Saturday, February 7, 2009

[G] Last Weekend for Valentine's Day Guru Challenge

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YouTube Blog: Last Weekend for Valentine's Day Guru Challenge

Valentine's Day is getting close, but the end of this month's Guru Challenge is getting closer. We teamed up with Duff Goldman and the Ace of Cakes crew to find creative bakers in the YouTube community. We want to see your Valentine's Day-inspired creations and share them with everyone:









Not sure what to make? Take a look at what some of our gurus have submitted so far:









Make a video response with an impressive cake by February 10, and you might see your masterpiece on the YouTube homepage.




Happy Baking,


Sadia H.


YouTube HowTo & Style
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=_qOXtu5rYr8

Friday, February 6, 2009

[G] Urchin 6.5 is now available

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Urchin 6.5 is now available

After months of intensive development, we are excited to announce the release of Urchin 6.5, which contains a much asked-for new feature: AdWords integration. That's right -- Urchin can now automatically pull your AdWords cost-per-click data and integrate it into your reports, giving you the same kind of powerful search marketing analysis found in Google Analytics. No more manual downloading and processing!

How does it work?

Simple. Log in to Urchin 6.5, enter your AdWords account information and save it. Urchin will tap into the AdWords API on a daily basis, process your data, and build your reports. The cost data and ROI metrics you need to optimize your AdWords spend will be ready in Urchin anytime you need them.

Anything else new about Urchin 6.5?

Yes, there are lots of new features and bug fixes. Among these, Urchin 6.5 features improved geo-database functions, a improved configuration-manager utility, and updated Help Center articles. Urchin 6.5 also recognizes the latest browsers and platforms like Chrome and Android.

How do I get it?

As always, Urchin is exclusively licensed through our network of authorized distributors. The software itself, which can be run in demo-mode for up to 30 days, is available at www.urchin.com.

So, what is Urchin, again?

For those of you who grew up on Google Analytics (so to speak), Urchin is the run-it-yourself software-based version from which Google Analytics was originally born. The products are not identical, but are similar in scope and function. The primary differences are (1) Urchin runs on your own servers, so you keep all your data in-house, and (2) Urchin is not free -- it costs US$2995, which includes reporting for up to 1000 domains.

What's in Urchin's future?

More exciting features and an improved user interface, plus more ways to analyze your search engine marketing data. Stay tuned!

Posted by Scott Crosby, Urchin Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/02/urchin-65-is-now-available.html

[G] Last chance for Gmail stickers

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Official Gmail Blog: Last chance for Gmail stickers

Since we first posted about Gmail stickers, we've sent out thousands of sticker packs, enjoyed reading hundreds of notes from Gmail fans around the world, and even received a not-so-happy call from the local post office about overflowing our P.O. box. From love letters to feature requests, thank you for all the mail! Here are some highlights:

Sparky, one of the Gmail team dogs, with our box of incoming letters



A doctored mother's day card and a birth announcement



Some toys



And other stickers we got in return


If you haven't sent in your self-addressed stamped envelope yet, it's not too late. Just make sure it's postmarked by February 14th, 2009 and sent to:

Send me some Gmail stickers already
P.O. Box 391420
Mountain View, CA 94039-1420


Check out our previous post for more details.

Posted by Arielle Reinstein, Gmail Product Marketing Manager
(photos by Dustin Diaz and Dave Cohen)
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/last-chance-for-gmail-stickers.html

[G] Intro to Feed Placements

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AdSense for Feeds: Intro to Feed Placements

In times like these, we know that generating as much revenue as possible is on many publishers' minds. This will be the first of many posts that will hope to explain how to better configure AdSense for feeds to help maximize revenue.

Before going into specifics though, it's important to understand a couple important differences in how your subscribers are different from visitors on your website.  If you use an analytics package for your site such as Google Analytics, most publishers will see that a large amount of their traffic comes from web searches.  Many of these visitors may have been searching for a certain item, such as one of those blankets with sleeves and a hood - let's call it a shanket.  You happen to have written about how much you love your shanket, and let's face it, you know how to write with the best of them, so your page ranks high in search results.  That visitor may see an ad for a shanket next to your search result but wants to know more.  So he or she clicks and reads your post, which seals the deal on this visitor needing a new shanket.  You use AdSense for content, which includes ads for shankets that are matched contextually; the visitor clicks; a shanket is sold; and you earn revenue in the process.

Your feed subscribers, however, very rarely, if at all, get to your content from a web search.  On the contrary, they subscribe to your blog because you write entertaining musings about your family life, and occasionally also write about some of the wonderful products you have come across, such as your shanket.

Because of this, the types of advertisers that run campaigns targeted at your feeds are not necessarily the same advertisers that are targeting search users.  Instead of targeting keywords that match a search, advertisers wishing to use feed subscribers target placements in the Google Content Network.

How do you ensure that your placements are exposed effectively in the Google Content Network?

That's the easy part.  When setting up new feeds on the AdSense Setup tab, make sure you leave the box that says "Create a channel that allows advertisers to target the selected feed."  If you are creating a new channel that aggregates all of your feeds or subsets of your feeds that you would like to show to advertisers (highly recommended), make sure by selecting the "Show this channel to advertisers as an ad placement."

In a week or so, these placements will show up in AdWords and some of the other tools used by Google advertisers to target the content network.


Stay tuned for the next installment on Advanced Feed Placement optimization.

Posted by Steve Olechowski - Product Manager, AdSense for feeds
URL: http://adsenseforfeeds.blogspot.com/2009/02/intro-to-feed-placements.html

[G] Intro to Feed Placements

| More

AdSense for Feeds: Intro to Feed Placements

In times like these, we know that generating as much revenue as possible is on many publishers' minds. This will be the first of many posts that will hope to explain how to better configure AdSense for feeds to help maximize revenue.

Before going into specifics though, it's important to understand a couple important differences in how your subscribers are different from visitors on your website.  If you use an analytics package for your site such as Google Analytics, most publishers will see that a large amount of their traffic comes from web searches.  Many of these visitors may have been searching for a certain item, such as one of those blankets with sleeves and a hood - let's call it a shanket.  You happen to have written about how much you love your shanket, and let's face it, you know how to write with the best of them, so your page ranks high in search results.  That visitor may see an ad for a shanket next to your search result but wants to know more.  So he or she clicks and reads your post, which seals the deal on this visitor needing a new shanket.  You use AdSense for content, which includes ads for shankets that are matched contextually; the visitor clicks; a shanket is sold; and you earn revenue in the process.

Your feed subscribers, however, very rarely, if at all, get to your content from a web search.  On the contrary, they subscribe to your blog because you write entertaining musings about your family life, and occasionally also write about some of the wonderful products you have come across, such as your shanket.

Because of this, the types of advertisers that run campaigns targeted at your feeds are not necessarily the same advertisers that are targeting search users.  Instead of targeting keywords that match a search, advertisers wishing to use feed subscribers target placements in the Google Content Network.

How do you ensure that your placements are exposed effectively in the Google Content Network?

That's the easy part.  When setting up new feeds on the AdSense Setup tab, make sure you leave the box that says "Create a channel that allows advertisers to target the selected feed."  If you are creating a new channel that aggregates all of your feeds or subsets of your feeds that you would like to show to advertisers (highly recommended), make sure by selecting the "Show this channel to advertisers as an ad placement."

In a week or so, these placements will show up in AdWords and some of the other tools used by Google advertisers to target the content network.


Stay tuned for the next installment on Advanced Feed Placement optimization.

Posted by Steve Olechowski - Product Manager, AdSense for feeds


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BurnThisRSS2/~3/sqWQCiOv25c/intro-to-feed-placements.html

[G] Intro to Feed Placements

| More

AdSense for Feeds: Intro to Feed Placements

In times like these, we know that generating as much revenue as possible is on many publishers' minds. This will be the first of many posts that will hope to explain how to better configure AdSense for feeds to help maximize revenue.

Before going into specifics though, it's important to understand a couple important differences in how your subscribers are different from visitors on your website.  If you use an analytics package for your site such as Google Analytics, most publishers will see that a large amount of their traffic comes from web searches.  Many of these visitors may have been searching for a certain item, such as one of those blankets with sleeves and a hood - let's call it a shanket.  You happen to have written about how much you love your shanket, and let's face it, you know how to write with the best of them, so your page ranks high in search results.  That visitor may see an ad for a shanket next to your search result but wants to know more.  So he or she clicks and reads your post, which seals the deal on this visitor needing a new shanket.  You use AdSense for content, which includes ads for shankets that are matched contextually; the visitor clicks; a shanket is sold; and you earn revenue in the process.

Your feed subscribers, however, very rarely, if at all, get to your content from a web search.  On the contrary, they subscribe to your blog because you write entertaining musings about your family life, and occasionally also write about some of the wonderful products you have come across, such as your shanket.

Because of this, the types of advertisers that run campaigns targeted at your feeds are not necessarily the same advertisers that are targeting search users.  Instead of targeting keywords that match a search, advertisers wishing to use feed subscribers target placements in the Google Content Network.

How do you ensure that your placements are exposed effectively in the Google Content Network?

That's the easy part.  When setting up new feeds on the AdSense Setup tab, make sure you leave the box that says "Create a channel that allows advertisers to target the selected feed."  If you are creating a new channel that aggregates all of your feeds or subsets of your feeds that you would like to show to advertisers (highly recommended), make sure by selecting the "Show this channel to advertisers as an ad placement."

In a week or so, these placements will show up in AdWords and some of the other tools used by Google advertisers to target the content network.


Stay tuned for the next installment on Advanced Feed Placement optimization.

Posted by Steve Olechowski - Product Manager, AdSense for feeds


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BurnThisRSS2/~3/sqWQCiOv25c/intro-to-feed-placements.html

[G] See your friends on a map with Google Latitude

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Google LatLong: See your friends on a map with Google Latitude


I'm a pretty spontaneous gal; I moved to London a few months ago just to see what it was like [for those of you wondering, this side of the pond is brilliant!]. This personality trait has made it difficult to keep in touch with my friends, which is why I'm so excited about Google Latitude. Latitude is a new feature for Google Maps for mobile (and an iGoogle gadget using Google Maps), which allows you to share your location with the friends you choose. You can get an idea of where they are and what they are up to, and easily keep in touch with them.

A couple of weeks back I decided--last-minute as usual--to hop on a plane to Washington D.C. to take in the Inauguration. I wasn't entirely sure where I'd stay or whom I'd run into during my patriotic ex-pat frenzy, but shortly after my arrival I got an email from Steve Lee (a Google Mountain View Product Manager) that said "You are in DC? Me too! How long are you in town? Let's meet up!" 

Steve's a pretty smart guy, but he doesn't have ESP -- it was Google Maps for mobile's new Latitude feature that made this cross-the-pond meetup possible. I had shared my location with Steve on Latitude, so he just opened up Google Maps on his phone and saw my new location.   

Thanks to Latitude, I feel connected to the people I care about no matter where I am. I can be spontaneous and still have a great time with the friends I love all around the world. Be spontaneous! Try Google Latitude by visiting google.com/latitude from your phone browser or PC browser. You can control your location and who gets to see it; to learn more about the privacy features, check out this video.

To find out more about Google Latitude, check out this post on the Google Mobile blog and watch this demo video:


Posted by Sara Rowghani, Product Marketing Manager, Google UK
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/see-your-friends-on-map-with-google.html

[G] Market Algorithms and Optimization Meeting

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Official Google Research Blog: Market Algorithms and Optimization Meeting

Posted by Vahab S. Mirrokni and Muthu Muthukrishnan

Google auctions ads, and enables a market with millions of advertisers and users.  This market presents a unique opportunity to test and refine economic principles as applied to a very large number of interacting, self-interested parties with a myriad of objectives. Researchers in economics, computer science, operations research, marketing and business are increasingly involved in defining, understanding and influencing this market. 

On January 7th, a group of computer science researchers from Google and various universities formed a workshop to discuss key research directions in this area, specifically "Market Algorithms and Optimization." Corinna Cortes (Head, Google Research, NY)  and Alfred Spector (VP of Research, Google) gave short talks about research groups in Google, academic collaborations, and research awards. The morning session comprised talks by Google researchers including Noam Nisan, Jon Feldman, Vahab Mirrokni, Yishay Mansour, and Muthu Muthukrishnan. These talks explored the following topics and key issues: 
  • Role of budgets. Identify suitable properties of mechanisms for repeated auctions in the presence of budgets. Truthfulness is impossible, and may not be the suitable property.  
  • Advertisers' bidding strategies. While bidding equally on all keywords has certain desirable properties,  identify other bidding strategies if advertisers want to maximize different utility functions and  use rich bidding features.
  • Dynamics of ad games. Understand dynamics of sophisticated advertiser bidder strategies under various ad allocation rules. For proportional allocation rules, the dynamics of simple bidder strategies are described here.
  • Online Reservations. Design suitable mechanisms for selling ad inventory in the future rather than on the spot. Models and methods for what happens when reservations can not be honored are explored in WWW08WINE08, and SODA09 papers.
The research presented in these talks can be found at the Google publications site. Some general research directions and open problems in ad auctions are here.

The post-lunch (sushi included of course) session comprised talks by researchers from academia.  Bobby Kleinberg (Cornell) went first and took the audience far into projective geometry in an attempt to understand equilibria resulting from a sequence of selfish behavior of players using specific learning algorithms. Silvio Micali (MIT) described how difficult it was to model or propose mechanisms in presence of collusions, and then went on to show how to correctly design such mechanisms for combinatorial auctionsKamesh Munagala (Duke Univ.) and Anna Karlin ( U. Wash) discussed algorithmic problems related to ad auctions, including how to run auctions in presence of advertisers with mixed utilities and tight remnant budgets. Other participants -- Richard Cole (NYU), Amos Fiat (Tel Aviv), Uri Feige (Weizmann), Michel Goemans (MIT), Anupam Gupta (CMU),   Nicole Immorlica (Northwestern), Michael Rabin (Harvard), and Eva Tardos (Cornell) -- kept it lively with questions and discussions.

Part of what makes Google ad systems exciting is the challenges they pose and overcome, and yet others in the horizon. It is remarkable how some of the fundamental problems Google ad systems grapple with are also some of the hardest research problems in the community of Market Algorithms.  Joint Google and Academia meetings like this help researchers begin to attack these problems, and may be a model for  research collaborations in the future.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2009/01/market-algorithms-and-optimization.html

[G] And the Super Bowl Ad Blitz Winners Are...

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Official Google CPG Blog: And the Super Bowl Ad Blitz Winners Are...

Posted by Vannie Shu, Account Coordinator, CPG West

The top five winners have been announced for YouTube's Ad Blitz, a contest where users vote on their favorite Super Bowl commercials.

"Free Doritos" won the top Ad Blitz prize. The Doritos spot won a Homepage Roadblock on YouTube, which receives around 25MM US impressions daily.



Coming in second was E*Trade's "Singing Baby," followed by CareerBuilder.com, Pepsi Max's "I'm Good", and Doritos' "Power of the Crunch."

Many brands relied on Google Search and YouTube's Sponsored Videos to drive traffic and votes to their Super Bowl ads. Sponsored Videos is a great way for video content owners to surface their videos against search terms on YouTube. With over 20,000 search results for "super bowl commercials,"  finding your video could be like a looking for a needle in a haystack.

Although their methodologies differed, Ad Blitz and USA Today's Ad Meter shared both Doritos' "Free Doritos" and "Power of the Crunch" in their five most liked Super Bowl ads. YouTube's Ad Blitz tracked users' "thumbs up" votes beginning immediately after the Super Bowl through Wednesday, while USA Today's Ad Meter tracked second-by-second responses by a panel of viewers during the Super Bowl.


URL: http://google-cpg.blogspot.com/2009/02/and-super-bowl-ad-blitz-winners-are.html

[G] Eye-tracking studies: more than meets the eye

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Official Google Blog: Eye-tracking studies: more than meets the eye

Imagine that you need a refresher on how to tie a tie. So, you decide to type [how to tie a tie] into the Google search box. Which of these results would you choose?


Where did your eyes go first when you saw the results page? Did they go directly to the title of the first result? Did you first check the terms in boldface to see if the results really talk about tying a tie? Or maybe the images captured your attention and drew your eyes to them?

You might find it difficult to answer these questions. You probably did not pay attention to where you were looking on the page and you most likely only used a few seconds to visually scan the results. Our User Experience Research team has found that people evaluate the search results page so quickly that they make most of their decisions unconsciously. To help us get some insight into this split-second decision-making process, we use eye-tracking equipment in our usability labs. This lets us see how our study participants scan the search results page, and is the next best thing to actually being able to read their minds. Of course, eye-tracking does not really tell us what they are thinking, but it gives us a good idea of which parts of the page they are thinking about.

To see what the eye-tracking data we collect looks like, let's go back to the results page we got for the query [how to tie a tie]. The following video clip shows in real time how a participant in our study scanned the page. And yes, seriously — the video is in real time! That's how fast the eyes move when scanning a page. The larger the dot gets, the longer the users' eye pauses looking at that specific location.



Based on eye-tracking studies, we know that people tend to scan the search results in order. They start from the first result and continue down the list until they find a result they consider helpful and click it — or until they decide to refine their query. The heatmap below shows the activity of 34 usability study participants scanning a typical Google results page. The darker the pattern, the more time they spent looking at that part of the page. This pattern suggests that the order in which Google returned the results was successful; most users found what they were looking for among the first two results and they never needed to go further down the page.


When designing the user interface for Universal Search, the team wanted to incorporate thumbnail images to better represent certain kinds of results. For example, in the [how to tie a tie] example above, we have added thumbnails for Image and Video results. However, we were concerned that the thumbnail images might be distracting and disrupt the well-established order of result evaluation.

We ran a series of eye-tracking studies where we compared how users scan the search results pages with and without thumbnail images. Our studies showed that the thumbnails did not strongly affect the order of scanning the results and seemed to make it easier for the participants to find the result they wanted.

The thumbnail image seemed to make results with thumbnails easy to notice when the users wanted them (see screenshots below — page with the thumbnail image on the right)...

Click the images to  view them larger.

...and the thumbnails also seemed to make it easy for people to skip over the results with thumbnails when those results were not relevant to their search (page with the thumbnail on the right).


For the Universal Search team, this was a successful outcome. It showed that we had managed to design a subtle user interface that gives people helpful information without getting in the way of their primary task: finding relevant information.

In addition to search research, we also use eye-tracking to study the usability of other products, such as Google News and Image Search. For these products, eye-tracking helps us answer questions, such as "Is the 'Top Stories' link discoverable on the left of the Google News page?" or "How do the users typically scan the image results — in rows, in columns or in some other way?"

Eye-tracking gives us valuable information about our users' focus of attention — information that would be very hard to come by any other way and that we can use to improve the design of our products. However, in our ongoing quest to make our products more useful, usable, and enjoyable, we always complement our eye-tracking studies with other methods, such as interviews, field studies and live experiments.

Posted by Anne Aula and Kerry Rodden, User Experience Researchers
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/eye-tracking-studies-more-than-meets.html

[G] Six ways to experiment with AdSense and grow your earnings

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Inside AdSense: Six ways to experiment with AdSense and grow your earnings

Welcome to our first-ever guest blog post on Inside AdSense. We're thrilled to have none other than Blogging Evangelist himself, Darren Rowse, to share his expert tips on AdSense optimisation.

Darren first discovered blogging in 2002, and initially thought he'd turn it into a hobby to supplement his full-time job. These days, Darren runs a handful of successful blogs, his most popular being Digital Photography School, and has co-authored a book. He also posts regular tips and advice on ProBlogger.net, a respected and successful resource for bloggers around the world.

We recently caught up with Darren at his home office in Melbourne Australia, and asked him about his experience with Google AdSense.




October 4, 2003 is a date I'll never forget - that was a day that my life changed. It was the day that I discovered AdSense and added it to my very first blog. I added that first advertisement to my blog on a whim, with what I thought was the lofty dream that I might be able to pay for my blogs hosting costs. Over 5 years later, those little text ads have paid my mortgage, fed my family, and enabled me to move my blogging from a hobby, to a part time job, to a full time job and beyond.

It's not been an 'overnight success' by any means but as I've learned to use it, AdSense has been one of my highest online income streams.

My #1 Tip for Using AdSense

If I had to narrow my advice on using AdSense down to a single word it would be 'experiment'. Let me explain.

That day back in October of 2003 I had no idea on what I was doing. The next day when I logged in to see how much I'd earned it was barely enough to buy me a coffee.

However, on that day I decided that those few dollars in earnings showed potential and I determined within myself to learn how best to use AdSense to grow that income. Almost everything I've learned since that day has been through trial and error.

It has been a long process of testing and tracking results. You see, while there are a few good home truths that seem to work on most sites, every website that I've used AdSense on is different. Some things work well on some sites, but it is rare to find something that will work on every site. As a result I tend to experiment with my use of AdSense in these six ways:
  1. Ad Position - Most AdSense publishers have seen the neat little heat map that AdSense has produced to show where ads work best on websites. In general it works fairly well and is a great place to start, but make sure you experiment with new positions for ads and see what works best for your site.

    Hint: Ads near (or even surrounded by) content have worked the best. I've also found ads at the end of content perform well. People get to the end of reading your article and then are looking for something to do or click -- an ad positioned there can work well.


  2. Numbers of Ads - More ads earn more than less ads... don't they? Unfortunately it isn't always the case.

    Test different combinations and numbers of ad units on your site. There's usually a 'tipping point' where you hit a ceiling of how many ads your users will accept -- push it too far and you could hurt reader engagement, traffic, and in the long run your earnings. On the flip side of this, don't be afraid to have more than one or two ads on a page, particularly if you have long pages with lots of content.

  3. Ad Design - I can still see the first ads that I first used on my blog back in 2003. I can still see them because they fried their imprints into my retina -- they were so LOUD!

    I figured that the ads would do best if people noticed them so I went for the most crazy color scheme I could come up with. Over the years I began to experiment with different combinations of ads and found that more subtle or blended ads tended to work best for me. Having said that, you can sometimes blend too much, to the point that the ads become invisible to your reader. So test different colors and designs of ads to see which work best. Use the ad rotating tool that AdSense offer publishers to rotate different designs to work against ad blindness among regular readers.

  4. Ad Sizes - AdSense offers us a range of different ad sizes, so experiment with them all to see which works best. Hint: Some might think that the bigger the ad the better it performs. This is not always true.

    For example, I found that the 'large rectangle' ad (336 x 280) didn't work as well for me as the smaller 'medium rectangle' ad (300 x 250). It turns out that more advertisers (at least those in my niche) prefer the medium rectangle ad as it's a more standard ad unit size than the larger one. Again, the key is to experiment and see what works best for your site and niche.

  5. Ad Formats - I've found that choosing image and text ads works better than just choosing text ads, but that's not the only choice we get as AdSense publishers.

    AdSense also allow us to run link units, AdSense for search, etc. I've found that each of these different formats will work differently from site to site. I've had blogs where the link unit ads were the best performing units on the site while on other sites it didn't really perform at all. You'll never know unless you test it!

  6. Which Content Converts? - One of the best advances that AdSense has made in the last year has been the integration between it and Google Analytics. To be honest I'm still digging into the metrics that this opens up, but the insight that this gives has amazing potential to increase earnings.

    By looking at this data you can see what type of content is converting and what isn't. You can also see what type of traffic is converting and what isn't. For example, I've found that search engine referrals are converting better than traffic from social media sites on one of my blogs. Knowing this is powerful as it tells you what type of ads to serve to what types of traffic, what type of promotion to put effort towards, and what type of content to write more of.
Test Track Test Track....

There are books, blogs, articles, forums, and other kinds of resources available to AdSense publishers to help them learn how to use AdSense better. However, in my experience the best way to learn is to 'do'. Put time aside to try new things and then put more time aside to review what you learn.

But don't leave it at that. When you learn something -- test it against something else (do some research on A/B split testing to learn how to do this). This continual learning will help you to grow in your own expertise of AdSense and increase your earnings.

Posted by Darren Rowse - Blogging Evangelist and AdSense publisher
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/02/six-ways-to-experiment-with-adsense-and.html

[G] Migrating from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps: a business perspective

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Migrating from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps: a business perspective

Every month, we invite a featured customer to talk about their experience bringing Google Apps into their businesses, sharing insights and suggestions for other teams looking to bring Apps into the workplace. We invite you to join this conversation since it's a great opportunity to get "real world" answers to your questions about Google Apps.

These talks are informal and open. We share an overview from our featured customer and a brief look at Google Apps, followed by Q&A. There's a lot to say about Google Apps, and we figure that our customers are the best people to tell you how they've used Google Apps in business – what's worked, what they've learned, and what they'd recommend to other businesses who might be considering a move to Google Apps.

Next Thursday, February 12, we're pleased to welcome Jud Clift, President and Founder of ASE Technology, who uses Google Apps to manage his print technology business. ASE Technology migrated from Microsoft Exchange and a Blackberry Enterprise Server to Google Apps and since then has used services like Google's email and integrated IM to help field sales reps get faster answers from headquarters when they're out with prospects.

ASE Technology also uses Salesforce.com for Google Apps to manage forecasting and product SKUs to get a more complete picture of sales activity.

We hope you'll join us as Jud shares tips and learning from his migration from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. Details follow:

Migrating from Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps: a business perspective
Thursday, February 12, 2009
10:00 a.m. PST, 12:00 p.m. CST, 1:00 p.m. EST

Sign up here.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, Google Apps

*****************

Get timely updates on new features in Google Apps by subscribing to our RSS feed or email alerts.





URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/02/migrating-from-microsoft-exchange-to.html

[G] Google Book Search for iPhone and Android

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Book Search for iPhone and Android

Over 1.5 million public domain books in the US (and over half a million outside the US) are now available for perusing on iPhone and Android devices. Just go to books.google.com/m in your mobile browser. You can search for a title, author, or subject. Or you can browse the list of "Featured books" and various categories like business and economics, the classics, science and math, travel, and more. Once you've picked out a book or two, you can easily get back to your selections by clicking on the "Recently viewed books" under the "My books" section.

Read more about the launch and Optical Character Recognition from the Book Search team on the Inside Google Book Search blog.


Posted by Lawrence Chang, Product Marketing Manager, Google mobile team
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/02/google-book-search-for-iphone-and.html

Thursday, February 5, 2009

[G] New in Labs: Multiple Inboxes

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Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Multiple Inboxes

Posted by Octavian "Vivi" Costache, Software Engineer

I'm seriously into filters and labels. All the email I get related to Flash goes under my "flash" label, everything about paragliding goes under "flying," and they all skip my inbox because that's how I like to stay organized. But when new email arrives I have to switch to the "flash" label first, then click on "paragliding," etc. I wanted a way to see it all at once.

So when I heard about Gmail Labs, I started implementing a Labs feature in my 20% time that would help me (and you!) spend less time monitoring important messages that may end up getting filtered away. Starting today, you can try Multiple Inboxes, a Labs experiment which makes it possible to have more than one 'inbox' in your default Gmail view.

An image is worth a thousand words, so here's what my inbox looks like:



In addition to a quick view of my important labels, I also like to keep all my starred and draft messages in separate panels.

After you turn on Multiple Inboxes from the Labs tab under Settings, you can configure what you want to see, as well as set the number of messages displayed and the positioning of your panels from the Multiple Inboxes section under Settings.

However you choose to use it, let us know how we can improve the Multiple Inboxes experiment -- all feedback is welcome.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/02/new-in-labs-multiple-inboxes.html

[G] Doritos Wins Top Super Bowl Ad on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Doritos Wins Top Super Bowl Ad on YouTube

Our annual Ad Blitz program showcasing the best Super Bowl advertisements came to an end yesterday. There were over 2.6 million votes on ads in the program; you chose "Free Doritos!" as the top spot:







The ad was created by Joe and Dave Herbert, two unemployed brothers from Batesville, Indiana, with no prior experience in advertising. They earned the chance to produce the spot through an online contest last year.



Score another one for the Internet,


Andrew B.


YouTube Sports
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=hvtPY3sNi7Q

[G] Launching the Website Optimizer YouTube Channel

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Launching the Website Optimizer YouTube Channel

Today we're launching the Google Website Optimizer YouTube Channel, which will be the home for videos about Website Optimizer and website testing. You'll find helpful videos like the Always Be Testing Webinar series with Bryan Eisenberg, as well as simple instructional ones like Setting up an A/B Experiment in 5 minutes. We've also put up all the video case studies of the Website Workout winners.


We'll continue adding more videos, both from Google and from our partners. If you want to keep up with all the new videos you can subscribe to the Website Optimizer Channel or add an iGoogle gadget to your homepage.

Are there videos you'd like to see? Leave a note in the comments.

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team
URL: http://websiteoptimizer.blogspot.com/2009/02/launching-website-optimizer-youtube.html

[G] Event Tracking Best Practices

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Event Tracking Best Practices

Event Tracking is a feature of Google Analytics you use to track different actions visitors take on your website, such as clicking a button or downloading a file. It is useful for tracking actions on your website that don't take the user to a new page (such as clicking play on a video player).

Since we launched Event Tracking in October of 2007, we have made some changes to improve it. These changes aren't always captured in online tutorials, so we wanted to give an official update on Event Tracking best practices.

From "Double Call" to "Single Call"

After the initial launch of event tracking, we realized that the two-step process of implementing event tracking in Analytics could be simplified to a single call using the _trackEvent() method. In the initial version of event tracking, your implementation involved two steps:
  1. Setting up the object to track and giving it a name
  2. Tracking actions, labels, and values on that object using myObjectName._trackEvent(action, label, value)
With the newer version of event tracking, released in spring of 2008, two important changes occurred:
  • Simply use pageTracker._trackEvent() to create a named category and track actions, labels, and values in one step, not two
  • The term Objects was changed to Categories to better reflect the concept of tracking a category of page elements, such as "Video Player"
Example: Tracking Interaction with a Video Player

To illustrate, suppose you have a video player that you want to track. In order for the player tracking to show up in your reports under the "Categories" section, you need to provide a category name. We'll use myVideos as an example. If the video has a "Pause" button that you want to track, we can accomplish this by attaching the following call to the "Pause" button on the video player for the Snoopy movie:

pageTracker.trackEvent("myVideos", "Pause", "Snoopy");

When users click the "Pause" button for the Snoopy movie, an event for that category/action combination is triggered.

If your movie player is Adobe Flash based and you use ActionScript 3, check out Google Analytics for Adobe Flash. It provides an intuitive environment for event tracking if you are an Adobe Flash developer.

Additional Resources
What do you use event tracking for?

Posted by Patricia Boswell, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/02/event-tracking-best-practices.html

[G] Finding that dream volunteer gig abroad

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Google Public Policy Blog: Finding that dream volunteer gig abroad

Posted by Galen Panger, Google for Non-Profits

On Tuesday night we had the pleasure of hosting Idealist's Global Volunteering Fair here at our D.C. office, where over 600 students, young professionals and others came to learn about and discuss opportunities to volunteer abroad.

The event was co-sponsored by the Building Bridges Coalition and the Brookings Institution's Initiative on International Volunteering and Service, and 26 organizations came to share their opportunities. Attendees were also treated to workshops on "International Volunteerism 101," "Affordable Volunteering Abroad," and "Google 101 for International Volunteers."

Make sure to check out tonight's fair in New York or Saturday's fair in Boston if you happen to live near either city.

Thanks to Idealist for the opportunity to host such a cool event, and make sure to keep an eye on idealist.org for more opportunities to work and volunteer in the non-profit community.


Photos: Idealist
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/02/finding-that-dream-volunteer-gig-abroad.html

[G] Taking in the view: Introducing Google's Imagery Partner Program

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Google LatLong: Taking in the view: Introducing Google's Imagery Partner Program


When people think about Google Earth, they often think satellite imagery.  Yet, since the early days of Google Earth, we've been working with local governments and other public sector organizations to add their aerial imagery as well.  Thanks to this data sharing, we're able to offer our users a more current representation of thousands of communities and a higher resolution view of countless geographic features.  With this week's launch of the historical imagery feature in Google Earth, we're now able to partner with public sector organizations and other imagery content providers to present users a view of their community or geographic features, such as mountains or lakes, evolving over time.

For organizations that would like to share their aerial imagery, we’ve just put out the welcome mat  — a new website for our Imagery Partner Program where you can learn the ins and outs of adding your organization’s imagery to Google's services.  As you'll see, we've learned from our partnerships with many governments and have structured this program to make it as easy as possible for your organization to license and deliver your data to Google.  Wondering what aerial imagery formats we welcome or how we handle data transfer or other details?  Visit the site and check out the FAQ.

Now that we've expanded the number of partner programs we offer, which already include the Cities in 3D Program and Google Transit Partner Program, we want to make it easier for you and your colleagues to learn and stay informed about all the ways you can add your map content to Google's services.  Check out our new site for Map Content Partners, with the easy to remember URL, google.com/mapcontent, and spread the word.

Posted by Scott Ciabattari, Content Partnerships
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/taking-in-view-introducing-googles.html

[G] 1.5 million books in your pocket

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Inside Google Book Search: 1.5 million books in your pocket

Posted by Viresh Ratnakar, Guillaume Poncin, Brandon Badger, and Frances Haugen, Book Search Mobile Team

One of the great things about an iPhone or Android phone is being able to play Pacman while stuck in line at the post office. Sometimes though, we yearn for something more than just playing games or watching videos.

What if you could also access literature's greatest works, such as Emma and The Jungle Book, right from your phone? Or, some of the more obscure gems such as Mark Twain's hilarious travelogue, Roughing It? Today we are excited to announce the launch of a mobile version of Google Book Search, opening up over 1.5 million mobile public domain books for you to browse while buying your postage.

While these books were already available on Google Book Search, these new mobile editions are optimized to be read on a small screen. To try it out and start reading, open up your web browser in your iphone or android phone and go to http://books.google.com/m.

There's an interesting backstory about the work involved to prepare so many books for mobile devices. If you use Google Book Search, you'll notice that our previews are composed of page images made by digitizing physical copies of books. These page images work well when viewed from a computer, but prove unwieldy when viewed on a phone's small screen.

Our solution to make these books accessible is to extract the text from the page images so it can flow on your mobile browser just like any other web page. This extraction process is known as Optical Character Recognition (or OCR for short). The following example demonstrates the difference between page images and the extracted text:


Text not available=>"Because I made a blunder, my dear Watson—which is, I am afraid, a more common occurrence than anyone would think who only knew me through your memoirs. ...

The extraction of text from page images is a difficult engineering task. Smudges on the physical books' pages, fancy fonts, old fonts, torn pages, etc. can all lead to errors in the extracted text. The example below shows the page image from the original manuscript for Alice's Adventures Under Ground. In this extreme case, the extracted text is riddled with errors:

Text not available=>"lV~e.il!" .ÍAoHyU- AUte. U brstty/affc. su.it a. f o.tlas ~tk¿* , I s&O.IL .éfiiíjz tiotkun-) of-ttmlr1¿*y ¿i^n. sta¿rs ! Jfo» ura.ve ...

Imperfect OCR is only the first challenge in the ultimate goal of moving from collections of page images to extracted-text based books. Our computer algorithms also have to automatically determine the structure of the book (what are the headers and footers, where images are placed, whether text is verse or prose, and so forth). Getting this right allows us to render the book in a way that follows the format of the original book.

The technical challenges are daunting, but we'll continue to make enhancements to our OCR and book structure extraction technologies. With this launch, we believe that we've taken an important step toward more universal access to books.

To try it out, point your mobile browser to 
http://books.google.com/m and begin reading. Oh, and if you do bump into some rough patches where the text seems, well, weird, well, you can just tap on the text to see the original page image for that section of text.

Happy mobile reading!
URL: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2009/02/15-million-books-in-your-pocket.html

[G] Google Earth's flying tour bus

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Google LatLong: Google Earth's flying tour bus


How often have you flown around Google Earth and thought to yourself, "Man! This looks so cool... I wish I could share this with my friends"? For me, it's been every day for almost four years. You see, I started using Google Earth years ago to plan and record my paragliding flights. Ever since I started flying, I've been obsessed with sharing the breathtaking views, the complete sense of freedom, and the crazy adventures that I've had traveling around with my glider. Google Earth is an amazing tool, but it was always difficult to use to share those adventures with others without sitting down with someone and helping them navigate around. After joining the Google Earth team, what started as a flying obsession turned into something much larger: creating a way to tell stories using Google Earth.

I've been working on the new feature for Google Earth 5.0 which makes it easy for you to record and share your stories with others. It's called Touring, and with it you can create guided, narrated flights around Google Earth. Think of it like a flying tour bus. Just like a tour bus, you can look around while you travel, you can have narration explaining what you're looking at, and you can get off the bus to wander around. Even better, you don't need roads and you never have to worry about being left behind!

So go ahead and try it out. Show off your favorite scuba-diving spots. Relive last summer's crazy road trip. Follow the development of your neighborhood by showing historical imagery. Impress the boss by sending him a tour of your project sites. You have complete control over the camera, the pacing, and more. Swoop through the Grand Canyon, open placemark balloons showing your vacation photos, flip through historical imagery, and watch the sun set over the ocean, all while narrating the story yourself, right in Google Earth.


Making Tours:
It's easy to record your own tour. Just press the "Record a Tour" button in the toolbar . This will bring up the tour recording controls in the 3D window.


  1. Record/Stop button
  2. Audio button
  3. Current time in tour
  4. Cancel tour recording button

Hit the record button to start recording, and navigate through Earth like you would normally. When you're finished, hit the record button again to stop recording and preview the tour that you just recorded. If you like what you see, click on the save button in the playback controls, and your tour will be saved to the left panel. You can click the right mouse button to email this tour to your friends.

Once you're comfortable with recording a simple tour, you'll want to try some more advanced features of the recorder. You can narrate your tour by clicking on the microphone button; you can also record the opening of balloons, and the toggling of visibility of features in your My Places panel. If you have the sunlight or historical imagery features active, then you can also record your movement back through time by dragging the time controls at the top of the screen. Remember, the tour won't turn on these features when it is replayed, so be sure they are on when you play them back. Just play around with the recorder a bit and you'll get the hang of it in no time.

You can also generate tours directly from KML content, such as folders of placemarks or paths. If you highlight a folder or a path in the left-panel, a "Create Tour" button will appear. When clicked, a tour will start playing. Click the save button in the playback controls to save your new tour to play back later. You can adjust tour creation settings in Preferences to get the exact pacing you like.

In a few minutes, you'll have some great tours to share with friends. Once you have a KML tour that you like, right-click on the tour in the left panel to email it to friends or to save it in a separate file. The KML file for the tour is usually quite small, so it's extremely quick to download and easy to email to friends and post on the web.

For more information, see the User guide for Touring in Google Earth 5.0 and the KML developer's guide for Touring.

Playing Tours:
To get started, load a tour KML and double-click on its entry in the places panel. You can tell tours apart from other KML features by the camera icon . When you play the tour, a set of playback controls will appear in the 3D view, letting you control the tour like a video. You can fast-forward, rewind, seek, etc.


  1. Go back, play/pause and fast forward buttons
  2. Tour slider
  3. Current time in tour
  4. Repeat button
  5. Save tour button
  6. Close tour button
Now, try looking around while you playing the tour. Use the mouse to move your view, or you can use the joystick in the upper-right corner. If you want to spend more time somewhere, just pause the tour. While it's paused, you can explore Google Earth just like normal. When you're ready to continue, unpause the tour and you'll continue the tour from where you left off. When you're done with the tour, close the tour controls.
Here are some good examples to get you started:
There are so many stories in this world that can be told in Google Earth. I hope you'll spend some time to record and share yours with Touring! Fly safe.


Posted by Dan Barcay, Software Engineer, Google Earth
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/google-earths-flying-tour-bus.html

[G] Offline also available in Google Calendar

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Offline also available in Google Calendar

Following up on last week's announcement of offline access in Gmail Labs, we're happy to let you know that read-only offline access is now an option in Calendar for Google Apps customers.

So on top of organizing your Gmail inbox while you're traveling or without a strong Internet connection, you will be able to see your events in Google Calendar from wherever you are. Offline Calendar will let you view your existing schedule and events, but not edit them, so you don't have to print out calendars the night before a trip.


To enable offline in Calendar:
  1. Sign in to Calendar.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of your account, next to your username, there will be a new 'Offline Beta' link. Click this link to start the offline synchronization process.
Users of Google Apps Standard Edition can get started on these steps immediately. For Premier and Education Edition, domain administrators will first have to check the box next to 'Turn on new features' in the 'Domain Settings' page of the Google Apps control panel before their users can enable this option.

This offline feature uses Gears, an open source browser extension that adds offline functionality directly to the browser.


Posted by Joyce Sohn, Google Apps Marketing Manager
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/02/offline-also-available-in-google.html

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

[G] Insights into the U.K. snowstorm

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Google LatLong: Insights into the U.K. snowstorm


This week, the U.K. is experiencing what is considered to be its worst winter storm since the early '90s. To keep track of the historic snowfall, there are several great My Maps. You can view photographs and see how much accumulation there is in different areas.


View Larger Map

Here's another useful My Map about the storm, featuring photos submitted by readers.

As the snow blanketed the region, many locals wondered how the severe weather would impact their daily routines. As you can see from Google Insights for Search, searches for schools spiked on Sunday and Monday. People also sought transit information, searching for train, bus, and airport information, as well as radio broadcasts. Interest in weather spiked when the storm began but remains high as people wonder what else is in store.

Update: Here is a graph showing these searches hourly:


Posted by Jeffrey Oldham, Software Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/02/insights-into-uk-snowstorm.html

[G] Preview before you print (and even more offline languages)

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Official Google Docs Blog: Preview before you print (and even more offline languages)


I rarely print out my documents on Google Docs. Most of the time I'm sharing a document with others for purely online consumption. But there are occasions when I need to print, like I had to do today to turn in a hard copy of my homework for the computer science class I'm taking this quarter. (The paperless class remains an urban legend!) When you have to print, it's super helpful to see a quick preview to make sure everything looks as expected. Starting today, you can do this by using the "Print Preview" feature in the "File" menu.

Those of you who have uploaded PDFs to Google Docs or have viewed PDFs in Gmail may notice that the new "Print Preview" feature is powered by the same fast and high fidelity PDF viewer. You can then preview the pages of your document, edit your print settings (if needed), and print. 

In other news, we've just enabled offline access in 9 more languages: Bahasa Indonesia, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Korean, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Thai, and Vietnamese. Why the brief delay? We wanted to do some final testing on those languages before making them available to everyone. To get your Google Docs offline, I highly recommend that you start by reading this user group post.

Posted by: Jen Mazzon, Senior Product Manager
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/02/preview-before-you-print-and-even-more.html

[G] Introducing better email lists for Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Introducing better email lists for Google Apps

We've heard quite a few requests for email list enhancements, so we know our users will be happy to hear that several new administrative features for email lists are available today.

First, administrators can now assign permissions per email list that determine who can send email to that list. The sending of email can be restricted to members of the list, anyone in the domain, anyone in the world, or even a subset of members designated as list owners. This means you can more effectively use lists for internal communications, announcements, external contact aliases, and even cross-organizational collaboration.

Second, lists and list membership are easier to manage in bulk in the control panel. Mailing lists can even contain other mailing lists, which allows you to easily reuse frequently-referenced lists. We've also updated the Provisioning API, which replicates all the email list functionality in the control panel, enabling automated mailing list management. We already have individual customers managing upwards of ten thousand lists using this API.

Third, we've renamed "email lists" to "groups". You can access the feature from your control panel under 'Users and Groups' > 'Groups'. Why would we bother renaming it? We see more uses for groups than just sending email to lists. So, we'll be making groups useful for other enterprise tasks in the future, like easily sharing a document with a group of people. Also, we'll be incorporating many of the features that our consumer users love in Google Groups into Google Apps over time.

All of your existing Google Apps email lists have been converted to groups, so check out our getting started guide and get more out of those lists today!

Posted by Justin Sadowski, Google Apps Engineer
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/02/introducing-better-email-lists-for.html

[G] Seminars for Success - San Jose & Denver: Get Trained!

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Google Analytics Blog: Seminars for Success - San Jose & Denver: Get Trained!

San Jose, February 11, 12, 13

Are you attending Search Marketing Expo West in Santa Clara, CA? If so, here's a chance to acquire some hard skills as part of your trip to the conference. If not, you can still sign up for one or more days of professional Google Analytics and Website Optimizer training in San Jose.

If you’re a marketing professional, web designer, analyst, business owner or anything in between, these three courses will help you to efficiently measure and improve your online strategy.

Landing Page Testing with Google Website Optimizer - Wednesday, February 11
This hands-on course in Google Website Optimizer will take you through the process of testing your site to deliver an experience to your users that will take your conversion rates to new heights. Experts on Website Optimizer will present an overview, testing best practices, and then give you hands-on experience to better understand and run A/B/N and multivariate tests on your website and key landing pages.

Google Analytics – Introduction & User Training- Thursday, February 12
Are you new to the world of Google Analytics? Have you been using it for a while but have yet to really get beyond the dashboard? This course starts you off from the beginning with an overview of web analytics and by the end of the day you’ll have learned how to turn the sea of analytics data and reports into actionable information that can help drive your business decisions.

Google Analytics – Advanced Technical Implementation - Friday, February 13
If you already have the basics down and want to see what Google Analytics is really capable of, the advanced and technical implementation course is for you. This training is ideal for the tech-savvy, but equally valuable to those wanting to understand what’s possible. This course covers the inner workings of Google Analytics, configurations, filters and setups as well as advanced installs and implementations, new features and best practices.

Seats are limited, so register today!



Denver, Feb 24, 25, 26

Can't make it to the San Jose session? Try Denver instead.

Google Analytics – Introduction & User Training- Tuesday, February 24
Google Analytics gives you visibility into every aspect of how your website is used to accomplish the goals you had in mind when you designed it. The first of these three Seminars for Success courses will start you off with a high level overview of web analytics. By the time you leave you’ll be ready to take a mountain of data and endless reporting options and transform them into actionable information that can help drive your business decisions.

Google Analytics – Advanced Technical Implementation - Wednesday, February 25
After you have the basics down from day one or if you are already working with Google Analytics but want to know how to take it to the next level, the advanced and technical implementation course is for you. Day two of the Seminars for Success gets into the inner workings of Google Analytics, configurations, filters and setups as well as advanced installs and implementations, new features and best practices.

Landing Page Testing with Google Website Optimizer - Thursday, February 26
Your users are the reason you have a website. Google Website Optimizer is the tool you need to deliver an experience to them that will make your conversions take off. Experts on Website Optimizer will present an overview and testing best practices, and then give you hands-on experience to better understand and run A/B/N and multivariate tests on your website and key landing pages. This is invaluable information to see those conversions jump.

Seats are limited, so register today!

Posted by Eva Woo, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/02/seminars-for-success-san-jose-denver.html