Friday, May 1, 2009

[G] Follow-up on the Content Network performance trends white paper

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Inside AdWords: Follow-up on the Content Network performance trends white paper

Last week, we released a study on performance trends on Google's Content Network. The study compared the cost per acquisition (CPA) on Google's Content and Search Networks and found that, for the median advertiser, the average CPAs were about the same on both channels. Since the release of the white paper, we've received some questions from our advertisers about why CPAs were similar and what actions you should take based on the findings in the white paper. We are addressing these questions in this post, and to better reflect the insights from the detailed analysis, we've made some clarifications to the executive summary and concluding paragraph of the white paper.

As the white paper indicates, the primary reason for similar cost-per-acquisition on the content and search networks is a result of our smart pricing system. Smart pricing is a feature that automatically reduces the price advertisers pay for clicks if our data shows that a click from a Content Network page is less likely to result in a conversion. This means that if our smart pricing system predicts a particular Content Network page is likely to have a low conversion rate, we will automatically reduce the price advertisers pay for that click. As the white paper indicates, the conversion rate on the Content Network sample was 27.9% lower than on the Search Network but this was offset by the fact that CPCs on content are 28.4% lower than search.

In terms of what actions you should take based on the findings in the white paper, we recommend you:
  • Consider complementing your search campaigns with campaigns on the Content Network, if you haven't done so already. Remember that success on the Content Network starts with good campaign structure, so please refer to our optimization tips when setting up your campaigns.
  • Use the new tools we offer for content optimization such as the Conversion Optimizer, Placement Performance Reports, and the Site and Category Exclusion tool. They can help you further tailor your Content Network performance to meet your advertising goals.
Of course, it's important to recognize that performance can vary from advertiser to advertiser, both in terms of CPA as well as conversion volume.

The report describes the experiences of those advertisers who adopted tools such as the Conversion Optimizer and Placement Performance Reports and continued to use them. We think that the evidence is strong that these tools have been useful to these advertisers.

We believe that search is still the most effective advertising medium for providing a strong base of conversions. At the same time, the Content Network can be a cost-effective way to gain additional conversions beyond those you get via search.

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/05/follow-up-on-content-network.html

[G] My Feeds may not list all feeds for some publishers

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The FeedBurner Status Blog: My Feeds may not list all feeds for some publishers

Issue: Some publishers who sign in to FeedBurner may not see their feeds listed on the main My Feeds page. All feeds are accounted for and serving updates; none have been lost. We are investigating this issue and will update this post once we've got a resolution. Our apologies for the inconvenience.

Workaround: None. Please do not try to claim your feeds again if you have already done so, as your feeds are already associated with your Google Account and this bug is only a temporary display problem confined to the My Feeds view.
URL: http://feedburnerstatus.blogspot.com/2009/05/my-feeds-may-not-list-all-feeds-for.html

[G] Nine New Google Analytics API Client Libraries To Get You Started

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Nine New Google Analytics API Client Libraries To Get You Started

Its been a week since we launched the Google Analytics Data Export API and we're already seeing Google Analytics being used in exciting new ways. For example, Michael L. of the New York Public Library is visualizing search data as tag clouds, and Patrick C. is using the Google Analytics API in conjunction with technical software to generate plots of online buzz and graphs of site traffic flows.

Sometimes it's easier getting started using the tools you're most familiar with. While we initially released Java and JavaScript client libraries, a number of talented 3rd party developers have created 9 new Google Analytics Export API client libraries in PHP, .NET, Python and Ruby. All of these libraries have been released as opensource and are supported by the developers themselves. We're very excited to see developers building on top of our API and giving back to the community.

In addition to these libraries, we've added new JavaScript interactive samples to play with the API in real time. These fully interactive examples allow you to see how the API gets data, visualize the data returned, review the code and even edit the functionality directly in the browser (You need a Google Analytics account to make this work).

If you haven't done so already already, come share your new apps, tutorials, and best practices in the Google Analytics API discussion group.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics API Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/05/nine-new-google-analytics-api-client.html

[G] Mowing with goats

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Official Google Blog: Mowing with goats

At our Mountain View headquarters, we have some fields that we need to mow occasionally to clear weeds and brush to reduce fire hazard. This spring we decided to take a low-carbon approach: Instead of using noisy mowers that run on gasoline and pollute the air, we've rented some goats from California Grazing to do the job for us (we're not "kidding"). A herder brings about 200 goats and they spend roughly a week with us at Google, eating the grass and fertilizing at the same time. The goats are herded with the help of Jen, a border collie. It costs us about the same as mowing, and goats are a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers.


Posted by Dan Hoffman, Director Real Estate and Workplace Services
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/05/mowing-with-goats.html

Thursday, April 30, 2009

[G] Report from Day 1 of the Linux Storage and Filesystems Workshop, April 6-7, 2009

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Google Open Source Blog: Report from Day 1 of the Linux Storage and Filesystems Workshop, April 6-7, 2009

My karma was apparently very good three weeks ago. In the last minute I secured an invitation to Linux Storage and Filesystems Workshop 2009 (LSF). This year the invitation-only workshop was hosted by the Linux Foundation on April 6-7 in San Francisco, CA. It was, as always, an intense 2 days of non-stop information exchange and decision making. I've attempted to summarize what I took away as the most interesting and important discussions of the first day. These are my opinions, and your mileage may vary.

The group of about 50 developers were nearly all present when Zach
Brown
(Oracle)welcomed us and reminded folks about the ground rules of the event. Share the brownies. Wash your hands, ...just kidding. This event remains small so folks can participate and we were pretty "cozy" in the small conference room with 5 good sized round tables. First step was to turn off the projector. :)

Chris Mason and James Bottomley then did a great summary and "scoring" of promises made at LSF2008. IO stack was up first and had some good initial scores with high points for Power management, Request Based Multipath, BIO's TRIM/ERASE support, T10 DIF/DIX (complete) and FCoE (also complete). Chris Mason managed to nearly match that with 4/4 points for Barriers, BTRFS (upstream but not stable yet), IPV6 NFS, NFS RDMA.

The first problem/topic was how to cache device scanning in the kernel or how to properly export an API for device scanning. General problem is there are several methods the kernel exports info and it's very time consuming on large systems. This was followed by Async IO and Direct IO discussion led by Zach Brown (Oracle) and Jeffrey Moyer (Redhat). Zach has been the AIO maintainer "forever" and made it clear AIO was async in only a very few circumstances that happen to suit database developers.

Joe Eykholt gave a summary of "FC/SCSI Targets", how to get initiator *and* target mode support from one FC HBA at the same time. Interesting stuff. Nick Bellinger gave a concise summary of state of "LIO/iSCSI" code and the "tgt" driver.

I was interested in Tejun Heo's "libata status and issues" discussion. First we talked about the status of several patches: mvsas updates, "ATA Bus" transport class, SFF vs Native transport classes from my co-worker Gwendal Grignou, and a pile of power management patches from Kristen Accardi (Intel). Tejun then dove into the "Spurious Power Off" problem. The cause seems to be short loss of power from the PSU is causing massive FS corruption. He's documented 5 incidents so far. Additional symptoms are "clicking" sounds and START/STOP count increments (reported via SMART data). Tejun suspects the FS is issueing a FLUSH to all disks simultaneously. We further speculated that the drives might be in a low power (slower RPMpossibly) and suddenly all come to life. Currently no fix is available.

Some possible workarounds we considered:
- disable Write Cache Enable (and take a write perf hit on loads that are single threaded)
- disable power management.

He moved on to discuss ambiguities around libata/block layer data structures (e.g. hard_ vs w/o hard_ ) fields that have similar (but not the same) names.

One of the last issues was something I raised: Can we reduce the CPU utilization of the block layer? I was asking since several new flash technologies are under development and they are all capable of 200+ *thousand* IOPS. The answer was Jens Axboe was working on this already since about December 2008 had committed his initial results to his own git tree already. I just need to find the git tree and proper branch now. :)


That wraps up day one. I hope you find the information useful. If you want to read about day two, please leave a comment and if demand warrants it, I'll cover that in a future post.


By Grant Grundler, Platforms Kernel Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2009/04/report-from-day-1-of-linux-storage-and.html

[G] New in Labs: Google Search right in Gmail

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Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Google Search right in Gmail

Posted by Adam de Boor, Software Engineer

I used to have a problem. People would ask me questions, over chat or email, and I'd have to leave Gmail to search Google for an answer. Then I'd have to select the answer, copy it, go back to Gmail and paste the answer into the chat window or my reply. Sometimes I'd get distracted and forget to go back to Gmail, and I'd have to go through it all again when I remembered what I'd been doing.

With the new Google Search experiment in Gmail Labs, my problem is solved. When you turn this feature on from the Labs tab under Settings, you'll see a new search box on the left side of your inbox, like this:


Type your search in, and a window (like a chat window, but a bit bigger) appears at the bottom of your screen with the first few search results.


You can click on a search result and it'll open up in another window (or another tab) so you can make sure it's what you're looking for. Once you're sure it's a result you need, moving your mouse over the result back in Gmail reveals a pull-down menu that lets you do stuff with the search result.

What's in the menu depends on what you're doing in Gmail:
  • If you're reading a message, you can start a reply to the message with the search result as the first thing in your reply.
  • If you're writing a message, you can paste the result, or just the URL into your message.
  • If you're chatting with someone, you can send the result via chat.
  • You can also always compose a new message to send the search result.
If you have keyboard shortcuts turned on, typing g and then / will take you to the search box when you're not composing, and Ctrl + g will do it when you're composing (that's + g for Mac users).

Like all things in Gmail Labs, we're going to be tinkering with it, so let us know what you think.

Oh, and one other thing: with all the stuff we've been adding to Gmail Labs lately, the left side of your account might be getting crowded. A lot of the people who've been playing with this new feature have found it useful to turn on "Navbar drag and drop" in Labs so they can move the web search box up to the top where it's easy to get to.
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-in-labs-google-search-right-in.html

[G] Endorsing a path towards a "meaningful use" definition

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Google Public Policy Blog: Endorsing a path towards a "meaningful use" definition

Posted by Alfred Spector, Vice President of Engineering, and Missy Krasner, Product Marketing Manager

After weeks of collaboration with a diverse group of organizations, today Google endorsed the Markle Foundation's framework on Meaningful Use and Certification. The framework outlines criteria for hospitals and physicians wishing to qualify for the health IT-related federal stimulus funds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Among other things, the ARRA allows providers to qualify for health IT funding if they demonstrate that they are making a "meaningful use" of information technology. We think it's critically important that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) considers patient access to their digitized medical records via electronic health records (EHRs) when considering how to define "meaningful use."

Though Google Health will not directly receive stimulus funding (we are not asking for any), we see the framework as a critical step for moving the healthcare industry towards solutions that we believe will improve patient care. Simply put, we'd like to see the movement from paper-based medical records to digital records achieve its vast potential. Patient access to digitized medical records via EHRs helps people prevent illness, manage their health-related information and transactions, coordinate care and communicate with clinicians, understand health care costs, and take better care of loved ones.

As a provider of Google Health, a personal health record (PHR) service, we also believe it is very important that consumers have choice and ownership of where and how they want to store their data. We support the concepts of data portability, so that you can take your data with you no matter what hospital or delivery network you're being treated in, as well as healthcare data interoperability, so that you can transfer your information among multiple systems.

This isn't the first time we've supported a Markle Foundation framework -- in June 2008 we endorsed the Common Framework for Networked Personal Health Information, which proposed a set of important privacy principles for personal health records (PHRs), and we've since adopted these concepts within Google Health.

Improving the United States' healthcare system is a complex topic with many interlocking components. The system’s size and complexity as well as the inherent challenges in the fields of medicine and public health make this a major undertaking. This framework's effort to improve consumer access to online data is an important step, and it builds upon Markle's previous work.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/04/endorsing-path-towards-meaningful-use.html

[G] Seminars for Success coming to Melbourne, Phoenix and Toronto in May

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Seminars for Success coming to Melbourne, Phoenix and Toronto in May

That's right, we're going to be in Australia, Canada and of course the USA...

Seminars for Success are day-long seminars designed to help you improve your online marketing and get the most out of Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer. We've selected industry professionals from our Google Analytics Authorized Consultant network to teach these seminars in cities around the U.S.

Google Analytics – Introduction & User Training

Thursday, May 14 - Melbourne, Australia
Tuesday, May 26 - Toronto, Canada
Wednesday, May 27 - Phoenix, AZ

Walk away from day one with the knowledge to take actionable information out of Google Analytics and drive your business decisions. Day one topics include:

  • Introduction to Web Analytics
  • Common Interface Features
  • Dashboard Reports & Customization
  • Understanding Visitors
  • Much, Much More…

Google Analytics – Advanced Technical Implementation

Friday, May 15 - Melbourne, Australia
Wednesday, May 27 - Toronto, Canada
Thursday, May 28 - Phoenix, AZ

Day two takes you through Google Analytics configurations, best practices, filter set ups and advanced installs and implementations. Day two topics include:

  • Profiles and Strategies
  • Filters – Uses and Implementation
  • Profile and Filter Combinations
  • Goals & Funnels - Configuration & Setup
  • And much, much more…

Landing Page Testing with Google Website Optimizer

Friday, May 29 - Phoenix, AZ

The Google Website Optimizer experts present this practical course taking you through the process of testing your site to improving your users’ experience and seeing your conversion rates soar. The course includes an overview of Website Optimizer, loads of testing best practices, and hands-on experience to better understand and run A/B and multivariate tests on your website and key landing pages.

Seats are limited, so register today!

Posted by Sebastian Tonkin, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/04/seminars-for-success-coming-to.html

[G] Spruce up your surveys: 70 colorful themes

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Official Google Docs Blog: Spruce up your surveys: 70 colorful themes

We've just launched 70 themes for forms so you can add a little (or a lot of) color to your surveys and questionnaires. Some themes are basic colors schemes (like Blue, Espresso, or Rose) and others are fancier designs (like Picnic, Zen Spring, and Dusk).

How do you choose a theme? When you're editing a form, click the Theme button to find the right theme and apply it to your form. One caveat: These themes will be visible to your respondents when they fill out the form online, not within email (like Gmail).

Try them out and let us know what you think.

Posted by: Andrew Chang, Marketing Manager

Update: Replaced an extra open paren with a comma. Oops.
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2009/04/spruce-up-your-surveys-70-colorful.html

[G] New AdWords interface more widely available

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Inside AdWords: New AdWords interface more widely available

Beta testing for the new AdWords interface has been expanded to an even larger number of advertisers. The new interface is now available to most active AdWords accounts in these languages:
  • English
  • Spanish
  • French
  • German
  • Italian
  • Dutch
  • Hebrew
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Japanese
  • Brazilian Portuguese
We'll be adding more AdWords languages in the future.

If your account has been added to the beta test, you'll be directed to the new interface the next time you log in. Th
e previous interface will still be available if you need it: during the beta you can switch back and forth using the "New Interface (Beta)" and "Previous Interface" links in the top corner of your account, next to your email address.

Have questions while using the new interface? The
new interface microsite has videos and a how-to guide that will help you with the changes. For example:


In the coming months we'll continue to add features to the new interface and make additional adjustments based on your feedback. Once we're confident that the new interface meets the needs of our advertisers, we'll convert all AdWords accounts to use the new interface exclusively.

To start managing your campaigns with the new features available in the new AdWords interface, simply log into your AdWords account.

Posted by Austin Rachlin, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-adwords-interface-more-widely.html

[G] Release Notes: 4/30/09

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YouTube Blog: Release Notes: 4/30/09

Hello! Yesterday we had another release -- v38, if you're counting -- but if you've been reading this blog, you'll know that lots has happened between the last Release Notes post and today. We launched our RealTime beta, a new look for the homepage, a destination for TV and movie content, and CaptionEditor in TestTube. We try to be nimble and push out new features or fixes as often as they're ready. Let us know what you think of these latest updates:



* New Options for Uploaders: In our continued effort to give you ultimate control over how your videos are presented, uploaders can now tweak the appearance of their video when played on YouTube or in an embedded player. Just insert any of the hint tags below into the tags field of your video and voila!



yt:crop=16:9 (zooms in on the 16:9 area, removes windowboxing)

yt:stretch=16:9 (fixes anamorphic content by scaling to 16:9)

yt:stretch=4:3 (fixes 720x480 content that is the wrong aspect ratio by scaling to 4:3)

yt:quality=high (default to a high quality stream, depending on availability)



* HD Browsing Goes Global: Add Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain and U.K. to the list of countries where you can browse the most popular HD videos in the region.



* AudioSwap Adds Recommendations: If your video contained an audio track that was not authorized for use on YouTube, the Recommended Tracks feature in AudioSwap will help you quickly find fully licensed songs to replace your original audio track. Recommendations are based on a combination of popularity and, for audio-matched videos, similarity to the original track. The three tracks being used most often are "Bodies" by Drowning Pool, "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence, and "Paralyzer" by Finger Eleven.



* Subscription Tab in More Places: We added a new "Subscriptions" tab to the top of the page a few weeks ago for anyone with an account who sets his or her country preference to "Worldwide." Starting today, the Subscriptions tab is available on any of our English-language sites, and we'll add it for other languages soon, too. Why is this important? Simple -- we hope to build stronger connections between video creators and their audiences by making subscriptions more prominent on YouTube. Please let us know if this change has positively impacted your viewership.



* Subscription Suggestions: Building on our new subscriptions tab, users without any subscriptions who visit the subscription center will now see some channel suggestions (a random set of popular channels) to help them get started using this key YouTube feature. If you already have some subscriptions, you can see the suggestions, too -- just click on "About Subscription Center" in the upper-right corner of the subscriptions center.



* Username Alternatives: YouTube is a big place these days and many channel names are taken. But starting today, if your desired username is already in use when you sign up for an account, we'll offer some alternates, hopefully reducing the head-scratching that can come from trying to figure out a handle that you like and is available. Right now this is in test mode, but we expect it to go 100% soon.



* A Tooltip to Help With Precise Seeking: If someone tells you to check out their video at two minutes, now it's easy to find that precise point. As you drag the thumb (what we call the little circle) back and forth, a shiny new tooltip will tell you exactly where you are in the video.




Always,

The YouTube Team
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=Lsn9BnVuSAM

[G] Tips & Tricks: Make the most of walking directions

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Google LatLong: Tips & Tricks: Make the most of walking directions


As a city-dweller who loves getting around on on two feet, I was really excited when walking directions became available on Google Maps. In the year since then, having pounded the pavement in six different cities, I've used walking directions to map everything, from  mad dashes to make appointments on time, to laid-back Sunday afternoon strolls. Haven't tried it out yet? Follow the instructions here. Then, check out these tips to walk smarter:

Turn on the Terrain layer.
If you've ever found yourself in a city with more hills than most, you'll know that a steep incline can turn a pleasant walk into an athletic event. Click 'Terrain' in the top right corner of the map to assess the elevation of the area you're looking at. It can help you decide what routes to avoid, and tip you off to some of your city's highest spots -- and best views

Take the scenic route with Street View. 
Street View can help you hone your walking directions by allowing you to get a pedestrian's eye view of your route ahead of time. Simply drag the "Pegman" icon (it will be orange where Street View is available) to a point on the map, and you'll see street-level imagery of that place. Navigate using the arrow keys on your keyboard, or pick a different spot by dragging Pegman again in the overview map in the bottom right corner of the image. It's a great way to get an up-close look at the route you'll be treading.

Customize your directions.
Make walking directions your own by adjusting them just the way you want. Maybe you're looking to avoid a hill, or take a detour along a particularly pretty street you saw in Street View. Either way, customizing your route is easy. Simply click any point along the purple directions line and drag it to any location on the map. Google Maps immediately recreates the directions in both the map, and the written description in the left panel.

Posted by Sarah Gordon, Tips Guru
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/04/tips-tricks-make-most-of-walking.html

[G] What's a rich media ad, anyway?

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Official Google Blog: What's a rich media ad, anyway?

Since last year's DoubleClick acquisition, we've increased our focus on helping marketers and agencies use Google tools for all of their display advertising needs. DoubleClick Rich Media is the part of DoubleClick that provides the technology for the most technically advanced and engaging of these display ads, which are typically created by creative agencies for their brand-focused clients. To help make this process even easier and efficient, today we're launching DoubleClick Studio, our new rich media production and development tool.

To describe rich media, it helps to think about other ad formats that we're all familiar with, starting with the simplest: text ads. With just a few keystrokes, anyone can create simple messages in a standardized format, and place them on a site like Google.com in minutes. Then we have standard display ads, ads that usually include text with a visual such as a logo or a graphic. These can be in formats we're all familiar with like .jpg, .gif, .swf and more. Standard display ads can either be static or animated with tools like Flash. They typically have only one interaction, meaning that when you click on them, you'll be taken to a destination site. And then at the most complex level, from a design and interaction perspective, we have rich media ads. With rich media, you can have ads that expand when users click or roll over, for example, and there are extensive possibilities for interactive content, such as HD video or even the ability to click to make a phone call.

But making a rich media ad possible requires much more complex technology to ensure that all of the ad behaviors function properly, that all of the interactions can be measured, and to serve the ads onto web pages. Every piece of the canvas, from the video play button to the button that allows for expansion, requires coding in Flash that's made possible by a rich media technology provider like DoubleClick Rich Media. With all of this complexity, there's also a lot of room for error. So in addition to enabling the development of the ads, tools like DoubleClick Studio provide quality analysis and preview functionalities to make sure that the ads work the way they should.

Here is a graphic that represents some of the differences between types of online ads:

With DoubleClick Studio, we hope to make it easier for our existing users to produce rich media ads, and to expand the number of advertisers that can make these useful formats part of their marketing strategy. This is also a good thing for Internet users; rich media capabilities make advertising even more useful, letting a viewer interact with an ad and learn about a brand without having to leave the page they're on. And, advertisers have an expanded creative canvas within the ad itself, allowing for deeper, higher-quality content in the ad itself. At Google, we believe that ads at their best are useful information.

To read more about DoubleClick Studio, visit the DoubleClick blog.

Posted by Shamim Samadi and Ari Paparo, DoubleClick Rich Media Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/whats-rich-media-ad-anyway.html

[G] Your Chance to Contribute Ideas to the Energy Bill

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YouTube Blog: Your Chance to Contribute Ideas to the Energy Bill

Time was, Congress wrote legislation inside the bubble of Washington, DC, and tried their best to get back to their home states and districts to get citizen feedback. Now, your Senators and Congressmen can solicit your feedback instantly online -- which is just what Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) is doing this week in his "Senator of the Week" feature on the YouTube Senate hub.









Head over to the Senate Hub and let Senator Dorgan know your ideas for the Energy Bill. As his video explains, the energy issue is critical to the long-term sustainability of the U.S. economy and to national security. Dorgan is committed to hearing your ideas and getting back to you, so submit your thoughts now and vote on the others that are there.




Yours,

Steve Grove

YouTube News & Politics
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=KghPfmkdpmg

[G] Sync Google Apps user accounts with your LDAP system

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Sync Google Apps user accounts with your LDAP system

As part of the team that joined Google when it acquired Postini in 2007, one of my responsibilities has been finding ways to weave Postini's enterprise experience into Google's business offerings. Today, I'm excited to tell you about Google Apps Directory Sync, the latest improvement to Google Apps brought over from Google's Postini security and archiving services.

Google Apps Directory Sync lets businesses and schools with an LDAP user directory system like Microsoft Active Directory or Lotus Domino transition more quickly and smoothly to Google Apps. Instead of manually maintaining a separate user account directory in Google Apps, this utility lets Google Apps tap into an existing repository of user account information.


This new utility is a software component that helps maintain security by running behind the firewall and pushes directory information to Google Apps – including mailing lists, groups and user aliases – to match the organizational schema in the LDAP system.

This is a one-way operation, designed so data on the LDAP server is not updated or altered. The utility offers many of the customization settings, tests and simulations originally developed and refined for the Postini directory sync tool to give complex organizations the controls they need to manage their directories effectively.


Google Apps Directory Sync is now included at no additional cost with Google Apps Premier, Education and Partner Edition customers.


Posted by Navneet Goel, Google Enterprise Product Manager



URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/04/sync-google-apps-user-accounts-with.html

[G] Leaders Respond to Swine Flu Pandemic on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Leaders Respond to Swine Flu Pandemic on YouTube

In these early days of the swine flu outbreak, governments and global leaders are responding to the pandemic on YouTube - using video to reach citizens with information and instruction about the spreading virus. On our home page today we're featuring some of the videos that have been making their way around YouTube, as citizens share clips with each other on how to handle the threat of the flu virus in their communities.




The Center for Disease Control's YouTube channel, which we featured a few days ago, has come out with a new video from Dr. Joe Bresee - this one outlines how to recognize the symptoms of swine flu. The Mexican Government is working hard to educate citizens as well, with PSAs like this one that help citizens understand how to prevent the spreading of the virus. In the UK, Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been joining the international conversation, as has Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, who delivered this statement on the United Nation's YouTube channel, outlining the UN's work to fight the flu.




Stay tuned to these channels (and more) as governments and citizens keep each other informed with the latest information on the swine flu pandemic. You might also want to take a look at Google.org's experimental flu trends tool for Mexico, which is tracking the development of the flu based on search queries within Mexico.




Yours,

Olivia Ma

YouTube News & Politics
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=fdFgaMdZTgg

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

[G] New in Labs: Extra emoticons

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Official Gmail Blog: New in Labs: Extra emoticons

Posted by Darren Lewis, Software Engineer

For a short period of time after launching emoticons for mail, we believed we had successfully captured the entirety of human expression in 19 faces (we're still debating whether the robot face counts), important representatives of the animal kingdom such as and , emoticons for both love () and heartbreak (), and, well, a pile of .

But soon a growing feeling of dread overcame the group . How could we have included a but not a cat? What if I want wine rather than ?

And thus was born a new Labs feature: extra emoji, the colorfully animated brainchild of our team in Japan. Simply go to the Labs tab under Settings, enable "Extra Emoji," and have that glass of you've been dreaming about. Ask your in-laws about the fluffiness factor of their pet . Become a meteorologist and start predicting . Dance like you mean it . Then let us know what you think.

(If you're wondering how we had time to create another couple hundred emoticons when we're busy doing important stuff like rewriting Gmail for mobile and making Gmail work offline, the answer is: we didn't. All of these extra emoticons are straight from the secret underground labs of some of the top Japanese mobile carriers, used with permission. Thanks guys!)
URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/04/new-in-labs-extra-emoticons.html

[G] Analytics and AdWords tips - Part 4 of 4

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Inside AdWords: Analytics and AdWords tips - Part 4 of 4

Last week we looked at finding your ROI for AdWords and also identifying keywords that aren't performing well. This week, in the last part of our series, the Google Analytics team will take a look at keywords that bring in revenue and also how to use Analytics to improve your ROI overall.

Which keywords drive revenue?

Just like you did with your poor performing keywords, go to the AdWords Campaigns report and click down to the Keyword level. Once you are in the AdWords Keywords report, click in the Revenue column header (you may have to click twice) so that the highest revenue keywords are listed first.

The high revenue keywords may or may not be your highest ROI keywords. If your ROI shows that you are losing or making little money on a high revenue keyword, you might want to adjust your strategy.

Using Analytics to improve overall website ROI

This series has shown you how to use Analytics to identify low and high performing keywords, find your highest revenue keywords, and weed out low performing keywords. Now that you're familiar with Analytics, you might want to explore some of the other ways it can help you improve your website's ROI. Here are some suggestions for getting started:
You can also find regular updates on how to improve your Analytics skills on the Google Analytics blog and Youtube Channel.

That's it for this series. Happy tracking.

Posted by Amanda Kelly, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/04/analytics-and-adwords-tips-part-4-of-4.html

[G] Live Stream on YouTube: The President's First 100 Days News Conference

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Google Public Policy Blog: Live Stream on YouTube: The President's First 100 Days News Conference

Posted by Steve Grove, YouTube News & Politics

(Cross-posted from the YouTube Blog)

The first three months of the Obama Administration have brought the new American President unprecedented challenges. Back in November, when he was elected, everyone knew the economy and the Middle East would be critical issues for Obama to attack early on. But like every president before him, he's had to deal with the unexpected as well: who could have predicted pirates off the Somali Coast or swine flu?

As citizens and pundits from all political perspectives analyze the President's first 100 days in office today, Obama himself will address the nation tonight on the 100-day anniversary of his inauguration -- and we're going to carry a live stream of the conference from the White House YouTube channel. Be sure to tune in at 8pm EDT to watch it live.


We're also featuring commentary and analysis from top news organizations on our homepage today. Hear Karl Rove grade the President on Fox News. Get a re-cap from Al-Jazeera on what Obama has accomplished in his opening act. Watch the Washington Post talk with Americans in DC about their early impressions of the new President.

You can join in the conversation by making a video: How is the Obama Administration doing, and what advice would you give the President moving forward? Upload your thoughts to YouTube and add them as a video response to this Citizentube video, and we'll feature some of them on our News page tomorrow.

Finally, don't forget to come to youtube.com/whitehouse at 8pm EDT to watch President Obama address the nation.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/04/live-stream-on-youtube-presidents-first.html

[G] The Search for Beauty Buyers

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Official Google CPG Blog: The Search for Beauty Buyers


Google partnered with Compete in Q3 2008 to better understand beauty searching, researching and purchasing behavior. 
We sought to learn more about consumers' behaviors through an analysis of click-streams, as well as via surveys collected from panelists.


Compete will be sharing the broadview findings from this analysis.
Please join us:

Date: Tuesday, May 5th, 2009
Time: 1pm EST
Register at this link here.

This webinar will be recorded and directions to obtain the recording will be added to this blog post entry after the event. 

Posted by Jenny Liu, Industry Marketing Manager, CPG
URL: http://google-cpg.blogspot.com/2009/04/search-for-beauty-buyers.html

[G] The Iterative Webapp - Gmail for mobile Gets Mute

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Official Google Mobile Blog: The Iterative Webapp - Gmail for mobile Gets Mute

On April 7th, we announced a new version of Gmail for mobile for iPhone and Android-powered devices. Among the improvements was a complete redesign of the web application's underlying code which allows us to more rapidly develop and release new features that users have been asking for, as explained in our first post. We'd like to introduce The Iterative Webapp, a series where we will continue to release features for Gmail for mobile. Today: Mute. --Shyam Sheth, Product Manager, Google Mobile.

One of my favorite inbox triage techniques is Gmail's 'mute' feature. Once I've muted a message, follow-up emails to the conversation bypass the inbox, keeping it clutter free. With mute now available in Gmail for mobile on the iPhone and Android-powered devices, you can quickly manage your inbox while you're on the go. To access mute - select a message and from the drop-down options on the Floaty Bar, tap 'Mute'.



To try mute in Gmail for mobile, just go to gmail.com in your iPhone or Android-powered device's browser. To make it easy to access your account, we recommend adding a home screen link. In the spirit of 'launch early and iterate', stay tuned for more announcements from the Gmail for mobile team.

Please note: The new Gmail for mobile supports iPhone/iPod Touch OS 2.2.1 or above as well as Android-powered devices. The new Gmail for mobile is available for English only.

Posted by Deng-Kai Chen, Associate Product Marketing Manager, Google Mobile
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/04/iterative-webapp-gmail-for-mobile-gets.html

[G] Analytics integration for all

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Inside AdSense: Analytics integration for all

Over the past few months, we've been gradually inviting publishers to integrate their AdSense accounts with Google Analytics, and today we're happy to announce that this feature is now available to all publishers. Integrating your account with Analytics will provide you with more detailed information about traffic to your pages and how users interact with your site.

Once you link your accounts, you'll find an AdSense-specific menu under the 'Content' section of the left-hand navigation bar on your Analytics homepage, containing these reports:
  • The Top AdSense Content report allows you to see more details about specific pages on your site and analyze ad performance. For instance, if you find that some of your pages generate a high number of pageviews but aren't monetizing as well as other pages, you can focus your optimization efforts on improving these pages.
  • The Top AdSense Referrers report can help you see how different incoming traffic sources contribute to your revenue.
  • Last, the AdSense Trending report lets you analyze how your site generates revenue during different times of the day and different days of the week.


You'll also notice that other sections of your Analytics account will show a new 'AdSense Revenue' tab. You'll be able to compare how much of your AdSense revenue is coming from new visitors versus existing ones, and view revenue based on user language.

To take advantage of these new reports, sign in to AdSense and click the 'Integrate your AdSense account with Google Analytics' link on your Reports Overview page. You'll be taken to a step-by-step wizard that will guide you through the rest of the process. If you use AdSense in a language that's not supported by Analytics, you can still link your accounts and view your Analytics reports in a different language.

We also recommend watching the video below, which will help explain the linking process:



Enjoy your new data, and don't forget to visit our Help Center if you have other questions about linking your accounts or reviewing your reports.

Posted by Arlene Lee - Inside AdSense Team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/04/analytics-integration-for-all.html

[G] Analytics and AdSense, Together at Last

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics Tips & Tricks: Analytics and AdSense, Together at Last

For the past few months, more and more Analytics users have been invited to integrate their Analytics and AdSense accounts. Today that feature has become available to everyone. That means if you have an AdSense account, it's time to get it linked! Here's how:

Linking your Analytics and AdSense Accounts
  1. Log in to AdSense
  2. Click the link that says "Integrate your AdSense account with Google Analytics" on the Reports > Overview tab
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions



Having trouble? Visit this help center article.


Which Reports are Available


Once you link your accounts, you'll find an AdSense-specific menu under the "Content" section of Analytics containing these reports:
  • The Top AdSense Content report allows you to see more details about specific pages on your site and analyze ad performance. For instance, if you find that some of your pages generate a high number of pageviews but aren't monetizing as well as other pages, you can focus your optimization efforts on improving these pages.
  • The Top AdSense Referrers report can help you see how different incoming traffic sources contribute to your revenue.
  • Last, the AdSense Trending report lets you analyze how your site generates revenue during different times of the day and different days of the week.



How to Read the Reports


Check out this video to get a better understanding of how to use these reports:



You'll also notice that other sections of your Analytics account will show a new "AdSense Revenue" tab. You'll be able to compare how much of your AdSense revenue is coming from new visitors versus existing ones, and view revenue based on user language.

Enjoy your new data, and be sure to visit the Help Center if you have other questions about linking your accounts or reviewing your reports.

Like the new feature? Hate it? Leave a comment and let us know!

Posted by Sebastian Tonkin, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2009/04/analytics-and-adsense-together-at-last.html

[G] Insight Data: Any Way You Want It, That's the Way You Need It

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YouTube Blog: Insight Data: Any Way You Want It, That's the Way You Need It

We launched YouTube Insight a year ago to help you better understand your viewers and how they engage with your videos. Along the way, we've introduced features like Demographics, Hot Spots and Community to give you sophisticated ways of analyzing viewer data. Whether you want to know how old your audience is, how many times your most viewed video was rated last week, or which minute of your clip is most engaging, YouTube Insight can give you the answer. As we add functionality, we're careful to preserve YouTube Insight's clean and easy-to-use look and feel.



Throughout this process, we've realized that there are limitless ways viewing data can tell fascinating stories about your audience. As you continue to post videos, we will continue to make viewing data transparent and accessible for you.



Today, we have added a link that allows you to export your Insight data into CSV files. CSV files are open format files that organize data so it can be moved and analyzed using common spreadsheet software such as Google Docs and Microsoft Excel. Now you can view and manipulate your data any way you like.



Looking for ideas? Try comparing the view count for different videos side by side, mapping out where your viewers are coming from over time, or comparing discovery sources by country. As always, tell us about the interesting fun facts you learn in the comments below!



Cheers,

Tracy Chan and Kenny Stoltz

Product Managers

The YouTube Team
URL: http://www.youtube.com/blog?entry=IH_EDPBv7Ng

[G] Landing Page Testing with Offline Conversions using Website Optimizer

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Landing Page Testing with Offline Conversions using Website Optimizer

This is a guest post from David Booth at WebShare, a Website Optimizer Authorized Consultant. In addition, David is one of our Google Website Optimizer Seminar Leaders.

Can you use Website Optimizer to test your landing pages if your conversion occurs offline?

We know Website Optimizer is great when the conversion happens online, but what if your goal is an offline conversion, such as getting the phone to ring? Conversions are defined with JavaScript that has to be executed by a browser, so testing with a tool like GWO may sound like an impossible task – but it’s not.

Pacific Hills Treatment Centers was able to achieve a 40% lift in phone leads via their top landing page by using Website Optimizer, and this post will show you how they did it.

The Offline Lead Generation Dilemma

Tod Cunningham, VP of Business Development of PacHills found himself in a familiar position. “I was discussing how to get a better conversion rate out of my landing pages with my AdWords rep, and when she mentioned conversion testing my first response was, ‘That’s not going to work for me, my conversion doesn't happen on my site.’”

As is the case with many lead-gen sites like PacHills, a conversation with a real, live, human being is much more likely to turn a visitor into a customer, and is often necessary during the sales cycle.

With our help, an A/B test was created and run to test three alternate variations of a top paid search landing page. The goal of this page was not to get an online form submission or get a visitor through a shopping cart, but to get visitors to pick up the phone and call.

How to Test Offline Conversions

So how do you run a test with a phone call as your conversion? This can be done by using Website Optimizer alongside just about any of the widely available phone tracking solutions out there.

1. The first step is like any other test – after consulting your web analytics to determine the best candidate for the test page and experiment type, it’s time to create the variations. Ask yourself what changes you’d like to make and why you believe those changes will have a positive impact on conversions, and let that guide your variation design. In this experiment, WebShare’s design team helped facilitate this process and created three different alternatives to the original landing page. The original and winning pages are pictured below:

Click to see a larger image

2. Now it’s time to set up the phone tracking. All we really need to do is place a special phone number on each of our test pages that will tell us which of our different pages originated the call. In this case, ClickPath was used to automate this by assigning and tracking calls from phone numbers (or banks of numbers) dedicated to each specific landing page.

3. Next, set up the test in Google Website Optimizer. This example is of the A/B variety, where the original was defined along with three variations. You could do this as a Multivariate test as well.

4. After validating the alternate pages and previewing the variations in the preview tool, launch the experiment.

5. Patiently let the experiment run and collect your data.

Running the Analysis

At this point you’ll have Google Website Optimizer splitting traffic, recording unique visitors, and handling all your cookies to ensure that repeat visitors continue to see the same variation. Your phone tracking application will be recording the phone calls (conversions) that result from each of your variations, and you now have all the data necessary for your analysis.

Because Website Optimizer displays the data it’s recording, you can run the statistics yourself at any time using any tool you’re comfortable with. A simplified set of free conversion marketing tools is available on WebShare’s site to help you get the results you need. Here’s how:

1. From Website Optimizer, you’ll get the visitors data in your experiment report:

2. Your phone tracking software will provide your conversion data:

3. Next, plug these values into a tool (like this one) that will do the number crunching for you:

4. The last step is to run the numbers to get a report:

Start Answering Those Phones!

This particular experiment found a clear winner – a winner that boosted the likelihood of a visitor calling PacHills by over 40%.

According to Tod at PacHills, “This has opened up doors that we had thought were closed to us. You can bet next time you’re on our site, we’ll be testing on you!”

If you’re in a situation where a call is your conversion, then we hope this post will give you the tools to start testing and getting your phones ringing off the hook!

Posted by Trevor Claiborne, Website Optimizer team
URL: http://websiteoptimizer.blogspot.com/2009/04/landing-page-testing-with-offline.html

[G] 11 short films about a browser

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Google Chrome Blog: 11 short films about a browser

For those of us who live and work on the web, the browser is an unsung hero. It's become the most important piece of software on our computer, but rarely is it given proper recognition, let alone fĂȘted.

We invited some creative friends to make short movies about our own browser, Google Chrome, and then watched as they came back with dozens of interesting ways to portray the browser. After finishing his video, artist and illustrator Christoph Niemann wrote to us about his approach:
"Instead of thinking of what I wanted to show, I tried to think about what I did NOT want to show. I realized that when I use a computer or browse the web these days, the one thing I do NOT think about is... a computer.

There was a time when I knew the meaning of every single item in my system folder and had to wisely allocate RAM to an application before burdening it with a complex task. Dealing with a computer has become much simpler these days (if everything works), but much more difficult and complex (especially if it doesn't behave) — almost like dealing with a living creature.

I wanted to find a simple metaphor that explains what a browser does, without showing a screen, a keyboard, the letters WWW, pixels, zeroes or ones.

Initially I thought of my mom (the browser) who brings me (the user) a plate of spaghetti bolognese (the Internet). But since spaghetti bolognese is not a rewarding thing to draw, let alone animate, I went for the next best metaphor, which can be seen in the animation."
Along with Christoph's video, there are great shorts by Motion TheorySteve MottersheadGo RobotOpenDefault OfficeHunter GathererLifelong Friendship SocietySuperFadJeff&Paul, and Pantograph. You can view the individual Chrome Shorts on our YouTube channel as well as a quick compilation below. 



We're really excited about the imagination and range of their ideas, and we hope you enjoy them.

Posted by Ji Lee, Creative Lab
URL: http://chrome.blogspot.com/2009/04/11-short-films-about-browser.html