Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A new blog and a new name

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By Scott Knaster, Google Developers Blog Editor

The official Google Code Blog – this very blog – was born on St. Patrick's Day 2005, when Open Source Program Manager Chris DiBona posted to announce the launch of Last week we published our 1,000th post. Now, we’re ready to move on to a shiny new home: Google Developers Blog.

Google Developers Blog logo

We’re doing this because starting today, we’re using the name Google Developers (and a new look) to unify our developer programs. For more info on why we decided to do this, please read our first post on the new blog. And then we’d really appreciate it if you returned to read future posts there too. You might also be interested in the Google Open Source Blog, where we write about our various open source initiatives.

So that’s it from here. Last one out, please turn off the lights. We’ll see you in the new place!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fridaygram: Google Public DNS, lonely black hole, tiny chameleons

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By Scott Knaster, Google Code Blog Editor

Google Public DNS is a fast, free DNS service that we introduced a little more than 2 years ago. As the Official Google Blog post aptly puts it, “DNS acts like the phone book of the Internet”, translating from human-readable URLs to all-numeric IP addresses. Google Public DNS started as an experimental service and has now become the most-used public DNS service in the world with over 70 billion requests per day, mostly from outside the U.S. Will the next step be support for users in more distant places? (Probably not there.)

Speaking of faraway places, astronomers using images from the Hubble space telescope have found black hole HLX-1, which appears to be all that’s left of a dwarf galaxy that once contained other stars. The theory is that this late galaxy was torn apart by a nearby spiral galaxy, leaving only HLX-1. The other stars became part of the larger galaxy.

While you’re musing on this supermassive black hole, consider some much tinier creatures: little chameleons, just about one inch long, recently discovered in Madagascar. Scientists think this miniaturization might be an evolutionary response to limited resources.

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Tiny chameleon: he comes and goes, he comes and goes

Finally, we can’t help but jump on the Linsanity bandwagon. Of course, we’re doing it in a nerdy way by pointing you to this article (interesting even for non-sports fans) about why talent evaluation is so tricky.

On Fridays we take a break and do a Fridaygram post just for fun. Each Fridaygram item must pass only one test: it has to be interesting to us nerds. Special thanks to Wired Science for having many excellent posts this week.

Images: Glaw, F., et al., PLoS ONE

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Come learn about Apps Script in Washington, DC

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By Jan Kleinert, Developer Relations Team

Google Apps Script is a JavaScript cloud scripting language that provides easy ways to automate tasks across Google products and third party services. If you want to learn more about Google Apps Script, collaborate with other developers, and meet the Apps Script team, here’s your chance! We will be holding an Apps Script hackathon in Washington, DC on Wednesday, March 7 from 2pm - 8pm.

After we cover the basics of Apps Script, you can code along with us as we build a complete script, or you can bring your own ideas and get some help and guidance from the team. There will be food, power, and Apps Script experts available to help throughout the day. Just bring your laptop, ideas, enthusiasm, and basic knowledge of JavaScript. Check out out the details of the event and be sure to RSVP to let us know you’re coming.

Jan Kleinert is a Developer Programs Engineer based in NYC, focusing on helping developers get the most out of Google Apps Script. Prior to Apps Script, she worked on Commerce, helping merchants integrate with Google Checkout and on Chrome, helping developers build great web apps.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Tech preview of Chromium with Dart engine now available

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By Anton Muhin, Vijay Menon, and Pavel Podivilov, Software Engineers

Cross-posted with the Chromium Blog

An attractive feature of Web programming is a rapid development cycle. Reloading the application after the source code has changed takes a fraction of a second. We want to offer you that same experience when using Dart, and today we’re making Mac and Linux binaries available that integrate the Dart VM into Chromium.

This technology preview allows you to run your Dart programs directly on the Dart VM in Chromium and avoid a separate compilation step. Over time, these programs will take advantage of the VM’s faster performance and lower startup latency.

Dart has been designed from the start to work with the entire modern web, and we’re simultaneously continuing to improve our fast Dart-to-JavaScript compiler. Both the Dart VM and modern JavaScript engines are first-class targets for Dart.

This release of Chromium with Dart VM integration is a technology preview, and should not be used for day-to-day browsing. After more testing and developer feedback, we plan to eventually include the Dart VM in Chrome.

Today’s release of the Chromium + Dart VM integration is another step forward for the open source "batteries included" Dart platform. Our goal is to help you build complex, high performance apps for the modern web, and we encourage you to try Dart and let us know what you think.

Anton Muhin is an engineer at Google Saint Petersburg who recently worked on making V8 VM and DOM bindings faster and now is working on integrating the Dart VM into Chromium. Before that he worked on the Google Calendar backend.

Vijay Menon is a software engineer at Google Seattle working on integrating the Dart language and runtime into the browser. His background is in compilers, runtime systems, and parallel programming.

Pavel Podivilov is a software engineer at Google Saint Petersburg who worked on Chrome Developer Tools prior to joining the Dartium team.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Falling in love with the Google+ API

By Melina Mattos, Program Manager for Google Africa and Bob Aman, Program Manager for Developer Relations

Cross-posted from the Google Africa Blog

Attention developers! Of the 90+ Google APIs, which is your favorite? We know that we fell in love with the Google+ API after we saw the amazing applications built from the Hackathons in South Africa and Kenya. We want to continue spreading the love!

This Valentine’s Day we’re thrilled to announce that we are holding three more Google+ Hackathons with the support of the Google Technology User Groups (GTUGs) in Accra, Kampala, and Lagos.

If you are ready to wow us with your application, please apply for the event using these forms: Kampala on March 10 at the 4th floor of Solis House, Lagos on March 17 at the CCHub Nigeria, and Accra on March 21 at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology.

Remember to start today on getting those creative juices flowing! Familiarize yourself with the API and review these resources. Begin gathering ideas and coding a little. Take advantage of the Google+ Platform Office Hours on the 15th of February. If you have any questions, please address them to us in our Google+ Hangout on February 23. Use the Hackathon to perfect your application and win one of the multiple prizes we will be awarding - including a ticket for the overall winning application to Google’s premiere developer event, Google I/O!

Any updates relating to these Hackathons and the Hangout will be posted on Google+ (of course!) using the hashtag #hackgplus. Stay tuned!

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Building Web Apps? Check out our Field Guide

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By Pete LePage, Developer Advocate

Yesterday, the Chrome Developer Relations team launched several new resources, including the Field Guide to Web Applications. It’s a new resource that is designed to help web developers create great web apps. We’ve heard loud and clear from users that they want more and better web apps, and we hope this new field guide will enable you to create those web apps. Our fictitious author Bert Appward guides you through topics like the properties of web applications, design fundamentals, tips for creating great experiences, and a few case studies that put best practices to use. Whether you're building your first web app or are just looking for ways to improve your existing apps, I hope you'll find the field guide useful.

We built the field guide to embody the principles and best practices that it preaches. We stepped away from the normal webpage look, and instead designed the experience around a field guide. We used many CSS3 features like box-shadow, opacity, multiple backgrounds and more to provide a rich, visual experience. To make sure that it worked offline, we used AppCache and other than some URL rewriting techniques, didn't use any server-side code. We used the HTML5 History API to maintain page state even though everything is served from a single HTML page. We've started working on a new case study about the field guide, so check back soon for that!

Pete LePage is a Developer Advocate on the Google Chrome team and works with developers to create great web applications for the Chrome Web Store. He recently helped launch the +Chrome Developers page on Google+.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Image results now available from the Custom Search API

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By Nam Nguyen, Software Engineer

Last year we added image results to Google Custom Search Engines to enable sites to offer image-only results that showcase photos and other digital images. For site owners who want more flexibility in presentation, they are also now available from the Custom Search API.

Read more about accessing Image Results from the Custom Search API or try it out in the Custom Search API Explorer. For billing purposes, image queries will be treated the same as web queries. If you are still using the deprecated Google Image Search API, now’s a great time to switch!

Below is an example of an image search to find small jpeg images of flowers:

With a valid key and cse id, here is a possible json result returned for an image item:
   "kind": "customsearch#result",
   "title": "flower-photo",
   "htmlTitle": "\u003cb\u003eflower\u003c/b\u003e-photo",
   "link": "",
   "displayLink": "",
   "snippet": "photo of flower",
   "htmlSnippet": "photo of \u003cb\u003eflower\u003c/b\u003e",
   "mime": "image/jpeg",
   "image": {
    "contextLink": "",
    "height": 100,
    "width": 100,
    "byteSize": 6104,
    "thumbnailLink": "",
    "thumbnailHeight": 82,
    "thumbnailWidth": 82

which you can use to render the image in your own site.

Note that you need to enable image search in your custom search engine control panel for the custom image search to work.

Nam Nguyen works on the JSON/Atom Custom Search API, which lets developers retrieve and display results from Google Custom Search programmatically. He is dedicated to making developers' lives a little easier by providing a simple API.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Monday, February 13, 2012

A fresh new look for

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By Eric Bidelman, Senior Developer Programs Engineer, Google Chrome Team

Over the past year, has become a top destination for developers craving to learn more about HTML5. Today, we have over 60 articles and tutorials covering the latest HTML5 tech, published by 30 contributors from around the world! We've worked hard to bring great content to the site as quickly as possible, but it's been challenging to consolidate so much information as HTML5 continues to push the web forward and evolve at an accelerated pace.

HTML5 Rocks logo

Today, we're launching an updated HTML5Rocks with better tools for finding content, including an edgy new look and "rocking" logo. As our content expands, finding things becomes more important. To address this, we've created "persona pages" with catered content in 3 different verticals (Games, Business, Mobile). If you're one of those developers, finding content relevant to you should now be a snap. We've also consolidated many of the different components (Updates, Studio, Playground) into the main site and have deeply integrated the HTML5 technology classes to bring a better identity to the content.

All in all, it's a little bit Punk and a little bit Rock and Roll.

Lastly, if you're interested in contributing to the site, it's an open source project and we'd love to have your expertise. See our contributors guide.

Eric Bidelman is a Senior Developer Programs Engineer on the Google Chrome Team and a core contributor to He is the author of the book Using the HTML5 Filesystem API.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

See you at the Game Developers Conference

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By Amy Walgenbach, Developer Marketing Team

We’re returning to the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco this year with 2 Developer Days and a booth on the Expo floor. At the conference we'll be giving a peek at the latest technologies we're developing for games.

Our Developer Days will take place in Room 2020 at Moscone Center. Day 1 (March 5) will focus on web games and Day 2 (March 6) will feature mobile games. From scalable servers, to high-performance code and graphics in web browsers, to porting console games to the web, come learn about how our technologies can help you better create, distribute, promote, and monetize games. We also have several Googlers speaking at other sessions during the conference. In addition, we'll have booth 1901 on the show floor March 7th-9th where you can meet Googlers working on games, demo what's new, meet partners, and get answers to your questions.

For more information on our presence at GDC, including a full list of our talks and speaker details, please visit If you stop by, you might even be able to score a pass to Google’s invitation-only GDC party. We look forward to meeting you in person!

Amy Walgenbach leads marketing for the Google+ Platform and developer marketing for games at Google.

Posted by Scott Knaster, Editor

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fridaygram: Unicode, ancient lake, very ancient sound

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By Scott Knaster, Google Code Blog Editor

Unicode was created with the ambitious goal of representing every human language, with room left over for a whole bunch of symbols, too. More than 20 years after Unicode was started, over 60% of the pages on the web are now encoded in Unicode. That’s pretty good growth when you consider that Unicode’s coverage was less than 5% of the web in 2005. Having a standard like Unicode is important because, as Mark Davis writes, "The more documents that are in Unicode, the less likely you will see mangled characters (what Japanese call mojibake) when you're surfing the web."

In news of older stuff, a Russian expedition that has been working for 10 years has finally drilled through Antarctic ice and reached Lake Vostok, a huge freshwater lake more than 12,000 feet below the surface. The ice has covered this lake for at least 15 million years, which is well before the work on Unicode began. Eventually the team will take samples of the lake water, looking for signs of life and other ancient treasures.

Finally, you can go back even further in time and listen to the song of a cricket that was around during the Jurassic period, 165 million years ago. That cricket really sounds great for its age.

On Fridays we take a break and do a Fridaygram post just for fun. Each Fridaygram item must pass only one test: it has to be interesting to us nerds.