Saturday, December 1, 2007

[G] Information about buying and selling links that pass PageRank

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Information about buying and selling links that pass PageRank



Our goal is to provide users the best search experience by presenting equitable and accurate results. We enjoy working with webmasters, and an added benefit of our working together is that when you make better and more accessible content, the internet, as well as our index, improves. This in turn allows us to deliver more relevant search results to users.

If, however, a webmaster chooses to buy or sell links for the purpose of manipulating search engine rankings, we reserve the right to protect the quality of our index. Buying or selling links that pass PageRank violates our webmaster guidelines. Such links can hurt relevance by causing:

- Inaccuracies: False popularity and links that are not fundamentally based on merit, relevance, or authority
- Inequities: Unfair advantage in our organic search results to websites with the biggest pocketbooks

In order to stay within Google's quality guidelines, paid links should be disclosed through a "rel=nofollow" or other techniques such as doing a redirect through a page which is robot.txt'ed out. Here's more information explaining our stance on buying and selling links that pass PageRank:

February 2003: Google's official quality guidelines have advised "Don't participate in link schemes designed to increase your site's ranking or PageRank" for several years.

September 2005: I posted on my blog about text links and PageRank.

December 2005: Another post on my blog discussed this issue, and said

Many people who work on ranking at search engines think that selling links can lower the quality of links on the web. If you want to buy or sell a link purely for visitors or traffic and not for search engines, a simple method exists to do so (the nofollow attribute). Google's stance on selling links is pretty clear and we're pretty accurate at spotting them, both algorithmically and manually. Sites that sell links can lose their trust in search engines.


September 2006: In an interview with John Battelle, I noted that "Google does consider it a violation of our quality guidelines to sell links that affect search engines."

January 2007: I posted on my blog to remind people that "links in those paid-for posts should be made in a way that doesn't affect search engines."

April 2007: We provided a mechanism for people to report paid links to Google.

June 2007: I addressed paid links in my keynote discussion during the Search Marketing Expo (SMX) conference in Seattle. Here's a video excerpt from the keynote discussion. It's less than a minute long, but highlights that Google is willing to use both algorithmic and manual detection of paid links that violate our quality guidelines, and that we are willing to take stronger action on such links in the future.

June 2007: A post on the official Google Webmaster Blog noted that "Buying or selling links to manipulate results and deceive search engines violates our guidelines." The post also introduced a new official form in Google's webmaster console so that people could report buying or selling of links.

June 2007: Google added more specific guidance to our official webmaster documentation about how to report buying or selling links and what sort of link schemes violate our quality guidelines.

August 2007: I described Google's official position on buying and selling links in a panel dedicated to paid links at the Search Engine Strategies (SES) conference in San Jose.

September 2007: In a post on my blog recapping the SES San Jose conference, I also made my presentation available to the general public (PowerPoint link).

October 2007: Google provided comments for a Forbes article titled "Google Purges the Payola".

October 2007: Google officially confirmed to Search Engine Land that we were taking stronger action on this issue, including decreasing the toolbar PageRank of sites selling links that pass PageRank.

October 2007: An email that I sent to Search Engine Journal also made it clear that Google was taking stronger action on buying/selling links that pass PageRank.

We appreciate the feedback that we've received on this issue. A few of the more prevalent questions:

Q: Is buying or selling links that pass PageRank a violation of Google's guidelines? Why?
A: Yes, it is, for the reasons we mentioned above. I also recently did a post on my personal blog that walks through an example of why search engines wouldn't want to count such links. On a serious medical subject (brain tumors), we highlighted people being paid to write about a brain tumor treatment when they hadn't been aware of the treatment before, and we saw several cases where people didn't do basic research (or even spellchecking!) before writing paid posts.

Q: Is this a Google-only issue?
A: No. All the major search engines have opposed buying and selling links that affect search engines. For the Forbes article Google Purges The Payola, Andy Greenberg asked other search engines about their policies, and the results were unanimous. From the story:

Search engines hate this kind of paid-for popularity. Google's Webmaster guidelines ban buying links just to pump search rankings. Other search engines including Ask, MSN, and Yahoo!, which mimic Google's link-based search rankings, also discourage buying and selling links.


Other engines have also commented about this individually, e.g. a search engine representative from Microsoft commented in a recent interview and said

The reality is that most paid links are a.) obviously not objective and b.) very often irrelevant. If you are asking about those then the answer is absolutely there is a risk. We will not tolerate bogus links that add little value to the user experience and are effectively trying to game the system.


Q: Is that why we've seen some sites that sell links receive lower PageRank in the Google toolbar?
A: Yes. If a site is selling links, that can affect our opinion about the value of that site or cause us to lose trust in that site.

Q: What recourse does a site owner have if their site was selling links that pass PageRank, and the site's PageRank in the Google toolbar was lowered?
A: The site owner can address the violations of the webmaster guidelines and submit a reconsideration request in Google's Webmaster Central console. Before doing a reconsideration request, please make sure that all sold links either do not pass PageRank or are removed.

Q: Is Google trying to tell webmasters how to run their own site?
A: No. We're giving advice to webmasters who want to do well in Google. As I said in this video from my keynote discussion in June 2007, webmasters are welcome to make their sites however they like, but Google in turn reserves the right to protect the quality and relevance of our index. To the best of our knowledge, all the major search engines have adopted similar positions.

Q: Is Google trying to crack down on other forms of advertisements used to drive traffic?
A: No, not at all. Our webmaster guidelines clearly state that you can use links as means to get targeted traffic. In fact, in the presentation I did in August 2007, I specifically called out several examples of non-Google advertising that are completely within our guidelines. We just want disclosure to search engines of paid links so that the paid links won't affect search engines.

Q: I'm aware of a site that appears to be buying/selling links. How can I get that information to Google?
A: Read our official blog post about how to report paid links from earlier in 2007. We've received thousands and thousands of reports in just a few months, but we welcome more reports. We appreciate the feedback, because it helps us take direct action as well as improve our existing algorithmic detection. We also use that data to train new algorithms for paid links that violate our quality guidelines.

Q: Can I get more information?
A: Sure. I wrote more answers about paid links earlier this year if you'd like to read them. And if you still have questions, you can join the discussion in our Webmaster Help Group.

URL: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/12/information-about-buying-and-selling.html

Friday, November 30, 2007

[G] We appreciate your interest

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Google Health Advertising Blog: We appreciate your interest



Thanks to everyone who has been a loyal reader of this blog over the past few months. After some consideration, we recognize that we're just not generating enough content here to warrant your time, so we won't be posting here any longer. We encourage you to visit our AdWords, AdSense and Analytics blogs for a timely dose of news, trends and best practices from the world of search advertising.

URL: http://google-health-ads.blogspot.com/2007/11/we-appreciate-your-interest.html

[G] What's new with mobile ads

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Inside AdWords: What's new with mobile ads

According to Internet market research powerhouse eMarketer, the mobile search advertising market size is currently $13.5 million and growing - by a projected a factor of 50 - within the next four years. With everyone buzzing about mobile these days, we wanted to tell you straight from the horse's mouth about some sophisticated new tools and features that we've recently rolled out to help you run a more successful mobile ads campaign.

AdWords Business Pages for mobile ads
Mobile ads can refer users to a business phone number, a mobile website, or both. Usually you need to be a web developer or contact your webmaster in order to create a mobile web page from scratch. However, AdWords Business Pages for mobile ads provides a friendly wizard that creates a page for you in minutes - which is available immediately after you create it. Google hosts the page for free.

Carrier Targeting
We've just expanded carrier targeting in more countries, which means you have more options to fine-tune who sees your mobile ads. Click "Advanced targeting and network options" to expand your options for carrier targeting from the "Create/Edit mobile ad" page. You can choose to show your ads to users on all mobile carriers, or check off the boxes next to the specific carriers you want to target.


If you don't already have a mobile ad running, learn how to create one.


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/11/whats-new-with-mobile-ads.html

[G] The countdown begins

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Google LatLong: The countdown begins



For those of you who have followed Santa's trip in Google Earth for the past few years, you'll be interested to know that this year we've paired up with the real Santa-tracking pros -- the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

Starting tomorrow, December 1st, you'll be able to count down to the big sleigh ride on the NORAD Tracks Santa website; starting at 1 am PST on December 24th, you'll be able to download a special KML file that lets you follow his trip in real time. Check out the Official Google Blog to learn more about our involvement in this Santa-tracking tradition that began more than 50 years ago.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/11/countdown-begins.html

[G] Tracking Santa, then and now

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Official Google Blog: Tracking Santa, then and now



It was more than half a century ago, on Christmas Eve in 1955, that a Sears Roebuck & Co. store in Colorado Springs advertised a special hotline number for kids to call Santa. What the company didn't know at the time was that they had inadvertently misprinted the telephone number. Instead of Santa's workshop, the phone number put kids through to the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), the bi-national U.S.-Canadian military organization responsible for the aerospace defense of the U. S. and Canada. Worse, it wasn't just any number at NORAD: it was the commander-in-chief's operations hotline. In the spirit of the season, Colonel Harry Shoup, the director of operations at the time, had his staff check radar data for any indication of a sleigh making its way south from the North Pole. They found that indeed there were signs of Santa, and merrily gave the children who called an update on his location. Thus, a tradition was born, and NORAD has continued to help children track Santa on Christmas Eve ever since.

It just so happens that Colonel Shoup is my grandfather, which is why I'm so excited that, 52 years later, Google is joining the effort. This holiday season, NORAD has partnered with Google to use technology including Google Maps, Google Earth, iGoogle and YouTube to track Santa. I can remember tracking Santa with my grandfather as a child, and I'm so proud to see my company carry on his vision of doing something this special for kids around the world.

The countdown begins December 1st on NORAD's website, where families can find a new kid-friendly game or activity every day until December 24th. And starting at 1:00 am PST on December 24th, you'll be able to track Santa's trip in real time. You can download Google Earth and add the NORAD Tracks Santa iGoogle gadget to your iGoogle page anytime, but make sure to come back to noradsanta.org on December 24th to download the special Santa Tracking file for an enhanced 3D Santa-tracking experience.

Harry and Carrie.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/tracking-santa-then-and-now.html

[G] Update on Street View via search

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Google LatLong: Update on Street View via search



We've heard from some of you that you're having trouble accessing Street View imagery within the local search and address bubbles, so we're going to work on it a bit more. We're sorry for any disappointment, and we'll keep you posted on our progress. Stay tuned...

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/11/update-on-street-view-via-search.html

[G] Who's going to win the spectrum auction? Consumers.

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Google Public Policy Blog: Who's going to win the spectrum auction? Consumers.



(Cross-posted to the Official Google Blog)

Here at Google, we see the upcoming 700 megahertz spectrum auction at the Federal Communications Commission as one of the best opportunities consumers will have to enjoy more choices in the world of wireless devices. That's why we announced today that we are applying to participate in the auction.

We already know that regardless of which bidders ultimately win the auction, consumers will be the real winners either way. This is because the eventual winner of a key portion of this spectrum will be required to give its customers the right to download any application they want on their mobile device, and the right to use any device they want on the network (assuming the C Block reserve price of $4.6 billion is met in the auction). That's meaningful progress in our ongoing efforts to help transform the relatively closed wireless world to be more like the open realm of the Internet.

Regardless of how the auction unfolds, we think it's important to put our money where our principles are. Consumers deserve more choices and more competition than they have in the wireless world today. And at a time when so many Americans don't have access to the Internet, this auction provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring the riches of the Net to more people.

While we've written a lot on our blogs and spoken publicly about our plans for the auction, unfortunately you're not going to hear from us about this topic for awhile, and we want to explain why.

Monday, December 3, is the deadline for prospective bidders to apply with the FCC to participate in the auction. Though the auction itself won't start until January 24, 2008, Monday also marks the starting point for the FCC's anti-collusion rules, which prevent participants in the auction from discussing their bidding strategy with each other.

These rules are designed to keep the auction process fair, by keeping bidders from cooperating in anticompetitive ways so as to drive the auction prices in artificial directions. While these rules primarily affect private communications among prospective bidders, the FCC historically has included all forms of public communications in its interpretation of these rules.

All of this means that, as much as we would like to offer a step-by-step account of what's happening in the auction, the FCC's rules prevent us from doing so until the auction ends early next year. So here's a quick primer on how things will unfold:
  • December 3: By Monday, would-be applicants must file their applications to participate in the auction (FCC Form 175), which remain confidential until the FCC makes them available.

  • Mid-December: Once all the applications have been fully reviewed, the FCC will release a public list of eligible bidders in the auction. Each bidder must then make a monetary deposit no later than December 28, depending on which licenses they plan to bid on. The more spectrum blocks an applicant is deemed eligible to bid on, the greater the amount they must deposit.

  • January 24, 2008: The auction begins, with each bidder using an electronic bidding process. Since this auction is anonymous (a rule that we think makes the auction more competitive and therefore better for consumers), the FCC will not publicly identify which parties have made which bid until after the auction is over.

  • Bidding rounds: The auction bidding occurs in stages established by the FCC, with the likely number of rounds per day increasing as bidding activity decreases. The FCC announces results at the end of each round, including the highest bid at that point, the minimum acceptable bid for the following round, and the amounts of all bids placed during the round. The FCC does not disclose bidders' names, and bidders are not allowed to disclose publicly whether they are still in the running or not.

  • Auction end: The auction will end when there are no new bids and all the spectrum blocks have been sold (many experts believe this auction could last until March 2008). If the reserve price of any spectrum block is not met, the FCC will conduct a re-auction of that block. Following the end of the auction, the FCC announces which bidders have secured licenses to which pieces of spectrum and requires winning bidders to submit the balance of the payments for the licenses.
If you're interested in keeping track of the publicly available details of the auction, check out this page on the FCC's website or Google News. In the meantime, my lips will be sealed (something, frankly, that I'm not used to).

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2007/11/whos-going-to-win-spectrum-auction.html

Thursday, November 29, 2007

[G] Who's going to win the spectrum auction? Consumers.

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Official Google Blog: Who's going to win the spectrum auction? Consumers.



Here at Google, we see the upcoming 700 megahertz spectrum auction at the Federal Communications Commission as one of the best opportunities consumers will have to enjoy more choices in the world of wireless devices. That's why we announced today that we are applying to participate in the auction.

We already know that regardless of which bidders ultimately win the auction, consumers will be the real winners either way. This is because the eventual winner of a key portion of this spectrum will be required to give its customers the right to download any application they want on their mobile device, and the right to use any device they want on the network (assuming the C Block reserve price of $4.6 billion is met in the auction). That's meaningful progress in our ongoing efforts to help transform the relatively closed wireless world to be more like the open realm of the Internet.

Regardless of how the auction unfolds, we think it's important to put our money where our principles are. Consumers deserve more choices and more competition than they have in the wireless world today. And at a time when so many Americans don't have access to the Internet, this auction provides an unprecedented opportunity to bring the riches of the Net to more people.

While we've written a lot on our blogs and spoken publicly about our plans for the auction, unfortunately you're not going to hear from us about this topic for awhile, and we want to explain why.

Monday, December 3, is the deadline for prospective bidders to apply with the FCC to participate in the auction. Though the auction itself won't start until January 24, 2008, Monday also marks the starting point for the FCC's anti-collusion rules, which prevent participants in the auction from discussing their bidding strategy with each other.

These rules are designed to keep the auction process fair, by keeping bidders from cooperating in anticompetitive ways so as to drive the auction prices in artificial directions. While these rules primarily affect private communications among prospective bidders, the FCC historically has included all forms of public communications in its interpretation of these rules.

All of this means that, as much as we would like to offer a step-by-step account of what's happening in the auction, the FCC's rules prevent us from doing so until the auction ends early next year. So here's a quick primer on how things will unfold:
  • December 3: By Monday, would-be applicants must file their applications to participate in the auction (FCC Form 175), which remain confidential until the FCC makes them available.

  • Mid-December: Once all the applications have been fully reviewed, the FCC will release a public list of eligible bidders in the auction. Each bidder must then make a monetary deposit no later than December 28, depending on which licenses they plan to bid on. The more spectrum blocks an applicant is deemed eligible to bid on, the greater the amount they must deposit.

  • January 24, 2008: The auction begins, with each bidder using an electronic bidding process. Since this auction is anonymous (a rule that we think makes the auction more competitive and therefore better for consumers), the FCC will not publicly identify which parties have made which bid until after the auction is over.

  • Bidding rounds: The auction bidding occurs in stages established by the FCC, with the likely number of rounds per day increasing as bidding activity decreases. The FCC announces results at the end of each round, including the highest bid at that point, the minimum acceptable bid for the following round, and the amounts of all bids placed during the round. The FCC does not disclose bidders' names, and bidders are not allowed to disclose publicly whether they are still in the running or not.

  • Auction end: The auction will end when there are no new bids and all the spectrum blocks have been sold (many experts believe this auction could last until March 2008). If the reserve price of any spectrum block is not met, the FCC will conduct a re-auction of that block. Following the end of the auction, the FCC announces which bidders have secured licenses to which pieces of spectrum and requires winning bidders to submit the balance of the payments for the licenses.
If you're interested in keeping track of the publicly available details of the auction, check out this page on the FCC's website or Google News. In the meantime, my lips will be sealed (something, frankly, that I'm not used to).

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/whos-going-to-win-spectrum-auction.html

[G] Attack of the interns: recommendations and drag-and-drop

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Official Google Reader Blog: Attack of the interns: recommendations and drag-and-drop

One of the great things about Reader, and feed readers in general, is that they let you follow sites much more efficiently than you could just by visiting them directly. This means that once you get into the flow of it, you can subscribe and keep track of many more sites than before. The problem then becomes: what should you subscribe to? For example, there are millions of blogs, and while a few are well known, there are many more interesting (micro) niche blogs that would be great to subscribe to, if only you could find them.

To help with the discovery of interesting sites to subscribe to, we just released personalized recommendations in Reader. When you visit our discovery page, you'll see quite a few feeds that we think you may find interesting. "Interesting" here is determined by what other feeds you subscribe to, as well as your Web History data, all taken into account in an automated, anonymized fashion. (To learn more about how our recommendations work, see our help article about them). Hopefully you'll find your recommendations interesting and helpful in getting your information-triggered dopamine squirt.

Recommendations make it even easier to subscribe to lots of feeds, so then the question becomes: how do you organize those feeds better? As luck would have it, one of the other features we're announcing today is drag-and-drop support for your subscriptions and folders. You can now easily move feeds between folders, as well as reorder things up and down within the list.

On the right, you can see Mihai's subscription list as he uses drag-and-drop to reorganize his froworkers folder. (Though you may not want to let your friends know how you're ranking then, lest it become a competition.) Of course, we can't take too much credit for drag-and-drop subscription management -- desktop aggregators have had it for a while, as have online feed readers like Bloglines and NewsGator.

What these two features have in common is that (ex-)interns played a significant role in delivering both of them. Nitin Shantharam (UC Irvine) helped create the user interface for recommendations, while Olga Stroilova (MIT) had a hand in the algorithms that generate them. Meanwhile, drag-and-drop was the brainchild of Brad Hawkes (UMass Amherst), who was our intern the summer of 2006, and returned to join the Reader team full-time earlier this year. As RIE (Reader Intern Emeritus), Brad paved the way for the great student help that we've had this year. Also to be mentioned is Jason Hall (Kent State), who was behind many interface improvements that have been live for a few months already. All told, our interns (and ex-interns) have done great work this year!


URL: http://googlereader.blogspot.com/2007/11/attack-of-interns-recommendations-and.html

[G] CNN/YouTube debate highlights for your video units

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Inside AdSense: CNN/YouTube debate highlights for your video units

Did you catch the CNN/YouTube Republican debate on Wednesday night? And are you interested in having the debate available on your site for visitors to see? We've set up a channel for your video units to play the night's highlights as well as those from the July Democratic debate. To get the clips for your video units, choose "CNN YouTube Debates" as a content provider on the Edit AdSense Player page. You can also use our new option to choose the specific videos that will appear by typing in the name of the video you want (e.g., "GOP Debate Song") into the Hints box under "Automatic targeting."

The debates are just one example of the compelling content that we plan to bring to your sites with video units. In the coming months, we'll continue to enhance the depth and variety of the content that is available, while making it easier for you to discover and choose what best fits your site.



As always, to learn more about video units, you can check out our regularly updated FAQs or view our instructional videos on YouTube.

If you aren't using video units yet, now is a great time to give them a try. Sign in to your AdSense account and visit the AdSense Setup page to get started with video units.


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/11/cnnyoutube-debate-highlights-for-your.html

[G] Help us fill in the gaps!

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Google Online Security Blog: Help us fill in the gaps!



We've been targeting malware for over a year and a half, and these efforts are paying off. We are now able to display warnings in search results when a site is known to be malicious, which can help you avoid drive-by downloads and other computer compromises. We are already distributing this data through the Safe Browsing API, and we are working on bringing this protection to more users by integrating with more Google products. While these are great steps, we need your help going forward!

Currently, we know of hundreds of thousands of websites that attempt to infect people's computers with malware. Unfortunately, we also know that there are more malware sites out there. This is where we need your help in filling in the gaps. If you come across a site that is hosting malware, we now have an easy way for you to let us know about it. If you come across a site that is hosting malware, please fill out this short form. Help us keep the internet safe, and report sites that distribute malware.

URL: http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com/2007/11/help-us-fill-in-gaps.html

[G] Google Gadgets for the Mac

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Inside Google Desktop: Google Gadgets for the Mac



Google Desktop for Mac now supports gadgets! For details, including a video demonstration, see the Official Google Blog post.

URL: http://googledesktop.blogspot.com/2007/11/google-gadgets-for-mac.html

[G] AdSense for search offered for Thai

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Inside AdSense: AdSense for search offered for Thai

We'd like to welcome Thai as the newest language to join the AdSense for search family. If you manage a site primarily in Thai, you can now offer Google search results directly on your pages and monetize the results pages. Don't have an account yet? Feel free to submit an application today.

Here are some fun facts about Thailand to celebrate this launch:
  • The full given name of Bangkok, Thailand's capital city, is "Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit". The city's full name is listed as the world's longest place name in the Guinness Book of World Records.

  • The Thai greeting is known as the "wai", which involves bringing the palms together and raising them to a level between the chest and forehead. The higher the hands are held, the more respect is being shown by the greeter.

  • The island of Ko Samui is known for producing the most types of coconut palm in the world. In addition, it was mentioned in the 2000 comedy Meet the Parents.


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/11/adsense-for-search-offered-for-thai.html

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

[G] Meet our AdWords Evangelist in Las Vegas

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Inside AdWords: Meet our AdWords Evangelist in Las Vegas

Back in September and October, Fred Vallaeys, Product Evangelist for AdWords, joined us for a three part series on ROI (Return on Investment) and how to track it.

Now is your chance to ask Fred specific ROI questions, or questions about AdWords in general -- Fred will be speaking at PubCon by WebmasterWorld in Las Vegas, Tuesday, December 4th, as part of a panel discussing Major Search Engines. We hope you'll stop by and introduce yourself to Fred, if you're attending.

Fred is always interested in meeting advertisers and hearing feedback about all things AdWords -- check out Fred's bio for the event, complete with a photo, so you'll know who to look for.

If you do chat with Fred, let him know that the Inside AdWords crew sent you. ;)


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/11/meet-our-adwords-evangelist-in-las.html

[G] Group chat and rich emoticons now available in Gmail chat

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Official Gmail Blog: Group chat and rich emoticons now available in Gmail chat



The new Gmail Seattle team is happy to announce two additions to Gmail's built-in chat capabilities: group chat and enhanced emoticons.

To start a group chat, click "Group chat" from the "Options" menu when chatting. Enter the names of the people you want to add, and, bingo, you're in your very own chat room. All the familiar features such as chat archiving and taking the chat off the record still work as well.

You'll also now notice a smiley face in the bottom right-hand corner of your chat window. You can still use regular emoticon keyboard shortcuts, such as :) or =P, but this menu lets you select the style of the emoticons you send. Beyond the good old classic Gmail smileys there are two brand new, rich emoticon styles.

These features only work with the latest version of Gmail, which we are still rolling out to IE6, international and Google Apps users. We're looking forward to using Gmail's new modular architecture to bring you more features like these with faster turnaround.

URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/group-chat-and-rich-emoticons-now.html

[G] CNN/YouTube Republican debate tonight

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Google Public Policy Blog: CNN/YouTube Republican debate tonight



Last July, the Democratic presidential candidates took part in the first CNN/YouTube presidential debate. Tonight it's the Republicans' turn to answer questions from individuals around the country.

Just like last time, all of the questions to the candidates will come from YouTube users, who've submitted video questions over the past few months. And with a little more than a month before the first votes are cast in the Iowa caucuses, the debate promises fireworks as each of the candidates tries to set himself apart in one of the most competitive and least settled primary races in the Republican party's history.

Nearly 5,000 questions have been submitted. Here's are a sampling of the questions:



Tune in to CNN tonight at 8pm ET/5pm PT to see which questions are posed to the candidates.

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2007/11/cnnyoutube-republican-debate-tonight.html

[G] Google Gadgets on your Dashboard

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Official Google Blog: Google Gadgets on your Dashboard



A question everyone asked when we launched Google Desktop for the Mac was: where are the gadgets? Today, we have an answer: they're in your Dashboard! Now there's a new feature for Google Desktop, Google Gadgets for the Mac, which is ready to install. With this launch, we're bringing hundreds of Google Gadgets to the Mac OS X platform. You can take advantage of gadgets to do things like browse YouTube videos, nurture a virtual flower pot, or even check your day's agenda in Dashboard.

Not only that, the new Google Gadgets applications let you add gadgets with one click and interact with them beside your Apple widgets in Dashboard. There's an automatic update to the gadget list each week, so you'll always have something new to look forward to.

Watch the Gadget application in action:



Attention, gadget/widget developers: this launch makes it possible for you to write your gadget once and have it run on a Mac, a PC, and any webpage on the Internet. Learn more about how to write a cross platform gadget.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/google-gadgets-on-your-dashboard.html

[G] The CNN/YouTube Republican Debate

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Official Google Blog: The CNN/YouTube Republican Debate



First up were the Democrats, and now it's the Republicans' turn. Tonight marks the much-anticipated CNN/YouTube Republican Debate, in which the 8 GOP candidates on our You Choose '08 platform will descend on St. Petersburg, Florida to answer video questions submitted via YouTube. The two-hour debate will be aired live on CNN at 8 PM ET, and all the clips will be hosted soon after on YouTube.

People submitted almost 5,000 questions (4,927, to be exact) to the GOP hopefuls right on YouTube -- 2,000 more than the Democrats got on July 23. In true YouTube style, some of the questions are creative, but most are compelling -- and demonstrate the concerns of voters trying to differentiate between the candidates in a crowded primary field.



Back in July, we broke new ground in presidential debates with our first-ever CNN/YouTube Debate. Thirty-nine questions were posed to the Democratic candidates, and when Stephen Sixta asked a question about whether or not the presidential contenders would speak directly to foreign dictators, a conflict broke out between Senators Obama and Clinton that has matured into the defining difference between these two front-runners in this campaign.

The core concept behind these debates is to let real questions from real people drive the dialogue. The power of YouTube is that it lowers the barrier to entry to engage in the political process, and levels the platform for political discussion. It used to be that a voter had to live in Iowa, New Hampshire, or Florida to engage with the candidates at this stage of the campaign, but YouTube has broken down those barriers, and has brought more transparency and access to the political dialogue than ever before. We think that politics will never be the same (thankfully).

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/cnnyoutube-republican-debate.html

[G] Location, location, location

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Google LatLong: Location, location, location



Anyone who's used a GPS-enabled version of Google Maps for mobile knows how useful it can be to have location information. But very few devices actually support GPS, and the technology is still evolving -- it can sometimes take a while to acquire a satellite signal, getting coverage indoors can be difficult, and using GPS can drain your phone's battery.

Today Google launched a new version of Google Maps for mobile with a beta technology called My Location, which provides approximate location information for those of us without GPS, and complements GPS location information for those of us who do have it. Read more on our new mobile blog.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/11/location-location-location.html

[G] Lost? No, found!

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Official Google Blog: Lost? No, found!



We know a lot of you are using Google Maps for mobile to view maps and satellite imagery, find local businesses, and get directions. But to date not many of you have been able to take advantage of the increased speed and convenience that location information from technologies like GPS can afford, if only because there are very few GPS-enabled devices on the market.

Well, when it comes to location information, GPS is no longer the only game in town. Today we released a version of Google Maps for mobile with a new beta technology called My Location, which provides approximate location information for those of us without GPS, and complements GPS location information for those who do have it. Head over to our new mobile blog to learn more.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/lost-no-found.html

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

[G] Cardinal Commerce goes mobile

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Cardinal Commerce goes mobile



Some things are simply better together, like chocolate and peanut butter. Or, say, Google Checkout and mobile devices. We launched Google Checkout for mobile back in May, and we're excited to announce a new way to make products available to the legions of mobile users. Cardinal Commerce has integrated Google Checkout for mobile into their MAX platform. SkyMall, RitzCamera, Dazadi, and Northern Response are now serving up their products to mobile users everywhere with this new technology.

How does it work? Merchants simply post a keyword linked to an item for sale (on a billboard, in a magazine, or on a poster, for example); buyers can text in this keyword on their phone, and then they'll get a link back that they can use to complete their purchase with Google Checkout. It's that easy!

You can also text "google" to 49432 to access the products from these merchants on Cardinal Commerce.

URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2007/11/cardinal-commerce-goes-mobile.html

[G] Google Gadgets for the Mac

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Official Google Mac Blog: Google Gadgets for the Mac

Posted By Mike Pinkerton, Software Engineer

Earlier this year, I posted here to introduce Google Desktop for Mac OS X. Today, on behalf of my team, I'm happy to unveil the latest feature of Desktop: Google Gadgets for Mac OS X Beta.

This feature brings hundreds of existing Google Gadgets to Dashboard. You can add fun gadgets (such as bowling, virtual flower pot, or YouTube), useful gadgets (weather maps, driving directions, and news), and others that offer daily wisdom for the ages (Confucius, horoscopes, and even a joke of the day!). These gadgets look and behave just like any other Dashboard widget, so you don't have to learn anything new.

With hundreds of gadgets available and more being added every week, you might wonder how to get started. No problem! The Google Gadgets application is your one-stop shop for all available gadgets, complete with search to quickly find what you're looking for. If you're concerned you might miss out on new gadgets as they come along, don't be. The Google Gadgets application regularly updates itself so the list of available gadgets is never out of date.

The best part is that anyone can create a gadget. If you are interested in developing your own Google Gadget, check out the Desktop Gadget API homepage. There you'll see how to create a cross-platform gadget that runs on both Mac OS X and Windows. If you're already a gadget developer, download the Beta today to test your gadget on a Mac and ensure that it works correctly.

We need your help and your feedback to make this Beta an even better product. Please come visit our forum and let us know how we can do that.

URL: http://googlemac.blogspot.com/2007/11/google-gadgets-for-mac.html

[G] Import your KML, KMZ, and GeoRSS files

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Google LatLong: Import your KML, KMZ, and GeoRSS files



If you use Google Earth, you're probably familiar with the KML and KMZ file formats, which are used to store geographic information like placemarks, lines and shapes. Now you can share your KML files more easily with other people (who may not have Google Earth installed) by importing them into My Maps. Your file will be stored online and will be viewable on any computer with a web browser.

To import a KML file, create a new map and click the Import link. You'll be able to upload a file from your desktop, or enter the URL of a file on the web. We'll import all of the data from that file into your map for online access and editing. Keep in mind that Google Maps doesn't support as many features of KML as Google Earth, so some of your information (like 3D models) won't be imported into your online map.

You can use this feature to transfer placemarks from Google Earth to Google Maps, make an editable copy of some geographic data you find on the web, or upload KML data from a GPS tracking device. Then you can bring it back to Google Earth by clicking on the KML link to download a KML file. Make some changes in Google Earth and import it back into the same map, checking the replace checkbox this time to replace the existing map with the updated one.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/11/import-your-kml-kmz-and-georss-files.html

[G] Easier-to-use news sitemaps

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Google News Blog: Easier-to-use news sitemaps



Hey news publishers, have you checked out Google's Webmaster Tools lately? Did you know that you can submit a sitemap listing specific articles you would like us to include in Google News? Recently, we announced that this capability is available to all publishers in all Google News editions.

Today, we're excited to tell you about a change that makes it easier for publishers to create sitemaps: you can now include articles from multiple hosts in the same sitemap. For example, if you own world.mynews.com, business.mynews.com, and sports.mynews.com, you can submit a single sitemap containing articles from all three hosts; it is no longer necessary to maintain a separate sitemap for each. The sitemap itself can reside on any of the hosts. The only requirement is that all articles in the sitemap be for the same news publication. This was announced on the Webmaster Central blog last month, and we're excited to make it possible for news publishers. This should simplify the process of sitemap submission for many of you.

Going forward, stay tuned for innovations both small and large to help make it easier for you to include your content in Google News. If you have feedback or suggestions for us, please visit our News Help group.

URL: http://googlenewsblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/easier-to-use-news-sitemaps.html

[G] My Our Maps

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Google LatLong: My Our Maps

The My Maps feature of Google Maps lets people create maps to share their hobbies and expertise with the world. For example, a surfing enthusiast could map out their favorite surf spots or a surfing club could plot all the best beaches in Southern California. Now imagine if all the surfers around the globe worked together, leveraging their combined knowledge to create a single map of the best surf spots worldwide, applying the power of wiki-style collaboration to cartography.

Starting today, Google Maps supports collaborative map-making, so multiple people can edit the same My Map. Just click the "Collaborate" link and enter the email addresses of the people you want to invite. They'll receive an email invitation with a link to the map. Once they open the map, they should be able to edit it, as long as they are signed into a Google Account that's associated with that email address. You can also open your map to the world so anyone can edit it by selecting the "Allow anyone to edit this map" checkbox.

By the way, we're always looking for good surf spots, so please add your favorites to our collaborative map. Or if you're not the surfing type, we'd still love to see your maps, whether you're cataloging the best wineries in Australia, reporting UFO sightings to the National UFO Reporting Center, or planning a cross-country road trip with friends.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/11/my-our-maps.html

[G] Google Content Network Tips: Part 2 - Targeting Options, Environments, and Ad Formats

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Inside AdWords: Google Content Network Tips: Part 2 - Targeting Options, Environments, and Ad Formats

In our first post in this series, we highlighted some of the most notable improvements we've made to the Google content network over this past year. Today, we wanted to focus on the range of options that the content network provides to make campaign management simple.

To ensure that our advertisers have increased flexibility and control across all aspects of their campaign, we offer multiple targeting options, a variety of ad formats, and hundreds of thousands of sites on which your ads can show.

Targeting Options
Ever wonder how we match ads to relevant pages? By scanning the millions of pages on the web, Google's contextual targeting technology analyzes the content of different web pages to determine the theme of a page. Then, by looking at all the keywords and ad text in your ad groups, our system matches the most relevant ads to the theme of that page. For example, if you have an ad for a digital camera, our system may place your ad next to a news article that reviews the latest digital photographic technology.

To ensure that you are targeting your ads to the right users, you can create tightly-themed ad groups. You can also try using negative keywords but remember that they work by exact match on the content network. The more theme-specific negative keywords you include, the less likely your ad is to appear on sites that match that theme. Following the example above, to ensure your digital camera ad doesn't show up on pages related to video equipment, be sure to enter keywords like video, video camera, and video cameras as negative keywords. But keep in mind that doing so will exclude pages that review both video and digital cameras.

For further control, you can use the site exclusion tool to prevent your ads from appearing on specific pages, subpages, or types of pages that you don't think are a good match for your message.

If you want even greater control, you can use placement targeting to hand-pick specific sites or sections of sites you want your ads to appear on. If your goal is conversion-oriented metrics likes sales or leads, you can select CPC pricing and pay when users click on your ads. To increase brand awareness and maximize impressions among your target users, you may choose CPM pricing.

Environments
The Google content network has partnered with a variety of different websites, from news sites like Reuters and CNN, to social networking sites like MySpace and Friendster, to smaller niche sites like Ask the Builder and WhateverLife. This wide selection helps you match your message with the right audience. To find out more about how one advertiser found success through advertising on niche sites, you can read this case study.

Ad Formats
Text ads are a great way to reach your audience with a brief, pointed message. When you want to communicate a simple, visual message, try image ads, which are accepted on over 95% of content network sites. And if you're looking to engage your audience with sight, sound, and motion, or if your product requires a demonstration, Google click-to-play video ads offer an effective way to connect your message to the right users. You can read this case study on how one advertiser engaged with customers and increased revenue by using click-to-play video ads to demonstrate his robotic guitar tuners.

You can also check out demos of video ads and learn more about the Ad Creation Marketplace, where you can find a professional to help create your video ad.

Altogether, Google's targeting options give you full control over the parts of the content network where your ads appear, and AdWords reporting gives you insight into how your ads perform in different environments. By matching the right ad formats with the right environments, you can reach the audience that matters to you most when they're engaged with content that's relevant to your business.

As always, you can read more about the content network here. And if you have specific questions that you would like answered in upcoming blog posts, we invite you to email us. In the meantime, stay tuned more information on optimizing your content network campaign in the coming weeks.


URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2007/11/google-content-network-tips-part-2.html

[G] Another way to take in the view

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Google LatLong: Another way to take in the view



I'm pleased to announce a whole new method for cruising the streets: Street View via search. In the past, a search of a specific location in Maps yielded a placemark on its location and a pop-up balloon containing its address. Starting today, the balloon will also display a thumbnail preview of the panoramic image for locations where Street View is available. Just click on the thumbnail or the "Street View" link under it to display the location in full view.



Street View links really come in handy if you're searching for a local business. Let's say you're not quite sure where to eat. Searching "pizza place near 40 Market St., San Francisco, CA," for example, will yield many results. Now you'll see a pop-up balloon containing a Street View link for each result so you can actually see which one looks best! And don't forget to scope out which pizza place has the most convenient parking.



Personally, I'm excited to have the addition of this feature as the holiday season kicks off. Holiday planning can be stressful, as everyone knows, and we're hoping this tool will help ease some of those holiday woes.

And speaking of the holidays, the Maps team here at Google has already received the best gift of all: Street View's spot on Time's "Best Inventions of 2007" list!

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/11/another-way-to-take-in-view.html

[G] Explore new terrain

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Google LatLong: Explore new terrain



We've noticed that many people build customized maps using My Maps and KML to help others see the planet in a new light. We've seen everything from maps of hiking trails with pictures taken along the way to a guide to the world's mountain peaks. Today we're releasing Terrain maps to help highlight this natural beauty even more. These maps focus on physical features such as mountains, valleys, and vegetation. They contain labels for even very small mountains and trails and are enhanced with subtle shading that can often give a better sense of elevation changes than a satellite image alone.

For example, we think Terrain maps may just be the best way to experience the grandeur of the Grand Canyon or to plan your hiking trip on the Appalachian Trail. And of course, big mountains look really cool. Better yet, you can mix them with custom maps from our users, such as a map of highest points in the United States or a guide to the Pyrenees mountains.

To see the new style, simply click on the "Terrain" button in the upper-right corner of the map.



You may notice in this screenshot that the handy "Hybrid" button, which shows satellite images overlaid with labels and roads, seems to have gone missing. Don't worry -- this view can now be accessed by clicking the "Satellite" button and checking the "Show labels" check box that will appear under the "Satellite" button:


URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/11/explore-new-terrain.html

[G] Towards more renewable energy

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Official Google Blog: Towards more renewable energy



Clean and affordable energy is a growing need for our company, and we're excited about the opportunity to help create competitive green alternatives. Our new initiative isn't just about Google's energy needs; we're seeking to accelerate the pace at which clean energy technologies are developing, so they can rival the economics of coal quickly. We've gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building data centers that lead the industry in efficiency. We want to apply the same creativity and innovation to the challenge of generating inexpensive renewable electricity at scale.

Promising technologies already exist that could be developed to deliver renewable energy cheaper than coal. We think the time is ripe to build rapidly on the tremendous work on renewable energy. For example, I believe that solar thermal technology provides a very plausible path to generating cheaper electricity. By combining talented technologists, great partners and large investments, we have an opportunity to quickly push this technology forward. Our goal is to build 1 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal. We are optimistic that this can be done within years, not decades. If we succeed, it would likely provide a path to replacing a substantial portion of the world's electricity needs with renewable energy sources.

To lead this effort, we're looking for a world-class team. We need creative and motivated entrepreneurs and technologists with expertise in a broad range of areas, including materials science, physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, land acquisition and management, power transmission and substations, construction, and regulatory issues. Join us. And if you're interested, read about our previous work toward a clean energy future.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/towards-more-renewable-energy.html

Monday, November 26, 2007

[G] A breath of fresh air

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Google LatLong: A breath of fresh air



We're so happy (OK, more like ecstatic) about the recent wave of people, companies and organizations "going green." Everywhere you look these days, you see hybrid cars, solar panels, recycling bins, and so on. And we were really thrilled to learn about the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's new project using Google Earth.

The EPA has created an amazing KML file that tracks air emission sources. That means Google Earth users can now track air quality, near and far, from the comfort of their computer screens.

The layer also makes it possible to see which companies are generating air pollutants at the highest rates. Select a given location and view placemarks of all of the companies in the area. Tilt the earth until you're at ground level and check out the collection of placemarks; they vary in height based on pollutants emitted at their particular location. Click on a company of interest to read about their eco-history.

We hope people make good use of this great new tool, whether it be to simply discover the air quality in different areas around the world or to encourage companies to engage in more environmentally friendly practices. To find out how to get started, take a look at this informative EPA page -- it couldn't be simpler.

URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2007/11/breath-of-fresh-air.html

[G] Blogging from YouTube

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Blogger Buzz: Blogging from YouTube

As you videobloggers already know, you can upload your videos directly to Blogger. But for the rest of the video watchers out there, did you know you can just as easily post YouTube videos to your blog?

All you need to do is set up your YouTube account to post videos to your blog using the "Share" button. You'll enter your Blogger information once, and from then on it's one-click sharing from any YouTube video page!



See our help article for full instructions.

URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2007/11/blogging-from-youtube.html

[G] Google Talk Gadget in 20 new languages

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Google Talkabout: Google Talk Gadget in 20 new languages

Today, we added support for 20 more languages to the web-based Google Talk Gadget. The new languages are:
Chinese(Simplified), Chinese(Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English(UK), Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese(Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.

To access the Google Talk Gadget in your language, go to the Google Talk homepage, select your language in the drop-down menu in the top right, and click on the 'launch Google Talk Gadget' link. Or you can simply add the Google Talk gadget to your iGoogle home page.

As usual, we would love to hear your feedback. Anything we can do to improve the experience for your language? Let us know.

Katya Rogers
Software Engineer

URL: http://googletalk.blogspot.com/2007/11/google-talk-gadget-in-20-new-languages.html

[G] Play it safe, family-safe

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Inside AdSense: Play it safe, family-safe

Many of our publishers regularly ask what is exactly considered adult or mature content by AdSense policies. It's a lot easier to understand when we speak about family-safe content. As you may already know, only ads classified as family-safe will be displayed on AdSense publisher websites.

Our policy regarding adult or mature content may include any material that is not appropriate for all audiences. While this obviously includes full nudity or sexual activity, it may also include textually explicit sexual content, image or video content containing lewd or provocative poses, strategically covered nudity, see-through or sheer clothing, and close-ups of anatomy that would be inappropriate if shown nude. Additionally, topics such as sexual health and sex tips may be held to a higher standard of professionalism than content that isn't bordering on mature.

While it's not a sure test, we sometimes suggest that publishers ask themselves the following questions to determine if content is family-safe: Would I be comfortable viewing this content with my parents or children in the same room? Would I feel comfortable viewing this content if my boss walked up behind me while I had this content on my screen? If the answer to either of these questions is no, then it is likely that some advertisers would not be comfortable showing their ads on such content and we might consider it mature.


URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2007/11/play-it-safe-family-safe.html

[G] The anatomy of a search result

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Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: The anatomy of a search result



When Matt Cutts, who heads up Google's webspam team, dropped by our Kirkland offices a little while ago we found ourselves with a video camera and an hour to spare. The result? We quickly put together a few videos we hope you'll find useful.


In our first video, Matt talks about the anatomy of a search result, and gives some useful tips on how you can help improve how your site appears in our results pages. This talk covers everything you'll see in a search result, including page title, page description, and sitelinks, and explains those other elements that can appear, such as stock quotes, cached pages links, and more.



If you like the video format (and even if you don't), or have ideas for subjects you'd like covered in the future, let us know what you think in our Webmaster Help Group. And rest assured, we'll be working to improve the sound quality for our next batch of vids.


URL: http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2007/11/anatomy-of-search-result.html

[G] Holiday shopping is now more rewarding

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Official Google Checkout Blog: Holiday shopping is now more rewarding



Don't let the holiday shopping grinch put the squeeze on your time or budget. With Google Checkout you can shop more quickly with one login across the web and stay organized with all your Checkout orders tracked in one place. And to help you save on those holiday purchases, more than 100 Google Checkout stores are offering promotions ranging from exclusive discounts of up to $50 to free shipping for Checkout buyers through December 17, 2007. What's more, when you shop with Google Checkout through December 31, 2007, you can earn frequent flyer miles.

Reward yourself with the gift of time and exclusive savings. Learn more about Google Checkout holiday offers here.

URL: http://googlecheckout.blogspot.com/2007/11/holiday-shopping-is-now-more-rewarding.html

[G] Holiday savings with Google Checkout

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Official Google Blog: Holiday savings with Google Checkout



The holiday shopping season is in full swing, and Google Checkout can help you shop fast, stay organized, and save money. Starting today Checkout buyers can take advantage of exclusive discounts and free shipping at more then 100 Google Checkout stores, and earn frequent flyer miles on holiday shopping. Learn more about Google Checkout holiday offers.

URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/holiday-savings-with-google-checkout.html