Saturday, June 9, 2012

[G] Do this, do that, Do Something on YouTube!

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YouTube Blog: Do this, do that, Do Something on YouTube!

Have a feeling you’re going to be a little bored this weekend? Why not Do Something different?



Well now you can - live - with DoSomething.org. Do Something is a nonprofit organization that works with young people to create social change through national campaigns and impactful service projects.



Today, from 9:30am - 5:30pm ET, you can tune in here on YouTube to watch Do Something’s NYC Boot Camp. Check out the schedule to see if they're are certain sessions you want to attend or watch the whole day!



Do Something Boot Camp will bring together a diverse group of young community leaders, activists and social entrepreneurs for a day of networking and training dedicated to giving each attendee the tools to grow and sustain their community action ideas, projects and organizations.



Now, with just an internet connection, young leaders and activists all over can participate in these how-to sessions on starting and managing projects, through live video on YouTube.

And check out DoSomething.org’s YouTube Channel for other ways you can get involved and change your community for the better.



 



Jessica Mason, communications associate, recently watched "How to Start a Community Action Project"


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/ZMQ1DfQpKLc/do-this-do-that-do-something-on-youtube.html

Friday, June 8, 2012

[G] AdWords < 3 Mobile Apps

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Inside AdWords: AdWords < 3 Mobile Apps

Cross posted from the Google Mobile Ads blog

When we acquired AdMob two years ago, we made a big bet on mobile - and on mobile display advertising. As smartphone adoption has continued to grow around the world, we’ve seen that bet pay off with the increasingly strong appetite to engage customers on mobile devices.   Starting today, over one million AdWords advertisers will now be able to reach engaged consumers on more than 350 million mobile devices in the AdMob network and in some of the world’s most popular mobile applications.

By bringing our products and tools together, advertisers can work with Google to more effectively accomplish their marketing goals.  Earlier this week, we unveiled a newly unified digital ad platform that makes online marketing easier and more effective for large marketers and agencies using Doubleclick’s ad serving tools.  Similarly, with today’s announcement, AdMob mobile advertising becomes a seamless part of AdWords.

AdWords advertisers’ will now have access to mobile app inventory from directly within the AdWords interface, giving them the ability to create and manage ad campaigns that run across more than 300,000 mobile apps in the AdMob network.  Advertisers will be able to easily build, launch, and optimize their mobile campaigns across multiple platforms, and have full transparency about where their mobile ads run. AdMob’s network of apps gives advertisers true global reach with 23 countries each generating over one billion ad-requests last month, up from 11 countries in April 2011.

Starting today, a new campaign type is available in AdWords that makes it easy to launch an ad campaign to run on mobile apps on the AdMob network.  To start this new campaign type, advertisers can select “new campaign” from the Campaigns tab, and then “Display Network only (mobile apps)”.  

In addition to the ability to launch a mobile app campaign from within AdWords, advertisers can now reach individuals by targeting specific smartphone or tablet device models (e.g. Samsung Galaxy) or by targeting a particular manufacturer brand.  AdWords already enables targeting by operator, wifi, or operating system version.

Advertisers can also reach their desired audience by selecting from the categories available in the Google Play Store (e.g. ‘Games’) or App Store and search for individual apps (e.g. ‘Flood it’).  In the next several weeks, we’ll also provide an estimate on the number of devices reached and impressions targeted given your selections.


For more information on these new features, please join our webinar on mobile apps inventory in AdWords today at 10:00 AM PT / 1:00 PM ET (register here).

This is the latest chapter in our ongoing efforts not only to bring AdMob’s and Google’s tools together, but to mobilize all of our ads products and services.  Over the last year, we’ve brought mobile app inventory to the Doubleclick Ad Exchange, transitioned AdMob CPC campaigns to an AdWords-style auction, and launched the ability for advertisers to serve ads from DFA into the AdMob network.

As mobile continues to grow, we’ll continue to develop integrated advertising solutions designed to harness the specific features of mobile devices, usage, and context.

Posted by: Jonathan AlfernessDirector Product Management, Mobile Ads
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/06/adwords-3-mobile-apps.html

[G] Building Blocks of Digital Attribution: How to get started with Google’s attribution tools

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Inside AdWords: Building Blocks of Digital Attribution: How to get started with Google’s attribution tools

(Cross-posted from the Analytics Blog)

What are the key steps to getting started with marketing attribution? Are you ready to move beyond the “last click” attribution model? How can you use Google’s tools to better understand your customer’s journey and calculate the impact of your digital marketing channels?



To help answer these questions, we’ve put together a series of webinars on attribution:
  • Attribution Insights from Google and Econsultancy (4/26/2012) – watch recording here
  • Building Blocks of Digital Attribution (5/24/2012) – watch recording here
  • Search Attribution: AdWords Search Funnels (6/20/2012) – register here
  • Cross-Channel Attribution: Multi-Channel Funnels – registration details coming soon
  • Next Steps with Attribution – registration details coming soon
If you didn’t have a chance to catch last week’s webinar on Building Blocks of Digital Attribution, it’s a great place to start your attribution journey -- you can watch the recording above. During the webinar, Bill Kee, Product Manager for Attribution and Multi-Channel Measurement, discussed how to lay the foundation for digital attribution. First and foremost, it’s important to get your organization ready. In our work with customers and our recent attribution research, we’ve discovered that many companies try to pursue attribution before their culture or their data is ready. In the webinar, Bill describes the steps and the potential pitfalls to make sure your company is heading in the right direction.

Second, even if the organization has taken the necessary steps culturally, it’s challenging to find the right technology, and to ensure that technology is properly implemented.




We know that finding the right technology is a challenge, which is why Google offers several great attribution tools – including AdWords Search Funnels, Multi-Channel Funnels in Google Analytics, and Attribution Modeling in Google Analytics Premium. In order to get the most out of these tools, it’s important to ensure that the basics are set up correctly.  So, during the webinar, Bill also did a live demo of how to get started with AdWords Conversion Tracking and Google Analytics Goals. The setup is quick and easy – and once it’s in place, users can start accessing rich attribution data.

Naturally, we also received a lot of great questions from the webinar participants. We weren’t able to get to all of them during the webinar, so here are some responses and more pointers on getting started with attribution.



How do you define “digital attribution”?
Digital attribution is the process of assigning credit to the various online interactions your customer has before a “conversion” (conversion = making a purchase or performing some other valuable action on your site). These interactions could include display ads, paid or organic search results, email campaigns, affiliate coupon programs, social network posts, and other digital interactions. Today, many marketers by default use “last click” attribution, assigning all of the credit to the last interaction before a conversion. By understanding the full path to conversion – including early “upper funnel” touch points – and giving credit to all of those interactions, you’ll be able to budget more effectively and design better marketing campaigns.

What about attribution beyond digital channels?
Attribution is about improving the measurement of how ad spend drives conversions. To address this challenging topic, it’s important to consider all the factors that might affect conversions. These factors include the digital channels mentioned above, as well as how users interact with your brand across multiple devices, and the influence of online advertising on offline sales. This webinar series is focused on how to get the most out of digital attribution.

How do I know which interaction is the trigger for the actual conversion, out of the entire funnel?
The goal of attribution is to more accurately measure the impact of all your digital channels on sales, including how these channels interact in the path to conversion. This means acknowledging that, in most cases, there is no single “trigger” for the conversion, but rather a group of campaigns or touch points working together to help drive a conversion. So, a user might see a display ad which makes her start thinking about your product, then a few days later view an organic search result, then receive a targeted email, and finally buy your product. In this example the email was the last pre-conversion interaction, but all three interactions probably had an impact on your customer’s decision. Attribution is the process of deciding how much credit you want to give to each of those interactions.

How do I set up those tools you discussed during the webinar? Can you provide more detail for advanced setup needs?
Our help center provides very detailed information about how to get your AdWords and Analytics set up correctly, and responses to frequently asked questions. Check out our pages on:
In addition, if you'd like more help, we recommend contacting one of our certified partners – they can assist you with all aspects of implementation, as well as with interpreting your results. You can also check out our AdWords user forum and our Google Analytics user forum to get answers to your questions.

Does adding all this code to my website affect the site speed at all?
If the code is installed correctly by following the directions outlined on our help center pages (see above for links), it should not impact your site speed, or have only a very tiny impact. Setting up goals and conversion tracking will provide much richer data on how users arrive at your site and whether they’re doing what you want them to do once they get there. With that knowledge, you’ll be able to improve your marketing programs and your website.

What are some sample use cases for “event” goals?
A goal or a conversion can be more than just a purchase. Indeed, you can define multiple “micro-conversions” that represent various actions that are important to your business. So, you might use event goals to keep track of when a PDF was downloaded, or when a user watched a video or played an audio clip. Each of these “events” could be tied to goals that are of value to you. You can find more detail about event tracking in this article on the Google Developers site.

Why do I need to set up conversion tracking and goals? Can’t Google Analytics track without conversions?
It is possible to see some useful information without conversions, but defining conversions helps you measure what's important, rather than just general behavior. Plus, after you have these conversion tools set up in Analytics and AdWords, you’ll be able to access Multi-Channel Funnels, Flow Visualization, and Conversion Reporting in Google Analytics, as well as Search Funnels and Conversion Optimizer in AdWords. It’s quick and easy to get started, and it’s much more useful to look at a user’s path if you know that they’ve reached your desired end point and performed an action that’s valuable to your business.

Marketing attribution is a complex but very rewarding process – we hope that these tools and webinars will help you to get started.

Happy analyzing, and hope you'll join us for the next webinar in the series!

Posted by Sara Jablon Moked, Product Marketing Manager for Conversion and Attribution
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/06/building-blocks-of-digital-attribution.html

[G] Connecting shoppers and great stores online

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Inside AdWords: Connecting shoppers and great stores online

Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog

Online shopping is great for many reasons, but most of all it’s a convenient and fast way to turn your intent to buy that new pair of running shoes, for example, into an actual purchase. But shoppers tell us they’re often nervous about buying from online stores they don’t know. We created the free Google Trusted Stores program to help solve this problem. When shoppers see the Google Trusted Store badge, they know in a snap they’re shopping with a reputable retailer and they can feel confident making an informed purchase.

We’ve been testing the program since last fall with about 50 online merchants and more than 10 million orders. It’s working even better than we hoped, generating positive feedback from shoppers and increasing sales for merchants. Starting today, Google Trusted Stores is open to all U.S. merchants who want to apply.

Helping shoppers choose stores they can trust
When shopping online, you may come across the Google Trusted Store badge. Hover over it and you’ll see a “report card” which shows “grades” for that merchant’s shipping and service, including more precise metrics about what the grades mean.

The Google Trusted Store badge and report card

This badge is only awarded to online stores that deliver a great overall experience, so even if you haven’t shopped with this merchant before, you can easily tell if they are trustworthy, ship quickly and reliably, and offer exceptional customer service. If there’s a problem with your purchase, we’re here to help. When you buy from a Google Trusted Store, you can opt in to get up to $1,000 lifetime purchase protection per shopper. And our dedicated customer service team is there to work with you and the merchant to assist in resolving the issue.

Helping merchants demonstrate their excellence and earn new business
Google Trusted Stores helps online stores attract new customers, increase sales and differentiate themselves by showing off their excellent service via the badge on their websites. Soon the badge will also appear on Google.com ads and in Google Shopping results.

Google Trusted Store badge on AdWords

Over the last nine months of the pilot, our tests show that participating in this program can help merchants big and small. For example, Wayfair, the largest online-only retailer of home goods and one of the top 50 largest online retailers as ranked by Internet Retailer, increased sales* on its site by 2.3 percent with Google Trusted Stores. And Beau-coup, a specialty online favors and gifts retailer, saw an 8.6 percent increase*. Take a look at our merchant success stories to learn more about how Google Trusted Stores has had a positive impact on website conversion rates and average order sizes for online retailers.

Google Trusted Stores is entirely free, both for shoppers and for online stores. We’re still testing the most helpful ways to display Trusted Stores information to shoppers, so you may see different versions, or none at all, while we conduct experiments. If you’re a merchant and would like to participate in the Google Trusted Stores program, please apply.

Posted by Tom Fallows, Group Product Manager, Google Shopping

*Increased sales percentages are based on a combination of uplift in conversion and average order size.
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/06/connecting-shoppers-and-great-stores.html

[G] Spurious conversions in Website Optimizer reports

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Official Google Website Optimizer Blog: Spurious conversions in Website Optimizer reports

We have gotten reports of spurious conversions appearing in Website Optimizer reports over the last few days.  We have since fixed the underlying problem and reprocessed the affected data.  Please do let us know if you still see any problems with the numbers in your reports.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Posted by Enrique Muñoz Torres, Sr. Product Manager, Google Analytics
URL: http://websiteoptimizer.blogspot.com/2012/06/spurious-conversions-in-website.html

[G] Hang out – live on air – with the Google Drive & Docs team

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Hang out – live on air – with the Google Drive & Docs team

Posted by Julia Harter, Google Enterprise team

Cross-posted on the Google Docs blog.

Editors note: Hangouts On Air are live video chats, interviews, or performances that are broadcast to Google+. We’ll host these broadcasts from time to time on the Google Enterprise Google+ page to give you the inside scoop on our business and products.

Last week, we hosted our first Hangout On Air from the Google Enterprise Google+ page with Jonathan Rochelle, Director of Product Management, Jeff Harris, Google Docs Product Manager, Teresa Wu, Google Docs Community Manager, and Eric Brunnett, Director of IT at Trump Hotel Collection.

During the conversation, Jonathan Rochelle told us the story of how Google Docs, Google Drive and cloud collaboration came to be. What was once an experiment to bring desktop software to the web is now a collaboration and productivity platform used by millions of people in their personal lives and at businesses, universities, non-profits and government agencies around the world.

Then, Eric Brunnett fielded questions about his company’s transition to Google Apps for Business and how they use shared Google documents and spreadsheets to streamline internal operations and communication. For example, they've moved away from relying on paper forms and long email chains by using Google Forms and Google Apps Scripts to create paperless processes that are more efficient and more trackable.

Last, Jeff Harris demoed some Google Drive features like shared folders and Google documents features like the research pane and contextual spell check, showing how the power of the web is used in Google Apps.



Follow the Google Enterprise and Google Docs Google+ pages to watch future Hangouts On Air and stay up-to-date on the latest news.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/06/hang-out-live-on-air-with-google-drive.html

[G] Hang out – live on air – with the Google Drive & Docs team

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Docs Blog: Hang out – live on air – with the Google Drive & Docs team

Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise blog.

Editor's note: Hangouts On Air are live video chats, interviews, or performances that are broadcast to Google+. We’ll host these broadcasts from time to time on the Google Enterprise Google+ page to give you the inside scoop on our business and products.

Last week, we hosted our first Hangout On Air from the Google Enterprise Google+ page with Jonathan Rochelle, Director of Product Management, Jeff Harris, Google Docs Product Manager, Teresa Wu, Google Docs Community Manager, and Eric Brunnett, Director of IT at Trump Hotel Collection.

During the conversation, Jonathan Rochelle told us the story of how Google Docs, Google Drive and cloud collaboration came to be. What was once an experiment to bring desktop software to the web is now a collaboration and productivity platform used by millions of people in their personal lives and at businesses, universities, non-profits and government agencies around the world.

Then, Eric Brunnett fielded questions about his company’s transition to Google Apps for Business and how they use shared Google documents and spreadsheets to streamline internal operations and communication. For example, they've moved away from relying on paper forms and long email chains by using Google Forms and Google Apps Scripts to create paperless processes that are more efficient and more trackable.

Last, Jeff Harris demoed some Google Drive features like shared folders and Google documents features like the research pane and contextual spell check, showing how the power of the web is used in Google Apps.



Follow the Google Enterprise and Google Docs Google+ pages to watch future Hangouts On Air and stay up-to-date on the latest news.

Posted by Julia Harter, Google Enterprise team
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2012/06/hang-out-live-on-air-with-google-drive.html

[G] New massacre in Syria, Transit of Venus, Mubarak sentenced

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YouTube Blog: New massacre in Syria, Transit of Venus, Mubarak sentenced


Everyday on the CitizenTube channel (and @CitizenTube on Twitter), along with our curation partners @storyful, we look at how the top news stories are covered on YouTube. Each week we post a weekly recap of the top news stories of the week, as seen through the lens of both citizen-reported footage and professional news coverage.






  • We watched former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak receive a life sentence following a ten month trial.

  • We observed millions in Britain and beyond stop to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.

  • We witnessed another week of violence in Syria, as activists reported a new 'massacre' in Syria's Hama province just days after the government there announced they would allow permanent UN aid teams in.

  • We saw a devastating plane crash in Lagos, Nigeria, claim the lives of over 150 people. 

  • We followed the ups and downs of the US election campaign trail as incumbent Governor Scott Walker survived the Wisconsin recall election.

  • We marveled at the occurrence of a rare celestial event, as the Transit of Venus was spotted worldwide.

  • We paid tribute to inspirational author Ray Bradbury, who died this week aged 91, with a collection of wonderful interviews.

  • We marked World Environment Day; an annual UN initiative aimed at celebrating globally positive environmental action.

  • Finally, 23 years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, we viewed activists gather in Hong Kong to remember the victims.








Come back to watch the news unfold on YouTube. 





Olivia Ma, YouTube News & Politics, recently watched "Amazing Video: Transit of Venus across the Sun 2012".



URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/d3GLbv_8l30/new-massacre-in-syria-transit-of-venus.html

[G] UCOSP (Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects) program: Year 4

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Google Open Source Blog: UCOSP (Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects) program: Year 4

We have just completed our fourth year of the UCOSP (Undergraduate Capstone Open Source Projects) program and are already planning for a fifth. In this multi-university collaboration, students from across Canada - 13 schools this past year - participate in industry-mentored open source projects for course credit. Almost a year ago, we wrote an overview of the program including the practical details around the program organization and the rationale that led us to develop it. As a high-level description, suffice it to say that this unique program - to the best of our knowledge there is no similar program anywhere else in the world - was conceived to provide students with a very realistic experience of software engineering and to fundamentally enhance their school learning. The feedback we are getting from our students provides strong evidence that we are meeting these objectives.



Let me share a few stories from some of the 71 undergraduate students who participated this year:


"[UCOSP] was the first time I realized how a team located in different areas can integrate and work together. The IRC channel is the place we have the most fun.  I am very thankful to this project because I got an insight and have experienced  how an open-source project operates."

From another undergraduate whose UCOSP experience led to her Google summer internship:


"My UCOSP project was Groovy, a plugin for Eclipse that provides IDE support for the dynamically typed language Groovy. Some time after I started working on my UCOSP project, I applied to Google for a summer internship. After making it through the first round of technical interviews, I found myself being interviewed over the phone by a senior developer for Google. He asked, a little apprehensively, what I knew about Eclipse plugins. I described my work for UCOSP to him. He was audibly relieved - he was looking for someone to work on an Eclipse plugin that provides IDE support for JavaScript. I got a phone call with an offer an hour later and I'm working there now."

Another student comments on what he learned by reflecting through his learning experience:


"The most important things you learn during the project are about yourself: how disciplined you are, your time management skills and how to work independently. In particular, I've discovered that I need structure to be productive."

The project mentors have also commented positively on various aspects of the project.

For example, the Umple project mentor comments on the use of Google tools for managing his distributed team.


"It is a nice fit that Google is a key sponsor of UCOSP: Umple's development is hosted on Google Code, and we make extensive use of Google Groups and Google+, particularly the excellent ‘Hangouts with extras' multi-party video conferencing feature. Weekly Hangouts turned out to be almost as effective as in-person meetings with my local students at fostering a sense of community among UCOSP students from several campuses." 

Finally, one of the home-faculty members whose student was on the ReviewBoard team, says:


"...[my student] had a fantastic experience with UCOSP. He doesn't understand why all of the students aren't beating down the doors trying to get into the course."

As a steering committee we are thrilled with the continued success of UCOSP and are happy to talk to anyone about it. We want to thank Google for their support and to publicly thank the dedicated open source project mentors who are training tomorrow's leaders.

For all of us who are involved with UCOSP, it is clear that this is a valuable program for our students and that our projects make useful, even valuable, contributions to the open-source projects that participate in it. We are excited to be planning our next year and we are thankful to the sponsorship of our supporting organizations.



By Karen Reid, Senior Lecturer University of Toronto, UCOSP Steering Committee Member


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/cEdByh3eAns/ucosp-undergraduate-capstone-open.html

[G] Setting the record straight: competition in search

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Google Public Policy Blog: Setting the record straight: competition in search

Posted by Amit Singhal, Senior Vice President, Engineering

Search is about helping people find the right answers to their questions when and where they need them. We work hard every day to figure out the most useful results for our users, and we’re working to create new and better ways to answer your questions. We know that if we don’t give users the best results, people can and will switch to another search engine.

And while we’re always happy to have feedback about how we can improve, it’s more useful if that feedback is based on facts. In today’s Wall Street Journal, the CEO of comparison shopping site Nextag makes several claims that are wrong -- or suggests that Google start doing things that we already do. Let me set the record straight:

Claim: “Most people believe that when they type "convection microwave oven" or "biking shorts" into Google, they will receive a list of the most relevant sites. Not true. That's how Google used to work. Now, when someone searches for these items, the most prominent results are displayed because companies paid Google for that privilege.”
Fact: Let me be very clear: our unpaid, natural search results are never influenced by payment. Our algorithms rank results based only on what the most relevant answers are for users -- which might be a direct answer or a competitor’s website. Our ads and commercial experiences are clearly labeled and distinct from the unpaid results, and we recently announced new improvements to labeling of shopping results. This is in contrast to most comparison shopping sites, which receive payment from merchants but often don’t clearly label search results as being influenced by payment.

Claim: “It's easy to see when Google makes changes to its algorithms that effectively punish its competitors, including us.”
Fact: As we’ve said many times before, we built search to help users, not websites. We don’t make changes to our algorithms to hurt competitors. We make more than 500 changes a year (each one scientifically evaluated) in order to deliver the most useful results for our users - and we now publish a monthly list of algorithm improvements. Every one of those changes moves some websites up and some sites down in the rankings, but the most important thing is that users are happy with the results.

Claim: “[Google] has used its position to bend the rules to help maintain its online supremacy, including the use of sophisticated algorithms weighted in favor of its own products and services at the expense of search results that are truly most relevant.”
Fact: Our algorithms are always designed to give users the most relevant results -- and sometimes the best result isn’t a website, but a map, a weather forecast, a fact, a quick answer, or specialized image, shopping, flight, or movie results. And that’s not just Google; Bing, Yahoo and other search engines do the same thing.

Claim: “Google should provide consumers with access to the unbiased search results it was once known for—regardless of which company or organization owns the service. It should also allow users to reduce the number of ads shown or incorporate a user's preferred services in search results.
Fact: All major search engines -- including Bing and Yahoo -- long ago evolved beyond the simple “ten blue links,” and we believe that our users are often best served by providing better answers directly in search results. And if users don’t like our results, they can try Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, or even Google Minus Google.

Claim: “Google should grant all companies equal access to advertising opportunities regardless of whether they are considered a competitor.”
Fact: We don’t prohibit competitors from advertising on Google -- in fact, many of our largest advertisers are also competitors. Our auction-based advertising system, which takes into account relevance and bids, is designed to provide a level playing field on which placement is not automatically awarded to the highest bidder.

Claim: “In addition, Google often uses its prime real estate to promote its own (often less relevant and inferior) products and services...”
Fact: It’s understandable that every website believes that it is the best, and wants to rank at the top of Google results. The great thing about the openness of the Internet is that if users don’t find our results relevant and useful, they can easily navigate to Nextag, Amazon, Yelp, Bing or any other website. 

There has never been as much choice online as there is today. Over the last few years, we’ve faced competition from new players, including social networks, mobile apps, and specialty search sites. All that competition is a great thing for consumers, it gives you more choices and makes us work hard to deliver you even more relevant answers, day after day.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2012/06/setting-record-straight-competition-in.html

[G] Hosting a ‘Big Tent’ in Sendai, Japan on the role of technology when disaster strikes

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Google Lat Long: Hosting a ‘Big Tent’ in Sendai, Japan on the role of technology when disaster strikes



When natural disasters strike, more and more people around the world are turning to the web, social media and mobile technologies to connect with loved ones, locate food and shelter, find evacuation routes, access medical care and help those affected, near and far.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen some powerful examples of technology helping people and organizations cope with disasters, including:
  • Families in Japan turning to person finder to locate loved ones feared lost;
  • Volunteers establishing SMS services and using crowdsourcing tools to collect information after the Haiti earthquake and engage the diaspora;
  • First responders using digital maps to coordinate efforts to provide medical care;
  • Students in New Zealand using social networks to form a volunteer army after the Christchurch earthquake; and
  • Online volunteer communities self-organizing to provide emergency crisis-mapping services around the world.


This is really only scratching the surface of the amazing things people are doing, and we’re only beginning to understand the potential. So we’re hosting a ‘Big Tent’ event in Sendai, Japan on 2 July to explore the growing role of technology in preparing for, responding to and rebuilding from disasters.

At this day-long forum, through a series of panel discussions, keynotes and technology demos, we hope to learn from some of the leading local and global, public and private sector voices on managing crises. The day's speakers will include:
We chose to host this event in Sendai - the largest city in Tohoku, the region devastated by last year’s Great East Japan Earthquake - to focus this forum on Japan’s impressive disaster response and recovery efforts, which demonstrated some new and innovative ways that technology can aid the efforts of responders to reduce the impact and cost of disasters.

While hard hit coastal areas remain bare, with only foundation lines to mark the many homes that have been lost, and too many families still living in shelters or temporary housing, central Sendai and much of the Tohoku region are beginning to buzz with new life and commerce as the community rebuilds. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we’ve already learned a great deal from this region and the inspiring response and rebuilding work being done by people in Japan and around the world, and we believe there’s much more for Google, public and private sector leaders, NGOs and technologists to gain by coming together here.

For those interested in joining us in Sendai, please register to attend here. Though space is limited, we’ll accommodate as many of you as we can.

Posted by Nigel Snoad, Crisis Response Product Manager

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long and Japan blogs)
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/06/hosting-big-tent-in-sendai-japan-on.html

[G] Visualize the history of the Golden Gate Bridge & Crissy Field

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Google Lat Long: Visualize the history of the Golden Gate Bridge & Crissy Field


Editor’s Note: Today’s guest author is Ben Fash from the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the nonprofit partner of the Golden Gate National Parks. The Parks Conservancy was the recipient of a Google Earth Outreach Developer Grant, funded through the Google Inc. Charitable Giving Fund at the Tides Foundation. We are excited to showcase the Parks Conservancy’s innovative use of Google Earth and KML tours.

The Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration recently culminated in a waterfront festival, and hundreds of thousands of people joined hands on Crissy Field -- a beautiful 100-acre national park site at the foot of the bridge. As we celebrated the bridge with the community on Crissy Field, we also celebrated 11 years of the restoration of the cultural and natural resources at this site.

Few people remember that when the Golden Gate Fiesta was held on Crissy Field to open the bridge in 1937, the community was standing on an army airfield, which was subsequently abandoned and served as a dump for many years. In our new Google Earth tour, “The Transformation of Crissy Field,” television journalist Doug McConnell walks through the history of Crissy Field, with a focus on the community-led restoration effort completed in 2001.


The tour includes photos, historic maps, drawings, and satellite imagery with animated SketchUp models to create a virtual journey through the changes from a diverse salt-marsh ecosystem to race-track, army airfield, dumping ground, and finally to beloved national park.

It also shines a light on the Crissy Field Center, a dynamic hub of youth engagement for the Golden Gate National Parks. A partnership program of the Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Presidio Trust, the Center has served hundreds of thousands of youth in its ten years of existence, with a focus on those who traditionally have had little—if any—access to national parks. Just as Crissy Field itself serves as an outdoor classroom for youth, the Google Earth tour serves as an educational tool to inspire new generations with this brilliant story of what is possible when a community rallies to create welcoming public space.

At the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field is a story of transformation.

We believe it is the duty of all human beings to protect ecosystems that are vital to our own survival and that of the other species with whom we share this planet. Now in the 21st century, it is critical that communities join hands to restore the damage that has been done to the environment, reversing trends that have been set and reviving a love for the lands and oceans that we depend on. It is our hope that the story of Crissy Field will serve as an example and will inspire many people to contribute to the stewardship of their own public lands.

We welcome you to visit us online to learn more about our work and how to get involved in the Golden Gate National Parks. While you’re there, view the narrated tour, or download the KML to view it interactively in Google Earth!

Posted by Ben Fash, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/06/visualize-history-of-golden-gate-bridge.html

Thursday, June 7, 2012

[G] Google Apps for Education helps Pt England School raise achievement levels

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Apps for Education helps Pt England School raise achievement levels

Posted by Dorothy Burt, professional development leader at Pt England School

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Dorothy Burt, a professional development leader at Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand. Dorothy has been a Google Certified Teacher since 2008.

Here at Pt England School in Auckland, New Zealand our motto is “Strive to succeed.” But in our low socioeconomic area – an impoverished suburb surrounded by affluence – there’s an unspoken belief that success can be associated with your ability to get out of this part of town. 90% of our 600 students are of Maori or Pasifika descent, who are often found in the lowest achieving cohort. Raising student achievement levels for this demographic is a government priority – and a continued focus for the principal, management team, teachers and parent community at Pt England school. Recognizing our students’ natural flair for technology and expressing themselves through digital platforms, we began a journey to get our students excited about learning and improve their achievement levels through collaborative e-learning. We haven’t looked back since.

We migrated to Google Apps for Education in 2008. After training our teaching staff, we quickly began to see the advantages of working collaboratively. Our migration coincided with several neighbouring schools joining together to form the Manaiakalani Cluster – a group that works toward raising student achievement in literacy. Using Google Apps and other tools, we sought to create confident and informed digital citizens. While we quickly noticed increased student engagement, teachers felt that there was still a missing piece. Enter the Teacher Dashboard, an add-on from the Google Apps Marketplace that allowed teachers to get a bird’s-eye view of classroom activity across Docs, Sites, Gmail, Blogger and Picasa. Using Google Sites, the Manaiakalani Cluster manages the student learning environment internally, making the feedback exchange quick and easy.

The research from test scores collated in 2011 showed significant progress in literacy. Surveys, video observations and interviews with students now demonstrate a group of young learners who are highly engaged in learning.



They have a renewed sense of pride because their test scores improved, and – more importantly to them – people all around the world were reading their blog posts and complementing their success. The teachers also feel a renewed sense of engagement with their classrooms since they can centrally track and monitor student progress via the Teacher Dashboard.

Using Google tools has provided our students with equal access to learning opportunities and opened the door for them to be excited about the learning process and share their progress with the world. As a result, these students know that they don’t need to leave their town to be successful; the world now comes to them and shows them that they are.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/06/google-apps-for-education-helps-pt.html

[G] Get Local with ZIP Code targeting

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Inside AdWords: Get Local with ZIP Code targeting



As previously announced, you can now target 5-digit U.S. ZIP codes in AdWords campaigns on Google Search and Display networks. ZIP code targeting can help you reach the same audiences as your direct mail campaigns, target specific service areas, reach more profitable customers, or optimize national campaigns at a more local level.

To help you make the most of ZIP code targeting, here are a few best practices covering ZIP code campaign setup, selection, bulk uploads, and reporting. You can also sign up now for our June 12th webinar on how to increase online and offline sales with ZIP code targeting.

Campaign Setup
Based on feedback from early adopters, we recommend that you get started by supplementing your national or regional campaigns with a separate local campaign, so you can optimize bids, budgets and creatives at a ZIP code level while maintaining your reach and volume with the more broadly targeted campaign. This supplemental campaign can be implemented by targeting specific ZIP codes of interest to you.

Jef Hall, Paid Search Manager at Sterling Commerce Group, a telecommunications reseller company, shares his strategy for using ZIP code targeting. “We use ZIP codes to better target our service areas. Our first approach is to create supplemental campaigns that target ZIP codes in areas that we sell to,” said Jef. “We also are testing a different method by targeting broadly at the state level and excluding the ZIP codes for areas we don’t sell to. After testing, we’ll go with the method that performs best according to the lead volume of the area, and the cost per lead metrics that we track.”

Selecting ZIP Codes
To implement your strategy, go to your campaign Settings tab in AdWords. Then simply begin typing a ZIP code to view its estimated reach and to add or exclude it as one of your targeted locations.


Alternatively, when selecting your locations, click the Nearby link to view a map and nearby locations which can be filtered by metro, city, or postal code.


If we are not able to associate people with a selected geographic location by their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, we’ll show a Limited reach badge next to the location name. This location will still receive traffic from searches with a specific location mentioned in the query and from users with high-end mobile devices that have enabled the "My location" feature.


If many of the ZIP codes you target have limited reach, consider setting up ZIP code targeting via a supplemental campaign that complements existing campaign targeting more broadly at a city, metro, or state level. That way you maintain your desired reach while bidding more aggressively and customizing campaigns for specific ZIP codes.

Bulk Uploads
With over 30,000 US ZIP codes available for you to target, we want to make the location targeting selection process fast and easy when you’re targeting a lot of ZIP codes.

In the AdWords location targeting tool, you’ll see a new tab called, “Bulk locations.” You’ll be able to enter up to 1,000 locations in a single country at a time. After copying and pasting your list of ZIP codes, click the Search button and review the matched results below before adding them to your campaign. If you’ve ever had to split up campaigns because of location target limits, you’ll be happy to know that we recently raised the location target limits from 300 to 10,000 locations per campaign.


Reporting
To see how your campaigns are performing at a granular level, ZIP codes now appear in the “Most specific location” column in your AdWords geographic performance reports. This is an excellent way to identify your top and your low performing ZIP codes and make campaign optimization adjustments accordingly.


We’re eager to hear about your experience getting local with ZIP code targeting, so share your story here. In addition to our June 12th webinar, you you can also find out more about postal code targeting, the bulk locations feature, and geographic reports in our help center. ZIP Codes are already available in the AdWords API as a beta feature and will be included in the next release of AdWords Editor.

Posted by Aileen Tang, Senior Product Manager
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/06/get-local-with-zip-code-targeting.html

[G] A Preview of AdWords’ New Look

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Inside AdWords: A Preview of AdWords’ New Look


Over the years, we’ve listened to your feedback and added lots of innovations across search, display, mobile, video, social, local, and measurement to help you get great results with AdWords. We also want your experience setting up and managing campaigns to be easier and more enjoyable. So, over the last several months, as part of our aim to deliver a simpler, more beautiful experience across all Google products, we’ve been working on a redesign for the AdWords interface. We are looking for feedback as we put the final touches on this visual refresh. Have a look at the preview and let us know what you think. You’ll find a feedback button on each page.

A more beautiful AdWords
This refresh aims to get the interface out of the way, so that the important things – such as your data – stand out. We integrated the latest client side technologies to make the AdWords interface more visually appealing and scalable.

Click the image above for a preview of AdWords’ new look

A simpler AdWords
The design changes are also aimed at making campaign creation simpler. One example is the introduction of campaign types, which will determine the campaign settings that you see.

For example, if you're creating a Search Network campaign to place ads on Google search and search partners, you'll have the option of selecting a campaign type: either Standard, All features, or Product Listing Ads. If you select the Standard campaign type, you'd see only the most relevant settings to Search Network only campaigns, making you experience simpler and more efficient.

New Campaign Types

Whether you spend an hour a month or a few hours a day in AdWords, we hope you’ll find these changes intuitive and pleasant. Stay tuned for more details as we launch this new design soon.  We welcome your feedback.

Posted by Greg Rosenberg and the AdWords User Experience Team
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/06/preview-of-adwords-new-look.html

[G] Connecting shoppers and great stores online

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Official Google Blog: Connecting shoppers and great stores online

Online shopping is great for many reasons, but most of all it’s a convenient and fast way to turn your intent to buy that new pair of running shoes, for example, into an actual purchase. But shoppers tell us they’re often nervous about buying from online stores they don’t know. We created the free Google Trusted Stores program to help solve this problem. When shoppers see the Google Trusted Store badge, they know in a snap they’re shopping with a reputable retailer and they can feel confident making an informed purchase.

We’ve been testing the program since last fall with about 50 online merchants and more than 10 million orders. It’s working even better than we hoped, generating positive feedback from shoppers and increasing sales for merchants. Starting today, Google Trusted Stores is open to all U.S. merchants who want to apply.

Helping shoppers choose stores they can trust
When shopping online, you may come across the Google Trusted Store badge. Hover over it and you’ll see a “report card” which shows “grades” for that merchant’s shipping and service, including more precise metrics about what the grades mean.

The Google Trusted Store badge and report card

This badge is only awarded to online stores that deliver a great overall experience, so even if you haven’t shopped with this merchant before, you can easily tell if they are trustworthy, ship quickly and reliably, and offer exceptional customer service. If there’s a problem with your purchase, we’re here to help. When you buy from a Google Trusted Store, you can opt in to get up to $1,000 lifetime purchase protection per shopper. And our dedicated customer service team is there to work with you and the merchant to assist in resolving the issue.

Helping merchants demonstrate their excellence and earn new business
Google Trusted Stores helps online stores attract new customers, increase sales and differentiate themselves by showing off their excellent service via the badge on their websites. Soon the badge will also appear on Google.com ads and in Google Shopping results.

Google Trusted Store badge on AdWords

Over the last nine months of the pilot, our tests show that participating in this program can help merchants big and small. For example, Wayfair, the largest online-only retailer of home goods and one of the top 50 largest online retailers as ranked by Internet Retailer, increased sales* on its site by 2.3 percent with Google Trusted Stores. And Beau-coup, a specialty online favors and gifts retailer, saw an 8.6 percent increase*. Take a look at our merchant success stories to learn more about how Google Trusted Stores has had a positive impact on website conversion rates and average order sizes for online retailers.

Google Trusted Stores is entirely free, both for shoppers and for online stores. We’re still testing the most helpful ways to display Trusted Stores information to shoppers, so you may see different versions, or none at all, while we conduct experiments. If you’re a merchant and would like to participate in the Google Trusted Stores program, please apply.

Posted by Tom Fallows, Group Product Manager, Google Shopping

*Increased sales percentages are based on a combination of uplift in conversion and average order size.
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/connecting-shoppers-and-great-stores.html

[G] AdWords, meet AdMob

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Official Google Blog: AdWords, meet AdMob

Mobile advertising has become a core part of marketers’ and publishers’ digital strategies, helping to fuel business growth and great content.

To make mobile ad buying seamless and accessible for more than a million AdWords advertisers, today we're integrating our AdMob technology directly into our AdWords system. This enables advertisers to run effective campaigns across the more than 300,000 mobile applications running ads by AdMob—all from within the AdWords interface. It also helps AdMob developers and publishers increase their revenue by giving them access to a large number of new advertisers. AdWords advertisers can now manage, measure and adjust search, display and video ads, reaching people on more than 2 million websites and hundreds of thousands of apps, across all screens.

Bringing together the best of AdWords with the best of AdMob is an important step in building integrated solutions that help all businesses get the most out of digital marketing. This complements DoubleClick Digital Marketing, our new unified ad platform for larger marketers and agencies who use DoubleClick’s ad technology, which we announced earlier this week.

As mobile usage continues to explode, businesses increasingly need to adapt their marketing strategies to mobile platforms and mobile-specific consumer trends. For more information about how AdWords is helping marketers “go mobile,” read our post on the Mobile Ads Blog.

Posted by Jonathan Alferness, Director of Product Management, Mobile Ads
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/adwords-meet-admob.html

[G] Bonnaroo: Live on YouTube this weekend

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YouTube Blog: Bonnaroo: Live on YouTube this weekend

Stock your cooler with sparkling water and hook your laptop up to a big-screen TV -- YouTube Presents is bringing you the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival all weekend, starting this Friday at 1 p.m. CT/11 a.m. PT. Tune in to youtube.com/bonnaroo to watch three days of non-stop musical performances, in partnership with DELL.







And we mean non-stop. In its eleven years of existence, Bonnaroo has transformed from a haven for jam band aficionados into one of the premiere places to experience live music. The headliners alone are massive -- perhaps you’ve heard of Radiohead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Phish? But the sheer diversity of artists is also astonishing: over 45 artists will be participating in the webcast, and they range from hip-hop and retro soul to continent-spanning collaborations. Check out the webcast schedule, or whet your appetite with this "Bonnaroo 2012" playlist.







To celebrate the festival’s return to YouTube, we’ll also feature playlists from webcast artists including Soja, the Punch Brothers, the Debo Band and fun. throughout the weekend. And keep an eye out for an exclusive video premiere from the heavily (and justly) buzzed band Alabama Shakes tomorrow. It may just knock your socks off.



The festivities start promptly at 11am PT on Friday on youtube.com/bonnaroo -- see you there, people.



Sarah Bardeen, music community manager, recently watched “Bonnaroo 2012 - Ben Folds Shoutout."


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/ifwDJ_zBzLQ/bonnaroo-live-on-youtube-this-weekend.html

[G] Google and GroupM Next Launch SPARK Education Series

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Official Google CPG Blog: Google and GroupM Next Launch SPARK Education Series


Today we’re kicking off a partnership with GroupM Next, the innovation unit of GroupM, called Spark, a series of custom, co-programmed events focused on delivering unique education and innovation experiences for  brands – specifically, clients of GroupM media agencies. We created this initiative together to cultivate education and dialogue for verticals that are under-represented in the broader digital media space in terms of data, research and opportunity. This partnership is the first of its kind for both Google and GroupM, in that it’s a series dedicated to client-focused education and is designed to address topics that directly impact brand opportunity and performance.

The first event, Spark: CPG, is taking place this afternoon in New York with nine leading CPG companies in attendance. In addition to discussions led by Google and GroupM Next execs, Kantar, Buzzfeed and Amazon are joining us as we, collectively as marketers, share insights, research and digital opportunities brands in the consumer packaged goods category can take advantage of.

A quick rundown of discussions on the docket at Spark: CPG in the context of marketing for CPG brands includes:
»      Making the web work for CPG brands – our take on how the consumer, and world around us, has changed
»      The digital enhanced path, exploring the ever-changing connection between consumers and brands and opportunities that exist through understanding new consumer behaviors and the role of technology
»      Marketing and messaging innovation across multiple screens
»      The power of video and building brands with the power of sight, sound and motion
»      Developing ‘content gifts’ in the social world and capturing opportunities by engaging your brand’s super sharers
»      How mobile commerce can connect shoppers to the places and CPG products they love
»      Fostering fluid innovation across marketing and process to enable agencies and brands to meet the pace of change in consumer dynamics and technology

In most cases, Spark will provide brands with insights and education they wouldn’t have access to elsewhere. Additionally, through ongoing collaboration between our companies, GroupM agencies and clients, we’ll identify areas of interest and need for brands across digital media, and foster opportunities as they emerge.
URL: http://google-cpg.blogspot.com/2012/06/google-and-groupm-next-launch-spark.html