Saturday, November 12, 2011

[G] Think Insights with Google is out of beta and packing a data punch

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Inside AdWords: Think Insights with Google is out of beta and packing a data punch

Quick pop quiz:

1. Based on search history, in what month does consumer demand for pretzels peak?

2. Search adds how much (in $) to the world’s GDP?

3. In 2011, what percent of people dreamed and brainstormed about their next vacation?

4. What percent of the daily queries on Google.com have never been seen before?

These are just a few of the questions that can be answered on the new Think Insights with Google, our information and resource hub for marketers. The site is fresh out of beta and sports a playful new look, helpful tools, more studies, the latest trends and exciting videos. We invite you to visit the site, take a look around and see what’s new.

If you only have a few minutes to spare, try playing with our new Real Time Insights Finder tool. With just a few clicks you can spot emerging trends and gain valuable consumer insights, all in real time. For example, the most popular video in common among males 25-34 in Italy and the U.S. is the Official Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 game trailer.

To stay informed on updates to the site, add our Think with Google page on G+ to one of your circles or subscribe to our newsletter.

Use Think Insights as a one-stop shop for consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research that is forward-thinking and rooted in data. We look forward to hearing your feedback and working to make your Think Insights experience as useful as possible.

Posted by Laura McClung, Ads Marketing
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/11/think-insights-with-google-is-out-of.html

Friday, November 11, 2011

[G] Bringing the cloud to life, live on the web: Atmosphere 2011

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Bringing the cloud to life, live on the web: Atmosphere 2011

Posted by Amit Singh, Vice President of Enterprise













What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Maybe check the news on your tablet, then send a couple of emails on your smartphone before jumping on a video call with a colleague. It’s all happening on the web, it’s changing the way we think about work, and it’s creating new opportunities for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

While this isn’t new, you’ve heard us talk about this before, we’re experiencing a fundamental shift in how businesses use the web to drive collaboration, innovation and growth. The role of the IT leader in business has never been more critical, and we can’t wait to welcome more than 350 CIOs from around the world to our annual cloud event: Atmosphere 2011, next Monday, November 14.

Representing the vision for this year’s speaker lineup are Steven Johnson, Jonathan Zittrain, and Vint Cerf, as well as CIOs from Ahold, Journal Communications, IHG and the state of Wyoming.

Everyone’s welcome to join us online as we’ll be sharing this event with our colleagues around the world, live. We’ll be broadcasting the event on YouTube from 0900 PST, 11/14 and posting news from the event on our new Google Enterprise page on Google+. We look forward to seeing you in the cloud.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/11/bringing-cloud-to-life-live-on-web.html

[G] Join us on the Google Enterprise +page

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Join us on the Google Enterprise +page

Posted by Chris Farinacci, Global Marketing Director, Google Enterprise

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is meeting with customers and learning how they’re using our products to change the way they work on the web. In this spirit, today I’m excited to introduce our official Google Enterprise page on Google+, the latest way for us to stay connected.

By adding +Google Enterprise to your Google+ circles, you’ll be able to read about our latest product features, hear directly from some of our customers, and share your thoughts with the community.

We’re really looking forward to hearing what you have to say. To join the conversation, mention +Google Enterprise in your post, or comment directly on our page.

Haven’t had a chance to turn on Google+ for your account yet? With last month’s announcement of Google+ for Apps, you can now enable Google+ for your organization.


URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/11/join-us-on-google-enterprise-page.html

[G] Chromebooks help students go to the head of the class

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Chromebooks help students go to the head of the class

Posted by Jaime Casap, Google Education Senior Evangelist

Since we launched Chromebooks this summer, it’s been exciting to hear how students are using Chromebooks to collaborate and create in the classroom. In the spirit of letting our customers speak for themselves, we wanted to share stories from three of the newest schools using Chromebooks in their classrooms, libraries and to provide Internet access to students at home using built-in 3G.

Renaissance Charter School, Nevada - Management
The Renaissance Academy Charter School in Nevada virtually serves students from low-income families across 13 counties in the state. The Academy’s mission is to free students from perceived limitations on their performance, and to narrow the achievement gap through technology. Roy Harden, administrator, jumped at the opportunity to deploy Chromebooks to their 490 students and staff. “We promised our students and parents a protected environment for their computing needs, which the Chromebook - with forced proxy settings and content control - allows us to uphold. With 3G connectivity, the Chromebook also gives access to our students who typically do not have an Internet connection at home. We couldn’t ask for a better solution,” he said. The new features in the web-based administrator’s management panel will also help Harden better manage different age groups of students, teachers and staff, and these features will greatly improve his visibility into devices distributed across the state.

Prairie View Elementary School, Wisconsin - Engagement
The Oregon School District in Wisconsin has led the state in adoption of modern technologies in the classroom. As technology director and a former teacher himself, Jon Tanner understands how important it is to provide web access for all students while keeping costs low. This is why he decided to bring Chromebooks to 22 third graders at Prairie View Elementary School. Shannon Luehmann, the teacher whose class is using the Chromebooks, notes, "It was like Christmas morning in my class when I shared the news with the kids and let them open the Chromebooks. Some student reactions were, 'So, you're telling me this is mine to use all year?', and 'We are going to do some pretty cool things with these computers this year!'"

“Thinking long term, I would love to give every child the opportunity to take home a Chromebook and be connected,” Tanner said, “but we never had a product we felt we could do that with before.” Teachers and administrators have already noticed a big improvement in student engagement. Even with some of the biggest behavior challenges, students have used Chromebooks to “engage in the classroom, be more productive, and even be more positive.”

Students using Chromebooks in Shannon Luehmann’s third grade classroom at Prairie View Elementary School in Wisconsin

Montgomery School, Pennsylvania - Collaboration
Jared Hamilton, technology coordinator at Montgomery School, decided to start piloting 40 Chromebooks for middle schoolers at Montgomery School, an independent, co-educational day school in Pennsylvania. As he sees it, “Chromebooks are perfect for this age group because they spend most of their time on the web anyway.” The students gravitated toward Chromebooks from the start because they found that they could get more done in less time, and turning in assignments to their teachers was easier. “Once they start using the Chromebook, they don’t want to go back,” Hamilton said. Having Chromebooks in the classrooms has also improved collaboration and engagement; in particular the faculty noticed a difference in the school-wide “Make a Difference Project,” for which students work together to present ideas to their community about how to make the world better. As Jared explains, “big projects like that become so much easier with real-time revisions and collaboration.”

What can Chromebooks in the classroom do for your school? Learn more about Chromebooks for Education on our website.

You can also join us for the Chromebook Classroom webinar series, Wednesdays at 9AM PT/12PM ET. Register here.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/11/chromebooks-help-students-go-to-head-of.html

[G] Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Kansas City

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Google Public Policy Blog: Embracing the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Kansas City

Posted by Kevin Lo, General Manager, Google Access

Yesterday, we announced that we’ve partnered with Startup Weekend—a global organization committed to promoting real entrepreneurship in local communities. Startup Weekend hosts events in more than 200 cities, where a diverse group of entrepreneurs collaborate to inspire, educate, and empower their communities.  Participants gather on Friday, and by Sunday afternoon, they launch a product or startup.

Startup Weekend is a global initiative—but it’s coming to Kansas City this weekend!  Over the next 54 hours, developers, designers, and community members will brainstorm and collaborate on ways to foster the entrepreneurial spirit in Kansas City.  

Part of the conversation will touch on Google Fiber and the unique fiber-to-the-home network KC will soon have.  Startup Weekend participants will brainstorm how Fiber can super-charge their ideas to create products and services for a truly connected city. We’re excited to hear what they come up with!

The Kansas City Startup Weekend also kicks off Global Entrepreneurship Week activities in Kansas City.  If you can’t make it to Startup Weekend, you can attend one of many events throughout the Kansas City region that will celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit.  

URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2011/11/embracing-entrepreneurial-spirit-in.html

[G] Introducing Closure Stylesheets

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Google Open Source Blog: Introducing Closure Stylesheets

(CSS is for programming, not for pasting)

When the Closure Tools were first released a little over two years ago, they gave web developers the ability to organize and optimize their JavaScript and HTML in a new way. But there was something missing, namely, a tool to help manage CSS.

You see, the nature of CSS runs contrary to the DRY principle that is exhibited in good software engineering. For example, if there is a color that should be used for multiple classes in a stylesheet, a developer has no choice but to copy-and-paste it everywhere because CSS has no concept of variables. Similarly, if there is a value in a stylesheet that is derived from other values, there is no way to express that because CSS also lacks functions. Common patterns of style blocks are duplicated over and over because CSS has no macros. All of these properties of CSS conspire to make stylesheets extremely difficult to maintain.

To this end, we are excited to introduce the missing piece in the Closure Tools suite: Closure Stylesheets. Closure Stylesheets is an an extension to CSS that adds variables, functions, conditionals, and mixins to standard CSS. The tool also supports minification, linting, RTL flipping, and CSS class renaming. As the existing Closure Tools have done for JavaScript and HTML, Closure Stylesheets will help you write CSS in a maintainable way, while also empowering you to deliver optimized code to your users. We hope you enjoy it! Please let us know what you think in the discussion forum.

By Michael Bolin, Open Source Engineer


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/L99PaqWqYz8/introducing-closure-stylesheets.html

[G] Bringing the very best of what we do to the veteran community

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Official Google Blog: Bringing the very best of what we do to the veteran community

We believe that technology can be a force for good; one that builds and binds community. As a Googler, my proudest moments are when we take that technology and put it in the hands of people who can use it to communicate, collaborate, build and explore.

Today, on Veterans Day, I am proud to share a few Google tools and platforms for the military veteran community. They can be accessed on our website, Google for Veterans and Families, which was created by veterans and their family and friends, who work at Google. This single interface brings together Google products and platforms for servicemembers and their families. We believe it will be useful to all veterans, whether still in the service, transitioning out, or on a new path in their civilian lives. Here are some examples of what you’ll find on the site:
  • VetConnect - This tool helps servicemembers connect, communicate and share their experiences with others who have served using the Google+ platform.
  • Google Veterans Channel - A YouTube channel for discussion about military service for veterans, their families and the public. Veterans can share their experiences with each other as well as with civilians to help shed light on the importance and complexity of service. If you have not served, this is a great place to offer your thanks by uploading a tribute video.
  • Resume Builder powered by Google Docs - We found that Docs can be a particularly helpful tool to transitioning servicemembers seeking employment. Resume Builder generates an auto-formatted resume that can be easily edited, saved and downloaded to share with potential employers.
  • Tour Builder powered by Google Earth (coming soon). A new way to tell your military story. Today, you can view some sample “tours”— 3D maps of veterans’ service histories, complete with photos and videos. Stay tuned for more details and updates on the Google Lat Long Blog.
It’s been a proud month for those of us here at Google who are veterans or family of veterans.

In October, 100 Googlers visited the Soldier and Family Assistance Center at West Point to conduct resume writing workshops for members of the Warrior Transition Unit. And, just two weeks ago, we traveled to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to teach wounded, ill and injured servicemembers how to use Google tools to stay in touch with their loved ones while in recovery.

Finally, this week, we introduced the Veterans Job Bank in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Job Bank is a customized job search engine in the National Resource Directory (NRD), which is powered by Google Custom Search technology and crawls the web for JobPosting markup from Schema.org to identify veteran-committed job openings.

Even playing a small part to serve those who have served has been an honor.

Posted by Carrie Laureno, Audience Evangelist and Founder, Google Veterans Network
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/bringing-very-best-of-what-we-do-to.html

[G] You can now see mobile ad performance in Google Analytics.

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Google Analytics Blog: You can now see mobile ad performance in Google Analytics.

Starting this week, some of you will see enhanced Analytics reports with mobile ad performance metrics. All AdWords reports in the new interface will be gaining a new visual toggle as shown below for “All”, “High-end Mobile” and “Tablet” ads.  All AdWords metrics available in Google Analytics can be segmented by these new mobile and tablet dimensions.



 


As more consumers begin to make use of tablets or high-end mobile devices, businesses need to understand this shift towards mobile and adapt your marketing mix. This mobile ads reporting enhancement in Google Analytics is one of many steps that we are taking towards helping you make more sense of how mobile advertising interacts with your business.



Please let us know what you think, and suggest any other mobile measurement options you’d like to see that help make sense of your mobile advertising effectiveness.



- Phil Mui, Google Analytics team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/7_jyZTGbd_4/you-can-now-see-mobile-ad-performance.html

[G] Time of Dragonflies

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The WebM Open Media Project Blog: Time of Dragonflies

Today, we are releasing the fourth generation of the Hantro H-Series 1 VP8 Hardware Encoder, developed under working title Dragonfly.

With the H1 v4 release we are offering the world’s best real-time VP8 video encoding of up to 1080p in mobile. It delivers an average PSNR improvement of 0.27 dB over the previous generation and produces higher quality video than any of our previous RTL designs.

The fourth version’s major improvements reducing the bitrate required for great video quality include:
- the usage of bicubic filter in motion estimation and reconstruction phases
- additional candidates in macroblock mode selection
- improved rate-distortion optimization in macroblock mode selection

The following figure compares the Dragonfly SSIM performance with the previous VP8 releases. One of our previous products, the 8290 H.264 hardware encoder, is also shown as a reference.


H1 Encoder SSIM comparison, Foreman CIF sequence at 200 kbps.


The visual comparison below shows how the level of preserved details increases with each new encoder release.



Foreman CIF sequence at 200 kbps.

Top-left: H1 v1, top-right: H1 v2, bottom-left: H1 v3, bottom-right: H1 v4.


H1 encoder helps users enjoy more hours1 of high-definition WebM video applications, such as those utilizing the open source WebRTC framework that allows free browser to browser video chat capability. For example, in battery operated devices like tablets, smartphones or netbooks, 1080p 30fps encoding with H1 requires less than 3 MHz of CPU cycles and 76 mW of power, while such a feat using the quad-core ARM Cortex A9 would take 2.3 GHz per core draining your battery at a rate of 3700 milliwatts 2.

H-Series 1 VP8 encoder as well as the silicon-proven G-Series 1 VP8 decoder, are available at no cost to chip manufacturers from the WebM Project’s hardware page. Our reseller partner Verisilicon also licenses the VP8 encoder as a part of the multi-format (VP8/H.264/MVC/JPEG) Hantro H1 encoder and offers support and maintenance service for the free VP8 cores.

In total, over 50 semiconductor companies have licensed the VP8 technology today. The first devices with 1080p VP8 decoding are today in the consumer market from nearly a dozen different brands (see example here), and the first chips capable of VP8 encoding will ship in 2012.

In our next release, we are focusing on speed improvements and silicon cost reduction, as well as adding new pre-processing and error resilience functionality to the encoder. We intend to implement new software and hardware algorithms to allow both objective and visual quality optimizations. The next release is planned for early Q1 next year.

Aki Kuusela is Engineering Manager of the WebM Project hardware team.


1 Using a typical smartphone battery of 1500 mAh at the operating voltage of 3.5V, the H1 v4 encoder can theoretically encode 1080p video for 69 hours without charging the device.
2 Power consumption of the H1 encoder logic measured with the TSMC65nm LP process. SRAM or external RAM not included. ARM Cortex A9 CPU load measured using the libvpx Cayuga release on a quad-core ARM CA9 development board. Power consumption figure based on a 0.4 mW / MHz / core estimate.
URL: http://blog.webmproject.org/2011/11/time-of-dragonflies.html

[G] Bringing the very best of what we do to the veteran community

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YouTube Blog: Bringing the very best of what we do to the veteran community

Cross posted from the Official Google Blog.



We believe that technology can be a force for good; one that builds and binds community. As a Googler, my proudest moments are when we take that technology and put it in the hands of people who can use it to communicate, collaborate, build and explore.



Today, on Veterans Day, I am proud to share a few Google tools and platforms for the military veteran community. They can be accessed on our website, Google for Veterans and Families, which was created by veterans and their family and friends, who work at Google. This single interface brings together Google products and platforms for servicemembers and their families. We believe it will be useful to all veterans, whether still in the service, transitioning out, or on a new path in their civilian lives. Here are some examples of what you’ll find on the site:


  • VetConnect - This tool helps servicemembers connect, communicate and share their experiences with others who have served using the Google+ platform.

  • Google Veterans Channel - A YouTube channel for discussion about military service for veterans, their families and the public. Veterans can share their experiences with each other as well as with civilians to help shed light on the importance and complexity of service. If you have not served, this is a great place to offer your thanks by uploading a tribute video.

  • Resume Builder powered by Google Docs - We found that Docs can be a particularly helpful tool to transitioning service members seeking employment. Resume Builder generates an auto-formatted resume that can be easily edited, saved and downloaded to share with potential employers.

  • Tour Builder powered by Google Earth (coming soon). A new way to tell your military story. Today, you can view some sample “tours”— 3D maps of veterans’ service histories, complete with photos and videos. Stay tuned for more details and updates on the Google Lat Long Blog.


It’s been a proud month for those of us here at Google who are veterans or family of veterans.



In October, 100 Googlers visited the Soldier and Family Assistance Center at West Point to conduct resume writing workshops for members of the Warrior Transition Unit. And, just two weeks ago, we traveled to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to teach wounded, ill and injured servicemembers how to use Google tools to stay in touch with their loved ones while in recovery.



Finally, this week, we introduced the Veterans Job Bank in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Job Bank is a customized job search engine in the National Resource Directory (NRD), which is powered by Google Custom Search technology and crawls the web for JobPosting markup from Schema.org to identify veteran-committed job openings.



Even playing a small part to serve those who have served has been an honor.



Carrie Laureno, Audience Evangelist and Founder, Google Veterans Network, recently watched "A message from the First Lady."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/xh0REQZFG5M/bringing-very-best-of-what-we-do-to.html

[G] Bringing the very best of what we do to the veteran community

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Docs Blog: Bringing the very best of what we do to the veteran community

We believe that technology can be a force for good; one that builds and binds community. As a Googler, my proudest moments are when we take that technology and put it in the hands of people who can use it to communicate, collaborate, build and explore.

Today, on Veterans Day, I am proud to share a few Google tools and platforms for the military veteran community. They can be accessed on our website, Google for Veterans and Families, which was created by veterans and their family and friends, who work at Google. This single interface brings together Google products and platforms for servicemembers and their families. We believe it will be useful to all veterans, whether still in the service, transitioning out, or on a new path in their civilian lives. Here are some examples of what you’ll find on the site:
  • VetConnect - This tool helps servicemembers connect, communicate and share their experiences with others who have served using the Google+ platform.
  • Google Veterans Channel - A YouTube channel for discussion about military service for veterans, their families and the public. Veterans can share their experiences with each other as well as with civilians to help shed light on the importance and complexity of service. If you have not served, this is a great place to offer your thanks by uploading a tribute video.
  • Resume Builder powered by Google Docs - We found that Docs can be a particularly helpful tool to transitioning service members seeking employment. Resume Builder generates an auto-formatted resume that can be easily edited, saved and downloaded to share with potential employers.
  • Tour Builder powered by Google Earth (coming soon). A new way to tell your military story. Today, you can view some sample “tours”— 3D maps of veterans’ service histories, complete with photos and videos. Stay tuned for more details and updates on the Google Lat Long Blog.
It’s been a proud month for those of us here at Google who are veterans or family of veterans.

In October, 100 Googlers visited the Soldier and Family Assistance Center at West Point to conduct resume writing workshops for members of the Warrior Transition Unit. And, just two weeks ago, we traveled to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center to teach wounded, ill and injured service members how to use Google tools to stay in touch with their loved ones while in recovery.

Finally, this week, we introduced the Veterans Job Bank in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs. The Veterans Job Bank is a customized job search engine in the National Resource Directory (NRD), which is powered by Google Custom Search technology and crawls the web for JobPosting markup from Schema.org to identify veteran-committed job openings.

Even playing a small part to serve those who have served has been an honor.

Carrie Laureno, Audience Evangelist and Founder, Google Veterans Network

Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2011/11/bringing-very-best-of-what-we-do-to.html

[G] Britain's biggest newspaper publisher goes Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Britain's biggest newspaper publisher goes Google

Posted by Steve Walker, IT Director and Google Apps Product Manager at Trinity Mirror

Editors note: Over the last couple of years some of the world’s biggest and most prominent media organisations have moved to Google Apps. The Guardian, The Telegraph and News International in the UK, Agencia EFE in Spain, Berlingske and Borsen in Denmark, and many others. The latest is Trinity Mirror, and today’s guest blogger, Steve Walker, IT Director and Google Apps Product Manager at Trinity Mirror, has told us why.

Trinity Mirror Group publishes many leading UK titles including Daily Mirror, Sunday Mirror, People, Daily Record and Scottish Sunday Mail, as well as 240 regional newspapers.

We’re a company spread across 60 different locations and we recently decided to move all of our 6,500 employees to Google Apps. This decision was driven by a real desire to improve collaboration, innovation and to enhance productivity within the group. Google Apps was evaluated as a product suite that could help us do just that.

The move to Google Apps will free people from mundane daily administrative tasks, such as managing busy inboxes, merging document changes or keeping track of the latest versions of documents and sending around numerous attachments. It will be easier and quicker to schedule meetings, coordinate work and search to find the information they need. For the many journalists in the business who work on tight deadlines and need to find the latest and most relevant information at the drop of a hat, this should prove invaluable. Those employees that need to keep in touch with their email from outside the office will now be able to check their inboxes via their mobile devices or even their home laptops.

One of the triggers to consider Google Apps was the fact that our staff was already using the consumer version of Gmail and Google Calendar to help them work more efficiently. We expect the real-time, collaborative features of Google Apps to will enable us to make some real changes to the way we work, leading to a more productive workforce and helping us to become more profitable and innovative.

The migration to Google Apps will be finalized this month, and at the same time we’re planning to release a new intranet built in Google Sites. We’ll fully deploy Google Docs and Sites early next year. We anticipate this move will help our employees become more creative and innovative across the organisation and, in turn, will allow the IT department to focus on other business critical and strategic projects.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/11/britains-biggest-newspaper-publisher.html

[G] A Silicon Valley Story: UserTesting has gone Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: A Silicon Valley Story: UserTesting has gone Google

Posted by Darrell Benatar, Founder and CEO of UserTesting

Editor’s note: Today’s guest blogger is Darrell Benatar, founder and CEO of UserTesting. UserTesting provides fast and inexpensive website usability testing by giving website owners on-demand access to a large panel of users who will record their screen and voice as they use a specified website. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Everyone talks about how important usability testing is, but 99% of website owners have never done it. We started UserTesting three years ago to make it so fast and easy that no one would have an excuse not to do it. Traditional usability testing involves recruiting users, hiring a moderator, and renting a facility where users perform website tasks while being videotaped. Big companies can afford all this, but most small ones can’t. So at UserTesting, we assembled a nationwide base of articulate users who are available on-demand and who can quickly deliver valuable information and results.

We’ve seen amazing growth since 2008, and I consider Google’s technology an integral part of that success. We now have 15 employees, four of whom work offsite. IM, voice, and video chat, which are built right into Gmail, allow us to easily bridge that physical gap. I was an early adopter of Gmail and saw right away the benefits of cloud-based communication.

Throughout our business, we’ve made use of many of the other parts of Google Apps as well, including Google Docs and Google Tasks, which is also built into Gmail. Our intranet runs on Google Sites, and it allows us to embed Google Docs and Google Calendar items right into pages. Having everyone interact on a task spreadsheet streamlines the process and allows managers to keep track of projects. We even make use of canned responses to address standard emails from customers with questions. And now, we are actively using Google+ to share what’s going on in our office with each other.

I feel strongly that any business would benefit from cloud-based productivity tools. Since start-ups are inherently open to new ideas and don’t have to deal with legacy issues, it makes sense to hit the ground running with solutions that just make your business work and don’t require an IT department. Why Google Apps? Because I have confidence that Google will keep adding more and more features that will keep making our lives easier.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/11/silicon-valley-story-usertesting-has.html

[G] Grow your audience with Google+

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DoubleClick Publisher Blog: Grow your audience with Google+

(Originally posted on the Inside AdSense blog)

At Google, we help grow your audience by connecting you with new users. We introduced the +1 button so your site would stand out on search and your users could easily share your content on Google+. But, sometimes you want to join the conversation and post content directly to where people are sharing.

Today we’re introducing Google+ for Business, a collection of tools and products that help you grow your audience. At the core of this is Google+ Pages, your site’s identity on Google+.

Google+ Pages: Have real conversations with the right people

To get your site on Google+, you first need to create a Google+ Page. On your page, you can engage in conversations with your visitors, direct readers back to your site for the latest updates, send tailored messages to specific groups of people, and see how many +1’s you have across the web. Google+ Pages will help you build relationships with your users, encouraging them to spend more time engaging with your content.



Google+ Pages are at the heart of Google+ for Business

Hangouts

Sometimes you might want to chat with your users face-to-face.  For example, if you run a food blog, you may want to invite a chef to talk about her favorite recipe, or if you manage a fashion review site, beauty specialists might want to hold how-to sessions with makeup tips. Hangouts make this easy, by letting you have high-quality video chats with nine people with a single click. You can use Hangouts to hold live forums, break news or simply get to know people better, all in real time.

Hangouts let you meet your customers, face-to-face

Circles
Circles allow you to group followers of your Page into smaller audiences. You can then share specific messages with specific groups. For example, you could create a Circle containing your most loyal readers and offer them exclusive content. 

The Google+ badge: Grow your audience on Google+
To help your users find your page and start sharing, there are two buttons you can add to your site by visiting our Google+ badge configuration tool:


The Google+ icon, a small icon that directly links to your Page.

The Google+ badge, which we’re introducing in the coming days. This badge lets people add your page to their circles without leaving your site, and allows them to get updates from your site via Google+.

Extend the power of +1, stand out in Google search
You can also link your site to your Google+ page so that all your +1s -- from your Page, your website, and search results -- will get tallied together and appear as a single total. Potential visitors will be more likely to see the recommendations your site has received, whether they’re looking at a search result, your website, or your Page, meaning your +1’s will reach not only the 40 million users of Google+, but all the people who come to Google every day. You can link your site to your Page either using the Google+ badge or with a  piece of code. To set this up, visit our Google+ badge configuration tool.

Bringing Google+ to the rest of Google
 
Our ultimate vision for Google+ is to transform the overall Google experience -- weaving identity and sharing into all of our products. Beginning today, we’re rolling out a new experimental feature to a small group of eligible publishers,Google+ Direct Connect -- an easy way for your audience to find your Google+ Page on Google search.  If you’ve linked your Page to your site and you qualify, when someone searches for your website’s name with the ‘+’ sign before it Direct Connect will send them directly to your Page. For example, try searching for ‘+YouTube’ on Google. Users will also be prompted to automatically add Pages they find through Direct Connect to their circles. 

Direct Connect suggestions start populating as you type on Google.com

Just the beginning

We want to help you get your site on Google+ as soon as possible, so we’re opening the field trial for Google+ Pages to everyone today. Creating a Google+ Page only takes a few minutes. To get started, you’ll need a personal Google+ profile. If you don’t have a Google account, it’s very quick and easy to join. And if you’re looking for inspiration, check out some of the sites that are already starting to set up their Pages:

Partner Logos

To learn more about how Google+ works for your site, check out the Google+ Your Business site. We’re just getting started, and have many more features planned for the coming weeks and months. To keep up to date on the latest news and tips, add the Google+ Your Business page to your circles. If you have ideas on how we can improve Google+ for your site, we’d love to hear them.

Posted by Dennis Troper, Product Management Director, Google+ Pages
URL: http://doubleclickpublishers.blogspot.com/2011/11/grow-your-audience-with-google.html

[G] How real users helped us develop Gmail’s new look

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The Google Apps Blog: How real users helped us develop Gmail’s new look

Posted by David Choi, User Experience Researcher

When building Gmail’s new look, our goal was to make the most engaging, accessible, and most of all, easy to use email experience possible. To accomplish that, we had many real Gmail users try out changes to the look and provide feedback during its development.

One of the most important ways we obtained feedback was through usability studies. In these types of studies we observe people trying out our products in a controlled environment. We invited Gmail users from all walks of life to participate in usability studies and used the results to find problems and identify improvements before we launched.

For Gmail’s new look, we started very early. Long before any Googler began using or even building the new look, our designers created an early prototype. We then had Gmail users participate in a usability study either by coming to one of our offices or remotely connecting from their homes.

An example of one of our usability labs. People in usability studies use our products on the pictured computer while they are being observed through a one way mirror and video cameras from the room next door.

The study participants evaluated the early prototype by doing many of their everyday Gmail tasks, such as reading, sending, and replying to emails. We then looked at how easy or difficult it was to complete those tasks, and made changes based on this feedback. For example, one of the things we found with our prototype was that we had put too much emphasis on conversation level actions at the expense of per-message actions. As a result, our study participants had difficulty finding the reply button on each message. In response, we changed its appearance, size, and location to make the reply button easier to see.

As we continued to develop the new look, we evaluated our progress through additional usability studies with even more people. Much of what we captured from these studies was users’ first reactions to the new look. But Gmail is something people use repeatedly, not just once. So in addition to first impressions, we were also interested in seeing how people adjusted to the new look as they used it repeatedly in their daily lives. To find that out, we conducted a different kind of study called a longitudinal study. Longitudinal studies are used to observe the longer term effects our products have on people’s usage.

The longitudinal study consisted of turning on the new look for a group of Gmail users. We captured their initial reactions after their first experience. Then we let them use the new look in Gmail as they normally would as part of their everyday lives. As the days and weeks passed by, we periodically checked with them to see how they were adjusting to all the changes. Like with anything new, there were some changes that our participants initially needed time to adjust to, but later came to prefer as they used the new look more. On the other hand, problems that were not seen during the first couple times of use later emerged after more prolonged use. For example, many of the changes we made to the new left navigation were the result of people reporting their repeated experiences using labels and the chat area over time.

These studies have been absolutely critical in helping us build Gmail’s new look. Much of how it looks and behaves is a result of people participating in these studies and giving us their feedback. If you are interested in becoming a participant in a research study about Gmail or any of Google’s products, you can sign up at google.com/usability.
URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleAppsBlog/~3/LfG2-n4cupk/how-real-users-helped-us-develop-gmails.html

Thursday, November 10, 2011

[G] Think Insights with Google is out of beta and packing a data punch

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Official Google CPG Blog: Think Insights with Google is out of beta and packing a data punch

Quick pop quiz:
  1. Based on search history, consumer demand for pretzels peaks in what month of the year?
  2. How much (in $) does search add to the world’s GDP?
  3. In 2011, what percent of people dreamed and brainstormed about their next vacation?
  4. What percent of the daily queries on Google.com have never been seen before?
These are just a few questions that can be answered* on the new Think Insights with Google, our information and resource hub for marketers. The site is fresh out of beta and sporting a playful new look, helpful tools, more studies, the latest trends and exciting videos. We invite you to visit the site, take a look around and see what’s new.


If you only have a few minutes to spare, try playing with our new Real Time Insights Finder tool. With just a few clicks you can spot emerging trends and gain valuable consumer insights, all in real time. For example, the most popular video in common among males 25-34 in Italy and the U.S. is the Official Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 game trailer.


Although we’ve made a lot of enhancements to Think Insights based on initial user feedback, we’re always trying to iterate and improve. So please don’t be shy! Join the conversation by adding the Think with Google page on Google+ to one of your circles, or stay tuned for updates by subscribing to our newsletter.

Think Insights is forward-thinking and rooted in data. We hope you’ll use it as a one-stop shop for consumer trends, marketing insights and industry research.

*Answers to pop quiz (they can all be found on Think Insights in less than 60 seconds):
  1. December, Real Time Insights Finder Tool
  2. $540 billion directly to global GDP, The Impact of Internet Technologies: Search Study, Jul 2011
  3. 50%, 5 Stages of Travel Interactive Infographic
  4. 16%, Search Fact & Stat
URL: http://google-cpg.blogspot.com/2011/11/think-insights-with-google-is-out-of.html

[G] Raising awareness for breast cancer through the Pink Pin Initiative in NYC and beyond

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Official Google Blog: Raising awareness for breast cancer through the Pink Pin Initiative in NYC and beyond

Every October marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time when organizations and individuals around the world come together to raise awareness to support the fight against breast cancer.

This year, Google joined in and partnered with Susan G. Komen for the Cure on the Pink Pin Initiative, which challenged local businesses in New York City to rally their customers, friends and families around breast cancer awareness. Using Google’s products, including Maps, YouTube, Picasa and Google+, we made it easy for local businesses and New York residents to show their support for the cause. On an interactive website, pinkpin.com, people could register their businesses on the Pink Pin Map, share their experiences by uploading their own videos and photo stories, as well as donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

More than 300 businesses signed up to participate in the first 24 hours, and we saw an outpouring of public support from both businesses and individuals, demonstrating how small, random acts of participation can translate to larger scale impact. In fact, some businesses took it upon themselves to take Pink Pin a step further. One New York business offered $100 of free services for every $100 donated. A Brooklyn restaurant hosted a one-day “Dine-out” for Pink Pin, where a percentage of their earnings for that day went to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Pink Pin was a tremendous demonstration of what people will do if you give them the tools to use technology for good. We’re thrilled that Pink Pin has been so positively received by New Yorkers and hope to continue and expand our efforts next year.

Googlers also celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness month in 23 of our offices around the globe. In addition to health talks encouraging Googlers to learn more about breast cancer prevention, we heard a panel of survivors speak in Mountain View, held walk/runs in California, New York and Washington, and participated in flash mobs to raise awareness in Dublin and London. On Wednesday, October 19, we celebrated a global “Wear Pink, Think Pink Day.” We also encouraged donations (and gift matching!) to organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. You can see a photo album of all our activities below:



Posted by Noel Paasch, Pink Pin team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/raising-awareness-for-breast-cancer.html

[G] Supporting entrepreneurs around the world with Startup Weekend

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Official Google Blog: Supporting entrepreneurs around the world with Startup Weekend

We recognize the transformative power of startups and the entrepreneurs behind them that have the passion and courage to pursue a dream; the impact they can make on society can be significant. Google was once a startup in a garage, and Google Ventures is a testament to our ongoing commitment to entrepreneurialism. As we head into Global Entrepreneurship Week, it’s clear that having a robust community of entrepreneurs, mentors and educational resources can be a key ingredient in a startup’s success, and we’re excited to be part of that.

Today, we’re announcing a partnership with Startup Weekend—a global organization committed to promoting real entrepreneurship in local communities. In more than 200 cities and across six continents, Startup Weekend holds 54-hour startup creation events, bringing together entrepreneurs from engineering, product, design, marketing and business backgrounds. Participants gather on Friday, and by Sunday afternoon, they launch a product.

This partnership will help Startup Weekend expand to dozens of additional cities around the world and launch new vertical competitions focused on specific themes such as education, health or gaming.

In addition, we’ll be working to bring in Google’s developer community in the form of Google Technology User Groups as an additional resource to Startup Weekend participants. Started in early 2008, there are now more than 280 GTUGs in 86 countries that bring tech enthusiasts together via hundreds of events each month. GTUG members will receive discounted registration for Startup Weekend events and will help run pre-weekend local bootcamps on Google’s developer platforms and tools (e.g., App Engine, Android, Chrome).

We’ll start rolling out our product training and community events at Startup Weekends in the coming weeks and months. To learn more or find the next event happening in your city, visit startupweekend.org/google. Hope to see you at a weekend event soon!

Posted by Mary Himinkool, Head of Global Entrepreneurship Outreach
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/supporting-entrepreneurs-around-world.html

[G] Google Photography Prize: Looking for the photography stars of the future

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Official Google Blog: Google Photography Prize: Looking for the photography stars of the future

Google+ is only a few months old, but the photography community is already thriving on it. Take a look at the profiles of Scott Jarvie, Thomas Hawk, Colby Brown or Claire Grigaut to see just a few of the inspiring photographers on Google+. More than 3.4 billion photos have been uploaded to the platform in the first 100 days.

We’re really excited about this, and think great art deserves great exposure. So we’re teaming up with Saatchi Gallery, London for the Google Photography Prize, a chance for students around the world to showcase their photos on Google+ and have their work exhibited at a major art institution.

The contest is open to university students around the world (some exceptions apply, see google.com/photographyprize for more details). From far-away places to up-close faces, there are 10 different categories to spark your imagination. And there are some great prizes to be won: 10 finalists chosen by a jury of renowned photographers will show their work at Saatchi Gallery, London for two months in 2012 alongside Out of Focus, a major photography exhibition, and win a trip to London to attend the exhibition opening event with a friend. One winner will go on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to an amazing destination with a professional photography coach.

It’s easy to enter: After you pick a category, upload your photos to Google+ and share them with the world as a public post, then visit the submission form on google.com/photographyprize by January 31, 2012 to enter.

Saatchi Gallery, London will share updates on their Google+ page for the contest, so add it to your circles if you want to see the great work that’s being submitted.

We can’t wait to see your photos!

Posted by Obi Felten, Director of Consumer Marketing, Google EMEA
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/google-photography-prize-looking-for.html

[G] BlogWorld 2011 Recap

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Blogger Buzz: BlogWorld 2011 Recap

As we mentioned last week, some members of the Blogger team from Google HQ in Mountain View, Tokyo, Dublin, and Sydney (see group photo below) headed to Los Angeles to attend the 2011 BlogWorld & New Media Expo.


One of the primary reasons we attended the expo was to meet Blogger users 1:1, and to gain a better understanding of what we can do to improve the product to better meet your needs.

In addition to these discussions, we conducted surveys with many conference attendees to collect more in-depth feedback. Thank you! We really appreciate the valuable and candid responses.

In the survey results and our 1:1 discussions with you we heard a few common themes:
  • You’re hoping to widen your audience with Google+
  • You’d like more opportunities to customize and use gadgets with Dynamic Views
  • You’re looking for tips and best practices for how to make more money from your blog with AdSense
Your requests have been shared with the broader team and we’re hard at work making them happen for you. Stay tuned to the Buzz Blog in the coming weeks for follow ups, and in the meantime, check out some other photos from the expo below.
Bruce and Mara of MlovesM
Sabrina and Michael in the Blogger photo booth
Sabine and Lisa host a Google+ Hangout with bloggers from around the world



Posted by Michael Bolognino, Product Marketing Manager
URL: http://buzz.blogger.com/2011/11/blogworld-2011-recap.html