Monthly Archives: October 2014

IMA iOS and Android SDK Quick Starts Have Been Updated

We recently updated the iOS and Android quick starts for IMA to make them more streamlined and informative. The new quick starts are done in the style of a code lab - we first provide a sample video player app with no ad integration, then walk you through the steps of adding the IMA SDK to the app. We also provide a completed example if you just want to follow along. If you haven’t yet tried the IMA SDKs for mobile, give our new quick starts a spin and let us know how you like them via our forum.

Explore the haunted corners of Europe….if you dare

Something wicked this way comes… Whether you’re a trio of witches back from the dead or just a trick-or-treater, chances are you’re hitting the streets (or riding a broom!) on Halloween night. For those looking for an extra fright, take a tour of spooky places from around the world on Google Maps.

Start in 19th century Paris. While cheery guests listen to the beautiful arias at the Opéra Garnier, a dreary lake lies beneath the streets. Floating above the silent water, a phantom lurks. Are your eyes playing tricks on you... or is that a cloaked figure looming in the shadows?

For the holiday, we've also just released some new imagery in Italy, Romania and Czech Republic. Start with Italy's premier witchcraft museum, the Museo della Stregoneria di Triora.

Continue onto Slovakia and the Čachtický hrad, a castle where Elizabeth Báthory, a countess from the renowned Báthory family, lied. Stories describe her vampire-like tendencies (most famously the tale that she bathed in the blood of young servant girls who she killed - to retain her youth).

Conclude with the spookiest site of them all in Romania - Dracula's own Bran Castle. The Dracula's Castle was built on the edge of the Bran Pass and nowadays lures guests worldwide who wish to partake in the legend of the Count Dracula.

If these spooky spots whet your appetite for fear, get up close with some of the most frightful locations in Google Maps Gallery and find ghouls and goblins in haunted houses around the world. If you’re looking for a laugh instead of a scream, take a hayride through your local corn maze, find the perfect jack-o-lantern at your neighboring pumpkin patch, and scout the best trick-or-treat routes near you.

Now get your cauldrons bubbling and monsters mashing because after all, this is Halloween!

Deprecated Google Calendar APIs (v1, v2) shutting down on November 17th, 2014

As initially announced in November 2011, and reiterated in June of this year, the older versions (v1, v2) of the Google Calendar API will be shut down on November 17, 2014.

Any service dependent on v1 or v2 of the Google Calendar API will no longer work as intended. Developers should ensure any relevant services are utilizing v3 of the Google Calendar API prior to the shut down.

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted
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Notification re: Google Talk app for Windows replacement

Late last year, we announced that the Google Talk app for Windows was being retired. Soon, people using the Google Talk client for Windows will start seeing the following notification within the application:

Google Talk app for Windows is no longer supported. It is being replaced by the new Hangouts Chrome app. Install the Hangouts app from

The Google Talk app for Windows will continue to work for approximately two months before being turned off completely. We will post a follow up notification within the application prior to the shut down.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release

For more information:
Download the Hangouts Chrome app

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted
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Make your emails stand out in Inbox

As we announced last week, Inbox is a whole new take on, well, the inbox. It’s built by the Gmail team, but it’s not Gmail—it’s a new product designed to help users succeed in today’s world of email overload and multiple devices. At the same time, Inbox can also help you as a sender by offering new tools to make your emails more interactive!

Specifically, you can now take advantage of a new feature called Highlights.

Exactly like it sounds, Highlights “highlight” or surface key information and actions from an email and display them as easy-to-see chips in the inbox. For example, if you’re an airline that sends flight confirmation emails, Highlights can surface the “Check-in for your flight” action and display live flight status information for recipients right in the user’s main list. The same can apply if you send customers hotel reservations, event details, event invitations, restaurant reservations, purchases, or other tickets. Highlights help ensure that your recipients see your messages and the important details at a glance.

To take advantage of Highlights, you can mark up your email messages to specify which details you want surfaced for your customers. This will make it possible for not only Inbox, but also Gmail, Google Now, Google Search, and Maps to interact more easily with your messages and give your recipients the best possible experience across Android, iOS and the web.

As an example, the following JSON-LD markup can be used by restaurants to send reservation confirmations to their users/customers:
<script type="application/ld+json">
"@context": "",
"@type": "FoodEstablishmentReservation",
"reservationNumber": "WTA1EK",
"reservationStatus": "",
. . . information about dining customer . . .
"reservationFor": {
"@type": "FoodEstablishment",
"name": "Charlie’s Cafe",
"address": {
"@type": "PostalAddress",
"streetAddress": "1600 Amphitheatre Parkway",
"addressLocality": "Mountain View",
"addressRegion": "CA",
"postalCode": "94043",
"addressCountry": "United States"
"telephone": "+1 650 253 0000"
"startTime": "2015-01-01T19:30:00-07:00",
"partySize": "2"

When your confirmation is received, users will see a convenient Highlight with the pertinents at the top of their Inbox, then can open the message to obtain the full details of their reservation as shown above.

Getting started is simple: read about email markup, check out more markup examples, then register at and follow the instructions from there!

by Shalini Agarwal, Product Management, Inbox by Gmail

Life of a DFP Video Line Item Part II

In Part I, Chris showed you how to create and traffic a video ad. In Part II, you’ll learn how to get that ad displayed before your video content in Flash, HTML5, iOS, or Android.

The IMA SDK requires you to have an ad tag that points to your ad. An ad tag is a URL that returns a VAST response. The VAST (or VMAP) response contains information about your ad, including tracking URLs, clickthrough destinations, and the media files for the video ad. For more information about VAST, see the IAB website.

If you’re using DFP, the UI can generate an ad tag for you based on your line item and ad unit criteria. To generate the ad tag for your line item, follow these steps.

Now that you have your ad tag, let’s take a look at some of the parameters. We’ll use one of our standard sample tags for this exercise:

The size of the video ad that you’re requesting.
Your “inventory unit” - the ad unit you created in Part I. This is in the format <network_code>/<ad_unit_code path>.
If your ad unit has associated companion ads, their sizes will be listed here.
The request mode. Here, “s” for “sync”.
The environment. Here, “vp” for “video player”. 
Indicates that this is a DFP request rather than the legacy Google Ads Manager.
The type of output you want from your ad request. Typical values are “vast” or “vmap”.
Enables delayed impressions for your ad. This ensures that an impression isn’t counted until the ad starts playing.
The URL of the page requesting ads. This will also be automatically filled in by the SDK.
This randomly-generated value will be filled in by the SDK. It’s used for a number of things, but they all boil down to detecting ad requests that come from the same instance of a page load.
Like the correlator, but refreshed when your video stream changes rather than when the page refreshes. Used to detect ad requests that come from the same video stream instance.
For more info on these parameters, see this DFP help center article.

Now that you have a basic understanding of your ad tag, it’s time to plug it into your IMA SDK implementation. If you’d like to use a video player with the SDK pre-integrated, we have pre-baked solutions for HTML5, iOS, and Android. If you want to do your own SDK integration, check out the quick start guide for Flash, HTML5, iOS, or Android. In each of the sample implementations, you’ll find a reference to at least one ad tag.

For example, the HTML5 ad tag reference is in ads.js and looks like this:
adsRequest.adTagUrl = “YOUR_AD_TAG_HERE”;
Now fire up the sample and request an ad. Voila! You’ll now see the ad you trafficked in Part I serving as a pre-roll to your video content!

As always, if you have any questions feel free to contact us via the support forum.

Celebrating National Novel Writing Month: 3 authors, 1 Google Doc, 1 hour, and 1 line provided by YOU!

Every year on November 1, thousands of people aim to start and finish a 50,000-word novel by 11:59pm on November 30. This fun, seat-of-your pants approach to creative writing is called National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), and we think it’s pretty awesome. But you know what could make it even more awesome -- doing it together... live!

To celebrate we’ve invited three of our favorite writers to get creative together. They won’t be writing a full novel, but on November 18, they will be collaborating in Google Docs to write a short story in just one hour. You’ll be able to watch the whole thing as they swap sentences in real time. Afterward, we’ll have a Q&A with the authors moderated by NaNoWriMo director (and dedicated participant), Grant Faulkner.

Of course, every great story needs a great beginning, and that’s where we need your help! You’ll tell the authors how the story should begin, whether it’s with the classic “Once upon a time…” or something completely random like “Before he came to Tuberville, Roger Pickens had never seen a chicken.”

To participate, send us your opening line ideas until November 12th. Then, on November 18, you can tune in to view the winning prompt, and watch as the writers transform that sentence into a one-of-a-kind story, right in front of your eyes.

One prompt, one Doc, one hour. Three talented writers. And the tale unfolds from there...

Meet the collaborating authors 
(Edan Lepucki, Tope Folarin, Mike Curato)
Edan Lepucki’s debut novel, California, debuted at #3 on the New York Times Bestsellers List and has been the #1 bestseller on the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle bestseller lists. California was also recently chosen as a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers selection.

Tope Folarin made his fiction debut in Transition with 'Miracle' in 2012, for which he won the Caine Prize for African Writing in 2013. In 2014 he was named to the Africa39 list of the most promising African writers under 40. Tope currently lives in Washington, D.C. where he is at work on his first novel.

Mike Curato’s debut children's book, Little Elliot, Big City (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, Macmillan), has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The first in a series of three, Little Elliot, Big City recently won the 2014 Founders Award from the Society of Illustrators, which is given to the most promising new talent in the field of children’s book illustration. Curato lives and works in Brooklyn.

Posted by Andrea Freund, Communications for Docs, Sheets, & Slides and closet writer

Enhanced Google Admin app for Android

The Google Admin app for Android allows super admins to manage their Google for Work products on the go with their Android phones and tablets. The app can be used to manage users and groups, contact support, view audit logs, check notifications and do other common administrative tasks. We’ve launched an update to the app, including the following new features:
  • Optional 4-digit PIN that works across devices: We’ve added an optional and convenient 4-digit PIN to secure access to the app. You can use the same PIN while logging into the app from any device.
  • Ability to switch between multiple accounts: Admins who manage multiple domains can now do so from the app without logging out and logging in
  • Accessibility compliance: The app is now accessibility compliant on all primary flows and use cases
  • New icons and other fixes: The app now features new sharper icons; several bugs have been fixed

Note that this app works for super admins only and requires API access to be enabled. Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release For more information:
Help Center

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted
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Notification in older spreadsheets of upcoming migration to new Google Sheets

Starting next week, people using older spreadsheets (those created prior to Dec 2013, including any subsequent copies) in Google Apps domains on the Rapid release track will see a notification about an upcoming auto-migration to the new version of Google Sheets. They will be directed to the Help Center to learn more.

The actual migration won’t start for another 2-3 weeks, and no action is required as a result of the migration. No data should be affected; however, in rare cases the results of some formulas and some other features may be slightly different. See "What's different in the new Sheets?" in the Help Center article for more detailed information.

You can tell what version your spreadsheet is in by checking to see if there is a green checkmark at the bottom right of your spreadsheet (the checkmark is found on new Sheets only).  

Release track:
Rapid release; the notification will be shown to Scheduled release domains closer to the actual migration date

For more information:
Help Center

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted
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Browse, skim, study your favorite nonfiction books more easily with Google Play

Have you ever had breakfast for dinner? Or checked the score of the big game before you watched it? Traditional ebook reading is great when you want to read books from start to finish—but what if you want to skim through recipes; jump between questions and answers, researching a topic; or read chapters out of order? Today we’re launching a new version of the Google Play Books app for Android phones and tablets with a redesigned reading experience that’s optimized for nonfiction books. This new reader lets you easily skim an entire book, browse all your notes and highlights, and quickly jump back and forth between different spots. And it’s still great for fiction ebook reading, too.

Imagine you’re cooking two recipes from the same cookbook— roast chicken and bruschetta from Around the Table. No problem. Take a peek at the new table of contents view to skip straight to the “Bountiful Tuscan Feast” chapter. Once you’ve found your recipes, you can easily jump between them using new Quick Bookmarks.

When you’re planning your next trip, pick up a Fodor’s travel guide and use Skim Mode to browse the whole book and get a sense of which destinations you want to be sure to visit. Bookmark your favorite spots for easy finding later.

If you’re a student, you can highlight text and take notes while you’re reading, then refer back to them later with Skim Mode—the perfect study buddy.

Of course, all the things you loved about Google Play Books before are still here:

  • Tap on any location name in a book to get a Geo Card with links to access Google Maps, Wikipedia or Web Search 
  • Tap and press on any word to look it up in the dictionary 
  • Select text to highlight in four colors, take notes or translate from any language 
  • Don’t lose your place! Your reading position is synchronized across all your devices: phone, tablet and web 

Ebook reading has always been great for getting lost in a well-crafted story (in the dark using night mode is my favorite!), but now it’s a good fit for any type of book. Visit the Google Play store to have a look for yourself—just add any free sample to your library to start reading. Plan a trip, prepare a meal, research a topic or study for an exam—we’ve got you covered with the new reader app for Google Play Books.

Posted by Scott Dougall, director of product management for Google Play Books