Friday, July 13, 2012

[G] Reach mobile and tablet shoppers with Google Shopping

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Inside AdWords: Reach mobile and tablet shoppers with Google Shopping

Smartphones and tablets are changing how people shop for goods and services. More than ever, consumers have near constant access to information from their mobile devices. This global trend opens up new opportunities for businesses to influence purchasing decisions -- at anytime or place, at home or on the go.

To help businesses reach customers while they’re shopping, today we’re launching our new Google Shopping experience, built on Product Listing Ads, for tablets and smartphones in the United States. Just like on desktop computers, Google Shopping for mobile makes it easier for your customers to find and compare different products. Product images enable shoppers to make quick visual comparisons while browsing products. Search refinements, now on tablet devices, help to surface the brands, features and price point they want, so shoppers can easily buy the product they want from the merchant of their choice.



We designed this new shopping experience to fit naturally with the activities people love to do on their smartphones and tablets. For example, tablets are largely used at home, and often while watching TV. In fact, more than a third of tablet owners surveyed said they used tablets to look up products they saw on the big screen at home*. These consumers are making more and more purchases on their tablets. We see similar trends amongst smartphone owners. Our recent Our Mobile Planet research found that one third of Americans (34%) have made a purchase on their smartphones**, and across all global markets surveyed in the study, 62% of people who’ve made a mobile purchase do so at least on a monthly basis.

Product Listing Ads can be set up in AdWords, after you’ve linked your Merchant Center account. To ensure that mobile and tablet shoppers can view your Product Listing Ads, make sure that your campaigns are targeting mobile and tablet devices with full browsers.

To help online merchants drive sales across smartphones and tablets, as well as desktop computers, we’re offering some incentives:
  • Both new and existing merchants who create Product Listing Ads by August 15, 2012 will automatically receive a monthly credit for 10% of their total Product Listing Ad spend through the end of 2012; and
  • Existing Google Product Search merchants who are new to Product Listing Ads can receive $100 AdWords credit toward Product Listing Ads if they fill out a form before August 15, 2012.
Learn more how to get started with Google Shopping across smartphones, tablets or desktop computers, visit: www.google.com/ads/shopping


Posted by Anurag Agrawal, Product Manager, Mobile Ads
_____________________


*State of the Media”, Nielsen, April 2012
**Our Mobile Planet, Google, 2012
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/07/reach-mobile-and-tablet-shoppers-with.html

[G] My Tracks 2.0

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Google Lat Long: My Tracks 2.0


Back in 2009 we released My Tracks, an Android app that uses your phone’s GPS capabilities to visualize your location over time for sharing in Google Maps and Google Earth.

We’ve used My Tracks to follow team HTC-Columbia during the Tour de France and trace the paths of our skiing adventures. A year after launch we open sourced the software and released the code to the world for developers to use in their own applications. Now, we’re happy to announce that My Tracks 2.0 is available for download on Google Play.

Trace your path with My Tracks 2.0

My Tracks 2.0 comes with a variety of new features, including:
  • The ability to play back your tour directly on Google Earth for Android
  • Aggregation of statistics over time to show trends in your performance
  • Simpler, faster user interface
  • Improved charts and stats tables that are easier to read
Update to My Tracks 2.0 today and start tracing and sharing your path around the world.

Posted by Jimmy Shih, Software Engineer for My Tracks
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/07/my-tracks-20.html

[G] Offline updates and a quick look back at June

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Docs Blog: Offline updates and a quick look back at June

Summer brings fun in the sun (in our hemisphere, at least) and a bunch of updates to Google Drive. A few weeks ago at Google I/O, we announced a couple of highly requested features: the ability to edit Google documents offline and a Drive app for iOS.

When you enable Docs offline in Google Drive, you can create & edit Google documents and view Google spreadsheets, without being connected to the internet. Today we updated the offline experience so it looks the same as when you’re online - except it’s filtered to show just your offline docs. Here’s an extra tip: if you want to preview which files are available offline, select More > Offline Docs in the left navigation pane while you’re still connected to the web. This update will roll out to all Drive users over the next few days.

In the past month we’ve also made several other improvements like:

  • updates to Google Apps Script including a standalone script editor, the ability to create richer user interfaces, options to easily store your application’s data, and support for publishing scripts to the Chrome Web Store 
  • expanded language support in the documents and presentations spellchecker to include German, French and Italian 
  • the ability to print documents, spreadsheets, and presentations to any cloud connected printer with Google Cloud Print from any browser 
  • up to 400pt font support in documents and presentations 
  • copying and pasting images from your desktop into a document or presentation 
  • an easy way to edit or open links from text by right clicking on them 
Posted by Owen Merkling, Software Engineer
URL: http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2012/07/offline-updates-and-quick-look-back-at.html

[G] Google at SIGMOD/PODS 2012

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Google Research Blog: Google at SIGMOD/PODS 2012

Posted by Anish Das Sarma, Research Scientist and Jeff Shute, Software Engineer




Over the years, SIGMOD has expanded beyond a traditional "database" conference to include several areas related to information management. This year’s ACM SIGMOD/PODS conference (on Management of Data, and Principles of Database Systems), held in Scottsdale, Arizona was no different. We were impressed by the wide variety of researchers from industry and academia alike the conference attracted, and enjoyed learning how others are pushing the limits of scalability in data storage and processing. In addition to an excellent set of papers on a large number of topics, we saw a couple of recurring themes:




1) Data Visualization


  • Pat Hanrahan from Stanford gave a keynote on some of the challenges involved in building systems to enable "data enthusiasts" to manage and visualize data. 







2) Big Data



As has been the case for the last couple of years, “Big Data" has been of ever-growing interest to the entire community, particularly from industry. Google presented a paper on F1, a new distributed database system we’ve built to power the AdWords system. A complex business application like AdWords has different requirements than many systems at Google that often use storage systems like Bigtable. We have a single database shared by hundreds of developers and systems, so we need the robustness and ease of use we’re used to from traditional databases. F1 is built to scale like Bigtable, without giving up the database features we also need, like strong consistency, ACID transactions, schema enforcement, and most importantly, SQL query.



There’s been a widespread trend over the last several years away from databases, towards highly scalable “NoSQL” systems. We don’t think that trade-off is necessary, and were happy to see several other speakers advocate a similar theme -- yes, databases are useful, and developers shouldn’t need to give up database features and ease of use in the name of scalability.




This theme was supported by an industry session on Big Data featuring talks from other companies: Facebook (TAO: How Facebook Serves the Social Graph), Twitter (Large-Scale Machine Learning at Twitter), and Microsoft (Recurring Job Optimization in Scope). Googler Kirsten LeFevre was a panelist on the "Perspectives on Big Data" panel organized by Surajit Chaudhuri from Microsoft, and also featuring Donald Kossmann from ETHZ, Sam Madden from MIT, and Anand Rajaraman from Walmart Labs. Last but not the least, Surajit Chaudhuri also gave an excellent keynote outlining some of the research challenges that the new era of "Big Data and Cloud" poses.




As has been the practice for several years now, to continue generating great interest in data management research, SIGMOD has been organizing panels such as this year's "New Research Symposium" (which included Anish Das Sarma from Google as a panelist).




In addition to sponsoring the conference, many Googlers attended contributing to a robust presence and affording us the opportunity to interact with the broader information management community. We've been pushing the frontiers of science with cutting-edge research in many aspects of data management, and we were eager to share our innovations and see what others have been working on. We found Amin Vahdat's keynote on the intersection of Networking and Databases to be a highlight of Google’s participation, which also included presenting papers, participating on panels, and taking part in planning and program committees:




Program Committee Members




Anish Das Sarma, Venkatesh Ganti, Zoltan Gyongyi, Alon Halevy (Tutorials Chair), Kristen LeFevre, Cong Yu


Talks




Symbiosis in Scale Out Networking and Data Management

Amin Vahdat, Google (Keynote)




F1-The Fault-Tolerant Distributed RDBMS Supporting Google's Ad Business

Jeff Shute, Mircea Oancea, Stephan Ellner, Ben Handy, Eric Rollins, Bart Samwel, Radek Vingralek, Chad Whipkey, Xin Chen, Beat Jegerlehner, Kyle Littlefield, Phoenix Tong (Googlers)




Finding Related Tables

Anish Das Sarma, Lujun Fang, Nitin Gupta, Alon Halevy, Hongrae Lee, Fei Wu, Reynold Xin, Cong Yu (Googlers)



Papers




CloudRAMSort: Fast and Efficient Large-Scale Distributed RAM Sort on Shared-Nothing Cluster

Changkyu Kim, Jongsoo Park, Nadathur Satish, Hongrae Lee (Google), Pradeep Dubey, Jatin Chhugani




Efficient Spatial Sampling of Large Geographical Tables

Anish Das Sarma, Hongrae Lee, Hector Gonzalez, Jayant Madhavan, Alon Halevy (Googlers)



Panels




Perspectives on Big Data Plenary Session: Privacy and Big Data 

Kristen LeFevre, Google




SIGMOD New Researcher Symposium - How to be a good advisor/advisee? 

Anish Das Sarma, Google



Overall, this year’s SIGMOD was a great conference, widely attended by researchers from industry and academia, and comprised of a very interesting mix of research presentations and discussions. Google had a good showing at the conference, and we look forward to continuing this trend in the coming years.


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/gJZg/~3/GJwCsKDNWN4/google-at-sigmodpods-2012.html

[G] Mobile Will Require Advertisers To Redefine How They Measure Success

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Google Analytics Blog: Mobile Will Require Advertisers To Redefine How They Measure Success




The following post originally appeared on the Google Mobile Ads Blog.



Mobile introduces exciting new opportunities for measuring the success of marketing campaigns, but connecting consumers’ mobile activities with advertisers’ business outcomes can be challenging.  Increasingly, advertisers are redefining their direct response marketing strategies for mobile in order to more accurately measure the success of mobile campaigns.  We recently sat down with Kerri Smith, Director of Mobility at iProspect, a leading, global digital marketing agency to discuss this topic.




Google: How are you helping your clients to assign dollar values to mobile all along the funnel?



Kerri:  This really depends on the client.  In most cases, clients are assigning value based on a number of factors used to determine the lifetime value of a customer.  For example, one of our brands assigns an average order value (AOV) on app downloads based on the usage they’ve seen through analytics and resulting revenue from their aggregated app users.   For another brand, call extensions have proven very effective, though it’s been difficult to track conversions and resulting revenue as the consumer is taken offline.  Therefore, we use an equation that allows us to measure the likelihood of an actual conversion. Knowing the average call duration, which indicates level of interest, and the agent conversion rate, the brand helped to formulate the following equation:





          6 minute call duration = an interested consumer


          Agents convert 30% of interested consumers


          Interested Consumers * 30% = # of conversions





This allows us to quantify a return where 1-to-1 measurement is difficult, and to understand the impact the channel is having on the brand’s overall business.





Google: What types of clients have you seen be successful with understanding the value of these micro- conversions?





Kerri:  We’ve seen our retail brands be the first to embrace these micro-conversions - especially in the case of location-based responses, due in large part to the known “intent to visit” derived from these and previous testing.  We’ve been able to use coupons to measure the revenue opportunity in stores from mobile and to prove the value in attributing dollars to these actions.  Retailers have seen enough of these trends and subsequent lifts in revenue to value these actions.





Google: What success stories or best in class examples can you share?





Kerri:  One of our clients had a goal of directing mobile users to their app download page to increase conversions, and we worked with Google to help them run a two month test of Mobile App Extensions.  During the test, we disabled all sitelinks, location extensions and product extensions in order to focus on the primary goal of driving app downloads.  The test showed phenomenal results: 92 downloads, 89:1 ROI and a 334% lift in ROI when they began attributing value to app downloads.





Google: What's iProspect POV on where mobile is going?





Kerri:  Where is mobile not going?  Mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) have already become so ingrained in our everyday lives that the full impact is literally boundless.  Mobile is the channel that connects all others.  It doesn’t fit in the traditional conversion funnel -- it runs alongside it, involved at every stage.  This presents a challenge to brands who still segment advertising channels with separate budgets and directives instead of focusing on how they impact each other.  Mobile will highlight the need to evaluate all channels together to create a truly integrated approach - one that enhances the consumer’s interaction with the brand.  Applying a value to the multitude of “responses” available in mobile is just the first step.  Advertisers will also need to evaluate the impact of those responses relative to other brand initiatives (both online and offline) in order to determine the role each plays in contributing to their bottom line.  The ubiquity of mobile will force advertisers to redefine their approach and how they measure success.





Posted by Samantha Podos Nowak, Product Marketing Manager, Mobile Ads


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/4Ker19p7k-8/mobile-will-require-advertisers-to.html

Thursday, July 12, 2012

[G] Helping businesses get started with Google Shopping: A new, easy way to create Product Listing Ads in Merchant Center

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Inside AdWords: Helping businesses get started with Google Shopping: A new, easy way to create Product Listing Ads in Merchant Center

Also posted on the Google Commerce Blog

We announced that we’re creating a new shopping experience, Google Shopping, to empower merchants of all sizes to compete effectively. Through feedback from our merchant partners, we understand that the transition to the new Google Shopping experience may seem intimidating for first time AdWords advertisers. We take this feedback seriously and want you, our merchant partners, to know that we’re here to help.

As a first step, today we’re launching a new simplified setup flow for Product Listing Ads in the familiar Merchant Center interface. The new setup flow provides a step-by-step guide on how to create an AdWords account and set up a Product Listing Ad campaign, as well as how to control when and where your products appear in Google Shopping with bids. You can also view basic campaign reporting through your Merchant Center account.



Also, as previously announced, we’re offering two incentives to help merchants get started with Google Shopping:
  1. All merchants who create Product Listing Ads by August 15, 2012 will automatically receive a monthly AdWords credit of 10% of their total spend on Product Listing Ads through the end of the year. 
  2. Additionally, active Product Search merchants (as of May 30, 2012) can fill out this form by August 15, 2012 and receive a $100 AdWords credit to use toward Product Listing Ads.
To create a Product Listing Ad campaign, sign into your Merchant Center account today. For more information please visit: www.google.com/ads/shopping.

Posted by Mayuresh Saoji, Product Manager, Google Shopping
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/07/helping-businesses-get-started-with.html

[G] Street View goes on a road trip through California's national parks

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Google Lat Long: Street View goes on a road trip through California's national parks

[Cross-posted from the Official Google Blog]

One hot summer day in Yosemite National Park in Northern California, I sat under a tree along a lazy river in awe of the natural beauty around me. I looked out at the majestic granite mountains, the chirping birds and the rustling leaves, and thought about how they were the same that day as they had been thousands of years ago.


View Larger Map

People around the world can now appreciate the beauty and timelessness of the wilderness through Street View. We've recently added 360-degree panoramic imagery for five of California’s national parks—including Yosemite—to Google Maps. In addition, we've refreshed Street View imagery across most of the state. You can now take a virtual road trip practically the entire stretch of California from north to south.

Redwood National Park sits near the California-Oregon border and hugs the Pacific Ocean. It’s most famous for its giant redwood trees—the tallest trees on Earth. With Street View, you can now stare up at them without straining your neck:


View Larger Map

Moving inland to Yosemite National Park, we visit historic Inspiration Point, the site famously photographed by Ansel Adams in “Clearing Winter Storm”. Panning right from the same vantage point, you can see the cliffs of El Capitan and the picturesque Bridalveil Fall waterfall flanking iconic Half Dome, a granite rock formation almost 5,000 feet tall. You can also use Street View to venture into the valley, overlook Glacier Point (visited by John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903), explore the more remote upcountry along Tioga Pass road and see the Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove.


View Larger Map

You’ve seen the redwoods, now see more enormous trees with a visit to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, whose namesake trees are the most massive in the world. It would take almost 30 adults linking their outstretched arms to wrap all the way around the largest sequoias. These parks also offer rich and varied landscapes featuring everything from mountains to canyons to caverns.


View Larger Map

The name may be foreboding, but Death Valley National Park, which lies along the California-Nevada border and has the lowest elevation of any spot in North America, is home to a variety of flora and fauna and well worth a visit. With average summer temperatures in this desert environment soaring above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, most people visit in the winter, but Street View lets you check it out any time of year—no sunblock required.


View Larger Map

Slightly north of the U.S.-Mexico border is the fifth and final national park recently added to Street View: Joshua Tree National Park. The gnarly, twisted trees here seem like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. Plan your escapades ahead of time from your browser, then pack up your hiking shoes or your mountain bike and hit the trails in this one-of-a-kind desert landscape.


View Larger Map

This only scratches the surface of what California parks have to offer travelers looking to explore the great outdoors. We hope a virtual trip through Street View inspires you to visit these places in person as well. If you need some additional inspiration, I’ll leave you with a quote from naturalist and author John Muir:
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.


View Larger Map

Driving down Highway 1 through Big Sur is the ultimate road trip in California.


Posted by Evan Rapoport, Street View Product Manager
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/07/street-view-goes-on-road-trip-through.html

[G] Street View goes on a road trip through California's national parks

| More

Official Google Blog: Street View goes on a road trip through California's national parks


One hot summer day in Yosemite National Park in Northern California, I sat under a tree along a lazy river in awe of the natural beauty around me. I looked out at the majestic granite mountains, the chirping birds and the rustling leaves, and thought about how they were the same that day as they had been thousands of years ago.





View Larger Map

People around the world can now appreciate the beauty and timelessness of the wilderness through Street View. We've recently added 360-degree panoramic imagery for five of California’s national parks—including Yosemite—to Google Maps. In addition, we've refreshed Street View imagery across most of the state. You can now take a virtual road trip practically the entire stretch of California from north to south.

Redwood National Park sits near the California-Oregon border and hugs the Pacific Ocean. It’s most famous for its giant redwood trees—the tallest trees on Earth. With Street View, you can now stare up at them without straining your neck:





View Larger Map

Inland, at Yosemite National Park, you can visit historic Inspiration Point, the site famously photographed by Ansel Adams in “Clearing Winter Storm”. Panning right from the same vantage point, you can see the cliffs of El Capitan and the picturesque Bridalveil Fall waterfall flanking iconic Half Dome, a granite rock formation almost 5,000 feet tall. You can also use Street View to venture into the valley, overlook Glacier Point (visited by John Muir and President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903), explore the more remote upcountry along Tioga Pass road and see the Giant Sequoias in Mariposa Grove.





View Larger Map

You’ve seen the redwoods, now see more enormous trees with a visit to Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, whose namesake trees are the most massive in the world. It would take almost 30 adults linking their outstretched arms to wrap all the way around the largest sequoias. These parks also offer rich and varied landscapes featuring everything from mountains to canyons to caverns.





View Larger Map

The name may be foreboding, but Death Valley National Park, which lies along the California-Nevada border and has the lowest elevation of any spot in North America, is home to a variety of flora and fauna and well worth a visit. With average summer temperatures in this desert environment soaring above 110 degrees Fahrenheit, most people visit in the winter, but Street View lets you check it out any time of year—no sunblock required.





View Larger Map

Slightly north of the U.S.-Mexico border is the fifth and final national park recently added to Street View: Joshua Tree National Park. The gnarly, twisted trees here seem like something straight out of a Dr. Seuss book. Plan your escapades ahead of time from your browser, then pack up your hiking shoes or your mountain bike and hit the trails in this one-of-a-kind desert landscape.





View Larger Map

This only scratches the surface of what California parks have to offer travelers looking to explore the great outdoors. We hope a virtual trip through Street View inspires you to visit these places in person as well. If you need some additional inspiration, I’ll leave you with a quote from naturalist and author John Muir:
Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of Autumn.





View Larger Map




Driving down Highway 1 through Big Sur is the ultimate road trip in California.


Posted by Evan Rapoport, Street View Product Manager

(Cross-posted on the Lat Long blog)
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/street-view-goes-on-road-trip-through.html

[G] How WBC Uses Advanced Segments To Boost E-commerce Conversion Rate By More Than 12%

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Google Analytics Blog: How WBC Uses Advanced Segments To Boost E-commerce Conversion Rate By More Than 12%


Established in 1989, WBC is the UK’s largest supplier of hamper, deli and drinks packaging to independent retailers. As the website is the company’s main business generation tool, it is essential that it promote their range of 850 products in the most attractive and accessible way possible. 





With a view to redesigning their ecommerce site and increasing the number of sales it generates, WBC was keen to understand how web traffic interacted with the site, and where potential improvements could be made.











Following an audit of their implementation, WBC’s search engine marketing agency, Periscopix, began tracking micro-conversions such as brochure downloads and crucial interaction data like on-site search tracking. Using advanced segmentation, they found that a high conversion rate for loyal customers was hiding a very low conversion rate for users completely new to WBC.





Aesthetically, the changes Periscopix proposed were subtle and focussed on two main areas: showcasing the range of products stocked by WBC and imposing a sense of authority in the marketplace. Using Google Analytics, Periscopix identified WBC’s most popular products. These were given prominence in the center of the homepage. The previously under-utilised right-hand side was optimised to feature media that previously had been hidden deeper in the site.





Periscopix ran an A/B test on the homepage for three months. This resulted in a 2.2% increase in homepage engagement and a boost to the e-commerce conversion rate by 12.2%. WBC have now committed to redesigning the website, with the homepage variation proposed by Periscopix forming the cornerstone of this new structure. 





Read the entire WBC case study and see additional success stories in our analytics case studies and success stories section.




Posted by the Google Analytics Team


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/l-KkEYI0jUg/how-wbc-uses-advanced-segments-to-boost.html

[G] Check out the “On The Rise” Nominees for July!

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YouTube Blog: Check out the “On The Rise” Nominees for July!

Each month, we identify four YouTube partners whose channels have recently experienced significant growth but haven’t yet reached the 100,000 subscriber count for our On The Rise program. Our featured partners this month are almost halfway to that mark, and we’re excited about how they’re sharing their passions on YouTube through tutorial- and demonstration-based videos. This July we’re excited to present to you four artists whose YouTube channels center on videos about makeup and style, the art of crochet, and spray paint.



We hope you enjoy the content these partners produce, and they’re looking to you to help them grow their YouTube presence, starting with the opportunity for one of these partners to be featured on the YouTube homepage. Check out their videos below and vote for your favorite in the top right corner of this blog. In addition to your votes, each channel will be evaluated on criteria such as viewer engagement and channel optimization techniques to decide which partner will be featured on the homepage, Google+, Facebook and Twitter at the end of the month.



In past months past on the rise nominees, partners like jakatak69 and worldfoodprogram have gained many subscribers thanks to your support. The poll will be open until July 19th at 5pm PT, so don’t forget to vote for your favorite channel. Check back to see who secured the homepage feature on July 30th





MasqueradeMakeup

Ever wanted to re-create Katy Perry’s look from her newest music video? Aria’s YouTube channel has makeup tutorials on a variety of celebrity looks ranging from Lady Gaga to Lana del Ray.







mikeyssmail

Crochet isn’t an easy skill to learn, but Michael Sellick’s simple, learner’s-paced tutorials can teach anyone to pick up a hook. The Crochet Crowd channel features a wide span of projects, including flowers, scarves, and baby clothes.







spacepainter

Brandon was inspired to start painting with spray paint during a day trip to Tijuana, Mexico in 1999. Since then he’s been developing and his honing his talent. Check out his channel to watch him create spray paint paintings of spacescapes and nature.







AModelRecommends

It’s easy to admire how a fashion model looks, but not quite so simple to emulate her style. British fashion model Ruth Crilly sets out on her channel to give you her informed suggestions about beauty, style, and even healthy recipe ideas!







If you’re interested in checking out more rising YouTube Partners, visit our On The Rise Channel, which features nominees, trending partners and monthly blog winners.



Devon Storbeck and Christine Wang, YouTube Partner Support, recently watched “A Conversation with my 12 Year Old Self: 20th Anniversary Edition.”


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/jVQWKRxO4lY/check-out-on-rise-nominees-for-july.html

[G] Reflections on the Google Faculty Institute

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Google Research Blog: Reflections on the Google Faculty Institute

Posted by Maggie Johnson, Director of Education and University Relations




Extending the school year one day can result in a year’s worth of learning. This proved true on June 8, when the 2011 Google Faculty Institute (GFI) cohort were welcomed back for a day, to share best practices and perspectives from their funded research over the 2011-12 school year.




For the past year, the GFI Fellows collaborated across 16 California State University campuses, Stanford and UC Berkeley, to execute on ten research initiatives proposed on the final day of the conference. GFI themes of faculty collaboration, project-based learning, universal design and others were implemented in the Fellows’ projects, each of which focused on ways to enhance teaching practices through the use of educational technologies.




At the GFI Redux earlier this month, participants reviewed research initiatives, attended panel discussions, and defined plans for the 2012-13 school year. In a packed day of sessions, the cohort showcased projects ranging from mobile application development to geospatial tool utilization to the success of the flipped classroom. Some highlights of GFI projects:




  • Making Teachers “Appy” presented workshops on UC and CSU campuses on mobile application development using App Inventor. While building confidence with new technologies, participants learned to create their own applications to enhance classroom instruction.



  • Bird’s Eye Detective encouraged CSU pre-service teachers to explore the world from a new perspective utilizing geospatial tools including Google Earth, Google Maps, and Fusion Tables.



  • Transforming STEM Educators included nine hands-on workshops on three CSU campuses, presenting creative ways to engage students in science and engineering courses through the use of technology.



  • CSU Digital Learning Ambassadors are faculty creating collaborative communities and customized initiatives from the inside. Initiatives include tech infusion prizes, Hangouts on Air for academic discussions, and webinars.





The Google Faculty Institute served as a catalyst and incubator for innovative educational technology. Congratulations to the GFI Fellows on a year of excellent research and application.









URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/gJZg/~3/PdqcMN-wLfM/reflections-on-google-faculty-institute.html

[G] Google Maps for Africa gets better - walking directions launched!

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Google Lat Long: Google Maps for Africa gets better - walking directions launched!

(Cross Posted from Google Africa Blog)

In 2010, we announced the availability of driving directions on Google Maps in many African countries. This is a feature that allows users to get driving direction information from one location to another (e.g from Kotoka International Airport to Hotel Novotel in Victoria Borg, Accra in Ghana)

But of course not everyone drives or always needs to drive, so today we’re bringing walking directions for 44 African countries!


To get walking directions, start by doing one of the following:

  1. Click Get directions, enter a starting and ending location and click Get Directions.
  2. In the search field, enter a from-to statement (example: from Nyayo House to Anniversary Towers) and click Search Maps.
  3. Click "Directions" in an info window that pops up for a business or location
  4. Right-click on the map to get directions to that location


Click on the “walking” icon at the top



Walking directions are also available on Google Maps for Mobile.


Try out the walking directions today. As a reminder, walking directions are currently in beta, and we recommend that you use caution, as the routes may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian crossings. Walking directions are editable, so if anything is amiss, you can correct it with our community mapping tool Google Map Maker. Google Map Maker is a tool that allows you to add and update geographic information for millions of users to see in Google Maps and Google Earth.

We are always grateful to our active African online cartographers who have helped make our African maps what they are today.

We hope you enjoy using walking directions on Google Maps!

Posted by Jacqueline Rajuai, GIS Specialist and Jarda Bengl, Business Product Manager, Google
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/07/google-maps-for-africa-gets-better.html

[G] Biking directions expands into Europe and Australia

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Google Lat Long: Biking directions expands into Europe and Australia


Back in 2010 we added biking directions for users of Google Maps in the US and Canada. Helping cyclists navigate the bike trails throughout those countries proved hugely popular, so we’re wheelie excited to announce that starting today, we've also added extensive biking data to Google Maps for Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. In many of these countries we are also enabling biking directions in beta mode.

We know how popular cycling is in many parts of the world, so we wanted to include as much bike trail data as possible to provide efficient routes, allow riders to customize their trips, make use of bike lanes, calculate rider-friendly routes that avoid big hills and busy roads and to customize the look of the cycling map to encourage people to hop on their bikes. So that's exactly what we've done.

To start off, we've added information about bike trails, lanes and recommended roads directly to the map through the updated biking directions legend. This can help you get a better sense of your route, or easily find trails nearby for a recreational ride. When you're zoomed into a city, use the widget at the top right of the map to turn on the "Bicycling” layer.


Cycling is big in the Netherlands!

If you’re keen to start riding into work, or maybe just do your bit for the environment by swapping your car for a bike a couple of days a week, biking directions can help you find a convenient route that makes use of dedicated bike lanes and avoids hills whenever possible.

To use biking directions, select the cyclist icon from the list of routing modes when you search for directions. Watch this short video for more information. Biking directions are now available in Austria, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.


A three hour ride through Swedish countryside

We’ve been working hard to add as much biking data to our maps as possible and we hope you enjoy this latest addition to Google Maps. That said, knowing the best roads for cycling is a challenge and there is only one group of people in the world who really know where the best cycle paths are in their regions: Cyclists!

Luckily, Google Map Maker is available in most countries where we’re releasing biking data and directions today, so we encourage all of you to help your fellow riders enjoy cycling as much as you do. Check out the brief tutorial and start adding those bike paths to your city or other places with which you’re familiar!


Add and edit bike data in Google Map Maker

If you live in a country that does not yet have Map Maker enabled, we appreciate your patience while we work to make it available as soon as possible. Or if you live in a place where biking directions are not yet enabled, but where you can already contribute to the map via Map Maker, we encourage you to add biking information in the meantime - and thanks for your help in making life easier for riders in as many countries as possible!

Posted by Kai Hansen, Product Manager, Google Maps
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2012/07/biking-directions-expands-into-europe.html

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

[G] Expanded coverage in Europe

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Google Finance Blog: Expanded coverage in Europe

Posted by Karolina Netolicka, Product Manager


Today we’re excited to announce that we’re adding data from the Nasdaq Nordic and Baltic exchanges, and the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange to Google Finance.  These additions greatly expand our coverage in Europe. For the first time, you can view the primary listings of Gazprom, H&M, Nokia, Carlsberg, and many others on Google Finance.

Even better, all these exchanges will be available in real time, furthering our mission of bringing you real time market data from around the world.

As always, you can view the full list of the stock exchanges available through Google Finance on our Disclaimer page.
URL: http://googlefinanceblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/expanded-coverage-in-europe.html

[G] Introducing free ‘Search As You Type’ pilot for AdWords advertisers

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Inside AdWords: Introducing free ‘Search As You Type’ pilot for AdWords advertisers

Great search is all about turning intentions into actions in the blink of an eye. And in online retail, having a quick and user-friendly website can make a world of difference when it comes to engaging shoppers and driving sales.

Today we’re excited to announce we’re offering one of the most popular features of Google Commerce Search, Search As You Type, as a free, stand alone feature. It’s easy to implement and helps increase sales and conversion rates on merchant websites. The Search As You Type pilot is available to US-based AdWords advertisers for free, up to 25 million searches annually, after which licensing fees would apply.


Search as You Type on Hasbro.com
Search As You Type uses Google’s predictive suggestions and instant product results to enhance a merchant’s existing website search functionality. When shoppers type a search query into a merchant’s site, Search As You Type shows them product suggestions and photos, making it faster and easier for people to spot the product they’re looking for and click through to make a purchase.


The Search As You Type pilot is one of the many steps we’re taking to provide technology, tools and traffic to help power the retail ecosystem. And we’ll continue to develop and invest in tools, such as Google Trusted Stores and Google Commerce Search, to help retailers connect with shoppers and drive conversions.

Over the coming months, we plan to expand the pilot to include more online retailers. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out this form. To learn more about Google Search As You Type, visit: http://www.google.com/commercesearch/sayt.

Posted by Jennifer Dulski, Product Management Director, Google Shopping
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2012/07/introducing-free-search-as-you-type.html

[G] Georgetown Hoyas are going Google

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Georgetown Hoyas are going Google

Posted by Lisa Davis, CIO, Georgetown University 

Editors note: Today's guest blogger is Lisa Davis, Chief Information Officer at Georgetown University. 

Going Google was an opportunity to reimagine technology’s role at Georgetown and unify our campus by moving to a powerful cloud computing solution that worked no matter where our users were or what device they used. We had calendars, mail, and file storage and sharing tools before, but they were fragmented and in dire need of replacement. Our email system was twelve years old, only allowed 250MB per user, and calendars were not universally adopted or user-friendly. When our 16,000 students started using Google Apps for Education back in 2009, we instantly noticed some dramatic benefits. So we’ve decided to complete the migration by moving everyone over to the same platform. By summer’s end our 20,000 students, staff, and faculty members won’t have to worry about hitting email quota limits, guessing what teammates’ calendars look like, or being frustrated by the technology around them.
  

While modernizing our technology was one motivation, we also wanted to invest in a long-term vision of moving our university into the 21st century. Doing this in-house would have amounted to a tremendous resource commitment both now and in the future, for a relatively small boost in the end user experience. Google’s tools were an affordable way to provide a sustainable infrastructure for our faculty and staff. 

The process of moving our users to Google was fast, painless, and will ultimately make our users more productive. We were really impressed with our community’s reception to the switch. It helped that about 30% of our staff and faculty already had personal Gmail accounts, but during our outreach events, even people without that exposure were excited to migrate. We did several demonstration events to answer questions, and provided hands on support for those who needed it. 

Working on projects and tasks has become much less painful after switching to Google Apps because instead of dozens of versions attached to dozens of emails, we can all work on one copy at the same time through Google Docs. The Corp, the student-run corporation at Georgetown, uses Google Apps to coordinate schedules, plan events, and manage other aspects of the business. With our 4,000 faculty and staff now using Google Apps as well, we are excited to see the innovative uses the whole campus will find for collaboration, enhancing the education experience, and becoming more productive across campus. 

We look forward to bidding farewell to the days of full inboxes, missed appointments, and inefficient technology. Going Google allows us to switch off our email servers and at the same time take a giant leap forward in the services we provide our employees and students.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2012/07/georgetown-hoyas-are-going-google.html

[G] A Turing Complete Puzzle Game

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Google Open Source Blog: A Turing Complete Puzzle Game

The code behind the Google doodle celebrating Alan Turing’s 100th birthday is now up on Google code. This animated logic puzzle game appeared on the Google homepage on June 23, 2012. If you missed it, you can still play it in the doodle archives.



Our doodle for Turing's 100th birthday showed a live action Turing Machine with twelve interactive programming puzzles. Turing Machines are theoretical objects in formal logic, not physical things, so we walked a fine line between technical accuracy and accessibility. We focused on finding a good representation for programs and choosing puzzles of appropriate complexity. We did considerable user testing and iteration, more than for any past doodle.







Please enjoy, and feel free to extend and improve the code. Can you think of ways to generalize the game? We have filed some starter issues to whet your appetite. If you are interested, hack away, and we’ll happily review your changes!



By Jered Wierzbicki and Corrie Scalisi, Google software engineers


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/oTGSI4ZB8rw/turing-complete-puzzle-game.html

[G] Mobile Websites vs Responsive Design: What’s the right solution for your business?

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Google Analytics Blog: Mobile Websites vs Responsive Design: What’s the right solution for your business?

The following post originally appeared on the Google Mobile Ads Blog.





As more of your competitors Go Mo, building a mobile-friendly site becomes more of a priority for your business. Over the past two years alone, mobile search traffic has increased five-fold. Customers are searching for your business from their mobile phones, and you need to engage them with a mobile experience designed for completing on-the-go tasks from their small screens. Recently many businesses have been asking us about an emerging trend among web developers—responsive design—and if they should use it. While we believe that building a separate mobile website is an appropriate solution for certain businesses, it’s also important to understand how responsive design might fit into your plans to Go Mo.





What is responsive design? It is a website design technique that allows you to create a single website that will adapt to the device on which it’s being viewed, whether it’s a laptop, smartphone or tablet. A site built with responsive design will automatically resize for different devices, but it is up to you to prioritize the content that matters most to the mobile user. For example, a mobile user might need to quickly find your phone number or directions, whereas a tablet user might want a simpler way to make couch-surfing purchases. A site built using responsive design could prioritize click-to-call and click-to-map buttons, while the tablet site would focus on simplifying the shopping cart. For the technical details on how responsive design works for building mobile-friendly sites, read this blog post from the Google webmaster team.













So how do I know if I should build a separate mobile website or use responsive design?  


Here are some guidelines to help you decide what makes sense for your business:












If I decide responsive design is a better fit for my business, do I have to build my site from scratch?


Not necessarily. A sophisticated web developer might be able to adapt an existing site with responsive design, but there will still be costs in terms of time and budget. 





Will a site built with responsive design have more than one URL?


No. A site built with responsive design will have the same URL for desktop, mobile and tablets. When building a separate mobile optimized site, typically there is a different mobile url, but the users will be taken there automatically as long as your desktop site is enabled with the auto redirect code.





How much does it cost to use responsive design for mobile?


Prices vary across developers and agencies. We recommend reaching out to a developer and/or agency for help on getting started. 





Responsive design can definitely minimize long term maintenance of your site, but many businesses can effectively connect with their customers with a separate mobile-friendly site. If you have the technical resources and a clear business need, then responsive design is a more advanced way to make your site mobile-friendly. No matter how you go about it, you need to ensure you are designing for mobile first, and engaging your customers when they're using their mobile phones to search for your business. 





For additional resources on the value of mobile, testing your site and finding developers to help you build your mobile-friendly site, visit howtogomo.com





Posted by Jessica Sapick, Associate Product Marketing Manager


URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/blogspot/tRaA/~3/ft3qfWTY6QQ/mobile-websites-vs-responsive-design.html