Friday, August 24, 2007
Classes are starting across the country, so don't forget that you can take advantage of back-to-school savings of up to $20 from select Checkout stores. Whether you're looking for new gear at stores like Shoebuy.com, Aeropostale, or Bluefly; the latest tech from stores like Buy.com or USA Notebook; or supplies from stores like drugstore.com and Beauty.com, Google Checkout will help you save time and money as you get ready to start the new school year.
When you go to the Blogger post editor, you'll see a new button () next to the image uploading one. Just select a video from your computer, wait a few minutes for the upload and processing to occur, and voila! Now when you visit your blog, you will see something like this (of course without Tomo, the Blogger Akita):
To learn more about video uploading and see an instructional video on how to create a video podcast, go here.
It has been a busy time recently. The Zoho team announced offline support for their Writer application this week, so we met at their offices and talked to them about their experience. This is our first video talk, but more are in the works, so head over to our new YouTube channel.
If you are a Mac developer you now have access to more of our APIs via the updated Google Data APIs Objective-C Client Library. You can now work with Google Code Search, Picasa Web Albums, and do more with Google Calendars.
Speaking of Google Calendar, we introduced Calendar Gadgets which allow you to add behaviour to your calendar via Gadgets. Some early examples include adding horoscopes, sudoku puzzles that get harder throughout the week, and the ability to keep up with the all important celebrity birthdays.
If you are new to Gadgets, Alan Williamson has written a nice introduction to creating a Gadget for the Google Desktop.
The maps world has been productive. The big news of the week is the ability to embed a Map in a YouTube like way. Now you don't need to code to be able to build a map, and place it anyway you wish.
This doesn't mean the API is slowing down. Richard Garland wrote about a new cluster zoom feature that ties DragZoom and Marker Manager.
Introducing Sky in Google Earth has gotten a lot of people excited. Looking down at the earth is great, but being able to sit on your back and look up at the stars is just what you want on a nice summer night. Now you can do just that.
Who's Web maps out various Web 2.0 talent on a rich Maps API implementation.
Zoho Writer has gone offline... in a good way. Now you can keep some of your docs available for that plane trip. Read more.
I got into a nice conversation with fellow Googler, and EAI expert, Gregor Hohpe at MashupCamp. Listen to the conversation about enterprise Mashups and the Google Mashup Editor.
Salesforce developers came to our offices and gave an Overview and Q&A; on AppExchange.
Michael Still talked about Practical MythTV, which covered the powerful open source personal video recorder.
Leslie Hawthorn has made all of her Summer of Code podcasts available in ogg format!
As always, check out the latest tech talks.
Our Mountain View WiFi network just celebrated its first anniversary, and we thought you'd appreciate a few data points. The network's 400+ mesh routers cover about 12 square miles and 25,000 homes to serve approximately 15,000 unique users each
Around the globe and across the U. S., many people are still not able to access the online services that are increasingly helpful, if not essential, tools for our daily lives. This is why we're committed to promoting alternative platforms for people to access the web, no matter where you are, what you're doing or what device you're using.
For those who have been following the effort to create a free wireless network in San Francisco, we continue to hope that EarthLink and The City will find a way to enable all San Franciscans to enjoy the free WiFi network they deserve. On a broader scale, we hope that the success of the Mountain View model will encourage others to think creatively about how to address access issues in many other communities.
Update: Corrected usage from "week" to "month."
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Thanks to everyone who has supported us over the past four-fifths of a decade, and thanks especially to you for all the blogs.
In honor of our birthday, we have a small present in the form of an iGoogle gadget for Blogs of Note. Click the "Add to Google" button below to put the day's Blog of Note on your iGoogle homepage.
Posted by Judy, Inside AdWords crew
"Freedom" is a word that gets used a lot in Washington, but what does it mean, exactly, for Google and its users? Tuesday night, our CEO Eric Schmidt told the Progress & Freedom Foundation's annual Aspen Summit that freedom and openness are the core principles that helped make possible the Internet's – and Google's -- birth and growth.
The Internet was built on open standards, Eric noted, and that those platforms are really platforms of economic opportunity and free expression. Free markets and open standards have led to so much innovation, that it's usually best for government not to rush into regulating new technology. And he cited both political empowerment (such as the YouTube presidential debates) and economic empowerment (like the $3 billion that we paid out to website owners last year through our advertising partnerships) as the fruits of Internet freedom.
In the policy arena, Eric offered three specific calls to action. First, he said we need to defend freedom of speech as more speech comes online – and give teeth to the issue by pressing governments to classify censorship as a trade barrier. Second, we need to continue working toward universal broadband access, by government collaborating with industry and making sure that networks remain content neutral. And third, he called on government to be more transparent to its citizens – citing as an example our Sitemaps partnership with the federal government and five state governments.
But freedom wasn't the only thing on Eric's mind Tuesday. The PFF crowd was particularly interested in Google's positions on both the upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction and on net neutrality (and posed a few questions skeptical of our stance). Without announcing any definitive plans to bid, and cautioning that we're still carefully evaluating our options, Eric indicated that Google "probably" would decide to participate in the auction.
Check out the complete video of Eric's talk, and tell us what freedom on the 'Net means to you.
Bank on it?
Because bank policies vary throughout the world, we can't say whether a specific bank will be able to accept your AdSense checks. Since all AdSense checks are issued by Citibank, a correspondent relationship between your bank and Citibank is required to process our US Dollar checks. We recommend that you check with your bank to find out if this relationship exists.
Patience is a virtue.
Banks take varying amounts of time to clear checks. The exact length of time before funds will be available to you is a question best answered by your bank.
A penny saved...
Checks from AdSense are for deposit only; they are not able to be cashed.
Now that you have all the information, we wish you happy spending (or saving) your revenue!
Posted by Vineesha Malkani - AdSense Publisher Support
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
To recap, the key change to the formula is how we consider price. Like the formula used for ranking ads alongside Google search results, the top ad placement formula now considers an ad's maximum CPC. Previously, the formula for top placement considered an ad's actual CPC. Since actual CPC is determined, in part, by the bidding behavior of the advertisers below you, your ad's chance of being promoted to a top spot could have been constrained by a factor you couldn't influence.
As always, the top ad placement formula will weight Quality Score much more heavily in comparison to maximum CPC, which means that the quality of an ad remains the greatest factor in determining an ad's eligibility for top placement. In other words, an ad with a low quality score but high maximum CPC still cannot achieve top placement.
Beginning today, the actual CPC you pay for an ad in a top spot will continue to be determined by the auction, but subject to a minimum price. The minimum price is based on the quality of your ad and is the minimum amount required for your ad to achieve top placement above Google search results. As always, your actual CPC will be discounted and the higher your ad's quality, the less you will pay.
Since announcing this improvement to the top ad placement formula, we've received lots of questions from advertisers who are curious about how their accounts may be affected. Advertisers with ads in or near a top spot may begin to see a change in the average number of clicks these ads receive, and also in their CPCs. The degree to which your clicks and CPCs may be impacted will depend on a number of factors, so it's difficult to say today how much of a difference you can expect to see. Therefore, rather than making adjustments now based on assumptions, you may want to monitor your account as-is for the next few days or weeks to see how much of a true impact the improved formula will have.
If, on the other hand, you are thinking about making adjustments now, keep the following in mind:
- Review your account for maximum CPCs that are higher than the maximum amount you're willing to pay.
- Optimize your accounts to keep your costs down and your performance high. You can request a free campaign optimization from our support team here.
Posted by Judy, Inside AdWords crew
It's true: astronauts have a great view! When I was orbiting Earth in the space shuttle, I had the unbelievable experience of being able to float over to a window and look back down at our planet, then off into space at the stars. Absolutely spectacular!
These days my feet are closer to the ground, and my mission doesn't involve circling the Earth. I run a science education company, Sally Ride Science, that creates entertaining science materials for elementary and middle school students and classrooms, so I'm always looking for cool tools that can engage kids and help them learn more about our world. Sky in Google Earth is great, and we plan on using it in some of our programs. (Read more on the Google Lat Long blog.)
As you can probably tell from the video I did on Sky with a Google engineer, I always loved astronomy. I even put together (OK, with the help of some folks at Sally Ride Science and Google) a special KML showcase of some of my favorite extra-solar places -- nebulae where stars are born, remnants of exploding stars, and even a bunch of stars that have ... planets orbiting around them! (No, scientists haven't found any like Earth yet.)
If you know any kids or teachers who like astronomy, send them to Sky (the resource page is a good start) -- and tell them to check out the Sally Ride Science KML feature.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Since ancient times, people have looked at the sky and tried to find order in the chaos of stars and planets. Ancient sky maps and astronomical computers were created alongside maps of the earth. With Google Earth, we try to provide you with the best mapping experience possible, enabling you to virtually explore our planet. But wouldn't it be great to be able to explore the stars and galaxies as well?
Today, I'm excited to announce we are launching Sky in Google Earth. You can now explore the universe from the comfort of your chair. Zoom in to distant galaxies hundreds of millions of light years away, explore the constellations, see the planets in motion, witness a supernova explosion; it's like having a giant, virtual telescope at your command -- your own personal planetarium!
To start exploring today, download the newest version of Google Earth, click on the new Sky button on the toolbar at the top of the screen, and navigate the skies! There are 100 million individual stars and 200 million galaxies in Sky just waiting to be discovered. To help you get started, we've prepared a short video.
There's so much more to Sky than what meets the eye. After you download the new Google Earth, check out our Google Earth Gallery for fascinating examples of natural phenomena, Asteroids, or just take a tour of the sky. Since people across the world all share the same sky, we're happy to announce we'll be making Sky available in 13 languages.
Happy stargazing, everyone.
As part of our continuing effort to provide quick and easily accessible answers to your concerns and questions about Google Finance, we recently launched our brand new online help center. You can find the help center by clicking "About Google Finance" at the bottom of any Google Finance page or by pointing your browser to http://www.google.com/support/finance.
Whether you want to learn how to use a particular feature or seek information about how Google Finance works, the help center is your best resource. Plus, we've listed the five most common questions and made the entire site searchable from any help center page, so accessing the information that's most relevant to you is easier than ever.
If you have feedback, we'd love to hear from you. While we can't promise an answer to every message we receive, know that we read everything you send us and that we use your feedback to improve Google Finance.
I wrote a few weeks ago about the recent activity in the online advertising arena since we announced our acquisition of DoubleClick. Today, I suggest you check out an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal from Tom Lenard and Paul Rubin of the Progress & Freedom Foundation. They write that "both the antitrust and the consumer protection branches of the FTC should leave this acquisition alone. It will create benefits with no increase in market power and no harmful reduction of privacy." (Note that Google is a PFF supporter, though they are independent in their positions and we have disagreements with them about a number of issues, including net neutrality.)
A few highlights from the op-ed:
We have a slightly different take from PFF on privacy. We recognize that user, advertiser and publisher trust is paramount to the success of our business and to the success of this acquisition, and we take seriously the concerns that some have raised about the privacy aspects of online advertising. We also think the public debate over online privacy is important, and we plan on joining the FTC's November town hall meeting looking at the issue.
Those who complain about Google's purchase of DoubleClick make two claims. Both are flawed.
The first argument is that, since both firms have a large market share of their respective spheres, a merger would be monopolistic. The flaw is that the two companies undertake activities that don't overlap. Google places text ads mainly on its own Web sites and search-result screens. DoubleClick delivers display ads from advertisers to Web sites. It creates no ads and controls no Web sites. Even if we believe that Internet advertising is a distinct market (debatable, since it comprises only about 5% of all advertising) the combined firms will not gain any market power since they do not have any business in common.
The second argument comes from privacy advocates who have filed a brief with the FTC. They say the merger "could impact the privacy interests of 233 million Internet users in North America." The FTC's antitrust function and its consumer protection function are fundamentally different. Indeed, the more information markets have, the more competitive they are. If "privacy" advocates have their way, there would be less information and markets would not work as well.
As it happens, I'm in Aspen this week for PFF's annual Aspen Policy Summit, where issues like privacy, spectrum policy, child online safety, and patent reform have been hot topics of debate (Dow Jones, CNET, the Rocky Mountain News, Tech Daily Dose, Tech Liberation Front, and the 463 Blog have all been covering the conference). And tonight, our CEO Eric Schmidt will speak to the conference attendees -- keep an eye on this space later this week for more about Eric's talk.
When I found out I was having twins a year or so ago, I was pretty worried. How could I possibly manage 2 babies, a three-year old, a dog, and a "I like to start companies and not hold down a 9-to-5 job" husband -- all while managing my own full-time job? This phase certainly started out rockily (mostly for our dog, Tobey, whom I consistently forgot to feed; he's fine, though, just a little hungry now and then). It turns out that Google actually offered much of what helped me survive. Well, Google and that great book about getting your kids to sleep through the night. So now, almost a year later, I have a few tips to share with other folks looking to find that balance between work and family - craziness and sanity - caffeine and a good night's rest - potty training and conference calls.
Without further ado, here's my first "Digital Mom" tip: keeping in sync with your spouse.
Sometimes when you get home from work and the kids are hollering about dinner, babies needing a change, and you just have time to kick off your shoes and throw something in the microwave, you don't really get a chance to talk to your spouse. In my case, with twins and a 3-year old, it can be days before I actually get a chance to ask him how he's feeling or what he's been doing. That's where Gmail chat comes in. Both my husband and I are on Gmail (his company uses it as a part of Google Apps and, of course, so does mine). So even if I fall asleep within minutes of wrestling my son into bed, at least my husband has already heard about how I'm feeling throughout the day. With a little :-) and a little <3, it's a wonderful way for us to stay connected.
Keep an eye on the Gmail blog for my tips, and I'd love to see yours. Send your own work-life balance suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll share them here.
One of our goals at Google News is to offer as many different perspectives on the news as possible. That means bringing content from multiple sources together in a way we hope you find to be organized and relevant. Now we're adding video to the mix: we're showing related news videos along with our news articles to give you a broader spectrum of info available. You'll see the prefix "Video" next to story titles, and clicking on these video links will open a video player directly on the page so you can watch the video right there.
Today, viewing news videos or other content types on the web can be a frustrating experience. You often get videos that don't play, sites that require different video player downloads, or have misleading descriptions of the content. That's why we're working with YouTube so you can easily view online videos without any downloads required and regardless of what browser you're using.
For our initial launch, we have included several top news sources such as CBS, Reuters, and a number of local Hearst TV stations. Over the next few months, we'll continue to add new sources as fast as we can. Right now we're just offering this addition in the U.S., the UK, and Ireland; we hope to make it available in other languages and editions soon.
We're excited to add this to your Google News experience, so give it a try and let us know what you think.
Here's all you need to do:
- Log into your Blogger account at http://www.blogger.com .
- Visit your blog's Template tab and click on the Page Elements link.
- Click Edit in the Blog Posts section.
- Check the box next to Show Ads Between Posts. You can then select how often you'd like your ads to appear, such as once after every post or once after every other post.
- Customize the ads and click on Save Changes when you're done.
For more detailed instructions, please visit Blogger's Help Center. Lastly, don't forget to check out our blog optimization tips for ways to improve your ad performance.
Posted by Cathleen Jia - AdSense Publisher Support
You've seen them on iGoogle, in IBM WebSphere Portal, and now you can find them in your favorite online calendar -- that's right, now we're supporting Gadgets in Google Calendar! If you're a Scorpio like me, you can add this gadget that lets you check your horoscope from your calendar (don't worry, all the signs of the zodiac are supported). And if astrology isn't your thing, how about games? This Sudoku gadget was created by Alex Komoroske, one of our interns on the Docs & Spreadsheets team. If you add the gadget, you'll see that the daily puzzles get harder throughout the week.
Finally, if you like to keep up on celebrity birthdays, the birthday reminder will show you who you are idolizing that day:
But you don't have to be a Googler to create a Calendar Gadget -- we have put together new documentation to help you get your favorite Gadgets into Calendar. If you are itching to write some code, then you can use GData or ICAL to add some fancy Calendar Gadget events to your calendar. But if you're out of Red Bull and don't have the time for a late-night hacking session, then you may want to try our new "of-the-day" Calendar Gadget wizard, which makes it easy to take an existing Google Gadget and have it show up once a day, every day, just like the Horoscope and Sudoku Gadgets do.
Let us know how your experiences with Calendar Gadgets are going in the Google Calendar GData API developer forum.
| Posted by Neha Patel, Industry Marketing Manager, Health|
According to Prospectiv's "2007 Pharmaceutical Marketing CPI" poll conducted in June, 75% of 800 consumers surveyed feel the Internet is their most trusted source for health information. And not only was the Internet the most trusted medium, but it was the most reliable place to research ailment and drug information, more so than broadcast media (15%) and magazines (10%). The study also found that online consumers favor general health Web sites (54%) and ailment-focused sites (37%) over pharmaceutical company sites (4%).
What does this mean for brand managers? Jere Doyle, Prospectiv's president and CEO, noted, "What's particularly interesting is the low number of consumers who rely on pharmaceutical sites for information, indicating that brand managers need to find new ways to peak consumer interest and engage them. Educational e-newsletters, health-focused web sites and micro-sites focused on specific ailments have proved very effective in this regard. The first step toward initiating these online resources is for brand managers to build an in-house database of self-profiled consumers who have expressed an interest in learning more about their treatment options."
Also of note from the survey: consumers tend to research often. One-third conducted research at least monthly. So think about all the condition information you can bring to users apart from your branded sites, via general health websites.
Today we're excited to announce a new feature on Google Maps that allows you to add maps to your blog or website just by copying and pasting a snippet of HTML. And once you embed the map, it has all the same functionality of the Google Maps you know and love; it's clickable, draggable, and zoomable.
Adding a map to your website or blog is now as easy as embedding a YouTube video. No programming skills are required, and there's no need to sign up for a Maps API key. All it takes is three simple steps:
1. Go to Google Maps and pull up the map you want to embed. It can be a location, a business, a set of driving directions, search results, or a map you've created using our map-making tools.
2. Then click "Link to this page" in the top right-hand corner. Copy the text that you see in the second box.
3. Paste that text into your blog editor or into the HTML of your webpage. We use an <iframe> so it works on most blog hosting sites like Blogger.
Voila! The map appears on your blog.
For example, you could be writing a blog post about your recent trip to Hawaii...
View Larger Map
Or you could be a business owner adding a map of your location to your website...
View Larger Map
Or you could be sharing your photos of the San Francisco Zoo...
View Larger Map
Monday, August 20, 2007
Today we launched a new feature in Google Earth that provides that same real time traffic information that people have come to rely on in Google Maps. By enabling the "Traffic" layer in Google Earth, you can see a real time picture of traffic conditions to help plan a route or just check out how bad traffic might be in a city that you're exploring. It's useful information to have at your fingertips whether you're house hunting or just browsing. So come on over and check it out!
When your friends and well-intentioned acquaintances tell you that you've made a mistake, it's good to listen. So we'd like to say thank you to everyone who wrote to let us know that we had made a mistake in the case of Google Video's Download to Own/Rent Refund Policy vs. Common Sense.
To recap: we decided to end the Google Video download to own/rent (DTO/DTR) program, and are now refocusing our Google Video engineering efforts. The week before last, we wrote to Google Video DTO/DTR program customers to let them know that videos they'd already bought would no longer be playable.
We planned to give these users a full refund or more. And because we weren't sure if we had all the correct addresses, latest credit card information, and other billing challenges, we thought offering the refund in the form of Google Checkout credits would entail fewer steps and offer a better user experience. We should have anticipated that some users would see a Checkout credit as nothing more than an extra step of a different (and annoyingly self-serving) kind. Our bad. Here's how we're hoping to fix things:
- We're giving a full refund -- as a credit card refund -- to everyone who ever bought a video. We'll need you to make sure we have your most recent credit card information, but once we know where to send the money, you'll get it.
- You can still keep the Google Checkout credit that you've received already. Think of it as an additional 'we're sorry we goofed' credit.
- We're going to continue to support playing your videos for another six months. We won't be offering the ability to buy additional videos, but what you've already downloaded will remain playable on your computer.
We appreciate your responses, and hope our actions convey just how seriously we take everyone's feedback.
To export your AdWords reports as Google spreadsheets, open the report you'd like to view, and click Open as a Google spreadsheet. See the image below for a closer look:
You can always learn more about Google Docs & Spreadsheets by visiting the Help Center.
Posted by Heather, Inside AdWords crew
Did you ever wonder what Lewis and Clark said about your hometown as they passed through? What about if any other historical figures wrote about your part of the world? Earlier this year, we announced a first step toward geomapping the world's literary information by starting to integrate information from Google Book Search into Google Maps. Today, the Google Book Search and Google Earth teams are excited to announce the next step: a new layer in Earth that allows you to explore locations through the lens of the world's books.
Now when you turn on the "Google Book Search" layer in Google Earth (found in the "Featured Content" folder in the "Layers" menu), you'll see small book icons scattered around the globe. When you click on one of the book icons, a pop-up balloon will display a snippet of text from one of Book Search's public domain books that references that location. You'll also find links to the Google Book Search page for that snippet so that you can learn more about what it has to say about the city or town.
For example, let's say that you're interested in Detroit, Michigan. After flying there in Google Earth, you'll find that one of the book icons is for "The Writings of Thomas Jefferson." Clicking on the book icon brings up the pop-up balloon with the following text snippet:
"With respect to the unfor-tunate loss of Detroit and our army, I with pleasure see the animation it has inspired through our whole country, ..."
A link in the pop-up bubble with take you to page 191 of Jefferson's writings so that you can read the full context of the reference. We hope that you'll find this layer to be a dynamic and interesting way to explore the world's literature; it is a whole new way to visualize both the written history of your hometown as well as your favorite books.
Keeping up with the spirit and celebrations of India's 60th year of Independence, we present to you a new platform that showcases our favourite ideas for Indian users: Google India Labs. Enthusiastic bloggers noted our initial announcement on 15th August; now here's the full story.
Though 60 years young, India has a history dating back to the dawn of civilization. The incredible diversity of this great nation is the kind of challenge Google loves. And in line with our mission of making information universally accessible, we're now offering an easier way to search in 14 Indian and South Asian languages. You don't need a special keyboard or software; all you need is a web browser, a mouse, and a Unicode font for your language. So whether you speak অসমীয়া (Assamese), বাংলা (Bengali), ગુજરાતી (Gujarati), हिंदी (Hindi), ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada), മലയാളം (Malayalam), मराठी (Marathi), नेपाली (Nepali), ଓଡ଼ିଆ (Oriya), ਪੰਜਾਬੀ (Punjabi), संस्कृतम् (Sanskrit), සිංහල (Sinhala), தமிழ் (Tamil), or తెలుగు (Telugu), we can help you find content on the web in your language. To get started, add one or more of these iGoogle gadgets to your personalized iGoogle home page. You can use these gadgets to compose queries, and ask Google to search the vast Internet in your very own language.
We've really enjoyed bringing these products to you, and we're eager to hear from you. There is a new user community for discussion around our new technologies, and we'll keep adding new things to our Labs page, so please visit us often.