News > 2010

Google Maps Now with Vector Graphics

Category: Google Maps | Dec 8, 2010

Google’s Andy Rubin recently demoed at the Dive Into Mobile conference the soon to be released new version of Google Maps for Android.

The biggest change in Google Maps 5.0 for Android is that Google are dropping map tiles for vector graphics. The use of vector graphics will lead to two great improvements for Android mobile map users.

In the video above you can see the improvements that vector graphics provide in the display of 3d building outlines. The 3d buildings will have dynamic shading that update on the fly as you change the perspective of your view. The buildings also allow the maps to be rotated to orient to the direction your phone is facing and allow oblique views.

The new vector graphics will also give Google Maps much better caching capabilities. This should mean that Google Maps on your Android will work much better when you don’t have a data connection.

Google Maps 5.0 is expected to be released in the next few days.



Google Maps Goes Above & Beyond

Category: Google Maps | Dec 8, 2010

Trance Around the World with Above & Beyond

Above & Beyond’s weekly ‘Trance Around The World’ radio show is syndicated on over 237 FM radio stations worldwide with a total estimated audience of 30 million. With such a wide range appeal it only seems natural to allow trance fans around the world to share their thoughts with this animated Google Map.

The map animates through the latest Twitter messages with the hashtags #tatw or #tatw350. The map also shows the locations of all of radio stations around the world that broadcast the show and the locations of upcoming trance events.

The map is also doing a very good job in promoting the TATW 350 event at the LA Palladium this Friday. There will be a seven hour broadcast of the event through local radio stations, Sirius XM and online via DI.FM and

Via: All things spatial



Four Googlers elected ACM Fellows this year

Category: Google | Dec 8, 2010

(Cross-posted from the Google Research Blog)

I am delighted to share with you that, like last year, the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) has announced that four Googlers have been elected ACM Fellows in 2010, the most this year from any single corporation or institution.

Luiz Barroso, Dick Lyon, Muthu Muthukrishnan and Fernando Pereira were chosen for their contributions to computing and computer science that have provided fundamental knowledge to the field and have generated multiple innovations.

On behalf of Google, I congratulate our colleagues, who join the 10 other ACM Fellows and other professional society awardees at Google in exemplifying our extraordinarily talented people. I’ve been struck by the breadth and depth of their contributions, and I hope that they will serve as inspiration for students and computer scientists around the world.

You can read more detailed summaries of their achievements below, including the official citations from ACM—although it’s really hard to capture everything they’ve accomplished in one paragraph!

Dr. Luiz Barroso: Distinguished Engineer
For contributions to multi-core computing, warehouse scale data-center architectures, and energy proportional computing

Over the past decade, Luiz has played a leading role in the definition and implementation of Google’s cluster architecture which has become a blueprint for the computing systems behind the world’s leading Internet services. As the first manager of Google’s Platforms Engineering team, he helped deliver multiple generations of cluster systems, including the world’s first container-based data center. His theoretical and engineering insights into the requirements of this class of machinery have influenced the processor industry roadmap towards more effective products for server-class computing. His book “The Datacenter as a Computer” (co-authored with Urs Hoelzle) was the first authoritative publication describing these so-called warehouse-scale computers for computer systems professionals and researchers. Luiz was among the first computer scientists to recognize and articulate the importance of energy-related costs for large data centers, and identify energy proportionality as a key property of energy efficient data centers. Prior to Google, at Western Digital Research Corporation, he worked on Piranha, a pioneering chip-multiprocessing architecture that inspired today’s popular multi-core products. As one of the lead architects and designers of Piranha, his papers, ideas and numerous presentations stimulated much of the research that led to products decades later.

Dr. Richard Lyon: Research Scientist
For contributions to machine perception and for the invention of the optical mouse

In the last four years at Google, Dick led the team developing new camera systems and improved photographic image processing for Street View, while leading another team developing technologies for machine hearing and their application to sound retrieval and ranking. He is now writing a book with Cambridge University Press, and will teach a Stanford course this fall on “Human and Machine Hearing,” returning to a line of work that he carried out at Xerox, Schlumberger, and Apple while also doing the optical mouse, bit-serial VLSI computing machines, and handwriting recognition. The optical mouse (1980) is especially called out in the citation, because it exemplifies the field of “semi-digital” techniques that he developed, which also led to his work on the first single-chip Ethernet device. And more recently, as chief scientist at Foveon, Dick invented and developed several new techniques for color image sensing and processing, and delivered acclaimed cameras and end-user software. A hallmark of Dick’s work during his distinguished career has been a practical interplay between theory, including biological theory, and practical computing.

Dr. S. Muthukrishnan: Research Scientist
For contributions to efficient algorithms for string matching, data streams, and Internet ad auctions

Muthu has made significant contributions to the theory and practice of Internet ad systems during his more than four years at Google. Muthu’s breakthrough WWW’09 paper presented a general stable matching framework that produces a (desirable) truthful mechanism capturing all of the common variations and more, in contradiction to prevailing wisdom. In display ads, where image, video and other types of ads are shown as users browse, Muthu led Ad Exchange at Google, to automate placement of display ads that were previously negotiated offline by sales teams. Prior to Google, Muthu was well known for his pioneering work in the area of data stream algorithmics (including a definitive book on the subject), which led to theoretical and practical advances still in use today to monitor the health and smooth operation of the Internet. Muthu has a talent for bringing new perspectives to longstanding open problems as exemplified in the work he did on string processing. Muthu has made influential contributions to many other areas and problems including IP networks, data compression, scheduling, computational biology, distributed algorithms and database technology. As an educator, Muthu’s avant garde teaching style won him the Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching at Rutgers CS, where is on the faculty. As a student remarked in his blog: “there is a magic in his class which kinda spellbinds you and it doesn’t feel like a class. It’s more like a family sitting down for dinner to discuss some real world problems. It was always like that even when we were 40 people jammed in for cs-513.”

Dr. Fernando Pereira: Research Director
For contributions to machine-learning models of natural language and biological sequences

For the past three years, Fernando has been leading some of Google’s most advanced natural language understanding efforts and some of the most important applications of machine learning technology. He has just the right mix of forward thinking ideas and the ability to put ideas into practice. With this balance, Fernando has has helped his team of research scientists apply their ideas at the scale needed for Google. From when he wrote the first Prolog compiler (for the PDP-10 with David Warren) to his days as Chair at University of Pennsylvania, Fernando has demonstrated a unique understanding of the challenges and opportunities that faced companies like Google with their unprecedented access to massive data sets and its application to the world of speech recognition, natural language processing and machine translation. At SRI, he pioneered probabilistic language models at a time when logic-based models were more popular. At AT&T, his work on a toolkit for finite-state models became an industry standard, both as a useful piece of software and in setting the direction for building ever larger language models. And his year at WhizBang had an influence on other leaders of the field, such as Andrew McCallum at University of Massachusetts and John Lafferty and Tom Mitchell at Carnegie Mellon University, with whom Fernando developed the Conditional Random Field model for sequence processing that has become one of the leading tools of the trade.

Posted by Alfred Spector, VP of Research


Real-Time Snow Ploughs on Google Maps

Category: Google Maps | Dec 7, 2010

The City of Calgary – Road Conditions Map

The City of Calgary are using the Google Maps API with custom map tiles to provide citizens with the latest road conditions in the city.

The map shows the priority routes in the city for snow ploughing and even shows the real-time locations of the city’s snow ploughs. It is also possible to view the city’s traffic cams so you can check for yourself that the roads have been ploughed.

The controls at the top of the map allow the user to adjust the transparency of the custom map layer and to zoom in and out and pan the map.

Hat-tip: Mapperz



An update on Chrome, the Web Store and Chrome OS

Category: Google | Dec 7, 2010

(Cross-posted on the Google Chrome Blog)

On the Chrome team, we’re constantly amazed by the speed of innovation on the web. We designed Chrome to make the web shine, and we hope our upcoming efforts will help support this vibrant ecosystem even more. By making the web faster, helping people discover great apps, and making computers more fun to use, the next year of computing should be even more exciting than the last one.


This year, the number of people using Chrome has tripled from 40 to 120 million. Speed is what people love most about Chrome, and we’re always working to make the browser even faster. Therefore we’re bringing Google Instant to the Omnibox, showing search results and loading web pages as you type. We’ve also overhauled V8, Chrome’s JavaScript engine. It now runs complex JavaScript programs up to twice as fast as before. These two features are available in our early access channels and will be rolling out to everyone soon.

Chrome Web Store

Today the Chrome Web Store is open for business. Developers have already started uploading apps, and we expect the number to grow over time. Right now the store is only available in the U.S., but will expand to many countries and currencies early next year. The store will be featured prominently in Chrome, helping people discover great apps and developers reach millions of users around the world.

Chrome OS

Last year, we announced our effort to design an operating system that is built and optimized for the web. Many people already spend all their time in a web browser, and by building an operating system that is essentially a browser, we can make computers faster, much simpler and fundamentally more secure.

We’re not done yet, but Chrome OS is at the stage where we need feedback from real users. Some of the features of Chrome OS require new hardware, but we didn’t want to sell pre-beta computers. Instead we’re launching a pilot program where we will give test notebooks to qualified users, developers, schools and businesses. We’re starting with the U.S. and will expand to other countries once we get the necessary certifications. To participate in the pilot program, visit the Chrome notebook website.

The test notebooks exist only to test the software—they are black, have no branding, no logos, no stickers, nothing. They do have 12.1 inch screens, full-sized keyboards and touch pads, integrated 3G from Verizon, eight hours of battery life and eight days of standby time. Chrome notebooks are designed to reach the web instantly, are easy to share among friends and family, and simply by logging in, all of your apps, bookmarks and other browser settings are there. Setting up a new machine takes less than a minute. And even at this early stage, we feel there is no consumer or business operating system that is more secure.

In the first half of next year Chrome notebooks will be available for sale from Acer and Samsung. More manufacturers will follow. Also, Chrome OS is designed to work across a wide range of screen sizes and form factors, enabling our partners to deliver computing devices beyond notebooks.

We’re excited to get Chrome notebooks into the hands of users. The data from our test pilots is key to building something wonderful. We look forward to working together to make computers better.

Posted by Linus Upson, VP Engineering and Sundar Pichai, VP Product Management


Event time zones in Google Calendar

Category: Gmail | Dec 7, 2010

Posted by Oleksandr Kyreiev, Software Engineer

Dealing with time zones can be a headache. Whether you’re a regular traveler or trying to plan ahead for your weekend in Paris, it’s often difficult to keep track of time differences. We’ve heard your feedback and are pleased to announce a new addition to Google Calendar: event time zones.

With event time zones, you can specify the time zone for a given event. So when you’re home in Florida, you can more easily set up dinner with your friend in Paris for the following week. Events will appear on your calendar according to the current time zone you’re in, and when you change to your destination time zone they’ll be in the right place. Just click the “Time zone” link to the right of the date and time fields on the event page. You can even set up events which start in one time zone and end in another, ideal for those of you who fly often.


Street View Gallery and Image of the Day

Category: Google Maps | Dec 7, 2010

MapCrunch – Random Street View

Random Street View generator MapCrunch has launched a new gallery feature. The gallery displays all the interesting Street Views found and submitted by MapCrunch users. The gallery includes a ‘View of the Day’ to highlight the best submitted Street View everyday.

As well as the gallery you can of course view random images by clicking on ‘Home’ and visiting the MapCrunch Random Street View generator. To view a random image all you have to do is press the ‘Go’ button. If you also select the ‘slideshow’ mode you can just sit back and watch as a succession of random Street Views appear on your screen.



Create a Google Map of Your Trip

Category: Google Maps | Dec 7, 2010


Mentaway looks like a very simple and effective way to create a travel map without having to do anything more than connect your existing social networking accounts. Currently in an invitation only beta, Mentaway is a new way to create a personal travel map through your postings to Foursquare, Twitter and Flickr.

Using Mentaway you can create a Google Map for a trip and then, using a smartphone, all your check-ins, Tweets and photographs will automatically be added to the map. You can then share your created map with your friends and family and they can check your progress from your personal map.

The map displays all your photos, Tweets and check-ins and includes forward and back buttons to allow users to progress chronologically through your entries. Mentaway is also working on adding Gowalla, Facebook and Tumblr support.



Worldwide Literacy Scores on Google Maps

Category: Google Maps | Dec 7, 2010

Ekstra Bladet – PISA Scores

The Programme for International Student Assessment is a worldwide evaluation of 15-year-old school pupils’ scholastic performance undertaken by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet has created a Fusion Table of the results and then used Google Gadgets to embed a map of the results. The map shows the results of the standardized test for literacy among 15-year-old. The study is based on a two-hour test and around half a million students in more than 70 countries participated in the study.

The darker the shade of green on the map the better the results in the test. If you mouse-over a country on the map the score for the country is displayed on the map.




New tools to grow your business globally

Category: Google | Dec 6, 2010

Imagine you’re a men’s tailor in Bangkok, and you sell custom suits to travelers passing through Thailand. You start a website to sell your suits online and begin to notice that the majority of your website traffic comes from overseas. How do you respond to this international demand?

Businesses of all sizes face a number of obstacles when they want to expand internationally. First, they must identify the right market to sell their products or services, such as custom men’s suits. Then they have to create versions of their website and ad campaigns in the language of the market they want to reach. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they need to reach new customers who may be interested in their products and services.

Starting today, businesses can access a number of new resources from Google to help them overcome these obstacles and start growing internationally. We’re launching a new website, called Google Ads for Global Advertisers, which will serve as a central hub for Google’s tools and tips for businesses looking to expand to foreign markets. This website pulls together resources for businesses to find the right market for their products and services, translate their websites and ad text, find new customers with relevant online ads, and understand options for international payment, shipping and customer service.

We’re also introducing Global Market Finder, a new free tool to help businesses identify markets with high demand for their products or services. The Global Market Finder automatically translates your keyword—for example, [business suit]—into 56 languages and then uses Google search trends data to see where in the world people search for your product or service. It helps businesses evaluate new markets by showing the volume of local searches, estimated price for keywords and competition for each keyword in each market. With this tool, businesses can answer questions like “how competitive is this market?”, “how does demand in one country compare to demand elsewhere in the world?” and “how much would it cost to start advertising in this new market?” You can read more about these new tools on the Inside AdWords blog.

Google has already helped hundreds of thousands of businesses reach customers in foreign markets. From a mosaic company in Lebanon to a bespoke shoe retailer in Sydney, a tech support company in India and a bed and breakfast in Poland, tools like AdWords have helped businesses reach new customers and drive traffic to their websites. We think our new website and tools will encourage even more businesses to expand internationally, whether you’re a small business testing a single market for the first time or a mid-size company advertising your products to an entire region.

After all, there are more than 1.9 billion consumers online. Wouldn’t you like to add some of them as customers?

Posted by Srinidhi Viswanatha, Global Advertisers team