Saturday, June 1, 2013

[G] Webinar on Wed, 6/12: Metrics for the Mobile App Ecosystem

| More

Analytics Blog: Webinar on Wed, 6/12: Metrics for the Mobile App Ecosystem

As users discover, download, and use your apps, understanding your customers and what they're doing is incredibly important and has a direct impact on monetization. Leveraging smart analytics and analyzing key metrics can drive future monetization and new app discovery efforts, empowering you to become a smarter and more effective app developer or marketer. In short, your ability to drive maximum value from your app only starts after the download. 


Sign up for our upcoming Webinar and join Google Analytics team members Andrew Wales and Adam Singer as they explore the key metrics to measure for the mobile app ecosystem, as well as learn about the benefits of using Google Analytics for mobile app measurement, such as:

A more powerful mobile SDK
We are providing a new mobile app analytics solution, solving the problem that there is currently no single repository to understand end-to-end value of mobile app users. This is supported by a more powerful mobile SDK (v2.0) that is easy to implement.

“One stop shop” for app measurement
Understanding app performance holistically through acquisition, engagement and outcome is critical to improve mobile app results, optimize user engagement and increase revenue generated. Our new reports show the entire lifecycle and in our Webinar, we’ll explore each section.

Improve ROI and engagement
App developers and brands can make better, more comprehensive data-driven decisions for mobile investments with better reports. For example, marketers can optimize their mobile programs to improve ROI and app developers can improve in-app engagement.

Webinar information:
Title: Metrics for the Mobile App Ecosystem
Date: Wednesday, 6/12/2013 @ 1:00pm EST / 10am PST
Level: 101 - Beginner
Duration: 1 hour
Sign up link: Register here.

Posted by the Google Analytics team
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2013/05/webinar-on-wed-613-metrics-for-mobile.html

[G] Sign Up for June Learn with Google Webinars

| More

Inside AdWords: Sign Up for June Learn with Google Webinars

Last month, we announced our new series of Learn with Google webinars to help make the web work for you. If you’ve missed some since then, be sure to register for any (or all!) of our 10 sessions coming up in June. Each webinar gives you deep-dive educational content, across a breadth of products and marketing objectives, in a format that’s convenient for you.

Upcoming June webinars:


[Shopping] Google Shopping 201: Maximizing Profits
[YouTube] Building your Business with YouTube Video Ads
[Analytics] Metrics for the Mobile App Ecosystem
[Search] What's New & Next in AdWords
[Analytics] Unleashing the Combined Power of Google Analytics & AdWords
[Social] Growing your Business & Engaging your Audience with Google+
[Shopping] Google Shopping 301: Creating & Optimizing Product Listing Ads
[Social] Launching & Amplifying your Impact Across Social Channels
[Display] Reaching the Right Audience with Remarketing
[Research] Creating Custom Infographics with the New Google Databoard
 
Webinars are held Tuesdays through Thursdays at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern.

Every event is led by Google product experts and includes time for live Q&A.


Visit our
webinar site to register for any of the live sessions and to access our large library of recorded content. You can also stay up-to-date on the schedule by adding our Learn with Google calendar to your own Google calendar to automatically see upcoming webinars.

Learn with Google is a program to help businesses succeed through winning moments that matter, enabling better decisions and constantly innovating. We hope that you’ll use these best practices and how-to’s to maximize the impact of digital and grow your business. We’re looking forward to seeing you at an upcoming session!

Posted by Erin Molhar, Marketing Coordinator, Learn with Google

URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/05/sign-up-for-june-learn-with-google.html

Friday, May 31, 2013

[G] BayHac '13: Haskell Hackathon at the Hacker Dojo

| More

Google Open Source Blog: BayHac '13: Haskell Hackathon at the Hacker Dojo

Last weekend saw the 2013 edition of BayHac: a two and half day hackathon for Haskell programmers. This year's event was held at Hacker Dojo’s lovely new space in Mountain View, California. Attendance was the highest yet with over 70 people on Saturday alone. Attendees were from every skill levels, from padawan to Jedi master and everything in between.



In addition to the mainstay of hacking on a wide range of projects with the kind assistance of those around you, BayHac '13 also had some more structured events. A three hour Code Kata session had 10 teams of two working on crafting elegant code solutions to a program that evolved over the course of the session. Then the teams shared their solutions and we learned how many different ways one can approach even simple problems.



Two sessions of lightning talks saw 17 presentations on topics as diverse as protein searching, category theory, explaining charts to the blind, music composition, meta programming, and wrapping a new regular expression library.



This year, thanks to a generous sponsorship from Google, BayHac included lunch, which as you can see below, was well received and helped fuel the day's hacking.



By Mark Lentczner, Software Engineer, and BayHac organizer




URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GoogleOpenSourceBlog/~3/PXzQRa6vN_M/bayhac-13-haskell-hackathon-at-hacker.html

[G] Policy refresher: Appeals process

| More

Learn More Study Less: Policy refresher: Appeals process


We’re continuing our policy refresher series today, taking a closer look at what happens when we detect content that doesn’t comply with our policies.



As we've talked about often on this blog we maintain a set of policies for AdSense designed to foster a healthy ecosystem and protect our publishers, advertisers and users. The vast majority of content on AdSense publisher sites follows these policies. However, sometimes, our systems do find content that doesn't comply, in which case we'll send a notice to the affected publisher. Notifications can be viewed by signing in to your AdSense account and visiting the Messages page, under your Home tab. Additionally, notifications are sent to the email address associated with your AdSense account. A notification will outline whether it is a site warning/disabling or an account disabling issue. If it is a site warning then you have 72 hours to make changes and do not need to contact us. If your account has been disabled then you should review this help center article to find out more about why we would disable an entire account. The rest of this post will deal with what to do if you receive a site disabling notification.



The first step is to understand the nature of the violation. For more about the different causes and how we define them, you can visit our Help Center and review our program policies.



In some cases, you may be eligible to appeal. If this is the case, please take note of the following considerations in formulating your appeal:


  • Make sure you understand the violation: each time we send a notification we include a snippet explaining the violation. If you still have questions following this, our Help Center contains a variety of information on program policies. We also encourage you to seek advice in our Forum - our Top Contributors have a lot of policy knowledge.

  • Check your entire site: with each notification we send you a URL as an example of the violation. Keep in mind that this is only an example, the violation may be present on other pages on your site, and we expect you to take appropriate action throughout your entire site. In many cases publishers have found Google’s search operators, specifically the “site:” operator, to come in handy, particularly for content violations.

  • Be thorough: we understand that AdSense means a lot to you, and having ad serving disabled may cost you revenue. Take your time when filing your appeal and look through your entire site. Writing a thorough appeal is more important than filing an appeal quickly.

  • Tell us how you ensure that this won't happen again: if you were notified about a content violation, tell us what systems you have put in place to ensure that content violating our program policies won't be placed alongside AdSense ads again. Webmasters with large websites might talk about updating filters or hiring human reviewers, while blog owners may tell us that they have familiarized themselves with our adult content policy better, and ensure not to post certain type pictures again.

  • Send us examples: were you notified for content violations? In that case send us some example URLs where you removed AdSense ads from. Were you notified because of ad implementation issues? Send us an example URL with your improved implementation - for some cases we will require pages with AdSense ad code implemented, even though ad serving is disabled.

  • Err on the side of caution: you may disagree with our decision to disable ad serving to your site, but keep in mind that our policies exist to protect the entire network of users, advertisers and publishers.


We know that your sites are important to you. Please understand that we don't take these decisions lightly. For more information on appeals best practices, take a look at this help center article.



Posted by Dan Zilic - AdSense Team

Was this blog post useful? Share your feedback with us.





URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/http/saiairnewblogspotin/~3/XGF8NAuP1mM/policy-refresher-appeals-process.html

[G] Congratulations to hauntedsunshinegirl, our May On The Rise featured partner

| More

YouTube Blog: Congratulations to hauntedsunshinegirl, our May On The Rise featured partner


Congratulations to Sunshine of hauntedsunshinegirl, our featured “On The Rise” partner for May 2013. You can find Sunshine’s channel and videos in the spotlight across YouTube today, including on our new On The Rise homepage.



Sunshine began documenting paranormal activity several years ago, when she and her mother moved into a “haunted” house. Sunshine’s channel has evolved from simply exposing the spooky apparitions who haunt her home: she’s even recorded a real-life paranormal investigation into the situation. Sunshine also produced a feature film to illustrate her own exploration to find and understand “Black Eyed Kids.” This channel follows more of a storyline than many YouTube channels, so be prepared to get caught up in the mysterious activity at Sunshine’s house.



 





Here are a few words directly from Sunshine:



Huge thanks to everyone who voted for me for On the Rise! I am so honored and excited to be a part of this amazing group of YouTubers that have been featured in the past. YouTube is such a huge part of my life and I love that more viewers will get to see the videos I work so hard to make! If you are not familiar with my channel, it might be slightly different than what you are used to. I have hundreds of mostly creepy, often hilarious videos about the paranormal world. But that’s not all ... I even have some zombie videos!

If you’ve enjoyed this monthly On The Rise blog series, we encourage you to check out our new On The Rise homepage. You can check out all of our past featured partners on the Featured Partners tab, or nominate a YouTube partner to be considered for the program on the Nominate tab. Feel free to submit nominations for your own channel, or for channels you follow that you think deserve more attention or could be the next YouTube sensation. We’ll continue to feature promising partners who drive YouTube watch time, have fewer than 100,000 subscribers, and produce engaging content on a regular basis.



See you next month!



Christine Wang and Devon Storbeck, YouTube Partner Support, recently watched “まるです5。-I am Maru 5.-”



URL: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/youtube/PKJx/~3/PVx5vneKWYg/congratulations-to-hauntedsunshinegirl.html

[G] Schumacher Homes uses Chromeboxes to help customers build dream homes

| More

Official Google Enterprise Blog: Schumacher Homes uses Chromeboxes to help customers build dream homes

Posted by Christopher Anderson, Director of IT for Schumacher Homes

Editor's note: Our guest blogger is Christopher Anderson, Director of IT for Schumacher Homes, a custom home builder based in Ohio. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

At Schumacher Homes, we design and build houses that fulfill our customers’ dreams. Building a custom home has the potential to feel overwhelming so we strive to make the process as easy as possible and deliver great value, with local teams in 20 stores spanning 14 states.

When customers walk into one of our stores, our systems and staff are ready to guide them through the home building process. Customers can access our web app on in-store kiosks, powered by Chromeboxes, where they browse home designs and options. We used to rely on PCs to run the kiosks but they were costly for what we needed, required in-person management at remote stores, and broke down often by overheating. With Chromeboxes, we get simple, easy-to-use computers that cost 60 - 65% less than our prior PCs, plus we’re saving on upkeep and administration, as we can manage them remotely via the web-based Chrome management console.

Since the kiosks run on our corporate network and are publicly accessible in our stores, we’re extra cautious about security. Chromebox’s verified boot, and OS and browser sandboxing protect us from viruses or spyware that could infect our internal systems. Also, because Chrome auto-updates, we get the latest security patches and save time previously spent manually updating our machines.



Building the home of your dreams should be easy, so we don’t want to add any complication for our customers or our team. With Chromeboxes, we can give our customers an easy, hands-on experience without worrying about security issues. And, on top of it all, we’re saving money. Now, that’s simplicity.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2013/05/schumacher-homes-uses-chromeboxes-to.html

[G] Bidding Best Practices (Part 5): Implement Bid Automation for Better Performance and Time Savings

| More

Inside AdWords: Bidding Best Practices (Part 5): Implement Bid Automation for Better Performance and Time Savings

Today’s post about using automated bidding within enhanced campaigns is the fifth in our bidding best practices series. The previous blog posts covered calculating mobile, location and time bid adjustments. 

We launched bid adjustments for device, location and time of day to help you control your bids without duplicating campaigns as part of enhanced campaigns. We’ve heard from many advertisers that these tools help them improve results and efficiency. However, for some advertisers - particularly those with large programs and accounts - managing campaigns at scale can still be time-intensive and complex.

Since bidding is fundamentally important to your success with AdWords, we've developed a set of automation tools to help improve your performance and save you time.

Benefits of AdWords bid automation
For almost any advertiser, using the right automated bidding solution can drive better results and improved efficiency. Here are some key benefits to using AdWords automated bid strategies in enhanced campaigns.
  • Save time by optimizing keyword bids for your goal at scale. Automated tools dynamically change bids to meet your advertising goals across your keywords -- whether it’s 100 or 1 million keywords -- saving you time and effort.
  • Create and manage campaigns independently from bidding strategy. New flexible bid strategies let you apply multiple bidding strategies within a single campaign or across campaigns. This provides you the freedom to optimize towards multiple advertising goals in the same campaign or across campaigns without being constrained by account structure. Read more about these below.
  • Improve performance with auction-time bidding. Two flexible bid strategies, Target CPA and Enhanced CPC, use a combination of real-time performance signals including location, device, partner site and operating system to set specific bids at every auction. With auction-time bidding, these automated tools automatically calculate bid adjustments for you.
  • Optimize over time to continuously improve results. Our automated tools adapt to performance changes over time, saving you the effort of manually evaluating performance reports and continuously changing bids to keep up with performance fluctuations.
  • Easy to try. AdWords bid automation tools are free to use and available to all advertisers right in the AdWords interface.
When to use bid automation
In this section, we’ll provide guidance on when to use each of Google’s automated bid strategies within enhanced campaigns.

Target CPA (the flexible bid strategies version of Conversion Optimizer) is our most powerful bid automation tool. This bid strategy sets an optimum bid for every auction by predicting the likelihood of a conversion. It uses real-time inputs such as location, time, device, and network placement. Apply this strategy to ad groups or campaigns if your main goal is to maximize conversion volume while maintaining a target CPA. Target CPA will automatically set and optimize your bid adjustments for you, however, a -100% mobile bid adjustment will keep your ads from appearing on mobile devices.

Enhanced CPC can improve performance by adding automation on top of your manual bids. This automated bid strategy will refine your manual bids using the same real-time conversion prediction technology as Target CPA. You can still apply bid adjustments with this automated strategy if you know that device, location or time of day affects your conversion value in ways that are not measured in the conversion tracker. For example, if you want to use automation, but know that your mobile clicks drive value beyond online conversions, such as store visits, you can enable Enhanced CPC in combination with a bid adjustment for mobile to account for the difference in expected value per click.

The last two flexible bid strategies apply bid automation and work with existing manual bid adjustments. If your goal is getting the most clicks within a target spend, you can implement the Maximize Clicks bid strategy. Alternatively, if you’re more interested in visibility with top position impressions, you can try the Target Search Page location strategy. Read more about these strategies here.

If you’ve implemented one of the four flexible bid strategies, you can monitor your performance in the Shared Library and adjust if necessary.

While it might take some time to refine your automated bid strategy, the benefits of bid automation will improve your performance while saving you time and effort. To read more about automation and bidding adjustments, check out our Help Center.

Posted by Andrea Cohan, Product Marketing Manager, AdWords
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/05/bidding-best-practices-part-5-implement.html

[G] Bidding Best Practices (Part 4): Setting your bid adjustment for time

| More

Inside AdWords: Bidding Best Practices (Part 4): Setting your bid adjustment for time

Today’s post will provide guidance on using time bid adjustments.  It is the fourth post in a bidding best practices series. Previous posts covered optimization strategies for setting location and mobile bid adjustments as well as prioritization.

In our constantly connected world, people are searching on multiple devices throughout the day for places to go, things to buy, and ways to stay entertained. People often use similar search results in different ways depending on the time of day that they search. For example, if someone is searching for “Hawaii vacations” during the workday, she may just be doing research for an upcoming trip.  When she returns home and conducts the same search in the evening, she may be more likely to have all the info she needs to book the flights and hotels.

With this constant connectivity, search marketers can now receive web traffic from across the globe and around the clock. Most businesses can still identify peak days and times when they see better ROI and lower costs.  At other times, customer activity might be slower and some businesses may wish to drive additional visits even if the cost is a bit higher.

If your business sees regular cycles of customer behavior and AdWords performance during the week, then using the time bid adjustment feature in AdWords enhanced campaigns may make sense for you.  This feature can help you improve results by allowing you to increase or decrease bids by day of the week or time of day.

Getting started with time bid adjustments
Before making any adjustments, it’s important to choose the right level of granularity for analysis.  For example, will you adjust bids by day of the week, eight hour increments, or down to the hour?  While you may be tempted to optimize down to the hour, it’s important to ensure that you have sufficient data to make decisions for each time period.  A general rule would be to have 1,000 clicks and 30 conversions for each time period you’re looking to optimize.

Calculating your time bid adjustments
Once you decide that using time bid adjustments are right for your business, compare the performance of your ads at varying times to your overall performance goal.  This will allow you to easily determine the right bid adjustment for each time period.

If you are setting a goal using a cost per action target, your bid adjustment can be calculated as follows:

Time bid adjustment = 100%* (( Campaign Goal  ÷ Actual Performance) - 1)

For example, let’s say you are an online retailer who sees better traffic and performance on weekdays as opposed to weekends. You would like to target a $30 cost per acquisition overall, but you are experiencing a $25 cost per acquisition on weekdays and a $40 cost per acquisition on weekends.  To meet your performance goal and maximize efficiency you can use a time bid adjustment.  Simply adjust your bids on weekdays by +20%, and on weekends by -25%.  This allows you to optimize for your goal by bidding more aggressively on weekdays when conversions are more cost effective, and less aggressively on weekends when performance is lower.

Test and Learn
Constant iteration is a key part of the optimization process. To ensure you are optimized over time, check the performance for each time adjustment regularly on the Time subtab in your campaign settings. Raise your bid adjustment where your performance exceeds your goal and lower your bid adjustment where your performance falls short of your goal. This will allow you to optimize your bids and adjust to changing consumer behavior.

Tips
You should also take this opportunity to study your internal data to understand when you have peak activity in terms of conversion rates, order size, and overall volume.  If you have a physical store or run a call center, you may consider using those hours of operation as guideposts for setting your time bid adjustment.  Studying the volume of activity during the times you are open can give you a good sense of when you may wish to raise or lower your bids.  For example, if your call center is closed during the night, you may wish to decrease bids during this time to avoid sending customers to unsupported lines.  By the same token, if you operate a physical store and see lulls in traffic during certain hours, you may wish to increase bids during this time and run ads with promotional offers to drive more people to your business.

Reminders
Time bid adjustments are a key part of enhanced campaigns.  To use time bid adjustments alongside location and mobile bid adjustments, you’ll need to upgrade your campaigns.  Starting on July 22, 2013, we will begin automatically upgrading all campaigns to enhanced campaigns.

Later this week, we’ll dive deeper into ways you can use tools like flexible bid strategies to automate your bid settings based on specific business goals like cost per acquisition.

Posted by Ting Zhang, Global Search Solutions
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/05/bidding-best-practices-part-4-setting.html

[G] Easily make changes to your ads and ad groups at scale

| More

Inside AdWords: Easily make changes to your ads and ad groups at scale

The ability to make changes to your AdWords account in bulk enables you to spend more time optimizing your campaigns to grow your business, and less time on repetitive tasks.  Just last month, we launched keyword bulk uploads to help you add, edit and remove keywords at scale.  Today, we are happy to announce bulk uploads for ads and ad groups.

Imagine you download a report from the Ads tab and want to test different creatives in ad groups that are underperforming.  You might also want to turn off certain ad groups, or change the budget for others.  Instead of toggling back and forth between AdWords and your spreadsheets, you can now download reports from the Ads and Ad Groups tabs, make changes directly in your spreadsheet, and upload them directly to your account.

Uploading changes to your ads and ad groups is simple.  Just like with keywords, when you download a report you will be prompted to make the report “editable.”


After making your changes, you can save your changes in CSV, TSV and Excel formats.  To upload this file, click “Reports and uploads” on the left navigation panel, and then select the “Uploads” tab.  You will see a new column here titled “Upload type,” shown below.


You can only upload one report type at a time; for example, if you want to make bulk changes to both your keywords and your ad creatives, you would have to do this by editing and uploading two separate reports.

As with keyword bulk uploads, there is no way to cancel or automatically reverse your changes once a report has been submitted.  Please remember to save a copy of your original downloaded report if you need to know 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.

To learn more about bulk uploads for ads and ad groups, visit the bulk uploads article in our Help Center or discuss in our AdWords Community.

Posted by Prashant Baheti, Product Manager, AdWords
URL: http://adwords.blogspot.com/2013/05/easily-make-changes-to-your-ads-and-ad.html

Thursday, May 30, 2013

[G] Helping passwords better protect you

| More

Official Blog: Helping passwords better protect you

Knowing how to stay safe and secure online is important, which is why we created our Good to Know site with advice and tips for safe and savvy Internet use. Starting today, we'll also be posting regularly with privacy and security tips. We hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.

It could be your Gmail, your photos or your documents—whatever you have in your Google Account, we work hard to make sure it’s protected from would-be identity thieves, other bad guys, or any illegitimate attempts to access your information.

But you can also help keep your information safe. Think of how upset you would be if someone else got access to your Google Account without your permission, and then take five minutes to follow the steps below and help make it more secure. Let’s start with the key to unlocking your account—your password:

1. Use a different password for each important service
Make sure you have a different password for every important online account you have. Bad guys will steal your username and password from one site, and then use them to try to log into lots of other sites where you might have an account. Even large, reputable sites sometimes have their password databases stolen. If you use the same password across many different sites, there’s a greater chance it might end up on a list of stolen passwords. And the more accounts you have that use that password, the more data you might lose if that password is stolen.

Giving an account its own, strong password helps protect you and your information in that account. Start today by making sure your Google Account has a unique password.

2. Make your password hard to guess
“password.” “123456.” “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” These examples are terrible passwords because everyone knows them—including potential attackers. Making your passwords longer or more complicated makes them harder to guess for both bad guys and people who know you. We know it’s hard: the average password is shorter than 8 characters, and many just contain letters. In a database of 32 million real passwords that were made public in 2009, analysis showed (PDF) only 54 percent included numbers, and only 3.7 percent had special characters like & or $.

One way to build a strong password is to think of a phrase or sentence that other people wouldn’t know and then use that to build your password. For example, for your email you could think of a personal message like “I want to get better at responding to emails quickly and concisely” and then build your password from numbers, symbols, and the first letters of each word—“iw2gb@r2eq&c”. Don’t use popular phrases or lyrics to build your password—research suggests that people gravitate to the same phrases, and you want your password to be something only you know.

Google doesn’t restrict password length, so go wild!

3. Keep your password somewhere safe
Research shows (PDF) that worrying about remembering too many passwords is the chief reason people reuse certain passwords across multiple services. But don’t worry—if you’ve created so many passwords that it’s hard to remember them, it’s OK to make a list and write them down. Just make sure you keep your list in a safe place, where you won’t lose it and others won’t be able to find it. If you’d prefer to manage your passwords digitally, a trusted password manager might be a good option. Chrome and many web browsers have free password managers built into them, and there are many independent options as well—take a few minutes to read through reviews and see what would be best for your needs.

4. Set a recovery option

Have you ever forgotten your password? Has one of your friends ever been locked out of their account? Setting a recovery option, like an alternate email address or a telephone number, helps give the service provider another way to contact you if you are ever locked out of your account. Having an up-to-date recovery phone or email address is the best thing you can do to make sure you can get back into your account fast if there is ever a problem.

If you haven’t set a recovery option for your Google Account, add one now. If you have, just take a second to make sure it’s up to date.

We have more tips on how to pick a good password on our Help Center, and in the video below:

Your online safety and privacy is important to you, and it’s important to us, too. We’ve made a huge amount of progress to help protect your Google Account from people who want to break into it, but for the time being, creating a unique, strong password is still an important way to protect your online accounts. Please take five minutes today to reset your important passwords using the tips above, and stay tuned for more security tips throughout the summer.

Posted by Diana Smetters, Software Engineer
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/helping-passwords-better-protect-you.html

[G] Investing in a South African solar project

| More

Official Blog: Investing in a South African solar project

As we search for investments that can help speed up the adoption of renewable energy, we’ve been looking beyond the U.S. and Europe to parts of the world where our investments can have an even greater impact. We’ve just closed our first investment in Africa: $12 million USD (103 million Rand) investment in the Jasper Power Project, a 96 megawatt solar photovoltaic plant in the Northern Cape province of South Africa. Upon completion, Jasper will be one of the largest solar installations on the continent, capable of generating enough electricity to power 30,000 South African homes. The project, developed and funded by SolarReserve, Intikon Energy and the Kensani Group, is also backed by Rand Merchant Bank, the Public Investment Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa and the PEACE Humansrus Trust.


View Jasper Power Project in a larger map
The Jasper Power Project is located in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, near Postmasburg


When we consider investing in a renewable energy project, we focus on two key factors. First, we only pursue investments that we believe make financial sense. South Africa’s strong resources and supportive policies for renewable energy make it an attractive place to invest—which is why it had the highest growth in clean energy investment in the world last year. Second, we look for projects that have transformative potential—that is, projects that will bolster the growth of the renewable energy industry and move the world closer to a clean energy future. The Jasper Power Project is one of those transformative opportunities. To explain why, perhaps some background would be helpful.

Back in 2008, South Africa experienced a severe energy shortage, which resulted in blackouts throughout the country and slowed down economic growth. Since then the South African government has been actively supporting the growth of new sources of electricity to power the nation. While today South Africa is primarily dependent on fossil fuels, there’s lots of potential for renewable energy—it’s a country blessed with abundant wind and solar resources—and the government has set an ambitious goal of generating 18 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2030 (as a comparison, the entire South African grid is currently 44 GW).

To meet this goal, the South African government has established the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP). Through the program, renewable energy projects compete on the basis of cost and contribution to the local economy to be awarded a contract with Eskom, South Africa’s state-owned energy utility. Jasper and the other projects being developed through the REIPPPP have the potential to transform the South African energy grid. And given South Africa’s position as an economic powerhouse in Africa, a greener grid in South Africa can set an example for the whole continent.

Once constructed, the project will use solar panels like these.

Just as compelling are the economic and social benefits that the project will bring to the local community. Jasper will create approximately 300 construction and 50 permanent jobs in a region experiencing high rates of unemployment, as well as providing rural development and education programs and setting aside a portion of total project revenues—amounting to approximately $26 million over the life of the project—for enterprise and socio-economic development. We appreciate how forward-thinking the South African government has been in designing the REIPPPP to encourage these kinds of local economic benefits.

Google has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy investments and we continue to search for new opportunities. Our search has brought us from the U.S. to Europe and now to Africa. We’re excited to see where else it might lead.

Posted by Rick Needham, Director, Energy & Sustainability
URL: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/investing-in-south-african-solar-project.html

[G] Helping passwords better protect you

| More

Google Public Policy Blog: Helping passwords better protect you

Posted by Diana Smetters, Software Engineer

Knowing how to stay safe and secure online is important, which is why we created our Good to Know site with advice and tips for safe and savvy Internet use. Starting today, we'll also be posting regularly with privacy and security tips. We hope this information helps you understand the choices and control that you have over your online information. -Ed.

It could be your Gmail, your photos or your documents—whatever you have in your Google Account, we work hard to make sure it’s protected from would-be identity thieves, other bad guys, or any illegitimate attempts to access your information.

But you can also help keep your information safe. Think of how upset you would be if someone else got access to your Google Account without your permission, and then take five minutes to follow the steps below and help make it more secure. Let’s start with the key to unlocking your account—your password:

1. Use a different password for each important service
Make sure you have a different password for every important online account you have. Bad guys will steal your username and password from one site, and then use them to try to log into lots of other sites where you might have an account. Even large, reputable sites sometimes have their password databases stolen. If you use the same password across many different sites, there’s a greater chance it might end up on a list of stolen passwords. And the more accounts you have that use that password, the more data you might lose if that password is stolen.

Giving an account its own, strong password helps protect you and your information in that account. Start today by making sure your Google Account has a unique password.

2. Make your password hard to guess
“password.” “123456.” “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die!” These examples are terrible passwords because everyone knows them—including potential attackers. Making your passwords longer or more complicated makes them harder to guess for both bad guys and people who know you. We know it’s hard: the average password is shorter than 8 characters, and many just contain letters. In a database of 32 million real passwords that were made public in 2009, analysis showed (PDF) only 54 percent included numbers, and only 3.7 percent had special characters like & or $.

One way to build a strong password is to think of a phrase or sentence that other people wouldn’t know and then use that to build your password. For example, for your email you could think of a personal message like “I want to get better at responding to emails quickly and concisely” and then build your password from numbers, symbols, and the first letters of each word—“iw2gb@r2eq&c”. Don’t use popular phrases or lyrics to build your password—research suggests that people gravitate to the same phrases, and you want your password to be something only you know.

Google doesn’t restrict password length, so go wild!

3. Keep your password somewhere safe
Research shows (PDF) that worrying about remembering too many passwords is the chief reason people reuse certain passwords across multiple services. But don’t worry—if you’ve created so many passwords that it’s hard to remember them, it’s OK to make a list and write them down. Just make sure you keep your list in a safe place, where you won’t lose it and others won’t be able to find it. If you’d prefer to manage your passwords digitally, a trusted password manager might be a good option. Chrome and many web browsers have free password managers built into them, and there are many independent options as well—take a few minutes to read through reviews and see what would be best for your needs.

4. Set a recovery option

Have you ever forgotten your password? Has one of your friends ever been locked out of their account? Setting a recovery option, like an alternate email address or a telephone number, helps give the service provider another way to contact you if you are ever locked out of your account. Having an up-to-date recovery phone or email address is the best thing you can do to make sure you can get back into your account fast if there is ever a problem.

If you haven’t set a recovery option for your Google Account, add one now. If you have, just take a second to make sure it’s up to date.

We have more tips on how to pick a good password on our Help Center, and in the video below:



Your online safety and privacy is important to you, and it’s important to us, too. We’ve made a huge amount of progress to help protect your Google Account from people who want to break into it, but for the time being, creating a unique, strong password is still an important way to protect your online accounts. Please take five minutes today to reset your important passwords using the tips above, and stay tuned for more security tips throughout the summer.
URL: http://googlepublicpolicy.blogspot.com/2013/05/helping-passwords-better-protect-you.html

[G] What’s on Neal Mohan’s Mind for thinkDoubleClick? Social, native formats and more

| More

DoubleClick Publisher Blog: What’s on Neal Mohan’s Mind for thinkDoubleClick? Social, native formats and more


Ahead of our thinkDoubleClick digital advertising summit on June 4th, we caught up with Neal Mohan, Google’s Vice President of Display Advertising, to hear what’s on his mind heading into the conference.

The theme for thinkDoubleClick this year is “Connect & Accelerate.” Why did that resonate with you?
I get asked all the time why I'm so bullish about the future of digital media. It's a long answer, but if I had to boil it down, it comes down to two things. First, I think there’s a $200 billion opportunity as brand spend shifts online that I think will help grow the pie for everyone. Second, digital has an unparalleled ability to connect the things that will help marketers and publishers address that opportunity - their businesses, their partners and their customers. We'll be talking about this at the conference, as well as how technology can help accelerate our partners’ growth.

What discussions are you looking forward to at thinkDoubleClick?
I’m looking forward to some honest conversations about brand-building in today’s connected world, how marketers are re-thinking their marketing mix, and how publishers are embracing new models, like native formats.

We really hope that people walk away from this event with actionable insights from our fantastic lineup of speakers featuring Coca Cola’s Wendy Clark, Omnicom Digital’s Jonathan Nelson, and CBS Interactive’s Jim Lanzone.

Will there be any announcements?
I’m not going to give away too much, but I think what might surprise people is that we’ll be talking about social’s role in the customer journey, as well as the growing importance of native formats to our publisher partners at a level of detail we haven’t to date. I hope everyone tunes in next week to learn more.

thinkDoubleClick is being live-streamed publicly on June 4th from 9am - 12:30pm PDT. If you haven’t done so already, register now.

Posted by Yamini Gupta, Product Marketing Team
URL: http://doubleclickpublishers.blogspot.com/2013/05/whats-on-neal-mohans-mind-for.html

[G] Distributing the Edit History of Wikipedia Infoboxes

| More

Research Blog: Distributing the Edit History of Wikipedia Infoboxes

Posted by Enrique Alfonseca, Google Research

Aside from its value as a general-purpose encyclopedia, Wikipedia is also one of the most widely used resources to acquire, either automatically or semi-automatically, knowledge bases of structured data. Much research has been devoted to automatically building disambiguation resources, parallel corpora and structured knowledge from Wikipedia. Still, most of those projects have been based on single snapshots of Wikipedia, extracting the attribute values that were valid at a particular point in time. So about a year ago we compiled and released a data set that allows researchers to see how data attributes can change over time.

Figure 1. Infobox for the Republic of Palau in 2006 and 2013 showing the capital change.

Many attributes vary over time. These include the presidents of countries, the spouses of people, the populations of cities and the number of employees of companies. Every Wikipedia page has an associated history from which the users can view and compare past versions. Having the historical values of Infobox entries available would provide a historical overview of change affecting each entry, to understand which attributes are more likely to change over time or have a regularity in their changes, and which ones attract more user interest and are actually updated in a timely fashion. We believe that such a resource will also be useful in training systems to learn to extract data from documents, as it will allow us to collect more training examples by matching old values of an attribute inside old pages.

For this reason, we released, in collaboration with Wikimedia Deutschland e.V., a resource containing all the edit history of infoboxes in Wikipedia pages. While this was already available indirectly in Wikimedia’s full history dumps, the smaller size of the released dataset will make it easier to download and process this data. The released dataset contains 38,979,871 infobox attribute updates for 1,845,172 different entities, and it is available for download both from Google and from Wikimedia Deutschland’s Toolserver page. A description of the dataset can be found in our paper WHAD: Wikipedia Historical Attributes Data, accepted for publication at the Language Resources and Evaluation journal.

What kind of information can be learned from this data? Some examples from preliminary analyses include the following:
  • Every country in the world has a population in its Wikipedia attribute, which is updated at least yearly for more than 90% of them. The average error rate with respect to the yearly World Bank estimates is between two and three percent, mostly due to rounding.
  • 50% of deaths are updated into Wikipedia infoboxes within a couple of days... but for scientists it takes 31 days to reach 50% coverage!
  • For the last episode of TV shows, the airing date is updated for 50% of them within 9 days; for for the first episode of TV shows, it takes 106 days.

While infobox attribute updates will be much easier to process as they transition into the Wikidata project, we are not there yet and we believe that the availability of this dataset will facilitate the study of changing attribute values. We are looking forward to the results of those studies.

Thanks to Googler Jean-Yves Delort and Guillermo Garrido and Anselmo Peñas from UNED for putting this dataset together, and to Angelika Mühlbauer and Kai Nissen from Wikipedia Deutschland for their support. Thanks also to Thomas Hofmann and Fernando Pereira for making this data release possible.
URL: http://googleresearch.blogspot.com/2013/05/distributing-edit-history-of-wikipedia.html

[G] Getting Started with Analytics Measurement for Marketing Campaigns: A Brief Guide

| More

Analytics Blog: Getting Started with Analytics Measurement for Marketing Campaigns: A Brief Guide

As an analytics practitioner, one of the most important things I try to teach marketers is how to properly tag their campaigns so we can report on the success of their efforts. To do this, I've created a guide for them to follow to make it easy to choose the proper UTM codes to have consistent campaign tagging across the business. This allows us to begin to assign source and medium values to finance channels and usage metrics to really understand how each campaign performs in terms of our bottom line business metrics. 

OVERVIEW
Setting up tracking and reporting on your marketing campaigns is simple and fun. This guide will walk you through the process and demonstrate with a real-life example.

Part A: Set up UTM tracking code

1. Below are all the elements you’ll need. If you set these up correctly, you’ll be able to report on multiple elements of your campaign:
  • Campaign -name of your overarching campaign - e.g. spring-2013-collection or summer-2013-announcements. Be sure to follow a consistent campaign naming structure.
  • Medium - the medium used to send your campaign. Include “email” for an email campaign, “cpc” for ads, “social” for a social network or “landing-page” if you’re tracking button clicks from a landing page. 
  • Source - used to differentiate the type of medium. If medium = cpc, then source may be google, bing, or yahoo. If utm medium = email, source can be used to call out the action (try, buy, coupon, awareness, etc).
  • Content - this is essentially a bonus field - it can be used to track many differentiating factors for your campaign. For example, you can use this field to track different versions of your email or landing page - e.g. “60-dollars-off” or “15-percent-off”.
2. Make a copy of this template and update it with your campaign’s values.  You’ll likely end up with several tracking links for your campaign.

3. Tag each version of your campaign creative with the matching link. After updating the values, your tracking link should something like this:

https://www.googlestore.com/?utm_source=coupon&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=summer-sale&utm_content=15-percent-off

Part B: Testing reporting

1. Before launching your campaign, verify that your tags are working correctly. Open an incognito window and click on one of the links you set up to track your campaign. If your campaign’s objective is trial signup, try completing the trial sign up form. If your objective is redeeming a coupon, try redeeming the coupon. Try this with each tag created for your campaign (best practice is to clear your cookies in the incognito window before clicking each tag). For landing pages - make sure to go all the way through to your main site or objective.
  • Recommended best practice is to try each link multiple times, dropping off at various points to ensure you can track a funnel flow. 
2. Wait 24 hours (in a crunch data should populate in analytics within 4-6 hours but depends on volume).

3.  Go to google.com/analytics and click Sign in.

4. After signing into analytics you will be on the “Audience Overview” page. Click on “Traffic sources” - > “sources” - > “campaigns”.

5. Type the name of your campaign into the search box in the middle of the page and click on the search icon.


You should now see an overview of all clicks on your campaign. However, since you are in a non-standard report in GA sampling will likely occur (you may not see all - or even any of the test clicks on your campaign). Given sampling,  you may need to export an unsampled report after all filters/segments are applied to your test - see step 9.

Click into this overview.



7. A screen similar to the below should appear, breaking out your campaign performance into different source/medium.



8. To drill down into the different elements of your campaign, click on the “secondary dimension” tab and type in the element - this could be “content” (shown below) or “medium” or “source”.



You will then see your Source/Medium broken down by content. In this example utm_content was used for ad creative, so the Ad Content secondary dimension breaks each Source/Medium down by which creative was clicked.



9. If all of your test campaign metrics are coming up in GA reporting you are ready to launch (be sure to keep track of # of links clicked/steps completed for each test link to match back data). Good luck! And come back to GA to see reports on your live campaign.

Part C: Advanced Reporting

A few more notes on nifty things you can do with GA reporting.
1. Advanced segments enable you to view all data in GA for a target segment in your campaign. 
  • Click on “Advanced Segments” at the top of your GA window.  
  • Click the button “+new custom segment”
  • Using “and” or “or” statements, define the segment of your campaign you want to see GA data for:
  • Save the segment. You can now browse through your Analytics reports, viewing data only for this segment 
2. Set up a dashboard. Under “MY STUFF” on the left-hand navigation. Click “Dashboards”. Here you can customize a dashboard for external stakeholders looking to monitor the performance of your campaign.

Happy tagging and analyzing!

Posted by Krista Seiden, Product Marketing Manager, Google Enterprise
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2013/05/getting-started-with-analytics.html

[G] Google Analytics User Conference: Australian Tour

| More

Analytics Blog: Google Analytics User Conference: Australian Tour

The following is a guest post by Benjamin Mangold, Search & Analytics Director at Loves Data, a Google Analytics Certified Partner.

The Google Analytics User Conference is back in Australia for 2013, hosted by Google Analytics Certified Partners. This year the conference will be held in both Sydney and Melbourne.

Join local and international Google Analytics experts in Sydney on 19 June and Melbourne on 21 June. Google’s own Analytics Advocate, Justin Cutroni is returning as keynote speaker to present his expert advice and insights into Universal Analytics, a great new Google Analytics feature for onsite measurement across desktops, smartphones and tablets, and even the physical aspects of offline campaigns such as loyalty cards and billboards!


After the sold-out success of the conference last year, Loves Data is keeping the momentum going with a great speaker line-up of Google Analytics experts from the US, Singapore and Australia, a special slot on YouTube Analytics and marketing and technical slots by experts from industry. View the conference program and check out the conference speakers.

Topics include:
  • Attribution modelling
  • Multi-screen measurement
  • Driving action with dashboards
  • Leveraging online and offline data
  • YouTube Analytics
Book your conference ticket today before it’s sold out.

For conference updates follow Loves Data on Google+.

Posted by Benjamin Mangold, Google Analytics Certified Partner
URL: http://analytics.blogspot.com/2013/05/google-analytics-user-conference.html

[G] Google Maps Helps Trulia Put Some Heart into Home Buying

| More

Official Google Enterprise Blog: Google Maps Helps Trulia Put Some Heart into Home Buying

Posted by Jeff McConathy, VP Engineering at Trulia

Editor's note: Our guest blogger is Jeff McConathy, Vice President of Engineering, Consumer Services, at Trulia, a San Francisco-based company that gives home buyers, sellers, owners and renters the inside scoop on properties, places and real estate professionals. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

There is an old saying in real estate: it’s all about location, location, location. With this in mind, it’s natural that maps are key to the success of any real estate business. They’re the first real guidepost that homebuyers look at when searching for a new home. At Trulia, we want our maps to do more. Maps are the canvas that let us tell the story of every property on our site – not just where it is, but what the neighborhood is like, how safe it is, the quality of the schools, how long it takes to commute to work and more. By using the Google Maps API for Business, we’re able to connect bits of data with home listings to give the 31.4 million people who visit Trulia each month a complete picture of a potential new home before they ever step inside it.

Google Maps API is core to Trulia’s user experience. It’s the common interface that lets homebuyers search for and browse through properties, explore neighborhoods, and jumpstart their home buying process. We’ve been working with Google since 2005, after we gave both Google Maps and Microsoft Virtual Earth a trial run. Google Maps proved to be the easiest to customize and had the best functionality. Since then, our partnership has grown seamlessly – Google constantly adds new features to the API and we update our maps weekly.

Google Maps let us visualize data in a context that’s important to homebuyers. Instead of a list of crime statistics, we can create a color-coded heat map where our users can look around the city or town they’re exploring and compare neighborhoods, or even streets that are close to each other. We can present home buyers, sellers, and renters data about schools, public transit, nightlife, environmental and natural disaster risks, property valuations, and sales trends.

Google Maps also lets Trulia run efficiently on all mobile platforms. In addition to our mobile site, we have 14 different apps for homebuyers, agents, renters, mortgage representatives and more, with over 11 million mobile users each month. The Google Maps API ensures that we have full functionality across all of our apps, no matter the platform.

Trulia’s business is built on providing insights to consumers who are looking for the right place to live and then connecting them to a real estate professional. Google Maps adds color and life to that process by giving us a platform to tell a story about a particular neighborhood or property. It gives users clarity and simplicity in what can be an extremely complicated and confusing process, and that’s the absolute most valuable thing we can offer our users.
URL: http://googleenterprise.blogspot.com/2013/05/google-maps-helps-trulia-put-some-heart.html

[G] Expanding Google Business Photos in Europe and Asia

| More

Google Lat Long: Expanding Google Business Photos in Europe and Asia


Today we’re announcing the expansion of the Google Maps Business Photos program to seven new countries including: Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Russia, Singapore and Switzerland.

The Business Photos program enables merchants to create 360-degree, interactive tours of their establishments. This imagery is published on Google so potential customers can look inside and explore businesses before they go.


Are you a business owner?
If you are a business owner in any of these locations, joining the program is easy. Simply hire a Trusted Photographer or Agency in your area to take pictures of your business. Using Street View technology, the photographer will then create panoramic images from the photo shoot and upload them into Google. These images will be available automatically to anyone who searches for your business on Google.com, Google Maps, Google Maps for Mobile and on your Google+ page or Places for Business listing. If a local photographer isn’t yet available in your neighborhood, let us know and we’ll do our best to find a photographer for you.


Photographers can also sign up...
And whether you’re a professional photographer or photography agency we’d love to have you on board! We are actively recruiting more Trusted Photographers and Agencies to help us bring imagery of local businesses online for millions across the globe to see. Please visit our website for Trusted Photographers and Trusted Agencies to learn more and sign up.

Posted by Deborah Schenker, Program Manager, Google Business Photos
URL: http://google-latlong.blogspot.com/2013/05/expanding-google-business-photos-in.html