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Monday, July 20, 2009

Webmaster Tools gets a "Summer Shine"

The Google Webmaster Tools team has code names for each update we release. Today's update is aptly named "Summer Shine".

Here are a few highlights:
  • Our site selector now lists all verified sites that you own, and allows you to search as you type.
  • You can now block non-homepage sitelinks. Before today if you owned example.com, you couldn't block sitelinks for example.com/email.
  • You can now see URL removal requests submitted by other users for any sites you own, and revoke them if necessary. In the past, if another webmaster for your site mistakenly removed a URL on your site and left for vacation it was a difficult process to undo the request.
  • Our "Home" page is much easier to navigate. We now make a clear distinction between verified and unverified sites.
We hope you like the improvements; tell us what you think.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Google Friend Connect - Now in 47 new languages

Update: The described product or service is no longer available.


Have you been holding off on using Google Friend Connect because your site isn't in English? Starting today, Friend Connect is available in 47 new languages, including French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and Portuguese. Now you can easily add social features that match the language of other content on your site.

Most Google-created gadgets (such as the members, comments, and recommendation gadgets) are now available in these new languages. Some developers have also created gadgets that support additional languages and we hope that there will be more to come in the future. To see a list of gadgets available in your language, visit the gadget gallery.

When you add Friend Connect to a new site, it will default to your primary language. But if your site is in another language, simply select it on the site settings tab and Friend Connect will automatically render the gadgets in that language. And if have multiple sites in different languages, you can select a different language for each of your sites.

To learn more or see the full list of languages, check out the Social Web Blog.

Webmaster Central YouTube update for July 6th - 10th

Want to see what's new on the Webmaster Central YouTube channel? Check out the answers to the latest Grab Bag questions:
Below is Matt's clarification about Google's use of the meta description tag:


Feel free to leave comments letting us know how you liked the videos, and if you have any specific questions, ask the experts in the Webmaster Help Forum.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Google Maps gadget: Help customers find their way

Webmaster Level: All

With the new directions gadget from Google Maps, any business can offer customized Google Maps directions to their business locations. With the directions gadget, you no longer need to type and update multiple sets of text directions. Let's face it: customers are only looking for directions from their specific location.

Last week, I looked up directions to the hotel in Sacramento that I had booked for the 4th of July weekend. As I had never been to that part of the state before, I was puzzled by the limited directions offered by their website - I had no idea whether I was approaching from the North, South, East or West or where the major highways were. What I needed were step-by-step directions from my exact starting point to the hotel that I could easily print and go.

Google has made this process easy for you. By copying and pasting a single line of code, any website can offer customized door-to-door directions powered by Google Maps to their users.


The gadget allows you to pre-fill the "To" field with one or multiple addresses. Customers are able to print their directions with a single click. And for those who prefer not to drive, the gadget also provides walking and public transit directions.


If someone enters a vague starting address, they have the option to specify a more exact address, which will then fly into the "From" field.


Providing directions from Google Maps is very flexible; in addition to run-of-the-mill addresses, you can give your customers directions to everything from a generic ZIP code to a specific set of latitude-longitude coordinates for any of your locations.

Example destinations:
123 River St, Woods, MA
90210
42.06782° N, 71.756963° W

You can also give your address an alias, or a name that everyone will understand. You can do this by putting the alias in parentheses just after the address:

42.06782° N, 71.756963° W (Grandma's House)


Take a look at how Legoland California, Emeril Lagasse, and Harvard University are using the gadget. And then test and create your own directions gadget here. For the many locations outside of the US, the gadget is available in 23 different languages.

Webmaster Central YouTube update for June 29th - July 3rd

Want to see what's new on the Webmaster Central YouTube channel? Check out the answers to the latest Grab Bag questions:
Do you run a small business? Check out Matt's tips on how to attract visitors on a small budget:


Feel free to leave comments letting us know how you liked the videos, and if you have any specific questions, ask the experts in the Webmaster Help Forum.