Saturday, January 15, 2011

[G] 45º imagery update for various U.S. cities

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Google LatLong: 45º imagery update for various U.S. cities


We’re now well into the new year, and to kick off 2011, the Geo Imagery team has just rolled out some refreshed 45° imagery for a number of places in the United States. So whether you already miss the places you may have visited over the holiday season, or you’re looking for new vacation spots to travel to this year, you can now escape the winter weather and check them out virtually from the comfort of your warm and dry home.

Did you ever want to spend an afternoon sailing on a tall ship? Well if you happen to be in Norfolk, VA you can give the American Rover Tall Ship a try.

American Rover Tall Ship, Norfolk, Virginia

If you’re not into ships, then you might be interested in the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Tucson, AZ where you can check out the beautiful nighttime sky.

Kitt Peak Observatory, Tucson Arizona

If you just want to relax and have a good time, consider having a loot at New Orleans. Mardi Gras is only a few months away!

Bourbon Street, New Orleans, Louisiana

And fans of art can visit the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Salvador Dali’s Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida

We wish you well as you embark on your virtual trips around the U.S. viewing these and other interesting sites. And stay tuned because there’s plenty more to come in 2011!

Full list of cities that’ve been updated:
Albuquerque, NM
Contra Costa County, CA
Escondido, CA
Long Beach, CA
Norfolk, VA
New Orleans, LA
San Antonio, TX
St Petersburg, FL
Tucson, AZ
Van Nuys, CA

Posted by Wayne Thai, Geo Data Strategist
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/01/45-imagery-update-for-various-us-cities.html

[G] Site maintenance on Saturday, January 15

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Inside AdSense: Site maintenance on Saturday, January 15

This Saturday, our engineers will be performing routine site maintenance from 10am to 2pm PST. You'll be unable to log in to your AdSense account during this time, but we'll continue serving ads to your pages and tracking your clicks, impressions, and earnings as usual. In addition, your ad targeting won't be affected.

We've converted the maintenance start time for a few cities around the world:

London - 6pm Saturday
Alexandria - 8pm Saturday
Hyderabad - 11:30pm Saturday
Jakarta - 1am Sunday
Perth - 2am Sunday

To learn more about what goes on during these maintenance periods, check out this Inside AdSense post.

Posted by Katrina Kurnit - Inside AdSense team
URL: http://adsense.blogspot.com/2011/01/site-maintenance-on-saturday-january-15.html

Friday, January 14, 2011

[G] OSUOSL’s Code-in results are in!

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Google Open Source Blog: OSUOSL’s Code-in results are in!

The Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSL) participated for the first time in the Google Code-in contest, and we're pleased to report that the results of the contest were incredibly valuable for us. We had eight students actively working with us during the contest, from as far afield as Australia and Poland. Of these eight students, two have let us know they plan to keep working on projects with the OSL and one even let us know that he's hoping to attend Oregon State University so he can learn even more about open source and help out at the lab.

We had a total of 42 tasks completed, all improvements to Ganeti Web Manager, a homegrown project of the OSL. For those who aren't familiar with the project, it's a Django based web application that helps administrators better manage their Ganeti-based clusters. Our students completed a total of 42 tasks: 23 coding tasks, 18 user interface tasks, and one outreach task (logo design). We were especially excited that our students found several unknown bugs in our code base and proceeded to send us fixes for them. You can take a look at all of the tasks proposed by the Lab and all those completed by our students on the contest website.

As a result of participating in Google Code-in, several major features were implemented in Ganeti Web Manager, including:

HTML5 VNC Support
Creating a Status Dashboard for Administrators and Users
Creating an Object Change Log

Of all these major features, creating the status dashboard was the most difficult of our tasks. We required a very concise layout for the feature and the student working on the task was not a native English speaker, but he did an outstanding job. In fact, if you'd like to get to know the student who worked on the dashboard, we've already published an interview with Piotr for your reading pleasure.

Overall, we were incredibly excited to be a part of Google Code-in and extremely pleased with our results. We certainly hope to continue mentoring for the contest, assuming Google chooses to run it once again. Many thanks to all of our students for their great work and many thanks to Google for doing awesome work to promote student involvement in open source! A full post about the OSL’s experience with Google Code-in is available on the OSL blog.

By Leslie Hawthorn, OSUOSL Open Source Outreach Manager
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2011/01/osuosls-code-in-results-are-in.html

[G] Chrome enables open innovation

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Google Open Source Blog: Chrome enables open innovation

Earlier this week, Google announced that Chrome’s HTML5 <video> support will change to match codecs supported by the open source Chromium project. Chrome will support the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and support for the H.264 codec will be removed so that resources can be directed completely towards open codec technologies. This is in line with Google’s continued support of the open web.

For more information, check out the original post.

By Ellen Ko, Open Source Team
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2011/01/chrome-enables-open-innovation.html

[G] This week in search 1/14/2011

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Official Google Blog: This week in search 1/14/2011

This is part of a regular series of posts on search experience updates that runs on Fridays. Look for the label "This week in search" and subscribe to the series. - Ed.

We’re back in action after a lovely holiday season, and this week we’ve made a few changes to help you find music videos and refine your searches. We also announced World IPv6 Day, which will help ensure Google can continue giving you fast, relevant search results for generations to come.

Better results for music videos
People often come to Google to find music videos, and this week we improved our results so now when you’re searching for your favorite band or album, you’ll find popular clips organized in a new way. For example, search for [michael jackson] and you’ll find some of the King of Pop’s most famous videos, including clear text indicating the length of the video, the album and the year it was published. The feature scans the entire web for video content and algorithmically ranks the best sources for each song. Rather than return repetitive links, we group results for the same song together, making it easier to scan and choose the song you’re looking for. Try searching for [green day], [maroon 5] or [beyonce] (for one of the best videos of all time!).


Google’s left-hand panel in Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew
This week we expanded Google’s panel of search tools to Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew, enabling people who read right-to-left languages to access a dynamic set of search tools. Now Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew speaking users can refine their searches by content type (Images, Videos, News) or date, and easily access special views like the Wonder Wheel and Timeline. We can’t call it the “left-hand panel” of search tools, because the panel is actually on the right!


World IPv6 Day
The Internet is bursting at the seams with limited address space, and IPv6 is the best solution to the problem. We have offered search over IPv6 since early 2008, but today only 0.2% of Internet users have native IPv6 connectivity. So on Wednesday, we came together with the Internet Society and other major websites to announce World IPv6 Day, the first global trial for the next generation Internet protocol. On June 8, 2011, Google and other companies will enable IPv6 on their services (including Google Search) for IPv6 for 24 hours. The trial will help motivate companies across the industry to prepare for the transition and ensure Google and the web as we know it can continue to thrive.

Posted by Ben Gomes, Distinguished Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/this-week-in-search-1142011.html

[G] Partners, please join us for the first virtual meetup

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YouTube Blog: Partners, please join us for the first virtual meetup

January is a generally a cold month, so rather than getting out your winter coat and travelling to a partner meetup, we thought we’d kick off 2011 with live event on the YouTube channel. This meetup will be product-focused and near and dear to many of your wallets: we’ll cover how to make money on YouTube, advertising options, and some new innovations coming your way soon.

YouTube Product Manager Phil Farhi will be leading the discussion, so make sure to round up all your money- and ad-related questions on the YouTube channel now. You’ve got until Monday, January 17, to submit your question, and then we encourage you to watch what Phil’s got to say during the live event.

Date: Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Time: 2 p.m. PST
Web address: Live streaming at www.youtube.com/YouTube

During the stream, you’ll be able to ask follow-up questions via Twitter using the hashtag #YTPartner. We’ll monitor these tweets and address as many questions as we can during the live stream.

Looking forward to meeting up online!

Margaret Healy, Strategic Partner Manager, recently watched “Kauai - The Lost World - Canon 5D Mark II.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/fpi0ESgNjQE/partners-please-join-us-for-first.html

[G] Destination: Dial Tone -- Getting Google Apps to 99.99%

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Destination: Dial Tone -- Getting Google Apps to 99.99%

People expect email to be as reliable as their phone's dial tone, and our goal is to deliver that kind of always-on availability with our applications. It's been a couple years since we blogged about the reliability of Gmail, so we thought we'd share some changes to our Google Apps service level agreement (SLA) and some new data.

Strengthening our SLA
We're pleased to make a couple changes that improve our SLA for our customers. Unlike most providers, we don't plan for our users to be down, even when we're upgrading our services or maintaining our systems. For that reason, we're removing the SLA clause that allows for scheduled downtime. Going forward, all downtime will be counted and applied towards the customer's SLA. We are the first major cloud provider to eliminate maintenance windows from their service level agreement.

We're also amending our SLA so that any intermittent downtime is counted. Previously, a period of less than ten minutes was not included. We believe any instance that causes our users to experience downtime should be avoided -- period.

Gmail: 99.984%
In 2010, Gmail was available 99.984 percent of the time, for both business and consumer users. 99.984 percent translates to seven minutes of downtime per month over the last year. That seven-minute average represents the accumulation of small delays of a few seconds, and most people experienced no issues at all. For those few who were disrupted for a longer period of time, we're very sorry, and Google Apps for Business customers received compensation where appropriate. We're particularly pleased with this level of reliability since it was accomplished without any planned downtime while launching 30 new features and adding tens of millions of active users.

Seven minutes of downtime compares very favorably with on-premises email, which is subject to much higher rates of interruption that hurt employee productivity. The latest research from the Radicati Group found that on-premises email averaged 3.8 hours of downtime per month. In comparison to Radicati's metrics for on-premises email, our calculations suggest that Gmail is 32 times more reliable than the average email system, and 46 times more available than Microsoft Exchange®.1


Fortunately Microsoft Exchange® customers can still benefit from the reliability of Gmail with Google Message Continuity. Comparable data for Microsoft BPOS® is unavailable, though their service notifications show 113 incidents in 2010: 74 unplanned outages, and 33 days with planned downtime.

Email is much more complex than your home phone, so making it as reliable as the dial tone is no mean feat. Despite our best efforts, we will have outages in the future. But we're proud of our track record so far and we're working hard to make it even better. Every time you reach for your phone you expect it to work. And we believe that is a worthwhile benchmark.

1. The Radicati Group, 2010. "Corporate IT Survey – Messaging & Collaboration, 2010-2011"

Posted by Matthew Glotzbach, Google Enterprise Product Management Director

Update: clarification added to fifth paragraph.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/01/destination-dial-tone-getting-google.html

[G] Conquer tax season with integrated finance apps from the Google Apps Marketplace

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Conquer tax season with integrated finance apps from the Google Apps Marketplace

Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of posts on apps or topics in the Google Apps Marketplace that have caught our eye here at Google. We’ll do this every so often as we see things we'd like to share. Look for the label "marketplace highlights" and subscribe to the series if you'd like to stay tuned.

As we work our way into the new year, we recognize that tax season can be very difficult for businesses. Face this tax season with ease and confidence by attending a live webinar and Q&A on using integrated finance apps from the Google Apps Marketplace - featuring Shoeboxed, Harvest, and Outright.

   Using applications from the Google Apps Marketplace to conquer tax season
   Wednesday, January 26, 2011
   11:00 a.m. PST / 2:00 p.m. EST
   Register here

With dozens of Marketplace accounting and finance apps, you can customize solutions to your business’s specific needs. Each application integrates with Google Apps and provides single sign-on convenience and access through the Google universal navigation bar.

For example, here’s one way your business might cut down the work of tax season this year by using Marketplace apps to organize financial documents, streamline invoicing, and aggregate accounting information.

Digitize your important documents
If you’ve been putting off the tedious task of organizing your receipts, Shoeboxed can help. Send your receipts to them inside a provided postage-paid envelope and within a few days, Shoeboxed will transform your paper clutter into a secure, searchable, IRS-accepted online database. Shoeboxed also offers a variety of export options and integrates with various tax applications. By using Shoeboxed now, you can get your receipts in order before the April 15th tax deadline.

Simplify invoicing and billing to easily monitor cash flow
It’s also easy to seamlessly manage your accounts payables and receivables with the Apps Marketplace. For example, Harvest helps you create and track invoices and set up retainers for clients and projects. Other features such as multi-currency support, automated reminders and online payment help you get paid faster. Harvest also offers a contextual gadget in Gmail to streamline invoicing activities.

Prepare your finances for tax time
When it comes to aggregating your financials to prep for tax time, there are several options, including Outright. Outright automates the accounting process, provides key financial reports and tracks where your money is going by integrating with Google Apps, Shoeboxed, Harvest, your bank account and other sources. At tax time, Outright calculates any estimated taxes you owe and pre-populates your annual tax form, the IRS Schedule C. It also provides helpful alerts that integrate into your Google Calendar to keep you apprised of upcoming deadlines.

In addition to Shoeboxed, Harvest and Outright, the Apps Marketplace offers your business many other applications that can satisfy your accounting and finance needs.

Invoicing/Billing
Freshbooks
Zoho Invoice
Invoicera
Bill.com
Invoic€xpress
WorkingPoint
Harvest

Accounting
Yendo Accounts
FreeAgent
Rhino Accouting
Kashoo.com
Outright

ERP
MyERP.com
Brightpearl
ERPLY

Expense Reporting
Expensify
Concur Breeze
Yendo Expenses
Shoeboxed

Try out these apps Google Apps Marketplace and make this tax season a breeze.

Posted by Harrison Shih, Product Marketing, Google Apps Marketplace
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/01/conquer-tax-season-with-integrated.html

[G] Auto industry off to a fast start in the Motor City

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Official Google Blog: Auto industry off to a fast start in the Motor City

After years of challenges, the news out of Detroit this week has automobile industry experts hopeful for a strong 2011. The 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit kicked off this week and as the world’s attention is on the Motor City, we thought it was time to take a closer look at what consumers are most interested in as it applies to cars and trucks.

Google’s North American Auto Team, headquartered out of Detroit with teams in NYC and California, works with auto makers, parts suppliers and agencies across the country to help market their latest and greatest. Like everyone else, we’re hopeful for a continued recovery across the industry and continue to be impressed by our clients’ creativity and innovation. NADA’s (National Automobile Dealers Association) chief economist Paul Taylor put it best when he recently said, “A revitalized auto industry benefits everyone—every consumer, every dealer and every manufacturer."

Each January, as the North American International Auto Show opens, we see a surge in searches related to new car models (the Hyundai Curb, for example) leading to a peak of interest in the summer—due in large part to special offers—and this year is no exception. Using Insights for Search, let’s take a closer look at what consumers are interested in and what the world is searching for in cars and trucks.

Over the last 30 days in the U.S., Ford tops the list of search queries in the entire automotive brand category, followed by BMW, Audi and Nissan.


Consumers and car shoppers in the United States are also searching for vehicles featured in movies, music and video games. Specifically, searches for [jeep black ops]—a vehicle featured in the video game “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” released in November—recently saw record highs. And with the release of the feature film “Green Hornet,” searches in the automotive category for both [green hornet] and [black beauty], the name of the car in the movie, are at record levels. Searches for [chrysler imperial] (the make of the Black Beauty) are also making a comeback. Finally, searches for [aston martin] and [aston martin music] are breakout terms, perhaps due to the hip-hop song “Aston Martin Music” by Rick Ross.


With more than 700 new car models on display (including the new Audi A8 with built-in Google Earth navigation) at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show and headed to dealer showrooms, consumers will have unprecedented choices in what they can drive this year. At the Detroit Show, auto makers from Detroit and abroad are showing off all-new sedans, sports cars, trucks and SUVs, led by the Chevrolet Volt which was named Car of the Year and the all-new Ford Explorer—which won 2011 Truck of the Year at the show. But based on data from Insights for Search, 2011 appears poised to be the year of the “crossover.” Consumer interest in the category has steadily risen over the past few years and some of the hottest car models in search—like [nissan juke], [honda crosstour] and [mitsubishi outlander]—are all crossovers.


Other trends may bode well for the auto industry in America. Searches in the auto financing subcategory for January 2009 through December of 2010 show a steady decrease in popularity in auto financing-related terms like [lease], [car loan] and [car calculator]—a signal that some interpret to mean financing of cars may not be a hurdle like it has been in past years.


At the other end of the purchase spectrum, luxury car and truck brands saw a smaller dip than other auto segments the past few years. Luxury buyers aren’t waiting for deals; rather, they’re looking to upgrade, and smart marketers are connecting with these shoppers. Factors like safety and entertainment drive purchases for luxury car buyers more than price and financing. Interestingly, in the luxury market, consumers are doing their car-buying research from their mobile phones. In fact, according to our latest research, 8% of luxury buyers used a mobile phone at the very beginning of their car buying research, 43% of luxury buyers used a mobile phone in the middle of their search and 28% of luxury buyers used a mobile phone at the very end of their car buying search. Savvy marketers like BMW, Mercedes Benz, Audi and Infiniti are capitalizing on the opportunity as they target specific marketing campaigns to consumers and car shoppers mobile devices.

And finally, our data reveals that searches for [minivan] were up year over year—perhaps thanks to the creative folks over at Toyota and their “Swagger Wagon.” Although still not considered hip by everyone, it seems that predictions of a minivan comeback were right on target.



2011 is shaping up to be comeback year for not just Detroit, but for the entire auto industry. As a third generation Detroit-based automotive industry worker, I couldn’t be more excited for the future of Auto. The auto business is a great place to work and we have better things ahead of us. As the Motown great Stevie Wonder once said, “No one's gonna bring us down, oh no, 'til we reach our highest ground.”

Posted by Michelle Morris, Industry Director, Google Automotive (and Detroit native)
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/auto-industry-off-to-fast-start-in.html

[G] MLK Day 2011: a day for community service

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Official Google Blog: MLK Day 2011: a day for community service

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Next Monday, January 17, marks the 25th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. We join Americans in celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. King as a company-recognized holiday. You may not know that Martin Luther King Day is not only a federal holiday, but also a national day of service. In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, which encourages citizens to volunteer on that day.

This MLK Day, many Google employees are participating in service projects from coast to coast. We’re also joining the Corporation for National & Community Service, a Google Grants recipient, to spread the word about volunteering opportunities around the country. On their MLKDay.gov site you can learn about the King Day of Service and find a project in your area. Projects include delivering meals, refurbishing schools and community centers, collecting food and clothing, signing up mentors, reading to children, promoting nonviolence and more. Many of these projects start on King Day and last throughout the year.

Together, let’s make Martin Luther King Jr. Day “a day on, not a day off.”

Posted by Tolu Thomas on behalf of the MLK Day Volunteer Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/mlk-day-2011-day-for-community-service.html

[G] This Week's Trends: Duets, Floods, & Jersey Shore

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YouTube Blog: This Week's Trends: Duets, Floods, & Jersey Shore

Each weekday, we at YouTube Trends take a look at the most interesting videos and cultural trends on YouTube as they develop. Right now, we want to highlight some of the cool stuff we've come across recently:







Check back every day for the latest about what's trending on YouTube at:



www.YouTube.com/Trends



Kevin Allocca, YouTube Trends Manager, recently watched "Elizabeth Hughes, 8 years old, National Anthem"


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/KqiHZ4ayqEI/this-weeks-trends-duets-floods-jersey.html

[G] Rebuilding L’Aquila in 3D with Google SketchUp

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Official Google Blog: Rebuilding L’Aquila in 3D with Google SketchUp

(Cross-posted from the SketchUp Blog)

On April 6, 2009, a powerful earthquake struck l’Aquila, Italy. Three hundred and eight people died, and most of the buildings in the city center and surrounding areas were damaged or destroyed. About six months ago, we received an email from a British architect named Barnaby Gunning proposing an ambitious project: to use Google SketchUp to build a digital 3D model of the city, as it is now, in order to stimulate discussion about its reconstruction. He had already created a website—called Comefacciamo ("What can we do?")—to contact and organize volunteers.

Barnaby Gunning with the project T-shirt

Barnaby asked if Google would support a geo-modeling workshop in L’Aquila in an effort to create a digital model of the city. An engineer working on SketchUp and an Italian by birth, I was asked to travel to L’Aquila and give geo-modeling classes in Italian. I was excited! I could visit my motherland, teach people about the product I work on and help out with a project that could have a great impact on reviving the city. I ended up teaching six full-day classes over the course of two trips in October and November.


Teaching Google SketchUp skills to volunteers in L’Aquila

Teaching in Italian about a product on which I work almost exclusively in English proved to be more challenging than I thought. It took me awhile to get used to using the correct Italian name for the Push/Pull tool: Spingi-Tira. (It’s more fun to say, though.) The passionate volunteers who attended my classes more than made up for the language frustrations. Not only were they interested and attentive learners, but their desire to do something for their beloved city was contagious.


The church Santa Maria Paganica in real life (top) and modeled with SketchUp in Google Earth (below).

The modeling phase of the project is now in full swing. Several of the volunteers’ models have already been accepted into Google Earth—you can see them in your browser if you like. You can even take part in the project by helping to model the city from wherever you live. We’ve added L’Aquila to the list of places where you can use Google Building Maker to create geo-models, so no previous 3D modeling experience is necessary. If you’d like to dive in a little deeper, you can use SketchUp in connection with the many photos and other information on Barnaby’s website.

My few days in l’Aquila teaching SketchUp proved to be a fantastic experience. I met so many people who are enthusiastic about this project and willing to sacrifice their weekends to learn how to model, and to provide an exhaustive photographic record of the current situation. The time I spent with them was a wonderful remainder of the love they feel for their city—a love that I now share. I count myself lucky to be a participant in this important project.

Posted by Simone Nicolò, SketchUp Software Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/rebuilding-laquila-in-3d-with-google.html

[G] AdWords system maintenance on January 15

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Inside AdWords: AdWords system maintenance on January 15

On Saturday, January 15, the AdWords system will be unavailable from approximately 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PST due to our regularly scheduled system maintenance. While you won't be able to log into your account during this time, your campaigns will continue to run as usual.

AdWords system maintenance typically occurs on the second Saturday of each month during the above times. We'll continue to update you here as we always have, but you may want to take note of our intended dates and times to help you plan for any scheduled downtimes further down the road.

Posted by Gordon Zhu, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/01/adwords-system-maintenance-on-january.html

[G] Contextual targeting just got easier for your display campaigns

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Inside AdWords: Contextual targeting just got easier for your display campaigns

This week, we’re launching the Contextual Targeting Tool to help you more easily reach customers as they spend time on millions of sites in the Google Display Network.

As you may already know, contextual targeting helps you reach potential customers as they read webpages related to your products or services. Now, with this tool, you can create contextually-targeted campaigns more easily and quickly, while generating more clicks and conversions for your campaigns.

What does the Contextual Targeting Tool do?
This tool automatically builds keyword lists that can be used to show your ads on relevant webpages in the Google Display Network. Tightly-themed keyword lists are the basis of effective contextual targeting, and with the Contextual Targeting Tool, you no longer have to build them manually. In minutes, you can build dozens, even hundreds, of keyword lists, scaling your campaign performance while ensuring accurate targeting for your ads. This means you can get more clicks and conversions for your campaigns and you can do it more quickly.

How do I use it?

Let’s say you sell soccer equipment and gear. Normally, you'd have to build out separate ad groups for each of your product lines, like soccer gear, soccer balls, soccer cleats, etc. With the Contextual Targeting Tool, simply type each product category into the search box, and the tool will automatically generate tightly-themed keyword lists for you. For example, when you enter soccer gear into the tool, you get more specific ad groups, such as youth soccer gear, discount soccer gear, soccer uniforms, soccer bags, etc.

These new ad groups can help you get additional traffic and sales, as you may not think of creating them when manually building out your campaigns. Along with the new ad groups, the tool provides suggested bids and predicted placements to give you an idea of the types of sites in the Display Network where your ads can appear.

The Contextual Targeting Tool has been available to advertisers using AdWords Editor. This week, all advertisers will be able to access it from the Opportunities tab in their AdWords account. You'll still need AdWords Editor to implement the ad groups in your account for now (download AdWords Editor). However, this requirement will be lifted and you’ll be able to implement new ad groups directly from your AdWords account in the coming months.

You can learn more about using the Contextual Targeting Tool by watching this video. We hope this tool will help you more easily and efficiently reach your goals with your Display Network campaigns.


Posted by Nathania Lozada, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/01/contextual-targeting-just-got-easier.html

[G] Serving enhancement for Ad Sitelinks

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Inside AdWords: Serving enhancement for Ad Sitelinks

Over a year ago, we launched Ad Sitelinks on Google.com as way to help you enhance your top-performing ads with additional relevant information. The results for Ad Sitelinks have been stunning, with the two-line format increasing clickthrough rates, on average, by over 30%.

We’ve also been impressed by your creativity. Since we launched Ad Sitelinks, we’ve seen you employ many different strategies when deciding which links to use in your ads. A willingness to test and experiment with different links has helped some advertisers, like Nationwide Insurance, get results that blow past the network average.

To help you get the most from Ad Sitelinks, we’re launching a serving enhancement designed to help improve your overall performance. In the past, we simply used the order in which you entered your Sitelinks to rank which ones to serve. For example, while you could enter up to ten Sitelinks for a campaign, we primarily used the top four for any ad in the campaign (as long as they met our policy guidelines).

We received requests from many of you to improve this logic by automatically determining which Sitelinks to show based on historical performance. We’re happy to say that, starting today, that’s exactly what we’re doing. Now, we’ll be using the historical performance of your Sitelinks to determine which ones to serve.

With this new serving enhancement, AdWords will automatically rotate your Sitelinks and show the ones with the best clickthrough rates more frequently. We’ll do this optimization at the ad group level, which means that although you’ll continue to set Ad Sitelinks at the campaign level, we’ll optimize which Sitelinks to show based on their performance for each ad group.

To make sure that you’re getting the most from Ad Sitelinks, check for the following:
  1. Make sure that you have more than four Sitelinks entered so that we have options to rotate and optimize.
  2. Include several shorter Sitelinks in your list, since our one-line Sitelinks format has a lower overall character limit than the two-line format.
  3. Continue to rank your Sitelinks in priority order. We’ll continue to use your rank order as a factor, in addition to historical performance, when determining which Sitelinks to show with your ad.

To learn how to get started with Ad Sitelinks, visit this link in the AdWords Help Center.

Posted by Lisa Shieh, Inside AdWords crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/01/serving-enhancement-for-ad-sitelinks.html

[G] Using Google AdSense to Complement Your AdWords Account

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Inside AdWords: Using Google AdSense to Complement Your AdWords Account

As AdWords users, you know how effective AdWords can be in driving traffic to your website and how it can turn curious visitors into regular customers. But since not every visit leads to a sale, wouldn’t it be great to have other ways of making money from those visits?

Google AdSense is a free program that helps you earn revenue by displaying relevant ads on your site. We give you a piece of code to put on your site, you choose where to place ads, and you earn revenue when visitors click on them. (To learn more about Google AdSense, watch this video.)

DesignerApparel.com is an AdWords and AdSense client that has had great success using these two products together. DesignerApparel.com offers premium designer clothes at affordable prices. They implemented AdSense for Content and AdSense for Search and specifically targeted certain pages within their site. DesignerApparel.com had complete control over what types of ads appeared.


“We have come to think of AdSense revenue as a partial but instant rebate on our AdWords investment,” said Dominic Ang, President of MyPerfectSale.com, the owner of DesignerApparel.com. “While we were initially concerned about potential cannibalization, we have found out that using certain spots for AdSense such as the end of a page or in exit pages can drive significant additional revenue with no loss in our core e-commerce revenue."

To try Google AdSense, visit our homepage or sign up for an account. You can also learn more about Google AdSense here and find the latest news and tips on our nifty AdSense blog.

Posted by Lisa Shieh, Inside AdWords crew, and Jennifer Bahk, AdSense team
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/01/using-google-adsense-to-complement-your.html

Thursday, January 13, 2011

[G] Rebuilding L’Aquila in 3D with Google SketchUp

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Google LatLong: Rebuilding L’Aquila in 3D with Google SketchUp

(Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog)

On April 6, 2009, a powerful earthquake struck l’Aquila, Italy. Three hundred and eight people died, and most of the buildings in the city center and surrounding areas were damaged or destroyed. About six months ago, we received an email from a British architect named Barnaby Gunning proposing an ambitious project: to use Google SketchUp to build a digital 3D model of the city, as it is now, in order to stimulate discussion about its reconstruction. He had already created a website—called Comefacciamo ("What can we do?")—to contact and organize volunteers.


Barnaby Gunning with the project T-shirt

Barnaby asked if Google would support a geo-modeling workshop in L’Aquila in an effort to create a digital model of the city. An engineer working on SketchUp and an Italian by birth, I was asked to travel to L’Aquila and give geo-modeling classes in Italian. I was excited! I could visit my motherland, teach people about the product I work on and help out with a project that could have a great impact on reviving the city. I ended up teaching six full-day classes over the course of two trips in October and November.


Teaching Google SketchUp skills to volunteers in L’Aquila

Teaching in Italian about a product on which I work almost exclusively in English proved to be more challenging than I thought. It took me awhile to get used to using the correct Italian name for the Push/Pull tool: Spingi-Tira. (It’s more fun to say, though.) The passionate volunteers who attended my classes more than made up for the language frustrations. Not only were they interested and attentive learners, but their desire to do something for their beloved city was contagious.


The church Santa Maria Paganica in real life (top) and modeled with SketchUp in Google Earth (below).

The modeling phase of the project is now in full swing. Several of the volunteers’ models have already been accepted into Google Earth—you can see them in your browser if you like. You can even take part in the project by helping to model the city from wherever you live. We’ve added L’Aquila to the list of places where you can use Google Building Maker to create geo-models, so no previous 3D modeling experience is necessary. If you’d like to dive in a little deeper, you can use SketchUp in connection with the many photos and other information on Barnaby’s website.

My few days in l’Aquila teaching SketchUp proved to be a fantastic experience. I met so many people who are enthusiastic about this project and willing to sacrifice their weekends to learn how to model, and to provide an exhaustive photographic record of the current situation. The time I spent with them was a wonderful remainder of the love they feel for their city—a love that I now share. I count myself lucky to be a participant in this important project.

Posted by Simone Nicolò, SketchUp Software Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/01/rebuilding-laquila-in-3d-with-google.html

[G] Haiti, one year after the earthquake

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Google LatLong: Haiti, one year after the earthquake

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

It’s been one year since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, and governments and NGOs are continuing to respond, many using high-resolution images of the area. To support these efforts, we’ve updated our aerial imagery in Google Earth of the Port-au-Prince area to include images from before and after the earthquake, as well as made updates throughout 2010. These pictures provide an evolving view of the movement of people, supplies and rubble.


To access this imagery directly, use the Historical Imagery feature of Google Earth.

Complementing our online efforts with this imagery, a webpage and crisis response tools such as Person Finder, Google has made an effort to contribute to relief in Haiti by providing technical and financial support to NGOs. These organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Partners in Health and specific technology NGOs such as Samasource and Frontline SMS continue to help the Haitian people. We’ve looked to them to help us guide our ongoing response to this crisis.

In November, we gathered updated aerial imagery, and sent a second wave of Google teams to Haiti to evaluate our earlier response efforts and see where Google could continue to provide help. We met with local Haitians and technology NGOs under tents, in trailers, in Internet cafes and at restaurants.

From these visits we witnessed the difficulty involved in using our mapping tools under the unpredictable nature of the Internet in Haiti, and so have focused on developing better offline capabilities and have proposed ideas for improving overall Internet access in Haiti. We also ran training for aid workers on our collaborative tools like Google Apps, which can help coordinate resources. While there, we spent time understanding how NGOs are combating the cholera epidemic, and brainstorming tools that could help aid workers produce specialized maps of epidemic case data and chlorination levels at water points, which are critical for planning and prevention.

If you’re interested in helping with Google’s efforts in Haiti, you can:
Our experience and the updated imagery demonstrate that there are still significant needs on the ground in Haiti. We’re continuing our efforts to support locals and NGOs and look forward to seeing how technology will continue to help both Haitians and victims of disasters worldwide.

Posted by Prem Ramaswami, Product Manager, on behalf of Google Crisis Response
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/01/haiti-one-year-after-earthquake.html

[G] Now available: Google Places with Hotpot for iPhone

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Google LatLong: Now available: Google Places with Hotpot for iPhone


We recently released Google Places with Hotpot in Google Maps for Android, and starting now, you can have that same great experience as an iPhone app. We realize the importance of finding places you’ll love while you’re out and about, no matter what mobile device you use. And Places with Hotpot not only helps you find places near where you are, it gives you the best places to go for you by personalizing your search results.

In case you aren’t familiar with Google Places, it lets you quickly search for places nearby and personalizes the results based on places you’ve rated. We get you started with a few popular search categories, but you can also tailor the list by adding your own favorite searches. This makes it fast and easy to find the best places for you with little fuss.


Use a default search category, save your own, or rate the nearest place quickly.

It can be pretty rewarding to discover a new place you love, but we also realize that there are some experiences you just can’t wait to share. So Places makes it super simple to rate a place with your iPhone while you’re there. Just fire up the app and hit “Rate now.” It will use your location to guess your current place and let you post a Hotpot review right from your phone. But it’s not just about getting to say what you think—the more you rate places, the more you’re sharing about your tastes and the more we can give you personally tailored recommendations.


Give your star rating and add optional details or a review so Hotpot knows your taste.

If you want to make things even tastier, just visit google.com/hotpot from your desktop computer. Here you can add friends to the mix and quickly rate all the places you already know. Once you’ve added friends, you’ll find your results seasoned not just with reviews from around the web and recommendations based on your own personal taste, but also with your friends’ opinions too.


Once you start rating and add friends, Places can give you personalized recommendations.

Get the Places app on your iPhone now by searching for Google Places in the App Store or going here.

This first version of Places is available for all iOS devices in English only. However, expect more features and improvements to roll out soon, including localization in many new languages. We’re hard at work to make Places with Hotpot more and more delicious.

Posted by Greg Blevins, Software Engineer, Google Hotpot team
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/01/now-available-google-places-with-hotpot.html

[G] Discover New Places From Your Hotpot Friends on Google Maps

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Google LatLong: Discover New Places From Your Hotpot Friends on Google Maps


(Cross-posted from the Hotpot Blog.)

When you need a great restaurant, hotel or pub, who do you turn to first for a recommendation? Your friends. We wanted to recreate that valuable exchange with Hotpot, our local recommendation engine from Google Places, which allows you to add friends whose opinions you trust and see their place recommendations right in your search results.

Because we find adding friends on Hotpot so valuable to the experience, today we’re excited to announce a new feature that makes it easy to stay up to date with the latest place recommendations from your Hotpot friends.

If you’re a Hotpot user, when you visit Google Maps on your desktop computer, you’ll now see a stream listing the most recent rating and review activity of your Hotpot friends.

Here’s what Maps looks like for me:




Keep in mind this feature is in beta mode, which means we’ll be building it out over time, making it even easier for you to keep track of your friends’ activities.

Visit Google Maps right now to discover that great new restaurant or bar you should check out this weekend. And be sure to thank the Hotpot friend who recommended it!

Posted by Octavian "Vivi" Costache, Hotpot Engineer
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/01/discover-new-places-from-your-hotpot.html