Friday, December 23, 2011

[G] Web Analytics TV #23 - The Holiday Episode

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Google Analytics Blog: Web Analytics TV #23 - The Holiday Episode


Welcome to the holiday episode of Web Analytics TV! Web Analytics TV, as you well know by now, is powered by your amazing questions. In this merry episode we had questions from France, Australia, Sweden, India, Germany, The Netherlands and the US.

If you’re new to this show, our process is simple.

Step 1: You ask, or vote on, your favorite web analytics questions. Vote on next week’s questions using this Web Analytics TV Google Moderator site.

Step 2: From a secret undisclosed location at the Googleplex Avinash Kaushik & Nick Mihailovski answer them. :-)

In this episode we award the “Ninja of the Episode” and award it to Maggie in Bulgaria, for a great question about the difference between the days and visits to transaction report and the time lag reports in multi channel funnels. Maggie, just email us and we’ll send you a signed copy of Web analytics 2.0.

OK. Here is the list of last episodes questions.

In this action packed episode we discuss:
  • (0:35) Working with changes in various country’s cookie policies
  • (1:56) Recommendation for tracking bounces on content sites
  • (4:32) Tracking exit links from your website
  • (7:00) Tracking and reporting customer lifetime value
  • (9:47) Days to purchase vs time lag reports in multi-channel funnels
  • (11:48) Cross domain and sub-domain tracking using a GACP
  • (13:01) Funnel visualization via the API
  • (16:03) Interaction hits and impact on quota
  • (16:41) Tracking internal referrals / campaings / house ads
  • (17:51) Why visits and entrances are the same for page level custom vars
  • (19:54) Comparing mondays, week over week
  • (20:42) Time between setting profiles filers and seeing data in reports

Here are the links to the topics we discuss:As always, if you need help setting up Google Analytics or leveraging the advanced configuration options, we recommend hiring a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

If you found this post or video helpful, we'd love to hear your comments. Please share them via the comment form below.

This series would not be possible without your awesome questions. Please submit them on our public Google Moderator site, and while you’re there don’t forget to vote for your favorite questions.  Avinash and I will answer them in a couple of weeks with yet another entertaining video.

Thanks!
Posted by Nick Mihailovski, Google Analytics Team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2011/12/web-analytics-tv-23-holiday-episode.html

[G] Think With Google’s December Adventure: That’s a wrap!

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Inside AdWords: Think With Google’s December Adventure: That’s a wrap!

Think With Google's December Adventure finishes this week with tips on measurement and analytics. We hoped you enjoyed our insights and daily tips this month on the Think with Google Plus Page. If you missed them or wanted to review, here are the previous weeks' recaps for:
Here are the three tips and insights covered this week (and a bonus treat):

#1. Monday - According to the Google ebook Zero Moment of Truth, consumers now consult an average 10.7 sources before making a purchasing decision.
Use Multi-Channel Funnels reporting in Google Analytics to see a user's interactions beyond the last click prior to conversion.

#2. Tuesday - 44% of searches for last-minute gifts and store locations are predicted to be from mobile devices
See how well your mobile site is facilitating conversions with mobile reporting in Google Analytics.

#3. Wednesday - Use Real-Time reporting to see the impact of your holiday promotions within seconds
Use Real-Time reporting in Google Analytics to monitor the immediate impact of email offers and other campaigns that drive customer purchases.

And as a bonus holiday treat...
Holiday measurement tips - straight from the source!
As our final posting for Think with Google's December Adventure, we've wrapped up a handy video from Google's Digital Marketing Evangelist (and best-selling author) Avinash Kaushik on how to measure your holiday campaigns.

 

To see future insights and tips, please follow Think with Google on Google+.


Happy holidays from Google!


Posted by Andrew Truong, Inside AdWords Crew
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2011/12/think-with-googles-december-adventure_22.html

[G] How to use YouTube for your holiday home videos

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YouTube Blog: How to use YouTube for your holiday home videos

From squabbling over the family holiday photo, to filming a child unwrapping a dream toy, ‘tis the season for recording cherished family moments. Whether you want to share them with the world, or keep them in the family, here are tips for using YouTube to record your family’s memories:



Save a few Christmas trees, and send a holiday video card.

Compile your family’s favorite moments from the year, add season’s greetings, and blast it out to your family and friends.


  1. Keep videos short—around a minute or less—and mix film and photos

  2. Use the YouTube Video Editor to edit your video after uploading

  3. Include a link to your video and send to your online address book in seconds






Use YouTube as an archive for your favorite holiday memories.

YouTube makes it easy to share your videos just with family or friends by letting you keep your videos private, which makes sure it doesn’t appear in searches.


  1. Set your videos to Private and designate specific people who can view it

  2. Keep videos Unlisted where only friends and family with the link can view the video

  3. Use descriptive titles so you can easily search through your growing online catalogue


Is your hilarious holiday moment the next viral video on YouTube?

If you’re not shy about sharing your holiday moments and others love it as much as your family, you could possibly be invited to earn money from your video (helpful for future holiday shopping).



Check out holiday hits from years past for some ideas:







Jessica Mason, communications associate, recently watched "Project for Awesome: Water and Victoria Secret."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/IrKUgjaAwPE/how-to-use-youtube-for-your-holiday.html

[G] Santa Claus is coming to town... find out where with Google and NORAD

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Google LatLong: Santa Claus is coming to town... find out where with Google and NORAD


(Cross-posted on the Official Google blog)

It’s that time of year again! The stockings are hung by the chimney with care and Google and NORAD are ready to answer the question of “where?”

NORAD’s tradition of tracking Santa on Christmas Eve started in 1955, when a Sears and Roebuck ad promoting the Talk-to-Santa hotline inadvertently sent callers to CONAD (NORAD’s predecessor) commander-in-chief’s operations hotline. After recovering from the surprise that the call was not from the Pentagon or the White House but instead a little boy inquiring if the commander was Santa Claus, Colonel Harry Shoup asked his team to check their radar for signs of Santa’s sleigh and a tradition was born.

The Santa tracking tradition has grown over the years and today it’s also possible to track Santa using Google Earth and Google Maps on the NORAD Santa site, and on your mobile phone as well. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, December 24) at 2:00 a.m. EST, visit www.noradsanta.org to follow Santa’s journey from the North Pole to homes all over the globe. This year there are many ways to keep tabs on Santa’s sleigh, no matter how quickly it moves:
  • Follow Santa on Google Maps: Visit www.noradsanta.org to see where Santa is currently flying and where he’s headed next on Google Maps. Click on the video icons to watch “Santa cam” videos from all over the world, and the gift icons will display information about each city along the route.
  • Watch Santa fly in 3D with the Google Earth plug-in: If you have the Google Earth plug-in installed on your computer, you can track Santa’s location in 3D and see him deliver presents everywhere from the mountain villages of the Swiss Alps to the white sand beaches of Hawaii.
  • Track Santa from your mobile phone: Follow Santa on the go by searching for [santa] on the Google Maps for mobile app.
  • Get updates via social media: The NORAD team will be posting updates about Santa’s flight throughout the day on December 24. Follow them on Google+, Twitter or Facebook for live updates.
  • Subscribe to the NORAD Tracks Santa YouTube channel: All “Santa cam” videos will be posted on the NORAD Tracks Santa YouTube channel as they’re captured. You can also watch a recap of Santa’s 2010 trip. Check back often for updates!
Santa flying over London in Google Earth

NORAD Tracks Santa is a special project near and dear to all of us involved. I started working on the program seven years ago and it’s been a thrill to watch it grow over the years. Recently, I was given the opportunity to speak at TEDActive about the origins of NORAD Tracks Santa and how Google has brought this to life in Google Earth.


I’d like to thank all of Santa’s “elves” that helped out across Google and NORAD far and wide. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Bruno Bowdon, Lead Google Engineering Elf
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2011/12/santa-claus-is-coming-to-town-find-out.html

[G] Santa Claus is coming to town... find out where with Google and NORAD

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Official Google Blog: Santa Claus is coming to town... find out where with Google and NORAD

It’s that time of year again! The stockings are hung by the chimney with care and Google and NORAD are ready to answer the question of “where?”

NORAD’s tradition of tracking Santa on Christmas Eve started in 1955, when a Sears and Roebuck ad promoting the Talk-to-Santa hotline inadvertently sent callers to CONAD (NORAD’s predecessor) commander-in-chief’s operations hotline. After recovering from the surprise that the call was not from the Pentagon or the White House but instead a little boy inquiring if the commander was Santa Claus, Colonel Harry Shoup asked his team to check their radar for signs of Santa’s sleigh and a tradition was born.

The Santa tracking tradition has grown over the years and today it’s also possible to track Santa using Google Earth and Google Maps on the NORAD Santa site, and on your mobile phone as well. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, December 24) at 2:00 a.m. EST, visit www.noradsanta.org to follow Santa’s journey from the North Pole to homes all over the globe. This year there are many ways to keep tabs on Santa’s sleigh, no matter how quickly it moves:
  • Follow Santa on Google Maps: Visit www.noradsanta.org to see where Santa is currently flying and where he’s headed next on Google Maps. Click on the video icons to watch “Santa cam” videos from all over the world, and the gift icons will display information about each city along the route.
  • Watch Santa fly in 3D with the Google Earth plug-in: If you have the Google Earth plug-in installed on your computer, you can track Santa’s location in 3D and see him deliver presents everywhere from the mountain villages of the Swiss Alps to the white sand beaches of Hawaii.
  • Track Santa from your mobile phone: Follow Santa on the go by searching for [santa] on the Google Maps for mobile app.
  • Get updates via social media: The NORAD team will be posting updates about Santa’s flight throughout the day on December 24. Follow them on Google+, Twitter or Facebook for live updates.
  • Subscribe to the NORAD Tracks Santa YouTube channel: All “Santa cam” videos will be posted on the NORAD Tracks Santa YouTube channel as they’re captured. You can also watch a recap of Santa’s 2010 trip. Check back often for updates!
Santa flying over London in Google Earth

NORAD Tracks Santa is a special project near and dear to all of us involved. I started working on the program seven years ago and it’s been a thrill to watch it grow over the years. Recently, I was given the opportunity to speak at TEDActive about the origins of NORAD Tracks Santa and how Google has brought this to life in Google Earth.



I’d like to thank all of Santa’s “elves” that helped out across Google and NORAD far and wide. Happy Holidays!

Posted by Bruno Bowdon, Lead Google Engineering Elf

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/santa-claus-is-coming-to-town-find-out.html

Thursday, December 22, 2011

[G] Academic Successes in Cluster Computing

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Google Research Blog: Academic Successes in Cluster Computing

Posted by Alfred Spector, VP of Research



Access to massive computing resources is foundational to Research and Development. Fifteen awardees of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Cluster Exploratory Service (CLuE) program have been applying large scale computational resources donated by Google and IBM.



Overall, 1,328 researchers have used the cluster to perform over 120 million computing tasks on the cluster and in the process, have published 49 scientific publications, educated thousands of students on parallel computing and supported numerous post-doctoral candidates in their academic careers. Researchers have used the program for such diverse fields as astronomy, oceanography and linguistics. Besides validating MapReduce as a useful tool in academic research, the program has also generated significant scientific knowledge.



Three years later, there are many viable, affordable alternatives to the Academic Cloud Computing Initiative, so we have decided to bring our part of the program to a close. It has been a great opportunity to collaborate with IBM, the NSF and the many universities on this program. It was state-of-the-art four years ago when it was started; now, Academic Cloud Computing is a worldwide phenomena and there are many low-cost cloud computing options that provide viable alternatives to the Academic Cloud Computing Initiative.


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/gJZg/~3/ZwCMlAETwMY/academic-successes-in-cluster-computing.html

[G] Ads Worth Spreading 2.0 - get your entries in!

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YouTube Blog: Ads Worth Spreading 2.0 - get your entries in!

With only two weeks left for submissions to Ads Worth Spreading 2.0, TED is asking for your support in their search for innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising. The dream behind the initiative is to find companies that want to communicate ideas to their consumers in the same way that TED wants to communicate with its audience.



What makes ideas powerful is that they have a life of their own; an idea can reset someone’s worldview and even begin a domino effect as they pass it on to friends. Ads Worth Spreading is TED’s initiative to recognize and reward innovation, ingenuity and intelligence in advertising -- the ads that people want to see, and share with their friends.



One of our favorite entries so far has been Chipotle's "Back to the Start" campaign, which champions the idea of a return to small, sustainable farming.







Another lighthearted piece we love comes from UK brand Cravendale. "Cats With Thumbs" has the kind of creativity and humor that inspires people to share an ad with friends.







YouTube has been helping to promote and showcase the Ads Worth Spreading entries online with a dedicated channel at http://www.youtube.com/adsworthspreading. Visit the channel and upload your video, or simply add your existing YouTube video to the channel before December 31, 2011. Agencies, brands, producers and individuals are invited to submit their best work of 2011. There is no fee to enter work. Submissions must be: less than five (5) minutes in length, created and aired between January 2011 and December 2011, and entered by an authorized agency, brand or producer. We look forward to seeing the submissions continue to come in!



Ronda Carnegie, Head of Global Partnerships at TED, recently watched, “Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/YzjKOMDkNYI/ads-worth-spreading-20-get-your-entries.html

[G] How the world was open sourced

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Google Open Source Blog: How the world was open sourced


Once in awhile at Google our illustrators get excited about lasers, Morse code, H. G. Wells’s The War of the Worlds – and then come up with beautiful Google doodles that find their way onto our homepage. Sometimes our programmers also get excited and team up with the illustrators, and that’s how we found ourselves with Google doodles celebrating Les Paul’s guitar, Pac-Man, Jules Verne’s bathyscaphe, and even your own customized turkey that you could then share on Google+.

I’m one of those people who is more comfortable with 80 monospaced characters endlessly repeated than with a paintbrush. Earlier this year I worked with Sophia Foster-Dimino from the Google doodle team on a doodle celebrating Stanisław Lem, my favorite sci-fi writer and philosopher.

 

Just like picking the right paintbrush and palette is important for all our doodles, so is figuring out the right technologies and proper user interface for those we want to make interactive. That’s something I’m personally really excited about and that’s why today I wanted to share that excitement and the entire source code of the Stanisław Lem doodle with you – accompanied with an article explaining HTML5 technologies that we used… or didn’t use:


Please note: We are sharing the code of the doodle under the Apache 2.0 License, but the images and animations accompanying the doodle under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License. The big difference between those two is that the first one allows commercial re-use, whereas the second one forbids it.

So take it for a spin, play with it, and if you do something interesting, find a flaw, or have a comment – let us know at stanislaw-lem-google-doodle@googlegroups.com. Thanks!

By Marcin Wichary, Senior user experience designer, Chrome
URL: http://google-opensource.blogspot.com/2011/12/how-world-was-open-sourced.html

[G] Season’s Greetings

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Inside AdSense: Season’s Greetings




Happy holidays from the Google AdSense team! Wishing you a season full of laughter, love and peace.




(Sending you holiday cheer from our Japan Team)



Posted by Jamie Firkus - Inside AdSense Team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tuAm/~3/RyG9RvMfbDY/seasons-greetings.html

[G] Google Docs and Sites 2011: A Year in Review

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The Google Apps Blog: Google Docs and Sites 2011: A Year in Review

This year, we introduced over 100 new features to Google Docs to make creating, sharing, and collaborating in the cloud an even better experience.

In addition to the features you asked for the most, like page numbers and vertical merge, here are our team’s favorite improvements of 2011:


Our team also loved hearing from you throughout the year: We had you ask us anything in a Reddit AMA, met our Docs and Sites Top Contributors, and held our first Docs Office Hours Google+ Hangout. Our interactions with you were constant reminders of why we build these products.

Let us know in the comments what your favorite features of 2011 were -- and what you’re wishing for in the new year. Thanks for following along -- we look forward to bringing you more in 2012.

Happy holidays from the Google Docs team!

Posted by: Jonathan Rochelle, Product Management Director
URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleAppsBlog/~3/wcPO6I-6bAo/google-docs-and-sites-2011-year-in.html

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

[G] What’s new in DoubleClick for Publishers

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DoubleClick Publisher Blog: What’s new in DoubleClick for Publishers

We’re always adding new features to DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP). We’ll be periodically posting lists of the highlights to this blog to help you stay up-to-date with all of the latest DFP developments. The list below contains some highlights. For a more complete list, please visit the DFP or DFP Small Business Help Centers. 

Available in DFP and Small Business:
  • 'As Many As Possible' Improvements: We've updated the 'As many as possible' creative display feature to prevent creatives from serving part way down a page if another line item has delivered in the first ad unit (i.e. if another line item serves to the top banner spot, we won't serve the 300x25 to the mid page since the roablock would be broken) 
  • User Interface Improvements: We know your time is valuable, and we’re always working on new ways to make the DFP interface as quick and efficient for you as possible. To help with this goal, you can now quickly navigate between different tabs within DFP without requiring the page to reload. 
  • Yield Reporting: The new Yield Report type makes it easier for publishers to understand their overall yield -- how your impressions and revenue breakout by deal type. This new report displays revenue and impression data for direct and indirect sales, helps you easily uncover unfilled impressions, and enables you to compare the performance of each ad type from within a single report. 
 Available in DFP:
  • DFP Mobile: Capture opportunities beyond the desktop with DFP’s full service mobile ad serving module to deliver dynamic, interactive ads across your mobile web pages and applications. Read more
  • DFP Tag Troubleshooter (TagShooter): The new DFP TagShooter allows you to easily view the real-time decision making process DFP is using to determine which ad to serve. With this information, you'll be well equipped to quickly identify why an ad isn't delivering or why another ad is appearing in its place. Try it now
  • Enhancement to Sponsorship Line Items: For Sponsorship line items, you can now set an impression goal in order to monitor progress of impressions you’ve contractually sold with the progress bar.
  • Multi-level Ad Unit Reports: There are now three different options for viewing data in ad unit reports. These new views are particularly useful for multi-level ad units, and will help you view data for all of your ad units at once rather than just parent or child ad units.
Posted by Alex Strittmatter, DFP Product Specialist

URL: http://doubleclickpublishers.blogspot.com/2011/12/whats-new-in-doubleclick-for-publishers.html

[G] Read Google eBooks Offline!

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Inside Google Books: Read Google eBooks Offline!

Posted by Xinxing Gu, Google Books Product Manager

We’ve all been there: the Internet is suddenly down, and you can’t keep on reading your ebook to see what the character decides to do next. Or you’re about to head to the airport and want to be able to dive into a newly-purchased ebook during a long flight.

Well, here’s some much-awaited good news! Google eBooks now supports offline reading in Google Chrome. Whether you are flying through the air, backpacking through the European countryside, or simply facing intermittent network connections, you can always read your Google eBooks in your Chrome browser or on your Chromebook.

To read your Google eBooks offline, you’ll need to install the Google Books app from our Chrome Web Store and ensure your Google eBooks are available to read offline. Please see this article in our Help Center and follow the simple step-by-step process to enable offline reading for your ebooks.

We’re excited to make it easier for readers to access their Google eBooks on the go -- whether you're online or offline!
URL: http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2011/12/read-google-ebooks-offline.html

[G] Thumbnails: Your video’s billboard on YouTube

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YouTube Blog: Thumbnails: Your video’s billboard on YouTube

This is part of an ongoing series sharing tips from the YouTube Creator Playbook, a resource of best practices and tips you can start using on your channel and videos right away. As we move along in this series, some posts will be focused for more advanced YouTubers or YouTube Partners, like this week’s tip.



With YouTube seeing 48 hours of video uploaded every minute, it’s important to think how you can get your content seen by your regular and new viewers. In many cases, thumbnails are the first point of contact for your channel and a relevant thumbnail can make the difference for someone about to watch your (awesome) content.



Thumbnail Basics

During the upload process you have the opportunity to pick one of three frames from your video, or to upload a custom image file. For either option some basic best-practices can be applied:



1. Your thumbnail should look good, either scaled small or large


  • Faces work better and engage the audience

  • Visuals of the finished product work better than the process (e.g. show the cake, rather a picture of the batter)

  • Good thumbnails follow the same rule as good photographs - composition, contrast, and color count





2. Choose images that accurately portray your video’s content


  • Accurate thumbnails allow viewers to more easily browser and enjoy your content.

  • Misleading thumbnails lead to poor audience engagement and will hurt your channel’s performance in the long run

  • Safeguards are in place to find and penalize channels that upload racy thumbnails—take a look at our Community Guidelines for more information





TMZ (entertainment)






3. For channels with the ability to upload custom thumbnails, upload a high quality image


  • There is no limit on pixel size (though 1280x720 is recommended)

  • The image file has to be less than 2MB

  • Accepted file formats: PNG, BMP, GIF, or JPEG





vsauce (multiple genres)

Thumbnail Placement

Thumbnails for your videos, playlists and even your channel are used throughout YouTube to promote your content. Some common placements for thumbnails are in search results, along the far right column of your video’s Watch Page, on your Channel page, and in the video player after a video stops playing (the video’s end card). Through these placements viewers can discover your videos, playlists, and channels.



You also should try YouTube Analytics to understand and measure the impact of these tips, and to learn more about thumbnail optimizations and other tips, check out the YouTube Creator Playbook.



Andres Palmiter, Audience Development Strategist, recently watched “Todd Kuiken: A prosthetic arm that ‘feels’.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/UzDUPDtIP8c/thumbnails-your-videos-billboard-on.html

[G] On your mark, get set, GOMC!

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Official Google Blog: On your mark, get set, GOMC!

Professor registration for the 2012 Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC) is now open.
GOMC is a global online marketing competition open to professors and their students in any higher education institution. Professors sign up for the contest and then serve as guides and mentors to their student participants throughout the competition. Over the course of three weeks, student teams are tasked with developing and running a successful online advertising campaign for real businesses or nonprofit organizations using Google AdWords. In the process, they sharpen their advertising, consulting and data analysis skills. (Note: student registration will open on January 31, 2012 and students can only enter if their professors have signed up already and must sign up under their own professors).

After running their online advertising campaign for three weeks, students summarize their experiences in campaign reports, which they submit online. Based on the performance of the campaigns and the quality of the reports, Googlers on the GOMC team and a panel of independent academics select the winning teams.

The global winners and their professor will receive a trip to Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. The regional winners (and their professor) will win a trip to local Google offices, and the social impact award winners will be able to make donations to nonprofit organizations that were part of the GOMC competition.

Last year’s challenge had 50,000 participants representing 100 countries, and this year we expect even more. For more information, visit www.google.com/onlinechallenge. Professors, here is a chance to help your students sharpen their marketing skills and make a global impact!

Posted by AJ Pascua, GOMC Team
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/on-your-mark-get-set-gomc.html

[G] Test your creativity with our search caption challenge

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Official Google Blog: Test your creativity with our search caption challenge

Our main goal at Google Search is to bring you the most relevant and useful results as quickly as possible. But, we are aware that often that is only part of your task or journey. Sometimes, you need more than simple results. You might want to learn, to discover, to be entertained or get insights.

Insights can happen when you least expect them. To improve their chances, it's good to try other things, or do things differently once in awhile. As a lifelong fan and connoisseur of New Yorker style cartoons, I always believed in the power of humor not just to entertain but to enlighten. I have tried to connect humor to everything I do (although, I have to admit, not always successfully). The best cartoonists possess great insights, which they illustrate in a clever package that we can consume in seconds and yet remember for years.

With all of this in mind, today we’re connecting Google search and cartoons through a search caption challenge. Cartoon caption contests have a long history dating back at least to the 1930s, as can be seen in this example I found from Ballyhoo magazine. For our modern version, we worked with artists like Matthew Diffee, Emily Flake, Christoph Niemann, Danny Shanahan and Jim Woodring, who created cartoons that place characters in unusual, interesting and funny situations—all with a common twist. In each cartoon, one of the characters is doing a Google search. We've left it to you to imagine what they'd be searching for at that moment, and left the caption blank for you to fill in with your answer.


To participate, go to Inside Search and submit your idea. Your caption will appear on the site, and you can share it with friends via a unique link. You can also vote on your favorite submissions and the most popular will rise to the top.

We hope this game helps you think in a way you wouldn't otherwise, and maybe get some insights. Or just have fun.

Posted by Udi Manber, VP of Engineering and Cartoons

(Cross-posted on the Inside Search blog)
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/test-your-creativity-with-our-search.html

[G] Sankey Diagrams and Flow: Over A Hundred Years of Innovation

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Google Analytics Blog: Sankey Diagrams and Flow: Over A Hundred Years of Innovation

From our initial limited release of Flow Visualization in October to our recent release to all customers, we have received a lot of positive feedback from our customers. The idea of using Sankey diagrams and applying them to traffic through a website seems to resonate with you. Thank you! We’ve heard all your suggestions and we’re busy cooking up great stuff in our labs for you. Stay tuned....



But, this post is about the other fellow innovators in graph visualization and the different ways that Sankey diagrams have influenced their research. Since Google has a deep and treasured relationship as part of the research community, we wanted to recognize their work to make it easy to understand vast quantities of data.



Many of us draw our inspiration from Charles Minnard’s 1869 work, epitomized by his diagram of Napolean’s March to Russia. Edward Tufte, who is well-known for his popular visualization books, calls Minnard’s work as “... probably the best statistical graphic ever drawn.”









It is truly amazing that this one visualization can show so many insights. Some of our colleagues even wrote in to tell us about their research:


(Over 170 other examples of Sankey Diagram applications can be found here: http://www.sankey-diagrams.com/)



If you haven’t seen the Flow Visualization reports yet, please login to your GA account and check out the Visitors Flow and Goal Flow reports. We hope you find them elegantly powerful.



Our hats are off to fellow visualizers - let’s make visualizing data easy!



Posted by Phil Mui, Google Analytics team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/ZGTZ8Qv1Z0U/sankey-diagrams-and-flow-over-hundred.html

[G] Ads that entertain: YouTube’s top spots of 2011

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YouTube Blog: Ads that entertain: YouTube’s top spots of 2011

Editor’s note: Yesterday, we looked back on the “most viewed” YouTube videos of 2011. Today, we invited Advertising Age’s Michael Learmonth to reflect on the most viewed video ads of the year.



We always knew people liked to watch the ads. At least some ads, like the great ones people talk about after the Super Bowl. Then YouTube came along in 2005 and brought with it the notion that ads can be great content that earn their way onto screens of all types, spread by consumers who vote, share, like, comment, blog, plus-one, or even create response videos or spoofs.



YouTube is the ultimate meritocracy for video, and advertisers are adapting to this world by creating content that people want to share. It’s no surprise, for example, that among the top-10 most-watched ads on YouTube in 2011 are two Super Bowl ads.



Most watched video ads of the year (eliminating music videos and trailers):

1. VW - The Force

2. T-Mobile - Royal Wedding

3. Chrysler - Imported From Detroit

4. DC Shoes - Ken Block's Gymkhana Four: The Hollywood Megamercial

5. smartwater - Jennifer Aniston goes viral

6. Team Hot Wheels - The Yellow Driver's World Record Jump

7. Old Spice - Scent Vacation

8. Apple - Introducing Siri on iPhone 4S

9. Samsung - Unleash Your Fingers

10. adidas - D Rose: adiZero Rose 2 The Bull



What is surprising is that the majority of YouTube’s top “ads” of 2011 (seems strange to call them that) never appeared on traditional TV at all.



Videos like T-Mobile’s Royal Wedding, itself a spoof of the JK Wedding Dance, were made for the web and made to amuse, entertain, and to be passed around, as are mini-movies like DC Shoe’s Gymkhana Four, stunts like Hot Wheel’s record jump, and Old Spice’s “Scent Vacation.”



Even the two Super Bowl ads making the list, Chrysler and Volkswagen, were part of elaborate campaigns made to live significant lives on the web. In the past, advertisers treated their Super Bowl spots like state secrets, but Volkswagen posted “The Force” on YouTube two weeks before the Super Bowl last year, and had 10 million views before the game began. Chrysler took the opposite approach, but created a video four times the length of a typical TV ad, perfect for extended watching on the web after the game.



For brands, creating great content—advertainment, if you will—isn’t just for big TV events like the Super Bowl anymore. Increasingly, advertisers and their agencies are focusing on the content and the strategy, and letting that content distribute itself. That doesn’t mean they aren’t doing traditional advertising. Indeed all of these campaigns were backed up by significant spending to seed and promote these videos on YouTube and elsewhere. But paid media only gets you so far. In the end, it doesn’t matter if they paid $3 million for 30-seconds in the Super Bowl or much less to get the conversation started. In the end, it’s the content that counts.



Michael Learmonth, Senior Editor for Advertising Age, recently watched, “Sesame Street: Smell Like a Monster.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/Vy4X8Cx5HOA/ads-that-entertain-youtubes-top-spots.html

[G] We’re better together: how cloud, mobile and social are transforming the way we work

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: We’re better together: how cloud, mobile and social are transforming the way we work

Posted by Amit Singh, Vice President, Google Enterprise

Who puts in a 9-5 day anymore? Or works on their own? The demands on our time are multiplying, information is increasing exponentially, and there are still only 24 hours in a day. So when you go to work, you don’t want to step back 15 years and use outdated tools that slow you down.

With Google Apps we want to free you from the weight of technology and help you work smarter. We want to help you better manage your time, find new ways to discover and share knowledge within your business, and collaborate with others more effectively.

We’re pursuing those goals by focusing on three areas: cloud, mobile and social. As 2011 draws to a close, we thought we’d share a few thoughts on our plans for each in the year ahead.

Cloud: The movement of computing to the web is inevitable and will only accelerate in 2012 as many large businesses join Fortune 500 companies like Guardian Life, MeadWestvaco, and Sanmina-SCI in the cloud. We also expect that 2012 will be a huge year in the cloud for small businesses, which represent 99.7 percent of all U.S. employers, yet only 10% of SMBs have deployed cloud technologies.

Our computing experience is designed for today’s world and built with entirely modern technologies far more powerful than the PC -- from apps to browser to OS to device -- to benefit businesses of all sizes. Our 100% web focus lets us innovate faster while delivering best-in-class reliability, security and support. In 2011 alone, we added more than 175 new features to Google Apps, while still delivering 99.99% reliability in Gmail.

Going forward, we’ll further integrate the products in the Apps suite to make the experience more seamless, and we’ll accelerate our efforts to make them even faster and more responsive. Our cloud services are another important area of investment, and they will make it easier for you to build scalable web apps and draw trends from huge amounts of data to make better informed decisions. More than 400,000 active applications already run on App Engine, an increase of more than 70% in the last year alone.

Mobile: Increasing numbers of employees are bringing personal devices to work, and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all enterprise mobile plan. Forrester Research predicts that in 2012 more than 77% of organizations will support Android and iOS devices.* Looking at our own customers, more than 90% of Google Apps for Business users have deployed or are interested in using Android devices in their organization, and for good reason; Android version 4.0, called Ice Cream Sandwich, includes powerful enterprise features such as on-device encryption, VPN and Global Address List (GAL) support.

Managing all of these new devices can be very costly. But the cloud democratizes expensive enterprise software, making it affordable and easy to use for businesses of all sizes. We’ve integrated web-based mobile device management capabilities into Google Apps and recently introduced new features to help you grapple with growing mobile demands.

The best thing about mobile devices is fast and intuitive applications. Our ‘mobile-first’ strategy means our apps will work first and best across different mobile platforms and allow you to be productive from anywhere. Last year we improved our Gmail mobile web app, brought a Gmail app to iOS, introduced a Docs app for Android phones and tablets, and there’s more to come. We’ll continue to invest heavily in mobile and soon you’ll see the products you love work even better on your smartphones and tablets. Beyond our own apps, we foresee many developers increasing their focus on building mobile apps for businesses.

Social: We’ve made strong progress in bringing some of the best consumer technology to business in areas like email, documents, video and mobile devices. But there’s been a glaring exception: social. This despite the fact that businesses are inherently about people and relationships, and the web is ideally suited to groups collaborating together.

That’s changing in a big way. Over the last year we added features like rich discussions in Docs, and made Google+ available to Apps customers. Google+ is our effort to center our products around the hundreds of millions of people who use them every day. It promises reshape all of the services we offer. It’s already changing the way people share knowledge in companies like Journal Communications, which is using Hangouts to train employees on new software.

Our efforts will focus on two areas in the year ahead. First, on continuing the blistering pace of innovation that is bringing multiple improvements to Google+ every week, while also wrapping Google+ with the controls needed for broader use in large enterprises. Just last week we rolled out a number of improvements that make it even easier to connect to your colleagues, customers and business partners face-to-face-to-face via Hangouts and there’s much more to come. Second, on bringing Google+ to the rest of our products: incorporating features that make it easier to connect, share, and integrate with the wider world. The Google+ integrations with Gmail and contacts are one small example of our work to create a seamless and intuitive experience across Google.

Cloud, mobile, social. Fast, lightweight applications that makes it easier to work with others from anywhere. Those are the areas driving our investments for 2012, and transforming the way we work. Join us at www.google.com/apps

* Forrester Research, How to Connect your Mobile Workforce to Cloud-Based Email, December 12, 2011, by Christopher Voce and Christian Kane with Doug Washburn, Ted Schadler, and Lindsey Kempton
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/12/were-better-together-how-cloud-mobile.html

[G] The Lake Havasu City Police Department has gone Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: The Lake Havasu City Police Department has gone Google

Posted by Dan Doyle, Chief of Police, Lake Havasu City, Arizona

Editors note: Today our guest blogger is the Chief of Police, Dan Doyle, from Lake Havasu City in Arizona. Lake Havasu P.D. has 120 employees and they switched to Google Apps in May, 2011.

Lake Havasu City in Arizona is known to be the home of the historic London Bridge. Our Police Department is dedicated to making our community a safe and secure place to live and work. We are constantly looking for technologies that can help us provide the highest quality of services to the citizens.

Our police department had been using Microsoft Office for decades. Since most of our officers are primarily on the road in their patrol vehicles, accessing documents and information while they were away from their desks had long been a struggle. Many staff members would only be able to check email before they started a shift or after they returned to the office. Even though they were able to remotely connect to the data server via a mobile browser, they were only able to access straight text, not links or the rest of the Intranet.

These challenges prompted us to look for a solution that could meet the needs of our mobile task-force. After comparing available solutions on the market, the decision was made to adopt Google Apps for Government with the help of Google partner SADA Systems. Our officers are pleased. They respond to emails from the computers in their patrol vehicles or on their smart phones. In-person meetings are largely reduced as we are now able to exchange information much more efficiently.

Our operations Captain Joe Fiumara, having worked graveyard shifts himself, realized one of the unique challenges of police work is that officers are out on patrol 24/7 but detectives and the command staff work regular hours. Using Google Sites, Joe built an internal community site called “Water Cooler” that allows all officers to easily post questions and make comments via mobile devices even when they are out on duty. We’re proud that Joe has been recognized by Google as a Government Transformer for his ingenuity improving communication and collaboration in our department. We also use Google Sites for publishing training and policy documents, significantly reducing our paper consumption.

One of the most popular questions I received after our decision to migrate to Google was about the security of Google Apps. What I tell folks is that just because police departments tend to have good physical security, it doesn’t always mean we also have good network security. By moving our data to the Google cloud, we are able to take advantage of the FISMA certified security infrastructure that Google has built, which we have found to be more robust than the systems most mid to small agencies with limited resources (including our own department) are able to build on their own.

Our organization has a goal of increasing our mobility, enhancing communication, and reducing our use of paper. Google Apps meets our needs and moves us much closer to achieving our goals. Not only is our data more secure, but better access to information helps us keep the citizens of Lake Havasu more secure as well.

URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2011/12/lake-havasu-city-police-department-has.html