Saturday, December 31, 2011

[Gd] Improved Customer Engagement & Discovery in the Google Apps Marketplace

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Google Apps Developer Blog: Improved Customer Engagement & Discovery in the Google Apps Marketplace

We recently updated the Google Apps Marketplace with several new features to help developers better engage with their customers and improve discoverability of apps in the marketplace.

Reply to Comments & Reviews

It’s no secret that engaging your customers and responding to their feedback is critical to success. It’s now possible to engage in conversations with customers based on comments & reviews for your app in the marketplace.

Rich Application Snippets in Google Search

Google Search recently introduced rich snippets for applications several months ago with enhanced search results for applications from marketplaces like Android Market and others. Marketplace apps will soon be appearing as rich snippets with ratings and pricing details.

New Category Home Pages

Lastly, we introduced new home pages for each category in the Marketplace to feature the top installed and newest apps for that category.

We hope that you find value in these changes and wish everyone a happy new year!

Steven Bazyl   profile | twitter | events

Steve is a Developer Advocate for Google Apps and the Google Apps Marketplace. He enjoys helping developers find ways to integrate their apps and bring added value to users.


[Gd] 2011 - A year of features, use cases and developers of Apps Script

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Google Apps Developer Blog: 2011 - A year of features, use cases and developers of Apps Script

2011 was the year of momentum for Google Apps Script. As 2012 dawns upon us, let us take a moment to reflect on the past year.

We started 2011 with a bang! In January we released a cloud-based Debugger into Apps Script’s IDE that proved to be very useful for developers. The Script Editor was upgraded bringing about many features and bug fixes. In March we implemented a very powerful feature of embedding Apps Script in Google Sites pages as Gadgets, making it easy to enhance Sites in amazing ways. We also improved Contacts Services, making it more stable with an improved API.

At Google I/O in May we launched Document Services, Gmail Services and the drag ‘n’ drop GUI Builder. These were major steps forward in making sure that Apps Script provides a full set of APIs to allow developers to build rich workflow and automation solutions.

We were very busy during the summer months preparing for a series of launch for later part of 2011. In September, we launched Charts Services. It allows users to dynamically create Charts and embed them in emails, UiApp or export as images. We also released three Google API services for Prediction, UrlShortener and Tasks APIs.

Lock and Cache Services launched in October. These services are important for building performant and scalable applications. We also improved the Script Editor by adding Project Support and made other UI improvements. November brought about the launch of Client Handlers and Validators. This is only the beginning of our commitment to allow developers to build more advanced UI using Apps Script.

In December we continued to improve the reliability and stability of Apps Script runtime. We capped the year by releasing Groups and Domain Services. And who can forget the very useful AdSense Services for AdSense advertisers!

Throughout the year we expanded our outreach channels. There were Apps Script sessions at Google I/O and Bootcamp, and several attendees got their last minute tickets through the Apps Script I/O challenge. We were at Google Developer Day and DevFest events, met with GTUGs, and hosted hackathons throughout the world. Our blog also featured scripts like Revevol’s Trainer Finder, Corey’s Gmail Snooze, Dave’s Flubaroo, Top Contributor’s Mail Merge, Saqib’s Idea Bank, and Drew’s Calorie Counting that showed the power of Apps Script.

Recently we started Office Hours in G+ hangout. These hangouts proved to be very popular, personal and effective means to share ideas with Apps Script community. Join us some day!

In our efforts to help educators, we worked with a New York city school to help them make most out of Google Apps. We also hosted many EDU focused webinars and workshops. In great Google tradition, Apps Script team participated in CAPE and Google Serve.

2012 is going to be an even more exciting and promising year. Tighten your seat belts because we intend to keep firing on all cylinders!

Saurabh Gupta profile | twitter | blog

Saurabh is a Developer Programs Engineer at Google. He works closely with Google Apps Script developers to help them extend Google Apps. Over the last 10 years, he has worked in the financial services industry in different roles. His current mission is to bring automation and collaboration to Google Apps users.


[Gd] Building Professional Video Sites with YouTube APIs

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YouTube API Blog: Building Professional Video Sites with YouTube APIs

Using video on your website can add greater depth and richness for your audience. However, to do encoding, hosting and streaming right it takes some time and skill. If you’re lacking in either, here are some suggestions for sites that make it easy to help you setup video-based websites.

VidCaster is a video content management system, whose goal is to make building a website with video as easy as possible.

VidCaster makes use of custom URLs, video sitemaps, metadata, and thumbnails to integrate well with search engines. They provide lots of features to customize your video site, like uploading a logo, picking a theme and choosing custom colors, and you can even upload custom CSS. Using their video management interface, you can publish, unpublish and delete videos. VidCaster can even distribute the videos from your video site to third-party sites such as YouTube and Twitter, and they can also integrate analytics from third-party sources.

VidCaster uses OAuth2 with the YouTube API to manage the user’s YouTube account, using both SUP (Simple Update Protocol) and polling to make sure a user’s video site is always in sync with their YouTube channel. Companies that use VidCaster include AirBnB, Hackers and Founders, and Dirtcast.

By integrating closely with YouTube’s data API, VidCaster makes it easy for users to take advantage of YouTube’s video service from within their own custom video site. tries to make it easy for businesses to build video sites about their company.

Like VidCaster, provides users with a variety of features to customize their video site. They too show videos hosted on YouTube, but their integration with YouTube doesn’t yet include all the features that VidCaster does — for instance, can show YouTube videos using the iframe player, but they haven’t yet integrated with YouTube’s data API. This is something they plan on doing early in 2012. also touts their mobile application which takes the friction out of recording and uploading video to the right place.

And they’re doing well at it — they were recently named a Red Herring Global 100 Winner. Internet World, City Index, and Staples are all example sites created using their platform:

Companies like VidCaster and are a welcome part of the online video ecosystem. As CEO Gillian O'Neil once noted, isn’t competing with YouTube. By enabling third-party video sites to embed YouTube videos, YouTube isn’t trying to get a bigger piece of the pie. They’re making the pie bigger.

—Shannon -jj Behrens, YouTube API Team

Thursday, December 29, 2011

[Gd] Understanding Playback Restrictions

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YouTube API Blog: Understanding Playback Restrictions

Have you ever tried to show a user a YouTube video embedded on your site only to find out that they don’t have access to view it? For instance, if you try to play the video below, it’ll say “This video contains content from test_yt_owner, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.” There are many reasons why video playback can be restricted. The user might be in a country where the video is blocked, or the video’s content owner might have decided to block access to the video from all mobile applications.

While we strive to make YouTube content available everywhere, we believe it's important to give YouTube content owners the ability to control where their videos are viewed, which sometimes means you can't view videos in a certain country or on a certain device.

With enhanced content controls comes increased complexity. The only foolproof way to determine if a user has access to watch a video is to ask them to try watching it. So, if you’re writing an application and you’d like to prevent users from seeing videos that they don’t have the ability to watch, here are a list of things to check:

1. yt:accessControl

Videos that are available for embedding on third-party applications will have the following:
<yt:accesscontrol action='embed' permission='allowed' />
If you’d like to only search for videos that are embeddable, add format=5 to your query.

Just as a video can be embeddable or not, it can also be syndicatable or not:
<yt:accesscontrol action='syndicate' permission='allowed' />
A video that is embeddable but not syndicatable will play on or on other sites that embed the YouTube player, but may not play on devices such as mobile phones or TVs. If you’d like to learn more about retrieving videos suitable for playback on mobile devices, see the developer’s guide.

2. Geo Restrictions

Some videos may be restricted in certain countries. This restriction applies to where the viewer is located, not where your third-party server is located. For instance, if a video is blocked in the US, it will have the following:
<media:restriction type='country'
When you make a query, you can add a restriction parameter to filter videos that will not be playable by a client with a specific IP or from a specific country.

3. yt:state

It’s also important to check the yt:state of the video in the API response. Even if yt:accessControl indicates that syndication is allowed, yt:state might override it. For example, a video that has limited syndication would have the following:
<yt:state name='restricted' reasoncode='limitedSyndication'>
Syndication of this video was restricted by its owner.
You might also see the message, “Syndication of this video was restricted by the content owner.” Hence, even if the uploader allows syndication, the content owner could override that and disallow syndication. For example, this could happen if someone uploads a video that contains a soundtrack that is owned by another content owner.

4. Rentals

Some YouTube videos are rentals. You can tell that they are rentals because they have a media:price tag:
<media:price type='rent' price='1.99' currency='USD' yt:duration='PT2592000S' />
Note that the media:price tag is only included in the response if you use a developer key in the query. If you are building a non-browser based YouTube application where it would be impossible for the user to rent a video, you might want to filter out the rentals. You can do that by passing the parameter paid-content=false.

5. Other Restrictions not Currently Exposed via the API

There are even more subtle restrictions that occasionally come into play. Not all of these are currently queryable via the API. For instance, some videos are only playable on a certain set of domains. As I mentioned above, the only foolproof way to know if a user has access to watch a video is to have them try watching it.

Going back to the video above, you might be wondering why it won’t play. If you look at its video entry:

you’ll see that it’s blocked in all countries:
<media:restriction type='country' relationship='deny'>
Furthermore, both syndication and embedding are disallowed:
<yt:accesscontrol action='embed' permission='denied' />
<yt:accesscontrol action='syndicate' permission='denied' />
Hopefully this short blog post on video playback restrictions will help you write applications that have a better understanding of what videos users can and can’t watch. If you have any questions, you can ask them on our forum.

—Shannon -jj Behrens, YouTube API Team