April 19, 2011

The royal wedding live on YouTube

[Cross-posted from the YouTube Blog]

As the historic day approaches, the much-anticipated wedding of Britain's Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton has people around the world buzzing with excitement.

While millions will be in London for the big day, it's clear that people around the world have wedding fever. Google search trends show that in addition to the UK and the US, the top ten countries searching for “royal wedding” include places like Singapore and the Philippines. In response, we've been working to make as much of the big day as possible accessible to everyone. We previously announced the expansion of our Google Earth 3D imagery to offer a “Royals’-eye” view of the entire wedding procession, complete with 3D images of iconic landmarks and five species of digital trees that can be seen along the route.

Today, we’re thrilled that the Royal Household has just announced that footage of the entire ceremony will be live streamed on their official YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/theroyalchannel.

The live stream will begin at 10:00a BST (9:00a GMT, 2:00a PT, 5:00a ET) on Friday, April 29, and will follow the wedding procession, marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey and balcony kiss. Alongside the live stream, The Royal Channel will also feature live blog commentary of the event to give timely updates and insights as the day unfolds. For those of you in different time zones, the footage will be reshown in its entirety directly following the event and will be available in full on the site to view afterward.

You don’t have to wait until the big day to "attend" the wedding, though. A video guest book has just been opened on The Royal Channel for anyone in the YouTube community to upload messages of congratulations, inspiration or well wishes to the happy couple.

More than 50 years ago, the marriage of The Queen’s sister, Princess Margaret, and Antony Armstrong-Jones was the first royal wedding to be broadcast on television and had over 20 million viewers. This one is already heralded as the first of the Internet age, where for the first time in thousands of years of royal history, the moment will be captured online and preserved forever.

Add your local knowledge to the map with Google Map Maker for the United States

[Cross-posted from the Google Lat Long Blog]

Before Google Map Maker—a product that enables people to add to and update the map for locations around the world—only 15 percent of the world’s population had detailed online maps of their neighborhoods. Using Map Maker, people have built out and edited the maps for 183 countries and regions around the world, and now, due to the contributions of citizen cartographers, 30 percent of people have detailed online maps of the places they live.

Map Maker users have mapped entire cities, road networks and universities that were never previously recorded online. These contributions have been incorporated into Google Maps and Google Earth, so the collective expertise of the Map Maker community benefits the millions of people using these products globally.

Today we’re opening the map of the United States in Google Map Maker for you to add your expert local knowledge directly. You know your neighborhood or hometown best, and with Google Map Maker you can ensure the places you care about are richly represented on the map. For example, you can fix the name of your local pizza parlor, or add a description of your favorite book store.

You can help make the map complete in other ways as well, such as marking the bike lanes in your town or adding all of the buildings on your university campus so they appear in Google Maps. We’ve seen incredibly detailed contributions from power users worldwide, including this comprehensive map of IIT Bombay. We’re eager to see you add the same level of detail to locations in the United States.

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

To confirm Map Maker user contributions are accurate, each edit will be reviewed. After approval, the edits will appear in Google Maps within minutes—dramatically speeding up the time it takes for online maps to reflect the often-changing physical world. To see examples of what people around the world are adding to Map Maker, you can watch mapping in real-time.

In addition to opening Map Maker for the United States, we’ve added some new features for users globally. You can now get a street-level perspective on places with Street View imagery directly in Map Maker, see and edit all points of interest, and find exactly what you’re looking for with advanced search options such as displaying all railroad tracks.

Browsing all points of interest in downtown Palo Alto, California

To learn more, check out our getting started site, or start mapping now at mapmaker.google.com.

April 12, 2011

Indian Premier League returns to YouTube

Indian Premier League may only be four-years old, but it’s quickly established itself as the hottest new addition to the world of cricket. And again this year, YouTube is bringing you all the action straight from the pitch of this superstar cricket extravaganza.

In partnership with Indiatimes, fans can watch games as they happen, view entire past matches, and enjoy highlight clips of all 74 matches on Indiatimes’ YouTube Channel (www.youtube.com/indiatimes). This fourth instalment of IPL should be even more exciting than last year as two new teams Pune Warriors and Kochi Tuskers Kerala have joined the fray to battle it out with the eight veteran squads for the title.

The 51-day tournament kicked off Friday night with the returning champion Chennai Super Kings besting the Kolkata Knight Riders at home. That very first match and every other game of the IPL season will be webcast globally on YouTube (Note: 5 minute delay in India, match-length delay in U.S.), and the full-length videos of each match will be made available soon after they pull up stumps and retired to the pavillion. And this year everyone can watch the catch-up videos and highlights on their mobile phones as well as their computers.

So tune in as the match is happening. And if you missed a match (or want to watch in a more friendly time zone), view the whole thing later in the Past Matches tab at www.youtube.com/indiatimes. And since this is YouTube, you can always share, rate, and comment on videos throughout the channel, or upload your own video responses to the action.

So get ready for another big season of bouncers, leg breaks and sixes. It’s going to be a fun 51 days.

April 1, 2011

Improving finger dexterity for faster web browsing

Do your wrists and tendons ache at the end of a long workday? Do you find yourself cracking your knuckles to “limber up” in preparation for drafting a particularly lengthy document or surfing through an exceptionally complex online shopping transaction? Do you ever stare at your fingers and wonder whether your own physical limitations are preventing you from experiencing the full glories of what the web has to offer?

You’re right. You have a problem. And Chromercise is the solution.

Three weeks ago, we released a new stable build of Chrome which featured our biggest speed improvements to date. These improvements represented a 66 percent lift in JavaScript performance on the V8 benchmark suite, which, as you surely know, is an exciting accomplishment.

In other words, Chrome is now wicked fast. But a web browser can only process data as quickly as users can tell it how to do so -- i.e., type. You, in other words, are now the Internet’s most debilitating gating factor. In 1946, Stella Pajunas-Garnand set a world record by typing at a blistering 216 words per minute. What have you been tested at lately? Once we learned that the average Internet user ambles in at 33 words per minute—a crushingly disappointing 15.277777778 percent of the existing milestone—we decided to conduct our own research into the state of finger speed and performance.

Browsing the web with Chrome involves two key finger movements: the up-and-down motion of a finger pressing a key, and the back-and-forth movement of a finger scrolling the wheel of a mouse. To reach a standard measurement for speed and performance, we combined eight key metrics from both movements to produce the Finger Dexterity Index (FDI), which we’ve mapped below against the V8 Benchmark:

That squiggly red line is the web’s human users. That growing expanse of blue above the squiggly red line represents the vast realms of informational bliss that currently go unexplored by those benighted users who have yet to adopt Chromercise, our new exercise regimen for your hands and fingers. Existing finger exercises focus on upgrading these crucial digits’ cardiovascular strength and musculature; other programs focus mostly on dexterity. Chromercise’s unique blend of rigorous aerobic motion and tailored rhythmic accompaniment covers all of the above while simultaneously tightening and toning your fingers’ actual appearance.

A few words of caution: be sure to stretch before and after “Chromercising,” and it is recommended that you attempt the complex moves at the end of the workout video only after mastering the core movements from the first half. We also strongly urge you to utilize finger sweatbands for safety and comfort throughout your workout.

And above all else, remember that the success of any fitness program derives from the commitment level of the participant. Training and strengthening your fingers for fast web browsing is a lifestyle change; you can’t expect a complete transformation overnight. A great way to ensure you stick with the workout is to incorporate Chromercise into your daily routine by combining it with other common activities.

You could Chromercise on the steering wheel of your car while driving to work, for example (one hand at a time of course, for safety). Or even practice scrolling the wheel of a mouse when it’s not in use--while doing another activity you enjoy, such as watching television or walking your family pet.

A better web starts with a speedy browser and a single hand. Improving your finger dexterity with Chromercise lets you play a significant role in preserving and improving the Internet, not just for yourself and your fellow users of today, but for all those who inhabit the online world long into the future.

Download Chrome now !