Posts from July 2010

Swivel Viewer, an open source embeddable album viewer

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A while back, we noticed that lots of sites were starting to show 360 degree views of their products.

So a few months ago we added a feature to Picasa Web Albums that lets you flip through the photos in an album in “Full Screen View” or “Slideshow” mode by dragging left and right on the current photo. This works especially well if you put an object on a turntable, but it also works fine for other albums, like our featured shots from the 2010 Winter games.

The embedded album viewer also supports this feature:

So any albums you've embedded already support swiveling.

If you prefer to host a viewer and images on your own site, check out
the Swivel Viewer site at, where you'll find an open source embeddable album viewer that also supports zooming and panning. Alternatively, you can go directly to the page about hosting your own viewer, or check out these other albums from the gallery:

We also posted tips on how to take your own 360 views, and even some sketches for our experimental high-volume object scanner:

Swivel viewers are fundamentally simple, but it’s tricky to communicate to the end user what they can do. I actually used the viewer for several weeks without realizing I could shift+drag to pan around while zoomed in! So we’re excited to see what UI enhancements you can come up with.

By Jason Holt, Google Street View Team

Notes from useR! 2010

R is a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics, used by a growing number of economists, engineers, and data analysts every day at Google. We’ve even published our R Style Guide on Google Code. The R community has done a lot of great work with Google APIs, such as integrating the R programming language with Google Earth, Protocol Buffers, and Google Docs.

I've just returned from the annual useR! conference for the open source R programming language. This year the conference attracted nearly 500 individuals to the NIST campus outside Washington D.C.

The conference provided a great opportunity to meet with some of the package authors that are working on third-party extensions, including Romain Francois and Dirk Eddelbuettel who jointly gave a pair of well-attended talks on their RProtoBuf and Rcpp packages.

In addition to the 3 days of tutorials, panels, and presentations, Google sponsored a dinner for conference attendees at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. to facilitate the "hallway track" of informal discussions outside of the official conference program.

Thanks to all those presenters, sponsors, and organizers involved in putting together a successful conference. For those who weren’t able to attend, the abstracts and slides from the 168 presentations and a more limited number of videos are available from the technical sessions. Hope to see you next year...

By Murray Stokely, Software Engineering Team

London OS Jam 17: Speeeeed

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just over a week ago, we hosted Google London Open Source Jam 17. The event is an opportunity for open source developers to give five minute presentations to their peers, socialise, eat pizza, and drink beer. The topic for this Jam was “Speed” and — unusually for us — many of the talks were on-topic:

Simon Stewart, pondering

Simon Stewart started off by telling us how to measure things: using tools like Firebug and Speed Tracer to break down client-side latency.

Matt Godbolt gave us some tips for making speedy Android apps, and Tim Cox presented a “Rant at Speed” that covered everything from CPU cache latency to the speed of light, all in five short minutes!

Glyn Wintle gave a quick rundown on common exploits: “How to break into a computer — fast”, covering the top five security mistakes made by web developers. You can try out some of these attacks yourself using the Google Gruyère codelab.

Ade Oshineye gave an impromptu (and not entirely serious) plan for “Making it faster.” Mike Mahemoff talked about speeding up web applications with the new shiny features in HTML5, and chatted briefly about the ever-blurring distinction between web applications and web pages. Paul Downey gave us an overview of TiddlyWiki, and TiddlySpace, where he hosted his presentation.


Squirrel gave a talk about Performance Secrets, which — uniquely for a Squirrel presentation — didn’t involve a flipchart.

Matthew Wild told us about Prosody, an XMPP server written in Lua. Apart from praising Lua as a great language, he also showed us how his continuous build generated annotated performance graphs on each commit to the repository.

George Cox proposed a need for making operational changes at speed — new deployments, and so on, while Luca Colantonio discussed his experiences implementing, a cloud-based web application for sending SMS messages via your own Android phone.

Tom Quick talked about the open source stack he’d used to develop GlastoTag, using Redis as a fast, persistent storage layer, and how using Django had helped to speed up their development process.


Last but not least, OS Jam favourite Jag gave us an overview of some of the performance decisions he’d made while developing Din.

As always we retired to the pub afterwards to continue our discussions. If you’re around London you’re welcome to join us for the next Jam. Join the mailing list or keep an eye out on the Jam site to find out more.

By Malcolm Rowe, Software Engineering Team

Chris DiBona’s OSCON Keynote: Your Work in Open Source

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

If you missed seeing Google’s Open Source Programs Manager Chris DiBona speak live at OSCON last week, the video from his keynote is now available online.

There are also notes available from multiple OSCON sessions on Google Wave - check out the full listing if you want to catch up!

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team

Live Waving at OSCON 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

With OSCON underway, we're excited about the opportunities that many of us have to present at the conference and we've taken some time to prepare resources for OSCON attendees to use Google Wave to "live wave" during the event.

If you're not familiar with live waving, it's a way of capturing what is occurring at a live event in real time on a wave. It’s similar to live blogging, but provides a smoother experience for the publishers and viewers. For example, you can take a look at the live wave that was used to capture the keynote address at this year's Google I/O conference.

We've put together the following resources for OSCON:

If you'll be attending OSCON, we would like to ask for your help in getting the word out about the live waves. You can let your fellow attendees know about the waves by tweeting, waving, or emailing the following link to folks: Everyone can contribute and we encourage you to join in on the live waves -- or start your own for one of the hundreds of sessions.

We think that live waves will serve as a great resource for attendees to share information and to connect in real time. If you want to learn more about Wave, please join us for Joe Gregorio and Dan Peterson’s talk, “Open Source Google Wave: Building Your Own Wave Provider” at 5:20 PM on Thursday or for the “Wave - Open Source and Open Protocols” Birds of a Feather (BoF) session at 8 PM on Thursday.

By Andrés Ferraté, Developer Advocate Team

Google Summer of Code BoF at USENIX

Monday, July 12, 2010

USENIX is a technical organization that has a lot of community members associated with our open source efforts as well as lots of strong ties to the research community. A couple weeks ago I attended the USENIX Annual Technical Conference (ATC). Googler Dave Presotto was a member of the program committee. ATC is a federated conference that brings together researchers and developers working in a wide variety of focus areas. We love to support the members of this organization in their efforts throughout the year. Among the presentations I enjoyed most were the one on robotic honeybees, another on power usage in smart phones, and really enjoyed the keynote on concurrency from Ivan Sutherland.

We held a Google Summer of Code™ Birds of a Feather (BoF) meetup on Thursday night after the conference reception. We talked about Google Summer of Code over ice cream and beer well into the evening. In all we had about 25 attendees, many of whom hadn’t heard of Google Summer of Code before. It was great to tell some people new to the program about it and also to hear from those who have participated about how its changed their lives. A great time was had by all; we even ended up closing the place down that evening.

Don’t miss the next Google Summer of Code BoF at OSCON in just a couple weeks!

Google Summer of Code 2010: Meet The Students and Mentors!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Following up on my post from a few weeks ago, I’d like to give you all some more statistics about our Google Summer of Code™ program participants this year.

• We have 69 student countries represented this year. New countries represented by students include Jamaica, Morocco, and Cambodia.
• For the first time we have mentors from Chile, South Africa, Taiwan, and Peru.
• We have mentors from 52 different countries this year.
• We had 3,464 students submit a total of 5,539 proposals in all. Last year we had 5,885 proposals submitted by 3,496 students.
• The open source organizations participating this year received an average of 36 proposals to review. We have 150 participating organizations this year.

We accepted 1,026 of those proposals to become full Google Summer of Code participant projects this year. This is 26 more than we had planned for but there were so many great applications this time that we just couldn't stop at 1000. We have 943 mentors for the students’ projects this year, which means we don’t have quite a 1:1 ratio of students to mentors; some organizations choose to co-mentor students or have the whole organization mentor all the students who participate.

Midterm evaluations are almost upon us. Check out the timeline to see what’s coming up for Google Summer of Code!