Friday, May 31, 2013

AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Upgrade Center

AdWords specialists Nina Cruz, Leslie O’Bray and Kaylyn Frazier hosted a Hangout on Air yesterday about the new Upgrade Center. Nina and Leslie demonstrate how to use the upgrade center to quickly and easily upgrade and/or merge your legacy campaigns. Starting on July 22, 2013, we will begin automatically upgrading all campaigns to enhanced.

Our specialists navigate through their AdWords accounts so you can see exactly what the interface looks like when making bulk upgrades and merges. They also demonstrate how to review changes before submitting the final upgrade.

You can view the full Hangout on the Google Business YouTube channel.

Stay tuned for our upcoming Google Analytics series, which will be held every other Thursday at 11 AM PST!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hangout on Air: Roundtable with AdWords Community Top Contributors

Courtney Pannell and Alys Donnelly from the AdWords team hosted a Hangout on Air yesterday with Tommy Sands and Moshe Avichai — two Top Contributors from the AdWords Community.

During the roundtable discussion, Tommy and Moshe gave their advice on best practices for creating effective ads, using tools in the AdWords interface, measuring ad performance, and much more.

Watch the full 35-minute Hangout on Air below, or, visit the Google Business YouTube channel.

To learn more about how to get started with AdWords, visit our Help Center, check out the AdWords Community, or call us at 866-2-GOOGLE if you already have an AdWords account.

And remember to stay tuned for upcoming Hangouts on Air!

Friday, May 24, 2013

DC Thomson: Me, The Society of Authors, and a DC Thomson Editor.

Firstly, I normally schedule my posts to appear on a Monday morning, but the subject of this post is topical, and rather than delay this until Monday, I felt it better to post it earlier than planned.

Secondly, because of the subject matter of this post, it is much (add about another 20 much-es) longer than my usual posts, so I warn you now … go and get a cup of tea, or coffee, make yourself comfortable, and then take your time to read through this.

Thirdly, I am a writer, not a solicitor, so none of what appears here constitutes legal advice. Got that?

Right. Ready? Here goes … (you did go and get that cup of tea, or coffee, didn’t you?)

There has been a lot of chatter on the Internet, and on Facebook, and other social networking sites, about the new DC Thomson contract. As mentioned in last week’s post, ( whenever a writer is faced with a contract, which they don’t understand, always get professional advice. Twenty-four hours after my post went live, the postman delivered my new DC Thomson contract! So, as a member of the Society of Authors I asked them to clarify a few points for me. (I asked them nicely, because this is not a book contract, which is what the Society is used to looking at but, bless them, they obliged.) 

I received their reply on Wednesday, and they raised a few points. My DC Thomson contract was sent to me by the editor Angela Gilchrist at The People’s Friend (I have had both fiction, and non-fiction published by The People’s Friend). Angela’s letter finished by stating that if I had any queries, I was to get in touch. I therefore put those queries the Society of Authors raised to Angela, and she responded less than 24 hours later.

First Rights
Clause 1 of the contract says that DC Thomson want: The exclusive right to first publication in any Media (as defined below), in any language, anywhere in the world in any of the Company’s Products at the Company’s discretion.

At first, I, like many other writers, wondered if DC Thomson were asking for First World Rights (meaning they wanted the right to be the first to publish the content in every country in the world). After re-reading the clause several times (each time slower than the time before, and enunciating every syllable, because, for some reason, doing so seems to improve comprehension), I came to the conclusion that what they are asking for is the right to be the first, anywhere in the world, to publish the material. In other words, once DC Thomson have published the text (thus being the first in the world to publish it), a writer is then free to offer the same text to other publications in other countries. I asked the Society of Authors to clarify this.

The Society of Authors said: After first publication, yes you have the right to reuse the material elsewhere as you please (subject to Clause 8).

(Clause 8 of the contract asks for the right of first refusal to publish a collection of works in book form.)

This means that a writer who has sold DC Thomson a short story, or article, which DC Thomson has subsequently published, is entitled to offer that article or short story to other publications around the world.

To ensure I understood this correctly, I asked Angela Gilchrist the following: (please also note that Angela ran my queries past the DC Thomson legal team, before responding to me)

I said: “The Society of Authors assumed (but have suggested I double-check with you to clarify) that this clause means DC Thomson want to be the first in the world to publish the writer’s work (in any format). Once the work has been published by DC Thomson (in any format), the writer is then free to offer the work elsewhere in the world. 

For example, if The People’s Friend accepts a short story I’ve written, I can’t sell that same short story to any other magazine in any other country, until DC Thomson have published it. Once it has been published, I’m free to offer it elsewhere. Is this correct?”

Angela Gilchrist replied: “Yes, this is correct.”

The Timescale To Publication
I was worried by one element of this … the fact that the clause gave no guarantee that DC Thomson would publish within a set period of time. If a writer can’t sell to other markets until DC Thomson has published the text, then that could cause problems. DC Thomson could simply stockpile material.

It was something I’d asked the Society of Authors, who confirmed the contract stipulates no timescale to publish.

The reason I was worried about this is because I have experience of this with DC Thomson. The People’s Friend accepted a travel feature from me in May 2005, which they did not publish until August 2011 - more than six years later. Clearly, as someone who sells material all over the world, I can’t put a lot of material ‘on hold’ for up to six years.

When I asked Angela Gilchrist about this, she responded as follows:

“We can’t promise to publish within a particular time frame. However, what I can say is that it is highly unlikely that the scenario you outline above would ever occur now. In the four years that I’ve been editor, I’ve drastically cut the amount of editorial stock held by the magazine and promoted much tighter turn-arounds between purchase and publication. With travel features, we are almost always able to tell the author at the time of purchase which issue the article is scheduled to appear in. We’re always happy to answer questions from contributors, so if ever you need to know a publication date and we haven’t supplied you with one, just get in touch and we’ll do our best to help.”

I have only had a ‘six-year’ wait once - other material has been used much more quickly, and so I believe Angela’s comments are genuine. (Indeed, my experience of purchase-to-publication with The Weekly News has been a matter of weeks in practically all cases.)

Practical Implications*
(*This is a bonus section that I decided to add after sleeping on my thoughts overnight.)

This ‘first in the world to publish’ clause does have practical implications on the way a writer might operate. I know there are many writers who (particularly with short stories) submit their work to the highest payer first, and then work their way down the list. And most people are aware that DC Thomson are towards the bottom end of that list.

You could argue that if everyone on that list above DC Thomson has rejected your story, then by the time you approach DC Thomson, their requirement to be the first to publish, isn’t such a big issue. However, it is, because if you’ve also been sending off stories to other countries at the same time, and subsequently sold some rights to your story in another country - which has then been published, then you’re no longer able to submit your story to DC Thomson, because it will break their ‘we want to be the first in the world to publish this’ clause. In this scenario, DC Thomson’s own contract prevents you from offering them your work in the first place.

In some ways, I think this clause has bigger consequences for writers who are not based in the UK. Those writers need to think about this carefully, because if they sign up to the contract and decide to submit a particular piece of work to DC Thomson, this contract forces them to submit that piece to DC Thomson first, before they even submit to magazines in their own countries. Only when DC Thomson has accepted and published their work (or rejected it), can they then begin to offer the work in their home country and other countries around the world. This may be a problem for some writers. For others, it may not.

This also has implications for UK-based writers too. There have been several times when I’ve sent my stories across the world and sold foreign rights before I’ve successfully sold UK rights. If I signed this contract and subsequently sold foreign rights to a story first, then I wouldn’t be able to submit that same story to DC Thomson. 

Whatever you decide to do, what this contract does mean is that it’s becoming increasingly more important that writers maintain accurate, and detailed, records of the rights they’ve sold in their work, and where they’ve sent work to. I have written on this subject, in the past, and you can read the article on the sort of information to record, on the Ezee Writer website:

(Okay, if you’ve got this far, you’re doing well. You might want to get up and stretch your legs at this point, before continuing!)

Selling Work Abroad
The Society of Authors picked up in the contract that Clause 2 might prevent writers from offering First Rights in other countries. First, let’s look at Clause 2:

Clause 2 states: Following the Company’s first use as described in point 1 above, the non-exclusive, transferable right to reuse, republish and retransmit your Contribution in any Media, in any language, anywhere in the world, in any of the DCT Group’s Products and at the DCT Group’s discretion and without further payment to you.

The scenario the Society of Authors envisaged was this: Imagine you sold a short story to DC Thomson, and one of their UK publications published it. According to this contract you are now free to offer your material elsewhere, such as to an Australian publication, for example. Normal procedure would be for the writer to offer the Australian publication First Australian Serial Rights - the right to be the first Australian publication to publish your story. However, if DC Thomson also happened to own an Australian publication, Clause 2 would enable them to ‘reuse’ your short story at no extra payment in the Australian publication. If this were to happen, then a writer could no longer offer First Australian Serial Rights … if the DC Thomson Australian publication had been first to publish the text in Australia. (There are ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ in that sentence - you could still sell First Australian Serial Rights, if DC Thomson didn’t re-use your work in their Australian publication.)

(Don’t explode just yet - bear with me on this one.)

I put this to Angela Gilchrist and asked if my interpretation was correct. (Remember, she ran my queries by the DC Thomson legal team.) Angela said, “This interpretation is correct.

Right, now just because I have interpreted this correctly, that doesn’t mean that the world is going to end! 

Having looked at the DC Thomson website, at the moment I can only find references to UK-based publications. That doesn’t mean to say that DC Thomson don’t own any foreign publications, but, so far, I haven’t found any. They may well own foreign publications. [There is a page on Wikipedia listing DC Thomson & Co publications, but I leave it up to you as to whether you rely on a Wikipedia webpage as being an authoritative, definitive list ;-) ] 

But the point I want to make is this: If DC Thomson doesn’t own an Australian publication, then Clause 2’s right to reuse your material in any publication, anywhere in the world, won’t take away your First Australian Serial Rights, as I’ve exampled (is that a word?) above. If they don’t own an Australian publication, they can’t be the first to publish your work in Australia, so you can still sell First Australian Serial Rights (after DC Thomson have first published the piece).

That’s how I interpret it. If you think differently, that’s fine. What I would suggest is that if you have any particular First Serial Rights you are keen to retain, it would be worth checking that DC Thomson doesn’t own any publications in that particular country.

Of course, this clause could become problematical to writers if DC Thomson were to go on a spending spree at some point in the future and buy up a whole load of foreign publications. But if anyone knows what’s going to happen in the future, can they please get in touch with me and give me next week’s winning lottery numbers. If DC Thomson does start acquiring foreign publications, that’s when a writer would be advised to think again, and assess their own personal situation, before submitting any further material.

Whilst Angela Gilchrist confirmed my interpretation of Clause 2 was correct, she also had this to say: “But again, feel free to contact us if ever you have a specific query.”

So, if First South African Serial Rights or any other first rights are important to you, then simply drop the editor an email and ask. Better to get the information from the company, than to guess yourself and get it wrong. 

The editors at DC Thomson have a reputation for being some of the most helpful there are in the industry - and Angela Gilchrist took time to answer my (long) email, despite the fact that she’s responsible for putting together a weekly publication. I’ve said before on this blog that, particularly when a magazine goes to print, editors are immensely busy. Well, when you’re putting together a weekly publication, that means you’re going to print on a weekly basis, which means you’re very busy on a weekly basis. Despite this, Angela still took time to deal with my query.

So, if you have a query, ask the editor and be patient for the reply.

In my email to Angela, I mentioned that Clause 2 discusses the fact that material could be reused without further payment, so did this mean that more will be paid in the future for the first use of our work. (Well, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!)

Angela replied with: “Nice try!” She did mention though, that payments may be reviewed later on in the year. Of course, that doesn’t mean that payments will go up, but at least they are planning to review it. (I’m sure cynics have already made up their mind what the results of any payment review will be, but if they have, that’s their choice.)

I know there are many writers who were concerned about the new contract and it’s implications for pocket novels and longer serial collections, etc. I’m sorry, but this is not a market I’m involved in, so I have not pursued this, at this time. There are other writers who are investigating the implications of these clauses, so you may be able to find out more information elsewhere. But, if it isn’t, then contact DC Thomson and ask them yourselves! DC Thomson are introducing this new contract, so they are expecting writers to have queries. They’re anticipating writers getting in contact with them. So, don’t disappoint them!

(It’s okay, I’m drawing to a close now)

So, to sum up this blog posting (if that’s possible):

- the new contract states that DC Thomson has to be the first to publish the accepted work (in any media). After that the writer is free to submit it elsewhere. Bear in mind, though, that this has implications for how and when you can submit the same work to others. You may have to change the way your operate, to accommodate this, if you choose to sign the contract.
- if you become aware that DC Thomson owns a foreign publication, then it might be prudent to check whether you’re still free to offer first serial rights to a publication in that same foreign country. (At present I don’t think this is an issue, but as I said, I cannot verify this. At the end of the day, this is the individual writer’s responsibility.)
- if you have any queries, then ask the editor. (Rumour has it they are human, and when they do a Number Two in the Loo they have to wipe their own bottoms, just like the rest of us. Sorry for lowering the tone here, but editors are not some nine-headed beast that will blacklist you forever, simply because you asked a question! Remember to keep this in perspective!) 

I do appreciate that when you have one contract that applies to everything, it means writers will be affected differently. For non-fiction pieces there is more flexibility, because it’s much easier to rewrite an article and turn it into a completely different piece (and the Society of Authors confirmed that the contract does not prevent writers from writing about the same subject matter in other publications). And, non-fiction is not compiled into anthologies or other collections in the same way that fiction is (although this contract does enable DC Thomson to do something similar with articles too!).

Writers are individuals, which means that this contract will affect different writers in different ways. Some writers won’t have a problem with this contract, others will. Just because others don’t have a problem with it, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have a problem with it. Likewise, just because others do have a problem with it, doesn’t mean you should too. 

Whether you sign any contract is purely your decision and yours alone. And, ultimately, even then, signing the contract only has implications for you if you submit any material to DC Thomson in the future. This contract does not apply to previously accepted material.

Now that I’ve had professional feedback on the contract, and the editor has clarified some points for me, I now have a much better understanding of what this contract is asking, and, more importantly, how it fits into my writing. I haven’t made my decision yet, but I feel in a better place to make a decision now. I hope this blog post has clarified a few things for other writers too. I am sorry if I have complicated things further for you! I appreciate it won’t have answered every writer’s question … but, to be perfectly blunt, it is not my responsibility (nor that of any other blogger, or writer) to answer every writers’ question on this contract! 

If you receive the contract through the post (and they are being sent out in batches), and you don’t understand its implications for your writing, then you need to take steps to clarify what you don’t understand by asking the right people. Talk to the editors. Talk to professional organisations. That’s what I’ve been doing over the past week.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Society of Authors for the time they spent going through this contract on my behalf, and I also want to thank Angela Gilchrist for her time in responding to my queries so quickly (despite going to press! So, if The People’s Friend is a little late hitting the shelves next week, it’s probably my fault everyone!). I’d also like to thank the other DC Thomson editors for taking the time and trouble of commenting on other blogs, as they try to clarify things for us.

Congratulations for reaching the end of this post. You probably deserve another cup of tea, or coffee, now!

Good luck! 

PS - to anyone who hasn’t been to my blog before, Good luck is how I end every blog post - the reference to luck is in no way meant to imply that luck is needed with the dealing of this contract :-)

PPS - Now there’s 3,304 words I wasn’t expecting to write today!

PPPS - the next blog post is scheduled for Monday 3rd June. After writing that lot, I need a break :-)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Explore the Future of Digital Marketing with Google and Industry Executives on June 4th

On Tuesday, June 4th we’ll host our annual digital leadership summit, thinkDoubleClick, with provocative conversations about the future of digital marketing and media, and you’re invited to join via live stream by registering here!

Hear executives from advertising, agencies and publishers discuss some of the big questions in digital such as:
  • How do creatives leverage, but not be overwhelmed by, technology to deliver next-generation consumer experiences?
  • What unique experiences are publishers developing that add value to consumers and advertisers alike?
  • How do CMOs best use social with other marketing channels to build strong brands?  

The full agenda for the thinkDoubleClick event is listed below.  You can join in the conversation on June 4 by using the #thinkDCLK hash and commenting during the live stream at

Register here for the thinkDoubleClick summit
June 4, 2013
9 am - 12:15 PDT

9:00 - 9:30 am
Connecting Digital, Accelerating Growth
9:30 - 10:00 am
The Coca-Cola Company's Liquid & Linked Marketing: How a 127-year-old company is pivoting for success in a real-time, socially-connected world

The Coca-Cola Company sells over 500 brands in 207 countries, with over 700,000 System associates and 1.8B+ servings of their beverages everyday.  Hear insights and lessons learned on how the world's most valuable brand is remaining relevant by becoming more connected, transparent and nimble in real-time.

10:00 - 10:35 am
Advertisers Must be Inventors

This year, Volkswagen and Deutsch LA partnered with Google to work on a briefto re-imagine how to build a stronger, bigger community around its brand.  In today’s connected world, telling stories alone isn’t enough; we need to create tangible value and utility to bring the brand’s promise to life. In this session the creative team from Deutsch LA will be talking about the process for developing more rewarding and shareable experience.

10:35 - 11:15 am
Time to Rethink the Marketing Mix?
Emerging trends in digital marketing -- including new ad formats, the rise of social media, and proliferation of channels -- are creating new challenges and opportunities for brand marketers. What are the key trends marketers should be concerned about -- and how should they respond? AdAge deputy editor Michael Learmonth poses the hard questions in an executive dialogue on what’s next for
brand marketing.

Fireside chat with:
11:15 am -
12: 15 pm
New and Native: Extending the Conversation
Technology has had a profound impact on the media industry. This disruption, though, has brought along significant opportunities for creative publishers to thrive. In this session we’re bringing in three executives to show how they’ve leveraged the digital revolution to deliver more engaging content and differentiated solutions to advertisers.

We look forward to seeing you on June 4th at thinkDoubleClick.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Spruce up your business for spring

Springtime is in full swing; can you feel it? In the grand tradition of spring cleaning, we’ve got a few ideas for freshening up your business online. We believe that a tidy online presence can go a long way in kicking off a season of growth for your business.

First day of spring Google Doodle

Tidy up your website
Does your business have a website? If not, check out our Help Desk Hangout with Get Your Business Online to get started on the web. If you’ve already got a website, do a quick check to make sure your contact details, like business name, phone number, and address are accurate and current. You might also update seasonal hours, if it’s relevant for your business, or refresh the branding for your business if it’s changed recently.
Extra Credit: Learn about analytics and to measure and grow your website’s success.

Dust off those social channels
Are you connecting with customers and potential customers online? It’s easy to do so using social media, and we’ve got some Google+ tips to help you get started. You can post updates about your business easily or engage in conversations with customers. If you’re already set up with social media, it might be a good time to check your channels to make sure you’ve posted recently. If not, check in with those communities.
Extra Credit: You can learn how to use Google to measure social performance by watching our webinar, Social that Adds Up.

Clean up the Google listing for your business
Are you using Google Places for Business to manage the listing for your business on Google Maps? If not, you should become a verified business owner. This will allow you to manage the listing on Google Maps for your business and update it as needed. We’ve got some tips to help make sure the listing stays healthy, too.
Extra Credit: If you spot inaccuracies on a page, click on Report a problem on the right hand side of the page to let us know.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Comprehend the Contract

There’s been a bit of chatter on the Internet about a new contract one magazine publisher appears to be introducing.

The world is changing, and all magazine publishers are having to change with it, and rightly so. Who’d have thought 18 months ago that we could buy copies of some of the oldest women’s weekly magazines on our tablets or smartphones? As a result, these publishers need more than the traditional First British Serial Rights, that they’ve always bought, which is why these changes are being made to contracts. This provides a good opportunity to remind writers they should always check what they are signing.

There’s a growing trend for publications to ask for more and more rights. And in some ways, it is understandable. After all, if they make a publication available to download over the Internet, then it’s available to be downloaded anywhere in the world.

Some publications ask for All Rights. For example, the guidelines for Yours magazine are available for download from their website: and the fiction guidelines clearly state at the end: All successful submissions are accepted on an All Rights basis that gives Bauer Media exclusive copyright

So, if you submit a short story to Yours magazine and they accept it, you’ve allowed them to have All Rights in your work, thus preventing you from doing anything else with that text.

Some magazines are open to negotiation, however, with publishing businesses consolidating across the world, the flexibility editors once had is being taken away and replaced with standard contracts.

The decision about which rights to sell, or whether to sign a contract, falls down to the individual writer. No-one forces you to sign a contract. It’s your decision whether you sign a contract or not. But when you do, be sure you understand exactly what it is you’re signing. 

If you there’s anything you’re unsure of, seek professional guidance. Members of the Society of Authors can get free advice on book contracts, whilst National Union of Journalists members can get contractual guidance from their organisation. (As a member of the Society of Authors I asked them for feedback on a contract I’d been offered by a magazine that published fiction, which was a bit cheeky because the SoA specialise in book contracts! However, they did look at it for me, and they pointed out that the contract contradicted itself several times and wouldn’t stand up in court!)

Know what the contract allows you to do and, more importantly, what it restricts you from doing. For example, a contract that asks writers to give them the exclusive right to be the first publication to publish the piece anywhere in the world means you can’t offer that work anywhere else, until that publication has published it. That might not seem too restrictive, but I shall always remember the article a publication accepted from me (and paid for) in 2005, yet did they didn’t publish it until 2011. Hanging on for six years before being able to offer material elsewhere might be bearable for the occasional piece of work, but I wouldn’t want to have to cope with it for a lot of my work!

However, if there’s something in the contract you don’t understand then your first port of call should be the editor. They’ll be able to explain things for you … and probably in language that everyone understands! (Which begs the question - why can’t contracts be written in plain English? It would make everyone’s life, so much easier!)

Good luck!  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A fresh look for AdWords Express

Cross-posted with Inside AdWords.

Today, when you log into AdWords Express, you’ll notice a brand new look. We’ve listened to your feedback and worked with a lot of small businesses to streamline the AdWords Express experience. It’s part of our ongoing efforts to make Google products more beautiful and efficient.

Clearer stats and reporting graphs
Small business owners have told us that they’re busy and that they don’t want to spend time looking for the information they need. We redesigned the dashboard to show you at a glance how many views, clicks and calls your ad has generated. There’s a simple pie chart for tracking your monthly spending, and you can also compare results over time with the new performance graph.

A faster, simpler signup
We’ve made some significant improvements to the signup experience. Now there are just 3 steps to start advertising: select your audience, create your ad, and select your budget. Getting your ad set up shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

Real-time ad previews
With the new real-time ad preview box, you can now see your ad created right as you type. Just hover over the icons to preview all the ad formats that are available based on the text you provide. Try it out by creating an ad at

We’re constantly working to improve the AdWords Express user experience to make it easier for small businesses to get their ads online. Keep the feedback coming!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Local businesses get new rating system

People across the world use Google to find the freshest coffee, friendliest service, and fastest delivery. With today’s launch of the new Google Maps, we’re making it easier than ever to choose the right places to eat, drink, shop and play.

Users who opt-in to the new Google Maps will now rate businesses on a scale that ranges from one to five stars. The system maintains the precision of the former 30 point scale while improving the readability and accessibility of the business listings. Your customers will be able to find up-to-date, accurate information on your business faster than ever. As a business owner, you’ll notice that past ratings have been mapped to the five star system.

These updates will continue to roll out on Google Maps, Google Maps for Mobile, Google search results and Google+ Local in upcoming months. Zagat reviews are still available throughout Google, and you’ll continue to see Zagat throughout Google products with editorial reviews and curated lists awarded to notable places

For more information on the score changes, join us on the Google and Your Business Forum.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Bringing it all together for Google Apps customers: 30GB shared between Drive and Gmail

Cross-posted with the Google Enterprise blog

Life gets a bit easier when your Google Apps products work well together -- whether that’s inserting a Drive file into an email or sharing Docs and photos from Drive on Google+. As that experience becomes seamless, having separate storage doesn’t make as much sense anymore. So over the coming weeks, you’ll get 30 GB of unified storage to use as you like between Drive and Gmail. Just as before, files created in Docs, Sheets and Slides don't count against your storage quota. Storage will also be shared with photos you upload to Google+ larger than 2048px.

With this new combined storage, you can use your storage how you need to. If your business or school is like most, you know how many important emails and attachments you receive every day. As a result of today’s storage change, Gmail inboxes for Google Apps customers are no longer limited to 25 GB -- any additional storage you purchase can be shared and used by Gmail. Or alternatively, if you’re only using a few gigabytes of email storage, but have a lot of large documents and files stored in Google Drive, you can now use your storage primarily for Drive.

If you want to know how you are using your storage, check out our recently updated Google Drive storage page. Simply hover over the pie chart to see a breakdown of how your storage is being used across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos.

This update will roll out to Rapid Release domains over the coming weeks.

Weaving A Little Magic

On Saturday I went on a basket-weaving workshop. And whilst busy weaving and thrashing, it struck me how creating a willow basket had many similarities to writing. For example, whatever you create from willow must have a solid structure and frame to weave around, in the first place. Without that, the interesting detail of the weave, or the different willows you can use to add extra colour to your creation, simply get lost. They lose their impact.

As I discovered, it’s good to see in your mind’s eye what it is you want to create, but whilst you’re weaving in the extra detail, it’s extremely easy to lose sight of that structure. When weaving with willow, not only do you have to look at the pattern you’re using for your weave, but you have to continuously amend, adjust and cajole your structure, to ensure that you don’t weave it away. Lose this focus and your finished product ends up looking completely different to what you’d originally planned!

I’m just in the process of outlining a new large project. I’ve always done some planning with large projects, but I tend to outline the basic structure first, before diving in with the actual writing. However, with this latest project I’m doing things slightly differently. I’m planning in more detail. It involves several pads of sticky post-it notes and a large cupboard door! As each thought comes to me, I’m jotting it down on a post-it note and then sticking it on my cupboard door, where I think it needs to go.

As I spend more time thinking about this, and adding additional post-it notes, I’ve seen how easy it is to keep my original structure in place. In fact, it’s made it easier to shift things around a bit, to ensure my planned structure retains its shape. If one post-it note influences the outcome of another, I simply move them to their new position. Once I’ve got all of my lose ends identified and tied up, then I’ll have my finished structure, and I can begin writing. It could be argued that the words we write are the weave that holds our structure in place. Whilst the words might look pretty, without that initial structure holding them all together, their impact won’t be as great.

When you next sit down with a writing project (of any size) consider creating a more detailed structure. Be clear what your finished piece should look like, and then compare your finished piece with your intentions. As you can see from the finished basket here, I think I should have concentrated on the structure of my basket a little more! (At least the planning of my next project is going a little better!)

Good luck!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Hangout on Air: Ad Disapprovals and Review Process

AdWords Specialists Joe Abernethy, Alec Fox, and Kaylyn Frazier hosted a Hangout on Air yesterday about Ad Disapprovals and the Ad Review Process.

To watch the full 20-minute Hangout on Air, visit the Google Business YouTube channel here.

After sharing some interesting, Googley facts about themselves, Alec and Joe explain some of the top reasons for disapproved ads. Alec reminds us of the important policies regarding URLs in ads. Joe explains why we have editorial standards, and discusses guidelines for using symbols, punctuation and capitalization.

Alec and Joe use screen share to show us exactly where to re-submit ads that are disapproved, check on statuses of ads and view important policy details about ads in an AdWords account.

Take a look at the article on Editorial Standards that Kaylyn references in the Hangout.

To learn more about how to get started with AdWords, visit our Help Center, check out the AdWords Community forum, or call us at 866-2-GOOGLE if you already have an AdWords account.

And remember to stay tuned for upcoming Hangouts on Air!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Writers Abroad Anthology

A short post this week (it is a Bank Holiday Monday, after all). I've been informed that the group, Writers Abroad, are seeking submissions for their next anthology: Far Flung and Foreign.

Details are as follows:

Writers Abroad Anthology: 'Far Flung and Foreign'
Closing date: 31 July 2013. 

Entrants: Only for expat and former expat writers

Fiction: 1700 words max. 

Non-fiction: 1000 words max. 

Flash Fiction: 500 words max. 

Poems: 30 lines max. 

Theme: Foreign places. 

Free to enter, all profits from the anthology will be donated to the charity Book Aid International. 

Foreword to be written by novelist, Amanda Hodgkinson.
Full submission guidelines:

If you fit the criteria, then why not enter?

Good luck!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

New Learn with Google Webinars to Help you Become a Smarter Digital Marketer

At Google, one of our goals is to help make the web work for you. Today we’re announcing a new series of Learn with Google webinars, which will teach you how to use digital to build brand awareness and give you the tools you need to drive sales and grow loyalty and retention. Each of our sessions gives you deep-dive educational content, across a breadth of products and marketing objectives, in a format that’s convenient for you. Every webinar is led by Google product experts and includes time for audience Q&A. Sign up to start becoming a smarter digital marketer now.

Upcoming live webinars:

[YouTube] Driving Direct Response with Video
[Shopping] Google Shopping 101: Google Shopping for Beginners
[Research] New Research: How US Shoppers use Smartphones in Stores
[Mobile] Driving Deeper Engagement with your App Users
[Mobile] Driving Brand Engagement with Mobile Rich Media
[Analytics] Measuring Success in a Multi-Device World

[Mobile] Understanding Mobile Ads Across Marketing Objectives
[Shopping] Google Shopping 201: Merchant Center Deep Dive
[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.

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.

During our last series of webinars, attendees had the chance to win a Nexus 7. Clint Wilson was our lucky winner and he’ll soon be enjoying all of the tablet’s cool features. Check out our upcoming webinars for another chance to win!

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!