Monthly Archives: March 2015

Equator found to be slipping: Australia at risk of becoming a Northern Hemisphere country by 2055

In order to ensure the accuracy of Google Maps, our engineers constantly reassess the Earth’s geospatial data in relation to other objects in the solar system.

Over the past two months, Google Maps engineers in Sydney have discovered that the Earth’s equator is slipping south at rate of 25km per year — much faster than previously thought.

Movements in the equator are caused by changes in the Earth’s tilt, called Milankovitch cycles. A degree of movement is not unexpected but the speed of this movement has alarmed scientists, who have expressed concerns about the impact on migratory birds. Dr Derek Muller, the scientist behind the popular YouTube channel Veritasium, explains in this video what’s behind the alarming slippage.  

Current modelling suggests that the northern-most point of Australia, Cape York, could enter the Northern Hemisphere as soon as 2055.

Regardless of where the equator moves to, there are some things we will never change. In Australia, we will always call the season after Summer “Autumn”, not “Fall.” We will refuse to spell colour “color”, even when referring to that dress. And, we will keep surfing at Bondi Beach in January, even if the water drops below zero Fahrenheit Celsius.

Evolution of TV: The Promise of Programmatic TV

Cross-posted from the DoubleClick Advertiser Blog

This post is part of DoubleClick's Evolution of TV series. In this series we identify the risks and opportunities around 7 dynamics transforming the advertising landscape as TV programming shifts to delivery over the Internet.

Television advertising is big business. How big? TV ad spending in the U.S. is projected to reach almost $84 billion per year by 2018. Traditionally, many of these billions are spent during upfronts—that time of year when traditional TV networks and, increasingly, digital media companies gather to present their fall lineups and pitch marketers for ad dollars. Whatever TV inventory hasn't been sold, or is held back, is then sold in what is called the scatter market.

While this traditional TV buying and selling model has worked well for decades, it's not without its inefficiencies. "Programmatic TV" is a likely solution that could apply digital advertising's efficiency models to improve TV advertising.

We define "programmatic TV" as a technology-automated and data-driven method of buying and delivering ads against TV content. This includes digital TV ads served across the web, mobile devices, and connected TVs, as well as linear TV ads served across set-top boxes.

As with any new technology, though, the programmatic TV offerings on the market today fall short of the full potential of the technology. As a result, programmatic TV skeptics have reason to ask “why change what’s not broken?” We’re here to say that, while the TV buying and selling process isn’t exactly broken, there's a role for programmatic TV to make it better.

In Part 3 in our Evolution of TV series we dispel the hype about programmatic TV, address the challenges, and concentrate on its promise for brand advertisers, programmers, and broadcasters.

Download the PDF from Think with Google for the in-depth story.

Rany Ng,
Director of Product Management, Video

An update on the new Google Drive UI

Last year, we started the gradual rollout of the new Google Drive UI as the default user experience for Rapid release Google Apps customers, while retaining the ability to return to the old Drive UI via the Settings drop down. After pausing the rollout to work on some performance improvements, the rollout was resumed and completed earlier this month. 

For Scheduled release customers, the rollout of the new Google Drive UI as the default user experience will occur in early April (currently planned for April 7, as per the release calendar).

In the first half of May at the earliest, we’ll remove the option to return to the old Drive UI via the Settings drop down. At least two weeks before the removal of the option to return to the old Drive UI, we will show a notification in the Drive UI about the upcoming change.

Please note that the new Drive UI does not work with older unsupported browsers prior to and including Chrome 23, Firefox 23, IE9 and Safari 6, so it’s important to upgrade to a supported browser to ensure continued access to Drive. 

Release track:
Opt-out experience coming to Scheduled release in early April (planned for April 7); Removal of the ability to return to the old Drive UI planned for no sooner than early-May for Rapid release domains, with Scheduled domains to follow two weeks later. 

See the release calendar for specific dates for the removal of the option to return to the old Drive UI, as they may shift out further. Additional comms to follow.

For more information:
Help Center

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
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Power Great Gaming with New Analytics from Play Games

By Ben Frenkel, Google Play Games team

A few weeks ago at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), we announced Play Games Player Analytics, a new set of free reports to help you manage your games business and understand in-game player behavior. Today, we’re excited to make these new tools available to you in the Google Play Developer Console.

Analytics is a key component of running a game as a service, which is increasingly becoming a necessity for running a successful mobile gaming business. When you take a closer look at large developers that do this successfully, you find that they do three things really well:

  • Manage their business to revenue targets
  • Identify hot spots in their business metrics so they can continuously focus on the game updates that will drive the most impact
  • Use analytics to understand how players are progressing, spending, and churning

“With player engagement and revenue data living under one roof, developers get a level of data quality that is simply not available to smaller teams without dedicated staff. As the tools evolve, I think Google Play Games Player Analytics will finally allow indie devs to confidently make data-driven changes that actually improve revenue.”

Kevin Pazirandeh
Developer of Zombie Highway 2

With Player Analytics, we wanted to make these capabilities available to the entire developer ecosystem on Google Play in a frictionless, easy-to-use way, freeing up your precious time to create great gaming experiences. Small studios, including the makers of Zombie Highway 2 and Bombsquad, have already started to see the benefits and impact of Player Analytics on their business.

Further, if you integrate with Google Play game services, you get this set of analytics with no incremental effort. But, for a little extra work, you can also unlock another set of high impact reports by integrating Google Play game services Events, starting with the Sources and Sinks report, a report to help you balance your in-game economy.

If you already have a game integrated with Google Play game services, go check out the new reports in the Google Play Developer Console today. For everyone else, enabling Player Analytics is as simple as adding a handful of lines of code to your game to integrate Google Play game services.

Manage your business to revenue targets

Set your spend target in Player Analytics by choosing a daily goal

To help assess the health of your games business, Player Analytics enables you to select a daily in-app purchase revenue target and then assess how you're doing against that goal through the Target vs Actual report depicted below. Learn more.

Identify hot spots using benchmarks with the Business Drivers report

Ever wonder how your game’s performance stacks up against other games? Player Analytics tells you exactly how well you are doing compared to similar games in your category.

Metrics highlighted in red are below the benchmark. Arrows indicate whether a metric is trending up or down, and any cell with the icon can be clicked to see more details about the underlying drivers of the change. Learn more.

Track player retention by new user cohort

In the Retention report, you can see the percentage of players that continued to play your game on the following seven days after installing your game.

Learn more.

See where players are spending their time, struggling, and churning with the Player Progression report

Measured by the number of achievements players have earned, the Player Progression funnel helps you identify where your players are struggling and churning to help you refine your game and, ultimately, improve retention. Add more achievements to make progression tracking more precise.

Learn more.

Manage your in-game economy with the Sources and Sinks report

The Sources and Sinks report helps you balance your in-game economy by showing the relationship between how quickly players are earning or buying and using resources.

For example, Eric Froemling, one man developer of BombSquad, used the Sources & Sinks report to help balance the rate at which players earned and spent tickets.

Read more about Eric’s experience with Player Analytics in his recent blog post.

To enable the Sources and Sinks report you will need to create and integrate Play game services Events that track sources of premium currency (e.g., gold coins earned), and sinks of premium currency (e.g., gold coins spent to buy in-app items).

Custom Snooze in Inbox by Gmail: Rise and shine…on your time

As our lives change, so do our schedules. "Morning" probably means something different to a college kid than, say, a parent with a newborn baby. Whatever your schedule is, your inbox should adapt to your day (and not the other way around).

So starting later today, you'll be able to customize your morning, afternoon and evening Snooze times in Inbox. You don't even have to do any work: Inbox will adapt to your preferences. If you snooze to a custom time of 7:30AM, you'll see a prompt asking if you'd like to change your morning time to 7:30AM. One tap and you're all set!
When you update your morning, afternoon, or evening times, the rest of your snooze options will also adapt. ”This evening,” uses your evening time, while “Tomorrow” and “Next week” use your morning time. Of course, if you prefer, you can also manually change your snooze times using the new Snooze settings.
Custom snooze was one of your most highly requested features, but we’ve also been listening to the rest of your feedback. You've asked us for quick access to Contacts from Inbox on the web, and now it's just a click away:
We hope these small improvements help you tackle your email faster and get back to what matters. In the meantime, we’re also working to add easier access to delete as well as signature support in Inbox, two features you’ve told us you want. So stay tuned!

Source: Gmail Blog

Share Drive links for viewing outside of your domain, no sign-in required

When it comes to sharing Google Drive content outside of your domain, whether giving marketing materials to your design agency or inventory lists to your caterer, you want to make sure they can see it―whether they use Drive or not. 

With today’s launch, Google Apps admins now have the option in the Admin console to allow Drive content to be viewed by recipients outside of their domain, without them having to sign-in with a Google account. 

This feature will be defaulted off at launch. It can be enabled in the Admin console at: Apps > Google Apps > Drive > Sharing settings.


Check out the Help Center for more details on enabling this feature.

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release 

For more information:
Help Center
Google for Work blog post

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates

Google Analytics Introduces Product Release Notes

Ever feel like you just can’t keep up with all the new features in Google Analytics? We hear you! To help you keep track of everything that’s going on, we’ve started publishing Release Notes in our product Help Center.

Release notes will be updated periodically and will have the most comprehensive list of new features or changes to the Google Analytics product. So, if you see something new in your account and have questions, we recommend starting here. We’ll point you to the relevant documentation to get you up to speed on everything you need to know.

We're happy to be adding another resources to keep our users informed. Check it out today!

Posted by Louis Gray, Analytics Advocate

Now casting: TED, MTV, Pac-12 and Qello Concerts for Chromecast

Chromecast has another great group of apps you can now cast directly to your TV.

Hot on the heels of the annual TED conference, you can now watch “ideas worth spreading” with TED Talks. Whether you’re seeking inspiration, an old talk you missed, or something more recent, it’s never too late to expand your mind and learn something new. And for those new to TED, check out the 20 most-watched TEDTalks to get started.
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For the sports fans out there, Pac-12 Networks has all of your favorite collegiate sports covered. From fall to summer, Pac-12 Networks brings you live coverage of 30 sports, including football, basketball, soccer, baseball, gymnastics and more.

For those who want to keep up with the latest family drama in Finding Carter or see what secrets Nev and Max uncover in Catfish, start casting with the MTV app available today.

When you’re in the mood to jam out with Nirvana, Freddie Mercury or the Rolling Stones, you can tune into Qello Concerts for full-length concerts and music documentaries. For a limited time, Chromecast owners can sign up to try Qello Concerts all-access pass free for one month through April 19, 2015. Check out more offers at

Find these and more Google Cast-enabled apps at

Posted by Brad Foreman, Chromecast Partnerships and Nerd Nation alum

Set Google Drive sharing settings by organizational unit

Different departments have different needs when it comes to sharing content outside of your domain. You might, for example, have a research department that needs to keep information confidential and a sales team that needs to share presentations with their clients. 

With today’s launch, Google Apps admins now have the flexibility to choose Drive sharing permissions based on organizational unit (OU), as you currently can with other apps like Gmail and Calendar.

To enable Drive sharing at the OU-level in the Admin console, click on: Apps > Google Apps > Drive > Sharing settings.

Note: this feature is available for Google Drive for Work and Google Apps for Education customers only

Release track:
Rapid release and Scheduled release 

For more information:
Help Center
Google for Work blog post

Note: all launches are applicable to all Google Apps editions unless otherwise noted

Launch release calendar
Get these product update alerts by email
Subscribe to the RSS feed of these updates

More Chromebooks, for everyone

“Get more done and worry less.” That’s what teachers, businesses, and everyday people have told us they can do, thanks to Chromebooks. Since we introduced them four years ago, Chromebooks have made computers faster, simpler, and more secure, while eliminating everyday hassles like waiting for your computer to boot up, having to constantly charge it, and remembering to install software updates. And a lot of people love them—Chromebooks were the best selling laptops on Amazon last holiday season, and teachers and students made them the #1 device in schools last year.

Quality and affordability

You shouldn't have to choose between a computer that performs well and one that you can afford. Today we're introducing two new devices that meet both criteria: the Haier Chromebook 11 (available at Amazon) and the Hisense Chromebook (available at Walmart). These new Chromebooks are fast, lightweight, have long-life batteries and are available for pre-order today for $149.

They join new partners like TRUE, XOLO, and Nexian and our existing range of Chrome devices —ranging from 11.6” Chromebooks for $199 to 15” Chromebooks for $499 rolling out over the next few months from partners like Acer, AOPEN, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and LG.

A Chromebook you’ll flip for

We’re also excited about the ASUS Chromebook Flip. A premium, all-metal convertible, it’s ultra-portable—just 15mm thin and weighing less than two pounds. The Chromebook Flip has a great keyboard and a touch screen for immersive experiences like gaming and educational apps. It will be available later this spring for $249.

A little bit more...

This summer, ASUS will launch a new type of Chrome device: the Chromebit. Smaller than a candy bar, the Chromebit is a full computer that will be available for less than $100. By simply plugging this device into any display, you can turn it into a computer. It’s the perfect upgrade for an existing desktop and will be really useful for schools and businesses.

So whether you’re looking for a smaller Chrome device that packs a big punch or a laptop that can do back bends, there’s a Chromebook for you...and for everyone else, too.

Posted by Katie Roberts-Hoffman, Engineer and ARM Wrestler