Google I/O extends virtually around the world

In celebration of Google I/O 2011, many Google offices around the world, as well as GTUG partners and Student Ambassadors, are hosting free viewing parties of Google I/O sessions. If you can’t attend Google I/O in person, these events are a way to connect with other talented developers and watch live feeds of the conference.

Part viewing party and part community building, Google I/O Extended events are free and worldwide, focused on bringing the developer community together to live-stream the keynote and other major sessions of Google I/O. Each location’s event will be a little different, so check the registration page of the closest location to see what they have planned. With limited space, registration is required. Learn more and find an I/O Extended event near you on the I/O Extended site. These events are being organized by local developer community leaders and university ambassadors, so please reach out to them specifically if you have any questions about the details.

Here are just a few of the locations hosting an I/O Extended event:




North America

South America and Central America

See more locations on the map and register for a Google I/O Extended event in your area.

We look forward to having you join us for Google I/O Extended!

Imagery from the landslides in Brazil

Back in mid-January, Rio de Janeiro, Santa Catarina and other areas of Brazil expereinced devastating mudslides as the result of nearly 10 inches of rain in a single day. The landslides are reported to have killed nearly 1000 people, and have left at least 8,700 homeless. Since then, NASA has been attempting to capture fresh imagery of the area but has been unable to due to satellite imagery’s biggest nemesis — clouds.

The situation is similar to the flooding in Pakistan last year; Google wanted to provide imagery of the area to assist those that were trying to help, but they were unable to get any for quite a while due to persistent cloud cover.

Fortunately, clouds broke a few days ago and NASA’s EO-1 satellite was able to capture some remarkable images of the area.


They’ve also provided a KML file with imagery of the mudslides, for those that wish to view the imagery inside of Google Earth.

UPDATE: After we published this post, DigitalGlobe sent us a great PDF they put together showing before/after shots of some of the affected areas. Download the PDF here.

Announcing V1.1 of the “New” Map Style

A few months ago, we launched our new map style which provides a unique backdrop for information delivery and helps content “pop” on the map, allowing people to find what they are looking for more quickly.

The initial feedback was positive but we were given great constructive feedback – users appreciated the new style’s uniqueness and loved the clean, calm look; but, some felt it made aspects of our maps more difficult to read. Specifically, users were interested in:

1. City density – how many cities appear at each zoom level?
2. Street differentiation – can viewers tell which city streets are major and minor?
3. Color contrast – are different map components easily distinguishable?

We’ve updated our map style to reflect user feedback so it’s even easier for people to find where to go, how to get there, and what to expect along the way. Key changes are:

A. Increased city density while preserving a clean, visually appealing map
B. Clearer differentiation between major and minor city streets
C. Greater color contrast at the city-level so streets “pop” out more
D. Altered font sizes and contrast for crisper, less cluttered map labels
E. Improved highway shields for US and added new shields for 7 countries

Pictures are worth thousands of words though, so let’s jump into screenshots (or just head straight to Bing Maps to explore). It is difficult to distinguish the differences in these lower-resolution screenshots, so please click on the screenshots or text links to view the full-size pictures


Screenshots #1 & #2 – Zoom Level 5, United States Western/Mountain and Central/Eastern Zones
Key Differences:

  • · Increased city density to avoid large expanses of empty space and bring up cities people are likely interested in (See: Montana/Idaho/Utah/Wyoming/Dakotas in Screenshot #2 and Southeastern states in Screenshot #3)
  • · Added thousands of city labels in less populated areas while reducing overcrowding in the most densely populated ones. Also ensured that cities and state/province names do not overlap where possible to improve readability.

Bing Maps Style V1.1: Zoom 5, Western US Screenshot #1

Click to View Screenshot #2


Screenshots #3 – Zoom Level 16 Seattle
Key Differences

  • · This screenshot demonstrates a lot of the color contrast and brightness changes made at lower detail levels to differentiate among streets.
  • · Freeways (such as I5) had their color intensified by 200% and brightness increased by 5%. Major roads (such as 4th Ave) had their color intensified by 400% and brightness increased by 5 points. Minor roads (such as 1st Ave) had their color intensified by 200% and brightness increased by 5 points as well.

Bing Maps Style V1.1: Zoom 16, Seattle StreetsScreenshot #3


Screenshot #4– Zoom Level 4, United States
Key Differences:

  • · Sharpened the font for state/province names and country names to improve readability
  • · Reduced the information detail at this zoom for smaller countries to reduce clutter (See: Mexico and island countries in the Gulf)

Click to View Screenshot #4


Screenshots #5 – Zoom Level 6, Pacific Northwest United States

Key Differences: