Tuesday, 19 February 2008
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Calling all JavaScript developers: Hack the Day Away with Google

On Friday, February 29th, Google will be holding a developer hackathon to get you started on our JavaScript APIs. We will be doing short introductions of the APIs and then breaking up into groups for coding and camaraderie. There will be plenty of Google engineers present to ask questions and get help from. Food will be provided and there will be prizes.

The event is open to anyone in the community that wants to learn about some Google API's, do some coding, or ask some questions. So please bring your laptops and come hang out at Google.

We'll be covering the following APIs:
The event will be held in two sessions, the first from 2:00PM - 5:30PM and another from 6:00PM - 10:00PM. You are welcome to stay for both.

Seville Tech Talk
Google Campus
1600 Amphitheatre Pkwy
Mountain View, CA94043

Friday, February 29th
2:00PM - 5:30PM
6:00PM - 10:00PM

To attend, all you need to do is RSVP and let us know you can make it, and be sure to add the event to your calendar.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, 15 February 2008
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IETF Applications Area Architecture Workshop

On February 11 and 12 Google hosted the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) Application Area Architecture Workshop. This was a chance for people active in the IETF Applications Area to get together and work on architectural issues, topics that span many specific groups in the Applications area.

The Applications Area is the part of the IETF that deals with applications
"...that is, things that are not security (part of the security area), nor networks (most of the other areas), but rather things that use the networks and security services to provide things of benefit to the end-user."
This was of particular interest to me since that includes specifications like the Atom Syndication Format and the Atom Publishing Protocol, which we use extensively at Google. From the call for participation:
"These should be a few pages of text on some topic related to Applications area architectural issues. Since the group of attendees is expected to span HTTP and AtomPub, email, IM, calendaring, directories and more, issues should be of interest to more than one of these groups. Some existing Applications architecture "modules" that already are reused include SASL, URLs, MIME types, XML and XML schemas and namespaces, HTTP as a substrate, TLS, ABNF, BEEP."
We had around 20 attendees and the breakout sessions ranged over all the topics listed above and many more. There were two days of great conversation and everyone had a good time.
"Thank you for the high quality hosting and convenience of location and food!"

-Lisa Dusseault (Apps Area Director)

Thursday, 14 February 2008
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The Code Review: OpenSocial maturing, Rhino on Rails, and more

February already? Spring is here, and you can tell in Mountain View as the rain has stopped. Spring brings out your social side, and we have seen a lot of growth with OpenSocial and other social APIs.

There was plenty of talk across the Web about the new Social Graph API that Brad Fitzpatrick announced. The API uses the Google crawler to gather up the XFN, FOAF, and other public social data that is spread out already on the Web. You can ask for a social graph that puts this together and gives you back a nice set of JSON.

OpenSocial is moving forward also. OpenSocial 0.7 is now available in the Orkut sandbox, MySpace announced their new platform, and a great group of people got together at Six Apart for a Hackathon.

On another note, I had the pleasure to sit down with Steve Yegge at the Google Kirkland office to discuss his Rhino on Rails project. He gave frank feedback on the history, present, and future of the project and I look forward to hearing, and sharing, more.

There was more Web development news too. Two companies came out talking about GWT. First, YesMail talked about the work behind their 17 GWT modules and 33,000 lines of GWT code. They discuss the design, scalability, and testing practices that they employ.

Compiere, creator of an opensource ERP, talked to us about their recent GWT port from a Swing application.

Developers from Autodesk Labs also came to talk to us about their work implementing offline support to their Project Draw project using Gears.

Fun times at Google

Christian Schalk has spearheaded the new Google Technology User Groups, and there are events going on hopefully near you.

One such Mountain View event is a hackathon for JavaScript developers. Come to the Googleplex and enjoy code, beer, and prizes!

Open Source

We have created a new blog dedicated to Open Source, and there are already good posts covering: the growth of Project Hosting, sponsorships of the Freedom Training Task Force and Wine improvements, and the grand prize winners for the Google Highly Open Participation Contest.

And, to finish up, check out the new iGoogle Themes API.

As always, check out the latest tech talks, subscribe to the Google Developer Podcast and visit the Google Code YouTube channel.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008
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Go Go Gadgets in Asia

It's cold and cloudy in Hong Kong and Taiwan this week, as our trusty weather gadgets indicate. At the Googleplex, where a quintessentially Californian winter is holding up, we had the distinct honor of hosting our Taiwan and Hong Kong gadget developer contest winners -- Hu Chih-Pao flew in from Taipei to tour our campus in December (see photos from his visit on his blog), while Alex Ng and Liu Chun-Yu visited us from Hong Kong two weeks ago.

Of the 190 submissions for the gadget contest in Taiwan, Chih-Pao produced a whopping 43 entries, including a real-time Taiwan Train Timetable gadget and a gadget for the Taiwanese traditional worship of the Buddha of Mercy:

Alex and Chun-Yu's innovative use of gadget technology caught our eye, with their real-time local Hong Kong TV program guide with keyword-activated YouTube views, as well as their Feng Shui gadget:

Japan's gadget awards last year also showcased great gadgets from a pool of 178 submissions, including:

The Earthquake information gadget:

The QR code generator gadget from our Grand Prix winner, kilo:

(QR codes are widely used in Japan to store and display information, particularly URLs, which can be scanned and launched from a browser-enabled camera phone equipped with QR reader software).

We hosted our illustrious Japanese gadget contest winners last year at our office in Tokyo -- check out our interviews with them here.

We're thrilled to experience the creative, inspired, and locally relevant ways that developers are using gadgets and Google APIs here in Asia. As a quick sampler, take a look at the submitted contest gadgets for Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong on iGoogle in Japan, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.

Friday, 8 February 2008
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Come on over, the Open Source Programs Office has its own blog

When we first launched code.google.com (webarchive), it was largely a site for documenting our open source activities and had some details about Google's supported APIs and file formats. In the ensuing 3 years, code has grown to encompass protocol documentation, project hosting and even a mobile operating system. Similarly, the activities of the Open Source Team have grown from simple license compliance to the aforementioned hosting, releasing massive amounts of code and introducing student programs like the Summer of Code and its high school cousin, the Highly Open Participation Contest. Since we've grown so much, we felt it was well past time to spin off a blog that specifically covers the open source activities of the company. So that's just what we've done. Come check it out, and if you like, subscribe!

Tuesday, 5 February 2008
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Google Technology User Groups

We recently started the Google Technology User Groups program to help people get together and discuss Google developer products at a technical level. One of the first groups formed is the Silicon Valley Google Technology User Group by Java user group veterans Mike "Van" Riper and Kevin Nilson. The first SV-GTUG meetup took place on Google's main campus in January to discuss the Google Web Toolkit with Googler Bob Vawter. The SV-GTUG will be hosting its next meeting on February 6th, where Dick Wall from Google will be presenting on Android.

Silicon Valley is not the only home to new user groups: The Pune GTUG in India, started by Rohit Ghatol, seeks to bring together some of India's vast developer audience to think creatively about using developer APIs to explore what is possible beyond typical Google products.

We'll post again soon about how you can create your own Google Technology User Group, and for more events in your area check out the Developer Events Calendar on Google Code.

Friday, 1 February 2008
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URLs are People, Too

So you've just built a totally sweet new social app and you can't wait for people to start using it, but there's a problem: when people join they don't have any friends on your site. They're lonely, and the experience isn't good because they can't use the app with people they know. You could ask them to search for and add all their friends, but you know that every other app is asking them to do the same thing and they're getting sick of it. Or they tried address book import, but that didn't totally work, because they don't even have all their friends' email addresses (especially if they only know them from another social networking site!). What's a developer to do?

One option is the new Social Graph API, which makes information about the public connections between people on the Web easily available and useful. You can make it easy for users to bring their existing social connections into a new website and as a result, users will spend less time rebuilding their social networks and more time giving your app the love it deserves.

Here's how it works: we crawl the Web to find publicly declared relationships between people's accounts, just like Google crawls the Web for links between pages. But instead of returning links to HTML documents, the API returns JSON data structures representing the social relationships we discovered from all the XFN and FOAF. When a user signs up for your app, you can use the API to remind them who they've said they're friends with on other sites and ask them if they want to be friends on your new site.

The video below can walk you through the API in detail, but if you're eager to get started check out the Social Graph API homepage and the developer documentation. And let us know what you think in the Social Graph API Group.