Monthly Archives: July 2011

Three Questions, Updated

When we started the Data Liberation Front in 2007, we encouraged everyone to ask three questions about the products they were using:
  1. Can I get my data out at all?
  2. How much is it going to cost to get my data out?
  3. How much of my time is it going to take to get my data out?
But we forgot an important detail: the ability to do something useful with the data once you take it out. With that in mind, we’ve modified our first question to emphasize the importance of being able to download your data in an open, interoperable, portable format:
  1. Can I get my data out in an open, interoperable, portable format?
  2. How much is it going to cost to get my data out?
  3. How much of my time is it going to take to get my data out?
What we mean by open, interoperable and portable is that your data should be exported in a format that is:
  • Publicly documented and non-proprietary (i.e. it does not require a commercial license to use)
  • Easy for engineers to write a program that can import the data into another system
Your data isn’t really liberated unless you can put it to use somewhere else. Making sure you can do that when you liberate from Google products is now officially part of our mission.

Source: Data Liberation

Rich results templates out-of-the-box

We’ve been hard at work making improvements to the Google Custom Search Element that will enhance the look and feel of search results when users type into your custom search query box. You’ll see some of the fruits of these labors starting today. We’ve just launched a set of templates that take advantage of rich snippets markup to provide customized results layouts for specific structured data. Your markup can enhance the display of structured information in addition to enabling the powerful metadata features, such as Sort by Attribute and Restrict to Range that we released last year.

For example, there’s a Review template that will show ratings and expand on-demand to display reviews within a result as shown in the screenshot below:

This specific treatment is used when you use hreview and hreview-aggregate Microformat markup on your pages. Template rendering changes are automatic if you use the Element.

Templates that we now support include: People, Product, Recipe, Organization, Review and Review Aggregate. Try these out at our demo search site. Here’s an example of a Recipe result, using a custom theme.

For more information on markup that you can use for and Custom Search, please refer to our documentation. Don’t forget that we also support image thumbnails and actions. Further, if you are marking up your pages, you can verify that we recognize the right attributes by using our Rich Snippets Preview Tool.

We are constantly adding support for additional markup formats, so stay tuned. We’re continuing to add innovative features to the Element to help you turbo-charge your Custom Search results presentation. As always, we look forward to your feedback.

Posted by: Edison Nica, Software Engineer

Something new on the Google Takeout menu: +1’s

Two and a half weeks ago, we launched Google Takeout, and the response has been overwhelming: you want more data in Google Takeout! Well, we’ve heard you, and have a little more data to tide you over for now: Takeout now includes a list of the websites that you’ve +1’ed.

We’ve still got plenty more data to liberate -- including +1’s on stream posts and comments -- but we just wanted to give you a quick update.

Source: Data Liberation

The new Google Web Fonts – Now fully launched

At the end of June, we announced an experimental interface for the Google Web Fonts interface. Today, we’re pleased to offer this new interface to all users, by default. From now on, you can simply visit to use the new layout and functionality. The old interface will no longer be accessible.

There are a few things we’ve added since we initially launched the interface. We’d like to call attention to one of those features in particular. We’ve added the ability to bookmark your collection. Simply click the “Bookmark your collection” link from the top right of any page. This will give you a link that you can share with friends or coworkers to quickly share your selection.

There’s more to this than meets the eye. The bookmark will depend on which page you are currently on. For example, if you grab the bookmark link from the Review step, your link will forward to a page that displays your selection in the Review step. Similarly, if you grab the link from the Use step, the link will forward to the Use step. In this way, you can selectively choose which step in the font selection process you’d like to link to.

We hope you enjoy this new interface. We’re grateful for all the feedback we’ve received over the past 2 weeks, and we aim to continually improve the Google Web Font selection experience based on everything we hear. Keep it coming!