Saturday, July 11, 2009

[G] Google accounts on Twitter

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Official Google Blog: Google accounts on Twitter

Like lots of you, we've been drawn into Twitter this year. After all, we're all about frequent updates ourselves, and there's lots happening around here that we want to share with you. Of course, we enjoy watching, and contributing to, the tweetstream (we hope you find our tweets useful, too). Because there are many programs and initiatives across the company, we've got a number of active accounts. Here's a list of the current ones. We'll update this list from time to time. 

twitter.com/Google - our central account
twitter.com/Blogger - for Blogger fans
twitter.com/GoogleCalendar - user tips & updates 
twitter.com/GoogleImages - news, tips, tricks on our visual image search
twitter.com/GoogleNews - latest headlines via Google News
twitter.com/GoogleReader - from our feed reader team
twitter.com/iGoogle - news & notes from Google's personalized homepage
twitter.com/GoogleStudents - news of interest to students using Google
twitter.com/YouTube - for YouTube fans
twitter.com/YouTubeES - en Espanol
twitter.com/GoogleAtWork - solutions for IT and workplace productivity

Geo-related
twitter.com/SketchUp - Google SketchUp news
twitter.com/3DWH - SketchUp's 3D Warehouse
twitter.com/Modelyourtown - 3D modeling to build your favorite places 
twitter.com/EarthOutreach - Earth & Maps tools for nonprofits & orgs 
twitter.com/GoogleMaps - uses, tips, mashups
twitter.com/GoogleSkyMap -Android app for the night sky

Ads-related 
twitter.com/AdSense - for online publishers
twitter.com/AdWordsHelper - Looking out for AdWords questions and tech issues
twitter.com/AdWordsProSarah - Google Guide for AdWords Help Forum 
twitter.com/GoogleAnalytics - insights for website effectiveness
twitter.com/GoogleAdBuilder - re building display ads
twitter.com/GoogleRetail - for retail advertisers
twitter.com/TechnologyUK - for U.K. tech advertisers 
twitter.com/InsideAdWordsDE - for German AdWords customers
twitter.com/GoogleAgencyDE - for German ad agencies
twitter.com/AdSensePT - info for Portuguese-language publishers
twitter.com/AdWordsRussia - AdWords news & tips in Russian
twitter.com/DentroDeAdWords - Spanish updates from the Inside AdWords blog
twitter.com/AdWordsAPI - AdWords API tips

Developer & technical 


twitter.com/GoogleResearch - from our research scientists
twitter.com/GoogleWMC - Google Webmaster Central 


twitter.com/GoogleCode - latest updates for Google developer products
twitter.com/GoogleData - Data APIs provide a standard protocol for reading and writing web data
twitter.com/app_engine - web apps run on Google infrastructure
twitter.com/DataLiberation - our initiative for complete import/export of all data
twitter.com/GoogleMapsAPI - about using Google Maps embedded in websites
twitter.com/GoogleIO - Google's largest annual developer event

Culture, People 
twitter.com/googletalks - notes from our @Google speaker series
twitter.com/googlejobs - the voice of Google recruiters

Country or Region 
twitter.com/googledownunder - Google activities in Australia & New Zealand
twitter.com/GoogleDE - Google in Germany
twitter.com/GoogleLatAm - Latin America (en Espanol)
twitter.com/GooglePolicyIt - Notes on Google policy issues in Italy




Posted by Karen Wickre, Google Blog & Twitter Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/google-accounts-on-twitter.html

Friday, July 10, 2009

[G] Is free an antitrust issue?

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Google Public Policy Blog: Is free an antitrust issue?

Posted by Dana Wagner, Senior Competition Counsel

Just after Chris Anderson spoke at our D.C. office this week about the power of free, I came across this interesting piece he wrote for CNN.com raising some provocative questions about whether providing Internet services to users for free could pose an antitrust issue. So provocative, in fact, that I thought it was worth a reply.

Chris wrote:

But companies still have to make money, so there are limits to how much they can provide free. Not a problem for Google. Its core advertising business is so powerful, dominant and profitable that it can subsidize almost everything else the company does, using Free to get customers in new markets. Is that fair, when so many of its competitors don't have a similar golden goose at the core of their operations?


Setting aside the fact Google accounts for 3% of all U.S. advertising revenue, cross-subsidization is of course quite common in many companies (as Chris details in his new book), with certain products subsidizing others (sometimes known as "loss leaders"). No matter how successful or profitable the subsidizing product is, the fact remains that cross-subsidization itself has never been viewed as an antitrust problem. If a company chooses to use its profits from one product to help provide another product to consumers at low cost, that's generally a good thing.

The analogy is something like the semiconductor battles of the 1980s, when Japanese companies were accused of "dumping" (selling for under cost) memory chips in the U.S. market to drive out U.S. competitors.


Unfortunately, this analogy is flawed, as anti-dumping cases can only take place between countries and under trade laws. They have nothing to do with antitrust and don't apply to private companies. And even if anti-dumping laws did apply to private companies, the standard remedy in dumping cases is to have the companies involved charge more for their products. Does Chris -- who of course is an advocate for free -- really think that Google should start charging users to perform searches?

There have been claims made against private companies for so-called "predatory pricing" tactics, where the concern is that companies will use cheap goods to drive out competitors and then jack up the prices once the competition is gone. But again, even if you think this is a valid antitrust issue (and many commentators don't), almost no one believes that Google would or could start charging exorbitant prices for products like search and Gmail.

Could Free be OK for little companies, but not really big ones? How much market share would you have to have in one market to disallow you from using Free in another?


It is true that if a company has a dominant product, it may run afoul of antitrust laws if it "ties" that product to another -- for instance, by requiring customers who buy that product to buy another product as well. When a company provides products for free on a stand-alone basis, however, it's not requiring anyone to buy anything. It may take business away from other companies trying to charge users for similar products, but that's hardly an antitrust issue.

Keep in mind that competition laws are concerned with what's best for consumers, not for competing companies, and there's little doubt that from a consumer perspective, free products are usually a great thing.

As entrepreneur Alex Iskold has pointed out, Google is using the profits from its search advertising dominance to fund its competition with Microsoft in word processors and spreadsheets (Google Docs).

Microsoft, meanwhile, is doing just the opposite: using the profits from its dominance of word processors and spreadsheets (Microsoft Office) to subsidize its competition with Google in search (Microsoft Bing). In each case, the companies are using a highly profitable paid product to make another product free, on the hopes of gaining market share by taking price off the table.


Rather than exemplifying a competitive problem, Chris's example makes the point that in fact there is robust competition, between two companies pursuing similar strategies to win over users from each other. That's competition in action!
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-free-antitrust-issue.html

[G] Indonesia's search for president

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Google Public Policy Blog: Indonesia's search for president

Posted by Pablo Chavez, Managing Policy Counsel

Earlier this week Scott Hartley at the Berkman Center shared with me this great post he wrote about the presidential elections in Indonesia. In the post he notes that although only 5.4 percent of Indonesians have access to the Internet, search trends on Google suggested that Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (popularly known as SBY) would be re-elected:


Unofficial results from Wednesday's election indicate that Scott's analysis was correct -- President Yudhoyono won by a landslide.

Indonesian voters also discussed controversial issues on Facebook and posted videos like the one below to YouTube, urging each other to get out the vote.



If Internet patterns in Indonesia are any indication, just imagine what might happen to political participation and electoral processes around the world as Internet connectivity spreads.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/07/indonesias-search-for-president.html

[G] The results are in, and they are beautiful

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Google LatLong: The results are in, and they are beautiful

[Cross-posted from the Official Google SketchUp blog]

Wow! We received some amazing entries for the Google SketchUp 2009 International Student Bridge Modeling Competition. Higher education students from over 65 countries registered for the competition, 42 collections were created in the Google 3D Warehouse, and 77 bridges were modeled from all over the world. The types of bridges range from historical to pedestrian, rail and highway - and they were all certainly impressive. Check out our winners page for details and comments from our illustrious panel of judges.

The winners are:

1st Place
Jason Wong
School of Architecture and Construction Management, Washington State University, US

2nd Place
Tobias Merk
School of Design, Hochschule Augsburg - University of Applied Sciences, Germany

3rd Place
Nicholas Falbo
Nohad A. Toulan School of Urban Studies & Planning, Portland State University, US



Posted by Allyson McDuffie, SketchUp for Education Program Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/07/results-are-in-and-they-are-beautiful.html

[G] Google tips for recent grads

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Official Google Blog: Google tips for recent grads

Summer has arrived, and that means graduation. Our hearty congratulations to the class of 2009! Now that you've packed up your dorm room and picked up your diploma, what's next? This transitional time between college and "the real world" can be a bit chaotic. Luckily, we have some tools that can help you get organized as you start the next chapter in your life. We're posting tips and tricks for newly graduated students in our summer series, Grad Tips, running on the Google for Students Blog. The series is a few posts in — look for more tips over the next couple of months!

Posted by Joyce Sohn, Google Apps Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/google-tips-for-recent-grads.html

[G] Recent developments from around the social web

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Social Web Blog: Recent developments from around the social web

From time to time, we'd like to highlight some news from around the social web. In case you missed it, here are two stories that have crossed our radar:
  • Netlog and Google Friend Connect - Netlog used the open standards of OpenID and OAuth to integrate with Friend Connect, allowing their users to sign into Friend Connect with their Netlog credentials, use their Netlog profiles, and more.
  • OpenSocial apps on orkut - OpenSocial apps on orkut now have popularity and usage statistics on the "application info" page and can be found by category.

Posted by Mendel Chuang, Product Marketing Manager, Google Friend Connect
URL: http://googlesocialweb.blogspot.com/2009/07/recent-developments-from-around-social.html

[G] What's all the hubbub about PubSubHubbub?

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AdSense for Feeds: What's all the hubbub about PubSubHubbub?

One of the questions we get from publishers most often is "How do I make sure updates to my feed are delivered to feed readers as fast as possible?" We know this is important to our publishers' businesses and we are constantly making improvements to our back-end systems to minimize the time from when you publish a post to when it appears to subscribers in feed readers.

Recently there have been a lot of developments around the so-called "real-time" web. The promise of the real-time web is distributing new information as quickly as possible. This encourages users to engage in more active participation online and makes the web more dynamic than ever before. However, so far the real-time web has not been easily accessible by feed publishers using their existing infrastructure.

Today we're happy to announce initial support in FeedBurner for the PubSubHubbub protocol. 'Hubbub is an open specification in draft for web-scale publish and subscribe. The protocol can be used to transform any existing Atom and RSS feed on the web into a real-time stream. Best of all, it's open, free, and decentralized like the rest of what makes the web so great: No single organization controls the protocol or how it's used.

As of right now, burned feeds with the PingShot service enabled are automatically enhanced with the PubSubHubbub protocol. We'll add the required discovery elements to these feeds and notify a Google-run Hub, running on App Engine, of publish events. We also convert any pings we receive into 'Hubbub events. That means for many of our publishers out there, your existing feeds are available as real-time streams right now. Like, immediately. This very moment.

If you are a publisher and are not already using our PingShot service, turning it on is easy. From feedburner.google.com, visit the Publicize tab for your feed, select PingShot, and click the [Activate] button at the bottom of the page. From your AdSense account, go to Manage Ads, then click View Feed Stats link, and do the same thing. That's it.



If you manage a service that would like to receive updates to the millions of FeedBurner feeds that use this service as soon as possible, or just want to know more about the PubSubHubub protocol, we encourage you to check out our project on Google Code. There are open-source clients for Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby, and WordPress. We have an open-source reference implementation of a Hub built on Google App Engine. And there are other Hub implementations built and run by other companies. Please let us know what you think in the PubSubHubub Google Group!

Posted by Steve Olechowski, on behalf of the FeedBurner Team
URL: http://adsenseforfeeds.blogspot.com/2009/07/whats-all-hubbub-about-pubsubhubbub.html

[G] Special Site for President Obama's visit to Ghana

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Google LatLong: Special Site for President Obama's visit to Ghana

[Cross-posted from the Google Africa Blog]

President Obama's visit to Ghana has caused a wave of excitement on the web, with searches for "Obama" increasing by 150% in Ghana over the last week. In recognition of this occasion, we have teamed up with the Ministry of Tourism in Ghana to create a special site for President Obama's visit. This adds to the existing wealth of information on the Ministry's official site which highlights places of interest, restaurants and accommodation, as well as festivals, eco-tourism, and much more.

Using Google's geo products, the site includes a pictorial tour in Google Earth of key landmarks along the historical slave route in Ghana, such as Gwollu in North West Ghana, where people created a refuge from the infamous slave raids. The tour also visits Salaga Market, a major slave market where wells and cemeteries have now been turned into shrines, and the Slave River at Assin Manso, where the slaves had their last bath prior to leaving Africa's shores. The tour ends at Cape Coast Castle in the Central Region, now a UNESCO World Heritage monument, with the final Doorway of No Return.


Using Google Maps, the site shows places that President Obama and the First Lady will visit during their trip to Ghana. The map will provide fresh updates on events as they happen, including links to videos via YouTube that will keep the map fresh and interesting. Locations include Kotoka International Airport, the President's arrival point; the Osu Castle, where President Obama will meet the President of Ghana, Professor Atta Mills; and Cape Coast Castle and the Conference Centre in Accra, where the President will meet Ghanains.

We have already partnered with other tourism authorities on the continent, including in Egyptand South Africa, to showcase some of Africa's extraordinary natural beauty and cultural heritage in Google Earth. As Ghana welcomes the first African-American U.S. president, we're very excited to work with the Ministry of Tourism to help raise awareness about Ghana's unique tourism offerings.

Posted by Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Country Manager, Ghana
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/07/special-site-for-president-obamas-visit.html

[G] What's all the hubbub about PubSubHubbub?

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AdSense for Feeds: What's all the hubbub about PubSubHubbub?

One of the questions we get from publishers most often is "How do I make sure updates to my feed are delivered to feed readers as fast as possible?" We know this is important to our publishers' businesses and we are constantly making improvements to our back-end systems to minimize the time from when you publish a post to when it appears to subscribers in feed readers.

Recently there have been a lot of developments around the so-called "real-time" web. The promise of the real-time web is distributing new information as quickly as possible. This encourages users to engage in more active participation online and makes the web more dynamic than ever before. However, so far the real-time web has not been easily accessible by feed publishers using their existing infrastructure.

Today we're happy to announce initial support in FeedBurner for the PubSubHubbub protocol. 'Hubbub is an open specification in draft for web-scale publish and subscribe. The protocol can be used to transform any existing Atom and RSS feed on the web into a real-time stream. Best of all, it's open, free, and decentralized like the rest of what makes the web so great: No single organization controls the protocol or how it's used.

As of right now, burned feeds with the PingShot service enabled are automatically enhanced with the PubSubHubbub protocol. We'll add the required discovery elements to these feeds and notify a Google-run Hub, running on App Engine, of publish events. We also convert any pings we receive into 'Hubbub events. That means for many of our publishers out there, your existing feeds are available as real-time streams right now. Like, immediately. This very moment.

If you are a publisher and are not already using our PingShot service, turning it on is easy. From feedburner.google.com, visit the Publicize tab for your feed, select PingShot, and click the [Activate] button at the bottom of the page. From your AdSense account, go to Manage Ads, then click View Feed Stats link, and do the same thing. That's it.



If you manage a service that would like to receive updates to the millions of FeedBurner feeds that use this service as soon as possible, or just want to know more about the PubSubHubub protocol, we encourage you to check out our project on Google Code. There are open-source clients for Python, Perl, PHP, Ruby, and WordPress. We have an open-source reference implementation of a Hub built on Google App Engine. And there are other Hub implementations built and run by other companies. Please let us know what you think in the PubSubHubub Google Group!

Posted by Steve Olechowski, on behalf of the FeedBurner Team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/BurnThisRSS2/~3/LN9yrxpR1cM/whats-all-hubbub-about-pubsubhubbub.html

[G] How to steer clear of money scams

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Official Google Blog: How to steer clear of money scams

This post is the latest in an ongoing series on how to stay safe online. - Ed.

As the designated tech support person for my immediate family, I'm used to getting calls about issues like browser crashes and confusing websites. But recently my mom called to ask about something she saw online that said Google would pay her thousands of dollars to work from home with no experience required. She didn't buy it, but she did want to ask — is this for real?

My mom was right to be skeptical. In the current economic downturn, a lot of people are looking for ways to make extra money. Unfortunately, some unsavory characters see this trend as an opportunity to trick unsuspecting people with scams and elaborate get-rich-quick schemes. We're seeing disturbing cases in which websites, emails and advertisements claim that you can make large amounts of money from home with very little effort using Google products and services. They're designed to look like they were written by a regular person, just like you, who stumbled across an amazing opportunity to make their monetary dreams come true. What they don't tell you clearly is that Google is not affiliated with these sites and that they may add extra charges to your credit card or misuse your personal information.

To be clear, we are proud to say that many companies and individuals do legitimately make money placing ads on their websites with Google AdSense or participating in programs like the Google Affiliate Network. Creating a successful website is hard work — successful sites earn their money by writing compelling content, developing useful applications and maintaining vibrant user communities. Any claim that you can skip all of that and make just as much money by posting links, using a secret system, or running a kit to generate websites should be treated with a heavy dose of skepticism.

Spammers attempt to reach users by generating hundreds of webpages and sending out a flood of spam emails, sometimes even buying advertisements on reputable websites. Their sites also target other popular Internet companies. They may include family photos pilfered from another site or a picture of a check they supposedly received. Spammers use a wide range of techniques that try to slip past automatic filters to get to you. At Google, we work hard to protect users from these schemes by using a combination of automated and manual tools that remove them from our search index and ad network. However, scams target many companies and appear in various places around the web, so we all need to work cooperatively. Google collaborates with various government and non-governmental consumer protection agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission, that are investigating these types of schemes further.

How to identify scams and other schemes

In general, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Here are some pointers on what to look out for:
  • Before you fill out a form or give someone a credit card, do a web search to see what other people are saying about the company and its practices.
  • Be wary of companies that ask for upfront charges for services that Google actually offers for free. Check out our business solutions page before writing a check.
  • Always read the fine print. Watch out for get-rich-quick schemes that charge a very low initial fee before sneaking in large reoccurring charges on your credit card or bank account.
  • Google never guarantees top placement in search results or AdWords — beware of companies that claim to guarantee rankings, allege a special relationship with Google, or advertise a "priority submit" to Google. There is no priority submit for Google. In fact, the only way to submit a site to Google directly is through our Add URL page or through the Sitemaps program — you can do these tasks yourself at no cost whatsoever.
  • Be wary of anything resembling a pyramid scheme, where you make commissions by recruiting more participants.
  • Some sales pitches use the word "Google" or other trademarks right in their name with targeted phrases like "cash," "pay day," "money," "secrets," "home business," etc. If you can't find it on our list of Google products or on the business solutions page, don't trust it.
  • Look for third party verification. Scammers can easily cut-and-paste images to plaster a site with "as seen on TV," "five-star reviews" and the logos of well-known news channels. Products that have really been recommended by experts and fellow users typically contain links from legitimate news sites and multiple user review sites.
  • Reserve the same skepticism for unsolicited email about making money with Google AdWords as you do for "burn fat at night" diet pills or requests to help transfer funds from deposed dictators. In general, be wary of offers from firms that email you out of the blue. Amazingly, we get these spam emails too:
"I visited your website and noticed that you are not listed in most of the major search engines and directories..."
  • Google is not running a lottery, and we have not picked your email address to win millions of dollars. Don't give out your bank account details via email in anticipation of a big jackpot.
What you can do
  • If you come across many sites with duplicate content or common templates intended to direct users to the same product or scheme, please let us know with a spam report.
  • If you've been contacted to place suspicious links on your site for money, let us know with the paid link report form. If you have your own website or are in charge of advertising on a site, think carefully before accepting ads or entering into affiliate programs that will lead your users to schemes like those mentioned above.
  • If your site's forums or comment sections have been spammed with fake offers of fabulous financial gain, you may need to take steps to fight comment spam. Spammers will take advantage of any user-generated content sections of your site, and will even generate thousands of fake user profiles to try to slip under the radar.
Posted by Jason Morrison, Search Quality Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/how-to-steer-clear-of-money-scams.html

[G] Special Ghana site for President Obama's visit

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Official Google Blog: Special Ghana site for President Obama's visit

In recognition of President Obama's visit to Ghana, we've worked with the Ministry of Tourism in that country on a special site detailing his stops at cultural and historical landmarks using Google Earth and Maps. Read all about it on our Google Africa Blog.

Posted by Karen Wickre, Google Blog Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/special-ghana-site-for-president-obamas.html

[G] Easier to find Favorites - better Fan control

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Google Photos Blog: Easier to find Favorites - better Fan control

Posted by Simon Han, Software Engineer

An engineer on our team, Ping, has over 700 Picasa Web Albums Fans. Each of these Fans has signed up - by clicking "Add to Favorites" - to be notified each time he uploads new public content. In this way, the uploads Ping wants to share publicly are broadcast to the people who care about his photos.

"Add to Favorites" has been around for awhile, but up until
this point it hasn't always been easy to know which of your friends and family use Picasa Web Albums. Enter "Suggested Favorites." Similar to the way chat contacts are handled in Gmail, we'll suggest friends and contacts who you may want to add as Favorites, allowing you to easily keep track of what they're sharing with the world in their public albums.



Of course Favorites is a two way street. While you can f
ind more photos from people you care about, this means that they can find you too, which isn't always a good thing. For this reason, we're also introducing the ability to block certain users. With three distinct levels of sharing, Picasa Web Albums already allowed you control over exactly who can see your photos. The addition of Block helps you ensure that the activity in your public albums isn't marred due to unwanted activity from a specific user.


Blocking a user immediately removes them as a Fan, preventing them from receiving future email notifications about your public albums. It also cuts off their ability to comment on your photos and deletes all their old comments across your gallery.

URL: http://googlephotos.blogspot.com/2009/07/easier-to-find-favorites-better-fan.html

[G] Seeing the world with improved Google Search results

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Official Google Blog: Seeing the world with improved Google Search results

As an avid traveler, I know how helpful it can be to see a map when searching for a location on Google. Using our Universal Search technology, we have provided maps in our search results for more than two years. However, as any traveler could tell you, knowing the geographical location of a place is only part of the story. It's often just as valuable to get a sense of what the place is like, and there's no better way to do that than by looking at images of some of its most important sights.

Now, when you search for locations using Google Search, you may see pictures from that place alongside a map. You can click on any of those images to go to the photos layer on Google Maps where you can browse many more geo-tagged photos.

So if you searched for [Paris], you'd see:


Here's [Yellowstone National Park]:


We think this is a great way to get a better sense of a location as well as get a taste of some of the great user-contributed photos that await on Google Maps. We hope you'll have a fun time exploring!

Posted by Lingyun Liu, Software Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/seeing-world-with-improved-google.html

Thursday, July 9, 2009

[G] Google Product Search for mobile now available for more languages and phones

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Official Google Mobile Blog: Google Product Search for mobile now available for more languages and phones

A few months ago we launched Google Product Search for iPhone and Android-powered devices. At the time, a number of you asked why Product Search for mobile was not available for your phone model. Well since then, we've added support for the Palm Pre, and today we're announcing support for all devices with an internet connection in the US, UK, Germany and South Korea.

No matter what phone you use, just enter your product query on google.com and select the "Shopping results..." link. Or you can start your mobile product search directly by creating a bookmark to www.google.com/m/products.
For Android, iPhone, and Palm Pre phones in the US, we've also added Google Suggest to the Product Search home page and results pages. Google Suggest recommends queries as you type so that you can type less while you search.

Posted by Eiji Hirai, Software Engineer, Google Mobile Team
URL: http://googlemobile.blogspot.com/2009/07/google-product-search-for-mobile-now.html

[G] New Interface Thursday: Introducing spreadsheet editing

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Inside AdWords: New Interface Thursday: Introducing spreadsheet editing

Many advertisers use spreadsheets when managing their AdWords campaigns to streamline tasks such as changing bids, creating keyword lists, and adjusting destination URLs. As a result, we decided to work on a way for you to use spreadsheets directly in your account, and today this feature is available in the new AdWords interface.

You can access spreadsheet edit mode from the Keywords tab in any ad group. You'll find it under the More actions menu.


In the past, you might have used power posting to enter your keywords with bids and destination URLs. Now, with spreadsheet editing, you can accomplish the same tasks from a spreadsheet view. Even if you use another spreadsheet application, it's very easy to transfer your work into AdWords - simply copy and paste directly from your spreadsheet into your account.

Like in a spreadsheet, you can use formulas to edit your keywords and bids. For example, if you want your ad to show on the first page, but your bid is lower than the first page bid, you can set up a formula to address this.


Here, I've set my Max CPC to be 120% of the first page bid (Cell G2). To apply this to all of my keywords, I can just copy and paste. Keep in mind that only the values are saved back into AdWords, not the formulas.

Questions? Attend a new interface webinar tomorrow
We'll be holding another free webinar about the new AdWords interface tomorrow, July 10th at 11a.m. PDT. If you're looking to get up to speed quickly, it's a great way to spend an hour on Friday. If you can't make it tomorrow, we have one on Thursday, July 16th at 10a.m. PDT as well. You can register for either webinar on the New Interface Webinars site.

Posted by Emel Mutlu, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2009/07/new-interface-thursday-introducing.html

[G] Speeding up: Increasing your revenue potential

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Inside AdSense: Speeding up: Increasing your revenue potential

It's week four of our five-week educational series about speeding up your business in a slowdown, which we kicked off three weeks ago. Today, you'll hear tips from Mel Ann and Tim, two AdSense Optimization Specialists from our Sydney, Australia office as they take you through a complete optimization. The series will conclude next week with tips to attract more advertiser spend. Keep on commenting with your own suggestions for growing your business! You can also follow the series at www.google.com/ads/speedingup.

Mel Ann and Tim are two AdSense Optimization Specialists from the Google office in Sydney, who work with publishers to help them improve the performance of their ads. Today, they'll walk you through a 5-step process to optimize the AdSense ads on your sites, and will also share tips that many publishers have found successful.



Step 1: Analyze your webpages

The first step to a successful optimization is to analyze your webpages. Ask yourself the following questions as you think about where to place ads on your site:
  • What type of content do you have? People interact differently on articles, forum, and video sites, for example, so think about how people will be interacting on your site.
  • Where is visitor attention likely to be focused? You should place ads where your users are most likely to look, but as Ricardo Prada mentioned in week two of this series, make sure that they won't get in the way of users trying to complete tasks on your site.
  • How can you integrate ads into an area without getting in the way of your users? You can view a heat map we've put together showing where ads perform well, and keep in mind that above the fold ads and ads close to primary content tend perform better.
  • Don't forget to think about how advertisers would like to appear. If you can make your site more appealing to advertisers, while keeping the above tips in mind, you're more likely to be able to attract advertisers and placement targeted ads.
Step 2: Set up custom channels

Custom channels will help you figure out how different ad units are performing based on a number of variables you can choose, like placement, size, and color. Create a channel for individual ad units and categorize them to see how they're performing. For example, you can track your leaderboard and medium rectangle to see which performs better, and use this information in step four below. Custom channels will also allow you to track and measure results from your optimizations.

Step 3: Optimize your ad unit design and placement

The next step is to look at color, position, and size of your ad units and optimize these for user experience, advertiser experience, and performance. We've found that the medium rectangle (300 x 250), wide skyscraper (160 x 600), and the leaderboard (728 x 90) tend to perform best. You can also opt in to image ads to receive rich media and video ads, which tend to perform well too. It's important that you implement your ads in a consistent manner and in a way that is desirable to advertisers. Use colors effectively. Blend ads in, but not too much that users don't see them. Borderless ads tend to work well, as does highlighting the link and URL. Test different colors and placements, and then keep the changes that perform best.

Step 4: Maximize revenue from multiple units

We recommend adding multiple ad units to your pages, while still keeping the user experience in mind when deciding on placements. You can use custom channel reporting to determine which ad unit performs best, and structure your page to optimize performance based on that. The highest paying ad we have for your site will be shown in the first ad unit that shows up in your HTML code. If you have a leaderboard at the top, but learn with custom channel reporting that a medium rectangle halfway down the page is outperforming it in terms of CTR and eCPM, try putting the medium rectangle first in your HTML code. You can do this by switching the location in the HTML if you're comfortable editing the code, or by changing the actual location of the leaderboard on the page.

Step 5: Track and measure results

The last step is to understand whether your optimizations have made a difference. Here, use the custom channels you set up earlier to generate reports on your different ad units. Generate reports on your custom channels and group results by channel (remember, this depends on how you've set them up) to see how different sizes, colors, and placements are performing. You can also look at placement targeting reports to see which ad units are receiving placement-targeted ads, and if they've resulted in improved performance.

We hope these steps and tips are informative, and strongly encourage you to take the time to try an optimization on your own.

Additional Resources:
  • We'll be re-hosting the optimization webinar from last month again on Thursday, July 23 at 11am PST. Sign up if you're interested in attending.
  • You can also see valuable information in Analytics after linking your AdSense and Analytics accounts.
  • For more advanced optimization, you can use Website Optimizer to run live experiments based on ad placement, format and more.
Posted by Talia Brodecki - AdSense Product Marketing
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2009/07/speeding-up-increasing-your-revenue.html

[G] Video: Product Search for Webmasters

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Official Google Base Blog: Video: Product Search for Webmasters

As a member of the Google Developer team, I filmed a video about Google Product Search for our webmaster community. In it, I discuss the benefits of Product Search, suggest best practices when submitting a feed, and answer frequently asked questions such as:
  • Do listings expire after 30 days?
  • How often should I submit a feed?
  • How are different sites sorted in search results when there are multiple results for the same product?
  • Why doesn't Google badge PayPal accepting merchants as well as Checkout?
  • Does it help search rankings to add custom attributes to my product feeds?




Posted by Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead
URL: http://googlebase.blogspot.com/2009/07/video-product-search-for-webmasters.html

[G] Chris Anderson on the power of free

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Google Public Policy Blog: Chris Anderson on the power of free

Posted by Adam Kovacevich, Senior Manager, Global Communications and Public Affairs

There's been no shortage of discussion over Chris Anderson's new book Free, in which he makes the controversial claim that the future of business will be to give away content, products, and services. During his Google D.C. Talk earlier this week, Chris explained how new business models like freemium and other approaches to advertising will change the face of global commerce.

Check out video of the event on YouTube:



And as you might expect, Free is free -- at least online. Check it out on Google Books:

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2009/07/chris-anderson-on-power-of-free.html

[G] Google Earth Enterprise launches version 3.2, with APIs, historical imagery and sub-surface terrain

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Google LatLong: Google Earth Enterprise launches version 3.2, with APIs, historical imagery and sub-surface terrain

The latest version of Google Earth for businesses and government agencies, Google Earth Enterprise 3.2, is shipping out today with all sorts of updates and new features, like ocean imagery and Mercator tiles, to help organizations better navigate their geospatial data. Check out the details on the Google Enterprise blog.

Posted by Dylan Lorimer, Google Earth Enterprise Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/07/google-earth-enterprise-launches.html

[G] Google Earth Enterprise gets historical, two-dimensional, and nautical with version 3.2

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Earth Enterprise gets historical, two-dimensional, and nautical with version 3.2

We're constantly adding useful and interactive functionality to our enterprise products, and Google Earth Enterprise is no exception. Today we're announcing the latest release of Google Earth Enterprise: version 3.2. Google Earth Enterprise allows customers to build private globes on their secure networks using the same technology that powers the public Google Earth. Version 3.2 delivers new features that allow government agencies and other organizations to apply the recent advances in the public version of Google Earth, such as historical imagery and underwater terrain, to their own data and operations.

Version 3.2 gives Google Earth Enterprise users the option of using a browser to view and interact with their private globes using the Google Earth API. This delivers the same fast, familiar, 3-D navigation that users get from Google Earth – but within a web browser rather than the standard client.

Another new addition is historical imagery in Google Earth Enterprise, making it easy for employees to view how a place or region has changed over time. Many of our customers have archives of imagery of a property or point of interest taken over a series of days, years – even decades. The 3.2 release allows customers to time-stamp the imagery, tracking changes over time to provide a handy historical reference.

With the new release, customers also have the option to build Mercator imagery tiles for any 2-D maps they create with Google Earth Enterprise. Mercator is a commonly used conformal projection for viewing tiles in the browser. The new release allows customers to easily overlay their tiles on top of Google's basemap for a 2-dimensional mashup of their own internal data and Google's. (Thanks again to Gerardus Mercator and his great work on the Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio ad Usum Navigatium Emendate in 1569!)

We've also added support for Enterprise users to process their own sub-surface terrain data, also known as bathymetry – something we shared in the public Google Ocean launch in February 2009. Using the Earth API or latest Google Earth Enterprise client, you can now navigate below sea level to visualize that data in your organization's globe too.

Customers who want to access Google Earth Enterprise 3.2 can email enterprise-support@google.com for upgrade information. Not using GEE yet? See what Google Earth Enterprise has to offer.

Posted by Dylan Lorimer, Product Manager, Google Earth Enterprise
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2009/07/google-earth-enterprise-gets-historical.html

[G] University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Texas expand Google Books agreements

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Inside Google Books: University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Texas expand Google Books agreements

Posted by Tamar Fruchtman, Senior Corporate Counsel

In May, the University of Michigan announced an expanded agreement with Google that will take advantage of our settlement agreement to make millions of works from its library collection accessible to readers, researchers, and book lovers across the United States.

Today, two more longstanding library partners--the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Texas--have also expanded their partnerships with Google. That means that if the agreement is approved by the court, anyone in the US will be able to find, preview and buy online access to books from these two libraries as well. This includes gems from Wisconsin's Native American collection and from UT-Austin's Benson Latin American collection.

Google was founded on the principle of making information more accessible to more people, so we're excited that UW-Madison and UT have joined in our efforts to bring these books to more people around the country. You can read more at the UW-Madison and UT-Austin websites.
URL: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2009/07/university-of-wisconsin-madison-and.html

[G] Tip: Recover your password via text message

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Official Gmail Blog: Tip: Recover your password via text message

Posted by Posted by Cristelle Blackford, Online Operations Strategist

Even the best of us forget our passwords from time to time. In fact, recovering passwords is one of the top reasons people visit the Gmail Help Center. To help with these situations, we recently added the ability to recover your password via text message.

To turn this on for your account, just sign in, select 'Change Password Recovery Options,' enter your cell phone number and click 'Save.'

Next time you forget your password, enter your username on the password-assistance page, and Google will text you a recovery code. No need to check another email account or even leave the page.

In general, it's a good idea to add as many password recovery options to your Google Account as possible, like a secondary email address and security question. And don't forget to keep them up-to-date.

URL: http://gmailblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/tip-recover-your-password-via-text.html

[G] Take a ride with LA Metro in Google Transit

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Google LatLong: Take a ride with LA Metro in Google Transit


The Los Angeles region is widely known for its extreme traffic, and a study released just this week by the Texas Transportation Institute reports that LA has the most significant congestion in the United States. It goes on to estimate that commuters in LA spent 485 million hours idling in traffic, wasting 367 million gallons of gas.

However, Los Angeles also has an extensive public transit network, operated by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), and today we're excited to introduce them as the newest addition to Google Transit. Metro operates 5 rail lines and nearly 200 bus lines within Los Angeles County, logging an average of 1.5 million weekday boardings.

As a part of Google Transit, Metro's itineraries will now appear as an alternative with the "Take Public Transit" link when a user searches for driving directions within their service area to remind commuters of the availability of public transit. Turning on the Traffic layer in Google Maps to get an idea of what congestion awaits may provide even more motivation to try take advantage of Metro!


Los Angeles welcomed 4.7 million international visitors last year, so the ability to use the familiar Google Maps interface in a native language is another great benefit to tourists and potential Metro passengers. This announcement of Metro's participation in Google Transit also comes just a few weeks after they published their GTFS data to their developer site, so we hope to see more creative applications take advantage of the developer tools Metro provides.

Whether Metro's inclusion in Google Transit helps people discover the availability of public transit in LA, or makes it easier for people to plan their transit itineraries, we're excited to have such a large agency on board and hope it will help beat some of the infamous LA traffic.

Posted by Jessica Wei, Strategic Partner Development Manager, Google Transit
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/07/take-ride-with-la-metro-in-google.html

[G] The blue circle comes to your desktop

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Google LatLong: The blue circle comes to your desktop


If you've used Google Maps for mobile, you'll be familiar with My Location. With single click of a button, your approximate location is shown on the map with a blue circle. Wouldn't it be great if that same feature was available in Google Maps on your desktop or laptop computer?

Today we're excited to announce exactly that, the launch of My Location for Google Maps.

When you visit Google Maps with a supported web browser, you'll see a new My Location button in the top left corner of the map. Simply click the button to center the map to your approximate location. If your location can be determined accurately enough, it's shown with a blue circle, just like on Google Maps for Mobile. Click the button again to remove the blue circle, or to re-center the map after you've moved it away.

My Location is a great way to start exploring the map around you, and perfect for working out where you are when you're away from home. For example, if you've just arrived in an unfamiliar city, My Location is a handy way to view the map around you, even if you don't know the street address. You can find things to do nearby or work out the best way to get where you need to go. Even when you're somewhere familiar, My Location is a convenient way to open the map 'on the right page'.

To obtain your location, Google Maps takes advantage of the W3C Geolocation API standard. The Geolocation API is a new feature available in the latest web browsers which allows any website to access your current location. If you use Internet Explorer, you might be familiar with My Location in Google Toolbar, which is able to provide your location in Google Maps, but this is limited to Internet Explorer. Using the new Geolocation API allows My Location to work in any browser that provides the feature. Currently, you can use My Location in Google Maps if you use Google Chrome, Firefox 3.5 or any other web browser with Gears installed. We hope to support other browsers soon too. You won't see the My Location button on browsers that don't support the feature.

So how does it work? When you activate the My Location feature, Google Maps asks your web browser for your location. Typically, your browser uses information about the Wi-Fi access points around you to estimate your location. If no Wi-Fi access points are in range, or your computer doesn't have Wi-Fi, it may resort to using your computer's IP address to get an approximate location. As you'd expect, the accuracy of My Location varies with your location, and in some cases, Google Maps may not be able to provide a location at all.

Google takes privacy very seriously, so your location will never be used without your permission. The first time you use My Location on Google Maps, you'll be asked to confirm that you're happy to share your location with Google Maps, and you can always undo your decision. See the help center article on Privacy and My Location for more information about how your location is used.

So visit Google Maps, click the My Location button, and start exploring the map around you!

Posted by Steve Block, Software Engineer and Noam Ben Haim, Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2009/07/blue-circle-comes-to-your-desktop.html