Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our favorite Docs things - 2010 Year in Review

[Cross-posted from the Google Docs Blog]

We’ve been keeping busy this year with over 85 new enhancements to Google Docs and Google Sites, making it possible for you to work, communicate and collaborate entirely in the cloud. We wanted to take a moment to share a few of the most exciting enhancements from 2010 that are making it easier for you to go “100% web.”

In addition to some of the most requested favorite features like mobile editing, OCR, advanced sorting rules and a more consistent look, here are more of our team’s favorite things from this last year:
We look forward to bringing you more improvements next year. Let us know what is at the top of your Google Docs and Sites wish list in the comments.

On behalf of the entire the Google Docs and Google Sites teams, happy holidays! We’ll see you in the New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Enhance your productivity with more applications for Google Apps

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Last month we launched an improvement that makes more than 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. Since the launch, we’ve featured posts from product teams across Google to showcase how you can benefit from the new services.


Our colleagues working on Google Reader, Google Alerts, Google News, and Google Finance described how their products give you new ways to discover content on the web. The Blogger and YouTube teams shared how their services can be used to connect with your customers and communicate information about your products and brand. We also featured posts from the Google Analytics, Google Website Optimizer, Google Custom Search, and Google Translator Toolkit teams to highligh tools that help your company build and optimize your web property. Posts from Google AdWords and Google Places showed how you can make it easier for potential customers to discover your business when they are searching online, and a post from Google Checkout described how you can let visitors purchase products from your site once they arrive. And if your business isn’t built around an online transaction model, the Google AdSense and DoubleClick for Publishers teams outlined tools that you can use to efficiently monetize traffic to your website. We also featured posts on Picasa Web Albums and Google SketchUp & 3D Warehouse that highlighted use cases for sharing and editing photos and 3D images at your organization. Finally, posts from Google Voice and Google Chrome Sync featured products that leverage the power of the web to allow you to work seamlessly across multiple devices, so you’re not tied to your desk phone or desktop PC to be productive.

This series has highlighted a few ways that you can use these additional Google applications, and we’re confident that you will discover many new and interesting use cases that fit your business. You can explore even more exciting Google services now available with your Google Apps account at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

All of these new services can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). Your domain administrator can grant different groups of users access to different sets of applications, so your company can get up and running today with more than 60 productivity-boosting applications matched to those users that will benefit from them most.




Note: Some products may not be available in all areas.

Tips for creating a free business listing in Google Places: business types


Are you curious about what kind of businesses are eligible to appear in the free listings that appear on Google and Google Maps? In this second post in our blog series about how to create a clear and effective business listing via Google Places, we’ll help you to determine if Google Places is right for your business.

Business types and models that work with Google Places

Google Places is meant to facilitate customer interaction with brick-and-mortar businesses and service providers. Therefore, the business owner or employee who is officially authorized to represent their particular business location must have a physical address in order to comply with our quality guidelines.

Having a physical address means that your business has a specific location (typically including a street name and a street number), can be visited by potential customers or business partners, and has a specific phone number at that location where you can be reached during operating hours. Including your physical address in your free business listing helps customers figure out where they can find you.

Examples of business listings displayed on Google Maps


Businesses that aren’t right for Google Places

Here are a few examples of business types that are not currently eligible to use Google Places:
  • Web shops that operate exclusively online and have no office for visitor traffic or direct client interaction
  • Businesses without actual physical locations (your living room, the airfield where you offer paragliding lessons, nor the river where your rafting tours start do not qualify as business locations)
  • Companies with non-permanent locations like a farmers market stall, a mobile hot dog vendor, or a one-time concert event at a local cafĂ©
  • Real estate companies that don’t have a central office and are trying to advertise individual apartments where no one can be reached in person or by phone
For operations like these, rather than appearing in Google and Google Maps search results associated with a physical location, other online tools might better fit your needs. One option is to advertise and generate awareness about your business activities through Google AdWords. This cost-effective program enables you to get the word out about your business, website or event via online ad campaigns, and does not require you to have a brick-and-mortar business address.

How to create a free listing if you’re eligible

If you’re a business with a physical office location that is open to customers and staffed both in person and via phone during regular business hours, we encourage you to create a free listing by signing in to Google Places here. For example, a real estate company with a corporate office can add the services it offers, the apartments it sells, and so on in the description field of the listing.


Be careful to create just one listing per physical location and to create listings only at places where your business is actually located. For example, if you run a DJ service and your office is at 41 Broadway in New York, you should only add that location in Google Places, even if you also DJ at 32 Main Street and at 14 Smith Street.

How to indicate service areas

For businesses that have one physical location but also offer their services elsewhere - such as the aforementioned businesses as well as locksmiths, translation services, delivery pizzerias, cleaning services and the like - you can use the Service Areas feature in your Google Places account. Marking a service area enables you to show your potential customers the range of places where you work.


Businesses that require travel to meet customers can define a radius around their main location or select specific areas they serve. If your main location is your home address and only used to receive business-related mail and phone calls, you can also hide that address and only show the service area in which you operate. This might be the case for babysitters, DJs, household services or IT repair services. Detailed instructions about how to set up this feature can be found in our help center.

Taxi and courier companies are particularly good examples for the use of the Service Areas feature. They offer a service that is location-independent and therefore shouldn't be associated with fixed locations on Google Maps. Even if you can find taxis often in front of train stations or airports, these are not locations owned by the business. The service area feature allows taxis to indicate the area in which they operate. If the taxis are coordinated over a dispatch centre, that can be listed as one physical location, otherwise the address should be hidden.

How to verify a listing

In order for your free business listing to appear on Google and Google Maps, you must verify your business via Google Places. This simple process includes providing a verification code by mail, automated call or text message. The phone number used for this process will be shown in your listing, so be sure that the number directs calls to your business.

We hope this information helps to explain our Google Places quality guidelines around setting up a free business listing. If you have any further questions about the types of businesses that are eligible for inclusion in Google Places, please visit our Google Places help forum.

Posted by Lina Paczensky, Local Search Quality

Monday, December 20, 2010

Display advertising helps one small business minimize India’s education gap

Dinesh Mehta and Rajat Verma had always been aware of inequities in India’s educational system. As the gap widened, Mehta and Verma wondered how they could use technology to provide higher quality education to more people. In 2006, they founded TopChalks.com to provide technology enabled educational and training solutions for a wider population.

TopChalks works with some of India’s best instructors to develop and produce educational content for digital platforms. ‘With TopChalks content, students have the option to study online, with CDs, through handheld devices or on digital broadcast platforms such as digital cable TV,’ says Director of Products and Engineering Vishal Chadhuary.

TopChalks ambassador Javgal Srinath (Indian Cricketer)

Since TopChalks seeks to democratize education largely via digital content, Chadhaury turned to the Google Display Network to market the educational experience. ‘Our products are very unique in nature,’ says Chadhuary. ‘Once we show potential customers what we are offering, they better understand our products. All our ads have a demo button which leads to an actual product demo.’

To ensure he’s seeing positive results from his display ads, Chadhuary pays close attention to the performance of the ads across the Display Network. ‘We keep a close eye on which sites to exclude or add as managed placements,’ says Chadhuary. ‘When we see a site with a stronger clickthrough rate, for example, we might add this site as a managed placement.’

Chadhuary also monitors the effectiveness of his display ads by testing multiple formats for each ad. He then tracks the clickthrough rate of each ad and either pauses the poorer performing ads or edits them to mimic the well performing ads.

TopChalks ambassador Javgal Srinath (Indian Cricketer)

Chadhuary’s diligence with the Google Display Network proves that small businesses can use display advertising to generate new business. ‘Now we get well over half of our leads from ads on the Google Display Network,’ says Chadhuary. ‘There are numerous education websites with great content and millions of users. Showing relevant ads there generates good quality leads for us.’

Mehta, Verma, and Chadhuary’s vision to impact India’s education is spreading with rapid success. With the help of display ads, they are able to clearly communicate and actually show customers what they can achieve with TopChalk’s help. ‘With India growing at a rate that it is, we believe that such growth cannot be sustained and will not be meaningful unless we think out of the box and educate the masses,’ says Chadhuary. ‘Every person in the company is driven by this vision.’

Posted by Julian Sonego, Marketing Manager, Google Display Network

Spot The Difference

For this week's blog posting, I want you to take a look at both of these pictures.




The first image, with the blue sky, was taken in February 2009. The second image was taken last weekend. (Don't panic - the snow has thawed at least once between  when these pictures were taken!)

I enjoy photography because it's possible to take two pictures of the same scene and get two completely different images. Despite being different pictures, both of them contain many of the same features:

  • snow
  • sheep in the field
  • a bare tree
  • fences denoting field boundaries

We can achieve the same effect with our writing too. When writing an article, it's often necessary to carry out some research. Invariably, we collect a lot of information and where many beginner-writers go wrong is that they think they have to include all of their research in their article. They don't. When you analyse your target publication, you should get to know the reader and then write your article using the research you've uncovered that will be of interest to them.

Targeting your writing this way, means that it is possible to get more than one article from each 'idea' depending upon the facts and information you include within your piece. Many of those pieces will contain similar pieces of information - in the same way that my two images above contain similar features, but because I've looked at those scenes from a different angle, they've produced two very different photos. Tackling your writing in the same way can produce two very different articles as well.

In my local neck of the woods, there is a 24-hour walking challenge called the Long Mynd Hike. (I haven't done it by the way - at 50-miles in 24-hours, it's a little too pressurised for my kind of walking.) But, I have written about it. For a local county magazine, I focused in on the history behind the event, and how it has grown into one of the biggest walking events in the Midlands. For a hiking magazine, I decided to concentrate on the walking challenge itself (the route includes climbing a total height of over 8,000 feet - that's the same as climbing Ben Nevis - the UK's highest mountain - twice).

Many of the features within the articles were the same. I included similar quotes from the organisers in both pieces, I mentioned how the hike came about in both features, and I also included the finishing times of the fastest completers in both articles. (The fastest people achieve all 50 miles, and 8,000 feet of climbing in less than 9 hours!) But despite these common features, they were very different articles.

So, next time your write an article, take a step back and look at all of the information in front of you. If you were to focus in on a different area, could you write another one, two, three or four articles from your research? In some ways, writing an article is no different to taking a picture. In both cases, we select the scene we're going to focus on and then create our masterpiece.

If you live in one of the countries which seems to shut down over the Christmas period (assuming the snow doesn't achieve this first) why not take some time out to review some of your previously written material and look for a different picture? It could help you get your writing off to great start in 2011!

Good luck.

Your Vote Counts - Update
Those of you who have followed my blog for some time now, may remember an appeal I put out on behalf of a student of mine, John Price, whose writing group, Rising Brook Writers had applied for grant funding to buy some computer equipment to enable them to create a regular newsletter for their housebound members. It was possible for the public to send a text message to support the grant application. (See http://simonwhaleytutor.blogspot.com/2008/10/your-vote-could-make-difference.html for more info). Well, I'm delighted to say that they were successful and the group has gone from strength to strength. So much so, that they recently produced their own novel 'Fair Deal'.

As John explains, "The story is built up week by week during the group’s workshops and through an on-line bulletin that enables those who can’t get to meetings to also contribute. The process has been variously described as like pegging out washing on a line or completing a jigsaw puzzle when the picture on the box keeps changing. As contributors email their pieces to the editor, the story gradually comes together in chunks of around 500 words with each piece being shuffled forwards and backwards to achieve the best fit."


"The latest tale of mayhem is Fare Deal, a farce that features, in the best Carry On tradition, an ill-fated wedding between an Old-Labour family and the local aristocracy, a vicar with a liking for fairy costumes, unscrupulous rival cab companies, and Vera and Gloria supplementing their pensions at Big Bertha’s ‘personal services’ establishment. Farce is a difficult genre even for the most experienced writers but the absurdity of this unfolding catastrophe is guaranteed to stretch your chuckle muscles."

It is what I call, great British farce, which is right up my street, and I'm enjoying every minute of it. It's clear to see that everyone in the group enjoyed writing it and is well worth a read.



Copies can be obtained from Rising Brook Writers (Box WB), Rising Brook Library, Merrey Road, Stafford ST17 9LX, in return for a donation of £6.00 per copy, which also covers postage and packing. Cheques should be made payable to ‘Rising Brook Writers’.

Enjoy.

And before I go, I'd like to congratulate Amshan KumaAmshan.

And on that note, it's time for me to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, wherever you are.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Now available with Google Apps: Google Chrome Sync

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Editor’s note: We recently launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.



Welcome to Google Chrome Sync
These days, we spend more and more time working in a web browser, in fact, the number of hours the average American spends online has grown by over 120% in the last 5 years.* Much of the information we consume is delivered through the web, and tools like Google Apps make it easier than ever for workers to collaborate and create using nothing but the web. This shift of data and applications to the cloud makes us less dependent on the specific hardware device that we use to get our work done.

You may use a desktop or laptop PC or Linux box at your desk, then a netbook or maybe even a pilot program Chrome OS notebook when you’re on the go, and then perhaps work from a personal computer when you need to send a quick email from home. Traditionally, your experience has been different on each of these devices depending on how the browser is configured. Now, recently added integration with Google Apps lets you unify your browsing experience across the different devices you use to get your work done, just like millions of Chrome users already do with Google Chrome Sync.

Google Chrome is a modern web browser that was built with today’s web in mind, with a focus on speed, security, and simplicity, and it’s used by more than 120 million people worldwide. One of the features of Chrome that makes it so simple and easy to use is the ability to synchronize your bookmarks, extensions, apps, theme and browser preferences with a Google account, so they are always available in the browser, no matter where you are signed in. Google Apps users now have access to this functionality, allowing you to make these components of your browsing experience available across any device you use to access the Chrome browser.



With Chrome Sync, many of the inefficiencies that result when you switch from one device to another are eliminated. When you bookmark a news article relevant to your business on your desktop PC as you're running out the door to catch a flight, that bookmark will be there when you connect to WiFi as you’re waiting at the airport. The Google Mail Checker extension you discovered last week was synced to your laptop so you notice the email that comes in at the last minute before you close your laptop for take-off. And when the passenger in the seat next to you spills coffee on your keyboard in the middle of the flight, you’re secure in the knowledge that Chrome on your new laptop will have all of the personalization you added on your old one.

Now that Google Chrome is ready for business, Chrome and Chrome Sync combined with Google Apps make a powerful combination for workers leveraging the power of the cloud to be productive no matter where they are and what device they are using.

Learn more and get started
Google Chrome Sync can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

You can find more information about using Chrome in your organization on our Chrome for Business webpage or take a look at a product overview.




Note: Google Chrome Sync may not be available in all areas.
* Forreseter Research, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Now available with Google Apps: Picasa Web Albums

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Editor’s note: We recently launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.



Welcome to Picasa Web Albums
Sharing and collaboration are central to Google Apps with over 30 million users in businesses, schools, and government already using products such as Gmail, Google Docs and Google Sites to work together more efficiently. As part of the effort to enhance the tools available to our Apps users, we’re pleased to bring the the photo sharing capabilities of Picasa Web Albums to your Google Apps account.

Picasa Web Albums makes it easy to organize, share and edit your photos, and collaborate with others. You can create web albums to group your images, add tags for organization and searching, edit your photos using Picnik to ensure they look their best, add places to your photos with geotagging via Google Maps, and easily share your photos with colleagues.

Whether it’s photos from a recent corporate offsite or holiday party, or visuals for insertion in a document or blog post, Picasa Web Albums allows you to store your images in the cloud and access them from any browser on any device. Sharing with colleagues is easy as well using your Google Apps account with email address autocomplete linked to your existing Contacts list.


Uploading, storing and sharing your photos is just the beginning. Picasa Web Albums is also integrated with other Google products such as Google Docs, Google Sites and Blogger, which allows users to seamlessly insert images stored or shared with you in Picasa Web Albums into documents, sites or blog posts in just a few clicks. It’s never been easier to compose a multimedia document using nothing but the web.


Stop sending photos to colleagues as attachments and load them into the cloud instead. Just like Google Apps, Picasa Web Albums runs in your web browser so your photos are at your fingertips anywhere you have an Internet connection.

Learn more and get started
Picasa Web Albums can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

You can learn more about Picasa Web Albums in our Help Center or you can stay up to date on product news as well as tips and tricks on our blog.




Note: Picasa Web Albums may not be available in all areas.

Introducing the Big Small Business Plan

A few weeks ago we asked about your wishes for your business in 2011, and yesterday we shared what you said. Near the top of your list: growing your small business. As one of you put it, "I want to replace the word 'small' with 'biggest.'" At Google, we’re all for dreaming big. So today we’re introducing something we’re calling the Big Small Business Plan. If you haven’t yet tried AdWords, Google’s advertising program, just sign up by December 31 and spend $100 by February 15, 2011. When you do, we’ll match your $100 investment with a $100 investment of our own.

Need a little inspiration before getting started? Meet Shoes of Prey and Biztree, two small businesses that grew with the help of AdWords.

If you already use AdWords, the Big Small Business Plan works for you, too. Just install free AdWords Conversion Tracking and spend $100 by February 15, and we’ll give you the $100 credit. AdWords Conversion Tracking shows you which of your keywords and ads lead to sales (or whatever action you want customers to take on your site). This free tool will help you grow by making the most of your advertising investment. Get started by registering for this offer no later than December 31.

The Google Small Business team wishes you truly big success in 2011!

Posted by Gordon Zhu, Inside AdWords Crew

Sending your customers holiday cheer with Google Maps

I love walking around my neighborhood during the holiday season and seeing all of the winter and holiday decorations adorning the storefronts. The neighborhood bakery is looking even more festive than usual, and the local boutique’s storefront is full of gift boxes and holiday lights.

The holiday season is a great time for local businesses to connect with customers as they do their shopping or stop by for a family meal. So to help you tell your customers how much you appreciate their business, or to let them know about any holiday events or in-store activities, consider sending them online holiday cards featuring Google Maps.


In addition to selecting from ten holiday card covers, you can add a specific place from Google Maps on the inside of the card - whether it’s your business listing, a Street View image of your store location, or directions from downtown. Just add a personal message and email address, and we’ll send the card on your behalf.

You can also spread the holiday spirit by sending these cards to friends and family, suggesting a place to go ice skating, or just to share holiday greetings.


To start sending these cards, visit googlemapsholidays.appspot.com. Happy holidays!

Posted by Katie Mandel, Product Marketing Manager, Google Maps

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Now available with Google Apps: Google News

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Editor’s note: We recently launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.



Welcome to Google News
Staying up to date on all the day’s news is a challenge – even when that news might be absolutely critical to your business. Missing a story could mean missing an opportunity. That’s why we’re pleased to make Google News available with your Google Apps account.

Google News is a computer-generated news site that aggregates headlines from news sources worldwide, groups similar stories together, and displays them according to your personalized interests. You can customize Google News with topics you are interested in, and even indicate which publications you’d like to prioritize in your personalized news stream.


Google News will surface stories relevant to the interests you indicate and will aggregate articles from multiple news sources covering that story. For example, if a story about changes in the funding environment for small businesses shows up in your news stream, you’ll be able to click through to coverage from a variety of news outlets in order to get a spectrum of views on the issue.

Now that Google News is integrated with Google Apps, sharing the articles that you discover with coworkers is easier than ever. You can email a link directly from the News interface with address autocomplete linked to your existing Contacts list.


And Google News even makes it easy to stay current on the latest developments in the news when you’re away from your desk. When you connect to Google News on your smartphone with your Google Apps account, you will find an experience optimized for viewing on your mobile device and get the same personalized stream of news you see in the full browser version.


Now you can make the most of those spare minutes between meetings or the transit time on your morning commute by reading the latest news, complied and organized just for you.

Learn more and get started
Google News can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

For answers to specific questions you can visit our Help Center or you can follow the latest updates on our product blog.




Note: Google News may not be available in all areas.

We Asked. You Told Us Your Wishes for 2011

Two weeks ago, the Small Business Marketing team asked about your aspirations for the coming year. You told us the biggest wish for your business, and the wish for expanding your business’ online presence. Today, we’d like to share what we heard.

We combined your responses from our blog, Facebook and Twitter and organized them into three main themes and then sub-themes. Of course, not all wishes fell neatly into these themes, so we did create a Miscellaneous category.

Before the drum roll, thanks to everyone that took time to share and participate. Some wishes were big and audacious and others more practical, but all with an underlying tone of passion for what you do and a focus on delighting your customers. On with the results…

Theme 1: Move my business online
Not surprisingly, you’re passionate about the business products you’re using and made very specific feature requests. Rest assured if they were Google product related, we’ve shared your wishes with our product teams. Additionally, you said you want more online resources to help your business grow. Your comments acknowledged that referrals are now happening online through social media channels and, as such, you want to understand how to use these online tools. You also want more out of your websites. Ultimately, you said you want to do more online to run your business more efficiently and spend more time concentrating on your customers.

Click for larger image.

Theme 2: Grow my business
We heard that you want to continue to grow your business with increased profits, more customers, or more people. Lots of wishes for more marketing tools to increase your business’ visibility – the range included the entire marketing mix. You want simple tools made specifically for you. There were wishes for funds to buy equipment, spend more on advertising, build e-commerce into your offering, and lease real estate – to name a few.

Click for larger image.

Theme 3: Love my business
Many resounding wishes to continue fueling your passion because you love what you do. You’d love to learn more – from social media, AdWords and Places to creating marketing plans. You prefer support face-to-face with people and training at a relatively low cost. Many of you want more opportunities to network and support your fellow business owners. Whether it’s help getting the most out of applications and tools, or navigating a healthcare plan, you’d like some expertise to assist.

Click for larger image.

We thank you again for telling us your wishes for the coming year. Stay tuned as we will use these wishes to build upon our plans to help small businesses succeed in 2011.

Posted by Leslie Hernandez, Product Marketing Manager, Google Small Business Team

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Now available with Google Apps: DoubleClick for Publishers

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Editor’s note: We recently launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.



Welcome to DoubleClick for Publishers
For millions of online publishers—from the smallest blogger to the largest entertainment, news, e-commerce and information sites—online advertising revenue is vital. When publishers can maximize their returns, everyone benefits from more vibrant online content and websites. A publisher's ability to manage this process can have a significant impact on how much money they make from their online content, which is why we’re happy to bring our Google Apps customers our next generation ad serving platform to solve these problems: DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP) from Google.

Imagine you're a major online publisher with a popular global surfing website and an ad sales team. Every second of every day, you have difficult decisions about what ads to show and how to measure their relative performance. For example:
  • In the same ad space, a surfboard wax advertiser wants to run a static image ad for your Australian readers, while an airline offering flights to Hawaii wants to run an expandable interactive ad for your American readers.

  • A fast-food restaurant wants to run its burger ads before noon and its pizza ads in the afternoon.

  • You've sold 10 different surfboard makers a million ad slots at slightly different prices; now you have to allocate them across your various webpages to fulfill all these orders over the next two weeks.

  • One of your surfing tournament reviews is linked to by a popular news site and you have a surge in traffic. Your sales team couldn't predict this, so you’re left without any ads for thousands of readers. You want to fill this ad space by selling it via an ad network that has ads available.

These examples illustrate how complicated it can be to optimize ad serving on your website, and they only scratch the surface.

DFP comes in two flavors, tailored for different publishers' needs: DoubleClick for Publishers, for the largest online publishers, and DFP Small Business, a simple, free version designed for growing online publishers. As a Google Apps user, you now have access to both versions of DFP with your existing Apps account.


With advanced features such as streamlined ad trafficking, inventory management and forecasting, revenue optimization, granular reporting, and an open API, DFP offers a complete toolkit to easily sell ads on your site directly to advertisers while also working dynamically to help you get the most money from inventory you sell through partners like AdSense and ad networks.

Just like Google Apps, DFP runs in Google’s cloud so you get the same reliability, flexibility, and easy access without any software to install or hardware for IT to maintain. Also, DFP is fully supported by Google so you don't have to worry about manual system updates or downtime.

Learn more and get started
DoubleClick for Publishers can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

To learn more about how DFP can help you manage and grow all of your online ad inventory, please visit our website or follow along with the latest news and release updates at the DoubleClick for Publishers blog.

Share your story
Have you already started using Google Custom Search at your organization, or plan to now that it’s available? Please share your story and your organization could be featured in the next Gone Google ad campaign!




Note: DoubleClick for Publishers may not be available in all areas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Now available with Google Apps: Google AdSense

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Editor’s note: We recently launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.



Welcome to Google AdSense
Do you have traffic to a web property that you would like to monetize? Whether you’ve invested time and energy in developing web content that brings in tons of traffic or would just like another income stream to support your business’s online presence, there is a solution for you that now works with your Google Apps account: Google AdSense.

Google AdSense enables millions of website owners of all sizes to display relevant ads alongside their online content. AdSense taps into Google’s vast network of local and international advertisers so there is great variety in ads, and Google technology selects ads specifically targeted for your website and visitors. By allowing advertisers to compete to display ads you can easily monetize traffic to your website and earn revenue.

Setting up an AdSense account is easy and free. As soon as you set up your account you can begin to place ads on your website. AdSense provides actionable data to help maximize your revenue, rich controls to protect your brand, and other helpful resources to improve your efficiency in managing and optimizing your revenue streams.



AdSense is simple to set up, you just have to add a few lines of code to the HTML of your site and you’re ready to start displaying ads. With AdSense, you stay in control of the user experience on your site by customizing the size, location, and types of ads that appear, and there is no commitment so you can turn the ads off at any time.

Before this improvement enabled access to additional applications, Google Apps users had to create a separate account to sign in to AdSense. Now, Apps users can access their cloud-based productivity applications, along with AdSense, using the same account. As an Apps user, you will now be able to seamlessly control your AdSense ads, as well as view a wide range of descriptive statistics and graphs about your ad performance using your existing Google Apps account.



Just like Google Apps, AdSense runs in Google’s cloud so you get easy access from anywhere without any software to install or hardware for IT to maintain.

Learn more and get started
Google AdSense can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

You can learn more about Google AdSense in the Help Center or stay up-to-date on the latest launches on the Inside AdSense Blog.

Share your story
Have you already started using Google AdSense at your organization, or plan to now that it’s available? Please share your story and your organization could be featured in the next Gone Google ad campaign!




Note: Google AdSense may not be available in all areas.
Update: For those of you who already have a Google AdSense account, we're in the process of finalizing the infrastructure that will allow you to seamlessly transition your existing AdSense account and data over to your Google Apps account.

And The Winner Is ....

Well, I have to say, I was a little taken aback when I discovered that I had 57 entries to judge in my mini-competition to win a copy of Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Writing Romance. What a romantic lot you are! Or perhaps that should be, what a lot of hopeful, romantic writers you are!

I loved the diversity of stories; they weren't just about romantic love between humans, but also the unconditional love between a human and a pet, unrequited love of a first teenage crush, and even the calorie-hogging love of chocolate!

But, let's get on with the show. In true Oscar-winning style, first, I shall announce the nominations - those who made it to my final four. They are:

  • Helen Lowry
  • Carina Barnett
  • Rob Innis
  • Maria Perry Mohan
Now I've made those four people nervous, and the television camera has focused on their anticipatory faces (probably as they practise their smiling-whilst-accept-defeat-graciously faces) let's move to the nitty-gritty.

My thumb slips under the envelope flap (it's a gold one, of course - the envelope, not my thumb) and together with my index finger, pulls out the card with the winning name.

And the winner is....
(Scroll down ...)























(keep scrolling...)































(and a little more scrolling ....)




















CARINA BARNETT !

(Everyone in the auditorium are on their feet.)

Congratulations Carina, your copy of Kate Walker's book is in the post to you. And here is her winning entry.



He is next in line at my till. I feel his eyes on me and fumble as I pack Mrs Johnson's shopping. I am aware only of him. Waiting. As I reach to scan his Chianti, our fingers touch, his tanned and slender. I picture them entwined in my own and colour floods into my face. When I look up, his eyes smile into mine. The lashes are thick and dark and I have a sudden, vivid vision of them white with age. I somehow know that when they are, I will still be gazing into them.

So, once again, congratulations to Carina, and thank you to everyone who took the time to enter. I'm tempted to run another competition in the future!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Now available with Google Apps: Google Custom Search

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Editor’s note: We recently launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.



Welcome to Google Custom Search
These days, content is being created faster than ever. In fact, the data equivalent of 250,000 years of DVD-quality video is created every two days, which is more than the entire amount of digital information that was created from the birth of the world up to 2003. Users are faced with the challenge of wading through all of this data to find the information they are looking for, and businesses are faced with the challenge of making this easy to do for their customers and employees. Most businesses consolidate their information on a public-facing website, internal micro-sites, product blogs and customer portals to help visitors surface relevant content. But even with this type of organization and structure, information can still be difficult to locate. That’s why we are pleased to introduce Google Apps customers to a product that will make finding easy for their employees and for their customers: Google Custom Search.

Google Custom Search brings the power, speed and relevance of Google.com to any website through a hosted search bar.


Custom Search allows visitors to your site to scour your web pages in fractions of a second with the same speed and familiarity that they are used to when performing a search on Google.com. The technology behind Google Custom Search powers the built-in search capabilities of Google Sites and Blogger, so if you organize your web content using these tools then you’re already using it. For other websites you create, set-up takes only a few minutes and adding the search box is as easy as pasting a few lines of pre-generated code to the HTML of the page where you want the search box to appear. Just like Google Apps, with Google Custom Search there’s no hardware or software to maintain or upgrade - it gets better as Google gets better.

Google Custom Search will automatically display advertisements and allows you to monetize them using AdSense for search. If you prefer that ads not be displayed you can upgrade to Google Site Search.

Learn more and get started
Google Custom Search can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

For more detailed information, you can take a look at our Help Center or follow the latest news and updates on the Google Custom Search blog.

Share your story
Have you already started using Google Custom Search at your organization, or plan to now that it’s available? Please share your story and your organization could be featured in the next Gone Google ad campaign!




Note: Google Custom Search may not be available in all areas.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Trailblazing in Portland

[Cross-posted from the Hotpot Community Blog]

When we announced the availability of Hotpot last month, we knew from the beginning we were going to take a different approach to marketing the product and engaging with our users, both businesses and consumers.

To that end, we’re excited today to start testing this new approach by launching our first local marketing campaign in Portland, Oregon. Portland is a tech savvy, forward-thinking city with a history of innovation and some of the best coffee houses, microbreweries and parks in the country. Whether you know it as The City of Roses, Stumptown, P-Town, Rip City or just PDX, Portland’s thriving local business community and strong heritage of being a trailblazer made it a great choice for us to try something new.

So starting today and over the course of the next few months, we’ll be out and about in Portland. Here’s a taste of what’s in store:

Business Kits and Window Decals


Every day millions of people search on Google.com to find local businesses, and we want to make it seamless for standout businesses to get discovered online. To achieve this, we’ll be working directly with some of Portland’s top businesses to educate them about Google Places for business and all its benefits. In addition, to help these businesses spread the word, we’re providing owners with special Google Places Business Kits. These kits are a multi-flavored sampler of marketing materials that can help businesses get even more exposure, get them rated and reviewed online, and get more customers through their door. We’re already distributing these to some of Portland’s top businesses, but any business in Portland who has claimed their Place page can request a box.


A central part of the kit is the bright red “Recommended on Google” window sticker. This is not your ordinary sticker. Unlike others, this is an interactive sticker that has Near Field Communications (NFC) technology built right in, allowing people with cutting edge phones like the Nexus S to simply touch their phones to the sticker to find out more information about the business. Suddenly stickers are cool again!

Community Events


Sure, Hotpot’s about sharing recommendations with friends online. But we thought it’d be fun to take things offline. To kick things off, we’re partnering with Portland’s beloved Voodoo Doughnut. Because we at Google are such big fans of their tasty treats, we wanted to spread the love — so if you like doughnuts and coffee, be sure to stop by both locations starting this Saturday at 10am for a special treat.

Hotpot Jackpot


We’re also launching our second Hotpot Jackpot competition to encourage Portlanders to start rating the places they know and share them with friends and family. Everyone over the age of 18 who lives within a 50-mile radius of Portland can participate, and the top five raters at the end of the competition will win dinner for 10 at any restaurant in Portland, courtesy of Google. To kick things off, all of the fans at tonight’s Trail Blazers vs. Magic game will receive t-shirts announcing the competition and supporting the Blazers.

This is just the beginning and we’ll be doing a lot more in the upcoming months. For the latest and greatest of what we’re up to in Portland (and elsewhere), keep an eye out by staying up to date via the Hotpot Blog, and by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook.

Posted by Bernardo Hernandez, Director of Emerging Marketing

Now available with Google Apps: Google Website Optimizer

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Editor’s note: We recently launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.



Welcome to Google Website Optimizer
Making changes to your website can be a challenge. Websites are often built with little data available in the design phase but once the site launches, tracking tools such as Google Analytics can provide tons of information about visitor behavior, and can highlight areas that aren’t performing as expected. But how will you know what kind of revisions will better achieve your goals? How can you be confident that changes won’t actually result in worse performance? How can you reconcile the different ideas that stakeholders throughout your company contribute about what the site should look like? Now, Google Apps users can address these questions using Google Website Optimizer for free with their Google Apps accounts.

Google Website Optimizer is a tool that lets you eliminate guesswork from website design by testing variations of your webpages. When you identify a page that might need a change, you can create alternate versions of that page and use Google Website Optimizer to send a fraction of the users visiting your website to each alternate version. Website Optimizer then runs an analysis to tell you how visitors to each version of the webpage behave. With this data, you can make much more informed decisions about website updates.



The key advantages of running website tests using Google Website Optimizer are:
  • Base website design decisions on data, not intuition. You probably hear a different opinion about what’s best for your website from each person you ask. Controlled tests provide objective data that can be used to support or disprove different hypotheses.

  • Try multiple ideas at the same time, instead of just one. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, Google Website Optimizer lets you test many ideas at once and pick the winner as it emerges.

  • Experiment, with a safety net. If the new page you are testing performs well, you can keep that page and maintain the conversion gains. If the new page doesn’t perform well, you can easily stop the test. Google Website Optimizer even monitors page performance and can be set up to automatically disable website variations that begin to perform worse than your original page.

Take, for example, our landing page for a Google Maps Driving Directions widget. The team wanted more visitors to add the widget, but wasn’t sure what design elements would work best. Using Google Website Optimizer, the team ran an experiment to compare the original page to three alternate designs. You can see the four versions below (including the original in the top left):


The result? The Google Maps team found that the lower right-hand design outperformed the original with a 75% conversion rate increase, meaning more users added the widget. Google Website Optimizer made it easy to select the best version of the webpage.

Learn more and get started
Google Website Optimizer can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

You can learn more about using Website Optimizer from the team’s Help Center, and more technical users should also read the Techie Guide to Website Optimizer (PDF). You can also follow the latest news about Google Website Optimizer on our team blog.

Share your story
Have you already started using Google Website Optimizer at your organization, or plan to now that it’s available? Please share your story and your organization could be featured in the next Gone Google ad campaign!




Note: Google Website Optimizer may not be available in all areas.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Now available with Google Apps: Google Checkout

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]



Editor’s note: We recently launched an improvement that makes over 60 additional Google services available to Google Apps users. This series showcases what’s new and how your organization can benefit.



Welcome to Google Checkout
With global online sales measured in hundreds of billions of dollars annually*, how does your company process its online orders? Do you worry about order path friction causing customers to drop out before completing their purchase? How do you help your customers feel secure and protected from fraud when they purchase online? Whether you don’t yet have a checkout solution or you’re looking to give your customers multiple checkout options, you now have an additional tool at your disposal that is integrated with Google Apps: Google Checkout.

Google Checkout is a fast and highly secure online checkout process that allows your customers to buy from you quickly and easily with a single login.


Not only does Google Checkout provide a flexible shopping cart and payment infrastructure that enables customers to buy from you online, but the use of Google Checkout can also bring other benefits to you as a seller. For example, Google Checkout’s fast, convenient checkout process reduces transaction friction by using customers’ existing Google accounts and has increased conversion rates by as much as 40% for some sellers. Also, our data shows that Google Checkout customers click on search advertisements 10% more often if those ads feature the Google Checkout badge, bringing more traffic to those sellers’ sites.

Most importantly, Google Checkout gives customers peace of mind when they shop online because our fraud policy offers protection against unauthorized purchase and users can use their existing Google account instead of entering their data again. Sellers also benefit directly from fraud protection with our Payment Guarantee Policy.

Best of all, it's quick and easy to add Google Checkout functionality to your website using various integration options, including Buy Now buttons, custom shopping carts, and the Google Checkout Store Gadget, which allows you to quickly set up a storefront for buyers in over 140 countries.



Google Checkout runs in Google’s cloud, so there is no hardware to maintain or software to update. And Google Checkout can be integrated with your Google Apps account, allowing you to quickly and easily insert a Checkout store gadget into a site you create with Google Sites or Blogger.

Learn more and get started
Google Checkout can be enabled by your domain administrator from the Google Apps Control Panel at https://www.google.com/a/[your_domain.com] (replace [your_domain.com] with your actual domain name). If your organization isn’t using Google Apps yet, you can learn more and sign up today at http://www.google.com/apps/more.

For more information about Google Checkout, take our product tour. You can visit our Help Center for answers to specific questions or check out our blog for the latest updates.

Share your story
Have you already started using Google Checkout at your organization, or plan to now that it’s available? Please share your story and your organization could be featured in the next Gone Google ad campaign!




Note: Google Checkout may not be available in all areas.
* Source eMarketer, 2009.

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