for X, brainstorming means two-thirds “yes and”—creating stepping stones to build on an idea—and one-third “yes but—providing critical feedback on blind spots or suggesting alternate implementations.

Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer told us: “You have a psychology of creation. A psychology of ‘what can we imagine?’ And then make it be reality. And that of course is the kind of thinking we need.”

Solve for X co-creators Astro Teller and Megan Smith closed out the event reminding us that moonshots can come from anywhere—people of all ages and places, companies, academia, government, inspired experts, enthusiastic newcomers, even accidental discoveries. So join our 160 moonshot pioneers by submitting your own moonshot video, and contribute to our conversations on Google+ and Twitter—we’d love to hear from you.

Posted by Puneet Ahira, Moonshot Evangelist and Project Lead, Solve for X

WordPress 3.8 Beta 1

The first beta of the 3.8 is now available, and the next dates to watch out for are code freeze on December 5th and a final release on December 12th.

3.8 brings together several of the features as plugins projects and while this isn’t our first rodeo, expect this to be more beta than usual. The headline things to test out in this release are:

  • The new admin design, especially the responsive aspect of it. Try it out on different devices and browsers, see how it goes, especially the more complex pages like widgets or seldom-looked-at-places like Press This. Color schemes, which you can change on your profile, have also been spruced up.
  • The dashboard homepage has been refreshed, poke and prod it.
  • Choosing themes under Appearance is completely different, try to break it however possible.
  • There’s a new default theme, Twenty Fourteen.
  • Over 250 issues closed already.

Given how many things in the admin have changed it’s extra super duper important to test as many plugins and themes with admin pages against the new stuff. Also if you’re a developer consider how you can make your admin interface fit the MP6 aesthetic better.

As always, if you think you’ve found a bug, you can post to the Alpha/Beta area in the support forums. Or, if you’re comfortable writing a reproducible bug report, file one on the WordPress Trac. There, you can also find a list of known bugs and everything we’ve fixed so far.

Download WordPress 3.8 Beta 1 (zip) or use the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”).

Alphabet soup of
Plugins as features galore
The future is here

WordPress News

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, and if you’re like us, you still have loads of stuff to buy on your expanding holiday gift list. If you can’t imagine braving the crowds to get everything picked and purchased, don’t worry: our elves have made some improvements to Google Shopping in time for the holidays.

Find the hottest toys and get inspired with our holiday shortlists
We’ve curated holiday shortlists for top gift categories including Hot Toys, Electronics, Google & Android Gadgets, Gifts for the Home, Gifts for Her and Gifts for Him. For those of you looking for something to delight the kids in your life, here are some of the top trending toy searches on Google Shopping this month:

Rainbow Loom
Minecraft Legos
Monster High Sets
Doc McStuffins Playsets
Nerf Rebelle Heartbreaker Bow Blaster

And for those of us wanting to relive our childhoods, we’re also seeing many nostalgic toys making a comeback this year:

My Little Pony
Barbie Dreamhouse
Furby
Ninja Turtles
Easy-Bake Oven

Browse more quickly and easily
A new shopping experience on desktop, tablet and mobile makes it easier than ever to browse and hone in on items you want to buy, whether it’s a camera, a ski jacket or an ice cream maker. Click on a product to preview details like sizes, colors and description, and find out if it’s available at a nearby local store. If you see an item that’s almost perfect but not quite, click to view “visually similar” items.

Make your shortlist and check it twice
Shortlists help you keep track of products that catch your eye, compare them at a glance, and share ideas with friends and family. Your shortlist now also stays with you at the top of each page while you browse Google Shopping, so you can keep track of items as you go.

Check out the product from all angles
Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what an item actually looks like from the online picture. Now, for many items on Google Shopping, you can see a 360° view of the products. These interactive images bring you the in-store feeling of holding and touching a product.
Once you’ve got something for everyone on your shopping list, we encourage you to buy something for yourself. You’ve earned it.

Posted by Karen Corby, Senior Product Manager, Google Shopping

Focusing on WordPress 3.8 Instead

As the folks at Automattic have decided to push new WordPress releases more frequently, trying to keep up as a WordPress theme and plugin author is quite a task. WP 3.7 dropped a few weeks ago but now WP 3.8 is targeted for December 12th. Performing compatibility testing against 3.7 only to jump right back into testing against 3.8 isn't making much sense to me. As WP 3.7 really doesn't buy anything but an automatic update feature and some bug fixes (though 3000+ remain open), we're just going to focus on WP 3.8 instead. 3.8 introduces new widget administration, new admin ui and a variety of other features.

As for 3.7 I haven't seen any issues with the semiologic theme or plugins. There will be some plugin releases here and there to fix some bugs and introduce new features. I haven't tested out Version Checker against it yet so there may be some issues around it given the new update functionality.

Semiologic

You don’t need to be besties with a Wizard to share an adventure in Middle-earth—just point your favorite browser to goo.gl/TheHobbit on your laptop, phone or tablet to check out “Journey through Middle-earth,” the latest Chrome Experiment.

Inspired by the upcoming motion picture “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Journey through Middle-earth” brings the locations and characters from the movie trilogy to life with a mix of modern web technologies. It was developed by North Kingdom in collaboration with Warner Bros. Pictures, New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures.

Your adventure starts on a beautiful, interactive map of Middle-earth. Zoom in to explore Trollshaw Forest, Rivendell and Dol Guldur (with more locations to come in the next few weeks). Click on each one to learn its history and meet the characters who inhabit it, or dive further to test your wits on a unique survival challenge.

The immersive 3D graphics in “Journey through Middle-earth” were built with CSS3 and WebGL, which you might recognize from previous Chrome Experiments. But “Journey through Middle-earth” is the first Chrome Experiment designed to bring this beautiful, 3D experience to mobile, thanks to support for WebGL in Chrome for Android on devices with high-end graphics cards.

The rich audio effects and sound manipulation are delivered through the Web Audio API, which is now supported on both Chrome for Android and Chrome for iPhone and iPad. Although WebGL isn’t supported on iOS, Chrome users can still experience most of “Journey through Middle-earth” on their iPhones and iPads. We can’t wait to see what sort of rich experiences developers will build as modern web technologies become available on more types of devices.

Circle +Google Chrome to stay updated as more Middle-earth locations get released in the coming weeks. You can also check out the Chromium Blog and read the team’s technical case study if you feel like geeking out a bit more.

Adventure is a click away. Just watch out for the trolls!

Posted by
Posted by Christos Apartoglou, Product Marketing Manager & Part-time Dragon-slayer

Not quite four score and seven years ago, I was an elementary school student, staring at a classroom map, gripped by the (mistaken) deduction that since Los Angeles was in the southern half of the country, Civil War battles must have clattered on the ground outside my home. While a teacher eventually helped me understand that California wasn’t in the Confederacy, the moment led me to understand the weight of history and that it has shaped the world into what it is today.

Today, on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, we’re helping make the past come a little bit more alive. Three new exhibits now available on the Google Cultural Institute focus on President Lincoln and the 272 words that shaped a nation’s understanding of its identity. Thanks to our friends at the White House, the Lincoln Library, Cornell University, Dickinson College and the Library of Congress, you can browse high-resolution digital versions of all five Lincoln-handwritten copies of the address. You can also:

Learn why there are five different versions, and explore how they differSee the copy that hangs in the White House’s Lincoln BedroomEnjoy multimedia exhibits written by Lincoln experts for interpretation of and context around the speechRead the 272-word reflections of our contemporaries like former President Jimmy Carter, former chairman of the NAACP Julian Bond, and our very own Eric Schmidt on the legacy of Lincoln and his address
Comparing two copies, side by side
You can also contribute your own version of the Gettysburg Address to Learn the Address, a project by documentarian Ken Burns, who has also been reaching schoolchildren across the U.S. with Google+ Connected Classrooms.

Most of us will never stand in the Lincoln Bedroom and see the handwritten draft exhibited there. But now anyone with access to an Internet connection can explore all these artifacts from this defining moment in history—perhaps a bit more accurately than when I gazed at that map.

Posted by Amrit Dhir, Partner Development Manager

Today marks the start of Google Code-in, a global online contest for pre-university students (13-17 years old) interested in learning more about open source software. Participating students have an opportunity to work on real world software projects and earn cool prizes for their effort.

For the next seven weeks students from around the world will be able to choose from an extensive list of tasks created by 10 open source projects. Some tasks require coding in a variety of programming languages, creating documentation, doing marketing outreach or working on user interfaces.

Participants earn points for each task they successfully complete to win T-shirts and certificates. At the end of the contest, 20 students will be selected as grand prize winners and flown to Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters. Winners will receive a trip to San Francisco, a tour of the Googleplex and a chance to meet with Google engineers.

Google Code-in 2012 grand prize winners at the Googleplex with a self driving car

More than 1,200 students from 71 countries and 730 schools have participated in Google Code-in over the past three years. Last year, our 20 grand prize winners came from 12 countries on five continents!

We hope this year’s participants will enjoy learning about open source development while building their technical skills and making an impact on these organizations. Please review our program site for contest rules, frequently asked questions and to get started.

Posted by Stephanie Taylor, Open Source Programs

Q&A: How to put google ads on youtube videos?

Question by Stupendous: How to put google ads on youtube videos?
I see a lot of people putting ads on their videos and earning some income. How do I do this, without owning a website? I see people who don’t have websites put the ads up. How do I ? I looked all over and can’t find out how without actually having a website.

Best answer:

Answer by Jeff J
*Sigh You have to be a Youtube Partner!

Know better? Leave your own answer in the comments!

Shout Out To My PitBulls And My Thoughts On Multiple Income Streams Here is the link for the Blogging System: http://bit.ly/YzYoMJ Here is the link to get to…
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You’d think the thrill might wear off this whole renewable energy investing thing after a while. Nope—we’re still as into it as ever, which is why we’re so pleased to announce our 14th investment: We’re partnering with global investment firm KKR to invest in six utility-scale solar facilities in California and Arizona. Developed by leading solar developer Recurrent Energy, the projects have a combined capacity of 106MW and will generate enough electricity to power over 17,000 U.S. homes. Google will make an approximately $80 million investment into these facilities.
The 17.5 MWac/22 MWp Victor Phelan project (pictured), located in San Bernardino, Calif., is part of six Recurrent Energy developed projects acquired by Google and KKR. The six-project portfolio is expected to operational by early 2014 and will generate enough clean electricity to power more than 17,000 U.S. homes.
This investment is similar to one we made back in 2011, when we teamed up with KKR and invested $94 million in four solar facilities developed by Recurrent. Those facilities have since started generating electricity, and we’ve committed hundreds of millions more—more than $1 billion in total—to renewable energy projects around the world.

These investments are all part of our drive toward a clean energy future—where renewable energy is abundant, accessible and affordable. By continuing to invest in renewable energy projects, purchasing clean energy for our operations and working with our utility partners to create new options for ourselves and for other companies interest in buying renewable energy, we’re working hard to make that future a reality.

Posted by Kojo Ako-Asare, Head of Corporate Finance

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