It’s been two months since we wrapped up Google I/O 2012, and there’s been no shortage of topics for Google’s developer advocates to discuss with the community afterward! Google Developers Live opens the door to two-way communication all year long by hosting online office hours sessions, but it also offers other viewing opportunities like interviews with community figures and tech-centric reviews of Android games. With over 100 new episodes recorded for posterity since I/O, chances are good that we’ve all missed something fascinating. Why not flip backward through the events calendar this weekend and see what’s been happening in our studios?
While our own cameras are focused on earthly developers, NASA has their sights on the skies. This week, astronomers discovered a new binary star system with multiple planets circling those stars. One of these planets with two suns is even within the habitable zone. It may not be in a galaxy far far away, but the similarities to Tatooine are still fun to speculate on.
Finally, this week’s addition of bicycle navigation to Google Maps for Android is welcome news to we pedal-powered commuters, but the stakes have been raised... A team at University of Maryland recently built a new human-powered helicopter, and videos of the test flights are now making the rounds on YouTube. It’ll be an awesome day when Google Maps helps me find my way to work pedaling one of those!
Each week, we bring you a Fridaygram full of interesting things that help keep your weekend geekarific. Ashleigh is our editor emerita who comes back to visit when Scott takes some time away from the office. This week, we join many others around the world in saying a somber farewell to Neil Armstrong, an inspiration to us all.
At Google, we are constantly looking at ways to make web pages load faster. One way to do this is by making web images smaller. This is especially important for mobile devices where smaller images save both bandwidth and battery life. Earlier this month, we released version 0.2 of the WebP library that adds support for lossless and transparency modes to compress images. This version provides CPU and memory performance comparable to or better than PNG, yet results in 26% smaller files.
WebP’s improved compression comes from advanced techniques such as dedicated entropy codes for different color channels, exploiting 2D locality of backward reference distances and a color cache of recently used colors. This complements basic techniques such as dictionary coding, Huffman coding and color indexing transform. We think that we've only scratched the surface in improving compression. Our newly added support for alpha transparency with lossy images promises additional gains in this space, helping make WebP an efficient replacement for PNG.
The new WebP modes are supported natively in the latest Beta version of Chrome. The bit stream specification for these new WebP modes has been finalized and the container specification has been updated. We thank the community for their valuable feedback and for helping us evolve WebP as a new image compression format for the web. We encourage you to try these new compression methods on your favorite set of images, check out the code, and continue to provide feedback.
Dr. Jyrki Alakuijala is a Software Engineer with a special interest in data compression. He is a father of five daughters, and sings in the Finnish Choir in Zürich. Before joining Google, Jyrki worked in neurosurgical and radiotherapy development.
Posted by Ashleigh Rentz, Editor Emerita
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Cross-posted with the Google Analytics Blog and the Google Apps Developer Blog
Many people have been asking for a simple way to put Google Analytics data into a Google Spreadsheet. Once the data is inside a Google Spreadsheet, users can easily manipulate Google Analytics data, create new visualizations, and build internal dashboards.
So today we released a new integration that dramatically reduces the work required to put Google Analytics data into any Apps Script supported product, such as Google Docs, Sites, or Spreadsheets.
Here’s an example of Google Analytics data accessed through Apps Script and displayed in a Google Spreadsheet.
We know that a popular use case of this integration will be to create dashboards that automatically update. To make this easy to do, we’ve added a script to the Spreadsheets script gallery that handles all this work - no code required. The script is called Google Analytics Report Automation (Magic).
This script is a great template for starting your own project, and we’ve had many internal Google teams save hours of time using this tool. Here’s a video demoing how to build a dashboard using this script:
You can find this script by opening or creating a Google Spreadsheet, clicking Tools -> Script Gallery and searching for “analytics magic”.
Of course many developers will want to write their own code. With the new Analytics – Apps Script integration, you can request the total visitors, visits, and pageviews over time and put this data into a spreadsheet with just the following code:
// Get Data.
var results = Analytics.Data.Ga.get(
// Output to spreadsheet.
var sheet = SpreadsheetApp.getActiveSpreadsheet().insertSheet();
sheet.getRange(2, 1, results.getRows().length, headerNames.length)
// Make Sandwich.
To get started now, read our Automated Access to Google Analytics Data in Google Spreadsheets tutorial. Also check out the Google Analytics Apps Script reference docs.
Are you ready to start building solutions using Google Analytics and Google Apps Script?
We’d love to hear new ways you use this integration to help manipulate, visualize and present data to solve business problems. To encourage you to try out this integration, we are giving out Google Analytics developer t-shirts to the first 15 developers to build a solution using both APIs.
To be eligible, you must publish your solution to either the Chrome Web Store or the Spreadsheets Script Gallery and include a description of a business problem the script solves. We’ll then collect these scripts and highlight the solutions in an upcoming blog post. After you publish your script, fill out this form to share what you’ve built.
We’re looking forward to seeing what you can do with this integration.