Friday, September 28, 2007

[G] News sitemaps for publishers around the world

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Google News Blog: News sitemaps for publishers around the world

If you're a news publisher and want greater control over how your articles get included in Google News, we've got a great opportunity for you: Today we made Google News sitemaps available globally. If your site is currently included in Google News, you can now directly submit your most recent articles via News sitemaps in all the languages we support. You can also specify keywords for each article to tell us more about them so we can better place them in the appropriate news section. You'll get error reports specific to Google News explaining any problems we experienced crawling or extracting articles from your site. And you'll receive additional information on the types of queries that lead Google News users to your site.

Why should I use News sitemaps? So that you can tell us which articles you'd like us to crawl.

When should I submit my articles? As early as possible. You can submit your articles as soon as you upload them on your site. The earlier you submit, the sooner we can crawl and extract them. The result is that you'll boost your publishing power, and we'll process your most recent articles more quickly, since we recrawl all News sitemaps frequently.

How do I submit a News sitemap? Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools. Verify your site. If your site is currently included in Google News, the presence of the News Crawl link on the left indicates that the news features are enabled. If your site isn't included in Google News, you can request inclusion.

Sounds good. How do I check the status of my submitted News sitemap? Once we've verified site ownership through your Webmaster Tools Account, you can view details about your site, including error reports, from the Dashboard by clicking on your site link in the Site column and then clicking the Sitemaps tab.

What if I don't use News Sitemaps? We don't favor sites that use a News sitemap over those that don't. We still crawl all news sites quickly. However, a News sitemap is a great tool to give you greater control over how your content appears in Google News and to alert you to any errors we might encounter when we try to crawl your site.

What if I have more questions about News sitemaps? Take advantage of all these benefits by submitting your articles today by visiting our Help Center for Publishers.

In case you can't tell, we're pretty excited about this new feature. We think News sitemaps can be a real help to publishers and we're glad we can make them available to more publishers. Let us know what you think -- we'd love to hear from you.


[G] AdWords Optimization Tips: Managing and Optimizing Bids

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Inside AdWords: AdWords Optimization Tips: Managing and Optimizing Bids

Welcome back to our series on AdWords Optimization Tips. A number of our readers have written in to ask about managing and optimizing their bids for best performance, so that is the topic we'll address today. Please note that some of today's tips are directed towards readers who also use Google Analytics, while others are general tips for all AdWords users.

When you are optimizing your bids, you should test how adjusting your bids and changes in your ad ranking affect your return-on-investment (ROI). Below, we cover a few tools and tips that can help you measure these results so you can make the best decisions for your campaigns.

AdWords Keyword Positions report from Google Analytics

If your AdWords account is linked to a Google Analytics account, the easiest and most effective way to optimize your bids is to use Google Analytics. (You can find out how to link the two accounts here.) You can use the Google Analytics Keyword Positions report in the Traffic Sources section to see where your AdWords ads appear on Google search results pages as well as in which position your ad performs best at in terms of total number of visits, conversion rates, etc. To access this report, sign in to your Analytics account, then go to Traffic Sources > AdWords > Keyword Positions. Positions T1 through T3 mean your ad was promoted to the top of the search results page. Positions 1 through 8 indicate placement or location in the right-hand column of ads on the first page, with 1 being the top position, and so on.

You might learn from this report that your ad actually converts better when it is at a lower position than a higher position and you may want to consider adjusting your bid to achieve the best performing position. However, if you do decide to increase or decrease your bids, you should still check back in a week or two to make sure that your keyword is performing similarly since changing its average position.

If you wish to automate the process of testing and adjusting bids, you can use the AdWords Keyword Positions report in conjunction with the Position Preference feature within AdWords to actually optimize your ad's position. With the Position Preference feature, you can select a specific position as a target. If you have determined that you achieve highest ROI with positions 3 through 4, for example, you can set your position preference to these positions. The system will then try to show your ad in positions 3 through 4 by increasing or lowering its bid. You should keep in mind though your changes may improve the ROI of your campaign because your ads are converting well at a lower cost, it could decrease the total amount of traffic to your site if you've specified that you'd like your ad to be in a lower position on the page. Be sure to check out tips in our Help Center on choosing settings and pricing for Position Preference.

If you use Analytics, you can check out more ROI tips from the Google Analytics Conversion University.

Traffic Estimator Tool

If you don't use Google Analytics, you can still adjust and optimize your bids using the Traffic Estimator Tool. For each keyword you select, you will be able to see the minimum bid, maximum CPC, the search volume bar, Estimated Ad Positions, and other information. The most relevant column for the purposes of testing ad ranking against ROI is the Estimated Ad Positions information. The Estimated Ad Positions column shows your ad's estimated position on each of your keywords with your current maximum CPC. If you're unhappy with the estimated ad position, enter a new maximum CPC in the Maximum CPC field and click 'Get New Estimates.' You can follow a step-by-step guide on how to use Traffic Estimator here.

Testing again and again

Lastly, you can always measure results without any special tools by simply looking at your conversions and your position, and then manually adjusting your bids until you achieve your optimal ROI. We want to emphasize that bidding higher CPCs for the keywords that you want isn't always what's best for your ROI. Instead, we recommend that you find out where the keyword is converting the best for the optimal cost. In this experimentation process, you may lower your bid too much and see conversions go down significantly or you may raise it too much and see no changes in conversions. Through testing and measuring, you should be able find the sweet spot where you are most effectively reaching your advertising goals.

For a more comprehensive range of topics related to managing bids, we recommend that you visit the Managing Cost-Per-Click and 'How do I strategically maximize my ROI?' topics in the Help Center. And you may also want to read more about the Conversion Optimizer beta.

As always, we want to know about the optimization tips you're interested in. Please email us to let us know and you may see your question answered in a future post.


[G] "M" is for...mute

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Official Gmail Blog: "M" is for...mute

Just like you, I get a lot of email. Much of it requires my reply, some is simply FYI, and some is the result of overactive mailing lists, like the one for Google's San Francisco commuters. I take the shuttle to work, so I need to stay on top of announcements about route and schedule changes. But when there's an alert about a route on the other side of the city, or a co-worker's comment spurs a long thread about bus etiquette, I use the "m" shortcut key to mute the conversation and spare my inbox. As new messages are added to the same conversation, they bypass my inbox. If someone puts my email address directly on the To: or cc: line, the conversation immediately re-appears; otherwise, irrelevant messages sent to the mailing list are archived. That way I can refer back to them when I really need to find out about changes to the route when there's a Monday night game at the 49ers stadium, or want to revisit the debate about dogs on the bus. To use the "m" shortcut key, first click "Settings" in the top right corner of Gmail and select the option "Keyboard shortcuts on." Then, when you're reading a conversation you want to mute, just press "m."


Thursday, September 27, 2007

[G] Improve snippets with a meta description makeover

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Improve snippets with a meta description makeover

The quality of your snippet — the short text preview we display for each web result — can have a direct impact on the chances of your site being clicked (i.e. the amount of traffic Google sends your way). We use a number of strategies for selecting snippets, and you can control one of them by writing an informative meta description for each URL.

<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="informative description here">

Why does Google care about meta descriptions?
We want snippets to accurately represent the web result. We frequently prefer to display meta descriptions of pages (when available) because it gives users a clear idea of the URL's content. This directs them to good results faster and reduces the click-and-backtrack behavior that frustrates visitors and inflates web traffic metrics. Keep in mind that meta descriptions comprised of long strings of keywords don't achieve this goal and are less likely to be displayed in place of a regular, non-meta description, snippet. And it's worth noting that while accurate meta descriptions can improve clickthrough, they won't affect your ranking within search results.

Snippet showing quality meta description


Snippet showing lower-quality meta description



What are some good meta description strategies?
Differentiate the descriptions for different pages
Using identical or similar descriptions on every page of a site isn't very helpful when individual pages appear in the web results. In these cases we're less likely to display the boilerplate text. Create descriptions that accurately describe each specific page. Use site-level descriptions on the main home page or other aggregation pages, and consider using page-level descriptions everywhere else. You should obviously prioritize parts of your site if you don't have time to create a description for every single page; at the very least, create a description for the critical URLs like your homepage and popular pages.

Include clearly tagged facts in the description
The meta description doesn't just have to be in sentence format; it's also a great place to include structured data about the page. For example, news or blog postings can list the author, date of publication, or byline information. This can give potential visitors very relevant information that might not be displayed in the snippet otherwise. Similarly, product pages might have the key bits of information -- price, age, manufacturer -- scattered throughout a page, making it unlikely that a snippet will capture all of this information. Meta descriptions can bring all this data together. For example, consider the following meta description for the 7th Harry Potter Book, taken from a major product aggregator.

Not as desirable:
<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="[domain name redacted]
: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7): Books: J. K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré by J. K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré">

There are a number of reasons this meta description wouldn't work well as a snippet on our search results page:
  • The title of the book is complete duplication of information already in the page title.
  • Information within the description itself is duplicated (J. K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré are each listed twice).
  • None of the information in the description is clearly identified; who is Mary GrandPré?
  • The missing spacing and overuse of colons makes the description hard to read.

All of this means that the average person viewing a Google results page -- who might spend under a second scanning any given snippet -- is likely to skip this result. As an alternative, consider the meta description below.

Much nicer:
<META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Author: J. K. Rowling, Illustrator: Mary GrandPré, Category: Books, Price: $17.99, Length: 784 pages">

What's changed? No duplication, more information, and everything is clearly tagged and separated. No real additional work is required to generate something of this quality: the price and length are the only new data, and they are already displayed on the site.

Programmatically generate descriptions
For some sites, like news media sources, generating an accurate and unique description for each page is easy: since each article is hand-written, it takes minimal effort to also add a one-sentence description. For larger database-driven sites, like product aggregators, hand-written descriptions are more difficult. In the latter case, though, programmatic generation of the descriptions can be appropriate and is encouraged -- just make sure that your descriptions are not "spammy." Good descriptions are human-readable and diverse, as we talked about in the first point above. The page-specific data we mentioned in the second point is a good candidate for programmatic generation.

Use quality descriptions
Finally, make sure your descriptions are... descriptive. It's easy to become lax on the quality of the meta descriptions, since they're not directly visible in the UI for your site's visitors. But meta descriptions might be displayed in Google search results -- if the description is high enough quality. A little extra work on your meta descriptions can go a long way towards showing a relevant snippet in search results. That's likely to improve the quality and quantity of your user traffic.


[G] YouTube and Checkout for the non-profit world

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Official Google Blog: YouTube and Checkout for the non-profit world

Ever since YouTube first launched, people and organizations have been using it to broadcast their causes and engage supporters around the issues they care about. In that spirit, today YouTube unveiled its Non-Profit Program at the Clinton Global Initiative to help non-profit organizations more easily connect with the world's largest online video community. In the past few years, online video has emerged as a key tool for grassroots organizing on the Internet -- a short, simple video can demonstrate the impact and the needs of an organization in a uniquely compelling fashion. This program will enable non-profits to create dedicated YouTube channels for themselves, making it even easier for people to find, watch, and engage with the organization's video content. The initial participants are 13 organizations including the American Cancer Society, Friends of the Earth, and YouthNoise.

One other thing the YouTube Non-Profit Program offers: the ability to collect donations directly from these channels using the new Google Checkout for Non-Profits. Checkout for Non-Profits -- which can also be integrated directly into a non-profit's site -- helps drive more donations for U.S.-based 501(c)(3) groups by making it possible for supporters to contribute quickly and securely. It also offers supporters the satisfaction of knowing that 100 percent of their contributions will be sent to the non-profit, as Google has committed to processing donations through Checkout for free through at least the end of 2008. This functionality is particularly exciting, as today's fund-raising is increasingly moving online -- and Checkout for Non-Profits makes the entire process even easier. You can learn more here.


[G] Our Senate testimony on online advertising and Google-DoubleClick

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Google Public Policy Blog: Our Senate testimony on online advertising and Google-DoubleClick

Later today David Drummond, our Senior VP for Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, will take to Capitol Hill to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the latest developments in the online advertising industry, including our acquisition of DoubleClick. You can read David's complete testimony here.

David will tell the committee about some of the benefits of online advertising generally:

"The online advertising business is complex, but my message to you today is simple: Online advertising benefits consumers, promotes free speech, and helps small businesses succeed. Google's acquisition of DoubleClick will help advance these goals while protecting consumer privacy and enabling greater innovation, competition, and growth."

"In our experience, our users value the advertisements that we deliver along with search results and other web content because the ads help connect them to the information, products, and services they seek. Simply put, advertising is information, and relevant advertising is information that is useful to consumers. The advertising we deliver to our users complements the natural search results that we provide, because our users are often searching for products and services that our advertisers offer. Making this connection is critical. In fact, we strive to deliver the ads that are the most relevant to our users, not just the ones that generate the most revenue for us."

He'll also talk a bit about the competitiveness of the online ad space:

"Some have asked whether this acquisition raises competition concerns. We are confident – and numerous independent analysts have agreed – that our purchase of DoubleClick does not raise antitrust issues because of one simple fact: Google and DoubleClick are complementary businesses, and do not compete with each other. DoubleClick does not buy ads, sell ads, or buy or sell advertising space. All it does is provide the technology to enable advertisers and publishers to deliver ads once they have come to terms, and provide advertisers and publishers statistics relating to the ads."

"The simplest way to look at this is by way of analogy. DoubleClick is to Google what FedEx or UPS is to Our current business involves primarily the selling of text-based ads – books in our analogy. By contrast, DoubleClick's business at its core is to deliver and report on display ads."

"Our acquisition of DoubleClick does not foreclose other companies from competing in the online advertising space. Rather, the transaction is just one of several that underscore the strong competition in the online advertising space...Each of the acquisitions following our purchase of DoubleClick demonstrates that there are many sophisticated, well-financed, and competitive companies that believe that the online advertising space merits more investment and remains open to strong competition."

And since some have raised questions about privacy in connection with this acquisition, he'll address those issues as well:

"Google's bottom line is this: We believe deeply in protecting online users' privacy, and we have a strong track record of doing so. We are constantly working to innovate in our privacy practices and policies. Some have asked questions about privacy protections in connection with the DoubleClick acquisition, but for us privacy does not begin or end with our purchase of DoubleClick. Privacy is a user interest that we've been protecting since our inception."

"We make privacy a priority because our business depends on it. If our users are uncomfortable with how we manage the information they provide to us, they are only one click away from switching to a competitor's services. If you don't believe me, recall that before Google, users clicked on an earlier generation of search engines like Excite, Altavista, Lycos, and Infoseek – each extremely popular in its time. User interests effectively regulate our behavior, and user trust is a critical component of our business model."

You can read more about why we decided to buy DoubleClick, some of the recent steps we've taken to strengthen privacy, and the recent flurry of online ad acquisitions. Here's also some background on the acquisition, and comments that newspapers, independent analysts, and advertising industry leaders have made about this acquisition. Watch this space later for video from the hearing.


[G] Introducing Google Checkout for Non-Profits

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Introducing Google Checkout for Non-Profits

Today, I'm happy (OK, more like ecstatic) to introduce Google Checkout for Non-Profits -- with this launch, U.S. non-profit organizations (IRS-certified 501(c)(3)s) now have an easy way to accept online donations, and donors have a fast and secure way to support their favorite groups. The best part: it's completely free for the organizations. Through at least the end of 2008, non-profits will pay 0% + 0 cents in transaction fees for each donation they accept through Checkout. And that means donors can support these groups knowing that 100 percent of their donations will reach their charity.

Besides being free, Checkout for Non-Profits is designed to make the entire donation and collection process more efficient. For donors, it enables you to complete a donation with just your Google login, and it helps you track your giving in a convenient and central place (a feature that should be particularly useful for those of us who tend to start our tax returns on April 14). It also helps to drive more donations to non-profits by making it easier for donors to give, and it makes collecting funds as easy as pushing a button. With Checkout for Non-Profits, we hope to do for donations what we're currently doing for e-commerce: increase the volume of transactions by making the process as simple and secure as possible for everyone involved.

To learn more, head over to our Checkout for Non-Profits page, and take a look at non-profits like the William J. Clinton Foundation and the March of Dimes , which are already using it to drive online giving on their YouTube channels.


[G] Our testimony on Google-DoubleClick

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Official Google Blog: Our testimony on Google-DoubleClick

You may have read that a U.S. Senate committee in Washington is holding a hearing today looking at online advertising and our acquisition of DoubleClick. Check out our Public Policy blog for more details about Google's testimony.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

[G] Updates on charts!

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Google Finance Blog: Updates on charts!

We've gotten a lot of great feedback and suggestions on how to improve our charts. In response, today we're unveiling an updated UI as well as some new tools. The new chart UI makes it easier to compare stocks, indices and even mutual funds. In the "compare" tab, we provide some suggestions on what you might like to compare a stock with, such as industry competitors or general market indices. Or feel free to add your own stock, index or mutual fund.

In addition, we have a bunch of new features to help analyze public companies. First, you can now "link to chart" with all of your settings preserved. For example, take a look at this 2-year comparison between Vanguard Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) and S&P; 500. Copy and paste the link from the "Link To Chart" tab, then send a link to your friend or include it in your blog.

Another feature we've recently added is support for logarithmic scale, which is extremely useful when viewing charts that have large changes in price. Just compare the 10-year chart for i2 Technologies Inc (ITWO). Without logarithmic scale, the current behavior of the stock is hard to see.

Linear chart:

Logarithmic chart:

In the comments section, please let us know what you think of these additions as well as what other chart features you would like to see.


[G] Google participates in Stanford AdFraud 2007 workshop

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Inside AdWords: Google participates in Stanford AdFraud 2007 workshop

Over the past several years, Google has encouraged academic research and participation in the area of click fraud detection. Our Ad Traffic Quality team is excited to continue this support and recently participated in the AdFraud 2007 workshop at Stanford University. The workshop was attended by more than one hundred participants from academia and industry, and provided an open forum for discussing the technical and social aspects of fighting click fraud.

Dr. Kourosh Gharachorloo, who leads Google's Ad Traffic Quality engineering team, presented the opening talk at the workshop. Kourosh's talk focused primarily on the economics of online advertising and click fraud. The talk presented two frameworks modeling advertiser spend against Google's incentives to help advertisers achieve better ROI. The first framework illustrates how Google's incentives are aligned with those of our advertisers - i.e. our click fraud detection techniques improve advertiser ROI, which then leads to increased advertiser success with AdWords. The second framework shows how low-quality sources of traffic in the Google Network directly reduce Google's revenue along with the revenue of our content partners. The combined frameworks demonstrate that Google has strong economic incentives to fight click fraud, in addition to the extremely important goal of earning and maintaining advertiser trust.

Kourosh's talk also included an overview of Google's approach to detecting invalid clicks. In addition, he described the limitations of the metrics used by the click fraud detection industry to evaluate the impact of click fraud. He concluded the talk by discussing the additional data that Google discloses to advertisers, which uniquely enables AdWords users to reconcile their web server logs with the statistics in their AdWords accounts.

The Ad Traffic Quality team will continue to collaborate with the academic community on research projects and events such as the Stanford AdFraud workshop. For the latest on what this team is up to, please visit the Ad Traffic Quality Resource Center where you'll find Kourosh's presentation [PDF] and a 70-minute video of his talk.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

[G] A new caffeine-free way to stay alert

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Official Google Blog: A new caffeine-free way to stay alert

Since new videos are constantly appearing all over the web, it's difficult to keep tabs on all of them. But now Google Alerts will make it easy for you to add video to your other Alerts: News, Web, Blog and Groups.

Video Alerts enables you to specify any topics or queries of interest so we can deliver interesting and relevant videos on a daily, weekly, or as-it-happens basis (your choice) to you via email. To start receiving Video Alerts, you can visit the Google Alerts homepage directly or set up the alert during your normal video searches. Videos may come from Google Video, YouTube, or any other video source on the web.

What are you waiting for? Stay up to date with the One Laptop Per Child program. Find the latest videos on the Lunar X-Prize. Impress Grandma by updating your scarf-knitting skills.


[G] Please Upgrade to AdWords Editor 4.0 by October 3rd

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Inside AdWords: Please Upgrade to AdWords Editor 4.0 by October 3rd

We'd like to ask anyone still using AdWords Editor 3.5 to upgrade to the latest version (4.0) before October 3, 2007. After October 3rd, 2007, version 3.5 will no longer be supported. As you may already know, old versions of AdWords Editor are retired 60 days after new versions are released in order to optimize our resources and provide the best user experience for AdWords Editor users.

To upgrade, just follow the automatic download prompt that appears when you start AdWords Editor. Important note: To preserve any comments or unposted changes, you will need to export an archive of your account before upgrading. After you've completed the upgrade, simply download your account and import the archive file.

For a complete list of version 4.0 features, please see our release notes. And, if you're not sure which version of AdWords Editor you are using, here's how to find out: Within the program, go to the 'Help' menu then click 'About AdWords Editor.'


[G] The buzz about Google-DoubleClick

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Google Public Policy Blog: The buzz about Google-DoubleClick

I've blogged before about Google's view that our acquisition of DoubleClick will lead to better, more useful online advertising for consumers, and more choices for advertisers and website publishers. We have also seen that the acquisition has been followed by significant investment, innovation, and competition in the online advertising world. Just yesterday, for example, Microsoft announced that it had added 20 new advertising clients after closing its acquisition of aQuantive, a DoubleClick competitor. We see this as yet more evidence that companies are competing in the online advertising space and the free market.

With the the Antitrust Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee taking a look at online advertising later this week, we thought you'd appreciate seeing what several independent folks have said about competition in the online advertising space and about the DoubleClick acquisition:

Los Angeles Times - Editorial
"The market for advertising online is still in its infancy… And neither Google, DoubleClick nor anyone else dominate the emerging market for video advertising, which in the broadband era may emerge as the most effective and lucrative sector yet." (Los Angeles Times, Editorial 4/17/2007)

Financial Times - Editorial
"Google and DoubleClick are different kinds of business. Buying DoubleClick does not increase Google's share of the total web audience, a more meaningful measure of the market." (Financial Times, Editorial, 5/25/07)

James B. Stewart, Columnist, Wall Street Journal
"For starters, Google and DoubleClick aren't direct competitors. Google specializes in online search and accompanying text ads. DoubleClick specializes in so-called web display advertising, especially video. It's hard to see how the combined companies would dampen competition when they don't compete to begin with." (Wall Street Journal, 4/18/2007)

Thomas Eisenmann, Harvard Business School
"If the merger is approved 'there ought to be room for multiple players' in the online advertising space…'Natural monopolies are very rare, and this is not one of them.'" (Technology Daily PM, 7/18/07)

Andrew Frank, Analyst, Gartner
"'It seems there is a clear distinction between Google's business and the business it is entering with the acquisition of DoubleClick,'..If so, Google is not acquiring extra market power through the proposed deal." (Financial Times, 4/16/2007)

John Deighton, Professor, Harvard Business School
"Google has had a long history of resisting the impulse to exploit individual surfing histories. I think they understand that it's even more important to show that restraint now." (Los Angeles Times, 4/17/2007)

Gene Munster, Senior Research Analyst, Piper Jaffray
"Fears that advertisers are worried about sharing info [between Google and DoubleClick] are likely overblown." (Note, 4/23/07)


[G] Before you apply to AdSense

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Inside AdSense: Before you apply to AdSense

Getting started with AdSense is easy, but when reviewing the applications we get, we've noticed a few common pitfalls. To help make sure your application is approved the first time around, ask yourself the following questions below before submitting.

Do I have what I need to apply?
  • Website: To display Google ads, you need administrative access to the site you submit for AdSense in order to place our JavaScript ad code on your site. Adding the Google code to your site's source code will enable you to show ads, search boxes, and referral units on your pages.

    If you don't have a website of your own, that doesn't mean you can't participate in AdSense. We offer a couple of options to help you easily create your own site.

    First, there's Blogger, a free tool for setting up and publishing your own blog online. With its easy-to-use and customizable templates, you can create an account and start blogging right away. You can also set up AdSense ads easily through your Blogger account.

    If you prefer more flexibility and control, then our web page tool, Page Creator, may be more suitable. Signing up for a Page Creator account is free as well -- all you need is a Gmail account. The best part is that you don't have to download any software or hire a designer. Once you've created your Page Creator site, you can begin displaying Google ads in minutes.

  • Valid payee name: Payments will be made out to the name on your account, so make sure to include your full and valid name, or that of your business, rather than just initials. If banks won't accept the name you enter in the 'Payee Name' field, neither will we.

  • Valid address: We want to make sure your hard-earned money reaches you, so please also provide a complete valid address where you can receive mail. If you live in a country or territory that doesn't have a standard format for addresses, please be sure that your application includes as much information as a mailman would need to find your residence.
Does my website meet all the necessary requirements?
  • Valid URL: If you manage an entire website, give us the URL of your home page. If you manage a blog or other account within a larger website, you should provide the URL of the specific page that you manage and not the URL of the entire hosting website. Don't forget to double check your URL for typos!

  • Fully launched website: Since we won't be able to review websites that are not fully launched or built, please ensure that your site is live and functioning at the time you submit your application.

  • Unique content: We want visitors to sites in the AdSense network to have a good experience, so please publish content that's interesting and unique. Avoid using "doorway" pages created just for search engines, or other cookie cutter approaches such as affiliate programs with little or no original content. If you're participating in an affiliate program, give people a reason to visit your site first.

  • Supported language: We're constantly working to provide targeted, relevant ads in more languages. However, until then, we can only approve your application if the majority of your website is in one of our supported languages.

  • Pay-To Sites: If your site participates in programs that compensate people to perform activities that drive traffic to you, we can't approve your application. Some examples of these "pay-to" programs are sites that encourage users "to click" or "to surf" or "to read email." In addition, you shouldn't encourage others to join these programs in the content, links, or third-party ads on your site.
We also encourage you to read our program policies in detail for further insight on how to create a successful application. Now that you have all the necessary information, now's a good time to apply.


Monday, September 24, 2007

[G] Search privacy and Personalized Search

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Official Google Blog: Search privacy and Personalized Search

Online privacy isn't always an easy thing to understand—or to explain. When I recently joined the company, I was happy to learn that Google was continuing with the effort to make our privacy practices (and your choices) even clearer and more accessible. We are using YouTube to post videos that explain how, when, and why we collect information about searches, and how you can protect your privacy while using our search engine.

If you watched the first privacy video, you learned about some of the information we collect (IP addresses, cookies, and search queries) and how we use this information to improve your search experience as well as prevent against fraud and other abuses. We appreciated all of the feedback we got in response to the first video.

In response to your requests for more detailed information, in our second video we're offering a closer look at personalization and the privacy tools available when you choose to personalize your search. Personalization has been an area that raises concerns about privacy, and we want you to understand how we personalize search results while protecting your privacy.

As the video explains, search algorithms that are designed to take your personal preferences into account, including the things you search for and the sites you visit, have better odds of delivering useful results for you. So if you've been checking out sites about the Louvre and you search for [Paris], you're more likely to get results about the French capital than the celebrity heiress. The privacy tools we've designed — such as "pause" and "remove" buttons — help put you in control of personalization.

So sit back, take a look, and then tell us what you think about this video (and the earlier one too). We look forward to hearing from you.


[G] Calling all 3D Google Earth files

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Google LatLong: Calling all 3D Google Earth files

We love seeing all the great 3D SketchUp models that pop up in the 3D Warehouse. You can find everything from abstract art to buildings. The very best georeferenced content appears in the 'Best of 3D Warehouse' layer in Google Earth, which everyone can see just by turning on the '3D Buildings' layer.

SketchUp is a great tool for creating Google Earth models, but we know sometimes you'll want to go beyond what it can do to create the effect you want. Take all the cool animations out there, for instance. So we've opened up the 3D Warehouse to all 3D Google Earth files!

Look for this new button on the homepage of the 3D Warehouse:

This takes you to a simple upload page. You provide the KMZ file, an image representing the file and a description ... and voila! It's in the 3D Warehouse — searchable, shareable and, with a little luck, destined for the 'Best of 3D Warehouse' layer for millions to see. If you're using SketchUp to create the KMZ, please make sure you export to the filetype labeled Google Earth 4 for best results.

We look forward to seeing what appears next.


[G] New CPA bidding product available

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Inside AdWords: New CPA bidding product available

We've heard your requests for a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) bidding tool so we're excited to introduce a new AdWords feature: the Conversion Optimizer beta. Conversion Optimizer helps you meet your ROI objectives by automatically managing your bids according to a maximum CPA goal. By automating the bidding process, this feature helps you minimize your conversion costs while saving you time.

Here's how Conversion Optimizer works: simply specify a maximum CPA bid and the Conversion Optimizer does the rest. It uses historical information about your campaign and automatically generates optimal CPC bids for each auction. You still pay per click, but you no longer have to manually adjust your bids to reach your CPA goals. Since the Conversion Optimizer can choose a new bid for each auction, you're provided with the additional benefit of spending money only on the search queries and sites where your ads are likely to convert. You can read more about how the Conversion Optimizer can manage your costs here.

In order to accurately predict your conversion rate and optimize your bids, the Conversion Optimizer requires that your campaign currently uses AdWords Conversion Tracking and has at least 300 conversions in the last 30 days. The Conversion Optimizer tries to keep the cost of each conversion below your CPA bid. However, if the actual conversion rate is lower than we predict, your CPA may exceed your CPA bid.

There are now two ways to bid using CPA: The Conversion Optimizer and Pay-Per-Action (PPA) beta. PPA lets you pay only when an action you define occurs (e.g. a newsletter sign-up or a purchase on your site). PPA ads are only shown in specific places on the content network -- a majority of PPA ads appear on publisher sites that use Google referrals, and a small portion of these ads also show up in AdSense for content ad units as part of a beta test. If you use the Conversion Optimizer, your ads can appear on both the search and content network. To learn more about when to use Conversion Optimizer and when to use PPA, please see this page in the AdWords Help Center.

To get started with the Conversion Optimizer, check out our how-to instructions in the AdWords Help Center.


[G] AdSense for search launches in Vietnamese

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Inside AdSense: AdSense for search launches in Vietnamese

Following our announcement about Indonesian in July, we're happy to let you know that AdSense for search is now available in another southeast Asian language: Vietnamese. Vietnamese publishers can now offer users Google search capabilities while generating revenue from ads on the search results pages.

As we've done in the past, we'd like to celebrate this launch by providing you with a few fun facts about Vietnam:
  • Vietnam is shaped like a narrow 'S'. Even though Vietnam is 1,650 kilometers (1,031 miles) from north to south, the country gets as narrow as 50 kilometers (31 miles) across.

  • Vietnamese is the seventh most spoken language in the United States and sixth in Australia. According to the Ethnologue, Vietnamese is also spoken by substantial numbers of people in Canada, China, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and the United Kingdom.

  • Vietnam is the world's second largest exporter of coffee and rice.
Chào mừng các nhà xuất bản Việt Nam đến với AdSense!


[G] Updates from Google Docs and Google Calendar

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Official Gmail Blog: Updates from Google Docs and Google Calendar

We had a couple of updates to share this week from the Google Docs and Google Calendar teams. First, as you may have heard, the Docs team launched the ability to create and share presentations to go with existing document and spreadsheet capabilities. Now when you're collaborating on that strategy deck, you don't have to worry whether you're looking at version 5 or 15. Plus, having your presentation stored online means one less file to send as an email attachment.

The Google Calendar team, along with the mobile team, released an upgrade to the Calendar interface on the iPhone. It is now tailored for the iPhone, and you can now see your different calendars in distinctive colors. You can see the new Calendar interface by going to on your iPhone browser.


[G] It's all about today

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Official Google Blog: It's all about today

A lot of us love video games, and everyone here has their favorite from the latest generation of consoles. We have a game room in our building that happens to have all three of the latest systems: Artem loves Microsoft's Xbox 360, Niv can't part with Sony's Playstation 3, and Corey is hopelessly addicted to the Nintendo Wii. After some serious work organizing the world's information, we like to kick back with a round of Wii Tennis or a trip to Rapture. The problem is that there's only one TV in the game room, and of course only one system can be played at a time. In true Googley fashion, we look to data to decide which console gets first dibs. For that, we used Google Trends, which lets us see what the world is searching for.

Take, for example, a comparison across the systems:

Looks like a pretty tight race. Let's take a closer look at 2007.

Wow, they're definitely neck and neck (and neck) -- the top console could change anytime. Fortunately, Google Trends is now updated every day with the latest information. (Until now, Trends was only updated once a month.) Now we can follow the console race (or any other topic) every 24 hours, whether it's The Office vs Heroes or the candidates for the next presidential election.

In addition to daily updates, we've also created an iGoogle gadget and a feed for Hot Trends. If you have ever wanted to know what the Internet was thinking right now, Hot Trends can tell you just that. Hot Trends shows you what the fastest rising search queries are on Google. Now you can keep track of Hot Trends three ways: by visiting the site, adding the gadget to your homepage, or subscribing to the feed by adding the feed URL to Google Reader or your favorite feed reader.

We'd love to hear about any interesting trends you've discovered. Please send them to us at We'll feature the best ones in a future post.


[G] Pour on the pedal power

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Official Google Blog: Pour on the pedal power

You may already know that we're working to reduce our impact on the environment in a number of ways. We opt for locally-grown food whenever possible in all of our cafes. We've covered our roofs with solar panels. We offer a rebate on our employees' fuel-efficient car purchases. When it comes to getting people to the office, we offer round-trip shuttle service to our Bay Area Googlers, as well as incentives for creative commuting, from walking to biking and even to kayaking (depending, of course, on where the office is).

Over at, the RechargeIT project is collecting data on plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) in an effort to accelerate commercial adoption of the cars as well as vehicle to grid technology. To the same end, we just issued a $10 million request for investment proposals to encourage companies and individuals to develop sustainable transportation solutions.

And now, we encourage all of you to get your wheels spinning to offset climate change. Google has teamed up with Specialized and Goodby Silverstein & Partners on the Innovate or Die Pedal-Powered Machine Challenge, to give you problem-solvers a chance to show us with a YouTube video how you harness pedal power in innovative ways. In January, you could win $5,000 in cash and Specialized Globe bikesto keep up your commitment. We're doing our bit to support new solutions. Are you feeling inspired?


[G] Street View and Privacy

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Google LatLong: Street View and Privacy

Street View is a service that lets people view and navigate within 360 degree street level imagery of various cities in the US. It provides users with a rich, immersive browsing experience directly in Google Maps, enabling greater understanding of a specific location or area. Since we launched Street View in May, we have released imagery for seven US cities. We thought hard about how to design Street View so that the service would respect the privacy of people who happen to be walking down a public street at the random moment when we capture an image. That's why we designed a simple process for anyone to contact us and have their image removed. In the US, there's a long and noble tradition of "public spaces," where people don't have the same expectations of privacy as they do in their homes. This tradition helps protect journalists, for example. So we have been careful to only collect images that anyone could see walking down a public street. However we've always said that Street View will respect local laws wherever it is available and we recognize that other countries strike a different balance between the concept of "public spaces" and individuals' right to privacy in those public spaces. In other parts of the world local laws and customs are more protective of individuals' right to privacy in public spaces, and therefore they have a more limited concept of the right to take and publish photographs of people in public places. Street View isn't available outside of the US yet, but when it is, we'll be sure to respect local laws. We understand that means that we'll have to ensure that there aren't identifiable faces and license plates in some countries. There's an important public policy debate in every country around what privacy means in public spaces. That balance will vary from country to country, and Street View will respect it.