Monthly Archives: October 2013

Android 4.4 KitKat and Updated Developer Tools

Posted by Dave Burke, Engineering Director, Android Platform

Today we are announcing Android 4.4 KitKat, a new version of Android that brings great new features for users and developers.

The very first device to run Android 4.4 is the new Nexus 5, available today on Google Play, and coming soon to other retail outlets. We’ll also be rolling out the Android 4.4 update worldwide in the next few weeks to all Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10 devices, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play Edition devices.

As part of this release, we kicked off Project Svelte, an effort to reduce the memory needs of Android so that it can run on a much broader range of devices, including entry-level devices that have as little as 512MB RAM. From the kernel to system, frameworks, and apps, we've reduced memory footprint and improved memory management so Android can run comfortably on only 512MB of RAM. We did this not only on Android but across Google apps, like Chrome and YouTube.

By supporting a broader range of devices, Android 4.4 will help move the Android ecosystem forward. Now all users will be able to enjoy the very best that Android has to offer, on the devices that best meet their needs.

Here’s a quick look at some of the new features for developers:

  • New ways to create beautiful apps — A new full-screen immersive mode lets your app or game use every pixel on the screen to showcase content and capture touch events. A new transitions framework makes it easier to animate the states in your UI. Web content can take advantage of a completely new implementation of WebView built on Chromium.
  • More useful than ever — A printing framework lets you add the convenience of printing to your apps. A storage access framework makes it easier for users find documents, photos, and other data across their local and cloud-based storage services. You can integrate your app or storage service with the framework to give users instant access to their data.
  • Low-power sensors — New hardware-integrated sensors let you add great new features to your apps without draining the battery. Included are a step detector and step counter that let you efficiently track of the number of walking steps, even when the screen is off.
  • New media capabilities — A new screen recorder lets you capture high-quality video of your app directly from your Android device. It's a great new way to create walkthroughs, tutorials, marketing videos, and more. Apps can use adaptive playback to offer a significantly better streaming video experience.
  • RenderScript in the NDK — A new C++ API in the Android Native Development Kit (NDK) lets you use RenderScript from your native code, with access to script intrinsics, custom kernels, and more.
  • Improved accessibility support — New system-wide captioning settings let your apps present closed captions in the style that's preferred by the user.

There's a lot more, so be sure to check out the Android 4.4 platform highlights for a complete overview of those and other new capabilities for developers. For details on the APIs and how to use them, take a look at the API Overview or watch one of the new DevBytes videos on KitKat.

Along with the new Android 4.4 platform we're releasing a new version of the Android NDK (r9b). The new NDK gives you native access to RenderScript and other stable APIs in Android 4.4, so if you've been waiting to use RenderScript from your native code, give it a try.

Last, we've updated the Support Package (r19) with a new helper library for printing images through the new printing framework, as well as other updates.

You can get started developing and testing on Android 4.4 right away, in Android Studio or in ADT/Ant. You can download the Android 4.4 Platform (API level 19), as well as the SDK Tools, Platform Tools, and Support Package from the Android SDK Manager.

Google Play Services 4.0

Today we're launching a new release of Google Play services. Version 4.0 includes the Google Mobile Ads SDK, and offers improvements to geofencing, Google+, and Google Wallet Instant Buy APIs.

With over 97% of devices now running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or newer platform versions, we’re dropping support for Froyo from this release of the Google Play services SDK in order to make it possible to offer more powerful APIs in the future. That means you will not be able to utilize these new APIs on devices running Android 2.2 (Froyo).

We’re still in the process of rolling out to Android devices across the world, but you can already download the latest Google Play services SDK and start developing against the new APIs using the new Android 4.4 (KitKat) emulator.

Google Mobile Ads

If you’re using AdMob to monetize your apps, the new Google Mobile Ads SDK in Google Play services helps provide seamless improvements to your users. For example, bug fixes get pushed automatically to users without you having to do anything. Check out the post on the Google Ads Developer Blog for more details.

Maps and Location Based Services

The Maps and Geofencing APIs that launched in Google Play services 3.1 have been updated to improve overall battery efficiency and responsiveness.

You can save power by requesting larger latency values for notifications alerting your app to users entering or exiting geofences, or request that entry alerts are sent only after a user stays within a geofence for a specified period of time. Setting generous dwell times helps to eliminate unwanted notifications when a user passes near a geofence or their location is seen to move across a boundary.

The Maps API enhances map customization features, letting you specify marker opacity, fade-in effects, and visibility of 3D buildings. It’s also now possible to change ground overlay images.

Google+ and Google Wallet Instant Buy

Apps that are enabled with Google+ Sign-In will be updated with a simplified sign-in consent dialog. Google Wallet Instant Buy APIs are now available to everyone to try out within a sandbox, with a simplified API that streamlines the buy-flow and reduces integration time.

Google Wallet Instant Buy also includes new Wallet Objects, which means you can award loyalty points to a user's saved rewards program ID for each applicable Google Wallet Instant Buy purchase.

New user control over advertising identifier

To give users better controls and to provide you with a simple, standard system to continue to monetize your apps, this update contains a new, anonymous identifier for advertising purposes (to be used in place of Android ID). Google Settings now includes user controls that enable users to reset this identifier, or opt out of interest-based ads for Google Play apps.

More About Google Play Services

To learn more about Google Play services and the APIs available to you through it, visit the Google Services area of the Android Developers site.

Making your App Content more Accessible from Google

Posted by Chaesang Jung, Software Engineer

There are many reasons to build or not to build a mobile app as part of your broader mobile strategy. For instance, while apps offer a rich user experience, users can’t access them through Google Search like they do websites. Today, we’re announcing a new Google Search capability, app indexing, that will start to make apps more accessible through Google on Android.

Let’s say that a user is searching for a movie. With app indexing, Google will begin to include deep links to apps in Android search results. When the user taps on the “Open in app” deep links, the app opens up directly to the movie in question.

In this example, in order for the app deep links to appear in search results,

  • The Flixster app supports deep linking
  • The Rotten Tomatoes website has specified that the Flixster app page is an alternate for the web page
  • Google has indexed the Flixster app to determine relevance
  • The user has installed the Flixster app

The end result is that users will have a seamless search experience when accessing your app content through Google.

Google is currently testing app indexing with an initial group of developers including AllTheCooks, AllTrails, Beautylish, Etsy, Expedia, Flixster, Healthtap, IMDb, moviefone, newegg, OpenTable, Trulia, and Wikipedia. Deep links for these applications will start to appear in Google search results on Android, in the US, in a few weeks.

How to get started

If you are interested in enabling indexing for your Android app, you can learn more about our developer guidelines at developers.google.com/app-indexing and sign up. We are expanding our app indexing efforts and will gradually include more developers over time.

Android for all and the new Nexus 5

Just in time for Halloween, we have two new treats for Android fans. First, we're excited to unwrap our latest platform release, KitKat, which delivers a smarter, more immersive Android experience to even more people. And second, we're introducing Nexus 5—a new Nexus phone developed with LG.

The first thing you’ll notice about KitKat is we’ve made the experience much more engaging: the book you're reading, the game you're playing, or the movie you're watching—now all of these take center stage with the new immersive mode, which automatically hides everything except what you really want to see.

Bringing more Google smarts to Android 
Behind the polish on the screen is the power under the hood. Take the Phone app, which for most people hasn’t really changed since the days of flip phones. Now, we’re making calling easier than ever, by helping you search across your contacts, nearby places, or even Google Apps accounts (like your company’s directory), directly from within the app. And with the new Hangouts app, all of your SMS and MMS messages are together in the same place, alongside your other conversations and video calls, so you’ll never miss a message no matter how your friends send it. This is just a small taste of KitKat—learn more on our site.

Google has always focused on helping users get immediate access to the information they need, and we want to bring this same convenience and power to users on Android. With the new Nexus 5 launcher, Google smarts are deeply integrated into the phone you carry around with you, so getting to the information you need is simple, easy and fast. Swipe once from the home screen to get Google Now literally at your fingertips. Put Google to work for you by saying “OK, Google” to launch voice search, send a text, get directions or even play a song you want to hear. And in the coming weeks, we’re enhancing Now with important new card types that bring you information about contextual topics that interest you such as updates from a favorite website or blog.

Reaching the next 1 billion users 
Building a platform that makes mobile phones accessible for everyone has always been at the heart of Android. Until now, some lower-end Android phones couldn't benefit from more recent Android releases due to memory constraints. With KitKat, we've slimmed down Android’s memory footprint by doing things like removing unnecessary background services and reducing the memory consumption of features that you use all the time. We did this not only within Android but across Google services like Chrome and YouTube. RAM (or memory) is one of the most expensive parts of a phone, and now Android can run comfortably on the 512MB of RAM devices that are popular in much of the world, bringing the latest goodies in Android 4.4 within reach for the next billion smartphone users.

Introducing Nexus 5 
Along with our sweet naming tradition, we also introduce a new device with each platform release to showcase the latest Android innovations. For KitKat, we partnered with LG to develop Nexus 5 -- the slimmest and fastest Nexus phone ever made. Its design is simple and refined to showcase the 5” Full HD display. Nexus 5 also keeps you connected at blazing speeds with 4G/LTE and ultra fast wifi. The advanced new lens on Nexus 5 captures more light for brighter night and sharper action shots. And with optical image stabilization, you no longer have to worry about shaky hands and blurry pictures. A new HDR+ mode automatically snaps a rapid burst of photos and combines them to give you the best possible single shot. Learn more on our site.



Nexus 5 is available today, unlocked and without a contract, on Google Play in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan and Korea (and coming soon to India), starting at $349. Just in the time for the holidays, Nexus 5 will be available soon at the following retailers: Sprint, T-Mobile, Amazon, Best Buy and RadioShack.

Android 4.4, KitKat, which comes on Nexus 5, will also soon be available on Nexus 4, 7, 10, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and HTC One Google Play edition devices in the coming weeks.

How’s that for a treat?

Posted by Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps

Holiday Best Practices: Setting up labels for quick reporting and remarketing

This holiday season, we’re offering quick tips (30 minutes or less to implement!) to whip your campaigns into shape, just in time for the holidays. Reach out to your DoubleClick Search solutions consultant or the DoubleClick Search Support team for more advice on how to implement today’s tip.

Today’s tips are all about labels: use them for reporting or use them for remarketing, but make sure you use them!

Are you looking to optimize your reporting for the holiday season? DoubleClick Search labels make it simple to keep track of your holiday promotions. For instance, assign one or more labels to your seasonal campaigns, ad groups, ads and keywords to group them by initiative. For easy comparison, report on multiple labels to break down your holiday promotions into narrower silos (eg “Black Friday Branded Terms” vs “Black Friday Unbranded Terms”). When you’re ready, report on your labels to see statistics across your holiday promotion labels from a top level perspective.



Want to spend even less time on reporting? Set up a scheduled report to have your data delivered to you, when you want it.

Are you looking to take advantage of more cross-channel opportunities between search and display? You already have labels in place -- now make them actionable by putting them into a remarketing list, allowing you to target your search users with display ads. With display remarketing from search ads, re-engage your audience who clicked on your search ad, by showing them display ads across exchanges via DoubleClick Bid Manager, or across Google Display Network. We recommend filtering to keywords with a high CTR and low conversion volume: convince your browsers to be buyers, and improve your overall conversion volume!

You can simplify your reporting and give your holiday campaigns extra love with remarketing in less than 30 minutes. Reach out to the support team for more workflow and remarketing tips, to get assistance with structuring your labels, or for advice on setting up additional audience segments.

Let your users discover live events and track their audience

YouTube Live streaming platform enables eligible channels to stream live content on YouTube.  

With the addition of live streaming content to the Data API, you can make it easier for users to find information about these live streaming events:
  • get search results indicating whether a video is an upcoming or active live broadcast
  • get both scheduled and actual values of start and end time of the broadcast
  • get concurrent viewer count of a broadcast
  • search for live content via eventType filter

How to start implementing new features

  • Sample code and tools
    • Client libraries for many different programming languages can help you implement the YouTube Live Streaming API as well as many other Google APIs.
    • Don't write code from scratch! Our Java, PHP, and Python code samples will help you get started.
    • The APIs Explorer lets you try out sample calls before writing any code.

Stay tuned here and subscribe to the YouTube for Developers channel to keep up on the latest.

Keep it live,
-Derek Tan, Ibrahim Ulukaya and the YouTube Live Streaming Team

Put your community on the map!

Noé Diakubama, an emigrant from the Democratic Republic of Congo who now lives in Paris, is one of this century’s intrepid pioneers. Using online mapmaking tools, he created the first map of his village, Mbandaka, which he and his wife have modified more than 100,000 times since 2009. Noé literally put Mbandaka – and the people who live there – on the map.

Noé is not the only such pioneer. There is a vast and growing community of African online mapmakers creating useful, accessible maps of lesser-known areas in Africa– and transforming people’s lives in the process by making it easy for them to find social, health facilities,businesses and educational facilities.

From now till November 17, 2013 over 1,500 volunteers across Africa will team up with our community leaders comprising of Google Student Ambassadors (GSA), Google Business Groups (GBG) and Google Developer Groups (GDG) to map out areas they love and grew up in.



Volunteers will walk around a predefined locality and collect information to add to Google maps using the Google Map Maker tool once they are back at a computer connected to the internet.

Google Map Maker allows you to add and update geographic information for millions of users to see in Google Maps and Google Earth. By sharing information about the places you know, like businesses in your town or places on your school campus, you can help Google Maps to accurately reflect the world around you.

If you’re excited about this, why not pick up your laptop bag, water bottle and power cable, and team up with your nearest community leader to start putting your community on the maps. If you want to know when it coming to your town, check out this calendar and get in touch with a Google community leader near you.

Posted by Chukwuemeka Afigbo, Outreach Program Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa



====



Faites apparaître votre village sur la carte !

Noé Diakubama, parisien émigré de la République Démocratique du Congo, fait partie des audacieux pionniers de ce siècle. À l'aide d'un outil de cartographie, il a créé la première carte de son village, Mbandaka, que sa femme et lui ont ensuite modifiée plus de 100 000 fois depuis 2009. Noé a littéralement inscrit Mbandaka, ainsi que les personnes qui y vivent, sur la carte.

Mais Noé n'est pas le seul pionnier dans ce cas. Aujourd'hui, les cartographes africains en ligne représentent une vaste communauté qui ne cesse de grandir. Leur contribution consiste à créer des cartes utiles et accessibles des régions les plus reculées d'Afrique et à changer ainsi la vie des populations qui s'y trouvent en leur permettant de trouver plus facilement les centres sanitaires et sociaux, les entreprises et les établissements scolaires.

À compter d'aujourd'hui et jusqu'au 17 novembre 2013, plus de 1500 bénévoles à travers l'Afrique vont faire équipe avec les "Community Leaders" dont Google Student Ambassadors (GSA), Google Business Groups (GBG) et Google Developer Groups (GDG) pour cartographier les régions qu'ils aiment et dans lesquelles ils ont grandi.

Les bénévoles ont pour mission de se rendre dans un village donné et d'y recueillir des informations qu'ils ajouteront ensuite à Google Maps à l'aide de l'outil Google Map Maker dès qu'ils auront accès à un ordinateur connecté à internet.

Google Map Maker permet d'ajouter et de mettre à jour des informations géographiques, qui seront consultables par des millions d'internautes sur Google Maps et Google Earth. En partageant des informations sur les lieux que vous connaissez, comme votre campus ou les entreprises installées dans votre ville, vous pouvez contribuer à enrichir Google Maps et en faire le reflet le plus précis possible du monde qui vous entoure.

Si cela vous tente et que vous avez envie d'inscrire votre communauté sur la carte, il vous suffit de vous munir de votre ordinateur portable, d'un chargeur et d'une bouteille d'eau et de rejoindre votre "Community Leader". Pour savoir quand l'événement aura lieu dans votre ville, vous pouvez consulter ce calendrier et contacter le "Community Leader" de Google le plus proche de chez vous.

Publié par Chukwuemeka Afigbo, Outreach Program Manager, Afrique sub-saharienne

Create offers in minutes and reach customers on Google Maps with Google Offers

Back in July we announced new ways for consumers to discover offers with Google. Today we’re introducing an updated self-service tool for all businesses in the U.S. to easily create offers and attract customers to their stores. Using the simple offer creation tool, businesses can create their offer in minutes and showcase it to local customers across Google, including Google Maps.

Create your offer in minutes and see it go live in just a few hours
With the updated creation tool, which is rolling out within the next week, you can create your offer in minutes. Simply choose the type of offer you’d like to create and assign a budget.

Unlike traditional promotions or coupons, Google Offers will show your offer to customers based on their location, what they like, and what they're looking for. You'll only pay when a customer saves your offer, and you keep the full value of the sales you make.


Reach the right customers, at the right time, now through Google Maps
With this launch, your offer can reach customers on Google Maps when they are searching for places nearby or looking for local businesses like yours. Your business will be prominently displayed with a blue tag icon next to it, alerting customers to your offer.


Once a customer saves your offer, we’ll bring them to your door by sharing an offer reminder when they are near your store. We can help remind them when your offer is expiring too, through email and mobile alerts. Just create the offer; we’ll take care of the rest. To get started and drive more traffic to your store, visit Google Offers.

Posted by Gayathri Rajan, Director of Product Management, Google Offers

Swaziland next African country to come to Street View

Ever wanted to visit the vast rolling green hills of Swaziland? Google’s Street View will now give you virtual access to this majestic Southern African kingdom. Swaziland joins South Africa, Botswana and Lesotho as the fourth African country to be featured on Street View.

Explore the terrains of the Mlawula, Malolotja and Simunye Nature Reserves or take a step on to the Low Level Bridge.



Malolotja Natural Reserve View Larger Map

Visit one of Swaziland’s pioneer conservation locations, the Mlilwane Game Sanctuary, which can be found in the Ezulwini Valley - also known as the ‘Valley of Heavens’. Users can also embark on an exhilarating adventure amongst the deep crevices of one of the world’s oldest mines, the Ngwenya mine, situated near the north-western border of Swaziland.


Mlilwane Game Sanctuary View Larger Map

Why not immerse yourself in 1850 Swaziland by discovering the hidden treasures that are held within the Mantenga Cultural Village? The village represents an authentic living museum of artefacts and tradition during this time period.

Google aims to make Street View more and more comprehensive and useful by adding new and unusual locations - with everything from the top of the world’s tallest building in Dubai down to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, there is nothing that is out of reach.

Posted by Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Public Policy Manager, Google South Africa.


====


Swaziland, prochain pays africain à entrer dans Street View

Avez-vous déjà eu envie de visiter les vastes collines verdoyantes du Swaziland ? Google Street View vous permet désormais d'accéder virtuellement à ce majestueux royaume d'Afrique australe. Le Swaziland rejoint l'Afrique du Sud, le Botswana et le Lesotho en quatrième place des pays d'Afrique représentés dans Street View.

Explorez les réserves naturelles de Mlawula, Malolotja et de Simunye ou allez voir le célèbre Low Level Bridge.

Vous pourrez aussi visiter l'un premiers sites de préservation du Swaziland, le sanctuaire animalier de Mlilwane, qui se trouve dans la vallée Ezulwini, aussi appelée la "Vallée du paradis". Et pourquoi pas, vivre l'aventure palpitante de survoler les profondes crevasses de l'une des plus anciennes mines du monde, la mine de Ngwenya, située à la frontière nord-ouest du pays.

Si cela vous tente, plongez dans le Swaziland des années 1850 en partant à la découverte des trésors cachés que recèle le Mantenga Cultural Village ! Ce village est un authentique musée vivant des objets et traditions en usage à cette époque.

Google a pour ambition de rendre Street View de plus en plus complet et utile en l'enrichissant de lieux nouveaux ou insolites - depuis la vue au sommet du plus haut bâtiment du mondeà Dubaï jusqu'à la Grande barrière de corail d'Australie, plus rien ne sera hors de portée.

Publié par Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, Public Policy Manager, Google Afrique du Sud

Success with DS series: Shortcuts to time savings with automated rules

This is the second post in our "Success with DS" series, highlighting tips and tricks around key DoubleClick Search features. Today’s post comes from Vijay Reddy, DoubleClick Platform Solutions Consultant.


Last time, we heard Technical Specialist Emily Brodman talk about how you can enjoy the rest of your summer vacation with inventory-aware campaigns that automatically create and update your search campaigns, based on your Google Merchant Center feed. But now summer's gone, and Halloween's just around the corner. We figured you could use some of the time you save after implementing the automated rules below to put the finishing touches on your costume.



You may already know the basics of automated rules. You may know that it’s an easy, reliable way to save time by automating the tasks you do everyday. But did you know you could use rules to detect a downward trend in your campaign volume, increase your budget to reverse the trend, and to label keywords for easy reporting. Too good to be true? It’s not. We’ll start small and work our way up to doing exactly that. Navigate to the campaigns tab of a particular engine account, select a couple of campaigns you want the rule to apply to, then configure as follows: 1) Set your condition


2) Set your action to “Notify only”


3) Schedule the rule to run and click “Save rule”

Easy as 1,2,3 (literally)!


Tip: The date range your condition is evaluated over is the date range of the view you created the rule from. You may be thinking, “This is great and all...but in the real world, different campaigns have different volumes. Does this mean I have to create a new rule of every campaign?”
Formula columns to the rescue!  
Instead of triggering off a static click threshold, let’s create a formula column that detects a trend in click volume: Create a formula column called “% Change Clicks.” You can copy the below formula: to_percent((Clicks.for_Date_Range(Yesterday()) -Clicks/num_days())/(Clicks/num_days())) Now recreate the previous rule, but this time trigger off the formula column you just created:

You now have rule that detects if yesterday’s clicks have dropped more than 30% below the trailing 7 day average! Tip: If you liked that formula column, you can see several more creative examples of formula columns in action here.Now, as Emeril  would say, “Let’s kick it up a notch!” Our rule currently just notifies us that volume is trending down, but it doesn’t actually do anything about it. Enter Actions!
Different object types have different actions available. For example, a rule on keywords would have the option to change its landing page or max CPC. Rules on campaigns have their own menu of actions. Since the rule in question is detecting a drop in click-volume, it may make sense to bump up the campaign’s budget in an attempt to get volume back up. Just model your action like below:

Mission accomplished! What’s that you say? You want MORE automation? I thought you’d never ask. Extra Credit:
If you thought Rules +formula columns was a powerful combo, wait till you throw labels into the mix. Try creating a parallel rule  that runs with the same condition as the previous rule, but instead of increasing budget it adds a label (e.g. “Budget Auto-Increased”). Now go back to the first rule and add NOT having that label as a condition for the first rule. This effectively means the each campaign can only be auto-increased once. What other creative ways can you think of to combine rules, formula columns, and labels?