New Zealand Blog
Google news for Kiwis
Introducing Google Buzz
Thursday, February 11, 2010
We've blogged before about our
thoughts on the social web
, steps we've taken to
add social features to our products
, and efforts like
that propose common tools for building social apps. With more and more communication happening online, the social web has exploded as the primary way to share interesting stuff, tell the world what you're up to in real-time and stay more connected to more people. In today's world of status messages, tweets and update streams, it's increasingly tough to sort through it all, much less engage in meaningful conversations.
Our belief is that organising the social information on the web — finding relevance in the noise — has become a large-scale challenge, one that Google's experience in organising information can help solve. We've recently launched innovations like
, and today we're taking another big step with the introduction of a new product,
Google Buzz is a new way to start conversations about the things you find interesting. It's
built right into Gmail
, so you don't have to build up an entirely new set of friends from scratch — it just works. If you think about it, there's always been a big social network underlying Gmail. Buzz brings this network to the surface by automatically setting you up to follow the people you email and chat with the most. We focused on building an easy-to-use sharing experience that richly integrates photos, videos and links, and makes it easy to share publicly or privately (so you don't have to use different tools to share with different audiences). Plus, Buzz integrates tightly with your existing Gmail inbox, so you're sure to see the stuff that matters most as it happens in real time.
We're rolling out Buzz to all Gmail accounts over the next few days, so if you don't see it in your account yet, check back soon. We also plan to make Google Buzz available to businesses and schools using Google Apps, with added features for sharing within organisations.
On your phone, Google Buzz is much more than just a small screen version of the desktop experience. Mobile devices add an important component to sharing: location. Posts tagged with geographical information have an extra dimension of context — the answer to the question "where were you when you shared this?" can communicate so much. And when viewed in aggregate, the posts about a particular location can paint an extremely rich picture of that place. Check out the
for more info about all of the ways to use Buzz on your phone, from a new mobile web app to a Buzz layer in Google Maps for mobile.
We've relied on other services' openness in order to build Buzz (you can connect Flickr and Twitter from Buzz in Gmail), and Buzz itself is not designed to be a closed system. Our goal is to make Buzz a fully open and distributed platform for conversations. We're building on a suite of open protocols to create a complete read/write developer API, and we invite developers to join us on
to see what is available today and to learn more about how to participate.
We really hope you enjoy the experiences we've built within Gmail and for mobile phones. If you want to learn more, visit
. We look forward to continuing to evolve and improve Google Buzz based on your feedback.
Posted by Todd Jackson, Product Manager, Gmail and Google Buzz
Safer Internet Day 2010: Think B4 you post!
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Today is Safer Internet Day, a day to reflect on the fact that, just like in the physical world, in cyberspace we all need to look out for ourselves and use our common sense.
Today's theme is Think B4 U post. The fact is, some things are better left private... as fun and as easy as it is to post stuff about yourself, your friends, or your family online, you never know who will find it and when it will come back to haunt you.
Tips to Think B4 U post:
Make sure there isn't anything in what you post that could help a stranger figure out who you are or where you live. Personal information like your telephone number or home address should NEVER be shared online with people you don't know.
Don't post things that you wouldn't want other people to know - including a future employer.
Don't post anything about a friend that you wouldn't say to his or her face. Treat others as you would like to be treated.
Visit these useful sites for tips on
Check out these clips on YouTube:
What You Post Can Haunt You Forever
Happy surfing! And remember - Think B4 U post :-)
Posted by Ishtar Vij, Public Policy and Government Affairs
WWII historical imagery in Google Earth
Friday, February 5, 2010
(Editor's note: This is a cross-post from the
Google Lat Long Blog
Many of us have heard stories, read books and watched films which show the many impacts of WWII across the world. Today we're giving you another way to understand this period in time - by exploring a new set of historical aerial images, taken over European cities during World War II, via the
historical imagery feature
in Google Earth. They can now be compared directly to images from the present day.
The historical imagery feature gives people a unique perspective on the events of the past using today's latest mapping technology. We hope that this World War II imagery will enable all of us to understand our shared history in a new way and to learn more about the impact of the war on the development of our cities.
Images taken in 1943 show the effect of wartime bombing on more than 35 European towns and cities. Imagery for Warsaw, which was heavily destroyed at the time, is available from both years 1935 and 1945. They remind us all of the devastating impact of war on the people in those cities and also the remarkable way in which urban environments are reconstructed and regenerated over time.
You can explore the German city of Stuttgart, which was subject to over 50 air raids during the War.
Naples was the most bombed in Italian city in WWII and the impact of these attacks can be seen here:
The French city of Lyon was the center of France's resistance movement against the German occupation. See how it was damaged and rebuilt over the years:
Imagery from 1935 and 1945 for Warsaw in Poland is particularly compelling. The city was amongst those most badly damaged in the war and comparisons with today are striking.
Contrast can be seen for example by comparing the imagery of the Historic Centre of Warsaw,
a UNESCO World Heritage site
, described as an 'outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century'. The Royal Castle was completely burned to the ground, for example, and subsequently reconstructed, between 1971-1988.
Read more about one Googler's impressions
To access all the imagery for yourself, and compare to the present day cityscape, click the clock icon in the top-level toolbar to activate a time-line in the Google Earth display. Move back in forth in time by dragging the time slider from left to right or by clicking the back/forwards arrows.
Posted by Annie Baxter, Google New Zealand
Justin Baird talks innovation with Radio Wammo
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Earlier today, Google Innovationist Justin Baird had the opportunity to chat with Radio Wammo on Kiwi FM on everything from Google Wave to social networks to climate change. In case you missed it, you can enjoy it here on YouTube.
Posted by Annie Baxter, Google New Zealand
Kiwi Doodler’s work displayed for millions to see
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Today we're celebrating Kiwi kids’ return to school on the
Google New Zealand homepage
- with New Zealand’s inaugural
Doodle 4 Google
winning image replacing the Google logo for the day.
Last year, for the first time, Google asked New Zealand students to give the Google logo a uniquely Kiwi makeover by creating a doodle to reflect the theme of ‘My New Zealand’. Eight-year-old Amelia Abbott of Nelson won the competition with her entry, ‘Green and Gorgeous’, and today's it's proudly on our home page for all to see.
Doodle 4 Google New Zealand
, held in association with The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, attracted entries from thousands of students from more than 600 schools across the country. Google's original Doodler, Dennis Hwang, said: “Our winner Amelia created a beautiful doodle that showed innovative use of animals and Kiwi icons as the Google letters to communicate her vision of New Zealand nature, and I would have been proud to see it come out of our Google doodle team.”
We’d also like to send our huge congratulations to all of the thousands of students who entered, including our other age group winners:
Abigail Sadlier from Awapuni School, Gisborne (Years 4-6);
Sophie Arnold from Fairfield Intermediate School, Hamilton (Years 7-8);
Emily Fountain from Epsom Girls Grammar, Auckland (Year 9-10).
customisation of the Google logo
first took place in 1999, and Dennis Hwang and the Google doodle team have since celebrated events, anniversaries and holidays worldwide with doodles that incorporate the Google logo. In New Zealand this has included ANZAC Day and the anniversary of Sir Edmund Hillary's historical ascent of Mt Everest.
Posted by Katharina Friedrich, Doodle 4 Google team
AdSense bringing extra income to Kiwis
Monday, February 1, 2010
In 1999, Auckland builder Les Kenny’s life changed for ever when he bought a computer for his children, got online and taught himself HTML coding. From these humble beginnings, this avid DIY fanatic now earns around $20,000 a month through his
started as a hobby for Les in 2001, when he decided he wanted to share his love of DIY with the wider world using his newfound web skills. The site quickly became a passion and he invested hundreds of hours into creating and updating it, with his family pitching in. Les’s daughter Rosanne helps out with design and graphics, daughter Angela helps out with the content and videos, while his wife Jenny now has her own site Craftyjenny.com. You can see more about the family passion for DIY in the video below.
Once search engines started picking up his site, Les’s site started to attract visitors from all over the world. This is when Les started looking for ways of making money from all these views through some sort of advertising - in early 2004 he learned about Google
and immediately signed up and implemented it into his site.
AdSense allows internet publishers to host advertisers’ ads on their website. Advertisers pay Google on a per click basis and publishers like Les get the majority share of that revenue.
As time went on Les learned more about AdSense, working out how to best optimise his site by tweaking the position, size and colours of ads – and more money came flowing in. The income Les now receives from AdSense means he has been able to quit his day job, put his son through university and pay off his mortgage - he's now looking to purchase a second property in Australia. In between updating the site, he and wife Jenny are free to travel the world - where Les is always looking for inspiration for Buildeazy.com and his new website,
Another Kiwi doing well from AdSense is Mauricio Freitas, who runs the well known NZ IT forum
. Mauricio joined AdSense in 2003 when the programme launched worldwide. The revenue coming in from AdSense meant Mauricio was able to dedicate full-time attention to Geekzone.
Today, AdSense is still one of Geekzone's largest revenue generators. Mauricio uses it to make money from local and international traffic – this works well because he doesn’t have a sales team overseas and so can easily sell his local unsold inventory without additional effort or costs. Using
, he’s able to find exactly what kind of content can generate the best revenue, and integration with
Google Ad Manager
means Mauricio can manage his inventory and automatically insert Google AdSense where needed.
To follow Les and Mauricio's example and make the most of your website, think about following these tips:
1. Generate lots of fresh, original content - content is king!
2. Think about your visitors first and foremost, and all else will follow - this means building a website that people will love to come back to, rather than thinking about ads too much.
3. Choose a subject that you're passionate about - growing and maintaining a website is a big investment, but (like Les) if you're working on something you love, it won't feel like work.
4. Don't just set and forget - always think about the best way of integrating ads with content while giving site visitors a great experience. Things like fonts, colours, and ad formats really matter!
5. Think big and think global right from the start - even if your content is niche, try to reach a global audience. For example, Les publishes his building plans in metric and imperial units.
And to learn more about AdSense and how it could help make money for your website, check out
our channel on YouTube
Posted by MelAnn Chan, Google AdSense team
doodle 4 google
Google Apps for Business
Google apps for education
Give us feedback in our
Official Google Blog
Public Policy Blog
Lat Long Blog
Ads Developer Blog
Android Developers Blog