Friday, April 5, 2013

[G] Clear skies ahead: The Weather Company forecasts success using Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Clear skies ahead: The Weather Company forecasts success using Google Apps

Posted by Bryson, Koehler, CIO of The Weather Company

Editor's note: Our guest blogger is Bryson Koehler, CIO of The Weather Company, the parent company of The Weather Channel, and Weather Underground, the most popular sources of weather news and information on television and online. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Most people know The Weather Company from checking out the forecast on TV or from using our mobile app, but we actually do much, much more. Beyond our TV channel and online presence, we sell weather data to business and foreign governments, as well as sell graphic capabilities to local network affiliates. We’re a big, complex organization with a lot of smart people who need the right tools to do their work. It’s my job to make sure those needs are being met.

When I joined the company last summer, one of my first responsibilities was to get all our employees on the same email and collaboration platform. The Weather Company has grown quite a bit through acquisitions during the past year, leaving our 1,200 employees all over the world using a mixed bag of tools. Each business was still working as an independent entity, so getting everyone under the same technological umbrella was crucial to us moving forward.

The choice came down to Google Apps and Microsoft® Office 365. We knew there were strong allegiances to each platform within the company, so there was no clear winner at first. After taking a closer look at Office 365, though, it seemed like a set of individual tools rather than a fully integrated suite like Google Apps. On top of that, Google Apps’ single user licensing was far less complicated than Microsoft’s model. Ultimately, Google Apps was a better fit for our company.

About two months ago we rolled out Google Apps with the help of Google Enterprise partner, Cloud Sherpas. Though change management was definitely a large undertaking, we do feel that the switch brought the company together. It helped us untether people from the traditional corporate collaboration approach of searching through multiple versions and waiting as documents were passed from one to another - something I desperately wanted to do. The culture of our company and the IT department is changing, and Google Apps was a great catalyst to get that moving in the right direction.

We’ve only been live for a short time, but Google Apps has already changed how we work. Google Docs have caught on like wildfire, and people can work from anywhere as long as they have Internet. I see people bouncing around between their laptop, a tablet, their Android phone or whatever – it’s seamless. We’ve also started using Google Drive to replace personal Box and Dropbox accounts that people had been using to share documents, so we’ll have centralized control of our intellectual property. We’re going to roll out Google+ companywide to replace Yammer, although Google+ Hangouts have begun to spread organically. Our marketing, sales and PR teams all use Hangouts to meet, and one employee set up a Google Chromebox and a monitor to create a Hangout station in his office.

Google Apps has created a real sense of excitement at The Weather Company. People are really exploring and embracing it, and that’s exactly what I wanted to see. As we’re abandoning the traditional top-down IT department mindset, all I can do is provide a toolkit for people to work with. Google Apps gives them those tools and lets them work.

[G] It’s time to take action against patent trolls and patent privateering

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Google Public Policy Blog: It’s time to take action against patent trolls and patent privateering

Posted by Matthew Bye, Senior Competition Counsel

Today, we submitted comments together with BlackBerry, EarthLink and Red Hat to the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice on the growing harm caused by patent assertion entities (more widely known as patent trolls).

We’ve been encouraged by recent attention on the problem of trolls, which cost the U.S. economy nearly $30 billion a year. Trolls are hurting consumers and are increasingly going after small businesses, hampering innovation and reducing competition.

Our comments today also focus on a worrisome trend: some companies are increasingly transferring patents to trolls—and providing incentives to assert those patents against their competitors. These transfers can raise rivals’ costs and undermine patent peace.  

This trend has been referred to as “patent privateering”: a company sells patents to trolls with the goal of waging asymmetric warfare against its competitors.

Trolls use the patents they receive to sue with impunity—since they don’t make anything, they can’t be countersued. The transferring company hides behind the troll to shield itself from litigation, and sometimes even arranges to get a cut of the money extracted by troll lawsuits and licenses.

Privateering lets a company split its patent portfolio into smaller sub-portfolios “stacked” on each other, increasing the number of entities a firm must negotiate with and multiplying licensing costs. This behavior unfairly raises competitors’ costs, ultimately driving up prices for consumers.

It also undermines incentives for companies to work together towards “patent peace” through good-faith negotiation and cross-licensing. If cross-licensing is nuclear deterrence for patents, then privateering has the opposite effect, facilitating patent proliferation and aggression.

We’re asking other companies to work with us to develop cooperative licensing agreements that can help curb privateering. We’re also encouraged that the FTC and DOJ are paying attention to this critical issue, and we hope they will continue to study how abusive troll litigation and patent privateering are harming innovative industries.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

[G] Become a public speaking pro: learning how to present the next great idea

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Official Blog: Become a public speaking pro: learning how to present the next great idea

This is the third post in a series profiling Googlers who facilitate classes as part of our g2g program, in which Googlers teach, share and learn from each other. Regardless of role, level or location, g2g's community-based approach makes it possible for all Googlers to take advantage of a variety of learning opportunities. - Ed.

“[Public speaking] is quite simple, say what you have to say and
when you come to a sentence with a grammatical ending, sit down.” —Winston Churchill

If only public speaking were actually that easy. We’re often asked to present in front of a group, so good presentation skills are really important. Fear of public speaking is often ranked higher than fear of spiders, flying and heights. While spiders can make me jumpy, I not only enjoy public speaking, I also teach it.

In addition to my core role as Google Toronto’s agency team lead (helping to nurture relationships with some of the largest ad agencies in Canada), I help my colleagues amp up their public speaking skills as a g2g (Googler-to-Googler) facilitator for two classes, “Presenting with Confidence” and “Presenting with Charisma.” These two classes help my fellow Googlers erase anxiety and self-doubt and focus on the goal—communicating your message. I am actually a mechanical engineer by trade who, at one point, entered graduate school to study robotics. Not exactly the type that comes to mind when you think of great orators. But I’ve learned along the way, as an engineer turned “sales guy,” that a confident demeanor and a little charm can turn a snooze-fest into an engaging, lively meeting.

Here I am teaching one of our Presenting with Confidence classes in our New York City office. 
Photo by Jane Hu.

“Presenting with Confidence” goes beyond the “picture the audience in their underwear” adage. First, students are tasked with making brief presentations about themselves, whether it be about their most recent vacation or how they play in a jazz band. We videotape the students giving their presentations on their phones to review later as a part of the exercise and to keep for their own reference. This, as it turns out, is one of the most effective, eye-opening exercises in the class. Before we roll the tape, the participant comments on an area he/she believes will be pointed out by others, such as, “I always fidget with my hands” or, “I blush as red as a tomato.” The reality is often completely different, and provides an immediate boost of confidence, allowing the student to focus on the content of their presentation. Part of the confidence boost also stems from being surrounded by peers who are in the same boat, so there’s no judgment.

Sharing honest feedback with your peers is an important part of the learning process. 
Photo by Jane Hu.

“Presenting with Charisma” focuses on adding charm and magnetism to your speech. The more the audience wants to hear from a speaker, the more information they’ll absorb. In this class, Googlers nail down the right mix of tone, body language and delivery to better captivate their audience. We role play to learn how to conquer inevitable yet potentially disastrous moments, like when your technology demo crashes.

I experienced one such moment myself when I covered a presentation for a fellow Googler at the last minute. When I started getting asked questions that were beyond my ability to handle, I followed the advice I give my own students, which is to remain calm, upbeat and easy-going—no matter what. I decided to play off the audience’s own knowledge so that the Q&A became more of a dialogue rather than the spotlight shining solely on me.

Solid communication skills anchor any job function. Whether you are an engineer presenting new findings to your manager or a salesperson pitching a new business strategy to a client, a few tips and a lot of practice can make a significant impact on your presentations. If you’re one of the many, many professionals who feels uneasy about getting up in front of a room full of people, try the following tried-and-true techniques to start mastering the art of public speaking.

Tips and tricks to boost your public speaking confidence and charisma:

1) Pace yourself. To slow down and build momentum, try reciting a sentence then walking to the other side of the room. Pause, then walk back to the other side and deliver your next sentence.

2) Unfreeze. What to do if you totally freeze during your presentation? Look at your slide or notes and just describe what you see on the slide or page in front of you. The words will start flowing and come back to you.

3) Fidget and fiddle no more. Displacement tactic: if you find yourself always fiddling with your hands or keeping your hands in your pockets, try standing behind a chair or a podium and planting your hands on the podium so you appear confident. (Even political leaders use this trick.)

4) Get physical. Use the room to your advantage and keep your audience alert. Walk across the room or even among the audience to get people involved in your presentation.

5) Stop saying “Um.” To rid yourself of “umm”-ing your way through a presentation, use this physical displacement tactic: Every time you are transitioning from one point to another, do something small but physical, like moving your pen. Making a conscious effort to move the pen will turn your brain off from using a verbal filler instead.

Posted by Adam Green, Agency Lead and G2G Instructor

[G] Faster and faster

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Google Chrome Blog: Faster and faster

In today’s Chrome Beta release, web pages now load 5% faster. Huzzah!

Posted by James Simonsen, Software Engineer and Pithy Poster

[G] Improved Gmail search for Google Apps customers

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Improved Gmail search for Google Apps customers

Posted by Raviv Nagel, Gmail Software Engineer

At work and school, being able to find things quickly is important. So today, Google Apps customers will have access to autocomplete predictions in your Gmail search boxes to make getting the information you want faster than ever before.

When you start typing in the Gmail search box, you’ll now see predictions display. Those predictions are based on the content of your email as well as past searches and contacts. So, if you always look for messages from your business partner or the title of your current project, you won’t wear out the keys on your keyboard by repeating the same search. For example, you may now see your coworker named Anna, your past search of annual report and announcement from a recent email you received after typing "ann" into the search box.

If Anna is in your contacts, you’ll see a picture of her and any other contacts to quickly make sure you’re choosing the right person, such as someone at your company and not a reporter or competitor who has the same name.

These features will be available globally over the next few days to Rapid Release domains.

[G] Google Compute Engine - Now Available to Gold Support Customers

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Compute Engine - Now Available to Gold Support Customers

Posted by Navneet Joneja, Product Manager

Google Compute Engine gives developers everywhere access to Google's computing infrastructure. Now you can sign up online for Google Compute Engine with the purchase of Gold Support; you no longer need an invitation or a conversation with sales to get access. We’re also further reducing prices for all instance types by an average of 4%.

Starting at $400/month, Gold support gives you a direct relationship with our experienced support engineers to help you get started or troubleshoot issues across the Google Cloud Platform products.

Since announcing Compute Engine, we’ve expanded geographic coverage, added new instance types, released many new features, and made improvements behind the scenes. Sebastian Stadil of Scalr wrote, in a recent review:

“Google Compute Engine is not just fast. It’s Google fast. In fact, it’s a class of fast that enables new service architectures entirely."

We’re inspired by the awesome projects being created every day with Google Cloud Platform and can’t wait to see what you create next. If you’re ready to try Compute Engine today, sign up today.

[G] Succeeding with enhanced campaigns

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Inside AdWords: Succeeding with enhanced campaigns

About two months ago, we launched enhanced campaigns to help you more simply and smartly manage your campaigns in today’s multi-device world. Recently we’ve been hearing some great stories about ways that advertisers have improved their performance and saved time with enhanced campaigns. While every advertiser’s business and potential gains may be unique, here are a few examples that highlight actual strategies and results achieved so far with enhanced campaigns.

E-travel has improved CTR and conversion rate with context-optimized ads, mobile app downloads, and upgraded sitelinks.

E-Travel is one of the leading online travel agents in Greece, Cyprus and Russia, and has presence in other markets in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. After upgrading to enhanced campaigns, CEO Anil Valbh reported, “We can now show our ads according to people's context like location or time of day [... and] count app downloads as conversions in AdWords reports, which is very important for us because so many of our new customer leads come from our mobile app. These features along with the upgraded sitelinks helped us boost clickthrough rate by 43% and conversion rate by 88%."

American Apparel has doubled its volume of phone leads with enhanced campaigns, improving return on ad spend.

American Apparel, a multi-channel fashion retailer, upgraded all its campaigns to take advantage of new features like upgraded call extensions and sitelinks. By extending call extensions across all device types, and counting calls over 10 seconds in duration as a conversion, American Apparel has seen their conversion volume from phone calls double. Return on spend has improved significantly.

A luxury online shopping brand has grown sales by 20% by tapping into secondary markets, thanks to the ease of optimizing bids in multiple locations in a single enhanced campaign.

A luxury online shopping destination had been focusing its search engine marketing efforts on optimizing bids in location-specific campaigns aimed at primary markets like New York City and Los Angeles. Since upgrading to enhanced campaigns, the company started using location bid adjustments to test and expand its AdWords presence in new geographies, including affluent areas of Delaware, South Carolina, and New Mexico. Already, the company has grown total conversion volume by 20% while achieving target return on ad spend.

Hotwire’s SEM analysts are saving 5-10 hours per week with more efficient campaign management., a leading discount travel website upgraded all of their paid search accounts to Enhanced Campaigns, both domestic and international, within the first month. Clay Schulenburg, Director of Search Engine Marketing at Hotwire shared that upgrading to Enhanced Campaigns really helped his team manage AdWords more efficiently because all the key adjustments for location, time of day and device are now managed in a single campaign: “Time saved per SEM analyst is somewhere in the range of 5 – 10 hours per work week that can now be reallocated to either new strategic SEM initiatives or more granular account/campaign optimizations.”

Get started in 3 steps
If you’re among the 95% of advertisers whose legacy campaigns are currently run across all device types, you can upgrade in just three steps to take advantage of enhanced campaigns:
  1. Click the “Get started” button when you log into the AdWords interface
  2. Select a mobile bid adjustment
  3. Click “Complete upgrade”
Here's a short video illustration.

If you have questions about upgrading to enhanced campaigns, please contact AdWords support, ask for advice from your fellow advertisers in our AdWords community, or check out our comprehensive upgrade guide (.pdf download).

Share your results and feedback
Once you’ve started using enhanced campaigns, please let us know about your results and any suggested improvements using our feedback form.

Posted by Surojit Chatterjee, Group Product Manager

[G] Fill out forms faster, from anywhere

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Google Chrome Blog: Fill out forms faster, from anywhere

For those of you who can never seem to remember that one password, or dread typing your full mailing address into those small form fields on your phone and tablet, today’s Chrome for Android stable update is for you. You can now access your saved passwords and autofill entries on your phone and tablet when you’ve signed in to Chrome, just like you have been able to do on your desktop and laptop computers.

To try it out, make sure you’re signed in to Chrome on both your desktop and mobile device, and let sync take care of the rest. In case you don’t see this right away after upgrading, give it a few days as we complete rolling out the feature to all of you on the latest version of Chrome.

Posted by Chris Hopman, Eidetic Engineer

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

[G] Blink: A rendering engine for the Chromium project

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Google Open Source Blog: Blink: A rendering engine for the Chromium project

Cross-posted from the Chromium Blog

WebKit is a lightweight yet powerful rendering engine that emerged out of KHTML in 2001. Its flexibility, performance and thoughtful design made it the obvious choice for Chromium's rendering engine back when we started. Thanks to the hard work by all in the community, WebKit has thrived and kept pace with the web platform’s growing capabilities since then.

However, Chromium uses a different multi-process architecture than other WebKit-based browsers, and supporting multiple architectures over the years has led to increasing complexity for both the WebKit and Chromium projects. This has slowed down the collective pace of innovation - so today, we are introducing Blink, a new open source rendering engine based on WebKit.

This was not an easy decision. We know that the introduction of a new rendering engine can have significant implications for the web. Nevertheless, we believe that having multiple rendering engines—similar to having multiple browsers—will spur innovation and over time improve the health of the entire open web ecosystem.

In the short term, Blink will bring little change for web developers. The bulk of the initial work will focus on internal architectural improvements and a simplification of the codebase. For example, we anticipate that we’ll be able to remove 7 build systems and delete more than 7,000 files—comprising more than 4.5 million lines—right off the bat. Over the long term a healthier codebase leads to more stability and fewer bugs.

Throughout this transition, we’ll collaborate closely with other browser vendors to move the web forward and preserve the compatibility that made it a successful ecosystem. In that spirit, we’ve set strong guidelines for new features that emphasize standards, interoperability, conformance testing and transparency.

To learn more about Blink visit our project page.

By Adam Barth, Software Engineer


[G] Pure and Proven Cloud: Gmail Availability in 2012

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Pure and Proven Cloud: Gmail Availability in 2012

Posted by Venkat Panchapakesan, Vice President of Engineering

Millions of businesses around the world rely on Google Apps to get work done every day. So, much like keeping Google search up and running, it’s a top priority for us to make sure Google Apps is available whenever (and wherever) you need it. For customers using Google Apps for Business, Education or Government, we offer a 99.9% availability guarantee, with zero scheduled downtime for maintenance. In 2010 and 2011, the actual availability for Gmail was significantly better than this guarantee. This was true again last year. In 2012, Gmail achieved 99.983% availability while at the same time adding dozens of new features. This translates to an average of just over seven minutes of service disruption per month over the last year, and most users experienced no disruption at all.  

We’re proud of our track record, but we know our work is never done. All our products are built by people -- and because humans aren’t perfect, no technology is ever perfect either. We work hard to make sure any disruptions are rare, limited in scale and quickly resolved. And in the unlikely event something does go wrong, it’s important for our users to know. To that end, you can see the current status of any Google Apps service on the Google Apps status dashboard, a public website, at any time.


[G] ValueTrack parameters for enhanced campaigns are live: manage your keyword level URLs by device

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Inside AdWords: ValueTrack parameters for enhanced campaigns are live: manage your keyword level URLs by device

Recently, based largely on your feedback, we announced the launch of new ValueTrack features to help advertisers using keyword level URLs achieve specific conversion and ROI goals. These features are now live and ready for you to apply to your campaigns. To recap:
  1. We’re changing the existing parameter {ifmobile:[value]}. Previously, the ifmobile parameter would insert [value] when a user clicked your ad on either a tablet or a mobile device. Now, it will only trigger from an ad click on a mobile device.
  2. We’ve added a new parameter, {ifnotmobile:[value]}, where you can replace [value] with text that will then show up in your URL when the user clicks on your ad from a computer or tablet.
These features will help you achieve your conversion and ROI goals, and make the upgrade to enhanced campaigns easier by:
  1. Directing users to a device-specific landing page at the keyword level.
  2. Aligning performance reporting with device groupings used in enhanced campaigns.
For more information about our new ValueTrack features, please check out our Google AdWords Enhanced Campaign Upgrade Guide - The URL Supplement.

Posted by Karen Yao, Senior Product Manager, AdWords


[G] Inspiring Innovation to Protect Consumers from Robocalls

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Google Public Policy Blog: Inspiring Innovation to Protect Consumers from Robocalls

Posted by Rob Mahini, Policy Counsel

Every month, the Federal Trade Commission receives over 200,000 consumer complaints about robocalls. These phone calls can not only be annoying, they also can be a vehicle for cheating consumers and stealing their identities. While law enforcement agencies work to crack down on these fraudsters, unscrupulous robocallers continue to find ways to swindle consumers.

Back in October, the FTC issued its first-ever technology challenge to innovators to conceptualize solutions to this problem. The FTC Robocall Challenge called for “solutions and proofs of concept” for reducing robocalls on mobile and landline phones.  Recognizing that innovative solutions often rely on data analysis, the FTC also made over four years worth of consumer complaint data about robocalls available to challenge participants.  

Inspired by this desire to tap into the innovative spirit, Google engineers submitted their idea for a crowd-sourced solution for consumers to avoid robocalls. By harnessing the knowledge of the crowd, the Internet can often tackle and solve otherwise difficult problems consumers face. Our engineers were honored today to accept the FTC’s Technology Achievement Award for their submission, which recommended tapping into the power of the Internet to target persistent robocalls that disrupt consumers.
The fact that the FTC received nearly 800 submissions shows that there is a real thirst from innovators to work with the agency to help consumers. Collaboration with tech experts is a critical component of the FTC’s consumer protection mission, and the robocall challenge was itself an innovative approach for inspiring a broad group of tech enthusiasts to think up possible ways to stop these real consumer harms. We are proud that Google engineers stepped up to help spark solutions to take on troublesome robocalls.


[G] Google Summer of Code Meetups, Episode 4: CUNY Hunter College, New York City, USA

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Google Open Source Blog: Google Summer of Code Meetups, Episode 4: CUNY Hunter College, New York City, USA

On Wednesday, 13 March 2013, Sumana Harihareswara of The Wikimedia Foundation, Daniel Packer (2011 alumnus), and Robert O’Connor (three time alumnus and mentor for the past 2 years) ran an information session at CUNY Hunter College to provide prospective students with information about the Google Summer of Code program.

Students received a fun and informative presentation on Google Summer of Code basics including mentoring organizations, application and program timeline, project structure, and all the awesome benefits of Google Summer of Code. We fielded questions from the 30 students in attendance, all of whom showed strong interest in the program. The interests of those in attendance was broad and ranged from bioinformatics to computer vision and just about anything and everything in between.

A trail of links was followed from the Google Summer of Code site to the mentoring organization site, and then to mentors themselves, with a discussion on how to approach particular mentors and projects. Students also enjoyed sending a greeting to the #gsoc IRC channel and receiving replies and cheers from others in the channel. All in all it was a fantastic meeting which promised to result in some excited Google Summer of Code applicants.

By Robert O’Connor and Daniel Packer 

Stay tuned for another Google Summer of Code meetup post next week. Currently the Google Open Source Programs Office is busy reviewing hundreds of mentoring organization applications and deciding which organizations will be accepted into this year’s program. Participating organizations will be announced on the program site on April 8th.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

[G] Quickoffice on your Android and iPhone is here

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Quickoffice on your Android and iPhone is here

Posted by Mark Beaton, Quickoffice Product Manager

One of the easiest ways to share old files and collaborate with others is to convert them to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. However, not everyone you work with has gone Google yet. So to help, Google Apps for Business can already edit Microsoft Office files using Quickoffice on an iPad, and starting today they can do the same on iPhone and Android devices. From Word to Excel to Powerpoint, you can make quick edits at the airport or from the back of a taxi and save and share everything in Google Drive.

In addition to bringing Quickoffice to new devices, it’s also now easier to find and use your Drive files from within the Quickoffice app. Sign in with your Google Apps for Business account and your Drive folders view will now include Shared With Me, Starred, Recent and any subfolders.

And in case you didn’t know, iPad and iPhone users can open and edit Office files directly from the Drive app. Just open Drive and select the file, make edits using Quickoffice and save it back to Drive.

Google Apps for Business users can download Quickoffice right now from the App Store and Google Play. We hope this makes it easier to work from anywhere on any device.

[G] Deeper Transparency & Control for Publishers in AdX

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DoubleClick Publisher Blog: Deeper Transparency & Control for Publishers in AdX

Two weeks ago we announced our plans to evolve DoubleClick Ad Exchange with a series of robust, publisher-centric features derived from our acquisition of Admeld. Today we’re pleased to go in-depth on the first group of these enhancements: those that give you deeper insights into how buyers are buying and more control over how you sell. For a guided tour of everything in this post, register for our live webinar this Thursday, April 4.

Greater Transparency
Maximizing your revenue starts with a deep understanding of how advertisers, DSPs, and trading desks are bidding on and buying your inventory. To give you quick access to these insights, we’re adding a handful of new reports to AdX including Bid Landscapes which helps you track the activity of specific buyers over time.
The Bid Landscapes Interface
In Thursday’s webinar, we’ll talk about Bid Landcapes and and other new reports such as Pixel Analysis--a feature that enables you to monitor the pixels firing on your site (and see who’s firing them).

Increased Control
A great ad operations team can protect your users and your brand by ensuring the right ads are running and the unwanted ones aren’t. To make this as easy as possible, we overhauled the Google Publisher Toolbar and integrated Google Image Search technology into AdX’s Ad Review Center (ARC). Now you and your ops team can find visually similar ads in ARC by uploading a screenshot or logo, searching for text in images, and more. You'll get the full demo on Thursday, but here's a sneak preview:

Two weeks after Thursday’s webinar, we'll cover the next group of features (about higher yield) in another webinar on April 18 (register here). In the meantime, if you have questions or you want to learn more about these features, contact your DoubleClick account representative or our sales team.

Posted by Jarid Maged & Ari Feldman, Ad Exchange Product Management

[G] Programmatic in the Future: Will it be safe for brands? MAP's Michael Brunick, Media6Degrees' Andrew Pancer and Digiday's Brian Morrissey weigh in

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DoubleClick Publisher Blog: Programmatic in the Future: Will it be safe for brands? MAP's Michael Brunick, Media6Degrees' Andrew Pancer and Digiday's Brian Morrissey weigh in

In the last hangout in our series "Programmatic in the Future," Mediabrands Audience Platform's VP of Strategic Solutions, Michael Brunick, Media6Degrees' Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Pancer and Digiday's Editor-in-Chief Brian Morrissey debated whether programmatic can be safe for brands.

Here's a snapshot of the conversation:

Or you could watch the hangout:

For those of you joining us at the AdExchanger Programmatic IO conference in San Francisco on April 8th, we'll be continuing the discussion on stage with Sean Downey, Google's Managing Director of Media & Platforms. See you there!

Posted by Yamini Gupta, Product Marketing Team

[G] Large-scale keyword changes made easy with keyword bulk uploads

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Inside AdWords: Large-scale keyword changes made easy with keyword bulk uploads

With our launch of bulk editing back in November, large-scale changes across your entire AdWords account became much easier.  Today, we are launching keyword bulk uploads to help you add, edit and remove keywords at scale.

Have you ever downloaded a keyword report and wished you could make changes to your account directly, without having to upload the report into another tool or go back into the AdWords UI and search for the same keywords you already have in front of you?  Now you can. Right in your downloaded keyword reports, you can add, delete, edit, pause, and unpause keywords, and then upload these changes directly into your AdWords account.

This feature not only saves you time, but it also provides a new level of flexibility and automation by allowing you to use standard spreadsheet functions and logic to manage your keywords.  Here’s an example.  Imagine you want to create exact match versions of all your broad match keywords, and you want to set their MaxCPC bids to be 20% higher than their broad match counterparts.  You can quickly do this by copying the broad match rows, changing the match type column value, and creating a basic formula to multiply the existing bids by 1.20.  Then, you simply upload the entire sheet and AdWords will apply your changes.

Here’s a quick look at how it works:

On the same page where you’ve always been able to download keyword reports, click the box that says “Editable.”  This will download a special, editable version of the keyword performance report that you can modify and then upload.  In order to get the hang of this feature, check out the keyword bulk uploads article in the AdWords Help Center for some basic instructions.

Once you’ve finished making your edits, you are ready to save your changes and upload your report.  You can save your changes in CSV, TSV and Excel formats.  To upload this file, click “Reports and uploads” on the left navigation window, and then click the “Uploads” tab.

It’s important to know that once a bulk upload is submitted, there is no way to cancel or automatically reverse your changes.  Therefore, we recommend that you always save a copy of your original downloaded report in case you ever need to see what your settings were before you made changes and submitted a bulk upload.  You can also view your change history and reverse any unintended changes manually.

For more information on keyword bulk uploads, visit the keyword bulk uploads article or discuss in our AdWords Community.

Posted by Jon Diorio, Senior Product Manager, AdWords

[G] Macomb County protects the American Dream of homeownership

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Macomb County protects the American Dream of homeownership

Posted by Crystal Brenner, Administrative Assistant, Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds

Editor's note: Today’s guest blogger is Crystal Brenner, Administrative Assistant for the Macomb County Clerk / Register of Deeds. See what other organizations that use the Google Search Appliance have to say.

Last year, Macomb County set out to improve public real estate search, to help property owners reduce the risk of real estate fraud, and make it easier for Macomb County property owners to protect their property rights. Along the way we may have created one of the nation's best and perhaps one of the first high-tech real estate records search and fraud detection tools. We were inspired to act by a CBS 60 Minutes exposé uncovering crucial ownership documents for real estate throughout the nation that are often bogus or even nonexistent.

In the past, Macomb County property records were available on paper or online in an electronic format that only allowed searching on a few, limited fields, such as owner name or property description, indexed differently throughout the years. Inconsistent indexing is an issue for registers of deeds throughout the nation, and it points to the need for a search solution that can find stored electronic deeds with ease.

In partnership with Xerox, we set out to do better and help owners detect potential fraud. We scanned every Macomb County real estate record - millions of public records, from dirt to present day. Because we wanted an intuitive, familiar search interface that would let us look quickly through millions of documents, we immediately chose the Google Search Appliance.

Called the “Super Index,” we launched a public prototype in September 2012. The Super Index currently includes millions of pages of public Macomb County real estate documents, going back all the way to 1818. And each year, we’ll add more than 180,000 new documents.

Users can search the Super Index at no charge. What makes it “super” is that searches may now include all recognized text on the documents, including witness and notary names. Once an individual finds the documents they’re looking for, and reviews a thumbnail to be sure it’s what they need, we either provide a link or send a PDF file of those public documents for $6 per document.

One user said, “This is great stuff! Once again, the Macomb County Clerk/Register of Deed’s office is providing the public with a useful tech-savvy resource to gain easy access to public information, with the convenience [of access] from one’s home or office.”

For many people, owning a home is a key part of the American Dream, and we wanted to give our citizens in Macomb the power to protect that dream. We took bold action to combat fraud and educate homeowners about their rights and property. With help from Xerox and the Google Search Appliance, Macomb County is making the search for the American Dream a little easier.

Join us for a Google Hangout On Air on April 24, 2013 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EST to see for yourself how the Google Search Appliance is making a difference in our city.

[G] Second City Communications wins audiences with collaboration and Google Apps

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Second City Communications wins audiences with collaboration and Google Apps

Posted by Steve Johnston, Second City Communications

Editor's note: Our guest blogger is Steve Johnston, president of Second City Communications, the business solutions division of the legendary improv theater company, The Second City, and our partner in yesterday’s April Fools’ joke. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

The Second City, the venerable Chicago comedy theatre known for its creative method and improvisation, is a far cry from a Silicon Valley start-up. Nonetheless, in a very real sense we’ve been in the “interactive” and “social collaboration” space for five decades. We believe in providing a great experience for our audience and are hardwired to innovate and attack convention whenever possible.

The Second City has been called the “Harvard of Comedy,” and our alumni list includes stars such as Alan Arkin, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Mike Myers, Steve Carell and Tina Fey. Our business division, Second City Communications, brings the same audience-empowered approach to the boardroom, creating content marketing, entertainment and training programs for some of America’s best-known companies. You can see some of our handiwork on this blog.

Second City Communications has been using Google Apps for over a year. Apps provides the interactive collaboration with our clients that’s necessary to co-create compelling, engaging videos that enhance companies’ training communications. We begin by using Google Docs to get multiple companies brainstorming ideas around hot corporate topics such as ethics and compliance, as well as sales effectiveness. From there, we bring our special brand of humor into the mix. We then share scripts in Google Drive to get real-time feedback from clients, helping us make sure the videos resonate with employees and reflect real challenges in the workplace.

Because you can’t really get the full effect of a script without hearing it, we meet with clients over Google+ Hangouts. Our actors do fun “table read” sessions so clients can listen and react while we observe it all. Our clients make sure we talk the talk of their audiences and bring a whole new level of authenticity to the creative development process. We continue to create these videos, called RealBiz Shorts, with more than 250 Fortune 1000 clients, who use them to change behavior and transform company culture through smart comedy.

When you look at these training videos, you see something that’s not only humorous, but also anchored in reality. RealBiz Shorts get employees more engaged with existing programs. It’s like marketing for training! See for yourself.

It’s 2013, folks. New approaches for a new time. Google Apps plays a key part of our creative development process to build big ideas with our clients. It gives us vital tools to bring improv agility and nimbleness to enterprise collaboration, and a helps us bridge the gap between comedy and the corporate world.

Funny thing is, it’s working. Beautifully.


Monday, April 1, 2013

[G] Updating Export And Send Features To Support Your Legacy Technology

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Analytics Blog: Updating Export And Send Features To Support Your Legacy Technology

We believe you should be able to access your Google Analytics data from wherever, whenever. And while yes, it’s pretty convenient to be able to export data to Google Spreadsheets or send a report to an email recipient with a few simple clicks, we recognize there are other ways people like to be able to share their data as well. That’s why we’ve re-imagined our Export and ‘Send To’ options to give you even more options and support some of our favorite legacy technology.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be rolling out a new set of old school export and send-to options that aren’t just useful, they’re fun. So flex those creative muscles and think of all the ways you might use these to do your job better:

Updated export options - moving beyond web:

CDROM: not only can you soon export to CDROM, we’ll automatically label the CDs for you to avoid the dreaded stack of unlabeled CDs that plagued users in the past. Bonus: insert your CDs into your car CD or portable CD player and we’ll play either upbeat or melancholy sounds, depending on if your reports are trending the right direction.

3.5 Floppy: have you ever wanted to access your reports on your old IIGS, 486 or similar? Yes it takes us back to those joyful memories of coding forever, hitting execute and watching with glee as it drew a blue star in 30 seconds. Take your data easily to them (or share with a friend) via a colorful 3.5 floppy. Now you can work on reports while you also play classics like The Oregon Trail or Odell Lake.   

Sticky note: ever just wanted to share one quick dashboard with your boss that shows how your conversions are trending “up and to the right,” but you just can’t get them to read your email? We hear you. Export just one graph to a bright fluorescent sticky note and put it right on their desk where they can’t ignore it. You’ll soon be the most talked about marketer at the water cooler. 

Papyrus: papyrus, the thick paper-like material produced from the pith of the papyrus plant is back. First manufactured in Egypt as far back as the third millennium BC, it is actually still used by communities living in the vicinity of swamps. We’ve heard the requests loud and clear: papyrus report exports would be an exciting option that would provide a “wow” factor at your next presentation and make your data more tangible. Just be sure you keep them in a dry climate where it is most stable. Next time your HIPPO questions the data break out the Papyrus and Abacus and prove them wrong!

Updated 'send to' section - beyond email:

Fax Machine: have a client or executive who prefers to receive faxes? No problem. You can now export reports, in full color, directly to the fax machine of your choice along with a branded cover page.

Electronic Telegraph: have a friend still obsessed with 1800’s business culture? Put on a monocle, your classiest suit and get ready to send a telegraph with an encoded message of the data of your choosing. For those super important “your eyes only” reports we also support encrypted morse code options as well. Note, the cost of sending 10 words (approximately 45 characters) is $1.55 (per the going rate of the 1850’s) so choose the data you send wisely. 

Carrier Pigeon: pigeons aren’t just used to sort our web index any longer. We’ve trained a select set of our trusty PigeonRank™ pigeons to fly your reports to their intended recipient. Note there is a weight limit associated with this option, so only choose rows 1-25 of data are selected at most or your pigeons may not be able to take off.  

Telegram Messenger: sometimes, it’s necessary to send a physical person to deliver your reports. The send via telegram option will dispatch a telegram messenger on a Google bike to share a physical printout of the reports of your choosing. A future iteration of this option will include telegram messengers dressed up as characters who can deliver “hug-o-gram” reports to cheer people up.

We hope you enjoy these new options and share your data in even more places! 

Posted by the Google Analytics team

...and yes, this is our April Fools' Day joke.

[G] Find treasure with Google Maps

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Google Lat Long: Find treasure with Google Maps

Archeological analysis has confirmed that our Google Maps Street View team has indeed found one of history’s long lost relics: a treasure map belonging to the infamous pirate, William “Captain” Kidd.

The map was found on a recent expedition in the Indian Ocean, as part of a deep-water dive to expand our underwater Street View collection. Captain Kidd was rumored to have buried his treasure around the world, and tales of a long-lost treasure map have lingered for generations.

When Dr. Marco Meniketti, an independent archaeologist, confirmed that this was Captain Kidd’s 315 year-old map, we were very excited. However, as seen in the video, the map contains a variety of encrypted symbols and is not readily decipherable. We need your help to decipher these symbols and find Captain Kidd’s treasures; therefore we’ve decided to digitize the map and make it accessible to everyone.

Our digital version allows anyone to explore Captain Kidd’s long-lost treasure map

To access Captain Kidd’s treasure map, click here or on the “Treasure” button in the top right corner of Google Maps. If we all work together, we can solve the mystery.

Be sure to follow the Google Maps G+ page as we work together to decipher the clues to Captain Kidd’s buried secrets.

Tatsuo Nomura, Software Engineer, Google Maps

Update: 4/1 6:44a (JST) Due to our nascent nano-scanner technology we weren't able to scan to the closest zoom levels. If you come across a blank map, zoom out to get back to the treasure map.

[G] Google Apps: now helping you enjoy work

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Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Apps: now helping you enjoy work

Posted by Steve Daley, Google Apps Product Manager

You know the drill. Dreary two hour meetings you can’t wait to escape. Emails that go on forever without getting to the point. Another invite to a meeting with no clear purpose. Admit it: work can sometimes feel like a formidable opponent -- the one thing standing between you and your action-packed weekends.

So today, we're introducing the Levity Algorithm in Google Apps. Created in partnership with legendary improv comedians from Chicago's Second City Communications, the Levity Algorithm is carefully tuned to help you spice up even the most boring of work days. Send happier emails, hold more engaging meetings, write more mind-blowing presentations -- and above all, turn those frowns upside down.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

[G] Introducing Gmail Blue

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Official Gmail Blog: Introducing Gmail Blue

Posted by Jonathan Zames, Project Manager

Gmail launched nine years ago on April 1st, 2004. Since then you've been able to use hundreds of new features that push the boundaries of what email can do and make it easier to get things done.

Starting today, you'll get to experience the next big step for Gmail, Gmail Blue. Watch the video to learn more:


[G] YouTube Contest Submissions Closing Tomorrow at Midnight

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YouTube Blog: YouTube Contest Submissions Closing Tomorrow at Midnight

To our incredible YouTube community,

When we started out in 2005, we focused on rapidly increasing user engagement. We wanted an inventive way to draw people in and catalyze their creativity. The result? A contest for the best video on our site.

Nearly eight years later, with 72 hours of video being uploaded every minute, we finally have enough content to close the competition. We’ve started the process to select a winner and as of tomorrow at midnight, we will be closing the site to submissions.

Watch the video below to hear from our leadership, the minds behind some of our most famous entries, and the panel of judges who will select our nominees, and ultimately, the winner for "Best Video."

And be sure to tune in for Day 1 of our live ceremony from 9 a.m. PT, April 1, when we will begin announcing the “Best Video” nominees. This announcement will resume for 12 hours every day for the next two years.

Thank you for sharing your creativity, irreverence, ideas and knowledge with us and with viewers around the world.

Tim Liston, Competition Director, recently watched “Charlie bit my finger- again!”